“Well,” the Commander grinned, but with a drop of sweat on his brow, “remind me next time that this storeroom door needs repair."
“A little too late to say that, but duly noted,” Zuikaku dutifully answered, though one can see her brow clearly twitching. “I’m sorry. I should’ve known I should not close the door behind.”
“Don’t be like that. I forgot to tell you anyway. Besides, sooner or later, someone will notice we were missing and will help us. Most probably.”
“…This sort of thing happens a lot, huh?” Sitting down, the carrier made a note to go straight to Aoba as soon as someone let them out; she needed to make sure the reporter wouldn’t start any weird rumor. The rumor mill at the base was rather infamous, as she learned the hard way before.
“Well, kind of. This room is pretty legendary; no matter how many times you fix the damn lock, it will break again and get people locked up inside. A lot of people have been trapped here, you know,” the Commander said as he took a seat across Zuikaku—unlike her, he did so in a more leisurely manner. He could hear her swallowing thickly at the remark, and see her gaze idly wandering to the only lighting the room has, a dim lightbulb which obviously has seen better days.
“…And…Um, how long do you think we are going to stay locked up here…?”
“Well, I said it depends on our luck. Just for your info, the record is three hours.”
“Augh…that’s…bad. Shoukaku–nee will be worried and…”
“Well, nothing you can do right now, is there? At least if she’s worried, she will look for us."
“Alright…but still, getting ourselves locked up here…I’m sorry, Commander. I got you in troub—”
Zuikaku didn’t manage to finish before she started sneezing as dust invaded her nose, thanks to her frantic apology. She buried her face into her arms after that and made some unintelligible noise that sounds like a half-hearted grumble.
That was cute, the Commander mused. He wisely kept it to himself. He figured she would need some distraction after that gaffe, and he happened to recall something which could serve that purpose.
“Well, since we are not going anywhere for a while, something fun is in order, yeah? Guess what this is.”
Zuikaku looked up and glanced at the Commander, or rather, at his hand shadows, formed into an image of something resembling a dog.
“A dog, huh? Is this something you learned as a child, Commander?”
“Oh yes, sometimes simple entertainment like this is all a kid needs,” the Commander laughed, delighted at his apparent success; Zuikaku’s previously morose look has disappeared, with amusement taking its place.
“…I guess you are right. I, myself, knew some. Like this one,” Zuikaku formed her hands into the shape of a bird.
“A bird, huh? Somehow I got a feeling you would show me that. Alright, how about this?”
“A rabbit? I can make a squirrel.”
“Is that a challenge? Look at this, bird on a branch!”
“No way, really? I have this, two swans.”
“Fine, see this? An Indian.”
“Wha—isn’t this supposed to be about animals?”
“I never said that!”
Lost in their own little game, the Commander and Zuikaku failed to realize the door unlocking from the other side. When Shoukaku noticed the two were making increasingly bizarre shapes with their hands, she merely smiled, shook her head, and closed the door without shutting it, leaving it slightly open.
She would have said something, but she noticed Aoba approaching—she was confident that the girl must have been aware of what's happening and is now out to sniff for a potential scandal.
‘I must protect my sister’s peace’ was what Shoukaku had in mind as she chased the reporter away.