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Future in the name

Chapter Text

 All of the Strawhats had weird soulmarks. Well, maybe expect Usopp, Usopp’s was normal. His, not his soulmate’s though.

 Nami asked him, after the whole fiasco with Arlong, “So, your soulmate is Kaya?”

 カヤ先生. Kaya-sensei. Doctor Kaya.

 He shrugged. “She is and I’m hers.”

 Zoro raised an eyebrow at him. “Didn’t she say, when we were leaving, she will be waiting for you and for her soulmate in Syrup Village?”

 Usopp scratched his neck with his hand, laughing nervously.

 “I may have lied a bit,” he admitted. “To her.”

 Everyone in the room just looked at him, unimpressed.

 “You say?” Nami snorted.

 “Well, I have Doctor Kaya on my thigh,” he explained, patting his knee. “She has God on her stomach.”

 ゴッド. Goddo. God. 

 “Is that another lie?”

 Usopp rolled his eyes, putting his hand over his heart as if the accusation hurt.

 “Doesn’t matter. I didn’t tell her because I knew I’d leave, just like my dad left my mum," he said slowly. "And now I left to be a pirate so it was a good decision, not telling her.”

 

 

 Zoro, one day, waited for Sanji to be alone in the galley. Which was hard with they glutton of a captain on board.

 “So,” he started. “Is your surname Vinsmoke by any chance?”

 ヴィンスモーク・サンジ.  Vinsmoke Sanji.

 It was casual and not romantic at all and Zoro kind of didn’t really care about it but it was also really their kind of way to find out.

 “Nah.”

 If Sanji was shocked, he didn’t show it, smoking calmly another cigarette and writing down a new sauce recipe. He didn’t even glance at him.

 Zoro sighed, moving to leave the room.

 “But it was, once,” Sanji spoke up, not looking him in the eyes. “Will you become the Greatest Swordsman?”

 最強の剣士. Saikyou no Kenshi. The Greatest Swordsman.

 Zoro crossed his arms over his chest, over the scar Mihawk left him at the Bartie. It was a question not connected with anything, out of nowhere but the answer was one and the same.

 “I will,” he deadpanned.

 Sanji took a long smoke, humming, and stayed silent for a moment. He changed the page in his notebook and Zoro observed his slender fingers. He put down the pen. He raised his right hand, so precious, so cared and so trained, showing its inside to Zoro. At first, it looked as if he was waving him off but then Zoro noticed.

 “Well, hello, soulmate, I guess,” Sanji snorted. “I thought it would take you longer to realize, Moss Head.”

 Zoro narrowed his eyes.

 “The fuck was that supposed to mean, Shitty Cook?”

 Yes, the biggest surprise was that their soulmarks said Vinsmoke Sanji on Zoro’s back and The Greatest Swordsman on Sanji’s palm and not Moss Head and Shitty Cook.

 

 

 Nami wasn’t really better in the romance department. Vivi was cute, smart and funny, so she just asked, “Hey, aren’t you a princess of some small country by any chance?”

 王女. Ojou. Princess.

 Once again, Zoro, Usopp, and Luffy just raised an eyebrow each at that.

 Vivi blushed, sputtering.

 “And are you a cat burglar by any meaning?” she asked back.

 泥棒猫. Dorobou Neko. Cat Burglar.

 Name just giggled nervously.

 “Not at all,” she lied.

 “Yes, she is,” the rest of the crew echoed in the background.

 Vivi chuckled sweetly, blushing even more. She tucked a wayward strand of hair behind her ear and looked Nami deeply in the eyes, smiling fondly.

 That’s how they found out she was the Princess of Alabasta. But for the Starwhat crew, she was, first and foremost, Nami’s, their navigator’s soulmate.

 Nami had beautifully written Princess on her left hip and Vivi had inscribed, bare letters of Cat Burglar on her right hip. They were matching.

 

 Robin joined the crew and then, very fast, almost left it. Then Franky joined the crew.

 Franky, very tactfully, on the grassy deck of the brand new Thousand Sunny, asked her, “Nico Robin, huh? Didn’t they use to call you Devil Child?”

 悪魔の子.  Akuma no Ko.

 Robin, at peace with herself more than her whole life, smirked with mischief in her gaze. She regarded Franky’s body, looking at him meaningfully, and raised an eyebrow.

 “They did,” she answered simply.

 “Before I started modifying my body,” Franky continued with surprisingly quiet voice, “I had Devil Child on my biceps.”

 Robin reached for the hem of her shirt, pushing it up a bit and showing to the world the name that was just under her breasts.

 “Is that so?” she hummed, not caring that everyone could see her bra. “I suppose you’re Iron Man, then?”

 鉄人. Tetsujin. Iron Man.

 Franky, seeing strict, thin letters of his own handwriting, grinned.

 “Super!”

 Robin giggled.

 

 

 Brook, when still alive, had a simple and common name, Mary. He knew one lovely Mary but she had Soul King under her ear and he didn’t know until it was too late.

 Soul King was having a concert in Sabaody and Mary had been dead for the last fifty years, give or take.

 

 

 Chopper didn’t have a soulmark. He was, by Fate’s standards, still only an animal.

 

 

 

 

 The most complicated soulmark was Luffy’s.  When asked, he would furrow his eyebrows, thinking.

 “I don’t have a soulmark,” he would answer.

 Zoro kind of thought it suited him. Sanji, Nami, Usopp, and Vivi knew there was no way he didn’t have a soulmark – everyone has a soulmark.

 Which was confirmed after they defeated Crocodile and saved Alabasta. They were bathing and Luffy, like the rest of them, was completely naked. His back was naked.

 Usopp raised an eyebrow at the smudgy handwriting.

 “Oi, Luffy,” he yelled. “You lying liar, you have a soulmark on your back.”

 Zoro and Sanji looked away from each other and stared at Luffy’s back. The name gave them chills.

 “I do?” Luffy asked. “What does it say?”

 Usopp came closer to him, not seeing properly in the steamy bathroom. He paled, starting to tremble comically and Sanji snorted.

 “Su- Sur- Surgeon of Death,” Usopp finally read.

 “Surgeon of Death, huh?” Zoro hummed to himself, leaning on the tiled wall and putting an arm around Sanji’s shoulders.

 死の外科

 Shi no Gekai

 Surgeon of Death.

 Sanji had the biggest urge to smoke, feeling a headache coming. He snorted again. “I suppose crazy can get along only with crazy.”

 Zoro smirked at that.

 Usopp grimaced at them, disgusted. “You’re one to talk,” he remarked. “Monster and another monster.”

 Sanji shrugged.

 Luffy turned around to them, looking serious.

 “When’s dinner?”

 They all groaned. Crazy or not, Luffy’s soulmate deserved sympathy.

 

 

 

 Law loved the soulmate system. Mostly because the number of studies already made on the subject was huge but at the same time possibilities of further research concepts were countless.

 Law was, even as a kid, first and foremost, a doctor. A scientist.

 There was also the part where his parents, caring, generous, altruistic, open-minded and so in love with each other, were soulmates. Seeing that for the whole happy part of his childhood, he got the rather idealistic version of a soulmate life. Up until Cora-san died, it was his goal in life – find soulmate as perfect as his dad was to his mum and his mum was to his dad.

 Of course, Law was very little when everything went to hell.

 His parents never talked about his soulmate even though he was sure they had to have seen his soulmark. He wanted to know what the complicated kanjis on the small of his back meant. Other kids knew it as soon as they could understand which seemed even stranger to Law – his parents were doctors and never held back from explaining anything to him – they were people of science. His sister, younger, had a soulmate in the neighbors’ son and they didn’t hide it from her even though she couldn’t really understand it much. So he asked.

 His parents were very serious, their stern gazes searching for each other, for reassurance. They were smiling but it wasn’t the kind of smile Law was used to. It was the smile they used getting home from work, waiting for the announcement there was going to be another funeral.

 “Law,” his dad said. “It’s really a complex thing and I and your mum, we are not sure what to do with it.”

 “But what does it say?” he insisted. “I can’t read it.”

 “It says Kaizoku Ou, honey,” his mum whispered into the silence, giving him heartbroken look. “Pirate King.”

 At first, Law was kind of excited.

 Flevance was an isolated island, neutral one in a way, not really into politics. There was no pirates or marines, practically no news about the outside world. It may have been a side effect of keeping the epidemy secret.

 Adults knew who the Pirate King was. They knew about his execution, about the way he started the New Pirate Era with his last words. It all happened when Law was still a baby, too small to be aware.

 Kids on Flevance didn’t know anything about Pirate King. It was a secret kept away from their ears.

 Next thing he knew, he was on the run, the whole World Government was after him and his parents, his little sister and his whole island were dead. He was going to fuck up the Government and the marines and the Celestial Dragons, he just didn’t know how yet.

 Searching for the cure for Amber Lead Syndrome with Cora-san, he got to know the Pirate King for the first time. Cora-san was, to put it mildly, shocked seeing the name on Law’s back. It was disturbing.

 Pirate King was dead for almost all of Law’s life. He was also approximately fifty years older than Law. Either the soulmate system was wrong or there was something wrong with Law. Cora-san didn’t comment on his soulmark but Law commented on it in his head every time he remembered it was there.

 Sometimes he looked in the mirror just to loathe himself for having such a useless soulmark.

 The letters were messy and he kind of understood why he wasn’t able to read them when younger – the letters were practically chicken scratches, cramped together into resembling handwriting. Even as big as it was, the kanjis were touching each other, overlapping.

 The worst thing was, they were vivid against his pale, ashen skin and white scars from the Amber Lead Syndrome. Black ink was eye-catching, too distracting, too visible for Law’s liking.

 Just three kanjis but how much they meant.

 海賊王.

 Kaizoku Ou.

 Pirate King.

 Cora-san, as Law found much later, didn’t understand how it happened. He was a Marine and knew well enough Gold Roger didn’t have Law’s name on his chest but Rogue. He told that Law a few days before dying.

 Law, well, he didn’t understand too. He simply resigned. No use to cry over spilled milk. Pirate King for soulmate or not, it wasn’t gonna stop him from finding One Piece and becoming a well-known, influential, dangerous pirate. He would avenge Cora-san, his family, his island. Everyone.

 It took him years to understand. It was a stupid newspaper that explained it all to him. The Heart Pirates were island away from Sabaody Archipelago and Bepo brought him one of the papers he always bought whenever they were staying longer on an island. Law was calmly drinking his first or maybe second coffee and waiting for Penguin to finish making breakfast.

 “Look, Captain,” he said, excited. “There’s an article about you again.”

 There was. It wasn’t just about him, not like the rest of the articles Bepo had been showing him. Rest of the Super Rookies, as they called them, the most dangerous newbie pirates, was there too. Law could see all of their bounty posters, his own face smirking at him. It was a good picture.

 The title said it all.

 Who will be the second Pirate King?

 He dropped the mug with the coffee. It broke into small pieces when it bounced on the floor.

 It hit Law straight in the face and he almost screamed. Almost.

 He stared at the newspaper, not moving an inch, his mind hovering somewhere between being completely blank and going at lightspeed. A big hole in his chest closed a tiny little bit after years of only getting bigger. It was unnerving but also freeing.

 It was, also, a fucking spoiler for the book called life of Trafalgar D. Water Law.

 His soulmate wasn’t Gold Roger. It was the person who would become the next Pirate King, the second one. And that person apparently wasn't Law since he couldn’t be his own soulmate, he wasn’t narcissistic.

 “Captain? Law?” Bepo questioned, looking panicked. He glanced between Law and the pieces of glass lying in the wooden planks. “Are you alright?”

 Before Law could answer, even just with simple and untrue yes, Penguin came into view, fussing.

 “Did you have to break it?” he fumed. “The rest of the idiots breaks enough dishes as it is.”

 Law raised an eyebrow at that but couldn’t stop smiling. It probably looked creepy. Penguin rolled his eyes.

 “At least clean after yourself,” he scoffed.

 Law glared at him but it lacked his typical fire.

 “Room,” he spoke up, gathering all the needed places in his rooms. “Shambles.”

 The broken glass was left in the kitchen bin and the coffee landed in the sink. If Penguin was suddenly missing an arm, he didn’t notice. Bepo did.

 He should be disappointed, he supposed, but he wasn’t.

 Because his soulmark meant he wasn’t going to find One Piece and become the Pirate King but there was another person, another man (it was Pirate King, not Pirate Queen after all) who would be strong enough to find it. And it was his soulmate.

 To be honest, Law had never really wanted One Piece, not much. Having the money and the treasures would be appreciated but he didn’t have a desire to become Pirate King. His main goal was, first and foremost, to avenge Cora-san’s death, his family’s death, to piss off the World Government as much as he could and, finally, to destroy the World Government and Celestial Dragons.

 Didn’t his soulmate being Pirate King mean Law would be a Pirate King too, by association anyway? That’s how normal monarchy would work but pirate monarchy? He had no clue.

 It was a breather too, finding out what his soulmark had meant all those years. It wasn’t Gold Roger. It was Gold Roger's legacy.

 The only downside was, he couldn’t be sure up until the end – up until the guy would have already become Pirate King. If his soulmate had just a simple Law on his body, it could always be another Law.  Law had to wait with a patience of a saint.

 Spoiler, just like the one on the small of his back: he wasn't a saint.

Chapter Text

 Law met the rest of the Super Rookies on Sabaody in less than a week after realizing the truth about his soulmark. They were all bat-shit crazy but Strawhat-ya and Eustass-ya took the cake.

 There was, with Law included, eleven of them.

 Eustass Kid. ユースタス・キッド

 Roronoa Zoro. ロロノア・ゾロ

 X  Drake. X・ドレーク 

 Basil Hawkins.  バジル・ホーキンス

 Killer. キラー

 Capone Bege.  カポネ・ベッジ

 Urouge. ウルージ

 Jewelry Bonney. ジュエリー・ボニー

 Scratchmen Apoo. スクラッチメン・アプー

 Monkey D. Luffy. モンキー・D・ルフィ

 One of them could be Law’s soulmate. Well, except for Jewelry Bonney, she was a woman after all. Roronoa Zoro, from what Law quickly realized, had already found his soulmate in his crewmember.

 He waited for any of the rest to tell him Law was his soulmate or at least ask if he had a matching soulmark. No one told him anything and there was no miracle soulmate out of nowhere. Law knew there were many more candidates for the Pirate King title, many people who will be suited, in the future, to become Pirate King. He just hoped it would be easy and fast.

 None of the Rookies was his soulmate. Well, at least none of them had Trafalgar D. Water Law, or Law, or Surgeon of Death on their body. It was okay, he supposed, all of them were mad as fuck anyway. Well, Pirate King couldn’t really be not mad but Law hoped he could be less mad. He was supposed to be Law’s soulmate after all. Law liked to think he was sane and logical.

 There was not really an opportunity to even ask. Heart Pirates arrived at Sabaody and the first thing Law saw was Strawhat-ya attacking a Celestial Dragon at the auction. There could be a fucking Admiral going for them and Law kind of panicked internally - not externally, of course. Strawhat was fucking insane and reckless and maybe it was such a pirate way of living but Law liked the whole idea of staying alive.

 To put it short, Strawhat had this weird thing going on, where Law kind of couldn’t turn his gaze away from him, couldn’t not envy his boldness. He was a sight to see but that didn’t mean Law’s self-preservation allowed him to stay with him to the end of the mess. Well, he did stay anyway, he didn’t really have an alternative.

 The fucked up thing is, Law warned Strawhat there were Marine Headquarters not far away from Sabaody Archipelago and he was more interested in Bepo, talking polar bear, than even considering there can be an Admiral coming their way in a matter of minutes.

 Next thing he knew, he was fighting marines with Strawhat-ya and Eustass-ya and some weird old man (Silvers Rayleigh,  his mind screamed later, fucking Silvers Rayleigh) knocked out the majority of the marines without doing anything. Then he was running away from a Pacifista and an Admiral and Law just didn’t know how exactly Strawhat got him and his crew into that mess.

 Somehow, he and his crew escaped. They didn’t leave Sabaody, not when there were marines docking somewhere around the Archipelago. It would be like suicide.

 And then the news about Portgas D. Ace’s execution was spreading and Law could only watch the broadcast from Marineford, the announcement that Portgas D. Ace is actually Gol D. Ace. The whole world went crazy after that and Law sure as hell went crazy when Monkey D. Luffy showed up to save his brother, escaping Impel Down and it was being announced that he was the son of Dragon the Revolutionary. And the broadcast was cut and first thing Law could think was Strawhat-ya is too weak, he’s gonna get hurt, he’s gonna need help. Law kind of felt even more like committing suicide leaving the Sabaody Archipelago even though there were obviously no marines left on the islands, all of them went back to the headquarters.

 Back to the headquarters he was heading to. Law had the right to feel as if he was suicidal.

 Then the Marineford War happened. Law stayed back on the side, to help if he was needed, he was a nice guy like that. He couldn’t not take part in it, to be honest, it was the battle that would impact the world, the power level between pirates and marines was going to be estimated and showed to the world. And yes, pissing off the World Government and Doflamingo, who was a part of the marine power, was a plus too, he would say. It was a risk, even just being nearby but Law didn’t want to miss the battle altogether and his crew trusted him on the matter.

 It was gonna be interesting, there was no other way to say it. Portgas D. Ace was, after all, Whitebeard’s, World Strongest Man’s, Second Division Commander, Whitebeard’s first mate’s soulmate, son of the late captain of the Emperor Red-Haired Shanks. There were two Emperors, Warlords and well, Strawhat-ya with the worst part of the Impel Down. It was gonna be interesting but also risky and dangerous, that’s why they stayed submerged.

 He didn’t know why he saved Strawhat, his brother, and Jinbe. Maybe it was the doctor part of him.

 Law stayed in the submarine for the most part, watching the battle unfold from a safe distance. He could only be amazed by the way Strawhat fought his path to his brother, passing hundreds of marines and distracting Admirals. How Strawhat talked, practically yelled at Whitebeard without a care in the world. How he finally got to Portgas D. Ace and was immediately taken far away from the platform by Marco the Phoenix in his devil fruit form, escaping out of Admirals’ range. There was no way the fight was gonna be this easy but the pirates were getting by.

 Law wouldn’t be much help but something still made him wait until the end of the battle. There was a storm named Monkey D. Luffy he couldn’t stop observing.

 It got worse after that. Marco the Phoenix, Portgas D. Ace and Monkey D. Luffy were quickly made the main target, with Akainu tailing them for the most part and Kizaru getting dangerously close.

 The Whitebeard Pirates and his allies started retreating as soon as their First Division Commander got close to Portgas-ya. They weren’t fast enough.

 Next thing he knew, Strawhat-ya, his brother and his brother’s soulmate were fighting Akainu and there was a magma fist piercing Portgas’s body. Law ordered resurfacing, hearing his own heart beating in his ears and his hands clenching. He didn’t know why he was so scared.

 As soon as Ace’s body fell, the Whitebeard Pirates stopped retreating, Strawhat got into shock, suddenly realizing the burden of his injuries and just freezing there. He was holding his brother, his hands in the blood and everything around him stopped moving for a quick moment. Then, Portgas-ya’s soulmate moved to take them both and run as fast as he could. Law would think he was calm, clear-headed and knew what he was doing if not for the way his face fell, tears leaving his eyes and jaw tightening. He looked as if he was dying inside.

 Jinbe was just behind them, holding back the Admiral. The Whitebeard Pirates ran for their lives, seeing the target of the battle safe and sound in their arms.

 Law emerged from the water, calling to the field, shocking quite a ton of people and making the offer.

 “Come on! Entrust Strawhat-ya and his brother to me! I’m a doctor!”

 He didn’t know who was more surprised – Marco the Phoenix or Law himself. The Whitebeard Pirates didn’t really have a choice, they had to trust him. There was no way they could get medical help as fast without Law and the time was passing. Every minute mattered.

 Marco the Phoenix made his way to Law’s submarine, holding his soulmate, his soulmate’s brother and Jinbe the Warlord.

 The Red Hair Pirates arrived and the battle froze. Law took the chance, closing the door to the submarine with Monkey D. Luffy’s straw hat in hand.

 Ace’s condition was, obviously, the worst and to be truthful, if not for Law’s devil fruit powers, he would be dead. Portgas had the luck his soulmate had been staying close to him since Strawhat set him free from the shackles. Marco the Phoenix was fast enough to save him from immediate death but not fast enough to save him from death itself, his injuries were still gravely. The First Division Commander moved him out of the way enough so that Akainu’s fist didn’t go through both his back and his chest but his vital organs were damaged.

 They were all injured greatly in the battle, Strawhat, Portgas, and Jinbe, but Portgas was a challenge Law thought he would never face.

  As soon as Law emerged from the sea, taking over the protection of two main targets of the battle, Whitebeard Pirates and Red Hair Pirates retreated for good, hurrying up to leave the field and marine base as fast as they could, taking injured people with themselves. Law left, with eyes hazed with the chaos that just one person made – Gol D. Ace made. Law wondered how one person could impact the world so much only having Gol D. in the name. He wondered if he would be able to impact the world as much sometime in the future.

 Law left with a new, clearer goal in life and Strawhat-ya, Portgas-ya, Jinbe the Warlord and Marco the Phoenix on board.

 Since Portgas was in the worst condition, Law was the one to work on him, and the rest of the Heart crew took care of the other two, requesting Law’s assistance from time to time.

 He put on gloves and calmed his hands, assessing the damage that was done to Portgas’s body. His lungs, fortunately, weren’t even grazed. The problems started when it came to his liver, kidneys, and intestines. His liver, for the lack of better word, had a hole in it, one of his kidneys was practically none existing at the point and his large intestine was shattered, to put it mildly. Not to mention the blood loss. Law couldn’t say he worked on patients in worse condition.

 The truth was, if not for Ace’s and Law’s devil fruit powers, Ace would be dead in a couple of moments.

 Law wanted to operate on him as soon as he put his gloves on. The problem was, he couldn’t really even see Portgas’s body, it was all hidden by flames. Not his flames but his soulmate’s flames.

 He was lying on his stomach, the way they put him in the first place, that’s what Law could see. Blue, cold flames were sparking, flattering, moving over Portgas’s body like a protective barrier. Law couldn’t operate like that.

 “Marco-ya,” he spoke up, his voice firm and cold in the silence of the room. “I can’t help him if I don’t see his body. You have to withdraw the fire.”

 Marco, for the first time, turned his gaze from his soulmate, his eyes darting between Law and him, his shoulders hunched as if he was closing into himself. He didn’t move an inch from his soulmate for even a second, his hands were entwined in his lover’s hair, caressing his cheek with the tips of his fingers as if Portgas wasn’t out cold. He was trembling, shaking on his legs and Law never really had to calm down the loved ones of his patients, he didn’t know if he could calm someone down like that.

 In Marco’s eyes, there was so much desperation, so much devotion, so much heartbreak and Law kind of had to snap out of it. Portgas’s face was content, smiling as if he was happy he could part with his life at his finest.

 “The flames- The flames are- they are healing him,” Marco blubbered. “I can’t- they are healing- He can’t-“

 Law licked his lips, holding back from taking a long breath, the air wasn’t there in his lungs for a moment.

 “But I have to see,” he said. “I have to see his back to operate on him.”

 There was a moment Law thought he would have to take him out of the operating room. The flames died down around Portgas’s back, showing the mess that was his crew tattoo, Whitebeard’s Jolly Roger, and the bottom of his soulmark. Big, bold part of the kanjis that fitted into word Phoenix.

 不死鳥

 Fushichou.

 Phoenix.

 He started operating. Cold flames were mussing his elbows, feeling more warm than cold.

 In the background, Marco the Phoenix, one of the most feared men in the Four Seas, started to sob, slipping down, kneeling in front of his soulmate and touching his forehead with his own.

 It was a long couple of hours, so long that Law’s eyes were closing on him but the results were more or less satisfying. Portgas’s large intestine was in almost perfect condition again, his liver was functioning, at least right then, but one of his kidneys was just impossible to save and the other was barely holding up. His stomach was damaged but not too worse and most of his veins and arteries were sewed back to themselves, blood transfusion already in the process. Law saved his life but there were going to be health problems, especially if Portgas’s logia powers didn’t heal him fast enough.

 In the end, Law could say, “He’ll live,” to Portgas’s soulmate and that was what counted.

 Marco the Phoenix started crying and Law expected to hear thank you or I’m grateful but he was probably so overwhelmed he didn’t say anything like that to him, enveloping his soulmates in the cocoon of baby blue fire. Law didn’t protest – if it was helping to heal, then good, if not, the flames weren’t hot so no further injuries could be made. Not that Law could even imagine the Phoenix hurting his soulmate.

 He checked on Strawhat and Jinbe and he was so thankful he insisted on his crew learning the basics of medicine. The other two patients didn’t have their vitals organs damaged as much as Ace, barely shaken off by the strain of the fight. There was a minor internal bleeding in Strawhat’s case but Shachi tended to it as soon as they noticed. There was going to be an itchy scar on his chest but rest was enough to heal him and his countless scratches, bruises and small injuries on his body. Jinbe, in the overall, was more exhausted and malnourished because of his recent days spent in Impel Down, most of his injuries came from protecting Strawhat and Portgas from Akainu.

 Standing in the doorway, with washed hands, clothes sticking to his frame and hazy mind that craved sleep and rest, body that was slowly giving in, closing in on Law, he looked at Portgas again.

 Marco the Phoenix was at his side, always at his side, hugging himself with one arm over his chest, hiding his crew tattoo but emphasizing huge Fire Fist he had under his collarbone, all while still touching his soulmate’s face with his other hand. He was paralyzed on the spot, the menacing aura holding him in a tightening grip. All colors drained from his face, even more apparent in the dim room and light of his healing flames. He couldn’t control his hands, they were barely visibly shaking.  Dread crippled him, freezing his every muscle. His eyes were teary, glassy but he didn’t close them, looking at his soulmate as if he was about to disappear seconds after.

 He looked scared and Law had never seen someone so scared not for their own life but for someone else’s life. It, once again, reminded him what the concept of soulmates was in the ideal world. Reminded him he wanted a soulmate who would compliment him as perfectly as Phoenix and Fire Fist complemented each other, as Dr. Trafalgar and Dr. Water complemented each other.

 He left the operating room, trusting his crew to bandage up his patients. His heart kind of stayed, though.

 Marco the Phoenix was sitting at Portgas’s bed and healing flames started covering the whole room, his and his soulmate’s body, Strawhat’s body, and Jinbe’s body. It was a good time to leave.

 In the end, Law went for a quick nap after almost nine hours of surgeries.

 Captain’s cabin was very quiet and dark in comparison with the bright lights of the operating room. He was so exhausted he could practically hear his bed calling for him. His muscles were screaming, his brain was getting darker and blurrier, tired by the use of Law’s powers and Law’s medical experience.

 He barely lied down when the doors opened again, letting the path of light that suddenly hurt his eyes in. Law’s back was turned to the entrance, his face in the pillow and he wasn’t gonna move. He blinked a couple of times but the sleep wasn’t getting away. He listened to the familiar footsteps, heavy but smooth. Bepo.

 “Captain,” he spoke up, hesitant. “There’s something about Strawhat-san you should see.”

 Law didn’t answer to that for a moment, feeling the darkness overcoming him, feeling sleep coming faster than it was possible. His eyes didn’t want to stay open and he let them, allowing himself the deserved rest. He may or may not have saved three lives today but he also overused Ope Ope no Mi powers and his own body. Now even thinking hurt.

 “Is he dying?” he spat out. It came out muffled by the pillow he muttered to, a bit incomprehensible.

 “Well, no,” Bepo said. “But-“

“Then I don’t want to hear it,” he interrupted with the last of his strength. “Let me sleep.”

 Bepo took a deep, frustrated breath, keeping silent and Law fell asleep. Or maybe fainted. There was no difference, to be honest.

 

 Bepo, at the table where Law was drinking coffee and eating breakfast, or what he thought was breakfast, the hours kind of mixed with each other, asked him, “Do you believe in soulmates, Captain? Would you like to meet your soulmate?”

 Law was a little taken aback but this time, he didn’t drop his coffee mug on the floor.

 “I do believe in soulmates,” he cautioned, suspicious.

 His parents were soulmates and he was sure he could make it work with his soulmate, he believed they could make it work with his soulmate.

 “So you do want to meet them as fast as possible, right?” Bepo continued.

 Law raised an eyebrow at that, sipping his coffee. Bepo leaned into him, awaiting the answer.

 “Not particularly,” he replied honestly. He was in no rush, he would like it to be faster than twenty years, but he was in no rush. Before Sabaody Archipelago, before finally understanding what his soulmark meant, he wouldn’t be able to answer. “I’ll just wait for them to find One Piece. That’s what my soulmark says, after all. Pirate King.”

 “What,” Bepo yelped. “That’s- That’s- Are you sure it says that?”

 Law shrugged, smirking as if he had won a fight.

 Truth was, he was the one who lost there. Bepo, assisting two of their newer crewmembers with bandaging Monkey D. Luffy, saw, in Law’s hurried, messy handwriting, typical handwriting of a doctor, Law’s moniker.

 Surgeon of Death was on Strawhat Luffy’s back.

  死の外科医

 Shi no Gekai.

 Surgeon of Death. There was no mistake.

 Bepo looked at him with excessive seriousness, frowning. He didn’t say anything for a moment, scrutinizing Law’s face.

 “Are you sure you want to wait so long?”

 “Of course,” Law answered, firm and unmoved.

 He, after all, believed in soulmates. Since Law wasn’t patient at all, they were bound to meet sooner rather than later. Fate knew what it was doing.

 Bepo asked him that question again and again for the next two years until Law started to hesitate with the answer. He had all the time in the world, he supposed, but the time was running out too. He wasn't in hurry but he didn't want to wait an eternity.

 He didn’t change the answer just because he was stubborn. Maybe Fate didn't know what it was doing, after all.

Chapter Text

 There were three ships tailing them. One, Law was sure, was Whitebeard Pirates’ ship, the big one, Moby Dick. To take back Portgas-ya and Marco the Phoenix, no doubt. He didn’t know what to expect.

 He didn’t expect to see a Marine warship with Boa Hancock and Emporio Ivankov on it or Red Force, Red Hair Pirates’ ship.

 To say his crew panicked being between two Emperors and a Warlord would be a misunderstanding.

 Boa Hancock was first, fretting over Strawhat. He had to refuse her and he found it quite easy. The Whitebeard crew had the full right to take back Portgas-ya and Marco but Law would have to assist as a doctor for at least next couple of weeks – they did have nurses but none of the nurses had the same ability as he gained with his devil fruit. Jinbe, Law supposed, would be alright with normal medical care but Law wasn’t so sure about Strawhat-ya. The internal bleeding and his lungs were okay but it could change any minute.

 He knew he would have to stay with Whitebeard Pirates and he assumed Strawhat would like to stay with his brother. They were both still unconscious but that was what Law assumed and he wasn’t the doctor for nothing, he got to have a say about his patients.

 Boa Hancock didn’t stop insisting and most of his crew was already scared for life. Law wasn’t. The empress was definitely less scary than any of the Emperors and Law had two of them on either side of his submarine.

 She kept on insisting Luffy had to go with her and that she would take care of him. She called him her beloved and spouted all that nonsense about marriage Law couldn’t quite understand. And anyway, Law couldn’t imagine how someone actually would want to marry Strawhat. His soulmate, whoever they were, Law felt bad for them.

Law asked her, very calmly, without an ounce of sass, “Are you his crewmember? Are you his wife? Are you his soulmate?”

 The answers were obviously no so Boa Hancock got even angrier. Before Law could say anything, the Whitebeard Pirates showed up on their deck, looking impatient and worried. One of them simply jumped down at Law’s deck.

 Law supposed it was an okama or a trans woman, he couldn’t tell. It didn’t really matter. They were a person, person who was on his deck and who was part of the Emperor’s crew. A person who could be dangerous.

 “I’m the Sixteenth Division Commander, Izou,” they introduced themselves, bowing slightly. “I was sent in the name of my father, Whitebeard, to find out Ace’s, his brother’s and Jinbe’s conditions and secure their transportation to the Moby Dick.”

 Their manner of speech was formal enough to make Law a bit more comfortable. He supposed they were grateful enough so that they didn’t want to kill him.

 “Luffy is leaving with me,” Boa Hancock spat out. “He’ll heal faster with my love and care.”

 Law wondered how it became his life. He was almost expecting someone from Red Hair Pirates to show any second.

 The Whitebeard’s Commander only raised an eyebrow at that.

 “From what I know, love doesn't heal all the wounds of the world,” they sneered.

 Well, having just seen Phoenix and Fire Fist, Law wasn’t so sure of that anymore. But they deserved at least acknowledgment, not many people could ridicule the empress so freely. They were Whitebeard’s Commander so he shouldn’t really be surprised.

 Boa Hancock put her hands in this particular way Law saw before she turned men to stone. It didn’t work on any of them – on Law and on Izou-ya. It took her aback and annoyed even more the Commander.

 “Lady,” they spat out. “I’ve just gone through war, almost lost my soulmate, my brother, and my father. I’m tired and impatient. Leave while you can.”

 Law didn’t expect anything different. All of Whitebeard Pirates went through hell and back barely hours before and none of them was mentally fresh. Law was sure there was more wounded people in their crew and Boa Hancock didn’t really care for anyone other than Strawhat.

 The empress made a face.

 “Boa-ya,” Law interrupted before anything could happen. “Strawhat-ya is stable. However, there are two Emperors waiting for my patients and I think you should leave. If you think you can take two Emperors, be my guest, just leave my ship alone.”

 Law would prefer to go with Boa Hancock, to be honest. She was, in the matter of power, weaker and, therefore, there was less probability she would kill him. But at the same time, she didn’t need Portgas D. Ace and didn’t care what would happen with him, which he couldn’t say about Whitebeard Pirates, they fucking went to war for him. Law wanted to stay with all of his patients or get them under proper care at least - Boa Hancock couldn’t guarantee him that.

 She wasn’t leaving his ship so he just roomed and shamblesed her out. The Commander crossed their arms over their chest and looked. Law’s crew was on the edge of fainting.

 Law led the Commander inside, to the infirmaries. As soon as they entered the room, Law glanced at the calm figure of Jinbe-ya lying in one of the beds, not moving in his sleep. Strawhat was trashing a bit but his movements were restricted enough not to open the wounds.

 Portgas D. Ace was still smiling softly, unconscious and it was painful to watch. His soulmate didn’t move away from the place he was before, holding Portgas’s face in his arms and caressing his hair with his fingers. He was scared but not as much as yesterday, Law could say.

 The Commander ignored Law as soon as they saw their crewmates. He rushed up to Marco’s side, a mirrored look of heartbreak on their face. There was nothing said but they hugged Marco, tying their arms around his neck and didn’t let go for a couple of minutes.

 Law politely turned his gaze.

 He heard about the way Whitebeard Pirates acted like a big family with their captain as a father but he hadn’t actually believed it up until now.

 He cleared his throat and both of them looked at him, still glancing at Portgas’s bed.

 “Portgas-ya condition is stable, as I said before,” Law began carefully. “However, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t need more medical help. I managed to recover his liver, large intestine, and stomach but his kidneys will require further help. With the blood loss, there is no way to tell the total damage. His brain, his liver, and his small intestine are the most vulnerable in this case and could be affected in an irreversible way.”

 Marco the Phoenix closed his eyes, holding the tears but Law had to continue.

 “Transporting him is inadvisable but possible. I don’t have all of the needed medical equipment here anyway,” he said slowly. “I’d like to contact your head doctor and arrange the transport of all of my patients to your ship.”

 The Sixteen Division Commander took a deep breath before replying, “Do you have a transponder snail? I could call our infirmaries for you.”

 Law nodded. “There is one in the chart room. I’ll show you.”

 Izou gripped Marco’s shoulder, not moving to follow Law. Then, they glanced at Ace, hesitating. They let go with a look of worry and determination mixed on their face.

 

 

 Transporting his patients to the Whitebeard’s ship went smoother than Law thought it would. Marco the Phoenix being a huge bird who could fly his patients by catching their beds with his claws was helpful, he supposed.

 The rest wasn’t that easy. Law got professional help, the Head Nurse Nancy was capable enough to know what to expect and supplied Law with her own opinion. The good news was Portgas-ya, or Ace like they told him to call him, was healing and his body was functioning. With this big blood loss, there was always trouble with a blood transfusion – body could take this big amount of supplementation at once. Like Law suspected, his organs were damaged – his small intestine, his liver.  The liver was not a problem – there was still a healthy part of it, so it would rebuild itself, but Law didn’t know what to do about barely functioning kidneys and the small intestine. There were no dead bodies he could take the organs for transplantation and there was no way how long Portgas had without it.

Nurse Nancy decided he shouldn’t tell Marco-ya about it until they find a way to help with it. Law couldn’t agree but she was the one that knew the crew better.

  To be honest, Marco the Phoenix, one of the strongest men in the world, was a wreck. He was staying with Portgas-ya most of the time, overusing his healing fire by covering the whole room in it. He barely slept, usually falling asleep for quick naps, still sitting in the chair next to Portgas’s bed and holding his soulmate’s hand or cupping his head. The only time he moved was around breakfast, probably the only time he ate. From what Law figured, he walked around infirmaries and visited his father in his cabin around breakfast time too.

 Every time Law looked, seeing him at Portgas’s side, his heart tripped over its own rhythm. They were soulmates. That’s what Law wanted his whole life.

 There was a lot of people coming to see Portgas, too much for his liking. Practically all of the Commanders and both his and his soulmate’s divisions. Izou, the Commander that approached Law, came, holding a weird-looking man under his arm and helping him walk. The guy probably shouldn’t walk at all because he was in bandages all over himself and a knife hole in his stomach but Law wasn’t his doctor so he had no say in it.

 Jinbe woke up after three days. He was on the IV for the next couple of days but the bandages, some cream for the burns and seawater was enough for him to get better.

 Law actually stayed and was quite welcomed. Boa Hancock didn’t show on the Whitebeard’s ship, Law supposed she didn’t have a death wish after all. Which didn’t mean she left them, her ship was tailing them for the last week and not leaving them. So was Red-Haired Shanks's ship.

 After he checked everything and stabilized his patients, there was not much to do. He just had to monitor them and change the bags with blood and IVs. Nurse Nancy, who was glad she had someone who wasn’t an idiot on the ship (Law probably should be flattered), made him help with the rest. The worst injuries were of course taken care of but Law could sew holes in organs and check the insides of bodies without equipment so everyone used him.

 There was this weird moment when Nancy asked him to go with her and check on her Pops. On the Whitebeard. Law panicked, but only internally, of course. The fucking weirdest thing was, they all trusted him with his life.

 Nurse Nancy started crying when he roomed and shamblesed the tumors out of Whitebeard’s lungs, extending his life by another twenty years or so.

 Law could easily cut out his heart and kill him in a matter of seconds. But they trusted him.

 Whitebeard felt much better after all and, to Law’s unsettling, insisted on being taken to the infirmaries. He talked with all of his wounded children (Law still couldn’t believe they were a family, there were over a thousand people on one ship) first, making a round around the room. Then, he went to Portgas’s bed, hugged Marco-ya. Law had never seen two so powerful grown-up men crying.

 Law still didn’t know how it became his life. And why exactly was he helping that crew.

 To Law’s surprise, Portgas woke up before his brother. There were no wounds on his skin anymore, except for the big scarring closing on his back. Probably thanks to Marco-ya’s healing fire, Law suspected.

 To be honest, he didn’t expect any of them, neither Portgas-ya nor Strawhat-ya, to wake up so soon, he thought they would stay in a coma for at least two or three weeks. Normal people would. He just forgot none of them was normal, they were powerful monsters walking in the fragile skin of humans.

 That’s why Law heard, the twelfth day, Marco-ya saying, “I think he’s waking up.”

 Law wanted to turn around and say it wasn’t possible but he kind of didn’t want to see the heartbreak overtake his hopeful expression. Nancy-ya responded instead of him.

 “That’s possible,” she said, awestruck.

 Law turned around but didn’t see anything changed.

“He’s moving his fingers,” Marco said.

 Sure enough, Portgas’s fingers were gripping Marco’s fingers, clutching and unclutching and his arm’s muscles were flexing. Law took a glance at his brother, expecting another miracle. There was no miracle, he was still unconscious.

 Waking up from a coma, especially not a pharmacological one, wasn’t fast. It was a slow process of certain steps, made one by one. Portgas’s hands started moving first, his finger twitching. They didn’t notice it at once but then his legs muscles started to flex, tensing in a rapid rhythm. They had to tie his feet to the bedframe – Law wasn’t sure how much he would kick and move but it was too chaotic to allow – he still wasn’t sure about the amount of damage made to his spine and most of his organs were delicate.

 Marco-ya was sitting there the whole time, finally holding hands with his soulmate. His expression changed with every new move of a muscle. He wasn’t all that happy. Yes, Law could see the hope in his eyes but there was a bit of panic and something resembling grief too. Nancy-ya told Law Marco-ya was an aspiring doctor before he became a pirate, even had gone to medical school. Law couldn’t decide what was worse – not knowing what was going on with your soulmate's health or being aware of how much on the verge of death he was.

 When Portgas’s eyelids started to flutter, Nancy-ya and Law prepared. Patients fresh out of coma tended to panic – feeling pain or not feeling parts of their bodies, still living in the last memory they remembered – which in Ace’s case could be Marineford Battle. It may cause a couple of chain reactions, like a panic attack, or adrenaline bust, or fight or flight response and, therefore, trouble with breathing. It could cause serious problems, especially in his current condition.

 The first thing Portgas-ya did after waking up was screaming and close his eyes again – the light was too bright to take in at first. Next thing, he started kicking and wriggling and fighting. Straps were holding him and the Head Nurse was speaking to him and trying to calm him down. Marco-ya was on the side, looking heartbroken. Law was bad at calming people down – he was bad in human interactions in general. He couldn’t do much.

 Ace calmed down only when Marco-ya grabbed his hand, repeating his name, tears in his eyes, just like in his soulmate’s.

 The checked him, Law taking a look at his insides, and gave the last check to the wound on his back. They decided it would be better for Ace’s breathing to lie on his back – they bandaged him, covering vulnerable flesh of the scarring.

 Ace was probably dizzy and tired, no surprise there, because he silenced.

 For the most part, Ace felt relatively good. Well, as good as he could having a closing hole in his back and at least four of his vital organs damaged. They couldn’t even give him painkillers, not without using seastone and Ace’s devil fruit powers were one of the things keeping him alive.

 “Where’s- Where’s Luffy?” was the first thing he asked.

 Law almost smiled at that.

 The second thing was, “Is everyone okay? Did anyone get hurt?”

 The way his voice sounded told Law he didn’t mean get hurt – he meant die.

 This part Law was used to. Death.

 

 

 

 The thirteenth day, Red-Haired Shanks showed up in the infirmaries.

  He walked in with an easy smile but as soon as he saw Marco at Portgas’s bed and Strawhat lying in the next bed, something erupted in him.

 The wave of Conqueror's Haki made Law sway a bit mid-step. A couple of nurses and wounded fainted. It was irritating because Law was actually putting some effort so that people would get better. It wasn’t making them get better.

 Law, for some crazy reason, completely ignored that it was freaking Red-Haired Shanks and walked to him, scowling, and spat out, “You’re not fucking helping with your Haki, turn it off or get the hell out of my infirmaries.”

 Maybe Law was the one with the death wish, after all. Those weren’t even his infirmaries.

 The Red-Haired Shanks turned his gaze to him, just looking him at him for a moment, his face stone-cold. Law’s scowl flattered for a second but he didn’t glance away. A very specifically aimed wave of Conqueror’s Haki hit him and the room was spinning. Then, Shanks smiled. It was this particular kind of smile Law saw before only on two people – on Strawhat-ya and on Cora-san. Pure and vibrant.

 The Red-Haired Shanks moved, shuffling off his feet and casually putting his hand on his saber. Law suddenly could only stare at his hand because there was a soulmark there. Thin, small letters written in neat handwriting, sitting on his palm.

 ベン・ベックマン

 Benn Beckman.

 Law didn’t know why just a moment ago he had thought Emperors don’t have soulmates. Everyone had a soulmate. It just seemed so unrealistic to be a soulmate of one of the Emperors. Not that being soulmates with Pirate King is any more realistic and there he is.

 “Huh,” the Emperor huffed. Law looked back at his face. “I thought the rookies are still scared of me. Show some respect, kid.”

 He flicked his wrist and the cloak hid his hand.

 He did turn off his haki. At least Law’s almost-self-sacrificing-death was worth something.

 Portgas-ya started laughing and for a minute there, Law was scared Portgas-ya was hyperventilating.

 “Oi, you brat-“ Shanks spoke up, addressing Ace. “Why didn’t you fucking tell me you’re Roger’s kid? I’d have arrived at the battle a day before if I knew.”

 Marco-ya pinched the bridge of his nose and Law almost sympathized with him. “Pops wouldn’t have liked that,” he noticed. “He would have told you he isn’t senile yet and he is capable enough to hold his own family’s battles.”

 “Capable my ass,” Shanks spat out, moving to Portgas’s bed.

 Law decided he was ignored by everyone when Portgas said to Shanks, “He is my Pops. I don’t care for some surname.”

 They argued for the next hour or so and Law wondered what he did to deserve that (except being a lawless pirate, of course).

 

 

 

 

 

 “Shanks called you a rookie, didn’t he?” Ace asked.

  Law was just going through some readings from a patient with broken ribs and a punctured lung that Nancy-ya gave him an hour or two ago. The Emperor Red-Haired Shanks had already left, Marco the Phoenix, pissed off, in tow.

 Law raised an eyebrow at the question.

 Ace fidgeted – he was restless almost all the time, especially while not talking to anyone from his family. Strawhat-ya was still dead asleep.

 “Everyone here calls you Law or Trafalgar,” he continued, not minding Law’s indifferent face. “I assumed you had joined our crew at some point when I was away but you hadn’t, had you?”

 That was, well, unexpected but also so expected. It’s not like Strawhat, much more on Law’s level in the pirate hierarchy, knew who Law was. Runs in their family, most likely. Even though, Law kind of liked to think it was all because Portgas was far away from the New World and didn’t have a way to follow the adventure of some small newbie crew from North Blue.

 “I haven’t joined, I have my own crew,” Law answered, sighing. “I’m the captain of the Heart Pirates, Trafalgar Law.”

 “A rookie, huh?” he wondered. “Fresh out of Paradise, right? One from that famous group?”

 “Eleven Supernovas,” Law guessed. “That’s what they call us. Strawhat-ya is a part of it too.”

 “This, I’m aware of,” Ace laughed. “Didn’t really care for the rest of the eleven.”

It was much Strawhat like too. Law half-smiled, glancing at the second bed and the straw hat lying at the feet of the bed, waiting.

 “So what’s your moniker?” Ace spoke up. “You call Luffy Starwahat – it’s his, right?”

  Law nodded slowly. He wondered why he bothered with pleasantries like that conversation, why he was even staying on this ship instead of going to his cabin on his submarine.

 “Mine is Surgeon of Death,” he stated.

 Portgas-ya looked at him weirdly, bemused, his eyebrows furrowing, his mouth open mid-word.

 He burst with laughter.

 It was messy, chaotic and so loud but also so surprising Law froze for a second. He laughed and laughed, sounding amused, maniacal and, Law had to admit, a bit cute. It was probably another trait they shared with his brother – being insane and innocent at once.

 He laughed for a good couple of minutes until his breath got caught in his lungs and he started choking on air, groaning and searching with his hands over his chest. Law was unimpressed.

 “Take a deep breath and stop moving,” he ordered, stepping up to the bed just in case.

 It was easier said than done but a minute or two and Portgas-ya was breathing normally, tears still in the corners of his eyes.

 “Why are you helping us, for real?” he sputtered.

 There were two things Law didn’t like most – charity cases and illogical actions. The whole situation was probably only that. To be truthful, he didn’t know why, couldn’t explain why. But it was the choice he had made and he had to take responsibility for that, at least as a doctor.

 Not that he would admit that.

 “Well, for once, if your soulmate came here to find you choked to death while I was watching over you, he would kill me,” he deadpanned.

 Ace chuckled – it was a sweet sound that didn’t really suit him but absolutely matched his soft, fond smile and that warm gaze that just screamed he was in love. Law wondered how two people could feel so strongly for each other.

 “Yeah, he would,” Ace agreed, voice absent.

 Law almost sighed again, turning his eyes away from him. Strawhat’s breathing was getting better, more rhythmical.

 “What does your soulmark say, then, Surgeon of Death?” Portgas-ya asked suddenly. “Just curiosity. You don’t have to answer.”

 Law was a private person, one who cared greatly for privacy and a safe distance from other people.

 He didn’t know why he replied without trouble, “Pirate King.”

海賊王.

 Kaizoku Ou.

 Pirate King.

 Maybe Law still hesitated about it not being Gold Roger and Gold Roger was Portgas’s father. Maybe that was why he went through all of this – the battle, the saving, the healing and staying – to find the truth. Maybe it was a side effect of seeing the marks, Fire Fist and Phoenix, multiple times, breaking through their privacy.

 Portgas-ya looked dumbstruck, his eyes widening and mouth agape.

 Then he grinned like a madman. His eyes wandered around the room, returning to Law. He held back a laugh. If he knew any better, he would say Ace looked amazed, exited or even proud.  Law bit his lip, staring at him.

 “Very funny,” he deadpanned. “It’s not like I thought it was your father up until a few days ago.”

 Portgas-ya stopped chuckling but still had a carefree, casual smile that reminded Law of his younger brother.

 “Not my father,” Ace said. “My father is eating lunch in the mess hall right now.”

 Yeah, Law supposed he was. The family was a strange concept for the Whitebeard Pirates. He kind of envied them.

 “You’d get on well with Marco,” he chided. “He used to have a major depression over his soulmate being the Pirate King.”

 Law folded his arms over his chest, raising an eyebrow. Their soulmarks were pretty clear, come to think of it – Fire Fist and Phoenix. There was no interpretation that could discredit the logic of their names – they were their monikers, well-known, infamous, and straightforward.

 “I don’t quite understand how he could have thought that,” Law answered, his voice steady. “It says Fire Fist. It’s pretty obvious.”

 Ace shrugged, glancing down at the sheets and his hands. It felt like telling a secret.

 “Fire Fist is the second one, the one he tattooed himself,” he explained. “The first one, the soulmark, is under the blue sash he wears and it says Gold D. Was too risky to show.”

 Law wondered why exactly Portgas-ya was telling him that. He, as a doctor, had that weird connection to Ace, just because he saved his life and because he was his patient. However, Ace was unconscious the whole time and didn’t have any obligations to Law, why would he be so buddy-buddy with him?

 “I still don’t understand,” he admitted. “Why hide the soulmark and do the tattoo?”

 Law leaned against the bedframe, his face stoic and indifferent. He was a bit curious though, interacting with Phoenix and Fire Fist, seeing them together, it softened him.

 “Gol D. was my birth name,” he said. “If someone found out, there’d be a problem, a Marineford kind of problem. I don’t really identify with it anyway, I had my mom’s name as long as I remember. And, you know, he was romantic like that, and other cheesy shit.”

 Law smirked at that.

 “He used to wonder why it’s my birth name since no one knew and it wasn’t famous, not like my moniker,” he continued. “I guess Marineford explained some, everyone probably talked about the new Gol D.”

 “They did,” Law agreed. “The journalists went crazy. Gol D. this, Gol D. that.”

 “I used to cringe at that name,” Ace admitted. “Then Marco got the other tattoo and I stopped. Because he accepts every part of me, even the ones I don’t accept myself.”

 Laws lips quirked. Last two weeks he had seen how much exactly Phoenix accepted both Fire Fist and Gol D.

 “My parents were like that,” he sputtered. He didn’t know why he said that – it was private and very personal, important. “Soulmates. Perfect soulmates, smitten with each other. They made each other better.”

 Ace cocked his head to the side, leaning on the fluffy pillows behind his back.

 “Every pair of soulmates is different,” he began, his voice tender and fond, so strange to hear in his mouth. “Just because your soulmate doesn’t act all cute and lovesick, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. People are weird like that.”

 Law looked at him, just looked, seeing the bandages still around his torso, still covering parts of his soulmark and still reminding what the whole Marineford Battle was about. Of course, he knew every couple of soulmates was different, he just wanted to be like this particular one. Maybe romance hadn’t completely died in Law, maybe he was seeking something completely out of his reach.

 “I guess I’ll find with time,” Law told him, distaste in his mouth.

 He looked down, at his feet and twitching. He clenched his jaw and moved to check on someone else, or pretend to do so, anything to leave this conversation.

 “Law,” Ace said suddenly.

 Law ignored the use of the first name out of pure respect he shouldn’t have for the Fire Fist in the first place. He turned around, raising an eyebrow at him. Ace moved, folding his legs under his thighs and bowing, his body almost flat on the sheets.

 “Thank you for taking care of my brother,” he said, eyes closed.

 Law didn’t often hear thank you and definitely not this kind of respectful, sincere thank you. He didn’t reply for a moment, licking his lips.

 “Get up before your ribs start hurting,” he said only.

 

 

 

 

 It was really peaceful despite the rush in the infirmaries. Most of the patients already left, either to rest in their cabins or already healed. Even though he spent the night on Polar Tank, he was in the infirmaries the whole day. Nurses usually ate in the backroom and Law was invited. Rest of the time he spent reading patients’ reports and data, being there in case Portgas’s condition took turn for the worse or Strawhat woke up.

 Sometimes he heard them talking.

 “Couldn’t you listen to me for once? Did you have to go after Teach?”

 “He betrayed us. He was under my command.”

 “We told you not to go. Izou told you not to go. I told you not to go.”

 “I don’t regret it. I regret how it turned out later but I don’t regret that decision.”

  A lot. He heard them talking a lot.

 “I can stop wearing the sash now. Since everyone knows your birth name now.”

 “I don’t really know if I want you to. I still don’t like that name.”

 “But I like it. Does that not count?”

 “I guess it does.”

 There was this one time Law saw them talking. Marco-ya was lying with Ace in bed, very careful with his injuries, as Law told him to be and despite what Ace told him not to be. He had his chin on his soulmate’s forehead though and Law couldn’t turn his eyes away from them.

 “You told me you love me for the first time in the Marineford,” Marco-ya said. It was a whisper but in the quiet infirmaries, it sounded like screaming.

 Law froze.

 “Yeah, I did,” Posrtgas-ya replied smoothly.

 Marco was making circles on his skin with his thumb.

“You were supposed to tell me you love me lying with me in the bed before falling asleep, not on the battlefield while dying.”

 Ace smiled.

 “I had to tell you.”

 “Why-”

 “I wanted to die my whole life.” Law wasn’t as surprised as he should be. “I was so ready for death my whole life, practically asking for it to come. But when I took the punch aimed at Luffy and saw your face and everything was going black, I didn’t want to die. I wanted to live. I was so fucking scared of dying.”

 Marco kissed his knuckles.  “I love you.”

 Law still couldn’t believe they existed. That soulmates like those two existed in this cruel world, living in an even more cruel world of pirates.

 

 

 

 

 Portgas wasn’t there when Strawhat-ya woke up. It was a disaster.

 The morning of sixteenth day Portgas-ya insisted he wanted to take a shower. Law would be all for it, hygiene is a must, if not for that Portgas-ya had a hole in his abdomen, like, two weeks ago. Moving wasn’t a good choice and so Law offered his professional opinion to be promptly ignored. Next half an hour he spent listening to Marco-ya and Portgas-ya arguing. In the end, Ace won, out of pure stubbornness but nevertheless won. Marco-ya took him to the bathroom. Carrying him bridal style, Law must add. It was hilarious.

 They ought to be gone for at least half an hour, especially with Ace’s limited range of movement. Nancy-ya was at her father’s quarters for his morning meds. That’s when Strawhat-ya woke up.

 It wasn't like with Portgas-ya. There were no movements or muscle reflexes that indicated he would wake up soon. His breathing was steady, his muscles relaxed and his healing process, at least the external level, was done with the exception of the stitches on his chest. He had a concussion and a head injury but it wasn’t too serious. There was a nasty scar on his chest, still closing but most of the injuries he had had were healed. Nancy-ya took his bandages off a couple of days ago and left a dressing on the scar, bandaging it again, minding his healed ribcage. The main problem was his hormonal levels – Law had never seen this high level of epinephrine – but it was mostly going to settle on its own with time. His lungs took the most of the damages but after keeping him under breathing mask for the first week, they decided with Nancy-ya he could breathe on his own and the amount of oxygen in his blood was good enough.

 The healing was much too fast in Law’s liking but Nancy-ya assured him it was all thanks to Phoenix’s healing powers.

 One minute everything was alright and next Strawhat’s breathing became rapid, out of control and he started trashing in his bed.

 Law, like the experienced doctor he was, panicked. Before he could hold himself back, he started screaming Strawhat’s name which was probably the worst thing he could do  - he woke up a number of other patients and probably scared Strawhat-ya even more since the last things he remembered were loud sounds of the battlefield and screams.

Next thing he did was probably even worse because Law tried to hold him back from trashing with his own hands, grabbing his shoulders and pinning him to bed – which was hard, Strawhat-ya only looked fragile, and the worst idea ever when Strawhat opened his eyes and met Law’s gaze. His eyes were wide with fear, deep, dark chocolate color that out of sudden reminded Law about the brownie his dad baked for his every birthday.

 “Strawhat-ya,” he called him again, his voice stern. “You’re alright. You’re safe.”

 Personally, it was something Law would like to hear waking up from a coma in an unfamiliar place and with the face of one of his rivals above.

 It apparently wasn’t something Strawhat-ya wanted to hear because Law, once again, was almost struck with the Conqueror’s Haki. It wasn’t as powerful as Shanks's but it had the same aura to it, one that made Law’s legs tremble under him.

 Almost everyone in the infirmaries fainted, Law noticed later. Not that he was surprised.

 Strawhat-ya yanked his shoulders out of his grip and trashed, tears gathering in his eyes. He screamed and Law’s non-existing heart cringed.

 “Strawhat-ya,” he began again. “You have a wound on your chest and a concussion, don’t make it worse.”

 His limps hit Law square on the chest and he hissed because it fucking hurt but didn’t try to stop searching for Strawhat’s hands.

 “Ace,” Strawhat-ya spat out. “Ace- Where’s- Where’s Ace?”

 “He is alright,” Law said because it did sound like the most important information right now. “He’s taking a bath with his soulmate. He’ll be back any minute.”

 The whole fight left Strawhat’s body and the next thing he knew, he leaned his body on Law and his arms were around Law and Law didn’t know what to do. Fat tears and sobs moved Strawhat’s body and Law just stood there.

 That was the moment Nancy-ya moved from the floor and came up to them, a smirk on her face. Law didn’t understand women.

 “He’s okay,” Strawhat-ya sputtered. “Ace’s okay.”

 Strawhat-ya sobbed into his chest for the next fifteen minutes until Portgas-ya and Marco-ya came from the door of the infirmaries, Portgas-ya still carried by his soulmate.

 “Luffy?” Portgas-ya spoke up. “You’re awake?”

 Law held him by the collar before Strawhat could jump him and his soulmate. His face was still red.

 

 

 

 

 Strawhat-ya was the worst patient Law had ever had. Well, it was an exaggeration since the worst patients he had had were dead and Strawhat-ya wasn’t so.

 He moved a lot and he ate a lot. And he decided IV was not his thing and he wanted dinner instead and Law kind of got a headache after the first day. He was, admittedly, calm while lying with his brother. Law had long stopped trying to make him stay in his own bed, he simply allowed him to lie at his brother’s side, his body-weight staying off Portgas’s injuries. He once moved to Portgas’s bed when his soulmate was already there – two of the most feared pirates and a notorious rookie who began a war against  World Government in one small hospital bed, curled around each other. It was hilarious.

 Law liked when Strawhat-ya was asleep best. At least his headache could be smoothed then.

 There were two unexpected visits to the infirmaries that day.

 First, early in the morning, there was an intruder alarm. Law could hear people screaming about someone on the ship and he ignored it. Portgas-ya was awake again, his soulmate at his side in a chair and Strawhat-ya, in fresh clothes and with his hat around his neck, under his arm, asleep.

 Maybe fifteen minutes after the alarm, a man walked in.

 Marco-ya stood up, tensing. That’s when Law concluded it was the intruder.

 The man had blond hair, a weird top-hat and a pipe strapped to his back, his black cloak and bright blue shirt vivid in the blank infirmaries. He smirked, noticing them and Law noticed the ugly burn scar on his face.

 Before any of them could say anything, Portgas-ya gasped.

 “Sabo?” he asked. “Is that really you?”

 The guy, Sabo, smiled again but it was much more watery. “I thought I was too late, Ace.”

 Marco-ya looked between the two of them and his soulmate grabbed his sleeve, pulling it.

 “You do see him too, right?” he asked, his voice panicky. “I’m not hallucinating, right?”

 Marco-ya smiled at him and said, to the guy in a top-hat, “I guess nice to meet you, brother-in-law.”

 Portgas-ya started laughing hysterically, tears streaming down his face.

 “I thought Luffy was the crybaby of the family,” Sabo remarked, even though he pretty much was crying too.

 That’s when Strawhat-ya woke up, of course. Before Law could even react, Strawhat jumped off the bed and then jumped onto Sabo, his legs entwined around, Law deducted, his brother’s chest.

 Law pinched the bridge of his nose and Marco-ya snorted at him.

 Strawhat’s bandages, of course, were bloody red on his chest because his wound opened. When he calmed down from apparently finding out their dead brother Sabo was alive the last eight years but had amnesia until he saw Ace’s name in the paper, he let Law look at the opened scarring.

 Law roomed and shamblesed his bandages simply because it was faster and put a single dressing on Strawhat’s chest – it would be easier on his ribs and easier to change later if the wound opened again – Law was sure it would.

 He was taping the dressing with medical tape when the two brothers, Sabo sitting on Ace’s bed while Marco-ya went to call-off the intruder alarm, whispered between each other.

 “Who is that guy anyway? Not one of yours, is he?” the top-hat guy asked.

 Law could almost hear the smile in Ace’s voice when he said, “It’s the Surgeon of Death.”

 There was a moment of silence and Law swapped away Strawhat’s hand when he tried to pick on the bandages.

 “Don’t touch it,” Law ordered, his voice odd mix of irritation and fondness. “You don’t want to infect it. It will itch later.”

 “Huh,” Sabo spoke up again, sighing. “Our family was always weird so I suppose I’m not surprised. Koala is waiting on our ship.”

 Ace chuckled.

 

 

 

 Sabo left pretty quickly because he was the Chief of Staff of the Revolutionary Army (what was wrong with the family, son of the Dragon the Revolutioner, son of Pirate King, a Chief of Staff, Whitebeard Commander, a Supernova, what was next – a marine hero?) and he had obligations.

 In the evening, Law had another silent heart attack when freaking Silvers Rayleigh walked the door of the infirmaries and offered Strawhat-ya a training before entering the New World. Law did protest – Strawhat was after several injuries that couldn’t simply be ignored. Law protested even more when Portgas-ya asked if he could join them – Portgas-ya had a fucking hole in his body less than three weeks ago. Who with half of the brain would even consider training after that?

 His protests, and protests of Portgas’s soulmate, were ignored so Law packed his things, saw the Pops for the last time and left that weird accident behind. His chest felt empty when he changed the course of his submarine though. Just a smidge.

 

 

 

 

 A year after that, he was getting scared he wouldn’t live long enough to see his soulmate finding  One Piece.

 It got messy much easier than Law thought it would and somehow, he was alone in Puck Hazard, with Vergo, Monet, and Ceasar who held Law’s own heart hostage. In the literal sense.

 His plan was great when he had been planning but it pretty much spun downhill from the moment he was named a Warlord.

 Marines came to Punk Hazard, being useless as usual. Strawhat-ya came and he wasn’t useless at all. There was an X-shaped scar on his chest, looking almost like the target mark.