Yorktown, and the feelings she could not say. An Azur Lane fanfiction.
| “And now, we raise our glass for the recently christened Commander Jeremiah Halsey! May he continue to serve with distinction! Here’s to good health and embellished caps. Cheers!”
The sound of four glasses being clinked together and bouts of laughter followed the declaration.
“You know what, Hornet, you’re unfit for formal proclamations,” Halsey commented, feeling a little embarrassed because some patrons of the restaurant looked at them strangely; though he guessed it was less about how loud the blonde was and more about her rather daring way of dressing for the occasion.
Though he admitted, the black dress and shorts―a combination he never heard of and always thought were impossible―suits her.
No, not just her, he corrected himself; even Yorktown, who also wore a black dress but a more formal-looking one, and Enterprise, the odd one out in her Chinese dress, looked positively stunning.
“And you say ‘christened’ as if Jerry here is a ship,” Yorktown chastised her sister in jest, only for Hornet to laugh it off; even Enterprise let slip a small laugh.
“Sorry, big sis, just messing around, y’ know,” she responded in her typical flippant manner. “Geez, I’ve never been to a fancy restaurant like this, and in Atlantic City, no less!”
“Not too fancy, actually; but still, I’m expecting you to behave, Hornet, even though mom―I mean, the Vice-Admiral cannot join us today,” Halsey reminded her, but his lighthearted tone only succeeded in getting Hornet to stick her tongue out at him.
“Yeah, right; more importantly, though, Jerry hasn’t told us what he thinks about how we look.”
“Huh? Th-that was not necessary, don’t you think?” Yorktown waved both her hands frantically, her face flushed―though definitely not from the alcohol she has just consumed―causing Hornet to groan. Enterprise, on the other hand, was unexpectedly receptive to the idea.
“Well, I would like your opinion, though; this is my first time wearing this kind of dress.”
“If I may be honest,” Halsey began, casting a consoling look at Yorktown, whose face appeared to be even redder than an overripe tomato by now, “you three are looking great; very stunning, if I may add. You three indeed have grown to become very fine ladies.”
The consequent response from the three sisters was as he’d expected; Hornet was grinning from ear-to-ear while Enterprise gave a subtle, self-satisfied smile. As for Yorktown, she hid her face with both palms and mumbled something unintelligible.
“Oh, bro, never knew you’re that smooth. You swept big sis off her feet,” Hornet whistled and laughed at her sister’s embarrassment and inelegant reaction; it earned a distressed moan from the older woman who then turned to Enterprise for support, only to find her looking amused.
“Come on, sister. It’s not something to be embarrassed about.”
“But…you…I...your face was red too!”
“True, but I’m not overreacting. Come on now, you are making a fool of yourself.”
“…Ugh, fine; sorry, Jerry,” Yorktown straightened herself out, wondering when her sisters started to get so mischievous―especially Enterprise. Sometimes she can even be worse than Hornet in that regard.
“Well, nothing’s wrong with getting embarrassed like that; mom, she was worse. She nearly dashed away when dad tried to ask her to marry him; or so I heard, anyway. It’s a funny story, nonetheless,” Halsey dismissed the apology, earning a small laugh from Yorktown.
“…You’re right. It is a funny story.”
Hornet was about to chip in when the big band started playing one particularly jaunty swing tune and some of the patrons began to converge on the dance floor in pairs. As she watched the couples dance, a sly grin crossed Hornet’s face, which Enterprise noticed but chose to ignore.
“Jeee-rrrrr-yyyy-! Come oooon, let’s dance!” Hornet slid closer to Halsey, encircling her arms around his right, the firm grip pretty much telling him already she wouldn’t take no as an answer.
“Dance?” Furrowing his brows, Halsey repeated, as if wanting to make sure he heard that right.
“Yes, dance. It takes two to tango, you know?” Hornet pleaded, making her best puppy dog impression even though she was already beginning to pull him off his seat; noting that despite his reservations, he didn’t offer any resistance—at least, not so much, if his groaning can be counted as “resistance.”
“But this is not a tango dance...”
“They’re the same difference! Come on, I just wanna’ have fun with ya. What good is a celebration without a dance?"
“...Fine, if you want this that badly, I’ll give; though if you want to see me embarrass myself that much you might as well try and make me strut around in nothing but my underwear.”
“Not me, but I’m sure big sis Yorktown would love to see that!” Hornet exclaimed with a playful glance directed towards her eldest sister as she swiftly pulled Halsey away towards the dance floor, while Yorktown was still processing what she said. When she did, she promptly buried her face in her hands again, mumbling, “geez, Hornet.”
Wordlessly, Enterprise turned her attention to the pair on the dance floor. Sure enough, Hornet turned what was supposed to be a swing dance into her own improvisation rather quickly, with Halsey trying his best to keep up. His efforts resulted in him nearly crashing a number of times into his giggling partner, who found the whole thing amusing instead. The other guests, distracted by the commotion, didn’t share the sentiment; but true to form, Hornet didn’t care in the slightest.
“Don’t you wish you were like Hornet?” Enterprise tore her attention away from the two and looked at her sister squarely in the eyes, causing Yorktown to flinch before scrambling to regain composure, or rather some semblance of it. She managed to do just that by emptying the content of her glass in one go, and then another.
“...So, um, excuse me...? What do you mean, Enterprise?”
“Don’t you wish you were like Hornet?” A nonchalant Enterprise repeated before calmly taking a sip off her own glass, eyes still fixed on her sister.
“Like...Hornet?” Yorktown intoned, getting an inkling of what Enterprise was trying to convey. She certainly knew what Hornet was like; her youngest sister is ever so honest, ever so candid. She says what she wants to say, do what she wants to do. But to be like that...does she really want it?
Yorktown found herself unable to formulate an immediate answer.
“Of course, I won’t force an answer out of you. I only wanted to suggest that you have to be honest with your own feelings. At least, acknowledge them,” Enterprise offered, only for Yorktown to respond with a nonplussed look.
“My feelings...?” Yorktown uttered as she looked away from Enterprise's intense yet sympathetic gaze. She knew Enterprise means well, but the way her younger sister is looking at her made her feel really small. Feeble. Bare.
“Sorry if I impose on you too much; but I’ve seen how you were around Jerry lately...you seemed...different.”
“How...so...?” Yorktown meekly challenged as she poured herself another glass and quickly downed it; though inwardly, she already admitted Enterprise was most likely right.
“Let’s see...you suddenly got flustered easily when he compliments you. You‘ve been happier when the two of you are together...you’re also becoming more attentive of his well-being...”
“That...I just really care about him, alright? I mean, we’re like brothers and sisters...right? It’s perfectly normal...I...”
Her gaze softened, Enterprise gently set the glass she had been holding for a while despite being empty down as her sister clumsily slumped over the table, unable to finish what she wanted to say.
“Sorry; I will no longer bother you about it anymore then,” Enterprise concluded with a small measure of guilt, only to be met with silence. She took it as a sign that the talk is over, but she was proven wrong moments later.
“...Have you been reading all those sappy fictions Hornet forced on you after all, Enterprise...?” After a while, Yorktown finally spoke; Enterprise noted that her voice was suspiciously off and she’s still avoiding to look her in the eye.
“Because all those things you said, meanie. Why...are you asking me this and that...?”
“Because...” Enterprise paused, moving the half-empty bottle away from Yorktown as she sluggishly reached for it. The act prompted a whine from the older woman though she gave up rather quickly trying to snatch it back.
“Because...I care about you, you know...?” Taking a deep breath, Enterprise finished.
“...You could be wrong about all this...”
“Maybe; but my point still stands.”
Moaning, Yorktown pressed a palm onto her forehead and held it there for some time, which Enterprise guessed was the effect of the alcohol starting to kick in; she beckoned a waiter over and told him to take the bottle away.
“It was much simpler back then...” Yorktown murmured with her head down and her voice trembling, “...Couldn’t we just go back to the way we were...? When thoughts like this never even cross our minds...?”
“Would you..?” Enterprise responded—though her sister was certainly asking nobody in particular—with a question of her own.
Once again, Yorktown was unable to find an answer.
“...We don’t need to go back; He’s always been kind, even after...everything that happened. No matter how you felt about him now, I don’t think Jerry will end up hating you for it,” Enterprise gently said while taking hold of her sister’s hand, causing Yorktown to look up and back at her, her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
“...Then...what should I do...?”
“...Just keep on being there for him. I’m sure ...the answer will come to you in the end.”
“...If you put it that way, Enterprise...maybe...maybe I could try.”
“Don’t forget, Hornet and I will be there too. We will support you just like always.”
Wiping her eyes, Yorktown murmured her gratitude just as an annoyed-looking Halsey returned to their table followed by Hornet who, in contrast, remained cheerful.
“I’m not dancing with you ever again, Hornet,” Halsey said as he rubbed his sore forearm. The pain was admittedly negligible, and it wasn’t even the source of his irritation; rather, it was the unceremonious end to his and Hornet’s dance session, in which the blonde tripped and fell on top of him. It earned them both judgmental looks from the other dancing pairs—he was sure he wouldn’t forget that anytime soon.
In any case, he was glad his mother-in-law wasn’t there, or they will never hear the end of it.
“Yeah, yeah. Uh, sis, is big sis Yorktown okay...?” Hornet questioned when he saw how red Yorktown was, and the fact she was massaging her head with one hand.
“Oh, just a touch intoxicated. That’s why I told the waiter to take the bottle away,” Enterprise laughed a little as she replied, even though Yorktown already asked her—pleaded, even—not to tell anyone; upon hearing that, Hornet lost all her cheerfulness.
“Aww, what gives? I still wanna drink...Are we still in the Prohibition era or something...?”
“Hmm...If that’s the case...I can take her outside for some fresh air. Should help her feel better,” Halsey suggested, thinking that he wanted to be somewhere else at the moment after that incident anyway.
“That’s a good idea, don’t you think, sister?” Enterprise nudged Yorktown softly; and though she got even redder than before, she eventually relented and rose from her seat.
“Okay, Jerry, take me out of here...Maybe I do need some fresh air...” Yorktown said, slightly wobbling as she walked towards Halsey, ultimately stumbling forward just in time for him to catch her. Shaking his head but still smiling, he led the stammering woman out to the boardwalks by hand, feeling her clinging to him rather tightly.
He did not mind it at all.
“You know, sis, you look so damn pleased, I wonder why,” Hornet said as she took a seat and noticed how Enterprise was smiling as she watched the pair go. The smile was uncharacteristically wide and self-satisfied, not the typical light one Enterprise usually had when she felt inclined to smile.
“Oh, nothing much; I’m just thinking...our sister will be alright after all.”