The library in Law’s submarine was huge and held a wide variety of books. Most of them were medicine books of course, but there were others as well.
Zoro found that Robin and Usopp mostly enjoyed sitting in the library and reading. Franky wasn’t big on books, but he dutifully followed them and sat in the library quietly with a bottle of cola while he quietly read a book on mechanics. Zoro ended up staying there too, because he wasn’t too keen on socializing and making friends with rival crews the way Luffy was. It also gave him some sort of comfort to stick with his crew while Sanji was gone, especially after he’d woken up from a nap with nasty swelling bruises on his face that weren’t his.
“Zoro, how are you feeling?” Usopp asked, looking up from his book. He did it regularly ever since the bruises had appeared. He was very concerned with how the swelling didn’t seem to go down. They all were concerned, but didn’t say much. Robin had merely handed him an ice pack to hold against his face.
“Fine,” Zoro shrugged. Usopp seemed unconvinced but turned back to his book. Then the library door opened and all of them turned to see Trafalgar Law leaning against the door, looking tired and annoyed as he always did. Zoro had a very lukewarm opinion of the man. He had saved Luffy’s life and they had fought together and travelled together for a while. But Law seemed about as cunning as Robin was.
“Which one of you is the first mate again? I need to have a word.” Law dragged a hand down his face and Robin gave Zoro a pointed look.
“That’s me,” Zoro said, getting up. Law looked at him with those burning golden eyes and Zoro tried not to dwell on the fact that it reminded him of how Luffy would look when he got serious and quiet.
“I thought so,” Law said. “Alright, follow me.” He turned and walked out. Frowning, Zoro went after him. They entered what looked like an office of sorts. The desk was spilling over with papers covered in illegible words and hasty anatomy sketches. “Take a seat,” Law pulled up a chair, gathering the papers on it and putting them on top of the mess on the desk.
Zoro sat down and Law started to talk about their progress and the problems they were facing with the underwater currents and the like. Zoro was trying to listen, really. But he was no good with this stuff. Law should have asked for the smartest member, not the first mate. Robin would have understood everything and then explained it to all of them in a way that made sense.
“Anyways, th-” Law stopped, his face twitching in pain for a moment. Zoro blinked.
“Are you alright?” Zoro asked, not exactly concerned. Law’s lips stretched into a thin smile.
“I’m fine,” he said and then continued to ramble on. Zoro felt a warmth bloom in his right leg that steadily intensified into a burn, the way he felt whenever Sanji lit his leg on fire. Satisfied that Sanji was finally fighting back against those assholes, Zoro grinned to himself and made himself comfortable in the chair.
“We’ll probably take a coup-” Law was droning again when suddenly blood spurted from his nose. Zoro’s eyes widened. Law stumbled backwards and put his hand to his nose, cursing.
“Are you really sure you’re alright?” Zoro asked. Zoro didn’t know much about nosebleeds, but he knew they didn’t happen like that .
“I’m fine,” Law hissed through gritted teeth. He clearly was not. Zoro watched him fall over as what looked like bruises and burns appeared on his face in dark splotches of purple and red with startling speed.
“Yeah right, tell that to your crewmates when I call them,” Zoro deadpanned, getting to his feet and preparing to call one of the Heart Pirates.
“It’s not my blood. It’s my fucking dumbass soulmate’s!” Law snapped and Zoro’s eyes widened. Huh, so this guy had a soulmate too. Crimson spilled out of his mouth and dribbled down his chin. “Fucking genius couldn’t not get into trouble. Had to lose a fucking tooth!”
Zoro grabbed him and eased him into the chair instead.
“Uh...Robin tells me that it’s a good idea to talk through what you’re feeling,” Zoro said, unsure of what to really do. The ideal would be to call a doctor, but Law himself was a doctor and there wasn’t much one could do when it came to soulmate injuries. Law let out a dry chuckle.
“My soulmate is getting their ass kicked and is not fighting back at all. I think they’re literally getting kicked. I can feel pain in the shape of shoes all over my face and stomach. Really annoying. Also...fire? Burns mixed with Haki, I think. The person they’re fighting must be on fire,” Law muttered. Zoro’s heart dropped into his stomach. His leg was still burning.
“I don’t know if you want to hear this, but your soulmate is probably fighting Sanji,” Zoro said. Law looked up at Zoro. “My soulmate is Sanji,” Zoro said, looking away and grumbling. “I can feel when he’s fighting. He’s currently fighting and he’s not getting hurt in return, so it means he’s flawlessly kicking someone else’s ass. He’s strong so it makes sense.” Zoro looked back at Law and Law did not look good . Well, of course he didn’t, blood was pouring from his nose and mouth and his skin was covered in telltale patches of bruises and burns. “Your soulmate is in Big Mom’s territory, huh? But no worries, your soulmate won’t die...hopefully. Sanji isn’t known for killing his opponents. So it’s good news, I think.”
“Actually,” Law said and then lurched forward, hissing in pain. “...if Sanji is fighting my soulmate it’s very bad news .”
“Why?” Zoro asked, steadying Law.
“Because,” Law laughed again. “My soulmate is your captain .”
Zoro stared blankly.
“Wait, are you serious?” Zoro asked.
“Unfortunately,” Law grimaced. The fire in Zoro’s leg vanished and Law wiped the blood from his mouth with the back of his hand.
That was bad news .
Panic seized Zoro’s chest in a vice-grip.
It meant Sanji was fighting Luffy and Luffy hadn’t fought back at all. Sanji was leaving the crew. Sanji was leaving the crew .
“Hey, if it makes you feel better, I doubt Mugiwara-ya is the type to just let a crewmate leave. He’s probably going to drag your cook back here screaming and kicking if he has to.” Law shrugged.
Zoro looked down at Law’s blood-covered inked hands. Zoro took a deep breath. He was right. Luffy had promised to bring Sanji back. He had promised, and Zoro refused to believe the secret smiles and touches and the happiness Sanji and he had shared together were all lies.
“You’re right...you should...get some rest. I honestly doubt that this is going to be Luffy’s last time getting into trouble,” Zoro said, offering some kind of comfort.
“I guessed,” Law said dryly.
“Do you want me to call one of your crewmates?” Zoro asked.
“Please, no ,” Law muttered and then got to his feet.
And then Zoro felt Nami slap him.
“Luffy is Torao’s soulmate,” Zoro said as soon as he opened the library door.
Usopp spat out a mouthful of tea and Franky put down his cola to stare. Robin lowered her book and at the same time wiped the puddle of tea that Usopp had created with a stray hand.
“What the heck?” Usopp cried in between his coughing fit. “Are you serious?”
“Really?” Franky asked, one eyebrow raised with interest.
“Oh, is that so?” Robin asked, an amused smile on her face.
“You knew,” Zoro said in disbelief.
“I knew,” Robin nodded.
“How?” Usopp cried out.
“Back on Dressrosa, he practically confessed in Cabbage kun’s arms. He said that if Luffy won, he wanted to be there to see it and if Luffy died, he would die with him.” Robin shrugged. “It wasn’t hard to guess from there.”
“I did think that they were super unusually close,” Franky said.
“Now that you mention it…” Usopp said.
Zoro recalled the bright smiles that Luffy shot Law and the tiny looks of amusement and contentment Law had given Luffy after Dressrosa. He recalled how Luffy was pretty much one of the only few people that Law had let into his space and how Luffy was ridiculously attached to the other. He recalled how in Kyros’ house, Law had sat at the foot of Luffy’s bed, Luffy’s arm draped over his shoulder and they had seemed content.
How none of them but Robin had realized until now was ridiculous. It was true Luffy had been covered in more blood than he needed to be in Dressrosa, but they had let Law and Princess Mansherry treat everyone so none of them had paid too much attention to Luffy’s injuries. Chopper might have known something after Punk Hazard, but knowing Law, he probably asked Chopper to keep quiet about it. But thinking back on it, Zoro had caught Luffy rubbing his arm a lot, right where Law had lost his arm.
“Well that certainly explains some things,” Zoro said.
“And so, how did you figure this out?” Robin asked in concern. Zoro frowned.
“Sanji and Luffy fought,” Zoro said. Everyone stared with wide eyes. “But it was one sided, Luffy didn’t fight back. So Luffy’s probably still working on bringing the cook back. It’s OK.”
“Indeed,” Robin said.
“Just a quick question,” Usopp said, after recovering. “Are we going to give Torao the talk?”
Robin smiled slyly.
“Oh, Torao is probably madly in love with Luffy, but I think a talk is in order,” she chuckled. Zoro rolled his eyes. This was why he loved his stupid crewmates.
“Alright then,” Zoro nodded. “But first, let me get some sleep.”