So of I'm slowly going to move most of my stuff from Fanfiction.net (kitsune Foxfire there) to here. I like the form review system here more, and really that's reason enough for me. Also most new stuff is going to go here straight away.
Question of the story: What other oneshots/short stories would you like to see? I have part of an AVENGERS ONE PIECE crossover started, a ONE PIECE HELLBOY (both started as jokes) a tentative gag Avengers Thor vs. a sticky note…. And I’m open to ideas. But I have the right to reject ideas too. I don't do romance stories, sorry everyone. I also don't do stories involving pregnancy or babies. Please don't ask for those.
Feel free to find me on Tumblr. Bedlamwolf there. I'm debating opening a discord channel if people want to talk, too.
Firefist Ace was one hell of a rookie, and that was what Marco had thought even before he had the dubious pleasure of meeting the hothead. When word had come that the World Government had offered the super rookie the often coveted spot of Shichibukai he wasn't the only one who was surprised when said Rookie told them to shove their fancy title where the sun didn't shine. He then offered to help, if the resulting battle that broke out was any indication.
Oyaji thought the brat showed promise. Marco and the other commanders thought he showed something, but no one was quite sure it was promise. If he survived long enough, it could become promise. Maybe. Right now Izo was leaning towards 'suicidal recklessness', which was one of the nicer things being said. Thatch was taking bets on how long the rookie would last, as morbid as it was. Marco was sure he was going to win when shortly after the, er…
with the marines, the brat and his Merry Band of Morons were rumored to run into Shanks. Shanks did not like uppity rookie pirates and had a charming habit of killing off those that annoyed him when he was drunk. Which was most of the time. Given Firefist's track record for pissing people off, everyone was pretty sure that was going to be the last they'd hear of him.
Then the little shit had shown up halfway into Whitebeard territory, heading right towards one of their supply islands. If it hadn't been for the Spade Pirates' complete inability to avoid trouble Marco just knew they'd have made it to the island well before any of their own allies could have. As it was, for the first time he found himself thankful for the Marine's dogged pursuit of the damn brat. Thanks to them, Jinbe arrived just a few hours before the Spade Pirates. None of the commanders had expected their friend to do so, and were surprised to receive a denden call from the fishman while Whitey Bay was still at least a day away, saying Jinbe was working on evacuating the island before the Spade Pirates arrived.
Firefist, it turned out, was not quite as dumb as they had thought, as his crew didn't immediately loot the place. However, they didn't turn tail and run, which would have been the smart thing to do when looking at what was obviously a trap. Oh no, the stupid brat had to stand in the middle of the town and shout out to whomever was listening -- Jinbe, at that point -- that Firefist Ace was there to challenge Whitebeard. Judging by Jinbei's reaction, while that may have been the general message, the words were a lot more...
. Jinbei's first response was to put a hole in their ship, apparently. Things just went downhill from there, really, and it was lucky that Whitey showed up when she did. While the Spade Pirates had had no luck in moving the fight between their captain and Jinbe out of the town, the appearance of Ice Breaker had the desired effect on Jinbe.
By the time the Moby Dick arrived four days later the town was no longer on fire, Royal Flush was well and truly sunk -- Bay had cleared it with Oyaji first. She liked the crew; they'd helped put out the fires and hell if she was gonna let them sail off -- and Jinbe was about to collapse from exhaustion. The troublemaker behind it all didn't look so good, either. Marco stepped forward to put an end to this foolishness, only to have his captain shake his head. "The brat's come a long way to face me. Why not give him what he wants?"
"Because he's a reckless suicidal idiot, and he's here to try to kill you?" Izo snapped, "Look at what he did to the town!"
"To be fair, Jinbe is just as guilty of that." Thatch threw up his hands in defence when Izo glared at him. "But we're going to use the Spade Pirates' treasure to rebuild it!"
Namur frowned, "He must have said something to piss Jinbe off, though. I mean, it's Jinbe. If the guy says he's not going to fight someone, he's not. And yet..."
"He's an interesting one, I'll give him that." Juzo agreed.
"Aaah." Marco knew that look in Oyaji's eye. It was the look their captain got when he was considering something Marco was not going to like. "I'll face him myself." Yep, Marco didn't like that look at all and Newgate knew it with the sly grin he gave Marco as he left to make his entrance.
It was an impressive entrance as always. Marco had to admit he was surprised when the rookie ordered his own crew to get out of there, obviously unaware that the Spade Pirates no longer had a ship to retreat to. Even more shocking was the fact that the wall of flame the moron conjured was the only thing keeping the dumbasses from acting as a meat shield for their own captain. No wonder Whitey Bay liked them; they had guts, alright. Firefist Ace didn't do too horribly for a brat, really. Marco gave him points for trying, at least, though it was obvious the kid knew the moment Oyaji showed up that he was in deep shit. Still, he held his ground and fought, keeping himself between Oyaji and the flame wall and protecting his crew that would not take a hint and run. Not that there was anywhere to go, but really.
It took a while for the brat to finally drop, beyond exhausted, no doubt. Oyaji wasn't even winded. Even from where the commanders stood, Marco could see the snarl on Firefist's face as Whitebeard stepped closer. Most likely the idiot was expecting this was going to be the end of him. Really, it was was he deserved, coming after at least one Yonko -- where the hell had Shanks gotten off to after running into the little shit anyway? -- but Oyaji had seen something in the damn firebug. Hell, they'd all seen a spark of something, and if Oyaji was willing to take a chance, who were they to say ‘no’?
"If you want to run wild, take my mark! Become my son and live free on the sea!"
Something flickered across the brat's face. A lot of somethings, really, until the kid settled for anger. It seemed to be Firefist's default. "Like hell!" He snapped out with the last of his strength before passing out.
"Well...." Thatch drawled out, coming forward to lean on Marco, "I didn't hear a 'no', did you?"
"I didn't hear a 'yes', either." He pointed out. "Oyaji?" Their captain was looking down at the prone form with a smile, and Marco sighed, knowing what the answer was going to be. He turned back to the other commanders, "You lot round up the rest of the Spade Pirates, and tell Bay no fighting over favorites. We'll sort out who goes where the same as we always do." He moved to pick up the newest addition to his family.
Only to come to a stop when one of the Spade Pirates dove through what remained of the wall of fire to crouch over the prone form of their former captain. Thatch recovered first, pulling a sword lazily from its sheath and using it like a pointer. "What, exactly, do you think you're trying to pull?"
"What does it look like?" The young man returned with a teeth-baring grin.
Thatch shared a look with Marco. "Soo... the whole crew is crazy. Good to know." Thatch smiled pleasantly, "Out of the way."
"Firefist lost, yoi." Marco pointed out.
"And as First Mate, take me instead!"
"Look, that's not how it works..." Thatch raised an eyebrow, clearly waiting for a name.
The first mate of the former Spade Pirates glared at Thatch before reluctantly replying, "King."
? Ok. Fine. King it is, then." The commander continued, "Oyaji wants your captain as one of his own. Besides, you attacked the island--"
"Jinbe started it!"
"You came here looking for a fight, yoi." Marco glared at the other, who looked away.
"That you knew was under Yonko protection. You're lucky we're just splitting up your crew and not killing you all outright." Thatch spoke over Marco.
"You're splitting us up?!"
"Yeah, between our divisions and allies, so if you're lucky you'll be seeing your former captain again." Thatch finished. "Now if you'll excuse us..." He wasn't exactly gentle as he pushed the former first mate out of the way so Marco could pick up Ace.
Marco looked down at the prone form and sighed. There was nothing to be done for it. Thatch was too busy keeping the former Spade Pirate at bay to be any use picking up their new brother. That meant it was Marco's sole responsibility, and he was not happy about it. Only a fool would attempt to lift an enemy-- or in this case a former enemy-- without some trepidation. The fact that Firefist seemed to be out cold did not help, either. Plenty of marines and pirates alike were just as dangerous knocked out as not.
So he felt completely justified in the rough handing that ended with Firefist thrown over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. If the subsequent shoulder to the gut didn't even warrant a grunt Marco felt it was safe to assume the brat was down for the count, and would remain that way for a while yet. He was nice enough to save the hat from falling back onto the scorched earth. The thing looked well worn, and Marco knew a thing or two about stubborn fools and their hats. Idiot would probably try to swim back here for the damn thing if he left it. Well, not on Marco’s watch. They’d have to find some other way to be suicidally reckless.
The hesitant clearing of a throat had the first division commander raising an eyebrow at King. “You're really going to carry Ace like that…?”
“What of it, yoi?” He gripped the back of the youth’s legs and hitched his shoulder up, settling Firefist more firmly in the admittedly undignified hold. He could see the former first mate wince.
“But… what about injuries?” His tone and glare said he wasn't worried about that, he was more concerned with the lack of respect they were giving his former captain.
“Eh, he'll be fine. Oyaji only smacked him around a little.” Thatch shot back, the smirk he sported saying they'd show the brat respect when he'd earned it and not a moment before. As for the rest of the Spade Pirates… “Get going. Take the rest of your crew and flee if you want. You’ve got two hours. Past that, anyone left better be ready to join the Whitebeard Pirates.”
King nodded solemnly, his eyes sliding back to Firefist’s form before he turned to gather what was left of the Spade Pirates. Something told Marco the whole lot of them would be sticking around. Shitty brat had quite the loyal crew… one that as first division commander, he was going to make sure was well split up to prevent any foolish rescue attempts. He felt the headache coming on already.
Fifty Spade Pirates were sorted and divided between three different ships, none of them the Moby Dick. There wasn’t a single complaint despite a few glares that quickly vanished behind placid masks. No, the only troublemaker besides the captain just had to be a medic. “For the last time, I ain't goin nowhere else but the Moby Dick.” The woman said, crossing her arms and matching Marco's stance tit for tat.
“Then you can stay here, yoi.”
“Oh hell no.” One hand flew to her hip and she snapped the fingers of her other hand dismissively. “You ain't got anyone who can take care of my bae like I can take care of my bae. So’s you gonna let me on board that ship.”
“Are you implying that the nurses of my division, professionals Edward Newgate relies on, are not up to the task of caring for one foolish teenager?” Curiel growled out, eyes narrowing dangerously.
“Imply nothing. I'm telling you. Those bitches be good at what they do, sure. But our Cap’n, my bae , that's another thing.”
King spoke up, putting his hand on the angry woman's arm and cutting her off. Marco could only assume the man realized what sort of danger the woman was putting herself in. Curiel took great pride in his Division, and his nurses were among the best in the world. “Tifa is right, Ace is… difficult to deal with.”
The woman huffed, “Only for you. Bae likes me.”
“You used a bear trap last time. For a checkup.”
“We was just playin’.”
Izo looked at the young woman, lip curled up in what could have been amusement or a sneer. Possibly both, if Marco knew the crossdresser as well as he thought. “I say let her try and be half as good as the nurses of your division, Curiel. If nothing else, it will teach her proper care of a patient.”
“Why not? There's always chamber pots that need to be scrubbed.” The tenth division commander agreed, nodding his acceptance to Marco. Somehow Marco thought he might be regretting those words later, but he just sighed.
“Any other of your crew unhappy?” He directed his comment at King.
The man didn’t even have the common decency to look abashed, meeting Marco’s eyes like an equal. “We’re your crew now, too, right?” The phoenix felt his lip twitch slightly in the beginnings of a smile but kept it off his face. These rookies were still too green by half to be so cocky.
“Good.” Still, if their positions had been reversed, he and his brothers would have done everything possible to make sure at least one of them was there for Oyaji. If he could just figure out why they thought the shitty brat was going to need his medic the most… they couldn’t be that untrusting. For now, though, Oyaji wanted to get moving, and it was his job to see it was done. “We’re moving out!” Marco turned on his heel and didn’t bother looking back to see the others scramble.
Thatch didn't bother to hide his amused grin as Firefist once again attempted to sneak up on Oyaji for an assassination. For a brat with no haki skills yet, he actually did a good job on the sneaking up part. For someone who had been in the papers weekly with showy battles, Ace was damn stealthy when he wanted to be, to the point where most of the commanders took to using observation haki just to make sure the brat didn't get the drop on someone. For all that, none of them were really worried that Firefist would get the drop on Oyaji.
No, it was hard to think the little idiot would ever catch Oyaji unaware, especially when Whitebeard caught Thatch watching the brat’s ‘sneak attack’ and shared a wink over his tankard of ale. Even if their captain had faith that Firefist would join them, he wasn’t going to ignore the fire-brat. No, Whitebeard was taking too much enjoyment out of these little attempts, forcing the brat to try harder and push himself past his already impressive limits. Their captain said it gave him an accurate feel of just what the little hot head was capable of, and how far he’d go to get what he wanted. When the brat launched his blitz attack with Jizo’s axe with an impressive display of reflexes that had Ace twisting in mid air to avoid Newgate’s backhand, Thatch was a little disappointed by the lack of ingenuity. Sure the little twist at the end was new, but Firefist had tried this before-- or so he thought. The twist had meant most of Oyaji’s backhand had hit the axe, sending both flying across the deck until Ace launched himself off the axe and shot forward once again, brandishing the dagger that was usually at his hip.
Thatch barely had time to tense before Oyaji swatted the brat away like a fly, sending him over the rail and into the ocean below, but the fourth division commander was moving. As worried as he was about where the dagger had ended up -- he’d seen the brat toss it with impressive force before being hit -- he didn’t have time to look. Before Ace even hit the water he was across the deck, shoes and shirt off and diving in after the fool. Even still, devil fruit users sunk worse than rocks and it took him precious moments to find the former Spade captain and bring the limp form back to the surface where others were waiting to throw a rope down. Ace didn’t struggle, not that the brat could , but usually there were snarled threats at the least, so Thatch didn’t waste time bringing the brat on deck and dumping him on the sun-heated wood. At first he thought the kid was out cold, maybe he’d hit his hard head on the railing before going under. Seeing stormy grey eyes stare up at the sky from the deck, he had a momentary twinge of panic and guilt as his overactive imagination jumped into overgear, despite the fact he’d heard the brat grunt when he’d tossed him down.
“Well?” Thatch bit out after a moment of watching Ace stare at nothing. “Going to thank me or what?”
As he tugged on his shirt and shoes, Thatch continued to glare at the still form, watching the placid face and waiting for the inevitable scowl and threats. It was hard, sometimes, to see what Oyaji saw when he looked at the brat. The kid was ungrateful, mean spirited, and downright vicious in his attacks. Still, Thatch remembered how the brat had done everything possible to give the other Spade Pirates an escape, and not a day went go by that one of the former Spades wasn’t asking after Firefist. Evil little shit he may seem, but evil pirates didn’t instill that kind of loyalty. It was hard, though, because Thatch didn’t see it. He knew Oyaji did, and mostly that was good enough for him, but that attack…. It had put not only Oyaji at risk, but the nurses, too.
“What the hell were you thinking?” He spat out, pulling his hair back into a ponytail. “If you want to keep going after Oyaji, fine ! But leave everyone else out of it!”
Grey eyes slowly tracked over to him, and instead of a scowl Firefist pouted . “I didn’t hit anyone.”
“You could have killed one of the nurses!”
“I aimed for his stupid mug!”
“What if he had ducked and not blocked?!” Thatch shot back, “You need to thi--!”
“I wasn’t expecting it to work, alright?” Ace shot back, face morphing into a scowl as he got to his feet. “Just ‘cause it worked when Jiji threw those trees at us when we were kids, that didn’t mean it’d work with the axe now !”
Thatch’s mouth fell open. That was more information than he’d ever gotten out of the brat before. Who the hell threw trees at kids? “You risked people’s lives on that? You risked my brothers and sisters ?”
Firefist threw up his hands, “No! I’m not stupid!”
“Could have fooled me!”
Ace let out a huff, then looked at Thatch, face the picture of annoyance, as the teen spoke slowly. “Because I didn’t know it would work, I threw my dagger at his mug. The only thing hurt -- other than my pride, again -- is the old man’s drinking.”
“His mug.” Boy did Thatch feel stupid. “You mean his tankard.”
“Same thing.” The teen shrugged noncommittally.
“You were aiming for his tankard.”
“ Yes . And I hit it. It’s not even halfway through the morning watch. Bastard shouldn’t be drinking yet, anyway.” Firefist looked away, almost sheepish as he stood there with his arms crossed. “My hating you all doesn’t mean I’d go after the crew. Not when Tifa told me what you did for the guys. I’m not that much of a monster.”
There was a lot the fourth division commander could say to that: how that was amazingly decent of him, how he really didn’t understand the kid at all, how he was sorry for jumping to conclusions, how Oyaji was right about the brat… Instead he just stood there as Firefist stormed away, angry once more for some unknown reason, and wondered who’d messed the brat up so badly he thought he was a monster.
Thatch hummed to himself as he hopped up onto the railing, digging around in his pocket for the candy bar he’d won off of Rakuyo the night before at cards. It wasn’t much, but since they were weeks away from the nearest port it could very well be the last chocolate on the whole Moby Dick . That would be why he was out here at six in the morning with a nice hot cup of coffee on deck before most of the daily activity started. If word got out that he had chocolate, Thatch’d be lucky to get a lick of the bar before it was gone. As a cook, he’d be expected to share it, and hell no he wasn’t sharing his hard earned winnings!
He’d barely unwrapped the bar when he felt it - the intense stare that would probably have a lesser pirate shaking. As it was, he paused and looked up slowly to find none other than Firefist Ace standing not ten feet away from him, watching his every move like a hawk. It was more than a little disconcerting. Honestly, he didn’t think he’d ever seen the brat before eight, and he’d certainly never willingly gotten so close before. “Can I help you?”
If anything Ace’s focus seemed to intensify, “Chocolate.”
“Yes. My chocolate, though. I’m not sharing.” The fourth division commander replied with a tight smile, “Sorry.”
“Give me the chocolate.”
Ace growled at him, a sound so dark and feral it was shocking. “ MINE .”
Now, let it not be said Thatch was a coward. Far from it, in fact. But having watched as Firefist bullheadedly kept trying to kill Oyaji despite being vastly outclassed he was very well aware that if he wanted to keep his chocolate bar, he was going to have to fight the brat for it. Which would attract everyone’s attention and end up with neither of them getting the chocolate and Ace being even more pissed off than he already was for some strange reason. There was also the chance that the kid might possibly like him if he gave over the confection. So with a heavy heart, he wordlessly held out the bar and held back a flinch as it was snatched away. Ace didn’t even say thank you. Instead, he just turned and walked away, already tearing into the bar like a starving animal. “What the hell was that about?”
Curiel had been willing to give Tifa a chance. Sure she was crass as hell and was more than a little obsessed with her old captain, but the rest of the Spade Pirates swore she was good at what she did. So he let her aboard and had her work with the fighting nurses, strictly in the infirmary, and well away from Oyaji. He wouldn’t put it past her to try and finish what her idiot of a former captain kept trying to start, after all. To start with, things had been rough. Tifa liked to do things a certain way, and she had an… interesting concept on what bedside manner was. Though, if more of the members in his division were willing to deck their brothers and sisters for some of the comments made about the nurse outfits like she did to Rakuyo, it might help with the lack of respect some of his girls had been commenting on recently. Oddly enough, those complaints had dropped since Tifa joined them. He had to remember to thank her in such a way that it still sounded like a lecture.
Looking at her standing there with her arms crossed over her chest and a glare on her face as she chewed on a tongue depressor, he did have to admit she fit in well. That didn’t mean he was going to forego the lecture he had prepared to give her today; it just made it a little harder. “Well?” She asked, shifting her weight to one side with an air of impatience.
“Tifa, you do good work.”
“You don’t need to tell me that. I know that, Boo.” She interrupted. When had the nickname started?
“You’re a little… rough around the edges…. But I think you’re settling in nicely.” He held up a hand to forestall anything else she was going to say. “ However , you can’t be stealing medical supplies. If you need something, take it from the available stock. Don’t raid the supply cabinet. As a division commander, it’s my job to keep track of what we have on hand in case of a raid gone wrong, and even a few bandages short could mean the difference between life or death for one of my brothers. Do you understand?”
Instead of arguing with him like expected she blinked and then nodded. “You’re right. I should let you know. But I wasn’t just taking them, Boo. I needed them.”
“You’re telling me someone was hurt?” She nodded, and Curiel frowned, “But everyone knows to come to the infirmary. Even if they think it’s just a scratch….” Especially since Kingdew had ignored the stingray stab wound in his foot. Just a flesh wound his ass! It’d almost cost the idiot his foot , and the eleventh division commander was the most difficult to deal with when it came to getting treated after battles, second to Fossa. There was a reason his nurses were good fighters, and it wasn’t always for defending their charges. “Which idiot convinced you it would be a good idea to steal from my supplies?”
One look at her face told him. She didn’t even say it, “Bae didn’t ask…. Damn fool wouldn’t.”
“Ah, he’s one of those.” He felt a headache coming on just thinking about it. On the one hand, he could ignore it, and just have Tifa tell him when she took supplies. Ace wasn’t one of the crew as of yet and therefor not technically his responsibility, so it really wasn’t his job to make sure the brat was alright beyond him not bleeding out on the deck. Right now he didn’t even like the brat, to be honest. Not only was he constantly going after Oyaji, but he was a rude little shit, too. On the other hand, he was a medical professional and it was his job to look after everyone on the ship. Even snot nosed brats that kept throwing Oyaji’s offer back at him. Not that he doubted Tifa was doing everything she could to keep her ‘Bae’ healthy, but if Oyaji found out he knew about this and let it go…. No, he had to check the brat out himself. “Go get him. I’ll go check him over.”
“What, you don’ think I’m good enough?”
He rolled his eyes, “Hardly that. The little shit never got a physical when Marco dumped his ass in the storage room. Woke up too fast for that. Might as well do it now.” He half lied.
The look she gave him said she knew it was a lie, but she nodded anyway and turned to go. “Bae ain't gonna like this. They’s called Firefist for a reason, know?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll have seastone cuffs waiting.”
When she came back, she had Ace in a headlock and was forcing the taller man to hunch over as she used the unorthodox hold to drag him in. Ace was not happy, that was for sure. “Let me go! Tifa, I’m fine ! I can take care of myself!”
“Uh-huh. That’s why you need me, Bae.”
“I don’t need you! I’m fine! I’m not bleeding or nothing!” The former captain protested with all the wisdom of a five year old. Honestly, with an attitude like that the brat would die of internal bleeding before he ever sought help. No wonder Tifa was so rough and ready; it looked like the only way to deal with him.
Curiel took a page out of her book and yanked the brat down onto the bed where he swiftly handcuffed the boy to the headboard. Standard practice with ornery devil fruit users, like Marco for example.
“Don’t you ‘hey’ me, brat! You’ve avoided this long enough. Everyone on this ship gets a monthly physical anyway, and while Tifa I’m sure is more than enough to handle you, I have records to keep. Records I present to Oyaji.”
“That old man? Who the hell cares?!”
A resounding smack to the back of his head shut Firefist right up. “That’s my captain you’re talking about, brat!”
“He’s a stinkin’ old man and a kidnapper.” The teen pointed out, and rightly so; even he had to admit that. Snorting, he turned to the small table he held full of his supplies.
“He's giving you a good opportunity, you ungrateful brat. Strip.”
“I'm a professional.”
“And I don't strip down for anyone, doctor or no.”
“Fine. Down to your underwear then?”
A grunt answered him. “I didn't want the opportunity, you know. What's with old men and deciding things for me?”
Curiel turned around right in time to get a crumpled up shirt to the face. His nose wrinkled in disgust. The thing was more fit for the rag bin than being worn, but he supposed that the brat didn't have much in the way of options. Maybe he should ask Izo to see what he could do before the fool ended up naked for real. Barely glancing up as he caught the second shirt tossed at his face he asked, “You know a lot of old men, then?”
“Just a few. And they all are interfering old bastards.” The sound of heavy belts hitting the floor had him looking over to where Firefist stood, arms crossed over their chest and single handcuff hanging from a wrist. “What?”
“...Did you have to break the headboard?”
“You're the one who wanted to see me naked. That does usually end in broken furniture.” The teen shot back with a smirk.
Curiel laughed, “I’ll put down ‘vigorous’ for sex then?”
“If you want.” The brat looked confused at the reference. Tifa made a noise that was slightly pained and he got the idea maybe her Bae didn't understand what he was talking about. In that case, Curiel didn't want to know what the brat was doing naked that was breaking furniture. Firefist shifted, shrugging off the searching hands, obviously unhappy at the close scrutiny. “Are you done yet?”
“I don't see anything broken…” He did see why Tifa needed those bandages however.
Nasty bruising was fading to purple from under the bandages, but it didn't look like the ribs were broken. Maybe cracked, though.
“I told you I take care of Bae.”
“That you did. Good job too. Next time though, infirmary. What if there was a punctured lung? Not something to be messing about with on deck.” Both reluctantly nodded. Well, Tifa nodded and smacked her former captain until they did.
“We done, then?”
“Why? You got a hot date with the deck I need to know about?”
The teen colored. “No! I just wanna put my pants back on!”
Who knew Firefist had a slightly modest side? Though Curiel was betting it had more to do with looking weak -- it was hard to look tough wrapped in bandages, and despite his personal feelings, the kid was tough.
Still, he was a little worried about all the gauze Tifa had taken from storage. He didn't see any open wounds on his patient, and surgery was out, too. Then again…. Rumor was Firefist was a ‘D’ with that strength and appetite. It would explain a few other things, too, and the fast healing. But still. That was a lot of gauze… He noticed he'd been staring at Firefist for a while as the other got dressed, causing Tifa to glare daggers at him. That was more than a little awkward, to be honest. The last thing he wanted was for her to think he was making a move on her ‘Bae’.... Not that the person she was interested in seemed to notice the sudden increase in tension. More evidence towards being a D.
“Alright, you're free to go. Just, don't go bleeding all over the deck anymore, you brat! We have an infirmary for a reason. Use it!”
“Fine, fine!” The brat shoved past him, rude snot they were. “ God, he sounds like Makino. ” Curiel heard muttered, and wondered who that was.
As Tifa went to follow he opened his mouth to ask about the gauze, noticing as she grabbed more as well as a few absorbent pads. He didn't think Oyaji banged the kid up that bad she’d want to carry some just in case the brat started bleeding randomly or something…. “Haven't talked to the other nurses yet, yo.” Tifa spoke. “This shit’ll have to do for now. I’ll replace it, promise.” It took him a moment to figure out what she meant and by the time he did, she was already gone.
Izo had been watching the brat for a while now. At first because Ace’s repeated attempts on Oyaji were as amusing as they were insulting. They were, as a whole, totally within character for what they knew of the ballsy shit, and he was surprised when some of his brothers were shocked by this behavior. Watching, the sixteenth division commander had to conclude that for as reckless as Firefist was, the young pirate wasn’t as much of an idiot as he’d thought he was. Something was driving the brat, and whatever it was, it was important to the kid. Oyaji knew; Izo was sure of it. So the commander watched and tried to discover what his captain knew.
He learned that Ace never used the same attack twice, not when it had already been proven ineffective against his target. He also learned that for all the brat was generally an ill mannered thief who had rare moments of manners that were all the more shocking for how out of character they seemed. He’d also noticed that the brat was wearing little more than rags. He hadn’t needed Curiel to point that one out to him. However, having his brother draw attention to it during a meeting did give Izo and excuse to act on it. No one thought it odd when he volunteered to clothe their reluctant house guest during the meeting.
Even fewer found it odd when Izo walked up to the firebug and grabbed him by the back of the (ripped, torn, stained ) shirt while the brat was shooting little fireballs out over the water. “What the hell?!”
“You. Me. Clothes. Now .” Izo bit out, dragging the brat backwards towards the lower deck and his own cabin.
“What? NO! I’m fine! What is with you perverts and wanting to get me out of my clothes?!” Ace’s flailing only managed to rip his shirt further, revealing an equally battered undershirt. “Damn it!”
“Quit struggling, then.”
“Oh hell no! HELP! Stranger Danger!” He yelped at Tifa who took one look at Izo’s determined face and looked away from her old captain. “Traitor!”
Personally Izo thought the woman was rather smart. As was Thatch, who kindly held the door leading to the commanders’ corridor open and astutely refused to make eye contact with Firefist. It was no secret that out of all the crew Thatch actually seemed to have the best understanding of the little shit. His fellow commander had laughed it off and said it was like training a dog -- lots of food and positive reinforcement. When they reached Izo’s room and the sixteenth division commander nearly tore the rest of the shirt in two because Ace latched onto the door frame in a last desperate bid for freedom he thought maybe he should take a page out of Thatch’s book. Which was why after shutting and locking the door he turned to his desk first and ignored the wide-eyed teen watching his every move while tugging up one side of his shirt uselessly.
It was kind of cute, if Izo was honest. When the brat wasn’t glaring like the world had personally offended him, he was an attractive enough brat. Too pretty really to be called handsome but too rough to be beautiful, despite the long lashes and freckles Izo’d have killed for. With a little effort the teen could be very attractive one day, but this was Ace. Somehow Izo doubted the brat would put in the effort needed. He looked the kid over as he tossed over one of the snacks he kept in his drawer for when he drank tea. “Tell me, do you cut your hair with a knife?”
“Huh?” Came the eloquent reply as Ace caught the treat and looked it over before he glanced up at Izo. His expression was guarded. “It gets in my eyes.”
“You could get one of your crew to help. One of us to help. We’re family now, after all.” Izo commented idly, eyes cataloging what he had to work with. Narrow waist, hips kind of hard to tell with those baggy jeans but not too bad. Wider shoulders, but not as bad as he’d first thought. He was sure he had something that’d fit.
“We’re not family.” The teen spat, snapping Izo out of his thoughts.
“Oyaji wants you as one of his. That makes us family, brat.”
“I don’t care what that shitty old man wants! I’m sick of old men telling me what to do, and anyway, I’m gonna kill him.”
Izo laughed, “You’ve been doing an excellent job of it so far, I must say.”
“Shut up!” The teen colored, and Izo took mercy on him. For now.
“Well, come on. Out of those clothes and let’s get a good look at you.”
A droll stare. “You’re not my type.”
Izo’s lips quirked up, “And you think you’re mine ?” He wasn’t going to tell the brat he was mildly interested. The kid was too young for one, and for another he’d promised Thatch he’d look and not touch.
“Then why am I here…?” There was that cute little tug on the ripped shirt again.
“Because your clothes are a disgrace.”
“Well, they wouldn’t be if someone hadn’t dragged me around and ripped them.”
“Oh please. They were pathetic before I got to you. Now, off with those rags so I can find something more fitting for you to wear.” Izo knew he must have worn one of his overly excited looks because the teen leaned away from him as he opened the closet he kept spare clothes of all sizes in. One never knew when a disguise would be necessary, after all.
Reluctantly the remains of the yellow shirt were shed, revealing an orange undershirt and an unusal tattoo on Firefist’s left arm. “No dresses.”
“What does everyone have against dresses?” He joked as the jeans came off. They’d have to be replaced, too. The seat was ripping.
“You can’t run in a dress. Not easily, at least. Can’t climb a tree for shit in one, either.” That was actually the most logical answer he’d ever gotten. A little incorrect since Izo had done both, but Firefist was young yet.
So Izo made a noise that could be a sound of agreement before tossing over a pair of shorts that he thought looked to be about the right size. “Try these on then.” He waited a moment while the younger pirate did so and then did squats, obviously testing the range of motion. “How do they fit?”
“Good… Really good…” The reply was surprised. “Better than my old pair, even.”
“I’m not surprised.” Firefist seemed the type to wear clothes until they were falling off. “Now, tops…. Is there a reason you wear warm colors? You strike me more as a cooler color type. Though your skin tone works well with either.” Expecting confusion since it was the normal reaction when he started talking fashion Izo explained, “Warm colors are in the yellow and red families. Cool are blues and greens.”
Pulling off the undershirt, which seemed to stick in a few places, telling Izo a bath was in short order after they picked out better clothes, Firefist offered a shrug. “Makino gave them to me. She said it made me seem happy or some shit. Luffy agreed, so I just went along with it?”
Well, he could see how cooler colors would make the teen seem even less approachable. So maybe there was something to that. “Makino?” He questioned as he dug through the closet. Most of the shirts he stocked were too long in the torso or sleeves.
“Mmm. She’s....” Firefist ran a hand through disheveled hair. “Kinda like a foster… Big sister? I don’t know. She’s this lady who used to come by and bring clothes and food and shit. At first I thought she was just there because of Luffy… but I guess… I guess she liked us, too? Anyway, she made sure my brothers and I could read and shit, too.”
Ah, so there was a family of a sorts. Brothers, in fact. That might explain some of Firefist’s reluctance in joining the crew. He’d seen it happen before if promises had been made to those left at home. Izo’d be sure to mention it to Marco and Oyaji. They’d take it from there. For now he’d focus on doing what he did best and showing the brat a bit of kindness. “Try this undershirt. Let me know if it’s too tight or too loose. I have a few others we can if it doesn’t fit well. I can also alter it if need be.”
“It’s a little bit looser than the old one…. And stretchy.”
“Is that bad?”
“No. Just feels a bit odd, is all.” A roll of the shoulders and Firefist smiled. “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome.” Looking at the black undershirt, Izo made a quick mental note to get a few others in different colors as he rummaged around for a regular shirt. In the end he decided on a yellow one that was a few shades darker than what had been discarded on the floor. Makino had apparently known the teen for a long time, and though he’d never met her, he was going to trust her judgement on this. Warm colors it would be for now. “Here you go.”
This shirt was definitely a size too big, but that didn’t seem to bother Firefist at all as it was pulled on. A wide grin was flashed at Izo and the commander had to remind himself that he’d promised not to touch. Looking was alright though, and Firefist definitely looked downright adorable with that grin. Like a different person altogether. He tousled the roughly cut hair and hid a wince. A different person maybe, but one who still needed a bath. “Alright. You and me, Commanders’ bath. I’ll make sure you don’t accidently fall asleep in the water and drown…”
“It’s narcolepsy and not my fault!”
“And you wash all that… whatever it is off you. Next time, though, you’re using the Division showers if I have to drag you there myself. Got it, brat?”
A calculating look flashed across those grey eyes as they fell on the desk. “If you give me more of that candy I’ll follow you just about anywhere.”
“What happened to Stranger Danger?” Izo asked, pulling out another candy.
“Food trumps all.” Came the quick reply. Yep, Izo was right the first time, this brat was a bit of an idiot. Now their idiot, though.
Standing over the snoring figure on deck, the blond felt his lips twitch in the slightest of smiles. Six months since Firefist had officially joined the crew and Marco could still say the brat was one hell of a rookie. Now at least he had to admit that trouble did seem to just follow the kid around, which was pretty impressive even for a D. He was about 80% sure Firefist was a D, and knew he could just ask, but then he’d lose the betting pool on what the kid’s real name was.
Not that it really mattered in the slightest. Firefist was just ‘Ace’ to most of the Whitebeard Pirates, and that was fine. Just, as First Division Commander, and one of the oldest members of the crew, Marco felt protective of most of his ship siblings. He wanted Ace to trust them enough to be honest and not feel the need to hide. Then again, this was the same kid that had spent one hundred days trying to kill Oyaji for some reason they still didn’t quite understand. Trust might always end up being an issue even if he didn’t like it.
Those thoughts caused the small smile to slide off his face as he lightly smacked the newest addition to the crew in the face with that morning’s newspaper, earning a sputtering protest as the teen woke up flailing. “I’m up! I’m up!”
“You were snoring, yoi.”
“Shut up.” Came the predictable pouted reply. Then those grey eyes lit up, “Is that the paper?”
“Yes.” Marco handed it over readily, “I don’t see why you’ve suddenly been interested in the news.”
“I’m waiting for something.”
The elder pirate easily sat on the deck and watched his young friend page through the biased media source. “Oh?”
“Something big .”
“...You didn’t prank the marines again, did you?”
Firefist paused and looked up at him, a slow grin forming, “No, but that’s a good idea.” Marco bit back a groan as the teen went back to the paper.
“Are you going to tell me what you’re looking for?”
“When I see it---HERE!” The paper was waved in Marco’s face so fast he had no clue what it actually said before the teen was up and running, “Come on, I wanna show Oyaji! This is great!”
“What’s great?” Marco asked, trailing after them. Naturally an excited firebug running up to Whitebeard attracted attention, and by the time they got over to where Oyaji was sitting in his chair, a few other commanders had wandered over. Just because the kid had stopped trying to kill Oyaji it didn’t mean that the habit of being on guard just faded instantly. Plus, with excitement radiating off Firefist everyone undoubtedly wanted to know what was up.
“Son?” Oyaji asked, giving Ace tact permission to speak before the brat vibrated out of their skin.
The paper was thrust out proudly, “Oyaji! Look at this! My little brother has finally set sail! And he’s already making a name for himself!”
“Oh?” Whitebeard’s eyes glinted in amusement as the teen beamed up at him but didn’t hand over the paper. Undoubtedly Oyaji had read the paper, as had most of the commanders, including Marco. The first division commander wracked his brain as he tried to figure out which article was being discussed.
He didn’t have to wonder as Firefist started to read and excerpt from it. “See, it says right here, ‘Monkey D. Luffy defeated Arlong on one of the Conomi Islands in East Blue.” He could hear the pride, and his heart warmed at the sound of it. “He’s got a bounty now and everything! That’s sure to stop the old man from making him a marine!”
“You never said you had a little brother.” Namur commented.
“I knew about it. Two, wasn’t it?” Izo said with a small smile. Marco had to agree with Namur though, it was the first he was hearing of it from Firefist. Though Izo had mentioned it.
Firefist shrugged, “You never asked. But yeah, I have two brothers. Just like it says in the article.”
Marco frowned, trying to remember what the article had said about who this brat Luffy was related to. “Hey,” Thatch cut in, interrupting his line of thought, “That can’t be right. You should have a sister then, too. Right Ace?” At everyone’s blank stare Thatch elaborated, “It says this Luffy is the brother of that new Revolutionary kid, Sabo, and some girl named Ann. Doesn’t mention you at all. Which is a bit odd, don’t you think?”
There was a moment of awkward silence that only Firefist seemed unaware of. They were just frowning slightly. “But that’s me. I’m Ann. Portgas D Ann.”
“Wait, you mean you’re a….?” He made a gesture, “A girl ?”
Ann frowned, “Yes?”
“Why didn’t you SAY SO?!”
“I wasn’t hiding it!” Ann snapped back.
Izo stepped between them before it could come to blows while Marco drew Ann’s attention away from Thatch, “You have to admit it looks like you were, yoi. You bind your chest, and you go by Ace.”
“You knew?” Thatch gasped.
“Most of us figured it out, Thatch.” Izo chided, “I’m surprised you hadn’t.”
“But, I wasn’t hiding it!” Ace protested, looking between all of them, “Really! I’m kinda flat anyway, and boobs just get in the way when you’re doing anything fun.” Only a D would call fighting and attacking people fun…. “So it’s easier to keep them out of the way with undershirts. So they don’t move so much. It hurts when they move around too much, you know? And Ace is my name, too. It’s not like I gave you a false name or anything.”
“How is your name both Ann and Ace?” Marco asked, raising an eyebrow.
“It’s my shitty Jiji’s fault. When he dropped me off at Dadan’s as a baby -- she was sort of like my foster mother I guess -- he said I was a boy, and my name was Ace. By the time she got around to checking, Garp was gone and of course the shitty old man didn’t come back for like a year. So Dadan’s group just started calling me Ace. It was that or ‘evil demon brat’. Of course when Garp did come back and Dadan yelled at him and got my real name, he kept calling me Ace all the time anyway. It wasn’t worth arguing over when Luffy came along because it just got the poor kid confused. Besides, it’s not like me being a girl meant I couldn’t do what my brothers could, right? So I don’t see what the big deal is.”
“But… but I’ve been calling you a guy!” Thatch protested weakly. Marco realized his friend’s problem wasn’t in what Ann, or Ace’s gender was but in the chance they had been insulted by his actions.
“Yeah?” Ann shrugged, “I just told you Jiji calls me a boy all the time. Dadan…. It depends on her mood, and Makino always called me a girl. Sabo and Luffy use both ‘he’ and ‘she’ for me all the time, and call me Ace or Ann. Just like I call them Sally and Lucy . It’s fine , Thatch. I’m a female, but….” Another shrug, “So what? S’not like I wanna get all dolled up, no offence, Izo.”
“None taken.” Izo said with a slight laugh and Marco suspected his friend had been perhaps attempting to get Ann to wear a dress.
“I'm just me.”
Slowly Thatch nodded. “Ok. Alright. I can work with that. As long as, you know, we’re still cool? We’re cool, right? Hey! That’s why you keep stealing my chocolate!”
“I wouldn’t have to if you’d give it to me!” Ann snapped, “And yes, we’re cool. Unless you make it weird. Then I’ll just beat you up ‘til we are.”
Thatch swallowed, a weak smile pulling at his lips. “So… tell us more about your little brother. Luffy, is it?”
Ann’s face lit up. “You’d love him. He’s such an idiot.” Her hand went to the ASL tattoo on her arm, which finally made sense to Marco. “Brave, but he really doesn’t know when to give up. If you think I’m bad… Oh boy. Luffy. He makes me look like a quitter.” Ann turned to look at Oyaji, “Don’t laugh, but he wants to be King of the Pirates.”
“Why would I laugh at that?” Oyaji spoke for the first time, leaning down, “He sounds very important to you, Ace.”
Ann, or Ace, Marco supposed it didn’t matter really, smiled, “He is. I’ll have to introduce you one day.”
“I look forward to it.”