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Water and Fire

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Dull.

Dull and grey was the constant weather of Skyler's little village in the middle of nowhere. Lost in the fields of Norway, a permanent state of grey in the sky was her every day. Sometimes rain would fall, sometimes sun would shine shyly between the clouds.

When it wasn't raining, it was cloudy.

Eternally grey.

To most inhabitants, this went under the radar, completely ignored and very much accepted by all.

Skyler wasn't of that same line of thought. She wished for more sunny days, for warmth to kiss her skin instead of the moisture that Norway would give her. She was happy with the place she was living, giving her an opportunity to release to the world amazing pictures of beautiful landscapes and smaller details. Skyler was happy to have such an amazing sight for her photography career.

And yet... she felt that she was lacking something.

Or maybe it was her surroundings that were starting to seem dull and were starting to look monotonous to her green, mossy eyes.

She needed something to make an impact... To wake her up to a new wave of creativity and emotion.

And what was she doing? - Trying to entertain her tired mind with multiple activities so that she didn’t have to worry so much about such troubling thoughts.

It was a quarter to seven in the afternoon and Skyler was sitting on the wooden floor of the dojo where she practiced Muay Thai with her teacher. Her feet were sore and tortured from being barefoot for hours.

Although calloused, she still felt them damaged and tired.

“Sky, are you staying a bit longer?” A voice called from the doorway. Her hair turned to look at the source of the sound to find her teacher with a smile on his face.

“Yeah, I’ll be out in a few minutes. Don’t wait for me.”

“Be sure to take care of yourself and any bruises you may have.”

“Besides my arms and face?” She chuckled to her own question, her fingers instinctively reaching out for her swollen lips. She had received a kick to her face causing her lips to cut open, and her cheek to swell up lightly.

“Make sure to put ice on it when you go back home.” Her teacher waved at her and abandoned the doorway, leaving Skyler alone.

She inhaled deeply as she let her sore body fall back on the floor, letting her raven black hair sprawl open on the wooden surface. She quickly found herself on her feet and headed towards the boxing bag for practice.

“Tae tad” She breathed out releasing a round kick against the bag “Tae pub nok” outside kick to the imaginary knee in her vision “Sok tad” elbow horizontally slammed against the bag. She kept this up for about five minutes before closing her eyes, inhaling deeply to concentrate. Slowly, noise started to rise around her.

Voices.

Loud voices and rushing footsteps, stomping on a wooden surface that seemed hollow.

Breathing out rapidly, she finished off with a tornado kick to the boxing bag so that she could see what the source of all the noise in the dojo.

But… Her leg didn’t connect with the boxing bag. Instead of the bag sensation after the kick, she felt her feet hit a familiar surface which was someone’s skull. She hadn’t noticed anyone walking in the dojo when she started running through moves.

Skyler was quick to get back on her feet, her green eyes falling on the person she had just kicked. She found herself looking at a tall, grey skinned man with long light grey hair that waved down his back. His outfit was rather… unique to her eyes.

“I-I’m sorry…” She said but her voice faded slowly as her senses took in everything around her.

The clear blue sky above her.

The smell of sea attacking her nostrils.

She could feel the warmth of the sun on her skin.

The sound of waves kissed her ears gently.

She was disorientated, twirling quickly on her feet to look around her and properly process her surroundings.

Skyler had found herself on a ship.

An enormous ship indeed: wood covered the surface on which she was walking on, a purple pattern covering as if it was paneled; the head of the ship was adorned with a bat shape, a skull sculpture turned inwards, staring at her with the empty eye sockets; black sails high above her head cast a heavy shadow over the ship, hiding away the bright sun up in the sky.

She tried to swallow all the information she was receiving but didn’t have much time when she found her back slammed against the railing at the edge of the ship, her head pointing downwards to the calm ocean.

“Who are you?” A deep male voice growled at her. The man’s hand was holding her neck and jaw, pulling her back as his finger tightened on her flesh. She struggled to breathe for a second, attempting to kick the man away. She tried to look up but he was holding her hard against the rail, her eyes only fixed on the horizon ahead and the ocean bellow.

“Let… me… go.” She managed to gurgle out from her mouth, her throat hurting more and more. She could begin to see spots on her vision as the air supply was beginning to deplete. She could hear the sounds of people running and shouting but it seemed muffled noise to her ears. She couldn’t lose conscious.

“Who are you?” He shook her heavily against the rail.

The movement gave her just a small space to breathe in heavily and gain enough momentum to kick her attacker back.

Skyler held onto the railing, pulling her body down to the ship’s floor, hand on her neck as she puffed air harshly into her lungs again. Finally she was able to look at her attacker finding, much to her surprise, a very tall man with a somewhat dominatrix-like outfit, wearing fishnets on his legs; Over his head and falling down his back was a long dark brown cape, that almost touched the ground; Next to him was a trident that may have fallen from his grasp when she pushed him back.

She was quick to get back on her feet, since she knew that being on the ground left her at a very vulnerable state. The raven haired woman was quick to change to her Muay Thai fighting stance, stabilizing her torso and arms, her feet gently and very lightly jumping, almost not leaving the ground.

“Who the hell are you?” She asked, trying to keep her cool within what was possible at the time. Her mind was running at max speed, trying to process what was happening: She had been in the dojo all that time. How could she, all of the sudden, find herself in the middle of the ocean, on a ship filled with men ready for a BDSM recording? “Where am I?” She could feel herself grow hysteric, her voice raising on tone and volume.

“Let’s all calm down.” A somewhat harsh hand was placed on Skyler’s shoulder, making her twirl on her feet and jumping sideways so that both men could be in her line of sight. The one who had touched her had a blue and white mask covering his entire face; he had long spiky-like blond hair that reached his knees; he seemed to be wearing the most normal type of attire with a black blouse with white dots and blue pants.

Around her were multiple men in a half moon shape, preventing her from escaping.

Her moss green eyes scanned the faces quickly before raising up the sails and spotting a black flag with a skull.

“Pirates…?” She mumbled, her thoughts becoming an absolute mess but she had to get away from it since the flooring all too suddenly seemed to disappear from under her feet. The guy holding the trident has slammed his weapon onto the surface, shattering the floor and making her fall to the lower level.

“Oi, Wire! Don’t ruin the ship!” The blond guy shouted from above her head.

The man called Wire had managed to make quite a number on the flooring, wood and metal scattered under her. She had splinters stabbing her hands and legs along with a couple of nails that got jammed in her flesh.

Instead of pain, she could feel her muscles burning from the damage taken.

“Who are you supposed to be?” Yet another male voice reached her ears, the source being from behind her.

So many different shades red.

His eyes, his hair, his lipstick… 

The man before her seemed to be an embodiment of fire.

Of blood.

Violence.

Skyler felt shivers run down her spine from the intensity of his stare.

“I…” It was the only thing she managed to mumble out whilst looking at the tall man in front of her. Wearing nothing but a black shabby vest, open, revealing his torso; a pair of seemingly old dark colored pants, the color unidentifiable because of the age: could’ve been a dark green or actually black but she couldn’t tell.

His scarlet hair was messy, a few strands seemingly glued to his forehead from sweat; the dark red lipstick was faded and lightly smudged.

“Answer me, will you?” The red haired man demanded, this time with more assertion and… aggressiveness?

“I don’t know how many times people have asked me that already…” She commented, getting up to her feet, kicking off some of the rubble. The woman found herself hissing from pain because of nails and splinters that had stabbed her legs and arms. “Sorry about the flooring.” She pointed upwards, a crooked smile on her lips that was quick to fade when the man approached her, his height towering over her.

“Who the hell are you?” He was getting fired up, revealing to have a very short fuse. His hand found her jaw, his painted nails digging into her cheeks. Her neck was still sore from earlier and this only made things worse.

She found herself acting off instinct, her hands reaching his wrists, her nails digging into his flesh, using all her force to try and pull his arm away.

He didn’t even budge even though he was starting to bleed.

Using the momentum of a very small jump, she kicked his side, making him stagger off the side a bit, letting her go. Without a moment’s ease, she was quick to get to him, unleashing a full house kick to his head with all the strength her wounded body could deliver.

She could hear people calling out to the fallen man from above her but she paid no mind to them at the time.

“Why is everyone so keen in grabbing me by the neck or jaw!?” She almost shouted at the man before her, her body starting to shake from stress. Quickly she reached a standstill when a curved blade was right as her neck.

“You may not want to move, if you know what’s good for you.” It was the blond man that spoke from behind her. “Now, answer me: who are you? How did you get here? What are your intentions?” His voice was calm, collected and that gave her a sense of safety when compared to the fired up look from the red haired man that got to his feet. He was so ready to hurt her.

He was ready to kill.

She felt the fear burning her insides.

“I don’t know.” She mumbled under her breath.

“What was that?” The blond man’s blade got closer to her neck, the cold steel touching her skin when compared to the warm his body emanated. He was so close.

Too insanely close to her.

Skyler tried to get some space between him and the blade, feeling as if she was shrinking before those men.

Such auras…

Such powerful presences…

“I don’t know how I got here…” She spoke clearer now, sensing the blond man nodding in acknowledgement to her answer. Meanwhile the red haired man stormed to her and, with a clenched fist, struck her stomach. Her reflex was to try and curl into a ball because of the pain but she didn’t manage much since she still had a blade to her throat. Skyler could taste the metallic flavor of blood in her mouth despite the lack of it in such area. Maybe it was the ever growing fear in her gut that was making her hallucinate such taste. “Is this how you greet new people?” She attempted to sound confident in her words, knowing full well that showing fear would only feed those two men.

“You’re the one that started fighting my men, little girl.” The blond one spoke out, all too close to her ear.

“Hey Killer, why are you still talking to her? She doesn’t know anything so she’s useless.” The red haired man nearly shouted, his raspy and furious voice reverberating in her skull.

“Memory problems, perhaps.” The blond man known as killer shrugged, his blade rubbing against her neck.

“That’s just a hassle. Kill her or throw her overboard. I don’t feel like going through such trouble. I’m busy at the moment.” The other man waved his hand in the air, sending Killer away. “I’ll take care of all the damage you did to the ship.” He looked over his shoulder at Skyler when saying the word “you”. She didn’t see hatred towards her but just plain annoyance and lack of interest.

The raven haired woman felt the lump in her throat getting worse as fear seemed to try and suffocate her before the untimely death the blond guy was going to give her.

“I’ll fight!” She shouted out, catching Killer and the red haired man off guard, both jumping lightly in their places.

“What was that?” The blond man tightened his grip around her arm, pulling her closer to the blade still at her neck.

“I’ll fight your best martial artist to stay in the ship.” Blood was rushing to her ears, heating them, her brain throwing curse words at her for saying such an idiotic thing. What on earth she was planning on doing… Skyler had no clue. “Once you reach shore and there’s civilization on land, I’ll leave you be and you’ll never hear of me.”

“Hey, captain, you heard this, right?” Killer’s voice was serious but verging on comical amusement.

The man that was called captain finally turned to her, a sadistic gleam in his copper eyes and an entertained smile on his painted lips.

“Alright. You’ll be fighting me, then.”

Chapter Text

“What the…?” Skyler’s moss green eyes were wide open when she found herself back on the ship’s deck, and the red haired man standing a few feet in front of her with a massive metallic arm made of weapons. He had managed to somehow attract them to him, forming the massive mechanical-like limb. “Is this fair?” She shifted her gaze to Killer who was casually leaning against the ship’s railing

He shrugged.

The woman returned her attention to the man she had to fight, somewhat overwhelmed by her low odds of victory and possible survival.

Her Muay Thai skills would be useful to an extent since she would instinctively jump back to get distance between her and her opponent in order to read the following movement. The giant arm he wielded would cause a problem since he had range to hit her.

She’d have to switch gears in fighting styles to adapt.

That man was a wild card.

Wing Chun style could help her but she had little discipline over the type of combat.

The sound of metal interrupted her thought process, swords flying towards her. As a last second decision she slipped onto the floor, crawling over the wooden surface, avoiding the swords.

“That’s what you’re going to do?” The red-haired man cackled, shaping his metallic hand to look like a claw. The sound of metal made her get quickly to her feet, rushing towards her opponent. To her horror, she saw him reach out to the back of his pants, pulling out a gun, aiming carefully at her head.

Switch.

Her Muay Thai trained body was quick to move away from the gun’s trajectory, her arm snaking towards his. With pure force, she bent his arm upwards, his finger pressing the trigger on his gun, firing randomly up in the air. With her remaining momentum, her feet slid over the floor, twisting his arm back and using his body as a shield to the still incoming wave of blades. The weapons completely stopped, hovering a few inches away from the man’s body.

“Why are you so adamant in killing me?” Skyler growled at him, twisting his arm further, making him bend his knees lightly.

“It wouldn’t be fun if your life wasn’t at risk, right?” He chuckled before twirling on his heels, using his free hand to throw her over him, releasing his arm. She crashed her back against the ships floor, her breath taken out of her lungs because of the impact.

She couldn’t breathe.

As much as she tried she couldn’t breathe.

The man approached her, a sadistic grin on his lips, holding a dagger in his hand.

The impact against the floor had been too strong.

Move!

She rolled away from the man, propping herself up on her arms and knees and choking for air.

Step.

He had started to move towards her.

Step.

She averted her eyes to his feet, counting his calm steps, checking for the timing.

Step.

The man found himself a single step away from her.

Now!

He raised his foot for the next step when she kicked her foot under his own, kicking it upward, to make him lose balance. Lunging herself forward, she used all her weight to push the man down on his back, both falling to the ground.

The man growled as he slammed his hand on her face, taking hold of her head, pushing her away from him and, in the process, slamming her head against the boarded floor.

Her vision went blurry once more before she completely went limp and blacked out.

 

_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_

 

Skyler was sore as her conscious returned to her. She opened her eyes, trying to adapt to the lighting of the room she was in. Her raven black hair was stuck under her shoulders, so she tried to shimmy it out from underneath, unable to restrain a gasp of pain.

The sound of the door clicking open made her freeze.

Her heart stopped as she listened to the sound that was oh so near to her head, turning her head towards the source of the sound only to find the man named as Killer, standing on the doorstep.

“Finally awake?” Although speaking in a soft and low tone, the sound reverberated in her skull, hammering it with pain, causing her to hiss. “That was a very anticlimactic ending to the fight. I was expecting more.” He pulled a bench close to the bed she was on, the sound of the wood being dragged on the floor’s surface causing another wave of pain to strike her skull. Skyler tried to turn on the bed to face the man but was only attacked with a wave of dizziness and a massive headache, making her hiss in pain. “Careful there. You were out for quite a few hours after that slam. Captain actually pondered on throwing you overboard.”

“How kind of him…” Her voice was hoarse, the sound echoing in her head too loud for her liking. Clawing at the sheets she managed to sit up on the bed and rested her forehead on her knees.

“How are you?” The blond man proceeded to pull a chair and sat down, crossing his legs as if he was talking to an old friend at a cafe.

“What do you think?” She looked up at him only to receive a casual shrug from him, making her sigh. “Like crap…” Her fingers ran through her raven hair, brushing out the knots before raising her head in order to look at Killer. “So what now? What are you planning on doing with me? Is the captain actually going to throw me overboard? Feed me to the fishes?” She waves her hand in the air nonchalantly, reflecting a completely different image of how she was feeling. Her stomach was twisting and turning over a nagging almost numb feeling of fear and distress. It didn’t help that the guy sitting on the chair just a few inches away from her bed was so casual towards everything that had happened thus far.

“We’re still pondering on that.” He placed his feet on the ground, resting his elbows on his knees, the mask coming closer to her.

“Well that’s reassuring…” Finally stretching her legs, Skyler got to her feet slowly so as to not be attacked with a wave of dizziness and began to stroll around the room, looking down at herself. Her clothes were a mess: torn, cut open and dirty. There were dark smudges of oil on her shirt and pants; her shoes didn’t escape the torment either being covered with splinters, the fabric worn out because of the fight. “I doubt you’ll be polite enough to do so, but do you have any clothes I could-…?” She turned around to face the man that was still seated only to have her vision shielded with something white that landed lightly on her head.

It was clothes that had been thrown at her.

“Get dressed. We’ll discuss your situation with the captain after that.” Killer spoke out walking to the door and closing the door behind him.

“Thank… you?” She mumbled under her breath, the clothes on her arms and her eyes glued on the door, perplexed with his casual attitude towards her.

Finally she scanned the small room. It looked almost like a storage room that had been turned into an improvised bedroom. Everything seemed to rock back and forth with the ocean’s movement.

The ocean…

There was no means of escaping at her current situation: swimming to shore was not an option since she couldn’t know how far it was and… even if she tried to do such a foolish thing, the odds of her suffering from hypothermia or being eaten by the sea creatures out there.

Maybe that’d be the best solution out of there since she wasn’t very fond of the sadistic look the captain had.

The captain, eh?

She removed her clothes, kicking her shoes to the side and put on the incredibly large white, ruffled blouse. It was so incredibly long that reached halfway down her thighs. She had to tie the strings on the chest area of the blouse but as she was doing so, her ears caught noise and commotion from the other side of the door until it was slammed open, revealing the all too famous captain with an angry expression on his face.

She took a second to process, startled by the sudden burst, followed by slight amusement towards a rather surprised and flushed look from the red haired man ending finally with the realization that her breasts were basically exposed since the blouse wasn’t still closed up.

“Get the fuck out!” She took two jumps followed by a straight kick to his stomach, sending him stumbling back. She took hold of the blouse’s collar, covering her chest so that she could step outside of the room. “What the hell do you think you’re doing barging in without knocking!?” He seemed to have the expression of astonishment frozen on his features, something that was weird for her to see. “Haven’t you ever heard of such thing!? Just be patient and wait outside, will you!?” With that said, she returned back inside the room, slamming the door shut. Skyler was quick to put on the somewhat large pants, tucking in the blouse and tying a sash around her waist to hold everything. Finally, she tied up the blouse and put on her shoes once more since she was given no other options. She walked out of the room to two rather surprised men. “Are we settling things or not?” She crossed her arms over her chest, obviously annoyed over the entire situation she had found herself in.

“I really should just kill you…” The captain growled, finally snapping out of his surprised stance.

“How lovely…” She mumbled as an answer, annoyance piling up inside her. She could already feel the veins on her skull popping out because of her on-growing anxiety. “As much as that idea appeals to you, it definitely doesn’t appeal to me. So… can you just drop me off an island with civilization and you can go on your merry way?” She found herself tapping her foot on the wooden floor.

“I should just do exactly that, whether there’s civilization or not, you will leave this ship.” He proceeded, a scowl growing on his face.

“I’d prefer to have human interaction, thank you very much.”

“I’m just curious about something.” Kidd finally spoke up. “How did you even get here?”

They won’t believe me…

As much as she searched in her head for an excuse or an explanation, she couldn’t figure out a way to explain to them since she didn’t know herself how she had gotten to whatever place she found herself at.

Her eyes were jumping from one man to another, trying to find a way to tell them.

A lie or a truth… And what kind of truth would she even say? She didn’t know where she was and she probably wouldn’t figure out how to get back if she was just left in a random island of their choosing.

If she were to tell a lie, it’d had to be a very good one since nothing could explain how she appeared out of thin air, perfectly ready to land a tornado kick on one of Killer’s crew mates.

“I…” Skyler was at a loss, finding herself drawing a blank. “I don’t know.”

“What do you mean ‘you don’t know’!?” The captain’s tone was raising, clearly finding himself in a rather unpleasant and unfruitful state of affairs.

“I mean I don’t know how I got here! Are you hard of hearing?” She placed her knuckles on her hips, leaning forward towards the man.

As a response he reached forward to her blouse’s collar, pulling her closer to him, almost lifting her off the ground she was standing on, making her rise to her tip toes.

“I want a fucking answer as to how you got here all of the sudden and started attacking my men.” His voice was low and harsh, demanding whatever answer she could give him that would satisfy his need for a reason.

“Captain Kidd, let her down. I don’t think she’s lying.” Killer finally intervened, placing his hand on the captain’s forearm and pulling it down, finally letting Skyler take a deep breath of slight relief.

“Kidd?” Her mind was scurrying over whatever knowledge she had left about pirates. “Captain William Kidd?” Pirates… She was with fucking pirates. And William Kidd out of all of them, although… What didn’t click to her was that he had some sort of strange magnetic ability that he had shown in their fight.

“William?” Kidd raised an eyebrow at her, curious at her statement. “I’m not William. I’m Captain Eustass Kidd. Get your shit straight, will you?”

So… Not the historical figure that I know. Someone else that was a pirate… and a captain… called Kidd.

“Eustass Kidd…” She mumbled under her breath. Anxiety grew deep inside her gut, developing into fear of the unknown world she found herself in and of the sadistic man before her. He would probably kill her in a heartbeat if it weren’t for Killer, to whom she had to thank. She chuckled, her eyes widening slightly as the shock started to install. “This… I’m dreaming right?” Her green eyes quickly scanned the two men before her. “I’m just having some weird dream and I’m going to wake up any time, right?” Her voice was growing somewhat hysterical before she began to sprint, finding her way to the ship’s deck. She could hear the two men chasing after her but she paid no mind to them. She just pushed on forward, opening all doors she could find until she reached the one that had a staircase leading to the exterior. The sea breeze hit her face, brushing her hair back, giving her a chance to breathe cool air.

“Where do you think you’re going?” She heard Kidd asking from behind her, to which the turned to face him.

“If I wake up, this’ll all be over, right? I just have to wake up.”

“This isn’t a dream, you lunatic. You’re in my ship and you attacked my men.” His tone was assertive now. There was no hint of sadism in his voice, just pure assertiveness.

“You’re so sure of yourself… But the odds are this is all a dream that I am determined to wake up from.” She rushed to the edge of the ship, climbing the railing, her eyes fixated on the ocean bellow her. “I’ll wake up from this…” She let her foot hover over the air. “I’d say it was nice meeting you but you were rather rude so… Goodbye Eustass Kidd.”

Chapter Text

She jumped.

Each moment Skyler spent falling seemed endless.

Eternal.

And yet, she wasn’t in that realm for much longer when she felt an arm wrap around her torso, right under her arms. Her body slammed against the wooden side of the ship, making her gasp before she started to kick and punch the air, trying to slither away from the person who was holding her.

“As much as captain wants you out of the ship, I’ll be making sure we’ll take you to an island.” It was Killer. He had grabbed her just in time before dragging her back to the ship. “What is all this crazy talk about waking up from a dream? Didn’t the fight feel real enough for you?” His usually calm and casual voice seemed tense.

He was right.

Skyler knew he was right but her mind didn’t seem to wrap itself around her situation. Her thoughts were a mess, swirling around in all the events that had occurred in such a short span of time. She bit her lip, denying herself of spilling out all her emotions right then and there.

She was trapped in a foreign land.

Maybe even a foreign time. A past that has been long forgotten by people.

She even pondered if she may even be trapped in a foreign world, for all that mattered, since she had seen a display of Eustass Kidd’s strange and odd abilities.

She held her breath in, her mossy eyes scanning the annoying mask that concealed Killer’s face from the world.

Could she just claw it away? Would she even dare to do such a thing, risking her already damaged self to another confrontation?

“What do I do now…?” It was but a mere whisper that escaped her lips, not sure and not caring whether he had heard her or not.

“You stay with us until we reach land, simple enough.” He answered back at her.

She scanned the ship’s deck, finding curious eyes set upon her, analyzing her, maybe even questioning her sanity but… she didn’t know of a better solution.

She couldn’t think of any other way of somehow… returning to the dojo she had been at before coming to this place.

The sun was still high and shinning down onto her already tanned skin, heating it up.

She felt childish.

Ignorant perhaps.

Everything felt like a fuzz, a noise in the back of her head.

Finally managing to get a hold of herself, Skyler rose back on her feet, straightening her borrowed clothes.

“How much longer until we reach land though?” Her eyes were set on Killer, the person she seemed to trust the most in that god forsaken ship.

“A few days… Maybe weeks. We haven’t quite settled on a course since the log pose is pointing to the next island but we can't determine how far it actually is.”

“A… log pose?” She inquired, to which he showed her his wrist that had, what seemed to be a wrist compass on it: there were three small spheres displayed in a triangle on the metal base and each had a small magnetic needle, all pointing in different directions. Two of them were the smoothest in shifting directions while the third one was erratic, pointing every other way. “A compass?”

“In their own way, yes.”

Skyler brushed her hair back with an exhausted sigh before walking towards Eustass Kidd that was still nearby the door that led under the ship’s deck.

“Guess that was an overreaction of mine.” She breathed out, placing her hands in the shabby pockets of the borrowed pants. “So what now, Kidd?” She tilted her head to the left, a cautious and nervous smile on her lips.

“It’s Captain Kidd.” He almost growled at her but somehow couldn’t bring himself to be fully violent towards that smiling woman.

“You’re not my captain.” She shrugged before turning her back to him and looking out onto the horizon. “But if that makes your grumpy self happy, then maybe I’ll call you captain.” Skyler had to contain the grin that grew on her lips when she heard the man clicking his tongue.

With that said, the ship seemed to go back to its scurried pace, men scattered, going back to their chores or just sparring for practice. She turned her attention to Killer that was just leaning against the railing of the ship. With the mask on, she had no clue if he was looking at her or not so she decided to turn on her heels in order to talk to Eustass but he was no longer there.

“He’s back at the workshop.” Skyler jumped when she heard Killer’s voice behind her.

“Could you be any creepier?” She breathed out, a hand on her chest trying to calm herself down. The man just shrugged.

“You should be fixing what you broke.” He pointed at the gigantic hole that was still on the deck.

“That I broke!?” She seemed outrage at the accusation but decided to shut up when she saw the man shift his weight from one feet to another. “What should I do?”

“Go to the workshop and talk to the Captain.” With that he turned around and headed to the front section of the deck.

She really didn’t want to talk to that red haired man.

He was too hot-headed, fast to choose conflict instead of a normal conversation.

Skyler let out a heavy sigh before opening the door that led to the lower level of the ship, towards, what she assumed, was the workshop. She could just jump through the hole that was on the deck but she decided it would be best to be a bit more civilized and use the door instead.

It didn’t seem that hard to navigate through the ship towards the workshop since, all she had to do was to follow the hammering sounds. It seemed that the captain had already started working on fixing what she “broke”.

She breathed in and knocked on the door.

No answer.

She knocked again and this time the door swung open, revealing a rather irritated looking Eustass Kidd.

“What?” He seemed to growl at her, his copper eyes burning her insides.

“I…” She staggered, losing track of her thought process since she was finally looking at the man before her. He had some really odd yet wild charm to him that made her internally nod in approval. Standing in front of her with a baggy black shirt that had a collar far too stretched from constant use, which had been hastily half tucked inside his dark brown trousers. He had been quick to switch to this shirt since he had previously been with just an open vest that had revealed to her a very pleasant sight of his chiseled torso.

“You’re going to talk or just waste my time?” His voice dropped to a lower tone, reflecting his on-growing annoyance.

“I came to help fix what I broke.” She spat out far too quickly, confusing herself with the speed at which she spoke. Skyler could believe that he didn’t understand a single word she had spoken but he didn’t question. His eyes were fixated on her for a second, surprise glimmering in his eyes before disappearing completely. She decided to catch her hair in a messy bun, her eyes fixated on his feet, oblivious to his gaze that was still fixated on her. “So are you going to let me help?”

He didn’t say a word, he just stepped away from the entrance and returned to his work, separating broken wood planks from the ones that were good. Skyler proceeded to remove the broken ones that were still attached to the flooring their fight had broken.

Much to her displeasure, her fingers were constantly being stepped on whenever they would emerge to the surface where the pirates were scurrying on the deck, some by accident.

Most on purpose.

She would occasionally hiss when her fingers were stepped on without rest.

That is until her patience ran out and the next foot that stepped on her hand was pulled down by her, slamming the man down on the workshop’s floor.

“What do you think you’re doing!?” The man demanded from her, looking outraged by her actions.

“Would you MIND stop stepping on my fucking hands!?” She growled at the man, her wounded hands reaching for his collar to pull him up from the ground. “You think I want to be here!? No, of course not! But I have no choice so accept my existence here until I leave.” Her eyes burned with an immense fury and anger. It wasn’t directed only for that one pirate, nor the rest of them. It was more towards her unknown circumstance.

The pirate she had pulled, reached back, readying himself to punch her but was stopped by Kidd.

“Go do your work before I stop being so benevolent.” The captain didn’t sound angry. His tone was very neutral but still held a sense of authority which made the man nod and leave the room in seconds. Skyler just stood on top of the rubble, staring at Eustass in a form of slight admiration and some newfound respect. “That goes for you too.”

“Yes, captain.” She nodded and was surprised to find that those words had rolled on her tongue so natural, it even caught Kidd off guard but he quickly dismissed it, returning to his work, this time with a small smile on his lips.

 

_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_

 

Night had fallen by the time Skyler and Kidd had finished fixing the workshop and setting every tool back in place.

Her hands reflected her lack of ability for this kind of labour, bearing wounds, cuts and bruises from hitting them with the hammer whenever she missed the nail, cutting herself on saws, and torturing her hands with splinters from every single piece of wood she touched. This had somehow managed to keep Kidd in a good mood.

Sadistic captain…

And yet she couldn’t help but have a smile of her own adorning her lips.

“Go to Killer. He’ll take care of your hands.” He spoke out and turned to exit the workshop.

“Where’s he at?”

“How should I know?” He shrugged and walked out of the workshop. “Search the mess hall. Everyone’s there by now.”

“How the hell should I know where it is!?”

“You idiot, it means follow me, don’t you think?” He seemed to have lost his cool for a second but quickly composed himself when he saw her rush to where he was, obediently following him. He could get used to her presence if she’d behave, although he enjoyed her occasional lack of consideration for the position he held on that ship.

She followed in silence, noticing the insane amount of doors down that one singular, rather short, hallway. Kidd opened a metal door that led them both to the mess hall where most of the pirates had gathered.

The noise that came from the mouths of all those mildly drunk pirates was immense, piercing Skyler’s ears to a point that actually became a bit painful.

“Kidd…?” She called out to him. He turned to her, raising his barely existing eyebrows. “Random question but… Can I have that storage room as my bedroom in the meantime?”

“You’ll sleep outside on deck.”

“What?”

His smirk was devious.

“Either that or you’ll share the same room as all these other drunkards. Your choice.” He seemed to be having fun, especially with Skyler’s reactions to his answers. Her green eyes only seemed to widen more and more. With a low chuckle, he crossed his arms over his chests. “Go talk to Killer.”

“That feels like the only thing I’ve been doing…” She mumbled to herself before shrugging and scoping the mess hall, trying to spot the blond, masked man. She spotted him, leisurely leaning against the slightly tilted chair he was sitting on, his legs crossed on the table. Breathing in, she made her way to Killer but was constantly stopped by pirates getting in her way on purpose or attempting to grope her. One of them managed to squeeze her butt, making her turn to face the pirate, twisting his arm and slamming it against the table. “Touch me again and I’ll replace your dick with a fucking twig, you got it?” The pirate had been caught completely off guard, resulting in him nodding so that she’d let him go.

Skyler stepped back and took hold of an empty chair nearby, dragging it with her so that she could sit next to Killer.

“You’re feisty, all of the sudden.” The blond man commented, offering her the mug from which he had been drinking. She raised an eyebrow and he urged her to drink with a quick hand gesture. “So…?”

“I talked to your captain and he told me to talk to you.” She spoke after nearly emptying the mug’s content. “He said I could either sleep on deck or in the same room as…” she looked around a bit nervous “…this lovely bunch.”

The man openly laughed at her statement, much to her surprise.

“You can keep the storage room for yourself. It hasn’t been used in a long time and it was supposed to be remodelled to become a second workshop for the captain.”

“Thanks Killer.” She smiled, her gaze falling on the almost empty mug. “Where can I get a refill? I basically drank it all.” He pointed over his shoulder, towards a bunch of barrels that were resting next to an old wooden table. With a smile she got up but was quick to stop on her tracks when his hand grabbed her forearm.

“I’d recommend you at least block the door. The lock doesn’t work.” If it wasn’t for his low and wary tone, Skyler would’ve thought that he was just playfully teasing her.

Chapter Text

The sunlight entered the small compartment Skyler had been spending the last 3 nights in. The window would always allow the rays of sun to awake her early in the morning. She would spend more time sleeping if it wasn’t for the noisy stomping coming from deck and the constant banging on her door of every single crew member whenever they passed by.

As long as it kept them amused with just that, she’d be perfectly fine with it. Yes, it would annoy her deeply hearing these knocks when the sun hadn’t even peaked through the horizon, but she was fine with them having fun with this.

Despite Killer’s warning three days ago, no one had tried to pry the door open. At least that she’d be aware of.

With plenty of pestering from her part, she had managed to get Kidd to help her install a proper functioning lock on the door so that she wouldn’t have to drag the dresser every single night in order to block it.

Clothes have been an issue with her, always having to make do with what little attire it had been given to her. Killer had been friendly enough to lend her a blouse or two from his wardrobe but he’d always demand it back when she wasn’t using them.

She stretched her arms and legs, feeling the relaxing pop on her joints before getting off the bed and getting dressed, ready to face yet another day in that testosterone filled ship.

She rushed to deck only to be thrown to the ground by a sudden turbulence in the water. Getting back on her feet, she rushed to the rail of the ship only to hold on to it when the vessel was shaken a second time.

Her gaze scurried the deck, finding the men rushing back and forth, prepping themselves with whatever weapons they had at their disposal in that moment. Something in the back of her mind was telling her to move but she could barely keep her balance if she was to let go of the rail.

Without her noticing, a shadow had blocked the light over her, looming over the woman menacingly.

The ship had started to stabilize when she finally looked over her shoulder, only to find a giant eel looking down at her, the golden eyes gleaming.

Skyler slowly started to step away, doing her best to avoid doing sudden movement so as to not to entice the eel to attack. No one else was moving as well, which was possibly the best course of action at that point.

“What the fuck are you standing around for!? Kill that thing already!” It had been Eustass Kidd that had shouted at his men. Skyler’s green gaze turned to the source only to find him at the top of the stairs that lead under the deck.

Having moved away her attention from the eel, along with the shouts that had followed after the captain’s order, the eel aimed straight at the woman who barely dodged the attack.

The eel swept the deck with its mouth, teeth dragging along whatever they could manage to hit.

“Why did you shout!?” She growled at the red haired man. “It would’ve just bugger off if we’d just stay put.”

“The sea kings aren’t so polite.” He raised a non-existent eyebrow at her, amusement in his face. “Plus, my men had been bored since nothing has been happening. A bit of fighting does them well.”

“You brute…” As she said that, the air was knocked out of her lungs when the eel had swept the deck once more, this time with its tail, hitting her side and sending her flying against the opposite end of the ship. She landed just a few inches away from Kidd’s feet, her eyes wide open, mouth agape as she tried her best to breathe in any source of air. It was as if the impact had shut her throat. With a strong cough, she finally manage to gasp in air, breathing heavily as she stared up at a very amused captain. “You sadistic brute…” She heaved as she sat up only to be faced with the tail of the eel heading their way. She braced herself once more for the painful impact but it never came.

Instead the tail was stopped by an arm, about the size of Kidd, made out of swords, pistols, shotguns and whatever other metallic objects were in the vicinity.

“You’re all bark and no bite.” He growled at her, annoyed that he had to actually use his devil fruit to take care of a sea king. “Talking is the only thing you fucking know how to do.” The arm that had been created by Kidd pushed the tail back, lashing at the flesh of the creature. “So just lock yourself downstairs and stay out of my fucking way. You’re more trouble than what you’re worth.” With that, he stomped ahead, shouting orders at his men, and attacking the sea king until the animal fell back in the water, the blood from its wounds staining the blue water.

She couldn’t help but just sit on the ground, gazing at the captain that was just standing ahead of her a few steps. His back was turned to her, covered with that cloak he’d adorn almost on a daily. She just felt angry at him for what he had said and yet she was angrier that he was, in fact, right.

Skyler wondered if she had a choice to be more up to jump into action rather than use words: she wasn’t going to be with them for long. Instead, they were to drop her off in the next island they’d make a stop at. A random place where she’d vaguely hope to find a way out of wherever she was. The woman was very inclined to believe that she had better odds in finding a way back home with this pirate group instead of being dropped off in some island and not be able to get out if there was no solution there.

Her chest heaved as anxiety was building up, the stress of never finding a way back home causing her to hyperventilate. Skyler’s eyes were still fixated on Kidd’s back, her breathe quickening when she heard a voice shouting that they had spotted land ahead.

She didn’t want to leave the ship. As much as the men there could be a hassle to handle, she didn’t want to leave if that meant she had better chances of getting back home if she was with them.

A kick to her thigh made her break out of her anxious state. Looking up she saw a somewhat displeased Eustass Kidd staring down at her.

“Your stop is here. We’ll drop you, restock and leave. Now get up.” His voice sounded so cold and dry, sending a stinging sensation through her chest.

“I don’t want to go.” Her voice came out as a weak whimper, a sound neither of them was expecting. Her green eyes were glowing brightly. Even under the burning sunlight, they seemed to shine brighter. She got up in a rush, making her dizzy in the process, her left hand holding on to the sleeve of his jacket while the other rested on his shoulder. “Don’t leave me on this island.” She was pleading to him at this point, asking him, begging him to stay on the ship.

“The deal was drop you off on the next island we stop by.” He brushed off the hand on his shoulder. “We’re at your stop, so you’ll be dropped off here.”

“What if I don’t find a way back home?” The grip on his sleeve tightened, her breath quickening.

“Not my problem.” He tried to brush the hand on his sleeve but she snapped her hand away before she grabbed onto both his arms.

“Well it’s mine and I sure as hell could use some help. I don’t want to trouble any of you but you are my only chance of getting back home. Being stuck in an island will not help me.” Her nails were burying into the fabric of his coat, possibly close to hitting his flesh. “I have a better chance to get back home here with you instead of on an island.” She breathed in deeply in an attempt to keep her cool. Her grip on him loosened. “I don’t know anything about this… place. I don’t know anything about being a pirate but I can fight if that’s what’s necessary. I can fight if that will earn me a place here until I find a way back home.”

Eustass’s eyes burned with annoyance and excitement. She wanted to stay aboard that ship… with those people she didn’t know anything about. It amused him and yet it annoyed him.

“You’re weak. You wouldn’t survive on your own.”

“All the more reason for me to stay.”

Her voice got caught in her throat when he suddenly grabbed both her wrists with one hand, the other one reaching for her collar and pulling her up towards his face.
“Don’t you understand? Whether you stay here with us or in an island. You’re weak. I’d much rather not have to deal with your corpse when you get mauled over by the monsters.” His copper eyes burned into her mind, sending shivers down her spine.

Skyler squirmed a hand free from his grip, holding onto Kidd’s arm that had hold of her collar, choking her. With all her strength the pulled herself up, relieving a bit of the pressure on her throat.

“Fucking try me.” Her face showed determination, a fiery desire to stay alive, to survive in that world. Skyler had no other choice but to live until she got back home. She had people waiting for her and she wasn’t willing to die in that place.

With a click of his tongue, Eustass let her go, turning his back to her.

“Your choice.” His voice came out as an annoyed growl. “If you wound up dead in some corner, don’t expect me to care.”

Her face lit up, hope returning to her sparkling eyes.

“Thank you.”

From the opposite end of the ship, killer had been leaning against the rail of the ship, observing the two interacting, getting a general picture of what had been spoken between them. The woman was in an awkward and bizarre situation, something that wouldn’t have bothered him in the past with anyone and yet… With her, he had the faint need to make her as comfortable as possible while she was with them.

A smile had crept to his lips when he saw the energy she had shown at Kidd after having looked so defeated and disorientated.

The distance between the island and the ship was shortening but he didn’t feel the pressure of departure coming from Skyler. He knew that she had said that she’d leave on the next island they’d stop by but… it didn’t seem like she was going to comply after what had been exchanged between her and Eustass Kidd. Just judging from the rollercoaster of emotions that woman showed so clearly, the captain had let her stay, against his will. Strangely enough, he was somewhat curious as to why Kidd had let her stay.

Tapping the railing with his foot, he stepped away from the edge of the ship and headed below deck, the curiosity rattling in his head, questioning his captain’s actions.

He could always ask him afterwards.
For now, he’d just watch passively whatever was unfolding between Skyler and Kidd.

Chapter Text

It seemed almost automatic: the moment the ship docked, the inhabitants from a nearby village scurried to their homes, locking doors and windows. It was highly plausible that the people had developed a stigma towards pirates, which wasn't all that surprising.

For Skyler, what pirates did was pillage and plunder, cause havoc wherever they went, taking what they needed. It was very likely that her image of them was, in a sense, romanticized by television shows, movies and books: they were generally depicted as the villains. It came across that this idea that the pirates were the villains was present in this place as well.

A rope ladder was thrown over the rail so that the crew could get off the ship and rest their feet on solid ground. Skyler waited for Killer and Eustass to climb down, the red haired captain going on ahead while the blonde waited for her to go down the ladder. With a smile and a nod, she did so, happy to be able to feel the ground under her feet, the surface perfectly stable, unlike the constant rocking of the ship.

Kidd called out to Wire and Killer to go with him, ordering the rest of the crew to stay close to the ship since their stop would be quick. Slipping a glance towards the woman, he snapped his tongue and nodded his head, silently ordering her to follow them.

It made her comfortable that he wanted her to go along with them, strangely happy to be in their company when compared to the rest of the crew. The time she had spent in the ship since arriving had been chaotic, to say the least. The saying sailors had that having a bad woman on board a ship was bad luck was true but not for the superstitious reasons. It was more towards the human libido that would reach a point where it'd want to speak louder than reason.

Since Killer had given her the warning, Skyler hadn't managed to get a proper night's sleep. Although thankful he had told her, she still couldn't manage to rest at night because of it.

At this point, she felt much like a sleepwalker, doing her best to keep her tired eyes open during their short walk to the village ahead of them. She would close her eyes every once in a while in a vague attempt to give some rest to her tired eyes, causing her to sometimes fall behind the group.

"I don't know what you're plan is, but I'm sensing you falling on your face in the near future if you keep that up." Her eyes rose to meet Wire's eyes, a half-hearted smile on his lips as he looked over his shoulder.

"If it's extra moments I can get of some mild rest, I'll welcome them gladly." Was her answer, a smile of her own lighting her face up. Her green eyes focused on Killer. "Is it a quick stop on the island or are we staying longer here?"

"Until the log pose settles. After that we head to Sabaody Archipelago." The blond answered, raising his hand to show the odd compass on his wrist. "Could be a few hours or a few days. For now we stock the ship and hope someone has enough balls to give us information."

Upon arriving at what seemed the heart of the village, the group noted that the only buildings left open we the small tavern, what seemed to be a clinic and a house here and there.

"Maybe you'll get some answers after all, Killer." Skyler spoke out, following the group that was headed to the tavern.

The atmosphere was cosy inside but the few people in the building seemed distant and off. Some risked glances towards them while others kept their eyes glued to their mugs and cups. They didn’t want to possibly risk their hides by ticking off the pirates by looking at them for too long.

Wire and Kidd made their way towards the most secluded table they could find at the furthest end of the tavern, scooted up against the corner while Killer and Skyler made their way to the counter of the tavern to order a few drinks and hopefully get some answers cleared.

The woman sat down on one of the stools, her head resting on the counter while the blond ordered a round of drinks for the four of them. He rested his hand on the top of her head, making her look up at him.

“Tired much?” He asked only receiving a grunt as a response. “You know, we can rent a room here and you can just sleep there for the time being.”

“And risk being left behind? No thank you.” She turned her gaze ahead, scanning the multiple bottles of alcohol that were on display for everyone to see. “Even though Eustass said I could stay I can’t seem to buy it completely. He could pretty much just leave me behind whenever he gets the chance.” Looking over her shoulder, her eyes met the copper gaze of Kidd that was locked on her figure, causing a blush to creep up to her cheeks. “I think he may want me dead.” She returned her attention to Killer that still had his hand on her head, messing her black hair a bit.

“He may not want you dead, specifically.” His fingers scratched her scalp, making the woman purr under his touch. Killer found himself enjoying the sound she was making, choosing to keep at it. His rough hand slipped to the back of her neck, brushing her hair on the way there. “But he may want to get his hands on some action soon enough.” Killer finally turned his head to look at her through the blue and white mask. “I say he just needs to get a woman and get laid but it’s not quite his style.” He whispered at her, leaning down for only her to hear.

She laughed wholeheartedly at that statement, wiping the tears that were threatening to fall down from her enjoyment.

“He plays for the other team?” She asked which earned her a head tilt from the man and a gentle squeeze on the back of her neck. “You know… Prefers men over women?”

“Don’t think so.” He shrugged. “He and I shared an interest in one person in our past. It’s long behind our backs now.” He shrugged. “A childhood crush, you know?”

He removed the hand from her neck but was brought back to place by her. Skyler had a pout on her lips that was threatening to turn into a smile.

“Keep at it. It’s incredibly relaxing and, for some reason, it’s keeping me awake.” Her head feel forward when she felt his fingers massaging her tired muscles on her neck.

“I should be getting paid for this.” Killer mumbled, earning a light chuckle from the woman. “I’ll rent you a room for you to rest.” This earned him a side look from her. “I promise to wake you if we’ll be leaving and I’ll warn the captain.”

“That’s highly generous of you, Killer.” Resting her chin on her forearms, she smiled sweetly. “I never said it properly, I think, but...” With a long sigh, Skyler lifted herself from her seat, noticing the mugs had been laid on the counter for them to take. She picked all four of them and, still with that smile drawn on her lips, she added “Thank you for everything you’ve done to help me.”

“No problem.” He leaned on the counter, waving his hand to tell her she could head to the table without him.

Skyler couldn’t tell through the mask but she hoped to have made the man smile. She treaded steadily to the table, setting down all the mug filled to the brim with alcohol, and sat down on the chair in front of Kidd and Wire, that were casually lounging on a corner couch, the table separating them.

“Oi, come here.” Eustass called to her, in a nonchalant manner, sprawling his arms over the back of the couch.

“I am here.” She answered, chugging down half of her drink. She caught the intense look he had plastered on his eyes which stirred something in her that she quite enjoyed. Breathing in deeply, she got up from her seat and sat on the edge of the couch, next to Kidd. If she reached further from the edge, she’d be sitting on the floor. Annoyed by this, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her to him. Skyler felt her face heat up, knowing full well that she was as red as a tomato. Clearing her throat, she dared to look up at the giant man, finding that he wasn’t even looking at her but rather at Killer that was currently approaching the table. “Where’s all this coming from?”

Letting Killer sit down and get himself comfortable, Eustass’s grip on her shoulder tightened ever so lightly.

“You’re both incredibly friendly.” His tone was slightly bitter, almost spitting those words out.

“She needs rest. I was just telling her she’d better stay here for the day before we head back.” Killer answered, leaning back on his chair, crossing his legs. “The owner said the log pose will take 3 days to set so might as well give her a chance to sleep properly.” He tilted his head towards her. “You’ve seen how exhausted she’s been, right?”

Only now did Eustass look down at her, noting the lighter tone on her skin and the bags under her eyes. Clicking his tongue, he let go of her and leaned forward on the table.

“Fine.” He turned his attention back at the woman, taking in her image. “Go sleep then.”

“You won’t leave me here?” Her eyes grew wide, shining brightly at him with hope.

He rubbed his temples, letting out a low growl.

“No, we’ll call you. Just go before I change my mind.”

With a giant smile she got up from her seat. Without thinking, Skyler placed a hand on the captain’s cheek, catching him off guard, the man looking up at her in shock.

“You know, you’re not as mean and bad as you want to come across as.” Her fingers trailed to his crimson red hair, brushing through the knots of his spiked hairstyle. “Show that side more often, please. At least with your men. They respect you already as their captain. I believe that, a kind gesture once in a while, will go a long way for you to be a bit less grumpy at everything.”

With that, she waved at the men, and headed towards the counter to ask the owner where the bedroom that she was going to stay in was.

The men were left behind, dumfounded by her actions.

Killer certainly was amused while Wire was confused and a bit… impressed with her audacity to just touch and talk to his captain in that way.

Kidd on the other hand was left with a stunned expression and a heavy shade of red across his cheeks.

Chapter Text

“What the fuck did I do?” Skyler mumbled to herself, almost hissing, startling the owner of the tavern that walked ahead of her to show her to the room she’d be staying in. She slapped her cheeks lightly trying to shoo away the redness that rested on her cheeks. “Oh god… No, no, no, no…”

“Your room, miss.” The man said, opening the door to a small compartment with only a couple’s bed and a small bedside table. Next to the bed was a window, the only light source of that room. No lamps no nothing, just a half melted candle on the bedside table.

“Thank you.” She nodded at the man that was already heading back downstairs to attend to whatever other customers would arrive. Skyler closed the door behind her and jumped onto the bed that had a rather fluffy mattress. The blankets seemed to greet her tired form, the contact bringing her exhaustion to the surface once more. Drifting off to sleep, she could only wish that the men would do what they had promise her and not leave her behind in that place. The possibility of such a thing happening worried her but, for the moment, she’d dream of fiery red hair and a cool blue colored mask.

~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~

After what had happened to Eustass, he seemed to just blankly stare at his mug instead of focusing on other matters. He had managed to tell Wire to return to the ship to call for the rest of the crew. Since they’d be in that island for the next three days, he thought it’d be best for the crew to just relax from being on the ship for weeks.

After that order, he seemed to get immersed in his own world, mind running blank, his face still feeling the heat of the woman’s touch. It was bizarre that he still felt it but what was unsettling him more what the heat around his throat and on his face long with the knot in his stomach.

It was strangely pleasant, comforting and irritating.

“I know she only means good and all but…” Killer lifted his mask up enough so that his mouth was showing, chugging down the content of his still full mug. “You’re not gonna go full cheese on my ass, are you?”

“Fuck that.” Eustass answered, releasing a low chuckle that had a deep rumble to it. He scrapped a thin layer of varnish from the surface of the table, the material getting suck under his nail. It was an attempt of his to distract himself from the idea of trying to be kind to Skyler. Not that it’d be that hard. She seemed to bring out that side of him. “Why didn’t you go against my decision of keeping her around? Or at least questioned it.”

“Curiosity… Interest.” The blond shrugged, leaning forward. “Seeing you being contradicted and scolded by her.” Kidd smashed his fist on the table, close to Killer’s hands. The blond moved them away, chuckling in his seat. “Entertainment, maybe. Admit it captain, you like the verbal challenge that woman gives you… and I, personally, enjoy watching it from afar.” Killer caught the stare of the tavern’s owner and signaled for a refill. “But, captain, I’m curious about something as well.” Eustass raised a non-existent eyebrow at his first mate. “Why did you let her stay?”

“She asked for it. I don’t have the patience to deal with her pestering me.” Kidd growled, running a finger over his chin. “She annoys me.”

“Then why keep her around?”

The tavern owner walked up to their table with clean mugs filled to the brim with beer, set them on the table and picked up the empty ones, leaving the two alone once more.

“You’re asking me all this bullshit after the both of you were all friendly and comfy before.” The captain was starting to get slightly annoyed, balling his left hand to a fist, the nails digging into his palm.

“Hey, if she’s sticking around, might as well treat her as one of the crew, no?”

“And give her head massages?” A grin grew on Eustass’s lips. “You never done that to me, Killer.”

“Care for one? She made it seem as if I was a professional.” Killer opened his hands, showing off his fingers. Laughter erupted from the men, the atmosphere finally feeling lighter. Relaxing from the laughter, the blond added “She peaks my interest, captain. I think it’s mostly because of her circumstance.”

“It is bat-shit crazy to say the least, assume what she says is true.” His copper gaze shifted from Killer to something behind him that caught his attention. Two men had entered the tavern and headed straight for the owner. The two strangers threw glances at the blond and the red head pirates and handed a small purse.

“Action?” Killer looked over her shoulder and, once the two strangers looked at him again, he waved once at them in a mock salute.

“I fucking hope so.” The captain was sitting on the edge of the couch, his blood boiling for some entertainment.

“They seem to be looking for something specific, no?”

Another group of five men entered the tavern and headed for the other two at the counter. They exchanged words before the new group headed for the table of the pirates while the other two headed upstairs.

“I’ll give them something.” Eustass cracked his knuckles before resting his right hand on the leather sash that rested over his chest that held two daggers against his skin.

Chaos ensued when one of the men from the newly arrived group pulled out a revolver and shot at Kidd. With a dull expression, the red head stopped the bullet mid-air with the use of his devil fruit. He would’ve kept his bored look if it wasn’t for the loud, familiar female shout that came from the floor above them.

“Go, captain.” Killer said, revealing the blades from the metal hand guards he always wore. “I’ll have fun with these.”

With a swift movement, Eustass got off his seat and snaked by the group. One of the men attempted to stop him, sword in hand, but he just bashed the poor man’s head against the nearest table, knocking him unconscious.

At that moment, he was only focused on getting to her. Whatever was driving him forward, he didn’t care at that point. What he knew is that he had to reach her, help her. It conflicted with his nature of welcoming and creating chaos, denying himself to openly treat others with care. He wasn’t a man to do that and yet she brought it out in him.

He reached the upper floor, his head turning to the door that had a man knocked down at the entrance of the room. He kicked him off to the side, finding himself staring at a trapped Skyler against the wall. The man holding her up, had a dagger against her throat while his other hand was keeping a tight grasp on her wrists, holding them above her head.

Her green eyes met his copper ones, the horror and panic swimming in them, silently asking him for help.

His blood boiled with rage as he headed towards the man holding Skyler, grabbing him on the back of his neck, the fingers digging into the flesh, pulling him away from her. Using his devil fruit, Kidd attracted the blade his opponent had in hand before heading towards him. Crouching down next to him, Eustass grabbed him by the throat and began delivering a series of punches, breaking the man’s nose and bashing the bone into his skull. The blood that spewed out of his now deformed nostrils, splashed on the red head’s arm and face.

Eustass was blinded by the adrenaline and the anger that was coursing through him that he didn’t notice the weak whimpers of the woman behind her. Only when she grabbed his arm back, did he finally stop and properly look at her.

“Please, enough.” Her voice sounded so weak when she spoke, making the knot in his stomach to tighten. “He… He’s not getting up anymore…” Skyler didn’t even dare to say the word ‘dead’.

Composing himself, he got up from the ground, his stature towering over her smaller form. He took in her state properly: her eyes were blood shot, a bruise was beginning to appear on her right cheek bone along with another one around her neck; multiple scratches and slashes were on her arms. Kidd scowled at the image, irritated that she had been damaged by those two weaklings.

“Did they do anything else to you?” He asked and she nodded a no with her head. “Good.” His voice had a low and husky rumble when he spoke that word, reaching out towards her neck. He rubbed his thumb over the red and purple bruise around her neck before moving up to her cheekbone. He rubbed the mark causing her to hiss in pain over the contact. Realizing what he was doing, Eustass stepped away from her and headed towards the door. He stopped on his tracks and looked at her, signalling her to follow. “We’re going back to the ship. You’ll be safer there.” He only stepped out of the room once she was in front of him, walking in a wobbly pace. He wanted to reach out to her again, his fingers almost brushing her back but he pulled away once more before he actually touched her. “And get some proper rest once we get there.”

“Hm…” She replied.

It was bothering him that she wasn’t talking back at him, giving him any of her quirky remarks. Eustass believe it was because she never faced such a scenario that had just happened to her. He wanted to try and sympathize with her current state but he had been killing and hurting people for a time now that, the attempt at empathizing seemed rather… impossible.

When they reached the staircase to downstairs, Kidd placed himself next to Skyler, finally realizing that she had been silently crying. She wasn’t sobbing or anything. The tears were just falling silently.

“Killer probably took care of the other guys already.” He said in an effort to make her look at him or have any reaction at all. When he got nothing back, he passed by her and started heading down the stairs.

“Eustass…” She called out to him, making the red head stop on his tracks. “Thank you… Back there I…”

“Don’t mention it.” He shrugged and walked down the remaining stairs to the ground level.

Skyler followed suit and, once downstairs, she chose to sit down on the last step, looking out at the two men that stood proudly above their fallen opponents. She could hear their conversation from where she was.

The group that had arrived to the tavern wasn’t anything surprising, combat wise but, what made her heart drop to her stomach was when she caught the words “slave traders” coming out of Killer’s mouth.

Chapter Text

“Care to elaborate as to what those people wanted?” Killer asked, holding the tavern owner by the collar of his blouse. The man had been beaten up by Eustass out of resentment towards what had happened to the pirates.

“They come here and take people away for the auction house in Sabaody.” The man declared, whimpering and shaking in his boots. “They prefer outsiders and we can at least be at peace since they won’t take us away instead.” Killer shook the man twice before letting him go. “Please don’t hurt us.”

“They got a base in this island?” He asked the owner who nodded as a response.

“So we’ll have to deal with these fuckers for three days?” Eustass growled in annoyance. His gaze turned to Skyler that was still sitting at the staircase, her eyes staring at the emptiness. “Oi! Come on!” He called out, managing to catch her attention once more. “We’re heading back.” She got up and headed towards the exit, the two men following close behind.

“Are we going to do something about these slave traders?” Killer asked, to which his captain nodded. “Very well.”

On their way back to the ship, the three spotted the rest of the crew roaming around the town, most of them heading towards the tavern while others chose to explore a bit. Killer exchanged a few words with some of the pirates, telling them to be in the ship by the end of the day.

“You’re going to help these people?” Skyler asked, looking at the two men. In a nervous gesture, she traced the wounds on her arms and hands with her nails, averting her gaze away from the two.

“Don’t mistake this for kindness.” Eustass retorted, a sadistic grin growing on his face. “I just think my men need a little warm up.” The shiver that ran down her body didn’t go unnoticed by him. “For now we go back to the ship and rest. I’m tired of hearing you drag your feet around.”

“I wouldn’t be in this state if I could have a proper night of sleep.” Her quirkiness was slowly returning but the sight of the man back in the tavern with his face bashed in was keeping her rather tamed. She was still bothered Eustass’s ease to beat that man in such a manner.

“You’re the only one that can’t manage to sleep.” He snapped back at her but was drawn back when practically hissed at him and smacked his arm.

“If I didn’t have your men knocking on my door at every given moment or trying to come into the room, I would have a proper night’s sleep!” Her voice shook in anger. “But no! I can’t because I have to deal with having to drag around furniture every other day in front of the door, because they sometimes manage to open the fucking door!” Her eyes were watering, a result of her stress and exhaustion. “I was sleeping perfectly fine back at the tavern until those two fuckers barged in! Apparently wanting to sell me to other people! Fan-fucking-tastic, is it not?” Her voice was gaining intensity and volume, getting closed to a shout rather than her standard speaking voice. “So no, Eustass Kidd, I can’t get proper sleep because of all this bullshit.” Skyler pointed at him, her finger poking his chest. “So don’t you dare snap at me, mister!”

The two men just stood still for a few moments, incredibly surprised by her reaction. She had snapped at the captain, leaving him completely stunned. Eustass was definitely not used to people in his ship snapping at him. In fact, he wouldn’t accept such behavior and his crew didn’t even dare do it just so that they could avoid unnecessary wrath and yet, she didn’t seem to care. The raven haired woman would just snap at him with such ease, calling him out on whatever bullshit he was going on about.

Finally shaking off his dumbfounded state, he picked her up and hauled her over his shoulder. She started punching his back, ordering him to put her down on the ground, claiming she could walk on her on.

“Oh shut the fuck up, woman!” He roared at her, raising the shoulder that was supporting her, shaking her. “I know you can walk but I don’t want to deal with your bullshit until we get to the ship.”

“Then put me down, you little shit!” Skyler growled, trying her best to turn around and slip out of his grasp, to no avail. His arm was wrapped tightly around her waist, keeping her trapped, her stomach squished against his shoulder. Her ears caught the sound of Killer laughing at the whole situation, making her look at the blond. She was fuming, her eyes burning in fury and annoyance. “What are you laughing at?”

“Such hostility. It wounds me, Sky.” Killer said, raising his hands in the air in a mock defeat.

“Oh, fuck off.” She mumbled under her breath but, quickly released a shriek of pain and surprise when she felt the red head smack her butt.

“Oi! Don’t fucking curse at him like a drunken sailor, you wench!” Kidd called out, hitting her side with his head.

“WENCH!? Oh and I’m the one that curses like a sailor!? Look who’s fucking talking!” Skyler slapped the captain’s back. He probably didn’t even feel half the impact since she had to momentum. “And don’t you dare touch my ass like that!

“So I can touch it in another way?” Kidd’s tone was sleazy and suggestive, making the woman blush.

“No!” She shrieked and, once more, Killer laughed. She just pointed at him, a stern, angry expression on her face. “Don’t.”

“If you don’t want that then stop fighting and shut the fuck up.” He answered back, the arm that was around her waist sliding down to her thighs once she had stopped kicking, punching and squirming out of his hold.

Despite the sass she was giving both of them, Kidd had a huge smile on his face, one of amusement. She could answer back at him all she wanted, it was so amusing to him. He couldn’t get tired of her remarks.

“This is deplorable… It’s embarrassing.” She rubbed her face, her slim fingers pressing against her temples. “Can you please put me down? I promise to behave.”

“No.” It was his only answer, causing her to sigh in defeat.

“Fucking hell.” Skyler breathed out, exasperated by the whole situation and yet, a little part of her was happy. Amused at the possible playful side of Kidd, in its own weird way. “Hey, Killer?” She called to which the blond nodded his head at her. “What is that… Sabondy thingy you talked about back at the tavern?”

“Sabaody.” He corrected. “An island we’ll be heading after this one. Every pirate that wants to go to the New World need to go there before moving on.”

“And the auction house?” A shiver ran up her spine when she spoke those words, reminded of the possibility that she could’ve been one of the victims to be turned into a slave for god knows what.

“A human auction house. The marine prefers to call it a public employment security office to make it sound less… inhuman.”

“I assume the marine is the judiciary system in this world?” He nodded as an answer to her question. “Lovely to know that the security area in this world is as corrupt as mine.” Her words carried a bitter taste to it. “The auction house is under their legislation?”

 

“Not directly, but yes.” She raised an eyebrow at his answer to which he proceeded to explain. “There’s another body of ‘authority’, if you want to call it that, which is responsible for the auction house. One of the Royal Seven Warriors holds power over it but I think he recently passed it to someone else.”

“Royal Seven Warriors?”

“Pirates that choose to ally themselves with the World Government.” This time it was Kidd that answered for Killer. “They don’t want to deal with the problematic of facing the marine so they join a corrupt system to facilitate whatever they want to do. They run these fucked up jobs and the government turns a blind eye to it, as long as it benefits them.” The hand that was resting on her thigh tightened, making her hiss lightly and pat his back.

“Oi, my thigh. No squeeze, please.” He loosened his grip once more. “How does slave trade help the government?”

“Fear keeps control over the population.” The blond pirate answered, placing his hands in his pockets. “And they deal with less headaches from the World Nobles.”

“You’re shooting at me all these terms, so forgive me for questioning: World Nobles?”

“Stuck up people that think they are above everyone else because they are descendants of the Twenty Kings.” Killer clarified to her.

“They think they’re so much better than the rest of us that they claim themselves as saints.” Kidd added with a rancorous chuckle.

“That’s fucked up…” Skyler exhaled. The remainder of the walk was silent. It wasn’t long before they arrived to the ship. Tapping the captain’s back, she asked “Can you put me down now?”

“No.” He answered once more and felt her muscles relax in a sign of defeat. He carried her below deck, earning a lot of curious looks from some of the pirates that stayed behind to keep watch on the ship.

Killer waved at them before heading to the mess hall, leaving the two alone.

Kidd continued to carry her down the hall, passing by the room she was supposedly sleeping in.

“Hmm… Eustass, the room is over there.” She pointed at the door, as if he could see behind his back. No answer. “Oi, Eustass!”

“You said the crew was constantly knocking on the door, right?” He asked, receiving a quiet ‘yeah’ as an answer. “So you’ll stay in my quarters for today to rest properly. I don’t want to hear complaints or anything and don’t you dare see this as a charity act.” He opened the door to his bedroom and dropped her on the king size bed. “Like I said, I’m tired of seeing you drag yourself around. It’s fucking annoying.”

Chapter Text

Skyler just sat on the king size bed, staring in awe at Kidd that went about his business around his room. She noted every little movement he made: the way he took off his heavy fur coat, leaving it on a wooden table at a corner of the room; how he removed the leather sash he had around his torso to hold the daggers in place. She carved to her mind of all the details of his muscles and how they contracted as he picked up a blouse that was left forgotten on the floor and put it on.

The woman was confused to say the least but grateful that he had allowed her to sleep in his room, away from the constant harass from the other pirates.

“Go to sleep. I’ll be around for a while. I’ll be going to the workshop later, you’ll be on your own then.” Eustass looked over his shoulder, setting his eyes on the woman that was on his bed. He, himself, was puzzled by his sudden generosity towards her but somehow couldn’t help it. It just rose naturally when he was around her.

“Eustass…” She called out and, this time, instead of looking from the corner of his eye, he turned completely to face her. He appeared to be such a gigantic man, when looking from the angle she was: he was at least 6’5” tall which was incredibly tall when compared to her 5’6”. Not only in height was he enormous but also in width, his shoulders and torso being incredibly large and well built, result from hard work over the years. “I… That man that you beat up back at the tavern…”

“What about him?” He wasn’t understanding where she was going with that question but was willing to hear her out.

“You weren’t going to… kill him, right?” The word kill came out choked, almost as if she was afraid to say it. “You didn’t kill him… Right?” Part of her hoped he was alive, even if he was going to kidnap her. Death was not something she was fond of, much like everyone she knew. Death by the hands of another was something she didn’t want to witness and she found repulsive.

“I hope I did.” He was so stoic when he spoke, the tone of his voice sounding so monotonous as if it wasn’t his first time killing someone. It scared her. “Would you rather have a man like that wondering around?”

“No, that’s not what I meant.” Skyler brushed her hair with her fingers, trying to find a way to rephrase but chose to give him a different question. “Is it easy for you to kill someone else?”

“Yes.”

Another short answer that, despite the dull tone to his answer, it managed to frighten her once more.

“Was it always like that?”

With that last question, Kidd closed his mouth, his lips shut tight as his mind ran at high speed, trying to search an answer. Was it always that easy for him to kill? The words rattled in his mind, hammering against his skull like a sledgehammer. Was it easy the first time he did it?

“Go to sleep.” With that, he turned towards a desk that was by the door, the surface littered with small cogs, nails, screws and other small mechanical pieces. He pulled his goggles down to his eyes, sat down on the chair in front of the desk and went straight to work, his eyes focusing on the metallic parts.

Left to herself, Skyler pulled the covers down, removed her boots and climbed into the incredibly comfy bed. Her black hair scattered on the fluffy pillow, her hands reaching out for another one so that she could hug it.

Despite the sun that was peaking in through the small rounded window and shone on part of the bed, it didn’t take long for her to fall asleep, her breathing calm and serene.

After some time of messing around with the cogs and screws on his desk, Kidd stopped what he was meddling around with, turning to look at her sleeping figure. He didn’t know what she was doing, couldn’t understand how she was making him question things that he never pondered about before. Never once had he questioned why he killed or tortured people. In the heat of things he was always very straightforward, a lot of the times narrow minded and stubborn.

All for the sake of his dream, he never questioned the things he did to others. He had his goals and he was a person to do whatever it takes to reach them, even if it meant to devastate whoever stood between him and his objectives.

And yet, there he was, questioning himself about the lives he took up until that point, all because she had made one simple question.

Irritation started to stir in him, a scowl growing on his face as he turned once more to the desk, distracting himself with the little metal pieces once more. Kidd had those small parts on his desk permanently so that he could just get lost in thought. It was from a small pocket watch that he constantly was taking apart and piecing back together all for the sake of keeping himself busy while his mind scurried an ocean of questions, scenarios and dreams.

That moment though, his mind wanted to just focus on one thing and that was Skyler: her black hair, her deep green eyes, how she answered back at him and put him in his place. If it was someone else, they would probably be dead but she was different. What he felt for her tugged at his entire being, making him act softer towards her. He was still rough around the edges but she could quiet down the ill-mannered nature he had developed over the years.

What he had towards her was something he had buried away a long time ago, the feeling seeming so unfamiliar to him now. It brought back memories from childhood. Memories of his and Killer’s first love and the things they shared.

And that fucking curry they ate.

That dish used to be his favorite thing but because of the girl from his childhood, he hated it. She had beaten the both of them up because they had laughed at her for having an allergic reaction to the blasted food.

Towards Skyler though… What he had seemed more mature when compared to that first love. Then again, he had matured. He wasn’t a child anymore. This wasn’t his first crush, his first time having this. The red head had learn from his past experience although… He seemed to be kind of lost about what he felt in a way. What he had learnt from his past experience was something but instead of keeping that knowledge he had decided to lock it away, regarding it as an old memory of no use.

He clicked his tongue, dropping what he was doing and chose to dismount a flintlock instead. This brought his mind back to focus on what he was doing since it was something that he didn’t do automatic like that damned pocket watch.

The room grew darker as the hours passed by, making him realize how late it had become when he had the need to turn on the small lamp on his desk

Eustass leaned back on the chair, going to remove his goggles but the elastic slipped from his fingers, the fabric slapping against his temple.

“Fuck…” He cursed under his breath, managing to remove them completely, dropping them on the desk. He let his head fall back, a sigh escaping lips when he closed his eyes, understanding how tired his vision had become over the hours spent working on that desk. Finally opening his eyes, he was expecting to look up to the ceiling of the ship but instead he met a sweet green gaze. Skyler had woken up from her sleep and had somehow managed to move to him silently. “What?”

“You can take the bed.” Her voice was raspy, result of sleeping the entire afternoon. “Thank you Eustass. Really.”

“You can stay a bit longer. I still have shit to do.” He closed his eyes once more but quickly snapped them open once again, his whole body tensing up when he felt her hands on each side of his face.

“Did you hurt yourself?” Her thumb rubbed the red mark that was starting to appear on his temple, caused by his goggles.

“It’s nothing. You can go back to sleep.” He straightened his body, turning around on the chair to face her. Even sitting down, he managed to practically be the same height as her.

“I’m okay for now.” She answered, a smile drawing on her lips. Skyler had the need to touch his hair, run her fingers through the strands. She wanted to hear his sounds when she touched him. She couldn’t quite grasp why she was feeling this way towards such a brute man but she wanted it. Without processing, she took a step closer to him, stepping in between his legs, and ran her fingers by his red hair. His body was tense with the sudden contact but once her nails dug softly to the back of his head he seemed to relax, melting into her hand. His calloused hands found their way to her thighs, the tips of his fingers barely touching them. “Eustass?”

“Hm…?” To their surprise, the sound he made was a mix between a purr and a low growl, fitting to the rough man he was.

“Have you ever loved someone?” Her heart was racing as the words left her mouth. She let her hand trace his jawline, her thumb caressing his chin and heading up towards his painted lips.

“What’s up with all the questions?” He leaned forward, holding her wrist but keeping her hand close to his face. He wanted her to touch him more, wanted to feel her run her hands on his neck, his chest, everywhere. The things she made him feel were just growing more and more intense. His skin burned under her touch.

“I want to get to know you. Not just as the captain of a pirate ship.” She was pushed closer to him by his free hand that had found its way to the small of her back. “I want to know Eustass Kidd, who he is, what are his ambitions. His dreams.”

A knock on the door interrupted them, making Skyler jump away, startled by the sound.

“What!?” Eustass shouted, getting up from his chair and opening the door. Heat was on the other side of the door.

“We’re all gathered in the mess hall and waiting for you.” He informed. “Killer told us what happened at the tavern so we want to know what the next step will be.”

“Fuck…” He cursed under his breath, nodding at him. “I’ll be there in a few.”

“Alright captain.” With that Heat left.

The red head didn’t close the door, leaving it ajar with his hand resting on the handle.

“We should get going, no?” Her voice came out weak, making him look at her and noticing the light pink tint that her cheeks had. He nodded his head, his eyes returning to look at the wooden door. The light from the small desk lamp disappeared when she turned it off. He noted the steps she took to the bed, the sound of her getting her boots on and walking back to him. “Shall we?”

Finally turning around to face her, his hands around her torso, one sitting behind her neck while the other was on the small of her back, pulling her close to him. He locked her lips to his, relishing in the taste of her lips but it wasn't enough.

He wanted more

After a moment of shock, Skyler’s hands reached up to his head, her fingers melting into his red fiery hair, pulling him closer if it were possible.

Placing a finger on her chin, Kidd broke the kiss, his breath mingling with hers, the heat of it warming their faces.

“Open your mouth.” He ordered before joining their lips once more, this time tasting and exploring her mouth, their tongues intertwining with one another. Despite not understanding completely, he was adoring the way she just melted into him. Adoration was not a word part of his vocabulary or description but, just for her, he’d allow himself such a feeling. What he had towards her was attraction, a need to have her. Maybe the years of travelling the sea without a woman to share his bed with had caught up to him, finding just how much he actually needed someone to share intimate moments such as these. Breaking apart the kiss, Eustass ran a finger over her lips, wiping away the smudge of his own lipstick away. “Let’s go and meet the others.”

He rolled his shoulders and, straightening his back, he snapped his neck. His copper eyes were glued to hers when she reached out to clean away the lipstick on his face that had been smeared away from his lips. A low grumble from his stomach broke the intense atmosphere the room had, her laughter echoing within those walls.

“And get something to eat, I assume.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 9

Skyler could only look at Eustass in shock and surprise as she watched him wolf down dish after dish that had been placed on the long table of the mess hall.

“I’d recommend you eat something quick before everything disappears.” Killer stated, his hand resting on her shoulder to catch her attention.

“This is just because he’s hungry, right?” She pointed a spoon at the red hair, her eyes turning up to look at the masked man.

“When is he not?” With that, he sat next to Skyler, across Eustass so that he could look at his captain. “We found the whereabouts of the slave traders.”

“Good.” His mouth was stuffed with food that it seemed almost impossible that he could phrase any words. “We’ll go there after I eat.”

“Think it’ll be a good idea to go there in the night?” The blond questioned. “The building we found was in the middle of the woods. It’ll be rather awkward to manoeuvre through the thicket of the forest.”

“Then why the fuck do we have you?” The captain swallowed the food he had in his mouth, finally speaking clearly. “You’re our navigator so do what you know how to do and navigate.”

With a heavy sigh, Killer nodded and leaned back on his chair.

“Is this a good idea?” The woman asked, her gaze jumping between the red head and the blonde.

“They attacked us so I think it’s only fair we return the favour.” With that he returned to the task of stuffing his face with as much food possible.

“You’re not going to…” She cut her sentence short, dreading to say the words that always left a bitter taste in her mouth. The men didn’t answer right away, Eustass finishing eating and finally standing up from his seat while Killer stayed put. The rest of the men in the ship got up as well and headed outside. Skyler wanted to follow suit, heading towards the captain to ask him, to get a proper answer but was stopped by Killer’s hand on her wrist. “Please tell me you’re not going to… kill those people.”

“It’s the only way Kidd functions.” He got up from his seat and rested his arm over her shoulders. “We’re outlaws, Sky. Everyone in this ship is used to this system of kill or be killed. It’s how we survive in this world.” The man pulled her closer to him, squishing her side against his own. “It is not the utopia you want it to be so try and get used to this.”

“That’s a bit much to ask…” She mumbled under her breath, in hopes that he hadn’t heard her but the squeeze on her shoulder told her otherwise. She placed her own hand over his and let out a heavy sigh. “Let’s go. Wouldn’t want to keep the others waiting.” She patted his hand and started walking towards the exit, Killer following alongside her. “And Eustass is not the prime example of patience either.”

~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~x~

The woods they had to traverse were dense but the crew managed to navigate themselves to the warehouse that was the headquarters of the slave traders in that island. It was an old, industrial like building, the age reflecting on the deterioration of the wall surface. Some sections seemed to have received some form recovery, certain cracks and holes being fixed and covered up. There wasn’t much activity on the outside, everything seeming very quiet and peaceful: no one keeping guard over the entrances or anything. The only signs of activity came from the light sources from within the building itself.

Skyler could feel her heart in her throat as she ran her gaze by the entire building. She felt herself very fidgety and nervous, her nails digging in her palms as a reflex, something to try and distract her. She felt too stress to take notice of Eustass that had fixated his attention on her restless form.

The pirates started to move once more, passing by the woman, snapping her awake from her mild trance. Just as she took a step forward, she was presented with a blade right in front of her face, startling her.

“Take it.” Eustass said as he handed the dagger to her. “Use it whenever you need it.” She took it from his hands, the cold blade coming in contact with her skin, sending a strong shiver down her spine.

“I hope I never get to use it.” She whispered, twirling the blade on her hand so that she could grip the handle tightly.

With that, the pirates barged in to the warehouse, catching off guard the few people that were at that first section of the building. Everything quickly turned to an unbalanced battle, far too many pirates for the few unsuspecting men that had been given the duty to stay at that entrance.

Chaos had erupted and Skyler quickly found herself get engulfed by it, disorientating her. She didn’t and couldn’t know what to do in these situations. She had learnt martial arts as a defence method not as an attack mechanism in a battle that was started on a whim.

Her legs began to move, instinct kicking in. She only wanted to get away from the heat of the confusion, finding herself go further in to the building. She came to a panicked standstill wen her form was held tightly by a man, one of his hands around her waist, holding her arms close against her torso, and a hand on her neck, pulling her head up.

Adrenaline kicked in, Skyler quickly stabbing her foot down on to her opponent’s one. This gave her some freedom as the man’s grasp loosened around her: reaching around her, her hand found his face, her nails digging into his cheeks, pilling his head back and, with the help of her foot, she swept him off the floor, sending him flying towards the ground. The sound of his skull meeting the concrete was dry, the cracking noise chilling her to the bone but she didn’t have time. More people were approaching her with the intent to kill her and the raven haired woman had to defend herself. She fought them off, choosing to knock them unconscious or disabling them but it started to be too much.

 Her body was beginning to complain and the stream of opponents didn’t seem to cease as more and more approached her. Skyler found herself retreating back in to the chaos where she know that the pirates would take care of most of the foes ahead of her. She allowed herself sparse moments to breathe before returning to combat once more.

Returning into the fray once more, she felt that the waves of people were reducing slowly, so the pirates moved further in. Skyler just followed, her body moving of its own accord as if it was in pilot mode. She seemed as if she had blacked out, only returning to her senses when she noticed she had wandered away from the group.

“Fuck…” She whispered under her breath, looking around, searching for the source of all the chaotic sounds of the battle. Everything echoed around her and she couldn’t pinpoint it properly. She was caught off guard when she heard a gunshot and felt a sharp pain burning her left shoulder, making her hiss.

Looking behind her, Skyler saw a blond man, holding up a flintlock at her, his arms shaking ever so lightly. His green eyes were wide open in panic but he seemed determined. He was probably going to kill her when he could muster up the courage to aim for her head or her heart. She chose not to wait for that moment, her body snaking towards the man, her fingers deftly curling around the gun’s pipe that was still hot from the shot that was fired. She bent the weapon upward, twisting his wrist and aimed her elbow at his face, curving the hit downwards, cutting his skull open.

He wasn’t knocked out with the blow, instead pulling out a dagger and aiming at her heart. She was caught off balance, falling flat on her back, the man straddling her against the floor.

Skyler grabbed the man’s wrists, holding the blade away from her chest. Her arms were shaking from her struggle, the blond clearly at an advantage in momentum and position when compared to her. She needed an opening so she decided to make one: she moved her torso off the side to the best of her abilities, letting the dagger come crashing down to her left shoulder once more. Luckily the blade didn’t stab the flesh but instead slashed at the outer side of her arm. Quickly, she shrimped away from him, sending him off balance to the floor.

What unfolded next was a blur: she pulled out the dagger Eustass had given her and before she could process, her arms were already extended, the blade stabbing the man that had managed to get off the floor. The woman could hear his weak whimpers as the blood began to spew from his abdominal area when she pulled out the weapon. The pained sounds he made mixed with her weak sobs, her body shaking uncontrollably and his stilled, the life slipping away from his eyes.

She fell to her knees, her sight fixated on the wound she had inflicted on him, the blood flow slowing until coming to a stop.

She wanted to vomit, to cry, to shout but her body couldn’t manage to do such things. She just shook and sobbed, no tears streaming down her cheeks.

Time became something she forgot about, only being reminded of it when someone touched her right shoulder. She jumped in her placed and twirled around, dagger in hand.

The blade was stopped by Killer’s gauntlets, the masked man leaning down towards her, holding her hands in his own. He pulled her up from the floor, making sure to steady her since her legs seemed to have become gelatine. He traced her arms up, his hand stopping under the shot wound on her shoulder.

“Does it hurt?” He asked but got no answer. Her green eyes were wide open and fixed on his mask. With a heavy sigh, he stabbed his finger in the wound, trying to snap her out of her frozen state. She shouted in pain and shrunk away from his touch. “Sky, what’s done is done.” He reached up to her face, rubbing his thumb on her cheek. “Let’s go back to the ship, okay?”

Her face contorted in an attempt to fight back the tears that managed to finally reach her eyes but failing. They streamed down her face, her suffocating cries deafening her ears.

Killer pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her shaking form. He let her burry her face against the crook of his neck so that she could muffle the sound of her sobs against his blouse. He brushed her hair with his fingers, trying to soothe her with his touch.

When her sobbing got worse, he would hold her tighter against him until she would calm down once more, loosening his grip around her body. He only let her go when she stepped away from him.

Her eyes were swollen and red, her cheeks soaked with the tears. Skyler rubbed her face dry with the sleeves of her own blouse.

“I’m sorry, I got your shirt all wet…” Her voice sounded so meek and weak.

“Right now we need to worry with that wound of yours, okay?” He tilted his head, crossing his arms over his chest when she nodded in agreement. “Let’s go back then.” He gently placed a hand on her back and both walked down the hall.

“Killer…” She called, making him turn his masked face to her. “I… I’m scared.”

“The danger’s over though.” He brought the hand that was resting on her back up to her neck, massaging the tense muscles.

“I’m scared at how easy it was to kill someone…” She shook once more, her body threatening to break down again. It was his fingers on her neck that stopped her from doing so.

“It’s something that scares me too.” He sympathized, letting his hand run up to her scalp, brushing her hair. “Because I’m human too. It’s a grim reminder of my own mortality and weakness.” He found himself letting out a bitter chuckle. “I am just as weak as the people we kill and it fucking terrifies me.” Killer breathed in heavily. “So I choose to kill instead of being killed.”

“Does it get easier?” She fidgeted nervously with her fingers.

“It becomes a bit more bearable.” He pulled her head close to his shoulder, letting her rest there for a few moments. “If that is considered easier than yes. It does, Sky.”

Chapter Text

With one last hiss from Skyler, Heat closed the wound that she had on her shoulder with one last stich. The man carefully bandaged her and warned her to rest her arm at all times until the wound was healed.

“Thank you Heat… Really, thank you.” A weak, tired smile was drawn on her lips before she got up from the chair she had been sitting on.

They didn’t quite have an infirmary, per se, but that makeshift closet was the closest they had and it was better than nothing. They could manage to take care of minor wounds in there while major operations she could only assume they’d attempt to find an actual clinic or hospital on the closest island they could get to.

Assuming the person could survive the journey.

She exited the room, followed by Heat, but she didn’t walk far since she was stopped by Eustass’ hulking figure. He wasn’t wearing his heavy coat, instead using an open vest, leaving his chest out in the open.

Heat nodded at his captain before heading up to deck, leaving the two alone in the hallway.

Her green eyes scurried over his figure before stopping on his copper gaze. He seemed to have a more toned down behaviour towards her, his eyes reflected his need to show some level of care towards Skyler.

“Hey.” He spoke, his voice coming out raspy and low, the sound sending shivers down the woman’s spine.

“Hey…” Absentmindedly, she reached out to the edge of his vest with her good arm, her fingers tugging and playing with the hem of it. She took a step closer to him, moving her gaze to his bare chest and moved her hand to touch his muscled stomach, her nails barely touching his skin.

She could feel his warm breath on the top of her head, messing her black hair ever so lightly. Skyler felt his hand snake to the side of her neck, revealing to him the bandages that peaked out of her shirt. His touch burned her in a comforting manner, something that brought some amusement to her exhausted mind: that man was an incarnation of fire, after all.

She returned her gaze to his face when he tugged her hair lightly when he closed his hand in a fist.

His copper eyes held an amalgamation of contradiction emotions that left her puzzled: discomfort, desire, excitement, worry… She reached out to his face, her fingers caressing his jaw before moving to his hair. The man melted into her touch, letting out a breathed grunt of pleasure. The sound he made had her heart beating wildly, her body relishing in the sound he emitted.

“How’s the shoulder?” He broke their comforting silence, his gaze turning to her bandages.

“Sore, hurting but I’ll live.” Her tone shifted to something more distant and cold as the memories of the fight came back to her. Skyler felt a tight squeeze in her chest as the image of the man she had killed seeped into her mind. She let her hand that was on his hair fall to her side, her nails digging into her thigh so that she could try and distract herself on something else. So that she could attempt to not let tears flood her eyes once more.

“Killer told me what happened.” Kidd sounded proud when he spoke. She looked up at the captain and was disgusted to find an amused and sadistic smile on his lips.

“Are you kidding me?” It came out as a whimper but her words carried anger in them. He raised a non-existent eyebrow at her now flushed face. Her body had started to shake ever so lightly of rage and fear. “Are you actually smiling after what I did?”

“Why wouldn’t I?”

She bit her lip, taking a step back from him.

“You think I wanted to do that?” Her voice grew in intensity, catching him off guard. “You think I wanted to kill someone!? To get rid of a part of my humanity by taking someone’s life!?” She was now shouting at him. Whoever was close by could hear her loud and clear. “How can you be so fucking happy towards killing someone?”

“It’s how things work in this ship.” It was his turn to shout back at her, reaching to the collar of her shirt and pulling her towards him. “You asked to stay and you knew very fucking well how things worked here.”

“How can you so easily dismiss a life?”

“Because they’re in my way!” He shook her as he spoke those words, his copper eyes burning her soul. “And I won’t let anyone stand between me and what I want.” He let her go and crossed his arms over his chest. “You don’t like how shit goes in this ship then just fucking leave.”

“You…” She whispered, digging her nails into her arms. “You violent brute!” She shouted at him, smacking his arm. “You think you can just kill whatever and whoever you want and that takes you closer to what you want!?” She smacked him again. “You don’t have to do that, you idiotic, sadistic man!”

“What!?” He grabbed her wrist, pulling her against the wall and effectively trapping her between the wooden surface and his towering body. He leaned forward so that his face was at the same level as hers, daring her to talk again.

“You heard me! You are a sadistic, insufferable, gigantic brute that doesn’t understand that things can be resolved with a normal conversation!” She head-butted his forehead, hurting herself more than him since she hit his goggles. “Fucking hell Eustass! I didn’t want to kill that man!” She struggled against his grip to no avail. “I’m no like you! I can’t just kill and carry on like nothing fucking happened!” Her voice grew weaker, reaching a whisper. “He was afraid… He was so scared… just like I was.”

“Don’t cry on me now, woman.” He growled in complaint when he saw the first tears fall down her cheeks. “Fuck…”

“He was so scared…” She whimpered before her voice returned to a shout once more. “And I killed him because I was scared…” Skyler was shaking violently, her eyes wide open and staring at the ground. “I was scared to die…”

“You’re so weak…” It was a lie. He knew it was a lie what he had said but he needed her to snap out of it somehow. He knew she was strong willed since the day she appeared on their ship and was willing to fight so that they’d help her. Eustass Kidd knew that the woman standing in front of him that was falling apart at the seams was a strong person.

“Fuck off…” Skyler choked out between her sobbing. “You’re not any better either. You’re hot-headed and you do things to your own advantage… You’re so up and ready to kill anyone that stands in your way.” As if a switch was turned, her sobbing ceased and that fierce spirit was installed in her once more. “So tell me Kidd, what are you so afraid of that makes you do all these irrational things?”

He was dumbfounded at her question, not because he didn’t know what to say he just didn’t know why his voice had left him. He did all of that because he, himself, was scared of not being able to achieve what he wanted. That insane, nagging fear of failure constantly nagging at the back of his mind; the noise he would always push back with his confidence and ego.

The ruckus he would always push to the darkest corner of his mind so that he wouldn’t break under pressure.

He killed because he was scared shitless of dying before succeeding.

“I don’t need to answer you.” He finally stated, straightening his back so that he could look down on her.

“Coward.” She gritted her teeth in anger but was startled, jumping in her place when he slammed his hand against the wall, right next to her head.

She looked like a deer on headlights, her green eyes shining brightly in fear and surprise. She had struck a nerve in him and that was all she had wanted to do: make him understand the true weight of his actions.

“You know nothing of this life we have.” He growled at her, his eyes piercing hers. “I kill because I have to. I kill so that I won’t be killed.” He leaned back down to her level, this time looking more menacing, hunching over her like a hyena. “You better learn that fast if you don’t want to die.” Skyler could feel her heart beating in her ears, deafening everything around her. As he spoke, he sounded like they were in a tunnel, his voice echoing and dispersing down that hallway. He leaned closer to her, his cheek against hers, the shadow of a beard scratching her skin. His breath was hot against her neck. “Right now you shouldn’t be afraid about the next kill you’ll have to make.” His lips pressed to her ear. “You should be afraid of me because, if you become an obstacle to me, I’ll have no problem in getting rid of you.”

“Then why keep me around in the first place?” She wanted to sound secure, confident but her voice was shaky, fearful. Her chest was rising rapidly, her breathing was loud.

“Because I saw strength in you…” He trailed his lips to her neck, his teeth grazing her skin. “All you need to do is stop being a crying bitch and grow a fucking pair.” He hissed in pain when he felt her nails dig into his side, making him lean back to look at her face once more. He gave her an amused smile when he saw her eyes burning with the power and will he had seen when he first fought her. “Fucking hell…” He mumbled, the smile growing wider on his lips. Despite having said he’d be up to getting rid of her, he wanted her around for a long time. She didn’t know her place and that irritated him to an extent but it was so entertaining for him. Skyler questioned his authority and he loved to show her where she actually belonged. Kidd placed a finger on her chin, leaning closer to her. “Open your mouth.”

“No.” She replied. Catching him off guard, she leaned towards his neck and bit hard on the flesh, not enough to make it bleed, but enough to leave a deep mark for a day or two. He hissed in paint but didn’t push her away, instead he held her head in place, snaking another arm around her waist. Skyler bit him one more time before stepping away from him. “You want me to grow a pair? Sure, I’ll do that.” She snarled at him. “Don’t expect me to obey your orders, though.”

With that she walked away from him, heading up to deck to catch some fresh air, leaving Kidd behind.

The captain was left stunned in his place, a smile of sadistic glee plastered on his face before he burst out laughing. He was pleased with himself and he was thankful for that woman to be in that ship with them.

He was going to have such a good time with her around.

Chapter Text

Chapter 11

It was too early in the morning for Skyler to be up and about but Killer had repeated time and time again that it was the best time for the two to practice without getting in the way of the rest of the crew. She understood that he didn’t want to meddle with the other pirates’ work but… the sun hadn’t even risen and they were already on deck and ready to spar.

Well, Killer was. Skyler, on the other hand, was fighting to keep her eyes open.

They had been doing these sessions for the past two weeks since they’ve been at sea. She was hoping they’d find land soon so that she could take a break. As much as it was helping her and improving her fighting abilities, she couldn’t help but feel completely drained. The blond man was ruthless when he was training her, pushing her past her limits and not bothering much with any damage she’d suffer.

Well… he did worry about her well-being. He just didn’t let it show all that much. Only when she couldn’t manage to get up right away that he’d actually cool down on his attacks.

He had given her temporary alloy gauntlets that were easy and light to wield. Since her fighting style was close ranged and she used her fists and legs, Killer had spoken to Wire about making something for her for better defense and impact. It had helped her but her moves were still awkward since she wasn’t used to the feel of the gauntlets.

Killer had decided to not give her the leg pieces yet since it would only make her clumsier with her moves. He did feel she was being careful to not hurt him, her attacks not holding all that much power.

“I feel like we’re doing this earlier and earlier…” Skyler complained, stretching her arms above her head and sighed when she felt her joints pop.

“If we are, it means you are getting worse and need more time to train.” The blond stated, testing out his bladed gauntlets to see if the mechanism was fully functional.

“You wound me, Killer.” She chuckled, placing a hand on her chest in mocked pain.

He turned his attention to the woman, finally noting her attire. She would always have a very minimal outfit to facilitate her movements but they were always baggy and covered her figure decently. Today, however, she chose on a tighter outfit. The fabric was elastic and comfortable, hugging her figure tightly and showing her curves.

“Then get better.” He said after a few moments of engraving her image to mind. “You ever heard of Haki?”

“What the hell is that?” She walked up to him, crossing her arms over her chest and waiting for him to begin his explanation.

“It’s… a skill that anyone can learn with enough training.” He began, resting his hands in his pockets and doing his best to focus his attention on her face and not on her chest that had perked up when she crossed her arms. He mentally thanked himself for his fashion choice of wearing a mask that hid away his entire face from everyone else. “There’s two that everyone has and can awaken if they so want to: armament and observation haki. Armament haki is basically an invisible armor that hardens your body or parts of your body and you can use it to fight. Observation haki is… kind of like a sixth sense more or less?” He shrugged, doing his best to simplify the two terms. “You can guess incoming attacks and read your opponent.”

“So just… keep a keen eye and make your body calloused enough to not hurt that much?” She asked, confused as to why they had those terms when it was a simple basis of a professional fighter.

“Well… to put it simply, yes but it’s heightened. Those senses are stronger so much so that with armament haki you can iron your skin and with observation haki you can see into the close future if you focus on that alone.” He tried to hold back his laughter when he looked at her dumbfounded expression.

“I would ask if you were high but, I mean… Kidd can attract metal with the power of imagination so… I guess that’s plausible?” She mumbled and that was the last drop, Killer finally laughing out loud. “What?”

“It’s the way you put that.” His laughter died down slowly until he finally managed to compose himself. “His ability comes from a devil fruit and not from the power of imagination.”

“Hey, don’t judge me.” She chuckled, cracking her knuckles. “Let’s just get this train over with before everyone else wakes up.” She stepped back to gain some distance from the blond man before asking “Which haki should I focus on?”

“Since you have those gauntlets for now, try to focus on observation haki.” He took a fighting stance, activating the mechanism of his gauntlets. “Focus on guessing my next attack, on seeing it and avoid it before I can hit you.”

She nodded and their sparring began. The first attacks were barely dodged, since she was trusting on her Muay Thai training and her muscle memory to react on time but she wasn’t envisioning the next attack at all. Killer managed to take hold of her arm and launched her across the deck. Her back hit the railing but she was quick to her feet, running towards him once more to attack. Once again, he deflected her attack and bashed her torso down, making her back hit the floor.

“Fuck…” She choked out. Killer reached out his hand to help her up and she quickly took it, getting back up and ready to fight again.

“Focus on defending and not attacking.” He informed her and continued to go for the attack when she nodded in agreement.

She breathed in deeply, emptying her mind before focusing her entire attention on the man before her. He was giving her barely no time to compose when he began attacking her but, for one second, she managed to read his moves and, letting her body go on auto-pilot, she somehow managed to dodge an attack that he was preparing. His body showed no clue as to where it was going but she dodged to the left and, only moments later did his attack go down towards her right.

She lost her balance, tripping over Killer’s feet and, as she fell, she held onto his blouse, pulling him down to the floor with her. Her expression was of surprise and enthusiasm, a smile growing wider on her face.

“I think I did it!” She shook his shoulders lightly, her body shaking from the adrenaline. “I saw it! Killer, I saw it before it happened! Is that it!? That was so weird!” She was spitting out her words so rapidly that the blond man had a bit of trouble understanding what she was saying. He couldn’t help but smile at her, saddened that she couldn’t see his approval to her achievement. “I don’t know what the fuck I did but I think I did it!” Her enthusiasm died down once she processed their position: he was on top of her, one of his legs between hers, his arms on each side of her torso, holding him up. His blond hair fanned down, covering them from prying eyes and shielding her from the sun that was now peaking in the horizon. Their chests were heaving, result of their fight, her face flushed red from the effort. “Why do you wear a mask?” She finally asked, breaking the silence.

He shrugged.

“Fashion choice?” He smiled once more when he heard her soft chuckle.

“You guys all have a questionable fashion sense.” She said, choking a bit on her laughter. She reached up towards his helmet, her fingers shaking lightly. Her eyes were gleaming as she looked at his mask to where his eyes were supposed to be, as if silently asking if she could take it off. Her response was his right hand reaching to the mask, on the round pieces that worked as latches to keep it in place. There was a clicking noise when he pressed one side and then the other. Skyler carefully removed his mask, revealing his face to her. She laughed when she saw his dense blond bangs covering his eyes and part of his nose. “Even under the mask you want to hide your face. How can you see with all this hair?” She said, mindlessly running her fingers through his hair and bushing it away, revealing light blue eyes that were staring intently at her. There was a long scar that went from one side of his cheek to another, bridging over his nose, and a second scar that crossed it, that came from his right eyebrow and down on a straight line until his jawline.

“So? What’s the verdict?” Killer asked, a grin making its way to his lips.

“I could get used to this.” She said, letting her hand rest on his shoulder, his bangs covering his eyes once more. Skyler was enjoying seeing how his lips moved when he spoke to her; how the corner of his eyes would wrinkle when he grinned at her and his nose would scrunch up when the grin became a smile.

He leaned back, sitting down on his heels so that he could look at her entire form. She sat up to be at the same level as him, keeping her hand on his shoulder, her nails brushing against his neck. Killer took hold of her arm, removing the gauntlet and bringing her hand to his lips, caressing the skin with his thumb, his eyes fixated on her face that had gained a stronger blush because of his actions.

With a long sigh, he got up to his feet and, before he could help her up from the ground, he visibly cringed when he saw Kidd standing in the doorway, staring at both of them, anger burning in his eyes.

Skyler looked over her shoulder and her eyes widened when he saw the red haired man walking up towards the both of them. She scurried to her feet, ready to face his wrath but was surprise when he directed it towards Killer.

“She’s mine.” He growled at his first mate, his form towering over the slightly shorter man. Killer didn’t budge from his place at all, choosing to not falter and back out on his choices.

“Oi!” She called out, stepping in between the two men. She handed the mask back to Killer before turning to face Kidd. “I’m not something for you to piss on and claim as yours.” She growled, making the red head man blink in surprise at her choice of words. Skyler grabbed her gauntlet that had been forgotten on the floor and placed it on her forearm once more. She averted her gaze to the blond man behind her. “Thank you for training me.” The black haired woman turned her attention back to her captain. “And you better get a personality check because it’s pretty crap, Kidd. I don’t belong to you or anyone.” She grabbed the collard of his jacket, pulling him down a bit and meeting up to his height by standing on her tip toes. “I am my own person. Just because we kissed doesn’t mean I am yours to claim.”  She let go of his collard and stormed off towards the mess deck, planning on getting something to eat before the rest of the pirates woke up and made a ruckus.

The two men were left behind, staring at the door where Skyler had disappeared to, dumbfounded by her explosion until Killer finally broke the silence.

“Be a bit more mindful of her next time.” He adjusted the mask and locking it in place once more. “If you do want her then think of what you’re going to say.”

“Fuck off, you blond pansy.” He growled under his breath, angry at what he had witnessed and towards his first mate because he knew the blond man was right.

“Go talk to her.” Killer said, placing his hands in his pockets, amused that he got a surprised look from the ever enraged captain. “Seems that you both have to clear the waters between the two of you.” The curious look made Killer wave his hand to dismiss that expression. “I stepped out of line, I’m aware of that. You’re possessive of the things you want. I was out of bounds.” The blond man cleared, seeing his captain’s figure relax. “But don’t expect me to sit still if she’s the one that comes looking for me and not you.”

This last statement brought back the tension to Kidd’s body, his red eyes burning with the enthusiasm brought by a challenge.

“Don’t expect me to fucking lose to you.” Eustass grinned and left to find Skyler, leaving Killer alone on deck.

He couldn’t help but chuckle in amusement. He felt enthusiasm with poking at the beast that was Eustass Kidd, even if the captain would bitch about it afterwards. Plus, he enjoyed that Skyler would respond to such small gestures coming from the first mate.

It was comforting, in a way.

His thoughts were cut short when the crew began to mobilize more and more, creating a ruckus on deck. The blond man began to dictate orders around to the members of the crew so that duties could be distributed through all of them.

For now, Killer would have to ignore his urges towards Skyler and see how things would unfold.

 

Chapter Text

Skyler was quick to find her way to the mess hall, happy to find a few of the pirates already roaming around. They had been nicer to her when it came to keeping her awake at night. Ever since spending that one day in Eustass’s room, no one had bothered to knock on her door when she had returned to her makeshift room.

She was quick to find something for her to nibble on, choosing with two pieces of fruit. She sat down next to Heat, happy when he smiled at her, acknowledging her presence and signaling for her to sit on the bench he was on.

“How’s your shoulder?” He asked when she finally made herself comfortable.

“Pretty good, actually. The first days were rough but I can move it around decently now.” She rolled her shoulders to show him that she was, in fact, alright. “Thank you, Heat.”

“You’re welcome and, for the record, those first days were your fault.” He informed, letting out a chuckle when she rolled her eyes.

“Look… I wasn’t expecting to face a sea king for the second time and there was barely anyone on deck when it happened.” She grimaced at the memory of her stitches opening up during her fight. “I didn’t ask for it!”

“I’m happy to see that you are feeling better.”

Skyler gave him a thumbs up, giving him a toothy smile but it was quick to fade away when she saw the serious look on Heat’s face as he looked to a figure behind her.

She looked over her shoulder and huffed when she saw an angry looking Eustass Kidd looming over her.

“Come with me.” He ordered her, snapping his tongue when she didn’t budge from her seat.

“Let me finish eating.” She snapped back at him.

“That was an order.” He yanked her up by the arm, making her yelp in surprise. “I’m the captain of this ship and you will obey the orders I give you without question.”

“Abuse of authority is not a very good image for you, Kidd.” She growled at him before she found herself being dragged out of the mess hall. Once they were out in the hall, Skyler managed to get her arm out of his grasp. “What the fuck was that for?”

“We need to talk…” He said, although he cringed at those words. He had always been an “actions speak louder than words” kind of man, choosing to jump head first into a confrontation. Just this once, he would allow himself to try Killer’s method of… socializing.

“That’s something I’d never expect hearing coming from you.” She found herself taken back by his attitude, a bit unsettled as to what it would come down to. “There was still no need to drag me out here like I was some child.”

“You sure were acting like one back then.” He smirked when he heard her growl at him. He crossed his arms over his bare chest, leaning against to wall to rest his weight in an attempt to keep his cool. He wasn’t expecting her to cooperate with him and he knew that would demolish whatever patience he had gathered to deal with this. “What do I have to do?”

“For what?” Her posture relaxed, opening herself to him, her eyes showing vulnerability and accessibility.

“You’ve been avoiding me ever since that night so what the fuck should I do for you to stop that shit?”

“Grow a heart?” She raised an eyebrow, her voice carrying bitterness with her words which made Kidd snap his tongue in displeasure.

“You know I’m not a pansy.” He snarled, surprised that a grin appeared on her lips.

“It doesn’t make you a pansy, plus” Skyler took a step towards the man leaning against the wall, making him push himself away from the wall so he could stand at his full height “I saw a heart in you somewhere when I was in your room.” Her green gaze quickly averted down to his lips before returning to his burning red eyes. “Even before, when you offered to let me rest in your room. It doesn’t make you a pansy, Kidd. All I’m asking is for you to reflect that side more often and be a bit more mindful with what you say.”

“And make my men believe I’m weak?” He stood his ground when she took a step towards him.

“You can still be as ruthless as you are just… show that human side of yours more often to your men.” She mentally slapped herself when she saw his outraged expression, knowing full well that he always kept the well-being of his crew in mind. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that. You know what? Forget it. I’m the one that is out of place.” She brushed stray strands of black hair that made their way to her face, sighing in exhaustion. “I know you care for these people and you show it… It’s just your way of doing it. These guys respect you a lot.” She shrugged, trying to dismiss her beginning thought process. “You were right… I was being childish.”

“What’s going on between you and Killer?”

She was taken aback by his question, changing the subject in a second.

“He’s been training me.” She answered truthfully, her eyes widening in surprise towards the anger that was burning in his gaze. She realized what he was talking about and she quickly corrected herself. “I… Don’t know what that was. It was instinctive for me to reach to him.” She averted her eyes to the floor, feeling ashamed about her actions, a shiver crawling up her spine. “I guess I was looking for some form of closure. This whole… world is still so new to me, so unfamiliar.”

She yelped when she felt his hand snake behind her back, pulling her flat against his chest. Kidd’s other hand found its way to the back of her head, grabbing a tuff of hair forcing her to look at his face. He engulfed her mouth with his own, the kiss feeling needy and demanding, making Skyler whimper in contentment.

Her hands found their way to his shoulders, clinging onto his body, searching for the closeness she had been craving. Their kiss deepened and grew wilder when Kidd switched their positions, keeping her trapped against the wall he had been leaning against. The captain broke the kiss, his mouth avidly tasting the skin of her jaw and down her neck, stopping at her collarbone.

“Then come to me the next time you crave that closure.” He spoke, voice hoarse from his ministrations. “I am your captain so come to me when you need me.” His breath burnt against her neck and Skyler found herself relishing in the sensation, her fingers getting tangled in his red fiery hair. “You got that?”

“Yes captain.” She whispered and felt his lips curl up in a grin, his chest puffing with confidence and pride as he heard her speak those words. Another shiver ran down her spine when his hands trailed down her sides and stopped at her hips, pulling her pelvis against his, making her gasp. He grunted close to her ear when he felt her grasp on his hair tightened. “Eustass…” She moaned, her face flushing to a deep red color.

He would always manage to make her feel week, her legs shaking from excitement and her back arching to meet his rough, scarred body. He was a brute but Skyler always found herself craving his touch that seemed to imprint itself on to and under her skin.

She felt like an addict, wanting more and more of him and his taste, feeling herself lose her breath when she did get it. They had shared an intimate moment once before this and, even before being caught in his rough kiss, she felt her skin burn when she traced her fingers through his hair and touched his face.

She wanted more.

“I suggest you take that elsewhere, captain.” Heat called from behind them. The captain only peaked over his shoulder, not moving away from Skyler, holding in a chuckle when she tried to jump away from him. He made sure that he kept her in place, digging his nails into her hips to show her who had the authority at that moment. “We also caught sight of an island. Killer wants to stop by and restock.” He continued before walking up to deck, leaving the two alone.

Kidd reluctantly stepped away from a still blushing Skyler, wiping away the lipstick that had smudged onto her lips. With a grin, he tidied up his own lipstick, rubbing off the makeup that was out of place.

“I’m happy you got the message.” With that he headed outside, leaving Skyler in a blushing mess, unable to compose herself.

Her lips were swollen from his kiss, her neck was marred with his lipstick, her hair disheveled, and her tank top wrinkled up to reveal her stomach. Looking down herself she noticed small red marks on her hips where Kidd had grabbed onto.

Shaking her head, Skyler composed her clothes and headed to the bathroom that was shared by all the pirates, standing in front of the mirror to wipe away the makeup. Even though she washed it multiple times with the cheap soap that they had on the basins, the lipstick clung onto her skin, leaving a light shade of red on.

She sighed, choosing to give up on cleaning it and headed to deck where almost everyone had gathered, anxious to get to land after spending such a long time at sea. The ship wasn’t small at all but, the long they stayed at sea the more cramped up the vessel felt.

She headed to the front of the deck, standing in between Kidd and Killer so that she could see the island they were headed to.

It looked like a full-fledged metropolis, bursting at the seams with movement and human activity. Her eyes shimmered with anticipation, excited to get on land and see what that island held for her.

“I see someone has reconciled.” Killer whispered to her when he noticed the marks on her neck. She blushed once more, elbowing his side which only made him laugh. Her blush only worsen when she felt Kidd’s hand trail down her back before he stepped away from her, barking orders at his men to prep the ship for docking. “I see I was right.”

“Oh shut up.” She snarled at him, making him laugh louder.

Despite the teasing, she felt at ease and happy with what she had with Kidd.

It soothed her to know that the red haired captain was so dependable and trustworthy.

Her stay with the crew was feeling more and more pleasant as the days went by and, in all fairness, she hadn’t thought of the prospect of going back to her world anytime soon.

In fact, she was starting to prefer to be in this place more so than her own world.

Chapter Text

The landscape was modern and incredibly familiar to Skyler: apartments, skyscrapers, glass buildings and the all too acquainted noise of civilization in their constant daily rush.

It reminded her of home and yet she couldn’t feel happy about seeing that bustle again.

As soon as the ship docked, she was the first to be off and she found herself being surprised by the inhabitants of the island. They weren’t dispersing like the ones from the last island had done. In fact, they were more enthusiastic to receive them at the docks, some clapping while others let out some happy remarks about possible enthusiasm to be arriving at their island again.

Skyler felt a bit unsettled by this reception but tried to dismiss it, a hint of relief from not being shunned by them because they were pirates.

“You don’t normally show this much enthusiasm.” Killer had made his way to her side, crossing his arms over his chest and turning his masked head in order to look at her.

“It’s just a familiar landscape, that’s all.” She smiled along with her response, skipping towards the ladder where more of the pirates were using to leave the ship.

Kidd soon got off the ship, barking orders over his shoulder about who would stay behind to watch over the ship while the rest of the crew gathered by the docks, ready to follow their captain.

Skyler was joined by Heat, to which she happily hooked her arm in his, pulling him towards the front of the group in a boisterous manner, puffing her chest out and dramatically pointing out in front of her, mumbling something about a unicorn of justice.

The captain could only stare in bewildered amusement at her actions, laughing inwardly at the panic that had settled in Heat’s expression. The red haired man was quick to push this away, letting only a smirk seep out to reveal his enjoyment in the scene before him and quick made his way to the front of the group. He led them on towards, what Skyler could assume was, the closest bar they could find.

They arrived at a rather quiet bar yet spacious bar and were quickly greeted by one of the workers that pointed the group towards the most open area of the bar where long rows of tables were prepared. The pirates were quick to take a seat and begin their loud, common fuss, discussing and laughing about everything and nothing. Kidd, Killer, Heat, Wire and, consequently, Skyler chose to take a seat at a table hiding in the furthest corner of the bar, so that they could keep an eye over everything.

Despite the welcoming atmosphere, Kidd seemed to be a bit apprehensive of the friendliness they were greeted with, making sure to keep a close eye on everyone and everything.

Food and drinks were quick to find their way to the tables the pirates were sitting at, only adding more noise to the already very present ruckus. Yet, in spite of the racket of the loud pirates, the people that worked at the bar seemed to light up with joy by the prospect of activity in the bar and of future coin in their pockets.

“Hey, Eustass.” Skyler called out to the captain, catching his full attention, her hand reaching over the table to enclose his larger one. “Relax for a bit. There seems to be no threat around so, let’s all relax for a bit.” She smiled sweetly at him, her lips curling further upward when she felt his thumb shyly rub the palm of her hand.

“Wish we could, Sky.” Killer spoke out, poking at her forehead, making her wince away from his touch which, in turn, made her remove her hand from Kidd’s. “It’s in places like these that there’s no such thing as keeping an extra close attention to everything and everyone.” The woman turned her green gaze towards the captain, quickly noting the disappointing slump of his shoulders upon hearing the harsh reality of his first mate’s words. Leaning back in his seat, the blond added “But that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun for a bit.” He turned his attention to his captain. “Relax for a bit Kidd. I’ll keep watch.”

With a wide smile on her face, Skyler got up from her seat, taking hold of Kidd’s hand and dragging him with her. He stumbled against the table, cursing in the process but only got laughter from her. She led him towards the larger tables where the entire crew was drinking and eating away and called for their attention.

“How about a little music?” She called out and got claps and shouts of encouragement from them. She let go of her captain’s hand to which he took his cue to sit down at the head of the long table.

Kidd could only stare in awe as the woman took extra care to get on to the table, making sure to knock off plates from the table as gracefully as possible and began to sing out.

Well a Scotsman clad in kilt left a bar one evening fair

And one could tell by how he walked

That he’d drunk more than his share

He fumbled ‘round until he could no longer keep his feet

And stumbled off in to the grass to sleep beside the street!

Ring-ding didle idle I de-o

Ring-dye didley i-oh

He stumbled off in to the grass to sleep beside the street.

She clapped along with her singing, motivating the pirates to join in with her to clap and chant with along with her. Skyler was happy when she found that they easily found the theme and melody of the song, showing enthusiasm to sing along with her. Midway through the song one of the waiters called out to her to get off the table to which she obeyed, only to pull the waiter with her into a comical dance as she continued her song.

They crept up on that sleeping Scotsman quiet as could be

Lifted up his kilt about an inch so they could see

And there, behold, for them to view

Beneath his Scottish skirt

Was nothing more than God had graced him with upon his birth

Laughter filled the air and the song continued.

She was so caught up in the moment she didn’t notice that both Killer and Kidd were looking intensely at her, taking in every move she’d make, making sure to take a mental note of how her smile curved in such a unique way, scrunching her nose in an endearing way; how she clapped as she weaved between the dancing pirates with a feather like grace followed by neat and certain twirls.

Before he could process, the red head man got up from his seat, his arm curling around her waist as she danced her way towards him. The surprise yelp she let out made his heart melt and yet he didn’t allow his face to show what she did to him, not in front of his men. At least those who didn’t know how he was when he was with her.

And yet, the wide smile she greeted him with almost made that façade of his fall.

Her fingers curled into his fiery red hair as she finished singing the last lyrics of her song, that comforting smile never leaving her lips. Her nails scratched his scalp making him purr quietly, his hot breath brushing away stray strands of black hair from her face.

He dug his fingers into her waist, not enough to hurt her, but enough to capture her attention as he leaned down towards her height so that he could kiss her but, before he could do so, a cold shock ran through his spine.

It took him a second to process what had happened. His copper gaze was looking at a now laughing and incredibly soaked Skyler. The scent of beer was heavy around them.

“Who the fuck did that?” He barked out, snapping his head upwards. He didn’t manage to control the childish grin that reached his lips. Despite being soaked, which annoyed him, he couldn’t help but be happy to see his men having fun and relaxing.

“Sorry captain, but I was quite enjoying the song.” Killer shrugged, his hand holding an empty mug that was dripping to the floor with the remainder of its content. His first mate had taken advantage of his distraction so that he could sneak up to them and surprise them with a cold shower of beer.

“You little…” He growled, the grin on his face growing wider as he ran to catch the blond man that had sneaked in between the other pirates that continued dancing while singing pirate songs.

Kidd was quick to use his ability, dragging Killer by his arms. He was thankful that his first mate never removed those gauntlets of his. The captain reached out to an abandoned mug and, as the blond man was being dragged because of Eustass’s ability, he threw the drink at the masked man, soaking his clothes.

Skyler could only laugh loudly at the sight, entertained at the fact that the two of them looked like children. It had its charm to see two grown men throwing drinks at one another as a form of fun.

Gaining momentum, she ran towards Kidd’s back and jumped onto it, wrapping her legs around his waist and her arms around his shoulders, barely managing to avoid the spikes his cloak had. She nestled her cheek against his neck, purring in delight at the burning sensation his skin always left on her.

The pub suddenly went quiet, tension rising at the pirates assessed the situation.

Some of the waiters had guns pointed at them, while others had swords against some of the pirates. Marines entered the building, their marching echoing through the building.

A sword poked at Skyler’s back, making her tense up, her nails accidentally digging into Eustass’s chest yet he didn’t budge. Her panicked gaze softened when she felt his hand on her forearm, finding safety in his touch.

“Gentlemen… there’s no need for any rash action.” Skyler looked over her shoulder, noticing the overwhelming amount of marines that were in the bar.

“Quiet pirate! Surrender and come peacefully or face the justice of the marines.” One of the soldiers announced. He had a different coat when compared to all the older men, signaling he was a higher up.

Skyler tensed up when the sword at her back poked her once more, making her push her body more against the red haired captain. She could feel his muscles twitch against her thighs as a reflex since she was squeezing him.

“I’m sorry but we can’t surrender, mister marine man.” She smiled sadly at the marine officers she could see in her line of sight before all their weapons were pulled away from them and hovered over their heads.

Chapter Text

Chaos ensued when the marines’ weapons whirled together into a big mass and soon after hurled down on a group of marines.

Skyler stumbled back from Kidd so that he could move around freely but was quickly pulled back to his body, an arm shielding her and holding her close to his chest.

“You better not get away from me this time. I don’t want to deal with your annoying break downs.” He smirked down at her before barking out at his first mate. “Hey, Killer, go crazy.”

“Gladly captain.” The blonde replied, the blades whirling out of his gauntlets. He rushed towards another group of marines, timing his attacks with the hurling of metallic objects that Kidd was controlling.

The woman would tighten her hold to Kidd’s torso every time blood would splash their way. She wasn’t used to witnessing this level of violence and it would still tightened her stomach. She felt the beer she had ingested return to her throat but she refused to let it out now. She didn’t have the luxury of emptying her stomach in a situation like the one they were in.

She caught movement from her peripheral and, slipping away from Eustass’s hold, her body responding automatically to the threat of two marines rushing their way but doing a wide sweep with her leg, launching the marines flying against the nearby wall of the bar.

Skyler was surprised by the power of her kick. Sure, she wasn’t really worried with measuring the force with which she had kicked but she wasn’t expecting to send them flying. What unsettled her a bit was the lack of feeling on her leg from the impact. She panicked for a second, pinching her leg but was relieved to be able to feel the pain from her nails digging into her skin.

“Woman! Get your ass back here!” Eustass called out to her, his eyes never leaving the marines that kept flooding in to the bar.

“Watch your language!” She replied, returning to stand by the red haired man, her back resting against his. “I have a name you know!” She pulled out the gauntlets that had been made for her from her pants’ pocket and put them on. “But we’ll discuss that later. We need to get out of here!”

“And leave all this fun behind!?” His laughter echoed in the bar, piercing her ears and, to her curiosity, fueled her with adrenaline.

“As much as I’d appreciate to see you in a good mood, I don’t think it’s a good idea to fight them in such a tight space.” Skyler stepped to stand next to Kidd. “It feels like they are being bred like rabbits.”

“And what do you suggest? They are covering the entrance in case you haven’t noticed!” He roared out after the laughing fit he had because of her statement. “Like you said, they are being bred like rabbits. I keep getting rid of the ones at the entrance but more take their place.”

“Then… I don’t know… Make an exit for us!?” Her sass made him laugh once more before he gathered more metallic objects around him. “You’re the one that likes a flashy entrance… or exit.”

“You seem to know me so well in so little time.”

“I strive for the best.” She kicked off another marine that got too close to the two of them.

“Prepare for a fashionable escape!” He shouted out for his men to hear. “We’ll fight these fuckers on open space!”

The men cheered and started to try and push back the lines of marines instead of worrying on taking down individual soldiers. Eustass gathered the metal objects to him, forming a gigantic arm. Whirling around, he smacked the wall nearby the door, the surface shattering on the first impact. The punch was the decisive one that broke it down, sending the marines nearby flying away.

The pirates rushed outside, taking down any soldiers that would stand in their way. Quickly enough they managed to go out to the streets, making it easier for them to dispatch the marines.

Now out in the open, the pirates cleared their path with ease, the waves of soldiers slowing down until only a few were left.

Kidd had more liberty to use his devil fruit ability, clearing the path until, finally all the soldiers had been defeated.

Skyler breathed out in relief once it was done, sitting down on the floor so that she could rest for a second.

She felt a soft smack on the back of her head and, looking up, she saw Killer staring down at her. She couldn’t decipher his expression because of the mask he always had on.

“Are you alright?” He asked, reaching out his hand so that he could help her back up to her feet.

“Yeah, I just wasn’t ready for all hell to break loose.” She took his hand, a gigantic smile plastered on her face. “Is it safe now or will we have to be on our feet whilst we’re here?”

“We’ll have to stay on watch while we wait for the log pose to set.” He informed, his gaze averting to the street they were at. “We don’t know if the marines have a base here or if it was just a group that was patrolling this place before leaving.”

“A group? That was a full-fledged army! Not to mention that even the people from this island are against us and willing to just murder us without a moment’s hesitation.” With a heavy sigh, Skyler looked around her, finding most of the pirates exhausted from the fight. “They are already tired, how can we guarantee the safety of all of them if we keep getting attacked?”

“We can’t guarantee safety and I’m sure they know that.” He was quick to reply, his gaze averting to Kidd who was approaching the two. “But we can’t also guarantee that we’ll keep getting attacked. These people may have lost their will to try and fight us since the marines were beaten by us.”

“Assuming that it was only that… group.” She chuckled bitterly at the last word, still surprised by the insane number of soldiers that had appeared.

“Captain, what’s the final word?” Killer called out to the red haired man that was now standing in front of them.

“We clear out the building and barricade ourselves in here while we wait. They must have a pantry we can raid.”

“Is it a good idea to barricade ourselves?” Skyler asked, her mind running at top speed to try and figure out another solution. “It’d be harder if we get surrounded, no? Plus, do we know how long the log pose will take to set?” Her green gaze turned to Killer this time.

“I can find out how long it’ll take.” The blond informed.

“I think, instead of barricading ourselves inside, it’d be better to put people on watch just in case there’ll be more marines coming our way. Once we get all the information and supplies we need, I think it’d be best to head for the docks.” The woman suggested and received a nod of confirmation from the captain. “I think it’d be best to also confirm if the ship is safe as well.”

“Very well.” Eustass finally spoke. “Killer take some men with you.” The blond nodded and shouted out a few names, some pirates rushing to his side. “You’ll be with me taking care of the patrols.” His copper gaze held seriousness in them, the man focused solemnly on the task at hand. “The sooner we get out of this island the better.”

The red haired captain shouted out orders to his men, dividing in groups so that some could patrol while a smaller group went to get the supplies out of the possible pantry that could be inside the bar.

“Wouldn’t it be best to send a group to verify the situation at the ship?” She asked, catching his attention. “Not to attack, if need be, but just to scout the situation.”

He nodded. “Heat! Take two other men and go check on the ship.” The man in question agreed and called out two other pirates. “Don’t fight!” Heat was a bit taken aback by his captain’s words but nodded his head in agreement nonetheless.

“I said not to attack but I’m surprised you went with it.” She smiled widely at the man that towered over her.

“I may be hot headed but I’m not ready to risk my men.” His hand reached to the back of her neck, his nails brushing her skin. “They chose to follow me so the least I can do is guarantee their lives.”

“God, you are a softie deep down.” Her grin was devious and playful, mirroring his own amused smirk.

“If I were you I wouldn’t talk about that openly with my men.”

“Is that a threat?” She chuckled, her nails raking up his exposed chest, dancing around his toned muscles before reaching up to his throat. A gasp escaped her lips when he took hold of her wrist, his face leaning down closer to her own.

“I wouldn’t risk it if I were you.”

“Oh my, it is a threat.” She found herself amused by his words and, catching him off guard, caressed his fingers with her lips before biting them. He hissed at the pain, surprised that she bit enough to hurt him. “I wouldn’t do that, Kidd. I tend to bite.”

Chapter Text

Chapter 15

It seemed that the situation had settled down but the pirates were still on their toes, making sure not to be caught off guard by marines that could potentially show up.

Upon receiving information that the ship was secured, Kidd had ordered his crew to move it to a more secluded section of the island and camp out the remaining time they had for the log pose to stabilize. Fortunately, Killer had managed to get the info of how long it would take for it to settle by the use of unconventional methods of extracting said information.

Eustass had settled several patrols to take watch, making sure that they would not be inconvenienced with unnecessary fighting.

The biggest thing to worry about was the ship that was mildly exposed. Even though the shape of the land managed to provide some shelter, the vessel was still exposed to possible attacks by marine fleet or other pirates that may stop by.

Once everything had calmed down and seemed under control, Skyler decided to do a bit of nearby exploration, managing to find, hidden behind a wall of trees and bushes, a small cove with crystal clear water that washed on the sandy shore.

Looking at the sea, she realized how much her clothes were sticking to her body, result of stray mugs filled with ale that had flown when she had fought the marines back at the bar.

She could just shower back in the ship but she wanted to take a dip in the very inviting body of water.

The black haired woman looked around, trying to spot any pirates but couldn’t find any in sight. With a happy sigh, she removed her boots and socks, leaving them by the shore. She caught her long hair in a messy braid, letting it fall over her shoulder, before rushing towards the water.

She dived into it, swimming half-heartedly, her fingers brushing the sand under her. The cool water relaxed her muscles that had been stiff for the past few days. It seemed that the only thing she knew for the time she had been there was tension, making sure she was constantly on her feet. There were very few times where she would allow herself to relax and that’d be when she was with Killer or Kidd.

She let herself float to the surface, facing up towards the sky and took a deep breath, taking in the lovely ocean scent. As much time as she had spent at open sea, she loved that aroma.

“Trying to drift off to open sea without telling us anything?” A male voice spoke out that she instantly identified as being Killer’s.

She settled her feet down on the sand, coming face to face with the blond man. He had only removed his gauntlets, boots and log pose so that they wouldn’t get rust over time because of the water.

“I am not planning on doing such a thing, Killer.” She smiled up at the man, crossing her arms over her chest. “I just wanted to have a swim.”

“It’s unfair to the other men that you are taking this time to relax while they work.” He placed his hand on the back of her neck, and pulled her lightly towards the shore, making her walk towards it.

“The ones that aren’t on patrol are relaxing.” She slipped away from his grasp, looking at him from head to toe. “You seem to be relaxing as well.” She pointed at his wrists that were unprotected. “I am not on patrol at the moment so I am taking the time to try and wash out a bit of the ale that stuck to my clothes.” Grimacing, she took hold of the edge of her now soaked shirt and pulled it away from her body. “I prefer the smell of ocean on me than the smell of alcohol.” She stepped closer to him, placing her hands on each side of his head. “So, since you’re not on patrol, take a second to relax for a bit, no?” Her green eyes asked him the silent question to remove his mask, to which he complied. She clicked on the small protrusions on each side of the mask, making it click open. Removing the mask from his head, she rushed to the shore, setting it down next to her boots and his gauntlets before returning to him.

“Happy?” He asked, raising an eyebrow that was hidden away under his bangs.

“Much happier.” She brushed his hair back, her fingers running over his scalp. A huge smile was plastered on her face, making him smile as well. Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Skyler splashed water at his face before diving down and pulling his leg, making him fall back.

Laughing, she rushed away from where he was but was quickly caught.

“What do you think you’re doing, Sky?” He spoke out, grabbing her by the waist and lifting her up.

“Surprise attacking you!” She shrieked when she was launched into the water by him. She resurfaced, coughing out water that she had swallowed by accident.

“Are you done?” The blond man reached out his hand to help her. With a toothy grin, she took it and pulled him down with her, the two diving underwater. She shook her head in disagreement, her braided black hair floating around her.

Killer found himself mesmerized by her, the way she smiled at him and how it felt when she touched him. He felt a magnetic attraction, pulling him to her. Without thinking, he pulled her to him, her frame floating closer to his and, with no hesitation, kissed her. The cool water had chilled her lips but they still felt soft under his touch. What made him pull apart was the taste of salt that reached his tongue when water leaked into their kiss.

They both resurfaced, blue eyes staring intently at shocked green ones.

“Killer… I…” She managed to mumble out, her fingers tracing lightly over her pink lips.

“I had to.” He placed his hands on her arms, the fingertips barely touching her skin and yet, she jumped at the contact. “You do realize that I am a man, right?” His blue eyes took in the shape of her face, his gaze staring down at her with such warmth and tenderness that rarely seemed to be in Eustass’s copper eyes. “You being in this state… It doesn’t help me keep my control.”

“But… Kidd will…” She mumbled, confusion clouding her expression.

“He must know how I feel about you.” He straightened himself, rolling his shoulders back. “We’ve known each other since we were kids,” He tilted his head off to the side “and it seems we still fall for the same woman.”

She chuckled, the sound wavering, almost as if she was unsure of what she would say next.

“So it’s a recurring thing, then?” She took a step away from him, an uncertain smirk on her lips.

“This’ll be the second time it happens so… should it be considered recurring?” Killer shrugged. Almost as if sensing someone was nearby, he quickly turned his attention to the shore where he found Eustass emerging from between the shrubbery. “Speak of the devil.” With a heavy sigh, he turned back to face her. “You can stay here a bit longer, I’ll have to go back.”

“No…” She called out, grabbing onto his wet blouse. “Stay. I was having fun.” Her smile was now more confident. “If you don’t want to stay here with me and Kidd then we can call the other men that aren’t on patrol to come for a swim. Surely they’ll enjoy a bit of down time, no?”

With a comforting nod, Killer agreed and watched her head to shore, towards their captain.

“Kidd!” She ran on the sand, towards the red haired man that seemed to flinch away from her as she grew near. “Come join us for a swim.”

“I’ll pass.” He brushed her off.

“Oh come on!” She took hold of his hand and pulled him with her but he didn’t budge. Looking back over her, she grew worried when she saw that all the color from Kidd’s face had been drained. “Hey, are you okay?” She placed both her hands on each side of his face, her thumb brushing his cheeks but he didn’t speak with her.

“Don’t touch him, Sky.” Killer had swam ashore and was walking towards them both. “It’s the water.”

“The water?” She was baffled, looking at her hands that she had removed from Eustass’s face.

“It’s the weakness all devil fruit users have. I forgot to tell you about it.” He continued to explain as he drained out some of the water from his hair by brushing the strands back, revealing his forehead.

“I’m sorry!” Skyler was shocked, and looked back at the red haired captain, feeling a bit of relief when she saw the color come back to him.

“Forget about it.” Eustass brushed it off. “What are you two doing here?”

“I went for a swim!” She answered happily.

“And I found her floating away to open sea.” He added, laughing when she punched his arm.

“I was not! I know how to swim, you numb skull.”

“Sure.” He shook his head and looked up at a serious looking captain. “I’ll go check if any of our men that aren’t on patrol want to join.” Killer got a nod of agreement from the red haired man before heading off.

“So I guess you won’t be joining us for a swim?” She wrinkled her nose lightly, making sure to keep some distance from him so that he wouldn’t get weak again from the water.

“I don’t like swimming.” He brushed her off once more.

“You don’t like it because you can’t swim.” Skyler raised her eyebrows at his cold demeanor towards her.

“Whatever.” Eustass shook off the cloak from his shoulders, setting it on the sand before sitting down. She knelt down in front of him, an inquisitive look on her face.

“Care to talk with me about what got you all grumpy?”

“You and Killer.” He spat out the words, making her flinch at the harshness of it. “I know how he feels about you but for fuck sake, at least do it when I am not looking.”

“You’d prefer it that way?” She couldn’t hide the amused smile that made the corner of her lips quiver.

“No!” He grabbed onto the collar of her shirt, pulling her close to him. His hand shook on contact, the water doing its work of draining his powers. “I told you, you are mine.”

Skyler took hold of his wrist and sat on his lap, straddling his hips with her legs. It amused her that these small actions would always earn her a look of surprise and awe from a man that always wanted to come across as rough and evil.

“And I told you I’m not something you can just claim as yours.” She could see his form shake under her from the strain he was doing to not collapse. The water really had a strong effect on him. She snaked her hand behind his neck, her nails digging into his skin, making him hiss. “Please be sure to remember that.” Her lips drowned his own as she kissed him, greedily tasting his mouth. Unlike Killer, Eustass woke a more carnal and animalistic side to her that she found herself relishing in. She broke the kiss so that she could breathe freely, her hazed eyes staring down at copper ones. “You don’t need to be jealous.”

“Who do you prefer?” He asked, placing a shaky hand on her hip, his fingers gingerly digging into the skin.

She blinked, caught off guard with the question. Over the time she had spent with them, she had found herself being attracted to both men. It was confusing to her since she had received an education that supported a monogamist relationship. To find herself desiring two men equally was something that was foreign to her.

“Both.” She didn’t stutter with her answer and he didn’t make any remark on her reply. He just stared at her, patiently waiting for her explanation, something that was contrary to his normal explosive demeanor. “I can’t help but be attracted to the both of you.” She started to get off of his lap but he kept her there. Skyler noted his strength had started to return since the water on her had been mostly evaporated by the heat of the sun. With a heavy sigh, she intertwined her fingers behind his neck, her thumbs brushing strands of his red hair. “You’re both the opposite of one another but I can’t help it. It’s like you’re this burning fire that destroys everything and Killer is a calming river.” She noticed him raising his eyebrow at her use of words. The woman on top of him chuckled. “Don’t you give me that look. You’re destructive, wild… And he is calm, soothing almost.” She felt him hold her closer to him, suddenly realizing the heat that his body gave her, his torso warming her own. “You have that as well but it’s so rare… Same as he can be destructive. This is so confusing to me…” She let out a heavy sigh, shaking her head. “Can a person like two people at the same time?”

“Looks like it.” He raked his painted nails up her covered back, inching her even closer to him. “I’m not one to share, especially not a woman.” Eustass trailed his lips up and down her neck, leaving smudges of lipstick on her skin. “I am someone that gets what he wants.” His nails dug into her skin, making her hiss. “But Killer is my first mate for a reason and I don’t deny him of pleasures either.” A smirk grew on his lips when she pushed him a bit back, a baffled look plastered on her mature face. “Talk with him about this.” With that he smacked her bottom, making her yelp. “Also the men are coming.”

A deep red tinted her cheeks and she was quick to her feet. Her eyes were fixated on a bemused Eustass Kidd, somewhat disorientated by his words but made a mental note to talk to Killer about… whatever had happened.

Just like the captain had said, the pirates has reached the cove, their rowdy conversations growing louder as they grew nearer. Almost all of them were quick to dispose of clothing, leaving themselves only on shorts or pants and ran to the water.

Killer had stopped next to her, himself now without his boots and blouse, revealing to her an incredibly sculpted chest. He tilted his head towards the water, a devious smile plastered on his lips, a smile that scrunched his nose in the cutest way. Skyler turned her green eyes to Kidd who nodded at her and waved his hand, dismissing her.

“I’ll be back for you, Kidd.” She said and was about to say something else but was interrupted by Killer picking her up and placing her over his shoulder.

“You’re going for another swim.” He called out, his knowing gaze staring down at his captain before he proceeded to strut towards the water with Skyler shrieking out complaints that fell on deaf ears.