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Keelhauled Into A Hurricane

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Trafalgar Law had absolutely NO IDEA what he was getting into when he asked Mugiwara to ally with him. Just. None whatsoever. He had been trying to find someone trustworthy enough to help him without having to constantly watch his back, and had ended up strapping himself to the back of a warship and keelhauled into a fucking hurricane.

Monkey D Luffy was an unstoppable force of nature. He didn't listen to reason, or other people's opinions or... Being asked to hold still for two fucking seconds. He plowed through life full speed without looking and everything always worked out for him anyway. It was honestly frustrating to be a part of.

And Law WAS a part of it. Because Luffy had decided they were FRIENDS, and NOTHING LAW SAID MATTERED. Nothing Law said to him EVER mattered. But hell, at least nothing ANYONE said to him did, so it's not like Law was getting treated worse than anyone else Luffy was “friends” with.

But still, it made being trapped on a tiny boat with the guy and eight crew members so brow-beaten by Luffy's insanity they agree to his every whim a little.... Exhausting was a mild way to put it.

Law tried to keep to himself, for the most part. He found a decent spot on the deck to camp out, and had already been given free reign of the library, which he took regular advantage of, partly due to its consistent quietness. Right now, though, he was there to take advantage of Dr. Tony Tony's generosity, reading a medical textbook he'd not previously encountered. He didn't know how much longer he'd be on the Sunny before he reunited with his own crew, and it only made sense to use the time well.

Another thing he liked about the library was the fact that it was one of the few rooms aboard the ship that her captain had no interest in whatsoever.  While Law could admit Luffy had certain charms, he generally found it wisest to spend little time with him. Luffy was simply... overwhelming.

“Ah, there you are, Torao! I've been looking for you!” Which was of course, the Strawhat's cue. Law closed his book with a sigh as Luffy launched himself into his lap with enough force to knock Law's hat off his head, nearly toppling them both over in the chair.

This was no longer a surprise. Over the course of this trip, the doctor had seen Luffy sprawled across or perched in any number of his crewmate's bodies, and had since been here long enough to have stopped attempting the impossible task of dislodging the other captain. Apparently, this was something Luffy just sort of DID to people he liked.

“Any particular reason you were looking for me?” Law asked, attempting to at least sit up with Luffy wrapped around him.

“I was bored,” Luffy stated simply. “And when I didn't see you on the deck I figured you were off by yourself somewhere like a loser, and figured I'd keep you company!” He finished with a laugh, settling more comfortably into Law's lap. With a sigh, Law knocked Luffy's straw hat off onto the floor so that he could see his book around the Strawhat's head.

“So, what are you reading?” Luffy asked, round eyes staring up at him. Law preferred not to look at them. Looking Luffy in the eye had dangerous consequences, like actually starting to listen to him.

“'Tropical Diseases of the South Blue,'” Law recited.

Luffy made a vaguely impressed-sounding noise. “That sounds pretty dull.”

“On the contrary, it's quite fascinating,” Law said easily. “And more importantly, it's on a subject I'm weak on. It would be remiss of me as a doctor not to brush up while I have the chance.”

Luffy beamed at him. “Torao's a really great guy," he snickered.

Law frowned. "I'm really not."

"Sure you are! You've never been anything but awesome since we met, you know!" the other captain argued sunnily. "You've saved my life, and plenty of other lives along the way. And even right now, you're learning how to save even more lives!"

Trafalgar barely resisted the urge to sigh. "Only because I'd be a failure as a doctor if one of my crew members caught one of these diseases and I couldn't treat them."

Luffy couldn't be daunted. "Well, sure, but if you were on an island and you ran into to someone sick, you'd treat them wouldn't you?"

"If I ran into them, but I'm not going to go out of my way to save anybody," Law said in attempt to dismiss him.

Luffy only shrugged this off. "Well, duh, we're still pirates. Even I've never gone out of my way to help a stranger."

Law just stared at him, one eyebrow raised challengingly.

"Well, I've never done anything I didn't WANT to, anyway," the small captain amended.

"That I can believe," Law agreed, giving up and closing his book to look at Luffy. Luffy grinned in response, a bright and irritatingly cute expression that made Law want to pinch his cheek. Instead, he just flicked at his forehead and leaned back in the comfortable chair.

"You're one of those people that got their devil fruit powers on accident because they had no idea what you were eating, aren't you?" Law observed casually.

"Sure am!" the rubber boy confirmed, and Trafalgar swore he could see pride in that fact.

"Of course you are. I can't imagine anyone choosing the Gum-Gum fruit intentionally, much less making it as far as you have with such a bizarre power. When I heard about it seemed like one of the most useless powers imaginable, but here you are tearing through the New World with it," Law observed, genuine amusement in his voice.

"Well yeah," Luffy said, like the whole thing was obvious. "I could have been born in the body of a gerbil and I'd still become King of the Pirates," he stated plainly.

And Law couldn't help it. He had all ready burst into laughter before he knew what was happening. "Of course you would!" he said through his chuckles, and when he opened his eyes again the expression on Luffy's face made his heart stop for just a moment.

He had a dangerous looks on his face, the kind Law tried not to see too much of because they DID things to him. His eyes were wide and shining, and there was a red splash blush spreading from one ear to the other, and his mouth was opened just a little bit like he had been about to say something before he'd seen something amazing and the words were lost. It was the kind of look that made Law want to do things, like... Slap himself.

And then Luffy broke into a smile, huge and radiant and terrifying, and said "Uwaaai, Torao's so handsome! I don't think I've ever heard you laugh like that!" He leaned back away from Law so suddenly that the doctor had to brace a steadying hand on Luffy's side to keep him from falling off of his lap and toppling to the floor. The gesture only made Luffy grin harder, his face still flushed a charming bright pink. "That's it! I've decided!"

Law's eyebrows drew together. "Decided what?"

"Decided on you," he declared decisively. "I'm definitely keeping you!"

The surgeon groaned, swiping a frustrated hand down his own face. "Oh for fuck's sake - you can't KEEP me, Luffy, I have my own crew."

"That's fine, you can go back to your own ship," Luffy dismissed easily. "But later on, when I become Pirate King, we're getting married!" The declaration held the kind of absolute finality that only Luffy could be capable of, and Law felt his jaw drop.

"I - what do - I can't even - what?"

The Strawhat only laughed. "Don't worry," he assured. "You'll see it my way eventually," he promised easily, shooting forward to plant a quick kiss on Law's cheek, leaping up off of his lap and grabbing his hat from the floor. His face was still red, but with the smile taking up half his face and bizarrely demure hunch of his shoulders, he just looked... like he was glowing.

Law didn't even notice he had stopped breathing until Luffy was out the door with a promise of "I'll see you at dinner, Torao! Don't hide in here too long!" when the air returned to his body.

And Law just sat there, slumped in his chair, dumbly thinking that Luffy was always, always right.

What the FUCK had he gotten himself into?

Chapter Text

 

What greeted Law when he stepped out of the library was... unnerving. On the deck most of the crew was gathered – no, actually, the ENTIRE crew, sans Luffy – and they appeared to be casually playing cards or drinking tea or otherwise minding their own business normally. Except that when Law came into view, every single one turned to greet or acknowledge Law with a smile. All eight of them.

Law scowled at the lot “I hate this fucking ship.”

“Aww, don't be like that,” Nami cooed at him. “We just all wanted to congratulate you on your engagement!” she said with a grin.

“And to wish you luck of course,” Sanji smirked.

“Since you'll need it,” added Robin, and all of them laughed together like the whole thing was one big fucking joke.

Law groaned, rubbing at his eyes. “Every one of you is a terrible person. Including Chopper.”

“EH!? Am I really?!”

“You're laughing too, aren't you?” Trafalgar had to scoff. “Can't any of you at least say something to him? This is ridiculous!”

Franky only chuckled. “Say what? It's not like Luffy's ever changed his mind about anything before.”

“Yeah, once the captain's decided something, that's just how it is, no matter how insane it may be,” Zoro shrugged. “So, if he says he wants to marry you, then. Weird and unlikely as it may seem now, eventually it's just gonna happen.” The tone he used was the kind one would use to state simple, obvious facts, like whether or not it was currently raining all over your head.

“After all, this is pretty much the same as how he got any of us to join the crew, right?” Nami commented casually, and the others all nodded in assent. In unison, because they were assholes.

“Are you guys even serious?” Law deadpanned, and to his surprise, the look that Sanji gave him was in fact, one hundred percent free of humor.

“Absolutely. When I said I wouldn't join his crew, he destroyed half the restaurant I lived in in a pirate battle and got me fired from my job.”

“I was part of a different pirate crew, had been since I was a little kid. So Luffy broke them up and got the captain arrested.” Nami shrugged, like this was a normal way to get your navigator.

“I said-” Chopper stuttered. “I said I couldn't join, I said. That no one would accept me. And Luffy. He just shouted 'Get on the damned boat!' and... And I'm here. Because. Because it's Luffy, you know?”

The others all nodded sagely, like this made perfect sense. Usopp patted the reindeer on the head, and Brook took a drink of his tea.

“So. Get it?” Franky said, pointing his finger in the air and spinning it in a circle, which wasn't even a gesture Law recognized, much less could decipher the intent of. “For Luffy to decide something, it's the same as saying it's fate, you know?”

And when Law looked over the eight people sitting in front of him, he saw the same absolute certainty their captain had, even if lacking the resolve behind it. They were only making fun of him a little – for the most part, though? All of them were completely sure that Luffy would get his way in the end, and that the two of them getting, of all things, gay pirate married, was now an absolute inevitability.

“Well, what the ever-loving FUCK. What. What the fuck do I even do now?” Trafalgar Law was not flailing desperately. He was too cool for that. He just FELT like flailing desperately.

For a moment, the straw hat crew looked among themselves like that was actually a really good question.

And then Usopp gave him a thumbs up. “Good luck!” He declared, and the rest of the crew followed suit, giving Law a round of thumbs up and a chorus of “Good luck!”

“Oh, fuck every last one of you!”

 

 

Fortunately, it turned out the crew wasn't entirely without sympathies. Nico Robin was someone Law instinctively distrusted, but also someone he instinctively liked; she was strange and mysterious and morbid, and a bunch of other words people had also used to describe Law over the years. So when she invited him to join her on her favourite deck for afternoon tea (generously provided by who other than Sanji) the surgeon agreed fairly easily. Even feeling like he had to keep his guard up at all times, Robin was still one of the people on this ship Law would prefer to talk to.

Not knowing what to expect, he made himself comfortable in the little white chair across the table from her,taking a drink of the bitter black tea and waiting for something to happen. For now, though, the casual silence between the two of them was comfortable, and as Robin flipped through the pages of her novel, he felt himself relax without meaning to. Probing as her gaze may be, Nico Robin had a soothing presence, and Law was halfway through his tea and letting his thoughts drift idly before he realized the woman probably wasn't even going to say anything at all.

That. Was unexpectedly nice. The Thousand Sunny was a flurry of chaos and merriment that often overwhelmed Law, but right now... Right now, down on the deck, Luffy and Usopp were falling asleep with fishing rods in their hands, and Zoro was lifting weights with his teeth, and Brook was plucking absently at an acoustic guitar. Nami was inside drawing out maps, and Franky was tinkering with a robot, and Sanji was cooking dinner. Right now, everything was peaceful and quiet and Law... Law didn't feel like pulling out all his hair and tossing himself overboard. It was depressing that that was a sign of progress in his life.

He glanced back at Robin across the table from him, his gaze flickering down to her book as the curious thought of what she was actually reading breezed through his mind.

“Ah, I have that book,” he said when he saw the title, before even realizing he had voiced the thought out loud.

Robin smiled. “I suppose I can't be surprised,” she said. “If I were to guess you to read any kind of fiction, it would be horror.” She smiled, “And the story of a mad doctor using body parts to create life does seem like it would be right up your alley, Mr. Surgeon of Death,” she teased.

Law smirked. “Bringing the dead back to life holds no appeal, but the rest of the story I found somewhat inspiring.”

She giggled in that soft, womanly way of hers. “I actually have a collection of classic horror stories I'm quite fond of, and out of them I think this one is my favorite. Something about beautiful peaceful days like this, puts me in the mood to read about abominations and moral ambiguity, you know?” The smile on her face was serene, and real, the kind of smile the strawhat crew wore often, but that Law had never really seen outside in the real world. “The best time to read about a dark and stormy night is when you can look outside at the sunshine, wouldn't you say?”

And Law didn't really have anything to say to that. His attention was caught by a bark of laughter down on the deck, looking over to see Usopp pulling an impressive fish out of the water as Luffy cheered, Zoro wandering over to praise the fish as looking “like dinner.”

He turned back to Robin to see that she, too, had been caught by the commotion, and was still watching her nakama with her favorite Mona Lisa smile.

“You guys...” Law started, unable to quite articulate the thought. “Are really all happy here, huh?”

Robin leaned back in her chair again to look at him. “You know, I noticed the oddest phenomenon while I've been on this ship.”

Law leaned into his arm rest, resting his face in one hand and raising an eyebrow to say “go on.”

“As individuals, most of us on the crew aren't really prone to that much smiling or laughter. It's hard to get anyone alone on this ship, so it took a while to notice, actually, but it becomes more obvious when Luffy isn't around.” The look on her face was more serious now, as if contemplating a question that one is idly aware has no real answer. “All of us are so much quieter without the captain, even with the rest of us all together. It's like all he has to do is be in the room and everyone … comes alive.”

And the thing was? “I can absolutely believe that,” Law said, looking back down at the members of the crew laughing around Usopp as a raised a fish slightly larger than the crew's doctor above his head triumphantly. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Robin move, but he didn't have to look to see what she had done. Two arms suddenly sprouted out of the fish's sides and started waving frantically, causing Usopp to yell out in horrified confusion and drop the flailing fish, which landed on it's new hands and scrambled towards the kitchen.

Down on deck the entire gathered crew was laughing, and when they heard a shout of “WHAT THE SWEET FUCK?” from Sanji even Law chuckled.

Luffy looked up at them then, probably to confirm Robin's location just in case the fish's arms had somehow not been her doing, and caught Law's eye. His cheeks puffed out and turned red, making him look rather like a squirrel, most likely at seeing that Law has indeed been caught smiling again. Geeze, wasn't he supposed to be nineteen? How and why could someone who was technically an adult look so cute? Nothing about Luffy made any sense at all.

“Toraoooo! Come down here, I wanna show you something!” Luffy shouted at him, and. And why not? Law was in a good mood, he could indulge the other captain a little. For once he didn't even feel like arguing, just meandered down to meet Luffy, who grabbed him by the arm to pull him towards the bow of the ship.

It quickly became apparent what Strawhat wanted, as he led the doctor to the figurehead and pushed him to sit down in his own favorite spot, plopping down in front of Law to lean against his chest. Which actually made sense, because there wasn't enough room for two people to sit side by side without risking one of them falling off the rounded lion's head and plunging into the open sea, but like this they had no problem sitting comfortably.

A lot of things about the situation seemed counter-intuitive at this point. Sitting in the one place on the ship where he was most likely to fall into the ocean was something Law usually avoided, for one. Letting Luffy use him like his favorite piece of furniture was probably a bad idea, too, especially since Law was generally a lot less okay with people touching him all the time. In fact getting so comfortable around the crew at all seemed dangerous and stupid from any logical standpoint.

But right now, leaning against the wooden mane of the Sunny's figurehead with Luffy's small body relaxing against his, watching the ocean split before the sailing ship and cleave into the horizon, Law just... Didn't give a shit. He didn't give a shit about anything.

It was a nice feeling.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

Zoro reclined in the bathtub, glancing over at Luffy, who was sitting on a bucket a few feet away scrubbing himself off. "Are you sure we're both gonna fit in here?" he asked critically, splashing idly at the bathwater.

"Sure," Luffy answered without looking. "Robin and Nami take baths together all the time."

"I'm a little bigger than Robin, though..."

Luffy dumped some water over his head to rinse, shaking out his hair and saying "It's fine, I was just in here like last week with Usopp, and he's got broader shoulders than you."

Zoro frowned. "What? No he doesn't. Does he?" He looked thoughtful. "I thought I was used to everything by now, but I keep forgetting how freaking big he got."

"Yeah, Usopp got super awesome," Luffy said in a way that managed to sound like he knew that would happen all along without being smug.

"I did notice that," Zoro assured. Luffy stood up, not bothering to take off his towel before stepping into the tub.

Zoro moved his legs in an attempt to accommodate him. "I guess we fit okay? But it still seems weird in this small of a tub."

His captain made himself comfortable. "Well, too bad, because I can't take baths alone in case I pass out and drown."

That... Was a legitimate concern, wasn't it? "Is that why Robin and Nami bathe together, too?"

"Yeah. It is."

"So Chopper and Brook..."

"Also never take baths by themselves. In case we die."

"How did none of this ever occur to me before?"

Luffy closed his eyes, melting into the bath in a way that didn't look particularly healthy. "Because you're gross and you only bathe once a week and thats why Sanji says you smell bad."

Zoro thought about this. "Yeah that sounds about right."

And they settled into a comfortable silence for a while.

"So," Zoro started after a while. "Trafalgar Law, huh?"

"Yeahh," Luffy slurred.

"What made you decide on that, then?"

"G'mme a shove," Luffy mumbled into the water, and Zoro obligingly kicked him upright enough to be able to pull himself out of the water, sitting on the edge of the tub and shaking his hair out with a relieved sigh. "I guess because. Well, it's the first time I've ever even, you know, wanted to. Like. He's the first person I've ever wanted."

Zoro nodded, but also made a dismissive gesture with his hand. "Yeah, I get that. What I mean is why him. What made you decide on your Torao specifically?"

Luffy looked thoughtful, kicking his legs in the water idly and splashing his friend in the face with the bathwater. Neither of them particularly noticed or cared. "I'm not really sure. But. I remember, earlier when I made him laugh... I thought to myself that I wanted to make him laugh all the time. That I wanted to be ABLE to make him smile, you know?" He looked up towards the ceiling, a sure sign he was lost in his thoughts now. "Just being close to him... I get all heated up, and my heart starts pounding! It's kind of like, a small feeling, but one I can feel with my whole body, just by touching him!" He said dreamily, and Zoro was fascinated to watch Luffy's entire demeanor change ever so slightly as he talked. His body language turned weirdly vulnerable, hunching his shoulders up in a way that made him look smaller, his skin heating up into a blush. Zoro mentally compared this image to the memory he had of his captain having a snot-bubble blowing contest with a five-year old. There was something about it that did not seem right.

Fuckin' creepy. That's what it was.

Luffy didn't notice his first mate's mild discomfort, now quite set on his train of thoughts. "I'm not naive enough to think he couldn't have had other motives for saving me back in Marineford, but. But seeing him again so randomly in Punk Hazard still made me so happy! I got a chance to thank him, and then he gave me the greatest gift ever!" He chattered excitedly.

Zoro raised an eyebrow at this. "Oh? And what gift is that?"

His captain was positively glowing at this point. "An excuse to pick a fight with one of the Four Emperors," he said affectionately, and Zoro's sudden bark of laughter was loud enough to echo against the tiles. "I'm serious! I wouldn't have had any reason at all to go to Dressrosa if it wasn't for Torao! I would have had no reason to go punch Doflamingo in the face, and so I wouldn't have gotten to find out how SATISFYING that is! Torao gave me an excuse to beat up another Warlord! How great is THAT?" Luffy finished, shoving off the side of the tub and sinking back into the water at the end.

Zoro was still laughing. "Of course! What better engagement present could there be than that?" He chuckled, and for a moment he and his captain just grinned at each other in the bathtub.

"Alright, I guess I get what you're saying," Zoro said as he eyed his friend one again flopping into the water bonelessly. "But you know that when you say marriage, we're talking the rest of your lives here. You sure you know what you're getting into?"

"it'b'fn," Luffy glubbed, and Zoro reached over to pull his head out of the water by the hair. "Thanks. And that SOUNDS like a good question, yeah, but if you think about it? How long are we ACTUALLY going to live?"

Zoro thought about that. "I'm sure not making plans for retirement," he conceded.

"Right?" Luffy pulled himself upright a bit more, panting lightly. "I know for one thing I lost ten years off my life when I had Iva-san heal me in Impel Down, and that's assuming I don't get killed first. Planning for the rest of my life is kind of dumb when I could just for the moment instead."

"Yeahhhh..." his first mate agreed. "I allways kind of planned to die gloriously in battle."

"Oh GOD yeah. You and I, we're going out in a flaming blaze of glory. Which means we'll have to have Sanji make sure everyone else gets everyone else away okay."

"He's not gonna like that," Zoro observed. And yeah, they'd all still be alive when he and the captain died- if they weren't, that meant that he and Luffy had failed to protect them, after all.

"It'll be fine, we just have to remind him that Nami and Robin and Chopper need him to protect them and he'll have to go."

"That'll do it," the swordsman agreed. "And what about your Torao? Is he gonna be there with us on our way out?"

"Nah," Luffy fell back into the water a little. "I want Torao to live longer than us."

Zoro kicked up back upright. "Oh, so you can drag ME with you into hell with you, but he gets to stay behind?"

"Well yeah," Luffy said plainly. "He'll just be my husband, but you're my nakama. You're stuck with me FOREVER. If I want you to conquer hell with me when we get there, then you don't have a choice, because we're NAKAMA. That's just how this WORKS, Zoro."

Zoro, naturally, laughed until they both fell into the water and choked on it.

They were still chatting after the bath, wandering onto the deck where Sanji was leaning over the railing to have a smoke and Law was sitting on his favorite place at the base of the mast.

"Motherfucking Crocodile did not save your life. That's ridiculous."

"No, I'm serious! Buggy the Clown, and half of Baroque Works all helped me directly! THAT'S how fucked up Marineford actually was. Crocodile saved my life, and Ace's."

"Jesus that's fucked up. You know what this means, don't you?"

"Yeah, I do."

"We have to break Bon Clay out of Impel Down, don't we?"

"Absolutely one hundred percent, yes. But now that I've been there once I have NO idea how."

"Well if they didn't expect you the first time, they sure as HELL won't expect you to come back, right?"

"Jesus CHRIST, no. No one is breaking back into Impel Down!" Law finally interjected, interrupting the two of them before they could try to hatch any hair-brained schemes to get everyone killed.

From the railing, Sanji added "Crocodile, huh? No shit?"

"No shit," Luffy confirmed.

"No shit!" Sanji said, surprised. "Anyway, Usopp's arms are too short for something I stopped listening to, he wanted you to help him hold something."

The captain nodded, dashing off. "Got it. Thanks, Sanji!"

Law watched him go out of the corner of his eye, apparently noting he and his first mate's matching damp hair. "Just come from a bath?"

Zoro looked over at him as though he was just noticing he existed for the first time, but didn't particularly care that he did. "Yeah, but I don't know what's supposed to be relaxing about me kicking him so he doesn't drown for twenty minutes," he answered boredly. He smirked a little. "Why? Jealous?"

Law didn't answer verbally, but something on his face must have changed, because Zoro's expression was now downright entertained. "Don't worry, it wasn't anything weird. I promise he's all yours for the rest of your lives," he said with a smirk, patting Law's shoulder with one hand. "And if you ask me, that's getting off easy. He just informed me he still expects me to be his first mate when we get to hell," he finished, stepping away in obvious intent to wander off.

And whatever anyone expected Law's reaction to be, it certainly wasn't what he actually said. Because before he even knew what words were going to come out of his mouth, Law was saying "Tch! After all he's already put me through, he still thinks I wouldn't follow him into hell, too?"

And Law knew he shouldn't have said that not by the look of genuine surprise on Zoro's face, but by the by the wicked grin that then took it over in a wave of smugness. Behind them, someone was making a sound like "Ding-dong! Ding-dong!" And before Law could ever register that it was Sanji's voice Zoro was cocking his head to the side with an exaggerated look of wonder on his face, holding his hand up to his ear.

"Oh? What's that ringing? Sounds to me like – wedding bells!" He grinned like he was so fucking funny, Sanji's voice devolving into laughter behind them.

"Oh, go fuck yourselves," Law spat, storming off and resolutely ignoring the sound of the two men laughing behind him.

Chapter Text

 

Sometime after dinner, presumably after he had finished the dishes, Sanji invited Law out to the deck. “Come with me while I smoke,” the chef had said, looking Law in the eye and using a tone that expressed it was less an invitation than the opening of a discussion.

Wary, the surgeon decided he had no real choice but to follow.

“So there's something no one's told you yet,” Sanji said once they got to an unoccupied area of the deck, and the dread that welled up Law's heart was unlike any in this world.

“I'm not going to like this, am I?”

“I don't believe you will,” Sanji sympathized, pulling a cigarette out and lighting it. “But the thing is, as much as I don't wanna have this conversation,” he took a drag of the lit cig. “If it was me in your shoes? I'd want someone to tell me. Like. Right away. This is something relevant to your current situation, and it is an observation that makes everything about it weirder and worse.”

Law took off his hat, running a tired hand through his hair. “What. What are you going to say that is going to make being forcibly courted by your captain weirder and worse?”

Sanji looked uncomfortable. “Well. The thing is. How do I put this,” he scratched at his chin. “We're... We're on a really small boat, right? And the last one we had before this was even smaller,” he began. “And when you've got a certain number of people on a very small boat, you learn things about each other you maybe didn't wanna know. You see things that, in the outside world, people would rather keep private. These things happen, and you get used to them, and you pretend they don't happen, right? But you still see them, like. All the time.”

The surgeon frowned. “And the thing you have accidentally learned or saw..?”

“It's more like. A LACK of seeing anything. The thing is,” the chef fiddled with his cigarette, passing it between his fingers absently. He sucked in a breath, and the next words were spat out in a rush. “So we've been all been walked in on while jerking off, right? Even Nami was once in the bath and Chopper came in, and thank god it was him or we'd be short a crew member for it. But,” he scratched at his beard some more, looking anywhere but Law. “But uh... At one point we actually stopped to talk about it, between all of us, and... No one's ever seen or heard Luffy.”

Law blinked. “Wait. Are you saying...”

Sanji nodded. “Luffy just doesn't masturbate. He's never looked at anyone before, or said anything even remotely sexual, or. Anything. He just doesn't. Doesn't anything.”

“He's asexual,” Law stated, a little dumbfounded, but completely and depressingly not surprised.

“If that is a thing a person can be then Luffy is it, yes,” Sanji confirmed.

And there was really nothing else to say that. They just stood there on the deck, looking out over the rail in silence.

“Oh, what the FUCK. Seriously?! SERIOSULY?!” Law felt like tearing out his hair. “This isn't even FAIR anymore! I'm not- I'm not NEVER having sex again, god damn it! I may not need to get laid a lot, but EVER AGAIN IN MY LIFE is- Fucking- what the FUCK?”

 

Sanji laid a sympathetic hand on his shoulder. “I'm sorry, man. I don't know what to tell you.”

 

Trafalgar's face was currently buried into his hands so he could muffle his screams. “I can't. I have to get off this ship. I have to leave and never look back before I go insane and kill myself.”

“I understand.” the chef said, patting his shoulder awkwardly. “Do you want me to steal Zoro's good sake for you?”

“For the love of god, yes please.” Law mumbled from his palms, where he was still trying to smother himself.

 

 

This was the worst thing ever. This was fucking torture, is what it was, and it just wasn't FAIR anymore. What had Law done to deserve this kind of life, exactly? Why did the gods see fit to make him suffer so?

It was probably around one in the morning right now, and the ship was completely quiet and still. Everyone was in bed, including Law himself, laying on his back in the single bed of the infirmary, staring up at the ceiling and cursing his life.

And on top of him was Luffy, draped over Law's body like a rubber blanket, arms wrapped around him and face pressed into Law's neck, breathing hotly and steadily into his ear.

Law had already tried moving. Earlier in the night, Luffy had announced it was bedtime and dragged Law to one of the men's quarter bunks, pushing him down in it and passing out on top of him. Naturally, within five minutes of Luffy falling asleep Law had gotten up and moved to the deck, only for Luffy to shuffle sleepily after him not thirty seconds later and once again drape himself over the doctor.

Law had given it about twenty minutes this time, just to make sure Luffy was definitely asleep, unwrapped the other captain from around his waist and slunk into the empty infirmary. Luffy had found him within five minutes and, still clearly mostly asleep, silently taken off his pants and fallen down into the bed on top of Law.

Law wasn't sure how long ago that had been. But right now, he was sure of one thing, at least – he really should not have taken his own shirt off when he noticed how hot Chopper's little lab was. Also, Monkey D Luffy was the DEVIL.

A Devil who currently had his bare chest pressed against Law's and one naked thigh wedged between Law's legs. Fucking god-awful accidentally sexy demon that would just cling tighter any time Law tried to put any distance between their bodies. Luffy was the worst. Law's life was the WORST.

How had it even ended up like this? Law distinctly remembered being annoyed and genuinely physically uncomfortable by Luffy's closeness. How had this even devolved into a boner? This was so stupid.

Actually, no. He knew how this had happened. This was fucking Blackleg's fault for bringing up sex in the first place. That hadn't even crossed Law's mind on his own – but the chef suddenly says “oh by the way sex is not a thing Luffy does” and all Law can think about is what a waste that is, which is. Ridiculous. Law barely even likes sex himself, who is he to say that?

It was true that he'd had his share of fun sleeping with whoever wanted him (which, it turned out, was more people than Law had expected), but that had been more of a phase than actual desire. The freedom of his first weeks with his own ship had proved too tempting and Trafalgar had reveled in the pirate life for a while, just like any other rebelling teenager with their first tastes of freedom. He didn't regret those days but he also felt no desire to relive them – apparently spending a short amount of time bed hopping was just a part of the growing up process for some people, and he had been one of them. He hadn't really bothered to have sex pretty much at all since then; there just seemed like better ways to use his time and energy.

Which really made this whole thing that much stupider. Law barely ever thought about sex, and Luffy obviously never thought about it at all, so why was having sex with Luffy all Law could think about right now?

And Law definitely WAS thinking about that. Because. The thing was. The thing was, you see. With Luffy's Devil Fruit power, it really DID seem like such a waste. With that body, the things Law could do to him? Bend him any way, fuck him any way, all night long without hurting Luffy at all. He could be spread open, bent in half, fucked all night, and literally bounce back cheerfully. And he'd be fun, too – bold and curious, and a partner who could laugh while having sex was kind of a turn on itself, wasn't it?

Above him, Luffy shifted in his sleep, straightening his spine a bit and stretching the leg slung over Law's torso out until he kicked the surgeon's right hand. Without thinking about it, Law moved, shifting his forearm out of the way of Luffy's leg and putting it back down with his hand on top of the other captain's calf. Which. In hindsight, might not have been the best place to put his hand.

Luffy's skin wasn't soft. Nothing about Luffy was soft, actually. His body was hard cords of muscle compact into a tiny frame, and even his hair was coarser than it looked now that some of it was stuffed into Law's nose. But it was smooth. His entire body was perfectly hairless, and Law could feel the blemishes of old scars too thin to see with the pads of his fingers as they trailed up and down the thin leg because apparently Law had started moving his hand. Whoops.

He didn't bother to stop, though. His hand ran lightly up and down the length of Luffy's leg from his calf, around the bend of his knee and up onto the thigh, changing course to move back south just as his fingers reached the border of his boxers, never bringing his hand high enough to brush against the garment. The gesture was oddly relaxing, especially considering he was still stupid horny with one skinny knee putting pressure on the front of his jeans in a distracting way.

Eventually Law noticed himself zoning out sleepily, and was instantly relieved at his own tiredness. He really was ready to just fucking go to sleep already, today had been. Today had been a little more than Law was prepared to handle as a person.

But then Luffy moved again. With a pleased-sounding sigh, Luffy unwrapped himself from Law a little bit, stretching out and shifting his body downward, resettling on top of Law with his head resting against Law's once-again rapidly-beating heart. This wasn't the problem. The problem was that when he resettled Law's hand had still been near the top of his thigh, and now it was. A bit higher.

Law's hand had ended up halfway up the leg of Luffy's boxers and the tops of his fingers were definitely touching Luffy's ass right now. Law looked down at Luffy's face, still dead asleep but with a small smile across his face and... And he had not been flushed red before Law had started stroking his leg, had he? No. He hadn't. Law was sure of this because earlier he had certainly not also felt what was most probably the beginning of a hard-on against his own thigh.

Okay, this had crossed the line from a little bit creepy to straight up molest-y, hadn't it?

Law sat up like a shot, instantly shoving Luffy off of the bed and onto the floor. He grabbed the blanket from underneath him and wrapped it around himself, dropping back onto the bed curled up on his side, facing the wall.

“Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fucking. FUCK.”

It took him another hour to fall asleep, chanting curses into his pillow the entire time.

 

 

“You look cheerful, Luffy. Did you sleep well?” Nami observed at breakfast, slipping the sausages and bacon she was too full for onto his plate like it was routine.

Their captain did indeed appear to be glowing, his eyes sparkling and smile beaming. “Yep!” He confirmed brightly, rocking his chair back to balance on it's back legs as he leaned his weight forward to compensate. “I don't remember what it was, but I know I had a really great dream last night!”

And in the seat directly next to him, Law, who seemed to have gotten about an hour and a half of sleep if his face was anything to go by, scowled like Luffy was the worst thing to ever happen to him. Which, to be fair, he might actually be. And suddenly Law's leg shot out to kick the back of Luffy's chair, toppling him over almost instantly, landing the Strawhat bouncing off the floor and slamming into the wall behind them, one leg flailing out to smack Law in the head on the way to the ground and the other hitting the bottom of the table hard enough to knock over half the glasses on the tabletop.

Nami took another sip of her coffee. Today, she decided, was going to be a good day.

Chapter Text

The trouble with hiding in the library, Law soon realized, was the fact that it was apparently also Nami's map room. Luffy had so far been surprisingly good about giving Law time by himself, but that unfortunately did leave the question of what to actually DO with said time.

"Sorry," he excused himself, turning to leave once he saw the desk occupied. If he couldn't find a room that wasn't already filled with pirates, he'd at least prefer the infirmary. Chopper was decent enough company, and he instinctively felt more comfortable in hospitals over anywhere else.

"Oh, Torao!" Nami greeted. "Actually, I did want to talk to you," she said, standing up. "We'll reach a small island by tonight I figure we'll make dock at, but if we set sail early we should reach Zou to rendezvous with your crew by tomorrow afternoon."

Law blinked in surprise. He had known, of course, that eventually he'd be off this ship and back to his own, but... The Thousand Sunny felt like a world all it's own, disconnected from petty realities like time. To realize tomorrow he'd be back home with his own nakama on his own submarine, without this bizarre circus of a crew every where he turned, without Luffy clinging affectionately to him... It was somehow weird to even consider. He'd been on Punk Hazard more or less alone for months, and when the Strawhat crew arrived everything had all happened so fast, nothing even felt real anymore. But tomorrow afternoon he'd be back on his way and everything would go... back to normal.

"Huh," Law said tonelessly. Nami looked unimpressed.

With a sigh, she shifted her weight to one hip. "Look, I don't really want to bring this up, but. Now that you're leaving so soon, I can't leave just leave it alone. What, exactly, are you planning to do about Luffy?" She asked, one hand on her hip and a serious frown on her face. "I know it's easy to treat this like a joke, but. In his own weird way, Luffy is definitely serious, and I don't want to see him get his heart broken, you know?" She rubbed at the back of her head. "People treat romance like it's a girly subject, but a person's first love is important to everyone, and it's natural to not want to see my captain get hurt."

And yeah, Law had maybe already considered some of this, but. "What exactly am I supposed to do?"

The navigator sighed again, breaking eye contact. "For right now, I guess just think about it. But this weird limbo you two have got now can't be where you leave off – even in the New World, it could be years before you see each other again, and it would just be cruel to leave him with some false sense of hope while you," she waved her hand in the air dismissively "do whatever it is you do."

And. Shit. She was totally right. A large part of Law really wanted to run as far away as he could and never look back, but. There are dick moves, and then there's just dick moves. Law was generally okay with being an asshole, but goddamn, there are some things that you just can't do and still call yourself a man. "Fuck."

Nami ran a hand through her long hair, turning to sit back down at her desk. "There'll probably be a party tonight when we dock, so you should at least relax and enjoy that. But tomorrow, one way or another, you have to do SOMETHING. Or next time we meet, we'll probably cut your dick off. You know, as a crew."

"For your captain." Law said reasonably.

"Anything for the captain," Nami nodded.

There was indeed a party, not that Law had in any way doubted there would be. They had landed on a beach around the time the sun was setting, and immediately set up a large fire pit for Sanji to start cooking dinner over.

About now everyone had finished eating, the dishes and "leftovers" dealt with and the Strawhats gathered around the large bonfire, drinking and laughing as they were wont to do. Law had never much been one for the rambunctious style of party the crew was famous for, but the fire was providing enough warmth to make the chilly night air just about perfect, and the stars were bright, and he was surrounded by people very clearly having a very good time, and tomorrow he'd be back on his submarine with his own idiot nakama, so there was really no reason not to enjoy the night.

Luffy cracked his neck and stood up, one of his infamous 'Everybody Look At Me I'm Gonna Say Something Important' looks on his face. "Guys!' he started firmly, and his crew respectfully stopped in their conversations to give him their attention. "As Nami said, tomorrow we'll arrive at Zou and give Torao back to the Heart pirates. Which means that tonight," he drew in a breath, and, at the top of his lungs, shouted "DANCE PARTY! Brook, throw it down!"

Immediately and seemingly out of nowhere the skeleton had a violin whipped out with a jolly "Yohohohoho~!" The beat he played was up tempo and suitably merry for the occasion, stirring Nami and Usopp to their feet with laughs.

Sitting near Robin and Franky, who hadn't gotten up themselves, Zoro groaned in disgust. "Not another friggin' dance party! God damn it, Luffy."

The small captain rolled his eyes. "Dance parties are the exact reason we got a musician in the first place, Zoro. It's Strawhat tradition, you have do dance with us or you're fired."

Zoro reclined and took another swig from his mug. "Uh-huh," He said flatly. Nami breezed past the space between Zoro and the fire, spinning in dizzy circles and giggling with Chopper with whom she was linked hands.

Luffy dismissed him with a disappointed look on his face, lunging past to grab onto Franky's hands, pulling him into a terrible spin himself as he called back at his first mate. "I'll throw you off the ship, damn it!"

Regardless of the Strawhat's threats, Zoro, Robin and Law were all left alone for the first song, watching the others as they all linked hands and spun around the fire in circles of varying speed and grace.

Upon everyone dizzying themselves out, the song slowed down for the dancers to take breaks and get drinks.

"That was a good warm-up, wasn't it? Now let's start this party in earnest, shall we?" Brook grinned, (though how Law knew he was grinning he wasn't even certain. Brook was amazingly expressive for someone whose face literally had no features to change.)

Robin stood up as the next song started with a high note on the musician's fiddle, sashaying gracefully to Zoro and holding a hand out to him. "Oblige a lady with a dance, Mr. Swordsman?"

Fondly exasperated, Zoro accepted her hand, standing up. "Not like I can turn down you of all people, right?" he complained mildly.

Robin grinned as she pulled him towards the designated dancing ring on the inner circle near the fire. "You wouldn't want the captain to throw you overboard while you sleep, after all," she said pleasantly.

He rolled his eye and took up her hand, the other settling on a politely suitable spot high on her waist. "Well, one dance with just you won't kill me."

"Yohohoho! Too bad you'll be dancing with everyone, then!" Brook cackled, and whatever he had been playing before must have still been a warm-up, because the song changed into another faced-paced dancing tune, and apparently one everyone recognized, at that.

"Oh, god damn it," Zoro muttered, and behind him Sanji cackled, pulling Luffy into a strange dancing stance where instead of holding hands they simply pressed their palms together, their other hands resting neutrally on each other's elbows. Looking around, Law could see everyone else had changed to adopt this stance as well, all partnered up in even spacing around each other around the fire. And in a display of organized movement the surgeon would never have conceived possible having known the crew this long, on the start of the next measure of the song all four pairs began dancing at once, moving around the fire in a dance that they had apparently all taken the time to learn as a damned unit.

After a few moments, it became clear that they were. Well. Not actually all that great at the dance, regardless of their apparent practice. Franky was only capable of stomping and Luffy moved like a drunken giraffe, and they all seemed to be dancing at different paces wholly irrelevant to the song's beat, but they were at least having a damned good time.

It also soon became obvious why Zoro had been hesitant on this dance – at predetermined intervals of the song, the pairs all changed partners with whoever was nearest, everyone mixing and stumbling over each other at every swap.

Franky swooped by in time to steal Robin from the first mate, Usopp took Luffy for the second spin, and Law didn't think he had ever seen two people take each other's hands as begrudgingly as Sanji and Zoro did.

"Oh, what the fuck," Sanji complained after a few beats, glaring at Zoro like he could set him on fire. "How the HELL are you actually good at this, Marimo? Dancing should be the last thing on the PLANET kelp like you knows how to do!"

The swordsman looked bored by his dance partner's jeering. "Perona got bored a lot," he said simply, and Law didn't know who Perona was, so. That meant nothing to him.

Sanji, however, seemed mortally offended by this. "You got to dance with cute Perona-chan whenever you wanted you cretin?!"

"No. At no point did I ever want to dance with Perona. At no point did I ever want to TALK to Perona. I do not understand how I became friends with Perona, considering that even down to this very moment, I still hate Perona."

"You suck. You know that, right?"

The cyclops looked supremely annoyed. "You know, you might also be able to become friends with girls, too, if you maybe started treating them like actual human beings and not creepy objects of worship."

"It's true," Nami said, grabbing Zoro's hand from Sanji's at the next changing beat and twirling away with him. "I love you and everything, but it would be great to have a real conversation without you being creepy every once in a while, you know?"

"Nami-swan, you're breaking my heart!" The cook cried, still staring back at the redhead as Usopp pulled him into the dance.

"I feel like that would be good for you," the sniper muttered, and spun Sanji in a surprisingly elegant twirl for two people who seemed to be paying no real attention to one another.

The sudden tug on Law's sleeve surprised him – he hadn't realized he'd been paying so much attention to the crew's antics and not his own surroundings. He looked down to see a wide-eyed doctor Chopper, one little hoof on Law's sleeve and a nervous smile on his tiny face.

"Everyone has to dance, Torao. Captain's orders!" the reindeer squeaked. And goddamn if that wasn't just. Fucking. Adorable.

Franky, who had been Chopper's dance partner, was standing by Brook clapping along with the tune and watching the other dance, and Law felt himself smile. "Well, I certainly can't turn down an invitation like that now can I?" he stood up, taking off his hat and extending one hand down to Chopper's hoof. To his surprise, the moment he took it into his hand it grew fingers, the small doctor growing rapidly into a humanoid shape just a bit taller than Law himself. "-Jiminy fucking Crickets-"

In the dance circle, everything was much more frantic. It seemed fairly tame watching from the outside, but once he was dragged into this strange dance with the other doctor, he realized how fast the pace actually was, and how hard it was not to run into the other pairs looping around the fire.

Being extra aware of his feet so as not to step on anyone else's took more concentration than Law had hoped, and he didn't even notice the changing beat of everyone switching partners until Robin was taking his hand and sweeping him away from Chopper, and then it still took a few beats to get his bearings back enough to be able to look up from his own feet.

"Having fun yet?" Robin asked with her favorite mysterious smile.

"I can't decide yet, I'm too busy actually trying to dance of all things," he responded in good nature. But she was an excellent dance partner, it turned out, and it didn't take too much longer for Law to feel through the beat of the song and for his body to remember the dance lessons Jora had forced him into as a kid.

"This isn't so hard," he muttered, and tried not to be embarrassed at the archeologist's tinkling laughter.

"Seems like you know the steps well enough to me," Robin complimented. "Already have dancing experience?"

"Baby Five got bored a lot," Law shrugged with a smile.

He still wasn't good at this considering he didn't actually know the dance or song, but by the time Luffy got to to him he considered himself at least passable. The beaming captain he was dancing with, however, was still pretty fucking terrible.

"Mugiwara-ya, slow down. Just – look at my feet, okay? Follow them with your own feet, don't look back up at me until you can follow my movements. We're supposed to be moving WITH the song's beat, the one-" he glanced up, "-Zoro is clapping along to. See how I'm moving my feet in time with that?"

He could mostly only see the top of his head from this angle, but Luffy still managed to look frustrated. "Yeah, I get it. It's just hard – dancing is supposed to be FUN, this is dumb."

"It will be fun, once you get the hang of it," Law assured him, leading him carefully around the fire at a slower pace then the rest of the dancers.

Another accidental stomp on Law's toes, and Luffy groaned. "Isn't there some easier way to do this? Like, can I stand on your feet?"

Law's face twisted in an odd sneer. "No, that's really creepy. That's like, how fathers dance with their little girls at weddings. I actually saw my dad dancing with my little sister on his feet a kid, we're not doing that."

"Aww, that's cute!" Luffy chirped, looking up from their feet to grin at Law for a moment, naturally stepping on the outside of the surgeon's ankle as soon as he looked away from his feet. "Whoops."

"Well," Law changed his grip on Luffy's arm to bring their bodies closer together to better control the smaller captain's movements. "You're not so terrible at this when you actually pay attention. We could make a dancer out of you yet, but only if you concentrate."

The Strawhat looked up to give Law one of those new smiles he had started wearing, the kind where his face glowed in a blush and his lips spread across his face like he couldn't stop the smile from happening if he wanted it to. Law friggin' hated when he did that. Because. Because Luffy had never had this particular kind of smile before he had "decided on Torao," and that meant. And Law knew that meant this smile was for him. This radiant, shy look was something Luffy had for Law, and for Law only, and that was. A little too much for him to think about. That one idea floated in the back of his mind again, ever present – Monkey D. Luffy was dangerous.

He looked away, up at where Brook was bowing happily and Sanji standing to the side clapping – and hadn't it just been Zoro who was the odd dancer out? Had everyone changed partners again without Law or Luffy noticing?

Mugiwara stepped on his toes again, and Law let the thought leave his mind in favor of paying better attention to his own feet, guiding Luffy carefully into something resembling an actual dance.

"Well hot shit, would you look at that!" Nami cried, and Law looked over his shoulder to see her waltz past with Robin in a manner that was completely distracting to Sanji, who had lost the beat. "I've been trying to teach Luffy to dance for years! Dr. fuckin' Heartstealer here swoops in and he's grace on his feet in ten minutes!"

The others all fell into laughter at this, and Luffy buried his face into Law's chest. "Shut up! I'm an amazing dancer and I always have been, maybe it's your fault for sucking at teaching!"

It didn't seem like Luffy was going to stop hiding in his collarbone, but also didn't seem like he wanted to stop dancing, either. Law changed his hold on Luffy, letting the hand holding his elbow to drop to his waist and switching his grip on the other captain's hand to settle into a more relaxed kind of waltzing stance, the two slowing down into a slow dance that was easier to control along with being. Significantly more intimate.

Brook changed the song again, slowing it down considerably, and several of the dancing pairs broke apart, only to rejoin in different combinations. The dancing, it seemed, would resume as usual, but at a more sedate pace then the first high-spirited number. Chopper was the odd dancer out standing next to Brook now, and people were pausing to take breaks or drink water or ale and rejoining the music as they all saw fit. And Law continued dancing with Luffy, slowly directing their feet into a simple pattern Luffy was actually starting to get the hang of.

Behind them, Sanji and Usopp waltzed past dramatically. Oddly, the two of them together seemed to be the best dancers among the crew, comfortably and gracefully twirling in playful loops as Sanji grinned at Law and Luffy. "You two seem to be pretty comfortable together, huh?" he teased, and Law rolled his eyes just in time for Usopp to starting singing.

"Ding-dong! Ding-dong!"

Nami and Zoro were dancing much less skillfully not far from them, and the fuckers both started snickering as soon as they heard Usopp. "My, those wedding bells sure are lovely tonight! What a good omen!" Nami teased, and everyone but Law and Luffy, (who was trying even harder to hide in Law's chest now, and the surgeon could feel the heat from his blushing face warming his own skin) was laughing.

"Now, now, let's stop teasing the two," Brook scolded good-naturedly. "Everyone is supposed to enjoy tonight together, we shouldn't make fun of our friends!"

It was a nice sentiment, but when he finished the thought and started playing his violin again, what he played was the entirely recognizable Wedding March, and the entire crew all started laughing so hard that a couple of those assholes actually fell over.

"Your friends are all dicks. You know that, right?" Law muttered to the top of Luffy's head, and the Strawhat nodded into Law's collarbone quickly.

"Brook, go back top playing the slow song!" Chopper asked, once he had stopped giggling himself.

Nico Robin wandered out of the dance circle towards the skeleton. "Actually, if I may put in a specific request?"

"Of course, anything for you, my lady." And Law wasn't sure if the he didn't hear Robin's actual request or if Brook just already knew what she wanted hear, but he started the song almost immediately.

"Oh! Robin, are you gonna sing?" Nami asked, to a general murmur of pleased excitement at the idea.

Luffy didn't quite pull away, but did look up from Law's chest enough to turn his head towards where the musician and archeologist were standing. "Ooh, I love it when Robin sings!"

And it was almost startling how quiet the crew became after that, listening to the last few introductory notes of the violin before Nico Robin started to sing.

"Stars shining bright above you,

Night breezes seem to whisper 'I love you..'"

Law didn't realize they had stopped dancing when the others had been making fun of them, but Luffy's feet started moving, almost even to the actual beat of the song, so Law took lead again.

"...Birds singing in the sycamore trees,

Dream a little dream of me..."

The two dancing pairs left on the floor around them were still Nami with Zoro and Sanji with Usopp; and when Usopp tapped Zoro on the shoulder with a polite "May I cut in?" He and Sanji left the floor, too, leaving only the sniper and navigator as the other dancers besides he and Luffy.

Which is why he was close enough that he could hear Usopp's quiet mutter "Ah, boring."

"What is?" Nami whispered back.

"Oh, um. I was kinda hoping when I cut in Zoro and Sanji would start dancing with each other again?"

Nami snickered quietly, muffling it into his shoulder. "Like they ever make anything that easy. If it was that simple to get them to interact with each other they'd have been making out ages ago."

"Eh, they'll get there, we've got plenty of time." It was actually Luffy that added that comment – causing Nami and Usopp to smother laughter into each other's curls.

Zoro frowned from over by the table. "What are you guys snickering about over there?"

"Your nonexistent sex-life!" Nami answered honestly, and Luffy choked on his laughter.

"Oh my god, Torao, dance us close enough for me to high-five Nami!"

Law sighed and obliged, Usopp doing the same so that the two both dipped their dance partners towards each other at about the same time, Luffy and Nami slapping palms when they swung close enough to each other. It was clumsy and silly, but the maneuver managed to actually work fairly smoothly, and even Law had to laugh a little when Luffy returned to his arms with a grin of "Oh my god that was awesome. You were right, Torao, slow dancing CAN be fun!"

"...Stars fading, but I linger on near,

Still craving your kiss.

I'm longing to linger till dawn, dear

Just saying this..."

It seemed that after that, for once the chaos that was the Strawhat crew managed to settle down long enough to actually listen to Nico Robin sing. The song was sweet, and oddly nostalgic, even though Law was fairly certain he'd never actually heard it before. It occurred Law, probably while listening to the lyrics, that he was currently slow-dancing to a love song with a man he was sort-of-engaged to underneath a starry night sky. This was clearly the most romantic thing Law had ever even HEARD of.

Ah - no, it was only second, Law remembered suddenly. The memory was only a flash of a couple seconds, almost more of an impression or idea than anything. But the Law could remember being very young and standing at the top of the staircase, the view of looking down at his parents as they danced in the doorway of their house. He could remember noticing that his mother had no shoes on, and neither of them were wearing their white coats, but other than that they were fully dressed for work, and that the only music was the faint song from a festival or party outside. His parents had been affectionate, but never really towards each other, having what seemed liked an almost professional relationship at times; probably from working together. So to see them like that, with his father swinging his laughing mother into disjointed circles through the living room, had stuck out to him.

Yeah, that was definitely the most romantic thing Law could conceive of. But this was still pretty close, for obvious reasons.

How strange – Law usually didn't think of his past or family much, but tonight he'd thought of them twice in under an hour. When was the last time he'd remembered this much about them? Probably a long time. It had been painful at first, and then his family hadn't mattered anymore, and somehow he'd stopped thinking about them all together. When... When had it stopped hurting to think about them? Had it been a long time? Has it only been since...

Unbidden, a memory rose to his mind of, of all fucking things, throwing up side by side with Cora-san the morning after the man had given them both food poisoning making dinner. At the time, it had been one of the most miserable experiences of his life; still on the run from hospital to hopeless hospital, and dying of lead poisoning and finally of all things throwing up in the snow. But now, looking back on the memory, it was so absurd Law actually could have laughed at it. Corazon had said something after that – had grinned, said something like throwing up with someone being a passage into brotherhood or something – he didn't remember specifically, but it had been a clear references to hangovers, and Law remembered being so annoyed at the man he'd intentionally vomited right in his lap on the next wave of nausea.

So. The memories of him didn't hurt anymore, either. Law didn't need to wonder about that – he'd finally gotten closure in Dressrosa. Even if things had not gone exactly the way Law would have liked or planned, he'd gotten his justice against Doflamingo. And. And he wouldn't have been able to do it, do any of it, without Luffy.

Luffy had saved his life more than once in Dressrosa. In fact, the majority of the time spent in Dressrosa could very safely be considered as... Luffy saving him. That was most of what happened there. Even for all the trouble Law had gone to two years ago in Marineford, that was more than payed back by what Monkey D. Luffy had accomplished, liberating the entire fucking country like overthrowing empires was just something he DID sometimes (which, if their talk of motherfucking Crocodile had any indication, it might just well be.)

"...But in your dreams, whatever they be

Dream a little dream of me..."

And wasn't that a romantic fucking thought in itself – two pirate captains that were supposed to be rivals, saving each other's lives so dramatically and forming an alliance – a union of D's of all things, like destiny its-fucking-self had brought them together. Brought them together to kick Doflamingo's ASS. Seriously, though. Fuck that guy.

Trafalgar Law... Law wasn't stupid, or blind. It's not like he hadn't noticed Luffy was the first person Law had ever met to have a smile like Cora-san's, and it's not like he didn't know what it was about that smile he considered dangerous. It's not like he didn't remember his first impression of Luffy, back in Saobody - "Crazy in a fun way – would love to take that ass for a spin" (His impression of Kidd that same day had been somewhere along the lines of "Crazy in a jackass way – fun to fight, do not fuck." Law may not have been completely over his bed-hopping phase yet. Good times.) It's not like Law wasn't self-aware enough to know that at the very least, caring for Luffy was a very real possibility.

The song had faded into a chorus of "Lalala's," Robin's soothing voice lowering enough to be overpowered by the violin, until the lyrics turned into whistling. The song was ending, and their feet slowed down to the point where they were doing no more than merely swaying against each other for the end.

"LA! LALALA-LA!LA!" And then of course, a sound like a seagull dying joined the last few noted of the song – Usopp "singing" along so startlingly loud that Nami ended up misstepping and headbutting him in the chin.

The entire crew was, naturally, cracking up in laughter; Luffy clawing at Law's shirt and laughing into his neck for a few seconds before finally stepping away.

He looked up at Law, face still blushing red and giggling a bit from Usopp's crowing. "Thank you for the dance, Torao," he said. And something about the tone of his voice made Law really look at him. There was - there was a bit of sadness in the words. Tonight was the last night Law would be on this ship, and after tomorrow it could be a long time before they saw each other again, and that was only if the seas permitted they meet again at all. He. Luffy knew that dance might actually be the most he was ever going to get, didn't he?

And the only thing that Law could think of to respond to that was what Jora had taught him to do at the end of every dance she'd force him into with Baby Five – he bowed his head to kiss Luffy's hand.

"It was my honor," he recited, and the small captain looked at him like Law had just given him the whole world.

Yeah, well. Fuck. Just. Fuck.

It wasn't going to be easy, but. Law knew what he had to do.

 

Chapter Text

Bepo was sure of a few things.

One: It was better to be a bear than a human. This was obvious – the rest of the crew was just in denial because they were so upset they were human and not the clearly superior BEAR. Bepo pitied them for this, so he couldn't find it in himself to blame them when they argued this point.

Two: Zou was a terrible place. Nowhere on the planet should have so many locusts.

Three: If someone didn't do something about the clown in their basement fast, one of these guys was going to keelhaul him and Bepo would do nothing to stop them.

And Four: Everything would be better when the captain got back. This had been proven to be true time and time again, because everything was obviously allways better with the captain around. Everyone on crew unanimously agreed on this.

Which is why it was a good thing they were finally reuniting today. The whole crew had been excited ever since they got the message from the Strawhat navigator yesterday morning, and Bepo was pretty sure no one had slept at all last night. Except for himself, of course, being too cool and unshakable to lose sleep because he was excited. But he knew the rest of the crew hadn't slept because everyone had been complaining about his snoring all night long this morning, and if they'd been asleep how would they have known he was snoring?

"I think I see their ship! There, on the horizon!" Sachi called, looking over the ocean through a telescope pressed to his eye.

Penguin squinted at the water. "That's a speck. You see a speck, dude. That might literally not even be a ship, there's no way that's them."

"That is COMPLETELY and TOTALLY the Thousand Sunny, I'm sure of it. I will bet you a thousand berries Captain's on that ship." Sachi defended.

"On that SPECK, you mean? I will absolutely take that bet," Penguin agreed, "because that is not even the direction they're supposed to be coming from." Which was true, actually. Dressrosa was more to the southwest then the general direction of the ship-shaped speck Sachi was referencing.

"Bet you ten thousand it's a Marine ship," Zoya mumbled, almost inaudibly.

Bepo, being a BEAR, had the superior hearing skills to be able to actually tell what sniper ever had to say. Everyone else, as allways, responded to her with a general "Huh?"

"Even if it is them, they won't be close enough for us to tell for hours. Just relax and stop arguing for now," Jean Bart said, not bothering to look at any of them.

Bepo huffed in annoyance. He had been just about to say that, too. Stupid deckscrubber acting like he can give out orders to everyone while the Captain was gone just because he was the first mate. Whatever, he only had that title because Bepo was busy being the even-more-important navigator of this ship, and couldn't be both at the same time. Captain had given Jean Bart the first mate seat because it was empty and he like, "had experience leading pirate crews" or whatever, but EVERYONE knew it was really BEPO the captain had left in charge. HE was the one who knew Law best, after all.

"So, what is he like, anyway? This 'Strawhat Luffy' our captain up an' made an alliance with outta nowhere?" Mag asked. Bepo wasn't too great with human faces and voices and stuff, but Mag was allways easy to pick out – not because she was one of only two female on crew – maybe it was the jumpsuits(1), but everyone on crew had a tendency to forget they even had any women on ship, much less ever feel like they were talking to one. No, Mag was easy to tell apart because her voice was thick with an accent that everyone on the island they'd found her on had, a heavy rolling sort of accent that matched her violently red hair and more-freckles-than-skin face. Bepo was sort of glad Captain had picked up a crew member when they'd visited there – her voice was funny, like a drunken squirrel, and Bepo could listen to her all day. The others mostly disagreed with him on that front, so lately she was sent to guard the clown in the basement a lot.

"Oh yeah, we got you and Zaya after we got to the New World, huh?" Penguin said, scratching his chin.

"Not my name," Zoya murmured into the barrel of the gun she was cleaning. As no one could understand her, she went ignored.

Sachi put a hand to his own chin, considering. "The Strawhat is... Well, he was mostly unconscious while he was on the ship, and when he was awake he only screamed and trashed the place.."

"He punched a Celestial Dragon in the face, causing a riot big enough for the Captain to steal another Celestial Dragon's slave without anyone noticing or caring. Then he broke into and out of Impel Down, causing another riot in order to escape. And then broke into a war, and lost his brother, and disappeared. And then came back, caused a riot on Fishman Island, and is now coming here from Dressrosa, where he presumably... started a riot." Jean Bart explained.

Mag blinked. "I see. Sounds like a fun sort of fellow then, dunn'e?" She remarked glitteringly, looking back down at the newspaper headline in her hands. "Doesn't really LOOK the riotous type, if ye' ask me."

Sachi shuddered. "Oh, he DEFINITLEY is. The damage he caused to the ship cost us thousands of beri to fix! He THREW AN X-RAY MACHINE THROUGH MY ENGINE BLOCK AND HE WASN'T EVEN AWAKE." The mechanic bemoaned, apparently still bitter over the amount of work he'd had to do before they could leave Amazon Lilly.

Bepo shrugged. "He asked if he could scratch my ears. I like him."

Everyone else rolled their eyes. But like Jean Bart had said, there was really nothing to be done until the Captain came back, whether he was on that particular speck or not.

It was another half hour before the dot was close enough for Zoya to mumble "I'll be damned, Sachi was actually right."

"Really?" Bepo perked up. "That's the Thousand Sunny, after all?" Zoya's eyes – despite being constantly covered by thick black curls like the rest of her face – were the best on the whole ship; some kind of observation Haki that had apparently been the reason Captain had invited her to become a pirate.

The rest of the crew, being wholly unable to understand their gunner, didn't perk up until Bepo's confirmation. "Oh holy shit, I was actually right?"

"God damn it, even YOU didn't believe it was really them!"

"Who cares, you still owe me a thousand beri, haha!"

"Children," Jean Bart scolded tiredly. "Stop bickering or so help me when your father gets home..."

"Ha. Ha."

Jean Bart continued, ignoring Sachi. "Mag, go tell the rest of the crew the Captain is almost here."

"Aye-aye!" She hopped up with a salute, skipping inside and humming a song. "We finally get to leave Zou~! We finally get to leave Zou~!"

By the time the ship was close enough for people without freaky magic eyes to recognize, the whole crew was gathered back on the deck, save for Kazu the radiologist who had the unfortunate duty of guarding their clown.

Finally, the gap between the two ships was closed enough for a circle of blue film to stretch from the Sunny over next to the Revolver, and as soon as it reached it's mark the entirety of the Strawhat's ship was instantly teleported, landing with a splash just next to the submarine.

Close enough, in fact, to hear several members of the Strawhat crew cursing in surprise and Roronoa Zoro loudly scoff "Fuckin' showoff."

But Bepo and the rest of the Heart Pirates couldn't have paid less attention to the other crew – because as soon as they saw Law standing on the deck and grinning at them, the entire ship as a unit cheered at once.

"CAPTAIIIIIINNN!"

"Where's the rest of the crew?" Law asked, looking around at the just -over-a-dozen pirates scattered in front of him. "Are they down inside?"

Bepo and Jean Bart shifted uncomfortably. "Well. Kazu is, he's in basement guarding the... Detainee you sent us." Jean Bart offered.

The captain frowned. "Kazu? Isn't he the one we got in that Davy Back fight? What about everyone else?"

"Eaten by locusts," Bepo confirmed.

"...What."

Jean Bart kicked at Bepo's shin. "Not all of them were eaten by locusts. Ikki was killed by a fireball, for instance."

"You've got to be shitting me."

"Orca was eaten by a giant bird," Bepo said helpfully.

"Killik? Lind?"

"Uh, Marine bullet and locust swarm, respectively."

Law buried his face in his hands. "Oh, for FUCK'S sake. But Kazu who we got in a goddamned Davy Back is just fine."

"He proved surprisingly resilient to locusts, actually."

"So this is it. This is all that's left of our crew? This is like, fifteen people!"

"Sixteen if we count the clown in the basement." Jean Bart said with a shrug.

The captain rubbed tiredly at his eyes. "I'm never leaving you two in charge of my ship again." Which Bepo thought was a little unfair – the swarms of giant flesh-eating insects had been a LITTLE bit over the top, that was all. They could have handled anything else, probably.

But the captain just sighed, his shoulders sagging in defeat like this wasn't even the worst thing he'd heard this week, so fuck it. "Okay. Alright. Well, for right now you and what's left of my crew might as well go meet our allies," he said gesturing a hand to the beach the Mugiwara crew had docked on, already mingling with a few stray Heart Pirates. "I'm going to go for a walk – I need to stretch my legs before we go underwater."

Bepo nodded. "Ah – watch out for-"

But Captain was already turning to leave, waving a dismissive hand over his shoulder. "Locusts, yeah."

"Ah – Torao!" Bepo turned to see Strawhat Luffy bouncing up to them. What was a torao? Did he mean the Captain? Apparently so, considering Law looked over his shoulder to acknowledge the moniker. "Are you going to explore the island? Can I come with?"

Law shrugged. "Sure, why not. If you see any swarms of anything, it's trying to eat you."

Strawhat nodded. "Yeah, that's the general rule of nature," he agreed, stopping to scratch Bepo under the chin for a second before running after Law into the nearby line of trees. Hell yeah – Bepo was totally onboard with this alliance if he got scritches, man.

"So, you're the navigator, right?" Bepo turned back to the beach where both crews were gathered to see a red-haired woman smiling at him.

"Ah, yes. You could tell?" He bowed to her politely – even bears knew to show manners to a lady.

"Sure, I recognized your paw-print from the map Torao gave us!" She said sweetly. "I've been wanting to ask another navigator about techniques to sail to New World, but I haven't gotten the chance to meet any before now! So, what route did you take from the Red Line?" She started excitedly. This was the Cat-Burglar Nami, he remembered – and she was quite charming. Why, if she were a bit fuzzier and weighed a couple hundred more pounds, she'd be just Bepo's type.

He was absorbed enough in his conversation with Nami-san to lose track of the rest of the crew for a while, but being Captain's oldest and most trusted subordinate, Bepo couldn't help but keep an eye on the others when he could.

Sachi was talking to Cyborg Franky, who were both gesturing animatedly to various parts of both ships and using words like "fusion rods" and "radial bearings." Bepo decided he especially didn't wan to know what they were talking about when Franky shot a laser beam out of his mouth and into the sky, startling their anesthesiologist Sano enough to spill his glass of lemonade all over the tiny reindeer he was discussing herbal remedies with.

Jean Bart was sitting next to Roronoa Zoro, silently passing a bottle of whiskey between the two of them like it was all they could do not to go drown themselves in the ocean. Probably because they were next to Soul King Brook and Mag, who seemed to have devolved into a fierce fiddling competition, bowing at increasingly insane speeds until the individual notes of each violin blended into buzzing in Bepo's ears.

To Bepo's surprise, even Zoya had found some kind of comrade in the Strawhat crew, using her loudest speaking voice to whisper at the avidly-listening sniper with the long nose. Actually, looking at them next to each other like that, they looked sorta similar, with their matching dark skin, thick lips, wild black curls and proclivity for projectiles. Maybe they were the same breed of human as each other, like Mag and all of the gingers on her native island? The Sogeking's eyes and nose were pretty distinct, but without knowing if she had the same looks he'd never figure out if they were the same type of human.

"Hey, Zoya, can I see your face for a second?" Bepo asked, and the gunner obligingly lifted her bangs up for a moment.

"Hm... Looks like any other human to me," He mused. Maybe they weren't the same breed after all(2).

"What the- did you just see her face?" Sachi demanded, distracted from his conversation with the cybernetic shipwright. "No one's ever seen Zuli's face before! Dude, what does she look like?"

Bepo frowned. "Like a person? I don't know. She had eyes and a nose like anyone else? What are you asking here?"

Sachi flailed. "If she's hot! I've been trying to figure out what she looks like since we got her but I can't see shit with all that hair and the frumpy jumpsuit!"

"Rude," Zoya and her new friend muttered together.

"I like bear women, so. I have no idea. She just looked like a human to me, man."

"AUGH! We don't know what she looks like, we don't know what she's saying so we don't know what her personality is like – she's been on this crew for over a year and no one knows ANYTHING about her except that she sleeps with her gun!"

Bepo nodded. "Captain says that's what he likes about her." Zoya gave him a thumbs-up.

Somewhere to the side, the violins came to an abrupt end as Mag fell to the ground, panting heavily and lifting her aviator's helmet to wipe the sweat from her brow. "Jaysus feckin gobshite! You got me beat, sir! I ain't never had to fiddle so hard in all me life and I still couldn't keep up for tits!"

"If you ever try to fiddle that hard again I'm taking it away from you and breaking it," Jean Bart informed her. "That was like listening to a screech owl being strangled."

"Don't say such rude things to a lady, you gorilla!" Coming down the ramp of the Thousand Sunny holding a couple trays of food was the blonde that Bepo understood must be Blackleg Sanji, since the back of his head looked about right and everyone else on the crew had already been identified. Following him was Penguin, also carrying food, and looking at the other chef with an almost worshipful expression.

Sachi frowned, pulling his friend to the side when the snacks they had made were distributed. "Duuuude, what's with the face, bro? You're all blushing and starry-eyed like you have the biggest crush anyone has ever had. You guys were in the kitchen for like, ten minutes, what the fuck?"

Penguin opened and closed his mouth, unable to quite start a sentence. "I-I. I've never seen anyone cook like that before. It was like. Like an ART. Like he was DANCING, Sachi. It was so beautiful, and then I tasted his cooking... I. I think I'm in love."

Sachi buried his face in his hands. "Oh for fuck's sake! When I said you should get over your crush on the captain, this is NOT what I had in mind, man!"

Penguin flailed. "You don't understand! A bowl fell from the cupboard and he just stuck out his leg and caught it with his foot, not even looking up from what he was cutting and it was the sexiest-"

"NOPE. No more, shut up!"

Unfortunately for Penguin, not only was Bepo close enough to hear all of this, but so were Zoya and Sogeking, who started snickering into his orange juice. "Looks like Sanji got another one," he said, shaking his head fondly.

Penguin started blushing even harder, but Sachi turned to ask "Another one?"

"Another dude in love with him. I don't know how or why, but Sanji keeps like. Accidentally seducing guys, all over the place. Guys like, the entire G5 Navy unit, for example." The sniper explained. Zoya whistled, impressed.

Penguin looked horrified. "You mean this is just a thing that happens?! Will it... Will it go away?"

The Sogeking looked thoughtful. "Well, it hasn't worn off for Zoro..."

Zoro was apparently close enough to also be listening, because he threw the empty whiskey bottle at his nakama's head with alarming force. The sniper managed to dodge the bottle in time for it to whiz past and nail Gabishi the geologist/beheading specialist in the spine. Gabishi turned around, cracked his neck without a word, and rumbled in his oceans-deep voice: "Who threw that?"

Pirate Hunter Zoro stood up, and both of them pulled out swords at the same time, drawing near each other and looming with the obvious intent to fight. Jean Bart stood up too, though whether to stop them or join in Bepo would never know, because that's when the party ended.

"Well! We were gone for twenty minutes, I'd say they've done pretty well that they're only trying to kill each other now, wouldn't you?" Captain Law said, emerging from the treeline looking as cool as ever and not at all like he'd been swarmed by locusts, which Bepo secretly found a bit unfair.

Next to him, Strawhat Luffy snickered. "Not bad! I figured Zoro would get into a fight way sooner!"

The two swordsmen recognized this for the dismissal it actually was, begrudgingly sheathing their swords and turning away.

"Allright. I think it's about time we got out of here before we lose the sunlight," Captain announced to the crew's enthusiastic approval. The Strawhat pirates were great, but NOTHING was worth staying on Zou for any longer than they had to.

Luffy frowned, obviously disappointed. "You're leaving already?"

"Yeah. I wanna get far enough out from here that we can reemerge by the time the sun sets," Law said, barely looking at the other captain.

Luffy didn't day anything else, just nodded and turned to his own nakama. "I guess it's time to pack up, everybody," he ordered dispassionately. Huh. Mugiwara had allways seemed more cheerful to Bepo. He must be sad because he had to leave Law – that would be enough to make HIM upset, after all.

The two crews separated, and before long they were both all packed onto their own ships, half the crew down below the Revolver getting her started, the other half lingering on the top deck to see off the other ship.

The Strawhats were all on the deck of their own ship, and with the two vessels parked next to each other as they were, both crews could still easily see and hear each other well enough to say their goodbyes.

There was something weird about the whole thing. Everything was slow and subdued, the air filled with an odd tension that tasted like unfinished business. Bepo was just about to ask what was going on, why nobody had ever actually said thew word "goodbye," why The strawhat crew was starting to look like they might kick Law's ass, why both captains were lingering on deck instead of going down below.

And then Captain said, loud enough for both ships to clearly hear, "Oh, that's right. I almost forgot something important," smirking in a way that clearly stated nothing had been forgotten but instead planned out.

He held out his palm in a familiar gesture, a Room growing to accommodate the two ships. At least large enough for Law to teleport down to the Sunny, landing just next to the smaller pirate captain. Close enough to reach out one hand to Luffy's cheek, pulling him in towards Law's face as he bent down and drawing them into a kiss.

Both crews went insane.

"Holy SHIT!"

"Well I'll be a son of a bitch."

"AIIIEEEE! Feck me sideways with a fork, I bloody KNEW it!"

"You smooth motherfucker."

"What the fuuuuuccck?"

"I didn't think he had the balls!"

"HUH. That explains a lot!"

The kiss itself lasted only around ten seconds, Law pulling back from a stunned silent and beet-faced Mugiwara to promise "See you again soon, Luffy-ya," and teleported back to his own ship, turning and strutting inside the Revolver with a smug smile.

Both crews were still chattering excitedly, Mag swooning about how romantic the whole thing was as several members of the Strawhat pirates passed money to the laughing skeleton.

And in the middle of it all, Strawhat Luffy was, for the first time, stunned into silence, legs failing to fall gracelessly to the floor. "H-he kissed me. Torao kissed me." He whispered, before his face broke out into a grin.

Luffy shot to his feet, running to the railing of his ship to shout out "I told you you'd see it my way!" at the closing doors of the submarine.

Inside, Bepo turned to his captain. "What WAS that?"

"The proper way for a man to part with his fiance, of course." Law shrugged, but he was still smiling. And for a while there, before they had split up, Captain had stopped smiling almost at all, so. If Strawhat Luffy was all it took to get his captain smiling again, then fuck it all. That was good enough for Bepo.

(1) The jumpsuits were not, technically, a uniform. The original members of the crew, Bepo, Sachi and Penguin, had all started wearing them in the operating room to keep form contaminating the patients and had simply kept wearing them all the time because of their convenience. Every new member since then had assumed it to be mandatory and gotten one of their own, and everyone seemed rather fond of the sense of unity it brought them, so Law never bothered to tell them he didn't care what they wore. And to be honest? The jumpsuits were both stain resistant and kind of hella comfortable, so everyone really won anyway.

(2) What Zoya and Usopp, and indeed, no one anywhere knew, was that they were, in fact, cousins. Their fathers are half-brothers, a fact also unbeknownst to either parent, as their own father had so little communication with his family that the only thing anyone knew for sure was that they came from a long line of pirates, as well as a long line of truly shitty fathers. Usopp had potential, but should Zoya ever sire any children she, too, would continue that tradition of shitty parenting.

Chapter Text

The sun was shining high and bright in the sky, the ocean was a clear blue so beautiful it could make your eyes water, and everything in the universe was amazing and wonderful.

Of course, there were still like, Tenryuubito and marines and people like Blackbeard in general so technically not EVERYTHING was amazing; and also Luffy's eyes might be watering because he'd been staring directly into the sun for like a half hour now, but. Whatever, shut up. The world was beautiful and junk.

So awesome. And Luffy had proof that the world was a mysterious and wonderful place, full of adventures impossible to anticipate and joy as deep as the oceans themselves. "Hey Zoro?"

A few feet away and picking at his toenails on the deck, his first mate didn't spare a glance up. "Yeah, what?"

Luffy flipped his head backwards to look at his friend upside-down, his body still facing the ocean. "Zoro guess what?" The captain grinned, and Zoro groaned miserably and buried his face in one hand. Luffy ignored this magnanimously, leaning back even farther until he was at an angle that probably would have broken anyone else's spine, and gleefully declaring "Torao kissed me!"

Roronoa Zoro sighed the sigh of the long-suffering. "Yes, Luffy. I know. I was there."

Luffy's head hit the deck, his legs still wrapped around the railing he was now less sitting on than hanging off of. "He kissed me in front of EVERYBODY!" Luffy intoned meaningfully.

"Yes, we're all very happy for you and your stupid creepy bride. You can stop glowing violently at me any time now." His friend complained, resuming the cleaning of his toenails with spiteful vigor.

"Pft. 'Glowing violently?' What does that even MEAN?" Luffy scoffed.

Zoro threw down the nail clippers. "It MEANS, you've gotten so obnoxious it's like your happiness is punching me in the FACE. I can't decide if I wanna throw you overboard or myself."

Luffy contemplated this carefully, untangling himself from the rail and standing up. "Yeah, I can see how I'd be annoying," he conceded. Zoro rolled his eyes. "But. But you know what? Zoro? Zoro, you know what?"

With absolutely no expression on his solid face, Zoro answered boredly. "Torao kissed you?"

Luffy leaned over to clutch at the swordsman's cheeks with his hands. "Torao kissseeedd meeeee!" He squealed excitedly, shaking Zoro's head.

"I haaaaatee yooouuuuu," the cyclops- because Zoro totally was a cyclops, and how fuckin' funny was THAT, right? The cyclops deadpanned, because he was a lame person who deserved no love or kisses because he was clearly a loser.

"You are clearly a loser Zoro," Luffy stated, letting go of his first mate's face and wandering off inside the ship. "Oh, hey, Usopp! Guess what?"

Usopp also looked unimpressed. "Bet I can."

"Torao kissseeed meeeeee~!"


 

 

On another ship, somewhere not so far away in the very same ocean, Trafalgar Law was NOT having a good day. Not been having a good while, really. And of course right now, he hadn't been getting much sleep lately, and the first time he gets any at all for days he wakes up to the sound of a goddamned EXPLOSION.

"Kazu, if you tell me what I think you're going to tell me I will cut your fucking head off and pin it to the topsail."

The mousy radiologist in question twitched uncomfortably. "Um. Then I guess I'll leave and let someone else tell you what Nue and Sachi just destroyed, okaybyesir!" The little blonde rat said quickly, attempting to scurry off before Law reached out to grab him by the collar as he escaped.

"Tell me. What they did. To my ship."

Kazu froze up like a rodent under Law's hand. "Um. Well. They were apparently trying to make some kind of super booster for the engine, and whatever they were doing it definitely exploded, and since they were working in the basement the explosion somehow like went UP and so our heart monitor and EKG fell through the ceiling to the engine room floor. Apparently."

Law let go of Kazu that he might have both hands to smack himself in the face with, Kazu scattering towards the door as soon as he was released. "We JUST replaced after the locust attacks. We hadn't even USED them yet."

Kazu, poked his head from around the other side of the doorway. "Uh. Also, there may have been another incident between Gawain and Caesar? And Mag, who took Caesar's side. And Buccha, who took Gawain's side. And Penguin, who tried to break up the fight but instead uh... "

"But instead?" Law asked from his palms.

"...Snapped off Buccha's arm when he broke one of Mag's ribs, sir."

"OH SWEET JESUS ARE YOU SHITTING ME?"

"They're already in the operating room, we're all taking care of it! Um. Well we might need your help with the... With the arm that's half torn off, though. I mean we COULD fix it, but... not very well, Captain. Sir."

Law sighed. "You know what would really come in handy right now?"

Kazu looked uncomfortable. "Sir?"

"A FUCKING HEART MONITOR."


"Tora! Tora! To-To-To-Torao~!" Luffy sang, swinging his legs off the side of the ship gleefully. His crew, still cleaning up the remains of lunch, hid their obvious annoyance as politely as they could, which Luffy appreciated.

"You couldn't maybe like. Sing a different song every now and then?" Usopp asked, wiping the table off as Franky helped Sanji bring the last dishes back to the kitchen.

"Usopp, I am singing the song of my heart. Do not squelch my heartsong." Luffy stated firmly.

"Yeah, but your heartsong is literally ten notes long and you've been singing it for days. We might go insane soon," the sniper complained delicately.

Brook stood up and waltzed over to their captain. "I believe I can help~" He leaned over to put both hands on the railing next to Luffy. "Here, watch me for a moment, would you?" And he used his hands to drum out a ten-note beat onto the white railing. "Here, next time you sing it tap your hands to the beat like this! Left-right, left-right, left, left, left, right-left-right! You see?"

Luffy watched Brook as he did it again, before slowly repeating the rhythm himself. "Hm... I think I got this," he said, speeding up a little as he tapped out the beat again. "Ah- oh wow it's harder than it looks."

Brook grinned as Luffy fumbled again, slowing down to beat out the rhythm more perfectly, mumbling "Tora tora" to himself as he played.

From the table, Nami glared laser-death beams at the musician with her eyes. "In what FUCKING universe does that help, Brook?!"

"It's an outlet for his pent up energy of course! And once he's mastered this beat, I can teach him a more complicated one to occupy himself, and voila~! No more, ah, heartsong!"

The navigator, if anything, looked even more pissed off, slamming her hands down on the tabletop. "Are you shitting me? God DAMN it Brook, what was the ONE thing I said when you joined this crew? The ONE thing?"

"Well-"

"I SAID that if you ever tried to give Luffy an instrument I would use your own violin strings to KEELEHAUL YOU! Do you REMEMBER that, Brook?!"

"Yes of course, my young lady. But you see I HAVEN'T given him an instrument, have I? I simply drummed with my hands on a railing, and no one can be faulted for that, hm?"

Nami's stare was cold like bitches on ice. "You know, knowing I can't kill you leaves a lot of options open. Just remember that," she threatened, pointing a desert fork at him.

Meanwhile, having ignored the entire exchange, Luffy had picked up his rhythm. "Tora! Tora! To-To-To Tora-O~!"


 

"So... does it seem to anyone else like the captain's a little..." Penguin started, one hand pressed contemplatively to his chin.

"Bitchy lately?" Sachi offered. Everyone looked like they wanted to contest his wording, but found themselves unable to.

"I don't understand why. It's not like this is more chaos than he can handle- we've actually been pretty good lately!" Ohm defended, tossing their long hair behind their shoulder in a haughty flip.

"That is true," Bepo agreed thoughtfully. "We've been pretty well behaved since he came back."

Ohm threw their hands towards the bear. "Right? RIGHT? We didn't even need his help to fix Mag's rib, and she's totally good as new!"

The redhead in question pumped a fist in the air enthusiastically. "Fit as a fiddle!" She declared, the words ruined when she immediately choked on a cough and fell off the barrel she'd been sitting on.

"Uhg. I don't even know why we're having this discussion – Trafalgar is always this gloomy and miserable, can't we just leave him alone?"

"Shut the hell up, Caesar," Jean Bart deflected lazily. "The captain really was in a better air for a while there – having him back to his usual, more laidback self would be good for the whole crew, I think. Having him in such a foul mood puts every else on edge, too."

Having righted herself on to her barrel again and now carefully holding her arms to her damaged torso, Red Mag (as she was known on her wanted poster) tried desperately not to flail wildly at her nakama. "Do you guys really not get why the cap'n's so sour of late? Are ye'all bloody daft in the head or somethin'?"

The dozen or so gathered crew members looked skeptical at best. "And what is it, exactly, that you've picked up on that we haven't?" Sano asked, one arched eyebrow raised at her.

"He's lovesick, of course!"

There was absolute silence in the storage room the lot were gathered in. For a few moments, everyone simply stared at Mag. "Are you fucking serious?"

The fiddler was unable to contain her gestures, wildly waving one arm while the other clutched her rib cage. "Well of course I'm serious! What do you think those three weeks of a cheery captain coincided with, you feckin' shitheads? The Mugiwara alliance!"

At this, a general murmur of "Oh, actually, yeeeahhh..." fell over the room.

"I completely forgot that even happened." Gabishi dismissed, but Penguin shook his head.

"No no no, she's... She's got a point. I mean. Okay, most of the guys who were around at the time are dead now, but back when we first got this ship there was a good amount of time the captain, uh... Well, he fucked a LOT of people. And since no one really questioned it or cared, none of us gave it any thought when he STOPPED, either, but... He went around slutting it up for like, a year straight, and then hasn't gotten laid at ALL for the last TWO years. Now that I actually THINK about it, isn't that kind of weird?"

"And then with... whatever it is that happened between he and the Strawhat Luffy..." Sano concluded.

Sachi slapped his hand to his face. "Oh my god, does he seriously just need to get his dick wet? Is THAT the problem we have here?"

Jean Bart stood up decisively. "Even if that isn't precisely the problem, Mag is right about the most likely solution. And that at least gives us something to do about it. Bepo?"

"Ah? Yes!" The bear stood up quickly, instinctively saluting at the sound of his name and then hating himself for it when he remembered it was just Jean Bart.

"Where is the captain right now?"

"Reading in his room where 'none of us are.'" The navigator answered.

Jean Bart nodded. "Perfect. Get to the control room and start contacting the Thousand Sunny by den-den mushi. We're going to set up a detour."

Penguin shot up out of his seat. "Oh god. We're going to meet the Sunny? I have to go take a shower – do I have any clothes that don't have bloodstains on them? Ohh, god oh god!"

They watched him dash out of the room. "Forgot about that," Sachi deadpanned. "This is just gonna be SUPERFUN."

Jean Bart, as allways, just wished life were as quiet as it used to be as a slave.


 

"Gerogerogerogero," The den-den mushi said impassively. Nami sat up from the map she was hunched over, cracked her neck, and answered.

"Hello?"

"Is this - Oh I he - Someone ans – nd Sunny? - woman's v – NAMI-SAN! - ou fucking mor - ! - Arahbpgi?!"

Nami stared at the warped face of the den-den mushi as it tried to imitate the approximately half a dozen people all speaking into the phone at once. "What the fuck?" She asked, almost to herself as much as to the crowd of people yelling at her through a snail.

There was the sound of a struggle, more disjointed arguing, and finally, one voice was clearly audible through the speaker. "-DIOTS. This is the Revolver to Thousand Sunny. Copy?"

The Revolver? "Oh! The Heart Pirates!" Nami greeted cheerfully. "This is Nami, whom am I speaking to?"

Another scuffling sound and less distinct chattering, and one voice answered. "Jean Bart, first mate. We wish to set up a rendezvous for... personnel relations."

"Oh thank Christ," Nami sighed, nearly collapsing back into her chair in relief. "Oh thank you so much. Luffy's has just gotten insufferable, he's been driving everyone INSANE. It's gotten to the point where half the crew had tried to actively drown him this week, and that includes Chopper!"

"Yes, we found out own captain in... poor disposition."

"He's an assssss," another voice said, starting a new cacophony from the other line. Fortunately, Nami was long used to navigating such chaos.

"Well, we don't have a destination so much as a 'So what the hell's on THIS island now,' so I'm not sure where to say to meet... But right now we're at coordinates 51.508042, -0.128069 bearing north-northwest; are you far from us?"

More indistinct arguing, then another brief crash and the sound of a struggle on the other side. "Nami-san?"

"Oh, Bepo! Nice to hear from you again!"

"Ah, no, the pleasure's all mine! -wanna talk to Nami, too! -OH MY GOD HE'S THE FUCKING NAVIGATOR LET HIM TALK SO WE CAN GET THIS OVER WITH-" The distinct sound of someone being bodily dragged and thrown form the room, and Bepo's voice was back on the line, just as Nami started to doubt that this was even a good idea anyway. "We're just sailing past the island of Gullyfern now, on our way to Throat Bayou. It looks like there's no real good place to meet from where you are now, the only island either ship is close to is Gullyfern here and it has a Navy base on it..."

The redhead considered this, looking out the window near her desk that viewed the deck. Outside, Luffy was draped upside-down around Franky's shoulders, bending sideways to drum out a familiar ten-beat song onto his shipwright's metal forearm as the cyborg tried to ignore him. "You know like I said, we don't REALLY have a set destination. We could just like. Sail alongside you guys for a while while you keep our captain on your ship!"

"Ooh, I bet Captain would like that, huh? Hm... If you change directions to start sailing towards Throat Bayou, and we adjust our course to the east a bit, it looks like we could meet up with your ship in under 15 hours?" Bepo suggested after a minute or so of rumination. Nami looked at her own map, confirming the exact route she'd need to take.

"Yeah... yeah, this seems really doable. Like, surprisingly achievable. Do we have a plan, then?"

"Yes, ma'am. We'll call you once Zoya sees your ship, okay?"

"Roger that! I'll see you when we rendezvous in fourteen hours, then!" Nami said, hanging up then den-den mushi. She stood up straight from where she had been hunched over the map desk, and cracked her back, sighing in relief at the sound of four pops in the middle of her shoulder blades. Well, that's what you get for being hunched over a desk all day with these boobs, she thought to herself spitefully as she made her way to the deck.

The sunlight was instantly warm when she stepped into it, a light breeze running through tangerine leaves and tangerine hair as walked up the stairs to the ship's wheel that she might change direction.

She ran her hands over the smooth stained wood of the wheel's handles lovingly, turning it a few degrees with careful hand. And then Nami stood there for a moment, letting the sun warm the skin of her face and the light breeze play with bangs, eyes closed and head up. And then she looked down at the deck again, where her beloved and trusted captain was currently squatting over Zoro as he slept, drumming on the exposed pectoral muscles of his first mate like god damned bongos and singling loudly.

Behind her, Usopp sauntered over to look over her shoulder at what she was watching. "Oh god damn it, is he using Zoro's mantitties as drums now?" The sniper shook his head, turning away form the bizarre sight. When he saw Nami he stopped, eyes wide. "Oh shit, Nami, are you crying? What's wrong, is something wrong?"

And she hadn't realized it before, but indeed, she could feel and see the tears gathering in her eyes. "I'm just," her voice wavered, and she turned towards her friend to bury her face into his chest. "I'm just so relieved, Usopp!"

Panicking slightly, Usopp patted her shoulder awkwardly. "Um. Relieved?"

She sniffed slightly, trying not to get snot in his hair. "The Revolver's coming by to meet us. We get to ditch Luffy onto them for a few days!" She said, almost sobbing in her joy.

Usopp immediately threw his arms around her to hug her. "Oh thank god! Oh thank god, we're all going to live!" And the two hugged and laughed, sharing their rejoice.


Meanwhile, back on the submarine, Law's crew had one more problem to deal with. "So..." Penguin started. "What do we say to the captain, then?"

The gathered crew looked at each other. "Maybe... Don't tell him anything?"

"We changed our course, though. We can't change course without the captain's permission!" Kazu jittered.

"He'll kill us," Zoya murmured.

"Don't ye think maybe he'd just agree to this? We already know he'll be happy to see 'im!"

"Yeah, no, Captain said we needed to get to Throat Bayou right away, I think knowing we went behind his back to plan a detour would... Piss him off a lot?" Sachi argued, shaking his head.

Bepo looked thoughtfully at the control console, carefully considering his captain. And then he reached out one large paw and gave the whole control panel a couple of good hard smacks.

"For fuck's sake, Bepo, how is that gonna help!?" Gabishi groaned.

"Oops! Looks like our course got disrupted! I guess I'll just have to fix that real quick, I hope I didn't put us off route!" The navigator declared, leaning over the console again to change their destination.

Everyone looked at each other for that, and then shrugged. "Ah, fuck it." Jean Bart declared. "Good enough for me."


The longer they spent underwater, the hotter and more miserable the submarine got. Especially when Sachi and Nue were so determined to create a super engine after talking to Cyborg Franky, the extra machinery and occasional small explosions making the heat even more unbearable. With a polar bear on board, they had no choice but to surface for air just for the sake of making sure Bepo didn't dehydrate and pass out from heat stroke – though the entire crew always piles out onto the deck fanning themselves with the unzipped collars of their jumpsuits the moment the doors were unsealed, so it was really just as well.

As of right now they had been underwater for half the day, and Law was just as tired and miserable as ever from it. Once it got too hot it proved impossible to sleep, so he had been doing nothing but wasting time for the whole of it knowing how easily he could give himself a headache. Even now, standing on the upper deck outside and taking in a cool breeze, he couldn't relax.

Fuuuuck. Any long term plans Law had once had were now pretty much shot to shit with Doflamingo gone, Kaidou after their asses, and no Shichibukai status to protect him. He only had the vaguest of plans left, and even what he wanted to do in Throat Bayou might not pan out if his contact decided associating with him was too risky.

He just wasn't even sure what to fuckin' do anymore, that was the long and short of it. At this point even "find One Piece" seemed a dubious and uncertain goal. And with the ever present threat of Kaidou, not to mention a known alliance with someone who had managed to make enemies with three of the Four Emperors, the stress was beginning to... Beginning to... make him see things? Was that the goddamned Thousand Sunny?

"Is that the goddamned Thousand Sunny?" He called up to Zoya, perched on the wooded mast of the topsail.

"You can't tell?" She yelled back in what almost amounted to a normal speaking voice. The ship in question was close enough to be able to make out the jolly roger, but from this angle it was hard to distinguish whose exactly it was. Well. It did LOOK like the Thousand Sunny, but what were the fucking ODDS that it was?

Once he moved to the southwest side it was clear. The ship was definitely the Sunny, and it was definitely sailing right towards them. It looked like there was some kind of raucous movement onboard, and now, the ship was not the only thing sailing directly towards them. "Oh good Lord." Law groaned.

Zoya started down the mast. "You might wanna catch that."

Law scrambled over the railing to jump down to the lower deck, reaching the far edge in time to hear the telltale sound of approaching laughter as Monkey d. Luffy rocketed towards the Revolver at high speed. His aim when he launched himself from his own ship had been a little off though, just enough that he had to stretch out his arm for Law to catch, pulling him on board the submarine before the idiot splashed into the ocean.

Luffy laughed wildly the entire time, of course, from the point where he shot himself from his own ship all the way to he and Law overbalancing and toppling to the wooden floor together when he pulled Luffy up to him. "Hiiii, Torao~!" The Strawhat sang happily, not getting up from where he had landed on the other captain's chest.

Law sat up, but otherwise didn't bother to try to untangle their bodies, one hand automatically curling around Luffy's side to hold him from falling off at the movement. "Luffy-ya," he greeted bemusedly. "What are you doing here?"

The smaller captain cocked his head. "What do you mean? Nami said we were supposed to meet you guys here!"

Law craned his head around to look at his crew members, all fifteen of them on deck and all fifteen of them studiously and mindfully not looking in this direction. Law rolled his eyes. "Of course," he sighed. "My bad."

Luffy grinned brilliantly and snickered his cute little snicker. "Silly Torao. So, did you miss me?"

His first response was naturally to deny it – he hadn't even thought about Luffy that much while they had been apart, of course he hadn't been missed. But. It was strange, and it was kind of stupid, but... Having Luffy here right now, draped over his body and smiling like seeing Law was actually a reason to be happy... Law couldn't even remember why he'd been so frustrated before. Yeah, all of his problems were still THERE, but... were they really bad enough to get worked up over?

"Yeah. I really did," he answered, watching as his boyfriend turned red and dove foreward to bury his face in Law's neck.

"You're smiling again," Luffy mumbled accusingly from his collar, small fingers curling in Law's shirt.

The surgeon didn't have anything to say to that, just chuckled and wrapped his other arm around Luffy's side, falling backwards again to lie flat on the deck with Luffy in his arms and letting his body slowly relax.

"Torao?" the Strawhat asked, making himself comfortable. "What are you doing?"

"Taking a nap," Law answered reasonably.

"Ahhh, I see. Can I join?"

Law laughed softly. "Yes, I had rather hoped you would."

"Can I join?" Bepo also asked.

Law didn't even flinch. "Sure, why not?" He shrugged, still not opening his eyes.

"Ooh, bear cuddles!" Luffy chirped.

The tiredness seemed to hit Law all at once, and he was asleep before he even knew how drowsy he was.

What Trafalgar Law woke up to was... a little different than he'd expected. He remembered falling asleep leaned against Bepo – that was fairly normal for the two of them. He knew he went to sleep with Luffy sprawled across him – waking up to this was not odd, either. What Law did not have an explanation for was why, directly next to him and ALSO napping against Bepo's side, was Roronoa Zoro.

Instinctively, Law kicked at the unconscious body next to him, only to hesitate when he noticed little Dr. Chopper sleeping on the swordsman's torso. Law furrowed his eyebrows, still half asleep and trying to figure out what was going on. Until he heard a snore from the other side of his Navigator's body. The surgeon sat up and craned his head around enough to see the tops of a few heads on the far side of the bear's belly.

Tucked under Bepo's left arm was Nami, snuggled next to Usopp, whose shoulder was being napped on by Zoya, whose lap was currently occupied by Mag's head.

Law looked back over at Roronoa, idly wondering if he could still kick him a few inches away without waking up the reindeer. Ah, fuck it. As long as there was a whole pile of them it wasn't weird, right?

Law sank back down, into a comfortable napping place, pulling Luffy back over to him from where the boy had flailed out in his sleep and ended up half sprawled between Law and Zoro.

The sunlight was warm in a pleasant way, the air smelled clean like sea salt, and above him, Luffy snuggled closer into Law's chest, mumbling "Toraoooo," in his sleep with a small smile.

It was all almost too nice to go back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Waking up again was less pleasant and more... physically jarring. In an effort to keep sailing, ultimately the entire lot of pirates ended up scattered across both ships in mix of the two crews. The event that disturbed the remains of the cuddle puddle Law had ended up in was when Blackleg Sanji apparently LEAPT from one deck to the other, landing with enough vigor to rock the entire submarine and leave a scorch mark on Law's varnished deck.

"WHAT do you think you're saying to Nami-swan you buck-toothed shitstain?!"

Buccha seemed less intimidated then he probably should. "I didn't say nothin' that was any of yer business, punk." He stepped forward threateningly, "What could you have even heard from all the way over there anyway?"

"My heart and ears are always open when it comes to Nami!" Sanji declared, raising one foot in the air.

Nami, for her part, was the least impressed out of anyone. "Oh for god's sake, it's fine! You don't have to come raging in every time a guy says something gross. I'm perfectly capable of breaking his fingers if I need to, and you've seen me do it!"

"I'm sorry Nami-swan, but he needs to learn that ladies should be spoken to with respect," Sanji defended, and Buccha scoffed and cracked his neck.

The remains of the nap pile were all standing now save the somehow unroused Roronoa, watching the square-off with a few scattered Heart Pirates. "He is the one who broke Mag's ribs the other day," Sano reminded the crew casually, just for the sake of stirring the pot.

"YOU DID WHAT?"

"God damn it don't encourage them!" Shachi swatted at him. "That doesn't even mean anything, everyone breaks things on Mag all the time!"

Mag nodded. "That is true, it really inn't a big deal anymore. I mean if you think about it, when is something on me NOT broken, right?"

Sanji was unswayed. "There's never any excuse for injuring a woman!"

"Oh, but I really did just jump into the fight there..."

"THAT DOESN'T EXCUSE HITTING A LADY!"

Mag put a hand to her chin thoughtfully. "Actually, I think it does? One of those, if-she-hits-you-first kind of thing, since I did hop in and punch his best friend in the back of the head. I mean, pirate rules, as it were."

Penguin scratched the back of his head. "Also I already broke his arm for it? I figured that would like, cover it. I think they're cool, they had a beer together about two hours later."

Neither Buccha nor Sanji looked like they were going to back down, and Law groaned, rubbing at his tired eyes. "Oh, for FUCK'S sake, you've already burned my floor, I won't stand for any more of this shit. Bepo!"

The navigator yawned and saluted. "On it, captain," and without due, grabbed Buccha by the arm and threw him over his shoulder.

"WHARG?" The sonar specialist choked in surprise, only to be even more shocked when Bepo threw him over the side of the ship into the ocean. Sanji immediately burst out laughing, a state which didn't last long when Mag and Zoya both approached him, and as a pair, shoved him backwards over the railing to join Buccha in the sea.

Luffy and Nami laughed so hard that for a moment, Law thought the other Captain might fall over the railing as well, and Penguin scrambled to throw a rope ladder to the other chef.

"Come on, Luffy-ya," Law drew his attention with a hand on his shoulder. "Why don't I show you around my ship?" He offered, steering Luffy towards the inside.

Luffy sparkled. "Oooh, where's the kitchen?"

"You are absolutely not allowed in the kitchen. Or the engine room, for that matter." A pause. "Or the control room. Probably not the operating theater, either. And you're DEFINITELY not allowed in the torpedo room."

"You have a torpedo room?!"

Shachi shrugged. "Well, it's really where we keep ALL the weapons, but the torpedoes take up the most space, yeah."

Luffy scoffed "And I'm not even allowed IN there?"

"I still haven't forgiven you for what you did to my ship back on Amazon Lily you little cretin!" Shachi yelled back.

"I don't remember doing anything like that," Luffy evaded, and Law shoved him towards the open door of the inner deck before Shachi tried to strangle him.

Luffy went along easily, folding his arms behind his head with a bit of a pout. "Well what are we even supposed to do if I'm not allowed on MOST of the ship?"

Law hummed, and led him inside a gloomy hallway. "Honestly, all the places you're not allowed I don't usually go in myself anyway, unless there's a reason. There's not all that much space, so when they're not doing their job the crew usually spends their time in the mess hall if we're underwater or on the decks if we're surfaced. We've got just the one bathroom with a shower, and all the books and card games and things we keep in the Patient's Room behind the operating theater." Halfway down the hallway there were two staircases on either wall, and Law directed them towards the one that led upwards. "So if I'm not with them I usually spend most of my time in here," he said, opening one of two doors at the top of the stairs.

"Ohhhh!" Luffy dashed inside without preamble. "This is way nicer than I expected!" He said cheerfully and threw himself into Law's desk chair with enough force to send it spinning.

And yes, Law's room WAS nice, thank you. It wasn't big, but it had two windows and wood paneling on the walls and a desk where he could work without anyone bothering him and, most importantly, it had his bed. Which Luffy took no time to dive into, sinking into the mattress with a sigh of "Oooohhh myyyy GOD. This is the most comfortable thing that's ever existed!"

Law grinned. "Yes. It absolutely fucking is," he stated proudly, inspiring a peal of laughter from Luffy as the surgeon sat down next to him on the bed, leaning against his headboard and watching with a smile. Luffy burrowed into the sheets, pressing his face into Law's second pillow for a moment before pulling back with a slight "Eep" sound and rolling, red faced, onto his back to stare at the ceiling.

"'Eep?'" Law questioned with a small smirk.

Luffy turned even redder, looking out the window and mumbling "Smells like Torao," just loud enough to hear.

Law smiled, reaching over to flick a strand of hair out of Luffy's face with one finger. "Oh, is that a bad thing?" He teased, brushing the back of his finger against Luffy's cheek to feel the warmth of his heated skin as he pulled his hand away.

The sound the smaller captain made in return was something between a squeak and a gurgle, his hands flying up to cover his face. Law laughed. "I see how it is now," he purred, "You can dish it out but you can't take it, can't you?" He teased as he leaned over Luffy, gently stroking a finger around the shell of his ear.

A shudder ran down Luffy's body, but the voice with which he said "I don't know what you're talking about," was almost convincingly steady.

Law chuckled softly, enjoying the dynamic shift of finally being able to see Luffy embarrassed for a change. He wanted to peel Luffy's hands away from his face and make him look Law in the eye. He wanted to pry apart his closed thighs and settle between them, pin Luffy's hands to the mattress so he couldn't use them to cover his face again, wanted to- JESUS, slow the fuck down, asshole.

Law shook the thoughts out of his head, quickly sitting up straight again and coughing lightly. "Um. Anyway." He said awkwardly, Luffy instantly untensing into a puddle beside him. "Yes. So this is my room."

"Yes." Luffy agreed, a bit awkwardly. "And it is a good room. I can see why you would spend a lot of time in here," Luffy conceded finally pulling his hands away from his face again. "I always forget most people have Captain's Quarters since I had Franky turn mine in storage."

A raised eyebrow. "Didn't want it?"

Luffy shrugged, looking up to meet Law's eyes again. "Yeah, there was no point. I don't like sleeping by myself, never got used to it."

"I suppose, if you had two brothers." Law still did not in any capacity understand HOW Luffy was brothers was Firefist Ace and the revolutionary Sabo, but figured it must have to with growing up together or something. Possibly vice admiral Garp was involved? Who even fucking knew.

Luffy just nodded. "Mm-hm. First I slept in the same bed as mom, then when I went to Dadan's I shared a room with Ace for years and he snored like a wildebeest. Also since he was narcoleptic he would just fall asleep at any random time and start sawing away, so I'd usually get bored and take naps with him." Which- really? Narcoleptic? How the hell do you like. Pirate on the OCEAN with that? With a Devil Fruit, no less? Did he not fall off a ship and drown just by sheer dumb luck? "And then when he left there was no point in me having a room by myself so I slept on the floor with all the rest of the bandits," Luffy continued. "Then it only took a few days of sailing in that barrel before I picked up Zoro and he snores even worse then Ace did so it was just like being home!"

There. There were just so many questions. Law had so many questions. The barrel? Did he set out to sea in a BARREL and then pick up his first mate – did he pick up his first mate in a BARREL? Did they sail in BARRELS until they found a ship? The "mountain bandits" bit he had glossed over also seemed concerning, but mostly Law couldn't get the idea of Luffy and Zoro stuffed together in a single floating barrel on the ocean out of his mind. And – for fuck's sake, that didn't even answer who the hell Sabo was!

"I see," Law lied. "So then, if you grew up with Firefist-ya, then Sabo is your brother because...?"

"Oh, he was friends with Ace before I even got there," Luffy explained easily like that even made any sense. "So when Grandpa brought me to live with Ace and Dadan and the bandits we hung out with Sabo until he ran away from his awful family to live with us and then the three of us ran away and lived in a tree fort and then Sabo's family found him and he tried to set sail but a Tenryuubito shot down his little boat and we all thought he was dead but I guess he was apparently picked up by my dad or something?" He trailed off, now frowning.

There was a moment of silence. "Wait... What?" Law asked, after a moment.

Luffy sat up, his brows furrowed. "Actually, yeah. You're right- what the FUCK?" He sat forward now, legs crossed underneath him and clenching one fist. "I was so happy he's alive I didn't even stop to think... We- we thought he was DEAD. For YEARS. Ace – Ace never even knew he was alive! I mean, he even has the tattoo – I can't. He didn't contact us AT ALL! When I first set sail Ace went out of his way to make sure we could meet, left me messages, met me in Alabasta – and goddamned Sabo couldn't even let us know he wasn't DEAD?" Luffy spat, both hands clenched onto his knees hard enough for the skin to redden.

Law felt... a little helpless, actually. "Maybe he didn't know you thought he was dead?" he offered lamely.

Luffy didn't seem comforted. "Even if THAT'S true, that still doesn't explain my dad! What was he even doing near Mt. Corbo, anyway?! You know I didn't even know I HAD a father until two years ago when Grandpa told me after Enies Lobby? I was already on the ocean with almost my ENTIRE crew before I found out I HAD a dad, and he apparently had time to swing by the island I lived and pick up my ADOPTED BROTHER without even letting me know he exists? What the serious FUCK?" He ran a hand through his hair, and ended up clenching one fist in the black locks.

His other hand was the one next to Law, and the doctor pulled it off of Luffy's knee and held it, threading their fingers together for Luffy to grab onto. His grip was tight on Law's hand. "It's not like I ever cared that I didn't have a dad – I never even thought to want one, I always had someone. But. Knowing what I know now, it feels like I COULD have had one, but he just rejected me. I know it's probably not as simple as that, but-"

"But it's still unfair to you," Law agreed, running his thumb over Luffy's fingers where their hands were joined. Which was apparently the most comforting he was capable of being. He might need to work on that.

Luffy huffed, throwing himself backwards to lay on the bed again, and Law sunk down to join him; their hands still linked between their bodies. "At least we had Grandpa. I mean, he was terrible and violent and he couldn't come over a lot because if anyone knew he was taking care of us me and Ace would probably have been killed or whatever, but at least he TRIED. It was his determination to turn us into fine marines that made me the pirate I am today!"

Which sounded... just about right, honestly. But still, it didn't really give Law any ideas on how to handle this situation. "I had two parents and sister and they all died, and then I sort of picked up a father figure, and he also died. So. I don't. I don't know."

There a was a brief but awkward silence. Then, thankfully, Luffy just snorted in laughter. "Oh my god you are terrible at this!" He chuckled, pressing their joined hands against his mouth to smother his laughter. "How was that supposed to help at all? That was barely even relevant!"

Law shrugged, helpless. "I don't know, I just... I just had to say something?"

Luffy just smiled, turning onto his side to face Law. "Actually, I do feel better. Guess I just needed to be snapped out of it. Thanks, Torao."

Law rolled onto his own side towards Luffy, their bodies curling naturally towards each other on the plush bed. "Oh, good. I felt pretty useless there."

Between them, Luffy's fingers curled into Law's, lightly squeezing his hand. "No, you helped more than you know. I mean. I don't really like to show that sort of face to my nakama since I'm the captain, you know?"

The doctor nodded in understanding. "Well, you've already seen me at my worst, so. I think it's supposed to be normal to show each other our weaknesses, at this point."

The smile Luffy was wearing, half pressed into Law's pillow, was glowing. "Yeah. Thank you, Torao," he said softly. "I'm really glad I met you."

Law's heart pounded in his chest, suddenly loud enough for him to hear. The sound of something stupid and loud happening outside distracted Luffy for a moment but Law didn't notice; he was already reaching out to pull Luffy into a gentle kiss by the back of the neck.

He only tensed in surprise for a moment before Luffy melted into it, leaning towards Law and reaching out to curl his free hand into the collar of Law's shirt. The kiss was long and sweet, a simple press of lips against each other. When Law pulled back it was only for the briefest moment, brushing their lips together and placing little kisses at the corners of Luffy's mouth until the small captain sighed, his lips parting the slightest bit. Law used the opportunity to pull that plump bottom lip into his mouth, sucking ever so slightly on it letting his teeth graze it as he released it.

The skin of Luffy's neck was heating up under his hand, and Law slowly slid it downward until his fingers were resting on top of Luffy's pulse, feeling the rapid flutter of his heartbeat as they kissed. Carefully, Law ran the tip of his tongue along Luffy's upper lip, then the lower. He lightly bit at the seam of Luffy's mouth, causing the younger a full body shudder, and, ever so delicately, flickered his tongue in the slight part in Luffy's lips and into his mouth.

The Strawhat squeaked slightly into Law's mouth, fingers clenching in his shirt hard enough to stretch the material out. Law pulled back at last, placing one final lingering kiss against his boyfriend's mouth before sitting upright. Because after the sound Luffy had made, if he didn't stop right now, he'd just want to push Luffy onto his back and crawl over him to get a better angle, and then... escalate.

Luffy sat up as well, placing his displaced straw hat back on his head and pulling it down enough to cover his eyes. Not that it did much good, considering the rest of his visible face was still bright red, but. Law understood the gesture. "S-so! Luffy said, a slight shake to his cheerful voice. "Why don't you show me around the rest of the ship, then!"

Law stood up, automatically offering a hand to help Luffy out of the bed without thinking. "Yeah, that's. A good idea," Law agreed, pulling the Strawhat to his feet. They stood there for a moment in silence, hands still joined. Law coughed and opened the door.

They couldn't quite look each other in the eye for the next few minutes, but their hands did stay linked as they made their way through the ship.

Chapter Text




"S-So, now that you're all clean and dry again, why don't I show you my kitchen?" Penguin offered Sanji shyly when he returned to the Revolver in a fresh suit.

The blonde nodded absently. "Yeah, might not be a bad idea to start dinner now with this many people."

"Er," Penguin fumbled. "I already started preparing most of dinner last night, so it shouldn't take that long to make. I was more uh thinking like. I could make something for you?"

Sanji blinked at him like this concept was totally foreign in idea and nature. "Eh?"

The other cook pulled his hat down over his eyes. "I mean. I just figure since you're allways the one taking care of everyone else on the ship and don't even let anyone else into the kitchen, then you probably don't ever get to relax and let someone else make something for you? Or you know. Whatever."

Sanji still looked like this idea was totally incomprehensible. "Uhhhh sure? I guess?"

Penguin looked just shy of panicking, a state so pathetic Shachi kind of wanted to shove his best friend overboard into the ocean next. "I think what he means to say, is that he wants to thank you," the engineer jumped in.

Penguin shot him a look of absolute betrayal, jabbing him in the side with his elbow. "Dude what are you doing don't fuckin' try to help!"

"Well you clearly need it!" Shachi hissed back, shoving at his friend. The two adults smacked and grappled childishly for a few moments. Sanji raised a bemused eyebrow.

"Er-" Penguin straightened. "What he means is that. Last time, when I was on your ship and helped you make lunch, I was really inspired! I'd always treated being the cook as more my job than anything, but when I saw how much love you put into even such simple meal I felt like... Like I wanted to be better, you know? So I wanted you to... try one of the new recipes I've been learning?" The cook finished hesitantly, like he had run out of things he wanted to say and just ended up winging it.

Sanji, at least, had completely accepted this answer. "Ohhhh, I see," he smiled, momentarily dazzling Penguin with its charm. "I'm happy to hear it! Let's see what you've got then, lead the way."

Penguin scrambled to lead the chef inside towards the kitchen, Shachi holding out a hand for his friend to high-five as they passed him.

Zoro, who had finally woken up and was now leaning lazily against a railing, scoffed at the entire display. "He's not gonna get anywhere."

Shachi just shrugged, not looking at him. "Probably not. But as his best friend, it's my job to play wing-man for him whether its hopeless or not, so."

The swordsman made a disgusted noise, but no further comment, relaxing back against the railing to try to ignore the universe again. "Aw fuck," he muttered as the deck door swung back open not even a minute later. "Aaaaand the lovebirds are back. That's way better, I'm glad." He grumbled as Luffy dragged Law onto the deck by his hand.

Luffy, having heard this as he swung the door open, happily rebuking his first mate. "What did I tell you about being a grumpy unkissable loveless loser?"

"Go fuck yourself."

"See you say that, but if I wanted to I really could, so. Try a better comeback next time, Loser McLoserton the Super-Bum." Luffy dismissed cheerfully.

"Your comeback is even worse! Super-Bum? You sound like a little kid!"

Nami chuckled. "Yeah, but it's accurate. You're both a loser and a total hobo."

Mag, whom she had been talking to, rubbed at her nose. "He does have a bit ovva smell about him, dunn'e?" Wordlessly, her fellow ginger held out a fist for Mag to bump her own to.

"I hate you all and would gladly light this ship on fire just to watch you all burn," Zoro responded dispassionately. He was ignored.

Luffy rocked back onto his heels, swinging he and Law's joined hands between them. "So, Torao, now that I've gotten the Ole Grand Tour, what should we do?"

"Uhhhhhh," Law shifted awkwardly. "I have no idea. Lately I've just been kind of fucking off by myself, so." He shrugged.

"Oh my god you're so boring why do I like you." Luffy complained dejectedly. "Fiiiiiine, I'll think of something fun for us to do."

"That doesn't sound ominous at all," Law said, voice dripping with sarcasm. "You're not going to leave me alone like you did on the Sunny, are you?"

"Wasn't really planning on it, no." Luffy confirmed. "Well for now, I think you should pick me up and carry me."

Law dropped his hand. "What? Why?"

"It's only fair, isn't it?" Luffy argued with a slight pout. "I mean, back in Dressrosa-"

Law slapped a hand over his boyfriend's mouth before he could finish, interrupting with a sharp "YES, I see, you have made your point and won me over. Leap into my arms."

Zoro snorted loudly. "Aw, don't tell me you're embarrassed? Didn't it take like an hour for you guys to get up there and find that key? I mean, an awful LOT of people saw on the way..."

Law, hand still clamped over Luffy's mouth, shot him a look dripping with venom and ignored the smaller captain licking his palm grossly. Those among the Heart Pirates who were scattered around looked among themselves, as if trying to see if anyone looked like they knew what they were talking about.

Zoro grinned wickedly. "Ooooh, do they not even know? Were you so embarrassed you just skipped that part of the story or something? Hahaha, that's great!"

"Do you ever do anything other than sleep and be an asshole?" Law shot back, wiping his now-dirty hand on the arm of Mag's jumpsuit.

Zoro shrugged. "Not if I can help it. Speaking of which, I think there's a LOT of things I could tell your crew about that you might have neglected, huh?"

"All right, that's it." Law held out his open palm, Kikoku falling into it before anyone had even noticed the Room he'd cast (elsewhere on the ship, in the place where his nodachi used to lay now existed a paperclip with a piece of lint caught on it). "You wanna do this, let's fucking GO. Whip 'em out, let's measure them, Roronoa."

"FINALLY," Zoro laughed, pulling out his own swords with gleeful homicide in his eyes.

"Wait- wait no- please wait-" Shachi grabbed Luffy by the shoulder. "You can stop them, right? You should maybe stop them." The engineer pleased, panic rapidly mounting.

The young captain just laughed merrily. "What? Stop them? Are you kidding? This is gonna be great!" Indeed, his own eyes sparkled with unconcealed joy. "I never get to watch Torao fight, I'm allways busy also fighting! Plus, he's fighting Zoro? Like I could ask for something COOLER. I wanna see what happens."

Bepo frowned. "'See what happens?' Are you saying you don't think Captain will win?" All of the scattered members of the Heart Pirates on deck caught attention to that.

Luffy shuffled awkwardly. "Well, I mean. I haven't seen them fight, so I really can't say one way or another..."

"What? Are you kidding, it's obvious our captain would win!" Mag shook her fist, and Gabishi rumbled in agreement.

The Strawhat didn't meet their eyes. "I dunno, I mean. Zoro's my first mate, and I have absolute faith in him, and uh... Well Torao is amazing for a lot of reasons and I adore him, but what I've seen in Punk Hazard and Dressrosa was ummmm. Unflattering?"

Five members of the Heart Pirates glaring murder at Luffy, and five feet away the men in question were a half a second away from attacking. "KICK HIS ASS, CAPTAIN!" Someone yelled, a small chorus of cheers behind it.

Shachi, meanwhile, was having an aneurysm. "DON'T YOU PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO TO THE SHIP?! The kind of fucked up artwork I've seen the captain make while he LANDSCAPES the environment and a goddamned Strawhat Pirate? THERE WILL BE NOTHING LEFT FOR US TO SAIL ON!"

Bepo, at least, was listening. "I don't think there's room for all of us on the Thousand Sunny. We should probably stop them, I guess." His ears flickered.

It was of course too late to stop them from STARTING the fight, having already launched into it. "What do we do, what do we DO?" Shachi pulled at his hair, and one of Zoro's swords cut a large portion of railing off and into the ocean.

Bepo pounded a furry fist into his palm. "Ah! Mag!"

"Mag?" The engineer cocked his head to the side, but a moment later his eyes widened. "Of course! MAG!"

The history of the pirate known as Red Mag was such: the moniker, and indeed even original bounty, were acquired before ever setting sail from her home island of Caer Xhan. Though the extent of her involvement in the organized crime of that land is ultimately unclear, she was known throughout the local underworld as one of the most feared hitters of the Esmeraude Clan; The Unkillable Red Mag. A title gained from countless fights ended with her covered in not only the blood of her enemies, but also unreasonable amounts of her own.

The "Unkillable" part is the reason Trafalgar had found interest in her. It was readily apparently from watching her fight that she possessed no haki, or even real fighting skills. What she did have was the bizarre ability to keep getting up and fighting no matter how many times one shot, stabbed, or otherwise bludgeoned her. Indeed, even when a wound did incapacitate her past consciousness, her healing was so impressive that she would be back on her feet in working order in a fraction of the time it would take anyone else to recover. Upon finding no scientific explanation for this, Law had lost interest in trying to puzzle her out, mainly due to an unfortunate habit she had of continuing to babble incoherently even while under the knife, and had hired her on the crew for the only other talent(1) she possessed – piloting submarines.

All this was what made Bepo's idea... well, if not sane, then at least we can say "likely to work."

Now, at the sound of her name, the redhead turned around from where she had been cheering on the fight. Before she could even ask "Aye?" Shachi and Bepo grabbed her by the shoulder, apologized for this, and gave her a hard, direct push forward – directly in between a rampaging Roronoa Zoro, Trafalgar Law, and the unreasonable amount of SWORD they carried between the two of them.

It was only by the virtue of the extreme talent of the two swordsmen that Mag was not cleaved clean in half. She was, however, still technically cut into two pieces anyway, as most of her arm was now on the deck. Kikoku was thrust forward through her body cleanly, but Sandai Kisetsu and Shusui had managed to cut through her arm and a large portion of her shoulder before the men could pull back.

"WHAT THE SWEET FUCK," Law shouted, the entire crew scrambling into action around them. Zoro was backing away, bloodied swords clattering to the floor. "What the FUCK! Zoya, go prep the OR, Gabishi, go grab Ohm, I'll need them on the surgery!"

Mag wasn't screaming, just hissing in pain and writhing a little on the floor, swearing "WHOOO, that's a dilly of a FUCKIN' pickle!"

Nami, however, though she had previously been uninterested in every part of the display, DID scream. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?"

"God damn mother fucking- We can't even go one FUCKING day without needing to sew up my Planesman? Just ONE DAY," Trafalgar swore, carefully teleporting he, Mag, and the pieces of Mag still on the deck floor to the Operating Room.

The rest of the heart Pirates apparently all knew their place, a couple scrambling about and a few others staying quietly out of the way. The members of the Strawhat crew on board were just Luffy, Nami and Zoro, who were all more or less at a complete loss.

"Well that's not what I thought would happen," Luffy said finally.

"How was that okay? In what universe was doing that OKAY?" Nami said, shaking her head.

Bepo, who had politely grabbed a mop bucket to clean up his crew mate's blood, bowed to her. "Ah. Sorry you had to see that. But it is okay, since it's Mag. Anyone else would have been really bad, but. Mag will always be okay, so. It's fine."

Nami whirred on him. "You pushed her into the middle of that fight and she got her arm cut off! She got run through with a SWORD! How is any of that okay?!"

Shachi scratched at the back of his head. "Well yeah, it LOOKS bad, but. I promise, Mag is a LOT faster, cheaper, and just plain EASIER to fix than the ship would have been. The captain wouldn't have hit any of her organs and the arm can go right back on, so she'll be up and running around again in no time, promise!"

Nami still looked horrified, and Zoro still seemed shaken – he hadn't said a word the whole time, just cleaned the girl's blood of his swords and resolutely turned his eyes towards the Thousand Sunny, in the opposite direction of the bloodstain on the floor and the door to the operating room she now lay in.

Luffy drew in a breath. "No one looks, worried, not even Torao," He said, resolutely. "They have faith in their nakama. She's strong, and they know it, so they won't worry. They're her crew, not us – if they say it's fine, then it must be." He patted his first mate on the shoulder. "And when she does get up you can apologize. So, everything WILL be fine, even if it isn't now."

"I was never worried," Zoro shrugged off Luffy's hand. His captain snickered.

"Sure, you weren't worried and you don't feel bad about it at all."

"I never said I didn't FEEL bad. I'm a douchebag, not Satan himself."

Nami shook her head, watching a polar bear mop a blood stain off the deck of a yellow submarine. "Being a pirate is so fucked up."



As expected, it really was all just fine. The surgery itself took less than a half hour, and Mag was up from the drugs and ironically apologizing to Zoro and Law for getting in the way another hour after that, Zoya sitting at her bedside diligently ignoring her friend.
Once it was conformed that yes, she did in fact still have full range of motion in that shoulder, business resumed the same way it always did when Mag got busted up – they sent Caesar Clown to watch her because as long as she had someone to talk at it lessened the chances of her injuring herself further(2), and resumed everything else as normal.

"Penguin and Blackleg-ya said dinner will be ready soon, but I don't think that means we have to wait at the door salivating," Law complained, adjusting his grip on Luffy's legs, hoisting him up higher on his back. "Oh my god are you literally drooling on me? This better not be spit on my shoulder!"

Just behind Law's head, Luffy rubbed at his chin. "To be fair, that's not even the weirdest place I've gotten my spit on you TODAY."

"THAT'S NOT A GOOD ARGUMENT," Law said, marching down the hallway and away from the kitchen doors they'd wound up loitering in front of.

"But I can smeeelllllll iiiiiit," Luffy whined, turning his head to look back at the closed door longingly as his boyfriend carried him off.

They wound up wandering up to the highest deck on the submarine, where naturally, Luffy then insist they climb onto the roof of that they might be on the highest point on the ship aside form the mast. Law sat down, but rather that trying to unwind the other from around his torso, just sort of slid downwards, until Luffy was sitting upright with Law's head pillowed in his lap as they looked at the sky.

"Looks like we just missed the sunset," Luffy said idly, threading his fingers through Law's dark hair without thinking as they looked at the fading purple of the twilight sky.

"Stars aren't out yet," Law answered quietly.

For a little while, neither of them said anything, just silently watched the sky as the stars slowly twinkled into view one by one.

Then, naturally, whatever Franky and Nue had been playing with on the Thousand Sunny blew up and shot a laser beam into the sky. Luffy burst out laughing. "Hahaha! What a great day!" he declared jovially.

Law groaned and buried his face in his hands. "How do they keep DOING that? It's like everything Nue touches blows up! Why do they keep trying to use lasers if this happens EVERY time?!"

Luffy giggled. "Why do you keep trying to talk to Zoro when all you two do is get into fights? Some things just are they way they are! Life's more fun with explosions and sword fights anyway."

"It's not just me and Zoro. Something about bringing these two crews together, everyone keeps getting into fights and blowing things up! It's pure chaos and I don't even know WHY!"

"It's... you know, chemistry! We have chemistry!" The Strawhat argued happily, grinning down at the deadpan look on his boyfriend's face. "Well, I like it! I really like your crew, Torao. I'm glad I won't have to worry about leaving you alone anymore, since I know they'll take care of you when I'm not around."

Law's face twisted into a frown. "What do you mean, 'worry about leaving you alone?'"

"Wellllll, from what I've seen, you tend to do PRETTY stupid stuff when you're left by yourself."

Law very nearly shot out of his lap, but settled for the less dramatic icy glare. "That's the pot calling the fucking kettle black," he spat.

"No, I do CRAZY things. You do things that KILL you," Luffy argued back, wearing a rare frown. "STUPID things like give your heart to Caesar Goddamned Clown and get shot by Mingo! He KILLED you, Torao! I mean, you didn't stay that way, but- but I got there and you were already dead and – and I was worried you do more stupid asshole things like that while I'm not around!"

Law's body untensed, relaxing in defeat against Luffy's thighs. "It's not like I was trying to kill myself. But... I do go into that whole Doflamingo thing prepared to die," he admitted lowly.

"That's exactly the problem!" Luffy shouted. "I've never gone into a fight prepared to die, not once in my life! That's how you got so fucked up my him!"

"Yeah, well that didn't stop you from getting killed at Marineford, did it?!"

Both of them instantly froze.

"Shit. Shit I didn't mean to say that," Law back-pedaled.

"Yeah that was a low blow, dude. Like, right in the dick. I think I might be impressed if I weren't still reeling from that sucker punch."

"I'm sorry! God damn. How about you stop talking about Doflamingo and I won't bring up your brother, how about that?"

"Inarguably fair," Luffy grumbled, a now awkward silence falling between them.

Law tried to fish around for something to say that would un-fuck up this situation. "Well. I don't feel that way anymore, anyway. Rather than feeling like my life's work is done, now that I've gotten something like closure I feel like it would be a waste to die. Like there's so much left in life now that I've gotten him out of it, you know?"

Finally, Luffy smiled again. "Yeah? So you aren't going to do dying on me while I go find One Piece?"

The surgeon scoffed. "Like I could now even if I wanted to. I can't die in front of my crew, that would be humiliating! Not to mention they can't take care of themselves without me- I left them alone for a few months and half of them DIED. If I actually kicked the bucket they'd probably get eaten by a kraken in a week!"

Luffy laughed that charming little snicker of his. "Well then, sounds like you'll be taking care of each other! Just like it should be. Imagine how fast my whole crew would die if you took away a single one of us?"

Law considered this. Nami and Sanji and Chopper were obvious, of course. Zoro was probably needed those times when Luffy ran off on his own and left no one protecting the crew, Usopp had already saved Law's life, Franky kept the ship running, Nico Robin was Nico Robin... "You could probably be alright for a while without Brook?"

Luffy shook his head. "Yeah, you'd think that? But it turns out Brook is what keeps us from killing EACH OTHER. He can manage to diffuse fights without us even noticing, and we've kind of been using him as crew therapist or whatever. Before we picked him up Usopp and I got into a fight so bad he left the crew for a while, and lately I can't help but think if we'd had Brook back then he'd have been able to prevent that before we even got as mad as we were. Well. I dunno, it might have been inevitable, with the Merry. Who knows."

Law blinked, trying to imagine, of all people, Luffy and Usopp mad enough to hate each other. It was incomprehensible. "Well. I guess that answers that, then."

Luffy beamed. "See? You understand. That's just what nakama are for! Keeping each other alive and sane and stuff."

"Yeah," Law agreed mildly. "But it's not like they're the only reason I have to live," he finished meaningfully.

"Eh?" Luffy asked, furrowing his eyebrow. "Do you mean something specific?"

He had already been leaning down to look Law in the eye, but look on his face was different now. There was an intensity in Law's eyes, a weight to that gaze tasted like a question Luffy already knew the answer to.

His face instantly heated into a flush. "Oh," he said quietly, suddenly hyper-aware of the fact that Law's head was pillowed in his lap, and his boyfriend was still looking at him with that look on his face. "I see," he mumbled, glancing away.

Law smirked. He raised one arm, his right arm, the one that had been – Law's hand came up to Luffy's face, running his fingers through the hair falling in front of his eyes. The younger leaned into the touch for a moment, before bending down to press a kiss to Law's forehead.

And then Penguin was calling out "SOUP'S ON!" and Luffy bolted so fast Law's head slammed against the metal roof of his submarine.

"Ow." He said dispassionately.

Luffy's head poked back up from the deck below. "Come on Torao hurry up we're gonna miss the fooood!"

"Yeah, I'm coming," Law assured, one of Luffy's hands shooting to grab Law's own and drag him down.

Well. At least some things were predictable.

--

Dinner itself was easier than anyone had thought it would be, as it turned out the entirety of both crews fit inside the Revolver's mess hall with relative ease. Particularly since there were at least two people not currently present to take up space or annoy the crowd.

Sanji, after making sure everyone was served and eating, looked around the large room. "Where's Miss Mag?" He asked. "I would hate for her to miss dinner."

The pirates in Sanji's immediate vicinity all froze. Unfortunately, one idiot spoke up to answer the question.

"Oh, she's in the infirmary with Caesar, isn't she? Should I bring her down some food?" Kazu asked innocently. Someone threw a baked potato at him.

Sanji frowned. "The infirmary? What for? Is she alright?"

"Ssss-she's fine!" Shachi assured quickly, Zoya nodding rapidly across the table from him. "She just had a little slip and fell!"

The chef's eyebrow furrowed. "And she needed to go to the infirmary for it?"

"She fell into a bucket of swords," Nami answered, her face completely straight.

"The poor delicate flower!" Sanji cried, and someone behind him stifled a bark of laughter into a cough. "I should go and bring her some dinner myself, see how she's doing!"

The Heart pirates all looked around at each other in panic – Mag would, of course, tell Sanji exactly what happened (in a way that made it sound like it had been her own fault, not that Sanji would listen...). "I don't think you wanna do that..."

"Oh? And why not? Surely she shouldn't be left alone at a time like this-"

"She isn't alone," Law said, startling Sanji. "Caesar Clown is with her."

At that, Sanji's face twisted in a scowl. "UGH. I forgot you kept that guy! I don't know how you can stand him!"

"We didn't know what else to do with him, honestly," Law answered with a casual shrug. "And Mag likes him well enough for some reason. So, since Kazu is already bringing down plates for the both of them," the captain said with a pointed look, Kazu scurrying off to grab food for his crewmates. "You really don't need to bother."

"I guess it's fine for now, then," Sanji agreed, and everyone let out a breathe of relief.

Everyone who knew what had happened earlier, anyway. "Whhhhaaat?" Gawain crowed. "Is THAT what happened this time? I though this was why we didn't keep buckets of weapons around anymore! BECAUSE OF MAG!"

Next to him, Sano scratched at his chin. "Indeed, didn't she shoot off her own toe knocking over a rifle around two months ago?"

"No, that was me," Buccha admitted. "Mag lost HER toe when Ohm was trying to teach her to juggle knives."

Gawain frowned. "I thought that was Kazu. So wait, then who blew off their toes in an explosion, then?"

Nue and Shachi both raised their hands. "That was us, we dropped something and we lost a few each when it exploded at our feet!"

Luffy was choking with laughter, one pork cutlet still on his fork as he laughed himself off of the bench. Law buried his face in his hands.

This. These were his people. These were his goddamned nakama, right here.

Yeah. It was good to be alive.



(1) The level at which she played the fiddle could be considered neither "talent" nor "skill". It was, at kindest, a hobby.

(2) This position was generally known as "Mag Duty." The job of Mag Duty was permanently given to Caesar Clown upon his promotion to Actual Crew Member because, to quote, "Mag had Caesar Clown Duty" while the scientist had still been prisoner. Citing that this made no sense and also he REALLY hated her, Caesar argued against this task, but since Law had already judged Mag to be the person Caesar was most likely to try to kill once he was free, she had been given his heart before he was released, and his arguments negated. Considering this situation meant the rest of the crew no longer had to deal with neither Mag nor Caesar anytime she was heavily injured (which was often,) the Heart Pirates called this the best idea they'd ever had and washed their hands of it. Mag herself was delighted, and Caesar Clown considered suicide.

Chapter Text

"So where are we playing tonight?" Shachi stood up slowly, pushing his chair into the table he'd been sitting at.

Dinner was long eaten and the mess was halfway cleared of pirates, a few scattered remains still chatting or helping to clear the tables and bring dishes back into the kitchen. Penguin, arms loaded with a dishtub, shrugged. "Jean Bart's got second-last watch tonight, so he's already asleep in our bunk."

"Zoya's third watch, so she won't be in til late. We can use our room," Bepo volunteered, and Law, Shachi and Penguin all made agreeing noises. While it was technically known as the Girl's Cabin, Bepo actually slept in the same four-cots-bolted-to-one-wall style of room as the rest of the crew; his being shared with Zoya, Mag (who was as usual in the infirmary for the night) and Ohm (who had mild claustrophobia and would, whenever possible, sleep on the deck.) While not actually being girl exclusive, the Girl's Cabin was known as such because it was easier than referring to it as the Two Girls A Bear And Whatever Ohm Counts As Cabin, the more accurate title.

"Use your room for what?" Luffy asked, leaning over the table on his elbows and picking at his teeth unattractively.

"Card game." Bepo answered. "We play every couple of nights. Wanna join?"

Luffy sat up straight, looking to Law excitedly. "Ooh, can I?"

Law just shrugged. "Sure, I don't give a shit. Shachi?"

Shachi also shrugged. "Sure, who gives a fuck? We'll all meet in the girl's room in an hour when Penguin's done with the dishes."

The cook scowled and barked "It wouldn't TAKE me an hour if someone would HELP once in a while!"

"Pft. Just get Kazu to help. That's what he's there for anyway," Shachi dismissed with a wave of his hand.

Penguin smacked the dishtub against the back of his friend's head. "It isn't actually! He HAS a real job!"

"Yeah," Bepo agreed. "His job is Bitch-boy."

Law barked out a sharp laugh, slapping his bear on the shoulder. "Ha! It's funny 'cause it's true." He looked over his shoulder, shouting "KAZU! Go help Penguin with the dishes."

The Radiologist/Bitch-boy saluted quickly. "Sir! Yes, sir!" And scurried off to the kitchen.

Shachi pointed towards his retreating back with a thumb. "See how easy that was?" He stood up, adjusting his hat and strolling towards the doors. "I'm gonna go get the card table now, hopefully I can get in and out without having to like. Interact with Mag and Caesar."

"Caesar might threaten to kill you if you leave him alone with her again. He's been doing that a lot. He's a lot louder now that we've taken the seastone off him, if you ask me." Bepo reminded him.

The engineer just scrunched up his face. "Eh, I can handle Caesar Goddamned Clown. I'm more worried Mag's gonna ask me to bring her her damned fiddle - this ship isn't nearly soundproof enough to let her try to play that thing with one fucking arm."


 

An hour later indeed saw them all in the girl's room, the cots folded into the wall to make room for a plastic table and five folding chairs, a case of beers sitting on the dresser against the back wall.

"Oh my god, this was a terrible idea, five people and a table do NOT fit in this room," Penguin complained, squeezing into a chair against the wall.

Next to him, Bepo shrugged. "I don't know, this one is bigger than the one you guys sleep in, so. The ship just has a lot of itty-bitty rooms."

"Yeah," Law agreed from the doorway, Luffy hanging off one arm as he waltzed in and took the seat nearest to the door. "There's really just no room to set something like this up. Why do you think we don't ever invite Jean Bart or John Omaha? They're too fuckin' big, they'd never fit around the table with us." He turned to his navigator. "You're lucky we even invite you, you giant fluffball."

"Yeah, I really am," Bepo agreed. "But also Jean Bart is a dick and obviously I'm better."

Law immeditly laughed at the response. Shachi just shook his head. "I don't even understand why you've always hated that guy. You've just always been a bitch to him for like, no reason."

Bepo hummed noncommittally, leaning back in his tiny chair. "Gorillas like him should stay in the zoo where they belong," He said loftily.

"THEN WHAT ABOUT BEARS?"

"Well if bears are better then humans we're obvoiusly better than gorillas, so. That's not even a good point."

Luffy snickered, wedging himself into the seat between Law and his navigator. "What about reindeer?"

"Better than humans or gorillas; not as great as bears." Bepo answered sagely, to Luffy's approval.

"Oh? What about penguins, then?" The cook asked, Penguin coming in last and closing the door behind him as he took the remaining chair.

"I eat penguins." Was the casual answer. "But I like you, if that's what you mean. Better than any ape, for sure."

"Like me enough not to eat me?" Penguin asked with an easy grin, unzipping the top of his jumpsuit and throwing a pack of cards onto the table.

Bepo considered this. "Hm. Not intentionally, but if you were already dead and I was hungry, I probably might."

"I can respect that," Law smiled, picking up the cards and tossing them between his hands in an easy shuffle. "It would almost be wasteful not to eat him, really."

Shachi leaned back in his chair, shaking his head. "That's not disturbing at all. Hand me a goddamned beer, you freaks."

Bepo, being closest to the dresser, reached behind himself to pass a beer towards the engineer. It was intercepted immediately by Luffy, stealing it out of his paw and cracking it open before Bepo had even finished extending his arm. "Ah. Huh."

Shachi kicked at Luffy's feet under the table as the bear grabbed for a new beer, Luffy snickering into his as Shachi scolded him. "You little shit! Are you even old enough to drink?"

"Well for one thing I'm nineteen, and B: pirate. So." The Strawhat took a pointed sip of his drink.

"Those are both fair points," Shachi admitted, taking a fresh bottle from Bepo.

Law, however, was scowling at him. "And how old exactly did you think he was? You think I'm some kind of pedophile?"

His engineer and cook both looked a little uncomfortable at the question. "Uhhhh no? But to be fair, um. Your taste for a while there was... Bordered on a little... Questionable?" Shachi awkwardly explained, reaching up to his head to adjust his cap out of habit, only to abort the movement when he remembered he wasn't wearing it. "I just feel like banging a sixteen year-old is maybe something we would... Not put past you, is all."

Luffy frowned. "Should I be insulted right now?"

"I know I am," Law growled. "You assholes! I could kill you and no one would ever find your bodies."

"I remember hiding bodies with you," Bepo said conversationally. "The secret was finding the right snow drift. Good times."

A few seconds of pregnant silence fell over the room. Penguin buried his face in his hands. "Everyone I know is an asshole or insane. Somebody hand me a goddamned beer." Bepo obliged like what he had said had been normal.

Shachi took a long swig of his beer. "Deal the fucking cards."

Law looked down at his hands like he hadn't realized he was even still holding the deck. "What are we playing?"

"Ah, who gives a shit," Shachi leaned back in his chair, swiping as much of his hair as he could into a ponytail at the back of his head. "Luffy, what's your game?"

The captain shrugged. "I dunno, all of them? Hold 'Em, Diamondback, Rich Man Poor Man, Wicked Grace, whatever. Grew up surrounded by bandits and pirates, so card games were like, the only safe thing they could do with a ten-year-old."

"Wicked Graaaaace!" Penguin said excitedly, pounding a fist on the table as his friends groaned. "No one will play with me anymore BECAUSE I KICK SO MUCH FRIGGIN' ASS!"

Law rolled his eyes, but started dealing the cards anyway. "You are the exact reason we stopped betting. You get WAY too competitive!"

"I'LL COMPETE WITH YOUR ASS!"

Law gave him a flat look, silently passing cards around the table. Penguin had the decency to look ashamed of himself. "If I be quiet can we still play Wicked Grace?"

"If you're quiet we'll let you stay in the room," Law pronounced, but kept dealing the setup for Penguin's chosen game nonetheless.

The hand was dealt and the game started, the five pirates falling easily into the flow of the game. "Pass," Shachi said, drawing a card from the discard pile and shuffling it into his hand. "So, what about you, Luffy?"

"What about me?" Luffy asked as Penguin tossed a card onto the table.

Shachi shrugged. "Like. What about you? What's up with you, what do I need to know about Monkey D. Luffy?"

"I'm the man who's going to be king of the pirates," Luffy answered seriously, Bepo drawing a card next to him. "Also, match me." He added, tossing down his own card.

Everyone else threw cards on the table, Penguin grumbling as he swiped up the discards into his hand. "That's it? That's the only thing we need to know about you?"

Luffy thought for a moment. "Yep, pretty much."

Penguin groaned. "Oh my god, you're the type that can't tell stories for shit either, aren't you? I STILL don't know why the fuck we dropped the Captain off at Punk Hazard, or why Kaidou wants to apparently kill us. Something to do with Caesar and Doflamingo and I think someone has a dead brother?"

Law drew a card. "Yeah, something along those lines," he agreed. Shachi and Penguin made disgusted noises at him.

Tossing a card onto the table, the engineer declared "I know, let's do an expirement! Who is worse at telling stories? Luffy, Captain," he pointed vaguely towards the two of them, "Tell us how you fell for each other?"

The two of them looked at each other, identical contemplative grimaces falling over their features. "Ehhhhhh..."

Shachi and Penguin looked supremely unimpressed, Bepo silently taking a swig of his own beer.

"No, I got this, I swear!" Luffy defended quickly. "Zoro asked, too, so I had time to think about it. So I like, wasn't paying attention to why or how or whatever, but I remember when I noticed!" He was leaning forward in his seat now, drumming a little beat onto the tabletop. "Okay, so it was after all the stupid stuff happened where Torao kept getting like shot and beat up and everything was terrible, but then afterwords when it was fine again I was talking to him on the ship and I said something stupid and it made him laugh, and I was all like 'WAH he's so handsome when he smiles!' And I thought that I didn't wanna have to give him back to you guys, I wanted to keep him and make him smile all the time, and then was all 'Oh that's probably love or whatever,' and just rolled with it from there."

The three Heart Pirates looked around at each other. Penguin shrugged. "Good enough for me. That leaves you, Captain – got a better story than that?"

The captain in question made an uncomfortable noise. "Yeah, no. I dunno." He huffed out a breath of air, took a drink of his beer. Thought about the question while the others continued playing cards around him. Thought about Dressrosa, about the despair and hope relief. Thought about the Sunny, and how he might never in his life have been as relaxed as sitting on the figurehead watching the ocean with Luffy. "Hm." Next to him, Luffy called for another match, and they all threw cards down on the table. "Ah, I know," he said, finally, the others all looking at him in vague surprise that he was actually answering after all. "I always wanted to come back here, of course, but. Sometimes it felt like I was already home."

Shachi and Penguin and Luffy all looked moved by this response, sparkling at the answer. Bepo tossed his empty beer bottle into the garbage can. "It's settled, then. You're worse at telling stories."

Law laughed, and Luffy joined him in a giggle. Shachi swept up the card pile into his hand. "Well, we already could have guessed that. When the captain tries to explain something he either goes into way too much detail and confuses everyone, or doesn't give nearly enough detail and we all just get lost."

Penguin pounded a fist on the table. "Oh, like how no one ACTUALLY knows how he and Bepo met? I've heard four versions, and every one of them was different."

"Yeeeaaah!" Shachi agreed with enthusiasm. "I know uh, the one where Bepo supposedly saved him from a burning building, and the story where Bepo was in the circus and Law broke him out, um... God, something ridiculous about a dance contest they entered together?"

Penguin laughed heartily. "Yeah, yeah! My favorite was the one where the two of them were stranded on a deserted island together, and they escaped by the captain sitting on Bepo's belly and steering as he floated to the next island on his back!"

All of these stories were, to some degree, true. None were the story of how they met.

"Awesome!" Luffy crowed, "So, how did you guys actually meet then?" He asked, looking back and forth between Law and his bear.

They shrugged in perfect synchronization. "I'unno."

"HOW CAN YOU NOT REMEMBER MEETING A TALKING BEAR?"

Law took a drink from his beer, fingers curled loosely around the bottleneck. "To be fair, a lot of weird shit's happened to me, so. I don't feel like I need to remember every little odd detail."

"I don't remember buying these pants, but I've been wearing them for two months," Luffy said agreeably, stealing the bottle from Law's hand and taking his own sip of it.

"You have your own beer!"

"Nah, I allready finished it." Luffy took another sip of his pilfered drink. "So, what about you guys then? If you're so great at telling stories, then tell me how you met Torao." He paused. "Also, who's turn is it?"

"Yours," Law snapped.

"Oh. In that case, match me." They all groaned and threw cards onto the table, the lowest number taking the pile back into their own hand.

Shachi scratched at the back of his head, organizing the new cards into his hand before throwing one down on the table. "Well, Penguin, you met him first. You were the one I knew, I pretty much got Shanghai'd into this."

His friend winced, drawing with a muttered "Pass. And I feel like I also kind of got Shangai'd, honestly. Running away on a stolen submarine was not how I thought my day was gonna go."

Bepo handed two bottles of beer over to his captain and Luffy, who had, between the two of them, finished off Law's drink. "Well, it wasn't how I thought my day would go either, you know."

"You guys had bug-out bags packed and ready by the door!"

"Well, we allways had those, so. They did get used every now and then."

Luffy was laughing jovially. "Man, and you guys said I suck at telling stories! I have no idea what you're talking about!"

Penguin leaned back in his chair, picking his own bottle off the table and swirling the contents around. "Well. I'm not really sure where to start? Like, do I explain where I was, or where the captain was, or how we ended up... Actually yeah, I gotta start at the beginning to make sense, I think. Okay, I can totally do this," he trailed off decisively, taking a swig of the bottle and putting it back on the plastic tabletop. The others all looked towards him expectantly.

"Okay, so on the island I grew up on, pretty much the only two things anyone ever grew up to do were fishing or sailing. So since I can't fish for shit, I ended up working in the kitchens on a merchant ship."

"Damn, you are going ALL the way back, aren't you?" Law drawled, leaning one elbow onto the table and resting his chin in his palm.

"Shut up, I know what I'm doing! It's called establishing, okay? Shut up or go die.

"Now as I was saying, I was working on a ship in North Blue. And this ship is how i met Shachi – one of the ports we delivered to was on Quina, where Shachi was based in the Marine HQ there, and we became friends when my ship had a delivery there."

Luffy's face twisted in confused horror. "You were a Marine? What made you think THAT was a good idea?"

The engineer didn't look in the least bit ashamed. "I wanted to learn how to build ships and they wanted to pay me to do it. I'd go back and do the same thing again."

Penguin rolled his eyes at the interruption. "ANYWAY, at one point the ship I'm working on is attacked by pirates. One-two-skip-a-few and I end up joining the enemy's crew in the middle of the raid, and from there on out I'm a pirate."

"I don't even feel like I need any more detail than that. Respect, dude." The Strawhat held out his beer bottle towards Penguin, who silently clinked his own against it in a toast.

"Right," the cook continued. "So, I ended up joining the crew of the Rez Boa Pirates under Captain Smoking Maru and his son Shallot, the first mate."

"Whom you had a first-rate boner for," Shachi teased with a wicked grin.

"Oh for fuck's sake- YES, I had a crush on him oh my god not even relevant! I hate you so much." Penguin took another long drink from his beer and ignored the table full of assholes laughing at him. "So, one of the ports the Rez Boa's frequented was Quina. Now, I don't know how much you know about North Blue,"

"Absolutely nothing," Luffy confirmed.

"-Yeah, not surprised. But Quina is a one of the largest port cities in the whole ocean – so not even a Marine base there was good enough to stop the flow of pirates in and out, there was just too much traffic. And this is where Dr. Trafalgar comes in."

Luffy's eyes were drawn naturally to his boyfriend, who was currently kicking his bear under the table muttering "It's your turn, Fuzznuts."

Penguin was apparently either on a roll or just fucking determined to tell this story, because he didn't even acknowledge them. "Now, I had been in and out of Quina for a few years, and knew it pretty well. And everyone 'round knew the best doctor in town was Dr. Dauntless. And for just the last couple years or so he's had this intern working as his surgical assistant, Dr. Trafalgar. And no one around seems to actually know where he came from or anything about him or why his roommate is a bear, but apparently he's quiet and usually smiling and good at his job so everyone decides they don't care."

"This is the part of the story that involves hiding bodies in the snow, isn't it?" Luffy asked with a raised eyebrow and a drink of beer.

"It is!" Bepo confirmed cheerfully. "He's sharp, huh?"

"I will admit right now I do not know anything about this body hiding and I do not want to," Penguin derailed. "But actually I think I can figure it out, because it turns out the internship was unpaid and he'd been paying the rent by treating pirates under the table. Which is, you know, where I come back in. At one point after joining the Rez Boa's I'd gotten banged up, and they brought me to Dr. Trafalgar's to be patched up, and I'm back on my feet and on my ship in no time." He stopped to look at his hand. "Also, match me."

The others all laid down a card, Law cursing lightly and taking the pile as Luffy snickered, falling into a lean against his shoulder. "So, then what?" Luffy asked.

"This is where the story will actually start making sense," Law said angling his cards away from Luffy's face and relaxing into his little metal chair as much as physically possible for a man of his height.

"Oh shut up, if you had tried telling this even I wouldn't know what really happened anymore," Penguin scoffed. "But yeah, he is right. So the whole incident starts when my pirate crew gets this big score on our latest raid – we find ourselves with a Devil Fruit. So we go to Quina to try to find somewhere to sell this thing as fast as possible, right? End up making contact with this guy, gives us a safe location to port our ship and tell us where to meet him. The plan is for the just two people to go with the fruit while everyone else stayed on the ship – and it ends up that the crew member trusted with the fruit is the captain's oldest nakama, the head chef, who, naturally, I'm working directly underneath in the kitchens and I swear to god Shachi if you try to make another gay joke I will shove that bottle straight down your throat the man was sixty years old."

Shachi held up his hands defensively, but he couldn't quite smother his quiet snickers.

Penguin shot him a stink-eye. "The thing is, though," he continues, "That the Rez Boa Pirates are actually a little bit notorious around the North Blue at the time, and the whole crew's got a fair bounty, especially after stealing that fruit. So it turns out the entire thing is a set-up. Me and the head chef get to the meeting place and there's a bar full of Navy men, all waiting for us. He gives me the Devil Fruit and tells me to escape back to the ship with it, that he'll cover my back while I run. But I end up getting shot twice on my way out of there, and I know I'm not making it back to the ship in this state even if my crew hasn't been ambushed. So I go to the one place I know of where I'm least likely to die - I end up at Dr. Trafalgar's."

"And he fixed you?"

"For fuck's- No, Mugiwara, he left me to die and I'm Penguin's ghost here to relay my final words. Yes he fucking fixed me."

"Don't be an ass," Law scolded casually, tossing another empty bottle into the garbage can.

"Sorry, sir. So, I wake up the next day and find out my crew has, in fact, been all captured or killed. Not even the ship is stil there, they fucking sunk it. And I've only been on this crew about six months, and am not exactly in any shape to try to rescue them even if I wanted to. So I'm stuck on Quina with the Itchy-Itchy Fruit in my pants and no fucking clue what to do with my life. For about an hour, until the Marines show up."

Law chuckled a little at that, apparently lost in his own memory of the events. "They were bound to eventually," He shrugged with a wicked little self-satisfied smile.

"YEAH. It turns out they were only technically there for me – apparently someone decided that it was time to stop overlooking Dr. Dauntless's intern's 'Extracurricular' and bring him in to get information on the pirates he's been treating, and arresting me and reclaiming the fruit was a good enough excuse to do it."

"I think I can tell how well that ended for them," Luffy observed.

Penguin was lost in the memory now, pressing one hand to his forehead and lightly shaking his head. "None of us. None of us had ANY idea. God, when they showed up I thought I was dead; thought I'd dragged this poor innocent doctor into my mess – and he just fucking. It took SECONDS. I literally didn't even comprehend what had happened at first! He just drops EVERYONE, turns to his bear and says 'Grab the bags, we're moving on.' And then he looks like he just remembers I'm even there at all and to me he says, 'If you can walk, follow me. If you can't, good luck.' And he just strolls out of there like a boss." He took a long swig of beer, putting the bottle back onto the table with a muted 'thunk.' "So. What the hell else was I supposed to do? I limped the fuck after them."

Law was grinning faintly to himself now, one arm slung over the back of Luffy's chair where the two had managed to press themselves against each other. Next to Luffy, Bepo drew a card, his ears twitching in interest. "So, then what happened?"

"YOU WERE THERE!" Shachi and Penguin both kicked at him under the table.

"Stop picking on me," The navigator defended lazily. "How am I supposed to remember petty details like this? You guys think too much, if you ask me."

Shachi kicked at him again. "You're useless! Completely useless!" He looked at Penguin, who was mid-swig with a beer bottle pressed to his mouth. "Right. Okay, so the thing is – this entire time, I am three miles away at a Navy base, and I know absolutely nothing about anything. I didn't even know Penguin had become a pirate, just fuckin' assumed his ship hadn't made port in Quina this year, didn't give it a second thought - The only thing I know about anything is how to do my job. So I get into work and see these three there, I think I know who they are and that they're not pirates and figure 'if they got through the front door they must be like. Supposed to be there, yeah?" He lifted his shoulders in an exaggerated shrug. "So, I fuckin' ask 'em where they're going and if I can help like the total twat I am. Don't even fucking wonder why they want to go down to the docks, just say 'Oh, that's where i was going!' and lead the way like an idiot.

"By the time we get down to the bay, the alarms have started going off from when Dr. Asshole here killed the guards on the way in, and within like two minutes the whole goddamned shipyard is full of armed marines, who all come in and surround the four of us and I'm like 'UHHH what?' And I look over at Penguin, and he's just fucking white as a sheet and shaking on his feet like it's taking all of his strength to just fuckin' stay standing, but do not see the. You know, the bandaged gunshot wounds he's sporting. And by the time I start to wonder if he's like, somehow a hostage here, Vice Admiral Inuyama, who's in charge of the whole Quina base, has made his entrance. And Law says something smug and douchey like 'Oh good, I was hoping you'd show up,' and this blue film is suddenly filling the room. Before anyone knows anything, Vice Admiral Inuyama's famous cursed nodachi Kioku is the hands of this creepy doctor kid, and in Inuyama's hand is a goddamned hair comb! Everyone takes this as their cue to try to attack him, and my dumb ass does the only thing I can think of, which is to try to protect Penguin, who wasn't even actually in any fucking danger." He rolled his eyes dramatically, pointing a thumb at his friend.

"So I pull Penguin here into the submarine to try and get him out of the crossfire, and we both watch from the open hatch door as the Captain cuts the soldiers into jenga pieces and slaps them together into terrifying living modern art with the very sword he just stole from our Vice Admiral. And THEN we get to watch as he actually FIGHTS Inuyama, which turned out to be even fucking scarier than the screaming severed heads floating around the room!"

Everyone in the room paused at that, lost in their own memories of the event. "Yeah," Penguin muttered. "I'd never seen anything like it in my life. The Rez Boa were nowhere even close to that kind of battle level – Inuyama hadn't even needed to use Haki to take down my whole pirate ship, you know? I didn't even know people like this existed in the world. God, I was scared shitless."

Shachi nodded in agreement. "I'd never even seen a Devil Fruit user before, much less watched a Vice Admiral fight at full strength – and then get his heart cut out of his body. It was... Surreal, lemme tell you. And then this guy turns to the submarine we're standing in, wearing blood and a smirk on his face and surrounded by a sea of writhing severed body parts, and walks up the plank right past us into the ship. Fuckin' stops to look over his shoulder and says, and this I'll never forget, he says 'You can come with or get off now, but either way we'll be taking the ship.' So I say the only fool thing that crosses my mind, which is naturally-"

"'-I've been building this piece of garbage for fourteen months, it isn't sailing six feet without me in it!'" Penguin cut him off with a grin, falling to laughter with Luffy.

Shachi joined in the laugh, too. "And, a few major modifications and holes blown in it later, here we technically are in that very ship we stole. And that's the story of how we accidentally became pirates."

Luffy let out a long, low whistle. "You're right, that's a pretty good story," he agreed, dropping his last card onto the table. "Also, I win."

"WHAT," Penguin's palms smacked against the table hard enough to shake it on it's legs. "How the hell did you just win?! You just called for a match every single turn!"

Shachi rolled his eyes, leaning back in his chair and flinging his card hand into the middle of the table. "Well you were pretty fucking distracted by Story Time For Kids, that might have something to do with it."

The cook was pulling at his own hair now, a few scraggly strands pulled hard enough to come off between his fingers. "I can't believe I just let someone who plays like a friggin' five year old beat me at my best game! I DEMAND A REMATCH!"

"Absolutely not," Law drawled. "It it not supposed to take nearly that long to play one game of Wicked Grace, and I blame all of you idiots." He swept the scattered cards into his hands, flicking them through his fingers in a clumsy shuffle.

"Hey wait a minute," Luffy sat upright, eying the glass bottom of his empty beer bottle before throwing it in the garbage. "Whatever happened to the Devil Fruit?"

The other four looked like they had all forgotten about such a trivial detail. "Oh yeah. That thing ended up being too hot to sell, so we wound up feeding it to John Omaha." Penguin explained, waving a dismissive hand.

The small captain cocked his head to the side, frowning. "Who the hell is John Omaha?"

Across the four Heart Pirates, looks of shock and confusion crossed their faces all at once at the question. "You don't know John Omaha?" They asked, voices just shy of a perfect unison.

Luffy shook his head, still grimacing bemusedly.

"Oh yeah," Law said finally. "You never met John Omaha because he's allways down in the Control Room actually piloting the ship."

"Oh yeahhhh. He actually does his job, after all."

"That is why we all like him," Penguin observed, and all four Heart Pirates all nodded agreeably.

"Aaaaallllllllllright then," Luffy shrugged. "I guess I'll just have to meet him myself."

"Tommorrow," Law promised with a shrug. "We have any beer left?"

"None of the good ones." Bepo shook his head, and his captain scoffed. "We still have a barrel of grog in basement?"

Law made a disgusted noise, his face twisting. "Ugh. That shit makes me puke."

"Everything makes you puke," Penguin complained back. "You have a weak stomach, dude. Bread makes you vomit."

"I'M GONNA MAKE YOU ALL VOMIT IF YOU DON'T GET OUT OF MY WAY," a raspy voice shouted as the door slammed open, the table of pirates jumping in surprise.

"Jesus, Ohm, you scared the shit out of us!" Shachi griped, scrubbing at the back of his head.

"That was the idea," Ohm shot back, leaning against the doorframe as their crewmates started to get up and fold their chairs. "Zoya's off in like a half hour anyway, and if she can't go right the fuck to sleep when her watch ends a bitch is liable to open fire."

Shachi folded the table into itself as Bepo handed the empty cooler and full trashcan to Penguin. The two captains stood off to the side out of the way, and Law casually asked Ohm "So, what were you doing this late, anyway?"

"Sewing seagull wings onto a rat," the skinny surgeon answered loftily, Shachi and Penguin making disgusted noises at the response.

"That is awesome," Law marveled with a sharp smile. "Did it work?"

Ohm shrugged, moving out of the doorway for Shachi and Penguin to squeeze through with the table and chairs while Bepo pulled the cots down. "Dunno yet, it hasn't woken up. I picked a pretty small rat and a pretty big gull, so even without the hollow bones I think the wing ratio will be enough to get it off the ground."

"The hard part will be teaching it to fly," the taller doctor observed, and the two surgeons nodded to each other like this was something worthy of further contemplation.

Luffy grabbed his boyfriend's hand and dragged him to the door. "Okay, you two are being weird, and it's time for bed," he declared. "Come on, Torao."

"I'll come see your gullrat tomorrow," Law promised, Ohm waving him off as Luffy dragged him out the door.

--

Since there were no windows, the hallways of the Revolver were always only half-lit, day or night. Luffy didn't know if it was to save on power or just because it was that hard to keep a submarine corridor lit, but either way it was dark enough for the whole hallway to be dark with comfortable shadows.

Luffy decided, now that he was on his feet and trying to walk, that he was drunker than he had originally thought. Even clinging to Law's arm as they slowly made their way through the ship, Luffy had to concentrate on his footsteps to not veer off. He wasn't drunk enough to be silly from it, maybe not even enough to have a headache tomorrow, but for right now the low buzz of intoxication was warming his belly pleasantly.

Law must also be a bit drunk. Luffy could tell because he'd never heard Torao humming before, but as they slowly meandered towards the Captain's Quarters a familiar ten-note song that Luffy had been drumming for the last few days was rumbling softly from Law's throat.

Looking up at his face, Luffy could see the light curve of a slight smile drawn across Law's features, so faint you had to look to see it. But Luffy knew, he could tell that right now Torao was really, really happy. The warmth spread from his stomach all the way through his body, a slight tingle going down his spine. Law was happy, and humming Luffy's silly song, and Luffy felt so stupidly ridiculous grateful that he could be here to share it with him, he felt like his heart could melt and explode at the same time.

Before he knew it they had reached the top of the stairs in the last hallway, and there was a pull inside Luffy that didn't want this moment to end. Right outside Law's door, before either of them could reach to open it, Luffy stood up on his toes and grasped Law's collar to drag him down into an easy kiss.

Law took no time at all to respond. One hand dropped to the small of Luffy's back, pulling their bodies flush against each other, and he deepened the kiss with a hum of approval. That slight warmth was heating up now, especially when Law's tongue licked at the seam of his lips, darting brazenly inside when Luffy's mouth opened for him.

The sensation of having someone else's tongue in his mouth was... Odd, Luffy decided. Odd, and a bit slimy, but the way Law's tongue had starting massage against his own was definitely pleasant. He tried to mimic the actions, tried to kiss Torao back the way he'd been kissing Luffy, and he couldn't really tell if he was doing a decent job or not because Law's response was to groan low in his throat and press Luffy hard against the door.

He pulled his mouth away, and one of Luffy's arms flew up to Law's back to try to pull him back into the kiss. He didn't wander away very far, though. Kissing first the corner of Luffy's mouth, then his cheek, then his jaw, and then his lips reached Luffy's ear and a warm shiver ran down the length of Luffy's spine.

Law was pressing hot kisses behind his ear, and down his neck, and Luffy could feel his heart beat speeding up and his toes curling in his sandals as Law's mouth and tongue explored their way down to Luffy's collarbone. His whole body felt hot, his heart beating like crazy and his breath catching in his throat and his skin tingling everywhere, and all Luffy could think was that he wanted Law to keep going, to kiss his whole body everywhere for hours.

"Ah," Luffy panted, heart jumping and letting out an embarrassingly whiny sort of noise at the sensation of Law's teeth grazing his pulse point. And then, to Luffy's colossal disappointment, Law pulled away form his neck. Luffy opened his eyes, only now aware that he had closed them, just in time to see his smirking boyfriend lick his lips. Another slight tingle ran down Luffy's spine at the sight.

Law was drawing him back away form the door now, reaching behind Luffy to open it and lightly usher the smaller inside. He didn't bother to turn on the lights, just strolled past Luffy and peeled off his shirt, Luffy's eyes automatically raking down the tattooed skin as it's exposed and snapping back to Law's face when he reached out a hand to grab Luffy's.

Law stepped backwards, pulling Luffy into his bed by the hand and wrapping one arm around him as they laid down. And that is what they did – Law just. Laid down, head falling heavily onto his pillow and pulling Luffy to his chest, reaching behind him to fling the quilt over their bodies easily.

Okay. Apparently now they were going to bed. That was fine, Luffy was cool with that. He made himself comfortable, burying his face in Torao's shoulder.

Now he just... Needed to wait for his heartbeat to slow down enough for him to fall alseep.


 

Chapter Text

Law was awoken by the sensation of being gently kneed in the bladder. It was... not a great way to wake up, honestly. He gently pushed Luffy's leg out of his organs, but the damage was already done. Law was awake and now he had to pee. Great.

The sun was shining onto Law's desk from his window, bright yellow rays casting shadows shallow enough to tell Law they'd already slept in fairly late. He should probably get up and take care of business. They were supposed to make land at Throat Bayou today, and as captain, he should probably at least be awake for that.

Luffy stretched out contentedly in his sleep, nuzzling into Law's neck with a sigh and a mumble, tangling their legs together. Their bodies were pressed flush in an embrace, one of Law's arms trapped under Luffy's body while the other lay across his hip. "Fuck," Law muttered into Luffy's hair. "I don't wanna get up."

"Then don't," Luffy grumbled, apparently less asleep than he'd seemed. "The sheets are nice and the sun is stupid. There's nothing for us in the outside world now, let's just stay in this bed forever."

"You're hungover, aren't you?" Law couldn't help but grin a little.

"Nonsense," Luffy defended, burying his face as far into Law's collarbone as he could. "I've never been hungover before in my life. It's the world that's just brighter and more ear-splitting, that's all."

Law snickered, wrapping his arms more tightly around him. "Well, staying in bed all day does hold a certain appeal," the doctor agreed, lightly running his fingers up and down the length of Luffy's available arm. "I can think of a few ways to pass the time, anyway," he smirked, mind flickering to memories of that small body pressed against the wall last night.

Luffy looked up at him, his large eyes wide with curiosity. "Oh? Like what?"

Law sighed. Right. Maybe should have remembered who, exactly, he was dealing with. His bad. "Nevermind." He sat up finally, head spinning dizzily and informing Law that maybe he was just a bit hungover, himself. Awesome. "I'm gonna go piss," he muttered. Luffy pulled a pillow over his head, burrowing back into Law's mattress.

They had not, technically, landed on Throat Bayou yet. But considering it's current visibility, they'd probably be there in about twenty minutes, so. Whatever, he had until like three o' clock to find the meeting place his contact had arranged, so. It was all fine.

Luffy, naturally, used the twenty minutes before they landed to demand and conquer the greasiest, most disgusting breakfast Sanji could conjure. It. Was not a sight the Heart Pirates had been prepared to handle. Law, fortunately, had distanced himself from the mess hall in preparation for that very catastrophe.

Throat Bayou itself turned out to be, as the name implied, a rather warm climate. And by warm of course, he meant so fucking humid it felt like walking through an open sauna, except with more mosquitoes. It was, for some ungodly reason, also the home of a large bazaar and a popular waypoint for merchants. Considering much of the island was composed of uninhabitable swampland and most of the towns existed on raised wooden docks woven through areas that were less actual land than they were places that water and trees were not as much, no one was quite certain why anyone lived here in the first place; much less what made it popular.

Other than the slight... Swampiness, however, it did seem like a fairly normal place. A normal city with normal people wandering around fairly normal streets. No matter how different the places themselves were, people always made them feel the same, in the end.

"Oh, wow, is that a whorehouse?" Luffy observed idly from beside him.

Wait. What? Both of them stopped in their tracks, Law turning his had to look at the building they'd been about to walk past. It was the same sort of style as the other buildings around, large and semi-fancy with red drapes blocking out the window's view inside. "You think so?"

Luffy nodded. "Yeah, that's the second middle-aged guy to go in there since I noticed it, and the girl opening the door for them was dressed in underwear."

"Oh. That seems pretty damning right there," Law shrugged as they started walking again, watching out of the corner of his eye as, indeed, a lingerie-clad girl opened the door for a nondescript-looking man. Weird.

Even weirder was finding, not four minutes of walking later, what was very obviously a children's playground. On the same street as a cathouse. What the hell kind of town was this?

Luffy, of course, wasted no time at all to race over to the swings and launch himself into one, Law strolling after him and plopping down in the swing next to his boyfriend.

"Feeling better?" Law asked, rocking idly on his swing as Luffy propelled himself forward.

The Strawhat nodded, folding his legs out naturally to reverse his momentum. "Yeah, breakfast helped. All that's left is the headache and I power through those all the time." He pumped his legs to go forward again, looking at the sky. "It's kind of a weird like, half-hangover? I dunno, usually when I drink we all get totally wasted and no one but Nami can even get out of bed the next day. Last night it seemed like we were all just kinda buzzed."

Law nodded, leaning back in the swing to look at the sky, the clouds, the top of the treeline behind them. "Yeah, we never really have the time or alcohol supply to get properly drunk onboard. So tonight the whole crew's gonna be raiding the bars and embarrassing themselves, knowing them."

Luffy grinned. "Haha, mine too. Pirates are pretty predictable sometimes, huh?"

Law just smiled, listening to the creak of the swingset chains. "So, is it that Nami doesn't drink, or that Nami can outdrink you all?" he asked after a few comfortable minutes of silence.

Luffy's bark of laughter was almost startling. "I once watched that woman literally out drink three fishmen and a giant! Nami's a monster, and I love her."

Law paused at that. "In a row, or all at once?"

"All at once," Luffy admitted. "But that was after she had already won one drinking contest that night." He was grinning from ear to ear, laughing a bit as he continued. "The first two fishguys went down pretty fast, but the killer whale man kept up with them pretty well for a while. Til' they broke out the Gutterwhiskey, anyway. That shit was so rancid – I don't even know how she lived through it! The only time I ever saw Nami drunk, it was amazing. She kept picking fights, but since for once she was too wasted to back it up one of us had to step in every time. Usopp got punched in the face like, eight times!"

Law was laughing now, too. "I can't even imagine her that drunk! I guess I should have known she wouldn't be dainty type who get tipsy and fall asleep."

"Ohhhhhh my GOD!" The chains of the swingset rattled jarringly, as Luffy began to laugh so hard he lost momentum and spun out, banging against Law's side. "I totally forgot until just this moment! The best part-" he choked on his laughter, "is when Robin was trying to bring her back to their room and Nami started making passes at her! She kept trying to call her a radiant goddess, but she was too drunk and it came out like 'radial bogress! Oh my god, by that time all the rest of us were plastered too and we all forgot about it, this is amazing and I have to tell Zoro!"

They both just laughed at that for a while, Luffy leaning against Law's shoulder as their swings rocked lightly from their laughter. "So, yeah." Luffy finished with a bit of awkwardness, catching sight of a plastic merry-go-round and tumbling out of his swing to wander towards it. "Sooooo. What did you need to come all the way to this island for, anyway?" He asked eventually, sitting down on the plastic plate and using one foot to kick the merry-go-round into an idle spin.

"Information, mainly." Law answered. He got up off his own swing, meandering to his boyfriend and grabbing one of the handles of the carousel to send it back into a spin. "I'm supposed to meet a contact here who has intel on the Four Emperors. If he shows up, anyway."

"Whoooaaaa, slow it down," Luffy flailed. "I am just hungover enough for this to be a bad idea," Luffy tried to stand up off the still-spinning toy, but as he passed 'round he caught Law's eye – and the wicked gleam in it, a smirk taking over the doctor's face. "Uh-oh."

Before Luffy could throw himself off the merry-go-round, Law had already grabbed one handle again and sent it reeling with the hardest shove he could. "You SUUUCCCKKK!" Luffy cried out, falling backwards onto his ass as the world burred by him too fast to see.

Laughing now, Law gave the merry-go-round one last hard to kick for a little extra momentum, standing back and clutching his sides in mirth as Luffy cursed at him. After a minute or so, the merry-go-round slowed down enough for Luffy to throw himself off of it, teetering unsteadily foreward a few feet. Then he turned, fell to his hands and knees, and threw up into the sandbox.

Law was certain he had never laughed so hard in the entirety of his life. "You think you're so funny," Luffy coughed, wiping his mouth and standing up shakily. "Wanna know what I think is funny?" he asked now, challenge in his voice.

"What?" Law asked through his chuckles, which were cut off when Luffy launched himself into Law and kissed him, shoving his tongue into Law's surprised mouth.

The taste of bile was immediate. He shoved Luffy off and onto the ground, trying to spit out the taste of Luffy's vomit as his stupid boyfriend rolled around in laughter.

"Ewwwww! Did you just blow chunks in the sandbox?" A tiny voice asked, and the two pirates turned around to see three children just outside the playground. The oldest girl, who had been the one to speak in the first place, stepped forward in front of her siblings protectively as Luffy stood back up and approached them. "Are you guys hobos?"

Luffy took this opportunity to snatch the juice box out of her little brother's hand, squirting the contents into his mouth and handing the empty box back into the little boys hand with a cheerful "Thanks, I needed that!"

The three kids all looked at them blankly. "I'm calling Mom," The oldest girl said, starting to turn around.

"No, it's fine!" Luffy called, waving his hands non-threateningly. "We're not hobos! We're-"

"Magicians." Law cut Luffy off before he could say 'pirates' like a jackass. Three children and a small captain all cocking their head and with a 'huh?' at the answer. Law didn't skip a beat. "Traveling street magicians," he confirmed.

The oldest girl frowned, tiny hands on her hips. "Oh yeah? Then do a trick!"

"Sure," Law shrugged, and reached out and pulled on one of Luffy's ears, stretching it out a foot or two and letting it snap back. "Abra kadabra."

The children all three crowed in delight and awe. "Do something else!" The boy asked excitedly.

Luffy and Law looked at each other. And then grinned.

Five minutes later, everyone's fun afternoon was ruined by the voice of a someone's mother screeching "OH MY GOD, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY CHILDREN?!"

Law and Luffy looked at each other. Looked at the sphere of floating children's limbs, their severed heads laughing in delight and wonder. And then, Law said "I don't remember what parts go to which kid."

They held that gaze for a moment, the mother of the children barreling towards the playground. "They'll be fine," Luffy assured, and grabbed Law's hand to dash away into the city.

The sun was setting, and as far as Luffy was concerned, this was the end of a very fine day. But apparently, not everyone felt the same way.

"...Spend another goddamned second in this sweat-soaked swamp HELL I'll fucking throw myself into the ocean..." Law stormed onto the Revolver, passing by Luffy and Usopp where they sat on the docks.

Usopp looked up at the closing door Law entered. "Seems like someone had a bad day."

Luffy hummed, also staring at his retreating back. "Seems like it," he agreed.

They both hummed thoughtfully.

"I guess I should go do something, huh?" Luffy wondered after a few moments.

"Yeah, probably." Usopp agreed.

Luffy stood up finally. "Torao's so moody, I swear. It's a good thing he has me."

When Luffy caught up to Law in his room, he was using a damp towel to wipe the sweat off the small of his shirtless back and in fact, still cursing to himself. "Not even any filtered water left in my own goddamned ship for a shower, don't know what those assholes were thinking wasting it-"

"Uhhhh," Luffy interrupted, Law's head snapping around to look at him. "Actually the no water left thing is sorta my fault."

The surgeon glared at him, the scowl darkening his face even in the electric light of the room. "And how did you use all the water on my ship when you have your own?"

Luffy rocked back onto his heels, glancing at the ceiling. "Well. Remember how we split up after we made out in that alley for a while so you could meet your guy? Well I went back and got Franky and Chopper and we all went to see if there was anything fun in the swampland, right?"

Law buried his face in his hand. "I can see where this is going."

"Yeaaaahhhhhh. There was this quicksand pit and we didn't know it was only waist-deep so we started panicking and for some reason when I got pulled in it was Chopper who tried to rescue me even though he's like three feet tall, so he DID sink in past his head, but Franky pulled us both out really easily and he didn't get in the quicksand at all. Instead he fell in a gross pond and his skin turned green. SO, since we used up all the water on the Sunny getting the matted mud out of Chopper's fur and washing Franky's skin back to a human color, I just sort of. Came here and used your shower. Sorry about that."

Law just sighed, mopping the last of the sweat off his neck. "I probably should have expected something like this anyway." He tossed the towel onto his bed and flopped back into his chair tiredly. "It's fine."

Luffy took this as an open invitation to crawl into Law's lap, looping his arms around his boyfriend's neck and leaning back to look at his face. "Your guy never show up, then?"

One of Law's hands automatically moved to Luffy's side, and he hummed in confirmation. "I waited all day in that sewer-smelling bar, got bit by so many mosquitoes I'm surprised I have any blood left, the waitress wouldn't let me stay if I didn't order a new drink every hour, and the entire time the table behind me was getting drunker and louder and more off-key when they tried to sing. And he never showed."

Luffy ran his fingers through the hairs on the back of Law's neck, resulting in a pleased sigh from the doctor, who closed his eyes. "And I have to do it again tomorrow, just for him to still not show up, on the off chance he actually appears."

The Strawhat started to run his hands through Law's hair, starting from his hairline and swooping back through to the nape of his neck, running his nails lightly against his scalp on the way. Law hummed in contentment, relaxing into the touch and slipping his left hand under Luffy's shirt to run tattooed fingers up his spine. "Feeling a little better right now, though," Law's voice was low and husky with warmth now, the sound of it sending heat curling in Luffy's belly as Law leaned forward to press their lips in a kiss.

Now it was Luffy's turn to hum, his fingers curling in Law's hair to pull him even closer, to kiss deeper. Law wasted no time in licking at Luffy's lips, pulling the bottom one into his mouth and sucking on it. Luffy kinda liked it when he did that, but was pretty sure he was starting to get the hang of this now and refused to let Torao do everything by himself. His hands were still wound in Law's hair, and he carefully tugged the strands in his fingers, using the pleased gasp from Law to slip his tongue in and lick at the roof of his mouth.

He was pretty sure he could feel Law's smirk against his lips, and suddenly Torao was sucking harshly on Luffy's tongue. Gosh, that was pretty nice, Luffy liked it when Law did that. Torao really knew what he was doing, huh? And he smelled so good. He'd been in a swampy bar all day with no shower and Luffy knew Law should be just shy of rancid, but. But what Luffy could smell was sweat and liquor and cigar smoke and ocean salt and it should be awful but instead he just smelled like Law and he smelled like a pirateand Luffy loved it. He shifted in Law's lap, pressing their bodies closer so that their bare chests were touching now, absently noting when one of his straw sandals slipped off his foot and fell to the floor.

Law chuckled into Luffy's mouth, taking control of the kiss and swiping his tongue along his teeth while he used the hand on Luffy's side to draw their hips together. His other hand moved to hold Luffy's jaw, the ends of his fingertips brushing into the hairs behind Luffy's ears as Law used that hold to guide Luffy where he wanted him to be, sucking Luffy's tongue into his own mouth so he could bite at it.

Luffy was strong enough as a person to admit that the sound that came out of his mouth at that one was probably classifiable as a moan. But, like he'd mentioned, Torao seemed to be really very good at this, even with Luffy fumbling to figure out how to keep up, trying to make Law feel good, too.

The hand on Luffy's side slid down to his ass, and the Strawhat didn't have time to consider that beyond the tingle of the skin Law swept past before his boyfriend was using that grip on his jaw to pull their faces apart. Luffy wanted to protest, was about to use his own grip in Law's hair to pull them back into another kiss, but the doctor was already turning his head to the side to expose his neck and latching his mouth to that spot just behind Luffy's ear that made his fingers twist in Law's dark hair.

"Hn," Luffy craned his neck a little more to give Law easier access as he bit and sucked and licked at all the most sensitive points down from his jaw to his collarbone, a growing warmth in his belly making him start to squirm in the surgeon's lap. "That's nice – ah!" Luffy's absentminded compliment was cut off when the hand on his ass suddenly squeezed, tearing a surprised gasp out of his throat. God, this room had been hot to begin with, but pressed against Torao his body felt like there was a fire, sweat beading on the back of his neck that Law would just lick away before sucking another mark onto his skin. Luffy wanted to do something, too; wanted to be more involved than just wiggling helplessly in Law's lap, but he wasn't sure what to do other than twist his fingers in Law's hair and clawing at his shoulder with blunt nails. Torao was so good at finding all of Luffy's weak points with that mouth, and he liked how Law's whole body felt pressed against his, and he hadn't expected it but Law's hand groping and kneading his ass like that felt really awesome which was actually super weird because it's not like a guy had never grabbed there before and Luffy's only reflex had been punching, and Franky just slapped anyone's butt when he was in a good enough mood, so why did Torao's hand just make him feel... Good? Law's teeth on his throat and Law's hand on his ass and his other hand still so firm on Luffy's jaw to hold his head exactly where Law wanted him and it should have felt restricting but instead letting someone else take charge for once was just so amazingly and wonderfully... good. How weird.

"Oh?" Law murmured against his adam's apple, lips curving into a smirk. "Ohoho, now what's this?"

Luffy pulled back enough to look at Law's face, whereupon sat the smuggest expression any man has ever worn in human history. Luffy frowned. "What's what," he asked, surprised by the huskiness in his own voice.

"You're hard for me," Law purred, giving Luffy's ass a possessive squeeze.

"Huh?" A shiver ran down his spine at the Law's words, and Luffy's eyebrows shot up in surprise, pulling back away from the doctor enough that he could look down. "Huh!" Luffy marveled, as the hand that used to be on Luffy's jaw joined the other one in groping him into distraction. "Well that doesn't come up very often," he said honestly. He looked back at his boyfriend's face. "Stop looking so proud of yourself."

Law absolutely did not, continuing instead to look like the smuggest person in existence and drag Luffy's hips back to press against his own. "Hey." He nuzzled his face into Luffy's neck, the hairs of his beard tickling Luffy's collarbone, and hey that thing against his hip would be the feeling of Torao also getting hard now, huh? How 'bout that. "Hey, Luffy-ya. Can I help you with that?"

"With what?" Torao was really good at making him not think, but the question was answered with a deliberate roll of Law's hips into his. "Oh," Luffy bit at his lip. "Um."

"'Um?'" Law quoted teasingly, his right hand wandering around to undo the button on Luffy's pants.

Luffy hesitated. Well, they'd gotten this far, hadn't they? There was no point in not trying. He had gotten hard, after all...

Luffy nodded. "Sure, you can try."

The words were enough to finally stop making Torao look so smug. "I can 'try?' What does that mean?"

"Well." Luffy shrugged. "It's just that, you know, I've never had much luck. If I do end up getting hard because I can hear someone in the next room or something, I always just wait for it to go away on its own. I've only ever gotten off like, four times in my life."

Law sighed, dropping his head onto Luffy's shoulder. "Of course. Luffy-ya, do you even want me to?"

Once again, Luffy shrugged. "I think so? I mean. Sex was something that was gonna have to come up eventually, so I figure, you know. I did get hard, so now's as good a time as any, right?"

Law didn't look like that was the answer he wanted to hear, leaning back in his chair away from Luffy with an annoyed look on his face. "That's not the same as wanting to, Luffy-ya." He pressed his fingers to his pinched brow, the rest of his hand blocking his eyes. "You do realize we don't HAVE to have sex, right? Like. At all, ever?"

Luffy blinked, his head cocking to the side. "But, doesn't Torao want to?"

"Yeah, but." The hand Law had been pressing to his brow line gestured vaguely in the air. "Not if you don't. Sex is sort of something you're supposed to do with someone not to them. " He rubbed at he back of his neck, still looking annoyed. "If you don't even want to, then there's no point in trying whether our dicks are hard or not. Now or ever."

"Huh." Luffy thought about that. "Torao's actually pretty considerate, huh?"

"Not really." Law shrugged. "Having sex with someone who doesn't want it is a thousand times more pathetic than doing it by yourself." He relaxed back into his chair a little, looking almost defeated. "But if we're not going to have sex then you're going to have to get off of my lap."

"Hmmmmm," Luffy hummed, scooting forward to chase Law's body to the back of the chair. "Actually, is it weird that now that I know I don't have to, I kinda wanna do it?"

The look on Law's face was so flat you mix a drink on it. "I don't even know what to do with you anymore." he sighed, wrapping his arms around Luffy's lower back.

Luffy grinned and wrapped his own arms up around Law's shoulders. "Really? You have no idea what to do with me?" He teased.

"Well," Law kissed him again, quick and dirty with just a flash of tongue, "I can certainly think of a few ideas I might have had," he murmured before diving in for another heated kiss.

The mood that had been killed by their conversation was rekindled easily, teeth and tongues and slowly rolling hips more than enough to reheat Luffy's body. When Law pulled back again, he had a lesser variation of that smug look on his face, licking his lips and gently running two fingertips along the scar under Luffy's eye. "So." He started conversationally. "Four times in your life, huh?"

Luffy nodded, cheeks flushed with heat and lips bitten red. "What about it?"

He leaned closer again, his words whispered right against Luffy's lips. "And you're going to let me try? Let me touch you in ways you don't even touch yourself?"

Luffy nodded again, not sure why he was suddenly too embarrassed for words. And this time, it was Law that moaned, a low noise rumbling from low in his throat as he dove in for Luffy's mouth one more time, a fierce and toothy kiss.

And then Law's hands moved to the bottoms of his thighs, and suddenly Luffy was being picked up as Law stood and tossed him onto the bed, stopping to unzip his own jeans to relieve some of the pressure on his dick before he climbed onto the bed.

Luffy shrugged his shirt off the rest of the way where it had been slipping off of his shoulders, scooting back to make himself comfortable against the pillows as Law crawled over him with a predatory gleam in his eye and went straight for the fly of Luffy's shorts. And that was quite a view, thank you very much. Law, his very own Law, with his lean and tall body and gorgeous dark skin covered in sweat and scars and tattoos. Luffy really liked Torao's tattoos, wanted to touch them, but right now Law too far away from his hands; peeling the pants right off of Luffy's legs without bothering to ask him to lift his hips out of the way, just manhandling his body to get the last of his clothing off.

God, that was hot. Law was really hot, huh? The stupid, smug-looking, knew-exactly-what-he-was-doing jerk. Luffy liked him so fucking much. Liked his bad attitude and terrible personality and better-than-you smirks and his I'm-so-glad-I-met-you smiles and his once-in-a-blue-moon laughs and ohhhh, right now Luffy was thinking he really liked the way he was spreading Luffy's knees apart with his hands and fitting himself in the space between them.

Law was back up close and hovering above his face now, and from this angle Luffy had a perfect view of his jawline; his eyes naturally wandering to Torao's adam's apple to his goatee, up the line of his jaw to the two small earrings looped in his ear. And he wasn't sure what it was about the sight of those little gold hoops so close to his face that set him off, but suddenly he couldn't help himself and Luffy was leaning up to suck the earrings into his mouth and play with them with his tongue.

Law just leaned them both back down against the bed to make it easier, a rumbling sort of approval noise humming out as he ran his hands over the sides of Luffy's bare hips and down his thighs to hike them up higher around Law's waist. Their bodies perfectly slotted together, Law rolled his hips forward, their aligned cocks rubbing against each other through the fabric of Law's underwear. Luffy gasped at the action, the earrings popping out of his mouth as he threw his head back against the pillows.

They rocked against each other on Law's bed for a while, Luffy determinedly grinding his hips up against Law's as much as the man's firm grip would allow. One of Luffy's hands ended up back in the doctor's hair again, clutching and pulling at the strands in his fist because sounds of the bed rocking below them were familiar, and with a sudden and striking clarity Luffy realized that right now he was having sex. Having sex - with Torao! What a strange damned thing this was! Even the act itself was suddenly odd - they probably looked pretty weird from a third person angle, huh?

Law pulled back when Luffy stopped moving, propping himself up on one arm and using the other to swipe sweat-soaked bangs off of his forehead as he asked "Doing okay?"

Luffy nodded. "Yeah. It feels good, I just got a bit distracted."

Law licked at his lips, not looking particularly displeased by this answer. "I'll have to do better then, won't I?" He leaned back so sit up a little, running his hands up and down Luffy's thighs again before they wandered to the front of Luffy's hips. Long fingers teased at the hollow of his pelvis, and then Torao's right hand was playing with the curls of Luffy's pubic hair, running his fingers down to wrap around Luffy's cock.

Which, was nice, don't get him wrong, but... "Um," Luffy sat up against the pillows. "About that-" But Law was already pulling gently at Luffy's dick, his eyes widening in realization as the flesh stretched in his hand. "It's sort of, um. A mechanical issue?"

"I see that," Law observed, continuing to test different pressures to see if there was a way to apply any kind of real friction without the damn thing just going along with his fingers. "Fascinating."

"Yeahhhh," Luffy said, now feeling awkward. The hand did still feel nice, just... not in a way that would actually get him off. "Never cared enough to figure out how to work with it."

But Law didn't look the least bit disappointed. Just interested, really, in a way that almost made Luffy feel more like a gull-rat on a cutting table than a lover in bed. But then that wicked gleam was returning to his eye, and he looked up to lock his gaze with Luffy's as he scooted backwards on the bed to lean down over Luffy's crotch. "Fortunately, I still have an awful lot of ideas where that won't be any kind of problem," He drawled, bending down and taking the head of Luffy's cock into his mouth.

"Oh, holy HELL!" Luffy cried out before he was even aware of the words in his mind, his spine arching and one foot flailing out to lock behind Law's shoulder as sensation shot from the point of contact around his dick all the way up to his brain. "Oh, I was not expecting that!"

Law wasn't anywhere close to done with him yet, lips curling into a smirk around his cock as he took the rest of Luffy's malleable dick into his mouth and began to roll it against his tongue like he was tying a cherry stem. "Ohhhh, fuck, fucking shit, Torao!"

This - this was definitely a sensation Luffy had never experienced before. His whole body heaved and jolted, the leg wrapped around Law's shoulder tensing to try to lock their bodies together in this position, one of his hands flying to grab at Law's hair and drag his face in closer as the other instinctively reached out clutch at the railings of Law's headboard. "T-Tora- T'ra... Ro..." he panted, trying to clear the fog from his vision and focus on the sight of his lover between his legs.

And then Law began to suck, and Luffy couldn't have kept his eyes open or his mouth shut for anything on the planet. "Oh God, LAW!" He screamed, an electric shot of pleasure running up his spine and making his toes curl, hearing the sound of the metal headboard twisting under his grip without even being aware there was sensation in his hands, because all he could feel was the way Law's wet-hot-slippery mouth inhaling his cock.

Tension- everything was so tense, every muscle in Luffy's body wound tight like a hot spring, ready to explode at a moment's notice. He was aware he was rocking his hips forward uncontrollably, trying to somehow fuck his way further into Law's mouth when he was already at the base, and he was aware that Law's own hands were griping bruises into his hips and thighs right now, and for some reason that was it. The knowledge that tomorrow he'd be covered in bruises and hickeys from Law's mouth and hands was the last thought in his head before everything went white.

The next thing Luffy was aware of was the fact that his whole body was shaking. He was still in the exact same position they'd been before, so only a few seconds had passed, but now Torao was pulling away and wiping a string of come from the corner of his mouth. And then Law was grabbing the hand that Luffy had had in his hair and using it to drag his body up off the bed to spill into Law's lap. And god, it wasn't until he was forced to sit up that he realized how much the orgasm had drained the energy form him and left him weak and jelly-limbed, his knees still shaking in a way that was actually really awesome.

He didn't have time to appreciate the sensation before Law was pulling that hand he still had into his own jeans, twisting their joined hands together around Law's cock. Oh, that made sense- Law was still hard, huh? Well, Luffy didn't mind helping with that. Turnablurts and whatnot.

Luffy leaned against Law's side, resting his head on Torao's broad shoulder as Law guided their linked hands in a fast pace around his leaking cock. He was still fluff-headed and cotton-bodied from coming himself, but it seemed like Torao was good with using Luffy's hand to do all the work himself, which suited Luffy just fine. And, while he was here, might as well give Law a nice lovebite in return, right?

Luffy sank his teeth into the meat of the Law's shoulder. He gasped and came across their joined hands almost instantly. Luffy sucked at the bite for good measure.

"Fuuuuuuuck." Law stated eloquently, falling back against the bed.

Luffy, who had fallen with him and was still curled into his side, hummed in agreement. "That went better than I expected."

Law smothered a laugh into his sex-mussed hair. "Actually, that went better than I expected, too," he chuckled, reaching to grope for the towel he's discarded on his bed earlier.

And as much as Luffy wanted to keep lying there with Law, it would be even nicer to do so if they weren't both soaked in sweat and covered in jizz, so he let his boyfriend get up enough for them to clean up a bit before tackling him back into the bedsheets.

Luffy sighed, settling back down with his head on Torao's chest, their hands curled together in a loose hold. God, it was a few minutes later and Luffy's heartbeat hadn't still hadn't slowed down back to normal, pounding against the inside of his rib cage. But from here, he could hear Law's heart, too, and it was still going just as fast. Luffy smiled. "And that was just ONE of your ideas, huh?"

Law laughed, the motion shaking both of their bodies. "You have no fucking idea, Luffy-ya."

Chapter Text

AN: SO REMEMBER how I said I wanted to wrap this up? Well, in the interest of that end, here is a bunch of things I had planned to space out more but here we go let's slap 'em together willy-nilly FUCK YEAH LET'S GO NO TIME FOR PACING GOTTA GO GOTTA RUN FAST! Except for the part where most of the Zoro and Luffy stuff was actually supposed to have been covered in the bath scene in chapter 3 but I got sidetracked and forgot to put it in. So that COULD have been paced better, if I sucked less.

Of course then it takes me over two months to finish this chapter anyway, so it's not so much "gotta go fast" as it is "gotta gradually force myself to write in ever shrinking installments over the summer" because I'm just that awesome.


Sanji was currently having one goddamned shit-storm of a day. Just. An absolute fuckbarrel, no two ways about it.

Okay, it all started when he couldn't sleep, right? That sucked enough as it is. The air was hot and humid and full of mosquitoes all through the night, and Sanji had had fucking ridiculous insomnia since they got near this place. At some point he wandered out to the docks to try and clear his head and smoke a cigarette, and who should he see stand around in naught but trousers and staring at the moon but Trafalgar motherfucking Law.

As Sanji approached he had guessed that Trafalgar was similarly unable to sleep with a human rubber blanket smothering him. A perfectly reasonable assumption. "Can't sleep?" he asked, one curled eyebrow raised.

But when Trafalgar turned around to look at him, he didn't particularly look like a man who was plagued by insomnia – he looked rather pleased with himself, all told. "Oh, good timing," he said, and, like it was a perfectly okay thing for a person to do, stole the cigarette out of Sanji's hand and took a drag from it.

Sanji blinked, watching the cherry glow bright red as the surgeon smoked peacefully. "Mmm. Just didn't feel like sleeping yet," Trafalgar answered around the cigarette. And without thinking about it, Sanji's eye flowed from the cigarette in his hand, down the path of his naked arm to his shoulder, whereupon even in the light of street-lamps Sanji could very clearly distinguish the sight of a huge, suspiciously Luffy-shaped bite mark.

The chef's eyes narrowed. "Did you fuck my captain?"

Trafalgar grinned. "No?"

Sanji looked at the man. He was giving the overwhelming impression of someone who's just gotten laid. "Are you lying?"

"Nah," he shrugged, taking another drag from the stolen cigarette.

"So you didn't fuck my captain," Sanji confirmed.

"Now, I can't really say that, either." His grin turned into a smirk.

"You son of a bitch."

"Aw, now come on." Trafalgar was walking back to his submarine now, but turned around and walk backwards for a moment so he could point the cigarette to Sanji and say, "If I was that bad, would I have just gotten some?" waggling his eyebrows and strutting off like a douchebag.

And Sanji couldn't even do anything, too stunned by the idea that a person had actually gotten into Luffy's pants to attack the bastard like he was clearly asking for.

He went back to the Sunny.

Now, he'd already noticed the lights were on in the crow's nest when he came outside in the first place. He just hadn't given it any thought past "Oh, the marimo is awake, too." And normally, he would continue on not thinking about Zoro or the crow's nest he had claimed as his own.

But right now it was like two in the morning or some shit, and what the fuck else was he gonna do. Go back to their bunk room and listen to Franky snore? Sit in the aquarium bar by himself and get drunk? Hell no. Even spending time with Roronoa Zoro was more appealing. Sad.

He started his way up to the crow's nest. Only not notice as he climbed the ladder, the sound of a musical horn growing steadily louder. A saxophone or trumpet, maybe? Was he listening to a record up there?

But as he opened the hatch door it became obvious that there was no recording – that was the sound of an actual instrument being played. Sanji climbed up enough to be able to see inside, lifting the door open with one arm and seeing, as unexpected as the probability was, Roronoa Zoro 's back as he sat in front a set of sheet music propped to the wall and manhandling a saxophone.

Sanji stopped. Propped the door open and took a couple more steps up to prop his upper body on the floor of the crow's nest while he stood on the ladder, and listened to Zoro play.

He actually wasn't bad. It was obvious he was practicing an unfamiliar skill, often stumbling over notes of the song and then replaying the section over again until he was satisfied, but the parts he did know flowed well. Well, who'da fucking thunk it.

"How long have you been playing?" Sanji asked suddenly.

Zoro flailed in surprise, dropping the horn with an artless clatter to the ground. "JESUS fucking Christ!"

"Sorry," Sanji apologized casually. "But seriously, how long?"

The swordsman scowled, frustrated and embarrassed. "I don't know, a few months?"

Sanji hummed. "Brook got to you too, huh? I think I'm impressed."

Zoro sighed, picking up the saxophone from where he'd dropped it and placing it standing against the wall. "I don't even know how. One day when we were talking, he suggested it and I said sure or whatever, and then all of the sudden he just shows up with this thing and insists on showing me how to play it, and he keeps asking me if I'm practicing and every time I say no he gets so disappointed," he finished, grabbing at his forehead with one frustrated hand.

Sanji couldn't help but laugh. "Yeah, sounds about right. He got me by saying I have lovely hands and that the ladies find nothing classier than a man playing piano. Been teaching me on a keyboard in the aquarium bar for three weeks."

Zoro blinked in surprise, but ended up laughing a bit as well. "I saw Franky playing a ukulele three days ago."

Sanji climbed in the rest of the way, shutting the door with his foot. "Well, that settles it. Brook is on a covert mission to turn the Strawhat Pirates into a band. That devious bastard."

"Nami's gonna be pissed," Zoro observed, still smiling just a little and leaning against the wall. Sanji was relived – there was about an eighty percent chance that any interaction between him and Zoro would be awkward or violent, but it looked like this was one of the easier times. "So, what are you doing up here, anyway?"

Ah, crap, he'd forgotten until now. Sanji's whole face twisted into a cringe. "Ugh. I ran into Torao outside. I think that guy just fucked our captain."

Zoro's brow instantly furrowed again. "That son of a bitch."

"I know, right?!"

"Does this mean I'm finally allowed to cut his dick off?" The swordsman looked excited at the prospect.

Sanji shook his head. "We left that decision to Nami, remember? Otherwise we'd have voted to cut his balls off the day Luffy even decided on all of this."

Zoro looked annoyed. "Exactly, and look where that got us! If I'd been allowed to cut his dick off from the start, we wouldn't even be here!" He scoffed, crossing his arms over his chest. "Well. How do you even know if you just saw Trafalgar, anyway?"

It was Sanji's turn sigh and lean against the wall. "He had a huge hickey, stole my cigarette out of my mouth, and waggled his eyebrows at me. There is no way that guy hadn't just gotten laid."

"What a douchebag," Zoro scowled. "I think I hate that guy more with every passing second."

"Yeah, well." Sanji pulled out a new cigarette, lighting it as he made himself comfortable against the wall. "If you have any ideas beyond dismemberment, the class is open to hear them."

But Zoro had no better answer than a stiff grumble, and they were both quiet, leaning against opposite walls of the crow's nest and for once, not fighting.

Sanji decided that was boring. "Well don't let me stop you, keep practicing."

Zoro tensed up like a cat. "What? No!"

"Aw, come on," Sanji waved a hand dismissively. "We both know each other's dirty little secrets now, no reason not to, right?"

"I'm not gonna practice in front of you, tits-for-brains! Go away!"

"What's wrong, are you embarrassed or something?" Sanji asked, delighted. "Oh my god, you are, aren't you? I've never seen you embarrassed about anything before!" he laughed, dodging a nearby dumbbell Zoro half-heartedly lobbed at him. "It's fine, though, seriously. Later on I'll play my keyboard, show you my amazing Mary Had A Little Lamb skills." He grinned, miming the piano with his fingers. "I can almost play Chopsticks!"

Zoro was pressing a hand to his eyes to hide his face, but Sanji heard a snort of laughter. "Come oooon," Sanji coaxed. "I can't sleep anyway, so if I have to pick between your saxophone lessons and listening to Franky and Usopp's snoring contest, the choice is obvious. Play me a song?"

Zoro sighed and turned to face the wall again, but the last of his face Sanji could see before he grabbed his horn was that he was still smiling. "Fine, but I only know one full song. You get to listen to The Pink Panther over and over until you leave."

Sanji grinned, taking another drag of his cigarette and putting it out on the heel of his shoe, slipping the halfsie back into his pack as he relaxed against the wall. And it became obvious that whatever song Zoro had been practicing before he was still just learning just from the contrast between the two. The notes rang clear and smooth through the air like wine flowing from bottle to glass; Zoro would be the type to completely master what he was learning before moving on to the next.

He had to admit, he was actually terribly impressed. Didn't think Zoro had an ounce of class in him or an artistic bone in his body, but apparently Brook had managed to bring out a side in him even Zoro probably hadn't expected to exist. Sanji smiled, closing his eyes. He'd always liked the saxophone.

He was asleep before the second song was over.

Waking up alone in the crow's nest was a special kind of awkward considering he had not actually meant to fall asleep. But Sanji's body was well-trained in waking him up in time to make breakfast for everyone, whether he'd been asleep for twenty minutes of twenty hours, so awake to cook he was.

Yesterday had already been an adventure in discovering most of the local dishes use catfish or opossum as its base ingredient, so the crew was likely to be more inclined not to eat out. Docked or not, he'd have to prepare a full course like usual. Ah, damn it- and the Heart Pirates, were they Sanji's problem? He wasn't even sure at this point. Better go find Penguin.

The other cook wasn't difficult to locate. He seemed to be on his own way towards the Sunny, most likely wondering the same thing Sanji was, whether or not pirate alliance automatically spelled joint meals. He also did not look like a morning person, currently yawning tiredly and swiping scruffy bangs up out of his forehead so he could shove his hat on. "Morning, Sanji-san."

Sanji nodded back. "Hey." Well fuck it. They were both awake and needed to make breakfast right? And CERTAINLY, the two captains would have planned to dine together this morning, so they might as well work together. "Your place or mine?"

Penguin looked like he wanted the question to fluster him but was too sleep deprived. "Your kitchen is nicer, but mine is actually built for, like. Mass production. I think we're better off," he said, pointing his thumb over his shoulder towards the submarine glowing obscenely in the orange dawn light.

Easy enough. "I'll go get my knives." Using another chef's knives was like using another man's razor to shave.

The Revolver did have a pretty nice kitchen. Sanji had worked on ships with worse conditions growing up, and it was the same environment as most pirates ships – a place for one man to do his job, versus the crowded shared space of a restaurant kitchen. It was hardly at the level of the Sunny, or even the Merry in terms of class, but it served it's purpose, and Penguin looked like he was actually comfortable here. Guy seemed like he was always on edge around Sanji.

"So, what are we making?" Sanji inquired.

Penguin was still looking sleepy-eyed. "Oh, god, I don't know. Like, a fuckton of eggs?"

"Come on, we can do better than that," Sanji shuffled through the cabinets, making sure he knew what and where everything was. "The humidity is getting to everyone, so we'll need something light. Rice and soups, maybe some potstickers and kimchi?"

"Ughhh, you're way too awesome at this. How did I forget you were gonna make me actually do work," Penguin groaned, beginning to pull out the appropriate pots and pans. "Make sure to stay easy on the garlic or the Captain will throw up."

Sanji paused. "Seriously? Throw up?"

Penguin nodded, turning on one of the large burners on the stove. "Oh god, yeah. Between my not being a great cook and his weak stomach, I've made that guy puke like. So many times. It's sad. I finally got it down, but I still have to work around the fact that he can only eat like, three things on the planet."

"That. Explains a lot, actually." Sanji said. He narrowed his eyes. "Well for fuck's sake he could have SAID something instead of just turning up his nose at everything I made! GOD that guy's a dick!"

Penguin snorted, mumbling something along the lines of "Well I know what he DOES with dicks," into the cabinet he was rummaging through.

Sanji frowned, fingers tightening around the handle of the refrigerator door he was opening. "What was that?"

The other cook froze. "Uhhhh. Nothing. I just didn't get much sleep last night; talking to myself."

"Couldn't get much sleep," Sanji grit his teeth, instantly annoyed again. "Over the sound of my captain getting nailed, you mean?" He spat, slamming the door shut without remembering what he was trying to pull out.

"Pppsshhhtnnnnnaaaaaahhh! Well. Yeah, kinda." Penguin answered warily, taking a measured step backwards. "But if it makes you feel any better, it didn't sound like they went all the way?"

"You could hear how much they were doing?"

"Well I just mean," Penguin waved a hand in front of his face, as if it could diffuse the tension in the air. "I just mean... Yeah. We live in a little metal box. We could. We could hear quite a lot."

Sanji buried his face in his hands. "Oh my goodddddd! But it's Luffy!" Sanji wailed into his open palms. "Luffy wasn't ever supposed to have sex, much less be getting laid when no one else is! How did this even happen?! Luffy decides to keep people all the time, he never-" He cut off his own sentence, breathing out a forceful lung air into his hands before moving them up his face to sweep roughly through his hair . "And Trafalgar Goddamned Law? Just pops up out of fucking nowhere and just SEDUCES my captain or something? What the fuck even HAPPENED in Dressrosa?"

"I know waaaayyy less than you do, I was fighting off goddamned locusts! You were there for Punk Hazard, right?" Penguin shrugged, discreetly pushing the knives roll, full of very sharp knives, on the counter out of Sanji's reach. "And I mean, it's not like our captain's ever dated anyone either. Whatever happened, I guess it must have been pretty romantic."

Sanji sighed again, hands dropping from his hair. "Romantic, huh?" Shaking his head he opened the door to the refrigerator again, this time actually pulling out a few heads of cabbage and placing them on the counter. "I guess. I mean, it's not like I can't tell they're in love; I just don't get it." He grabbed his knives,

unfolding the cloth automatically and pulling out a serrated knife to begin shredding the cabbage. "It's just… It's Luffy. He's been doing this in his own way the whole time so it didn't seem that weird but now he's like. Gone from being asexual to gay for Torao? I just can't comprehend it."

"Wait, seriously?"Penguin sighed dramatically, and Sanji glanced over to see him clutching at his forehead like he was so disappointed it was physically painful to his brain. "It's just the sex thing that's bothering you? Man, that's." He turned back to his own work, setting water to boil. "You know that love and sex aren't really that complicated, right? Your captain being asexual wouldn't change just because he's able to... to be physically intimate with the person he's in love with, you know? If that's who he was before, doing this with Law doesn't mean he's suddenly going to be eyeing down guys in the shower. That's just not how this works." He went to the cabinet to begin pulling out soup stock and shrugging. "I mean like, me getting a chub from Boa Hancock didn't suddenly stop me from being gay, it just means she's just that damned hot, you know?"

Sanji stopped cutting at that, the knife pausing mid-air. "Wait. What? You're gay?"

Penguin only sighed for a moment, continuing to bustle around the kitchen. "Of course you didn't even notice. It's proving to be astonishing how closed-minded you actually are, you know? The possibility that anyone around you could be gay never even occurred to you for a second, did it?" Penguin looked downright annoyed now, an expression Sanji had never seen on him before. "Like. Seriously! Did you even notice Roronoa is gay? Because he's on your ship."

"Zoro's not gay!" Sanji snapped back immediately. "I definitely would have noticed if Zoro of all people was gay! What makes you say that?"

"Because it's a thing people know? Call it, like. Compatible intuition(1), if you want, but I'm totally sure Roronoa is a flaming sword-swallower." The Heart pirate pulled a sack of potatoes from a pantry and poured them into the sink to wash. "But if my – and Shachi and Zaya and Ohm's- opinion is insufficient, then at least consider if you've ever seen him act in any way like he's actually attracted to women."

Well that. Was a fair point, in retrospect. "That doesn't mean he's GAY, it could just mean he's like Luffy!"

Pulling out a potato peeler, the other cook just shook his head. "Okay, well, I sincerely doubt that, but sure. Let's say that is the case. You still never considered it until just now, right? I'm just trying to say that as a person you're proving to be depressingly... Inflexible."

"Inflexible?" Sanji had never been called inflexible in his life.

Penguin shrugged, still peeling potatoes. "As a man, you're really incredible and everything. But, you really need to work on being more open-minded, dude."

Zoro didn't see why everyone hated Throat Bayou so much. Sure, the air was sorta smelly and the bugs were a bit on the plentiful side, but the liquor was fucking out of this world.

Right now he was drinking something called Dybbuk Spit that tasted like what Chlamydia would taste like if it were a liquor and not a bacterial infection, but it had cost a hundred and forty-nine berry for the whole damned bottle and was strong enough to strip varnish, and there was no beating that. And that

was an especially good thing considering right now he was traipsing through the local swampland with Luffy.

It was mostly that he knew the guy had just gotten some the night before. Made it a liiiiittle weird.

Now, don't get Zoro wrong – normally he loved hanging out with Luffy, he really did. How could he not? The guy was out of his goddamned MIND, and what the fuck was more fun than that? Luffy was one hundred percent never-fucking-boring and Zoro loved it. So even if wading through a bog with him today was on the awkward side, Zoro could still recognize that Luffy was, in general, the best thing to have ever happened to Zoro's life. But Luffy was the best thing to happen to the lives of most of the people he met. It was kind of his thing.

The train of thought gave the swordsman pause for half a second. "Hey, Luffy." He asked.

Luffy glanced over at him from the patch of cattails he was parting to step through. "Yeah?"

"What's the best thing that ever happened to you? You know, that was outside of your influence."

Luffy looked surprised that Zoro had asked the question, but didn't hesitate for an instant. "Shanks," he stated firmly. "He inspired me to be a pirate. That guy gave me the world."

Zoro grinned, instantly feeling validated. Torao could do whatever he wanted, Luffy still had not and would not change. He kicked a snake out of his path. "The world, huh?"

"Toconquer," Luffy grinned, clenching and shaking one fist dramatically. Zoro, of course, laughed and obliged him in a well-earned high-five. "What about you?"

The swordsman scoffed. That question wasn't even worth asking, much less answering. "Same, pretty much."

"Huh?" Luffy made one of his too-stupid-to-function faces. "You met Shanks?"

Zoro didn't bother to roll his good eye; wasn't worth wasting the almost non-existent effort to do so. "Of course not, dumbass. The same. The same answer as Robin, or Usopp, or Nami, or Brook."

Luffy thought about that for a minute. "Oh, you mean me!" He grinned.

Zoro took another swig of Dybbuk Spit. "We are conquering the world, Captain."

Luffy looked extraordinarily pleased with himself at that, before stepping into a patch of moss that turned out to be algae and sinking waist deep into water. They looked at each other, shrugged, and began wading forward.

"I think these mosquitoes are big enough to be drawing blood through the rubber," Luffy observed, swatting away a small swarm of egg-sized insects.

"Good, the bug bites will cover up some of the hickeys you're teeming with." Zoro said idly, blowing a dragonfly out of his face.

"Hehehehehehhhhh," Luffy snickered. "Yeah, I totally got some sex last night."

"We can all tell," Zoro tried to ignore the thought of Trafalgar stealing the cigarette out of Sanji's mouth, the image bothering him on a deeply fundamental level. "How'd that work out for you?"

Luffy picked a piece of possibly seaweed or something out of the back of his pants and tossed it. "Awesome. Got my dick sucked."

A laugh burst out of Zoro easily. "Nice. Reciprocate?"

"Nah, I was too out of it. We used my hand."

"Heheh," Zoro couldn't help but grin. Trafalgar was awful smug for someone who'd only gotten a handy, huh? Well. Okay, it was a handy from Luffy, which was an actual legitimate accomplishment, but. Still. Zoro felt better about the whole thing.

They waded onto something that almost counted as solid land again, and Zoro paused to pull off his boots and dump the swamp water out.

"Ummmmm..." Zoro turned around to see Luffy rocking on his heels behind him. "Hey Zoro?"

He raised an eyebrow, pulling his boots back on. "What?" Luffy not asking any question outright was hardly common.

"You're gay or whatever, right?"

Zoro shrugged, standing up again. "I guess."

Luffy choosing not to meet his eye was also weird. REALLY weird. "Am I attractive?"

Nope. Not prepared for this, not gonna do this. Zoro out. "So, have you tried that snapping turtle soup they've got at the Hog's Breath? It was...Gamey."

"Zoro!" Luffy whined, tugging at his swordsman's sleeve. "Come ooooooon, I don't have anyone else to ask about this!"

"There are a ton of people!"

"I can't talk about sex with any of them!" Luffy shouted, red-faced. "I've never even stopped to wonder this stuff before and Torao's crew brought up the possibility that he's actually a pervert that's why he likes me, and-"

"Auuuughhh, shut up!" Zoro pushed his captain off his arm. "Being your friend is the worst. Yeah, you're hot, you little freak."

"Really?" Luffy asked, his voice muffled from Zoro's palm pressing against the side of his face to hold him away.

Zoro just sighed in defeat. "Not usually, because usually you're just Luffy, but then all of the sudden you'll be all. 'Damn!' or whatever. You're not like, distractingly sexy or anything, but Torao probably thinks you're hot all the time." He paused, narrowing his eyes. "I don't know about the pervert thing though, that one might still pop up on you. Watch out for that."

"Hehehhhh!" Luffy looked satisfied, letting go of Zoro and dancing off into the treeline for his first mate to follow. "So, I'm not distractingly sexy, huh? Distracting in the way someone else we know might be?"

Zoro groaned. "Don't even fucking-"

"Not distracting in a way that maybe causes you to walk off a dock into the open ocean?" His captain grinned, artfully dodging a swipe from Zoro's sword.

"Shut the hell up! That never happened!"

"I was there, Zoro. I saw you do it."

"Then you were around to see that I did that to rescue that drowning... mermaid."

Luffy looked at Zoro. Zoro looked back.

"Go fuck yourself," The swordsman complained and snapped a tree branch at his friend as he burst out laughing.

The two continued to trudge forward through the greenery. "But you know," Luffy started conversationally, and Zoro was really regretting having opened his fat mouth to start this discussion in the first place. "In regards to that thing you don't like to acknowledge? You do realize that like. You're not helping the situation any. I mean, you've never actually tried to like. Talk to him, have you?"

Zoro scoffed. "Nearly every time we talk it devolves into a fight. It's a waste of time."

Luffy rolled his eyes. "Yeah, but. The only way anything will ever change is if one of the two of you does something. If Sanji is too difficult to change, then that just means you have to be the first one to step forward."

Zoro scowled, not sure if he was more pissed off they were still talking about this or because the little fucktard has a point. "Since when are you qualified to give out love advice?"

"Siiiiince I can make the word's grumpiest, most difficult person smile and laugh and kiss me in front of both our crews?" Luffy grinned.

Zoro did not grin. Zoro scowled harder. "Do you ever shut your facehole?"

"Only if it's crammed with food!"

They walked out of the trees to find themselves in a large expanse of open marshland stretching for miles in every direction. They stopped to take in the sight, a frog hopping by to land unconcerned on Zoro's boot.

"We probably should have brought someone other than just the two of us, huh?" Luffy observed.

"Yeah," Zoro agreed. "We honestly might never find our way back."

So all during breakfast Sanji was thinking about... All that there. Fortunately, cooking was how Sanji cleared his mind, he was too absorbed in his work to be too bothered by it, however, during the meal itself, there was plenty of free time to consider Penguin's words, and plenty of time to glare awkwardly towards Zoro as if watching the disgusting way he consumes breakfast will somehow provide evidence of his sexuality. It did not, and for the record, no one should ever watch another human being's mouth when they eat because it is the grossest thing in the universe.

Also, they couldn't make the soup not taste like swamp water without making it taste like alligator instead another added annoyance for Sanji. Nami was chatting happily with that saw-toothed giant from the Heart Pirates that Zoro kept picking fights with like it was totally normal and okay and Luffy was all sex-mussed and COVERED in hickeys. Motherfucking Trafalgar.

Breakfast was a terrible ordeal for Sanji in pretty much every regard.

He decided to cheer himself up by bringing some dumplings to the charmingly vivacious Miss Mag, who must be incredibly lonely in the infirmary with only Caesar goddamned Clown for company.

"Awww, aren't ye the gentlemanliest 'f things?" She cooed when he presented her the tray, her large eyes sparkling like emeralds. Ah, it really was better to be around girls, wasn't it? Even with the scars and... large portion of missing cheek and ear, Mag's cuteness shined through anything with that smile.

Oh, also, Caesar was on a chair three feet away snoring under a book. But whatever, that wasn't important.

What WAS important was lovely Mag, whose injured shoulder was causing her arm to shake through even the simple task of eating a dumpling. "Ahh, my poor little pixie!" Sanji crooned. "I'm so sorry for your terrible fate!"

But the little strawberry maiden just shook her head, mumbling around a mouthful of food "'M not a bit sorry! Imagine what would've 'appened to the ship if I hadn't valiantly thrown meself into that battle to stop the fighting? They couldda sunk the floor right under our feet!"

Sanji blinked at her, a bit of ash falling from the cigarette in his mouth. "What? What fight? I thought you fell into a bucket of swords?"

She scratched at the back of her head abashedly, wincing when the movement pulled at stitches hidden under another set of bandages around her upper torso. "Well, it does seem that I tripped on me way in there, r'else likely I wouldn'ta been dismembered so, haha!"

"Dismembered!?" Sanji crowed in horror. "Who was even fighting?!"

Caesar Clown snorted at the sound of his raised voice, book falling off of his face as he sat upright groggily. Mag handed him a dumpling, shoving a new one into her own mouth. "M'Captain and yer friend Roronoa. They seem to rub each other in all th' wrong ways, don't they?" She snorted, face reddening. "Heh, rub each other."

Sanji, meanwhile, was seeing red himself. "GOD, those two! Irresponsibly starting fights and getting you hurt in the process, unforgivable!"

Mag looked at Caesar, who shrugged and took a bite out of his dumpling. "Well they really dinn't involve me. Once again, did that quite on me own. I mean, fighting's sorta what I do? I've been throwing meself into frays long before I ever set sail as a pirate, there's no reason to blame it on anyone but me."

"A girl like you shouldn't have to be fighting at all!" Sanji kicked at Caesar's hand when he tried to grab more food off of Mag's tray. "If someone had to step into that fight, there's no reason it had to be you!"

"Sure there is, I'm th' best suited to handle it! That's what everyone always says, they say 'If there's one good thing about Mag it's that she's durable.'" She wasn't smiling anymore, frustration starting to mar her delicate features. "And besides, even'f that wasn't the case I'd've done it. I love fisticuffs, I'd keep fighting even if I was the... gentle flower ye seem to think I am."

Sanji sighed. Great, even this was turning into some kind of argument, now? Today was just too much. "I'm sorry, I don't meant to insinuate anything. I'm just saying, if there's over a dozen men on your crew, it should be up to them to protect you, not put you in even more danger!"

Instead of placated, she was starting to look downright offended now. "What, just because I've got tits?" she asked, Sanji and the clown both choking at her word choice. "So you're saying if me and Kazu are alone and get inna fight, I should leave the fighting ta him when he can barely even carry a sack o' potatoes?"She scoffed, leaning back into the bed again. "Zoey was right, any man who can cook really is gay or a misogynist."

A... Misogynist? Sanji was a misogynist?! "That's ridiculous!" He shouted, body tensing in rage. "I am the exact OPPOSITE of a misogynist, I love women!"

Mag looked even angrier at his declaration. "Really, now? Ye love women, or the idea of women? Do ye love us as people, or as pretty things to be worshiped?" her voice raised as she spoke, the vertical scar on her forehead wrinkling as her brow drew downward. "Do ye ever stop to have real conversations with your lady crewmates, or do ye just fawn over them?"

Sanji ran a hand over his face, trying to calm himself and not be provoked by her rage. "Look, if you'd just calm down for a moment, Miss-"

She was sitting upright again, fists clutching at her bedsheets as she began to shout. "I won't calm down! I'm right sick'f bloody pigs like you telling me I can't fight because I'mma tiny little chipmunk girl or whatever, but it's who I am!" Mag struck one hand over her chest, striking the bandaged area without flinching. "If you wan ta prove ta me yer a real man and not a misogynist, then you'll hit me! Right now, I demand ye strike me!"

The expression on Caesar Clown's face at this proclamation was pure unbridled joy. "Yes! Do it, hit her!"

Absolutely fucking ridiculous. Sanji, on the other hand was just getting frustrated. "I am absolutely not going to hit you. Under no circumstances will you get me to hit you, Miss Mag!"

"Well, what about if I were to be after yer nakama? What if I were to corner and take down Nami, and it was jest you between me and the killing blow?"

"I would stop you non-violently," Sanji grit out between his teeth, deciding he'd had enough of this after all and starting to turn around towards the door. "Now if you'll excuse me-"

"Yer not getting out of here yet, fancy-boy! Caesar, the door!" Mag shouted, the scientist vaporizing into gas and flowing quickly into the doorway, swirling malevolently as he cackled.

"Hit her! Do it, kick her right in the face! No, in the shoulder wound! SHORORORORO!"

Which was really great. Really, just awesome. A toxic science clown trapping him in a room with an injured girl currently demanding he sock her in the face. Truly the ideal situation Sanji wanted to be in, and not any kind of reason for him to pull every strand of hair put of his scalp.

Red Mag, meanwhile, was riled up into a full boil, flailing out as she railed "Ye know there's a full crew of jest lady marines? What if your ship gets attacked by them, huh? What if VA Tsuru is cleaning up yer captain and swordsman, and the rest of 'em all get taken out for one reason or another, and because you refuse to fight yer the last one left facing off against the whole female crew? You'd let your nakama die over that pride? Because they would! It's not jest yer life you carry, ye daft son of a sea-scallop! After they kill you they'll step over yer useless corpse and cut the hearts out of everyone ye love!"

God, he was sick of this. He was so sick of this conversation! Why did everyone always have to stick their noses into it like chivalry was all of the suddenly a BAD thing?! "You know, on second thought, I could probably just go through you, can't I?" He said directly to Caesar Clown, still roiling in the doorway.

A grin appeared from within the pinkish gas cloud, and the scientist's irritating voice echoed through the metal room. "Perhaps, but then if you knocked me out all the lovely chlorine I've been gathering in the hallway behind me would dissipate. In such a little sealed submarine as this, that fog could end up killing someone on it's way outside! Sho-RORORORO~!"

GREAT. That's. That's SUPER trapped right there, because while Sanji could hold his breath for longer than anyone else on his crew, previous experience on Punk Hazard had already proven trying to run through a hallway filled with toxic gas was a little more complicated than that. "Why are you even helping!? Trafalgar will gut you if you end up killing his crew, you moron!"

The gas cloud looked as though it might be shrugging. "I don't know, pretty sure if I say I was helping Mag on this one the blame will go to you. Trafalgar's just crazy enough to take our side on this, I think."

Mag nodded furiously, pumping one fist in the air – the one attached to her injured arm, no less. "I'm sure he will! Captain's a REAL man, he's not afraid to do what needs to be done no matter if 'is enemy is a woman or child or – or a kitten in a wheelchair!" She declared, and Sanji noted a spot of red forming underneath the white of her bandages. "Caesar will swallow all the poison again if ye just lay one good hit on me and prove that if a girl killer ever comes, ye'll be able to do the right thing!"

"Miss Mag, I think you pulled out some of your stitches," Sanji was still angry at her, still annoyed by this whole situation, but that didn't mean Mag should go riling herself into re-injury, for God's sake. "You're going to hurt yourself. Lay back down."

Her eyes flashed, brilliant hazel shining with a fierce determination as she groaned angrily. "Yer starting to make me jest shy of sick, ye know! Why're ye even being so stubborn about this?! There's no point! I understand if your willing to lay yer own life down for yer pride, that's what stepping onto the battlefield is all about, but ye need to realize that the women fighting have also made that same forfeit! Once a person steps into a fight they KNOW they've put their life down, and refusing to fight jest because your enemy has a vagina and 's an insult more grave than any injury you could lay on them!"

"Well I've made my own decisions, and I'm not going to change who I am or what I believe in just because the enemy has their own pride!" Sanji snapped, eyes still not moving from the blossoming blood stain on her shoulder.

Mag clambered forward, the empty dumpling tray clattering to the ground as she crawled towards the end of the bed to grab at his neck tie. "Everything that comes out of yer mouth jest pisses me off even more! Even if it does come down to jest you and the woman who kills ye with none of yer other friend's lives on the line, ye really think it's okay to die in that situation too, don't ye? Like yer crew can just go on and find a new chef and all will be well like ye never even existed?! Do ye really think yer captain would ever accept another cook after ya go, or would the whole crew die of food poisoning and scurvy and starvation because yer dumb ass couldn't even lay one strike to a girl! Yer life doesn't belong to jest you, it belongs to yer captain and ship!"

He grabbed he wrist as gently as he could through the anger, prying her hand off from around his tie and trying to push her to lean back into the bed again. "Hey. Look. You're bleeding a lot right now, maybe this should wai-"

She interrupted him with a headbutt to the chest. "Ye think I care about that!? Ye think I care about any of the blood I've spilled, mine or otherwise?!" She hissed, slamming her uninjured hand over the bloodied bandages on her shoulder. Sanji winced, both at the action itself and at the red stain it left on her small hand. "The only thing I care about right now is knowing yer stupid stupid pussy-whipped arse is putting the lives of yer whole crew in danger with that shite attitude of yers! And as it is, I quite like the rest of yer friends, and would jest as soon not have you kill the lot with yer stupid MANPRIDE! We're allied crews now, so it's not even jest yer own crew yer endangering anymore; it extends to my family, too! If lady pirates end up killing Strawhat Luffy because you, as his nakama, failed to act, me own crew's gonna be in quite the fuckin' shitheap, ye know! Is yer head really so far up yer own arse you can't even see how important this is?! How many people could die because of you, and you alone!?"

"That's not even true!" Sanji shouted back, starting to panic at the amount of blood soaking into her shirt. She had managed to reopen the injury on her torso, as well, a second bloom of redness swelling under her small chest. "We're an entire crew so there are plenty of others around to fight the women. I'm not standing in anyone's way!"

"Bullshit! That's only because you've been lucky so far! Ye really think that will hold out the rest of yer lives, that ye won't ever have to face a woman yerself? Do ye really think ye can keep sailing without even having the resolve to fight?!" She raged, the only color left in her body all flushed into her red face while the rest of her was turning chalk white.

Sanji didn't even know what to say anymore, couldn't concentrate on coming up with a valid argument back with the blood starting to seep down her body and drip onto her thighs worryingly. He shot a glance to Caesar in the doorway, who looked less amused now, but rather impressed instead. He still didn't look like he'd let Sanji through to get Torao or Chopper, that was for sure. "Miss Mag, you're really losing a lot of blood. I don't think we have time for this argument right now!"

Her eyes narrowed, a steel resolve falling over her gaze as she locked eyes with him and very deliberately placed her hand over her worst injury, fingers forming a claw pointing into her own flesh. "Hit. Me." She demanded.

Sanji shook his head quickly. She dug her fingers into the wound, a fresh rush of blood squirting onto her fingertips. Caesar Clown cursed in surprise in the doorway, and Sanji dove forward to grab Mag's hands, prying them away from her battered body before she could hurt herself even further, only to be rewarded by her biting his wrist. He cursed, dropping one of her hands to push her head off his arm, but her teeth had sunk into enough to draw blood and he couldn't get her off without tearing a chunk of his wrist with her. "Damn it, you little- Get off of me!"

She drew back with a disturbingly feral growl, wiping Sanji's blood from her lips with the back of one hand and spitting onto the floor. But she had that hand free again, and she used it to plunge her fingers back into the meat of her shoulder as she screeched "HIT ME! Do it right fuckin' now, because I swear on the corpse of my own whore of a mother I will tear my arm off a thousand fuckin' times if it will get ye to stop being such a worthless misogynistic bitch-boy!"

Dear Lord – she was insane. Actually, legitimately out of her mind, and if he tried to restrain her again she was gonna bite clean through his goddamned hand. She had actually fucking won this fight- Sanji just didn't have a choice anymore; there were no options or reasoning with someone with such mad psychotic determination.

God, how he hated these fucking Heart Pirates!

One long leg swept upwards into the air, and the grin on Red Mag's face nothing less than viciously victorious before he brought his foot down over her skull in hopes that her head was the part of her that was currently the least injured.

Caesar Clown howled in laughter from the doorway, swirling back into a human shape as he cackled back towards the bedside.

Mag fell backwards into the bed, pumped one fist into the air, and cheered "HA!" at the ceiling. "So! Now that we've gotten ye to break yer little code of honor, we can work on the rest. Good progress today, boys!"

Sanji slapped a hand over his face. It was covered in Mag's blood. Awesome, he was glad he had noticed that now and not four seconds ago. "I hate you. I hate you and I hate this ship and I hate Caesar Clown and I REALLY hate your captain."

Mag gave him a thumbs up. "Good! Hating me is progress! Maybe next time we can get you to hit me without all the bloodshed, eh?" She looked up to see Caesar Clown hovering overhead. "Thanks for the help there, couldn't'a done that one alone," she said cheerily. But Caesar just looked like all the fun for today was already over now that she'd gotten hit, and leaned forward just enough to blow a light blue breath of gas at her face. "Awwww, no, I fuckin hate it when ye doooo... thattt..." She trailed off, apparently asleep before Caesar was even done turning around to grab medical supplies off the nearest shelf.

Sanji stared at him. "YOU COULD HAVE JUST KNOCKED HER OUT THAT EASY THE WHOLE TIME?!"

Caesar just began stripping off the soaked bandages from around Mag's body. "Well, she's actually proving to be uncomfortably immune to a lot of chemicals, so I don't want to use that too often or it'll probably stop working too," he complained, tossing the bandages into a nearby trash bin and beginning to cut out the old torn stitches. "But yes, I could have stopped this at any time. But I REALLY wanted to see you hit her. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best day I've had since you jerk-offs showed up in Punk Hazard."

Sanji sighed. He pulled out and lit a new cigarette, observing idly that the smoke from it was drawn naturally to the the logia user, the same way it flowed towards Smoker when he was around. Strange little Devil Fruit quirks, he supposed. "Should I go get someone? Trafalgar, or one of the other surgeons?"

"You think I can't even do something as easy as sew Red Mag back together?" Caesar scoffed, still carefully unthreading the stitches from two days ago. "Well. Also, I have exactly one job, and that is to make sure this loon doesn't kill herself. So I actually do think Trafalgar will throw my heart into the ocean if I don't handle this one."

The chef just shook his head, watching for a few more minutes as Caesar quickly and efficiently redressed her injuries. He walked out of the room.

Not sure what to do with himself any longer, he wandered back towards the Sunny. On the deck, Usopp and Zoya were squatting over a set of his blueprints, Usopp gesturing animatedly to something on the drawing and explaining "...And if everything goes right, you'll be able to charge it by plugging it into your control panel here. And if doesn't go right, the whole thing will blow up, but at this point I think we can blame it on Franky and Shachi and no one will think twice."

Zoya snickered nearly silently at that, ducking her head down to hide the upturned corners of her mouth under her collar.

Sanji watched the two of them for a while, sitting down near where Brook was carefully tuning a trumpet, metronome clicking quietly at his side. They looked... Comfortable. They were on different crews and barely knew each other at all, but somehow the two snipers had become friends so quickly and easily that they could smile and plan things with each other and apparently Zoya could say something rude enough for Usopp to burst out laughing and smack her in the shoulder, scolding "Oh my god that's so mean! And she still shares a room with you?"

Usopp... He'd allways been good at making friends with girls, hadn't he? He'd told Sanji all sorts of stories about his best friend Kaya, and he was always hanging out with Nami the same way as he spent time with Luffy or Chopper. He'd even made instant friends with Zoya, who as far as Sanji could tell, couldn't be bothered to speak to anyone else.

Suddenly, he remembered someone once mention that Zoro had had an old childhood friend, Kuina. Zoro also still got letters from Perona-chan; had even once been seen writing a brief reply along the lines of "Tell him you live there, too, and remind him he's not your dad. Also, STOP BOTHERING ME." That guy... he didn't even seem to LIKE women and he could still talk to them, huh? Didn't he and Nami go out drinking all the time?

The chef couldn't even imagine casually swatting a lady on the shoulder. But. He also was having trouble remembering a time he'd actually had a conversation with Nami or Robin the way he had with Usopp or Franky, or even Zoro. God, had he had more meaningful conversations with ZORO than he had with Nami? That was beyond fucked up.

Sanji still didn't think he was WRONG, was the problem. Having grown up not only on the sea, but working in kitchens specifically, Sanji hadn't ever had any girls his age to talk to growing up. Not ever, as far back as he could remember. To him, women had always been foreign and mysterious creatures, purer and more beautiful than the men he was surrounded with. He considered his earliest memories of women and girls - always looking from a kitchen doorway at them while they dined, only speaking to them in false conversations around the dinner table where everyone had to be polite because they were In public. Watching women on dates, women be proposed to, women meeting with their friends over cake.

Nineteen years like that. One year on the ocean with Nami and Robin, who Sanji was starting to realize he had learned nothing about. Two years on Kamabakka where there were, once again, no real women.

He continued to watch Zoya and Usopp, almost entranced. There... There might really be something wrong with the way he looked at them, huh?

"Hey, Brook..." Sanji started.

Brook turned his head slightly to side in acknowledgment, being unable to simply glance over with no eyeballs. "Yes?"

Sanji paused, thought about what exactly he wanted to ask. "Do you know where Robin learned that song she sung at our last dance party?"

"Ah," Brook hummed. "She used to have a music class when she was a young girl. I believe that song was her teacher's favorite?"

Brook knew. Brook knew where she had learned that song because he had talked to her, and she had told him. What a novel fucking idea.

Sanji sat there for a while, considering. An inflexible misogynist, huh?

He stood up, heading towards the library. There, where he'd hoped she'd be, sat beautiful Nami, frowning in her favorite chair with her hand propping her chin up.

"Hey, Nami-swan," he asked, the navigator raising an eyebrow at his entrance. He stopped again, fishing around for the right thing to say, the right question to ask. He ended up with "What was your favorite toy when you were little?"

Her elegant features twisted into something dumbfounded. "Uh, I had a stuffed pig named Guinness. He was brothers with Nojiko's sad donkey, Modelo." She shook her head, orange curls bouncing sexily on her shoulders at the action. "But nevermind about that – I think that son of a bitch Torao fucked our captain!"

The bar was called La Voison's Revenge, and as far as Law was concerned it was the worst bar in the entire known universe. This was not actually the case; Law had simply become quite biased over the course of two afternoons.

He had also, over the course of this very afternoon, become drunk. Not extraordinarily so, but. Probably definitely drunkish. Which didn't really matter, seeing as he was clearly being stood up again.

This was the problem with making plans with information brokers – they were always so secretive and gave you huge fucking windows of time to wait around while they decide if you're worth their time. And Law had another two hours to wait around, and he just wanted to go home to his ship and touch Luffy's thighs but unfortunately he couldn't. Because the fucking four months spent waiting around Punk Hazard and the loss of that handy Warlord status had left him with only two contacts left, and the one that actually showed up on time was the one who was on the wrong side of the Grand Line.

He'd need to go back to doing this kind of work on his own. He'd been trained in covert operations, knew how to information gather – it was just a huge pain in the ass with a shiny yellow submarine and 400 million berry bounty on his tattooed ass (2).

But whether or not Coyote showed up with intel on Big Mam and Kaidou, Law would still need a plan of action after this. They'd have to get out of Throat Bayou after tomorrow – it was absurdly dangerous to stay in one place too long with the amount of people after their asses, and almost equally dangerous to keep sailing together. Law would have to come up with a plan based on whether this asshole appeared, and then the morning after next the Revolver and Thousand Sunny would be sailing in opposite directions.

Law sat back on his bar stool, swirling the glass of Dybbuk Spit in his hand. He downed the rest in one gulp – the shit tasted too much like liquid STDs to let linger on your tongue, but by now Law had already tried all the higher-quality liquors in this bar and found them rather lacking, and had ended up settling for efficiency.

Behind him, the same table of dock workers form yesterday was singing another sea shanty, this time from West Blue. Law knew that because he knew the song, but. How did he know this song, again? Where had he heard it before?

Ahhhhhh. Cora-san. Any time he wasn't absolutely silent he had preferred to make as much constant noise as possible as if to make up for it. He had constantly been humming or singing, and Law had suspected at the time is was just to remind himself of the sound of his own voice, so long he spent without using it.

"I stumbled 'round the corner to the tavern on the square, and heard a raucous ruckus as it rang!" The crewmen sang, and either they were more on-key than yesterday or Law was buzzed enough to not notice their failure.

"...From some foul inebriates, some men I used to call my mates were lost in song and this is what they sang..." Law mumbled along with the next verse, idly running his finger over the rim of his empty glass.

"Aaahn? Is that Trafalgar Law?" A deep and unfamiliar voice said from behind him, Law reflexively kicking Kikoku into his hand as he craned his head towards the doorway.

Was that... "Motherfucking Crocodile," Law said, tipping his hat in greeting.

"Oh? Are we so familiar that I've already earned that kind of ire?" the ex-Warlord stepped into the bar proper, Daz Bones following in at his heel and propping himself against a wall by the door.

"Not at all. I've simply heard you referred to that way so many times, I assumed it was part of your title," Law offered with an easy smirk.

Crocodile laughed crookedly, sitting in the stool next to Law's. "That's Sir Motherfucking Crocodile, then, thank you." He held up two fingers for the bartender, and when they delivered, slid the second glass towards Law.

The doctor rose one eyebrow. "And what have I done to earn this if we are so unacquainted?"

Crocodile lifted his own glass to his face, the rings on his fingers glinting flashily in the artificial lighting of the bar. "Donquixote Doflamingo," he stated simply, taking a drink long enough to drain a quarter of his glass. "I fucking hate that guy."

Law laughed, picking up his own. "I'll certainly drink to that."

"Ahn," Crocodile slipped a cigar in his mouth and lit it, leaving it clenched between his teeth. "Everyone's heard about what you and Mugiwara did to Dressrosa. I figured getting me in and out of Impel Down evened itself out, but as much as I hate the thought it looks like I ended up owing the Strawhat anyway."

"You're telling me," Law took a sip of the drink – more venereal swill. Apparently it was the house special. "I sailed all the way in and out of Marineford and physically saved his life with my hands inside body, and by the end of Dressrosa I still ended up owing him more."

"Sounds about right," Crocodile took a sip of his drink out of one side of his mouth in a manner bespeaking of a man who simply did not have a free hand with which to hold his cigar. "Say, tell me. How is Nico Robin doing?"

The surgeon thought about that question. "Beautiful, terrifying, and iridescently happy," he answered after a moment.

Crocodile seemed satisfied by the answer. "Finest woman I ever met," he stated, blowing a stream of smoke into the bar.

"Hey," Daz Bones called attention to himself. "Next time you see that Roronoa, tell him..." He paused, and his brows lightly furrowed. Then, he gave a decisive thumbs up, and said. "Tell him that for me."

Law just stared. "Okay, how about instead of me passing a gesture on for you, you go find him and do it yourself? He's somewhere in town." At least, he was if anyone ever did find him and Luffy. Last Law knew no one had seen either one in hours, Lord knew if they'd even survived the swamps.

"Hell yeah," Daz pushed himself off the wall he was leaning against. "I'm getting drunk with that asshole."

Crocodile watched him go, looking lightly entertained. "Try not to get into any sword fights until you're sober," he drawled. "It's best to stick to fistfights when you're drunk."

The other man just waved him off. "I know what I'm doing."

"So anyway," Crocodile grinned, turning back to talk to Law. "How'd you even end up allied with a madman like him in the first place? That really seemed like it was gonna be a good idea?"

Law resisted the urge to groan piteously into his whiskey. "That. That." He rubbed at his closed eyelids. "I had a plan, on it's own, and it was probably even going to work. But. Then, coincidentally, the Strawhat pirates all showed up, and they were gonna either probably ruin everything, or, I could try to use them to speed up the plan down to around a week."

Crocodile smirked. "How'd that go for you, then?"

"Well, considering the original plan was for Kaidou to kill Doflamingo without knowing I was involved," Law drawled, dumping the last contents of the glass into his body while trying not to let it touch his tongue. "Pretty good, actually. Luffy-ya's version was much more satisfying."

The other man barked out a laugh. "Certainly more his style, as I recall."

"As we all recall." Law leaned back in his seat. "Of course, now I have to deal with Kaidou myself." He paused, a thought occurring to him. "And Big Mam; I forgot I kept that clown everybody hates so much. Luffy-ya's got some beef with her too, that might carry over to me. Actually, if it does, does that mean his fight with Blackbeard applies to me, too?"

"Ch'" Crocodile scoffed around his cigar. "As far as Blackbeard is concerned, I'd just as soon kill that dirty fuck myself." He took another drink of his own. "But if you run into him and he decides it does carry, that's three of the four emperors whose toes you've stepped on. And all in what, less than a week? That's pretty good." He held up his glass in a little salute, and then drained it.

"And you got your crime organization disbanded and dumped in Impel Down in what, a week?" Law smirked back. "Two shots of Witch Piss," he called at the bartender,who delivered.

"Yeah, fuck you, too." Crocodile took a sip of his delivered glass, wincing. "Shit, this tastes like genital burning."

Law snickered into his own shot. "Everything here tastes like that, there's no getting around it," he said easily, pouring the contents into his throat quickly. "But fortunately by the third glass or so your tongue goes kind of numb, so the taste stops bothering you." He smirked, flickering his eyebrows playfully.

Crocodile's response was to snort around his cigar and empty his shot. "Well, on the plus side? If you and Mugiwara do live, that means there will be three empty Emperor seats for it," he grinned, a deep huff of smoke escaping his stretched lips. "Might take one of those for myself, if the timing's right."

Law, through the haze of cheap alcohol swirling his brain, considered this statement. Emperor, huh... Well, it wasn't like he had a real plan of his own, right? He'd already beaten Doflamingo, so his actual life's work was already pretty much wrapped up. Doflamingo, who had only ever reached the title of Warlord. And ohhhhh, wasn't that a nice thought? Claiming a title even greater than anything that man could achieve?

Oh, yes. Law liked that thought. "Not a bad idea at all," he grinned, tapping his empty glass against the other ex-Warlord's. A thought occurred to him, suddenly. "Ah," he wondered, thinking of Luffy and leaning one elbow onto the bar. "But will there still even need to be four emperors if there's a Pirate King?"

Crocodile glanced over at him without turning his head, one thin eyebrow raised.

Law said nothing; waving the bartender over for another refill.

"You know," Crocodile drawled as the bartender set a new glass in front of Trafalgar. "There was another rumor I heard going around. I didn't put much stock into it at the time," he began, stopping for a moment to curl his lips around his cigar and take in a breath of smoke.

Law picked up his new glass and held it to his lips, ghosting the word "Oh?" into the rim.

"I did happen to hear that you and 'Luffy-ya' were sleeping together." The words escaped into the bar in a cloud of smoke.

They didn't come as a real surprise, though. "God damn it," Law cursed against the glass. "How do people keep finding this shit out so fast?" That damned newspaper about their alliance had come out the next morning, and now motherfucking Crocodile of all people knew about their sex life before they'd even gone all way? That one wasn't even fair.

The burst of laughter from Crocodile was loud enough to startle the guy wallowing at the end of the bar into looking at them. "Seriously?" he said incredulously, "I can't even imagine that guy having a sexuality!"

Law shrugged, deciding the appropriate thing to go for here was probably nonchalance. "He's made of rubber. I do not understand how I'm the only one who has considered how that could be sexy. It was literally the first thing that I thought of when we met in Shaobody; how fuckable that shit is. He can bend like. ANYTHING."

Crocodile's face warped into a disgusted grimace. "For fuck's sake, don't make me imagine you plowing the Mugiwara! I still need to sleep tonight, damn it." At this point, the bartender hadn't even wandered off yet- was just waiting in front of the two of them for Crocodile to order another.

"You are the one who brought it up," Law argued, pointing at the other man with the one finger not curled around his cup - which, when had he emptied another? Hadn't this just been full? "I have been perfectly fine not talking about this to anyone until now." He paused. "I have also been significantly more sober than I am at this moment, though."

"I can tell you're drunk, you've gotten unnecessarily articulate."

"I can tell you're a bitch 'cuz of that look on your face," Law argued back logically, to Crocodile's great entertainment. The bartender also looked mildly amused, he noted foggily as he stared at the bright blue polish glinting off of her nails as one thin hand slid another glass into his hand. Why was he being handed this. Had he ordered this? It seemed plausible. He took a sip. "How'd you hear about... me and that, anyway? Were you gossiping like a teenage girl, Sir Motherfucking Crocodile?"

The older man seemed to be taking a perverse delight in the unfortunate state of Law's inebriation, not even touching his own glass anymore. "When that newspaper about you two taking down Doflamingo came out, just a few days after the one about your alliance was published. I heard more than one person snickering the idea to a friend in the town I was in."

"How many is more than one?"

"Two."

"That is more than one," Law agreed sagely. "Well that's fine, then. Since that was before we were even..." He paused, trying to figure out the word he wanted. 'Fucking' was sort of a lie, 'dating' was a lame and terrible word... What other words existed? "...Yet," he finished lamely.

Crocodile was actively grinning now. "How much did you drink before I got here, Trafalgar?"

Law thought about that. The answer was higher than it should be. "Fuck, I probably owe her so much money."

The bartender shrugged, smiling. "Not really - this shit's pretty much dirt cheap."

"Well, that's something at least." Law used both hands to brace himself on the bar's edge, pushing himself off and standing up. Oh shit - yeah, he was definitely drunk. "I think I need to go home now," Law said firmly, giving his head a few seconds to stop spinning before he grabbed his sword. "How much of my money am I supposed to give you for this transaction? Include the tip so I don't have to do math, please."

Crocodile laughed. "What say I cover this tab, and then also not ever tell anyone about tonight, and we'll call that Doflamingo thing a square deal?"

Law nodded. "I appreciate that. There is a slight chance I've said something stupid."

--

He had to say, Crocodile hadn't expected to have such a good night. Meeting Trafalgar had been an entertaining surprise, and when he paid the bill he found it was indeed, dirt-ass cheap. But the highlight of the night of course, was when she walked in.

Like something out of a Noire detective novel, when Nico Robin walked into the bar all eyes turned to her. She strolled in in a flutter of skirt swirling around her ankles, the open slit down the side revealing a flash of long leg with each step, and walked straight towards him.

"My, my," she smiled as she slid into the seat Trafalgar had vacated just a few minutes before. "If it isn't Sir Motherfucking Crocodile," she said, a hint of teasing in her voice.

"That's what they call me," He returned, trying not to show surprise at her arrival. To the bartender, he called "Tequila Mockingbird."

"You do know me too well," she said softly, her favorite secretive smile playing across her thin lips. When the girl behind the bar finished mixing her drink and set it front of her, Miss All-Sunday picked it up and began, "So. I've heard some pretty amusing things from my captain..."

Crocodile tried not to groan. "'Amusing', I'll bet." He pulled out a new cigar, his last one having long been snuffed out. "Look, in regards to that war, I had the same motivation of anyone else there. It wasn't about Mugiwara, or even Firefist by the end of it." He took a long drag of the cigar, letting the smoke swirl in his mouth before it escaped with his next words. "Every single pirate in the world wanted those two to make it out of there alive. I'm sure even your weird boy Trafalgar felt the same back then."

Robin laughed, a soft tinkling sound, and Crocodile had to force himself not to stare at the sight. "I'm quite certain," she agreed, taking the straw between her lips to suck in a drink of her cocktail. "Nonetheless, it pleased me to hear," she said cryptically. She leaned over in her seat towards him with a conspiritory glint in her eye, and his eye naturally followed the path of one of her long strands of hair as it fell off her shoulder in front of her breast. "But if you want to know about the really interesting things I heard about you, that would be when I spent a bit of time with the Revolutionary Army. Such amusing friends I made there!"

He raised one eyebrow in confusion. "Revolutio-" Crocodile's word was cut off by the horror that fell over his face. "Oh dear God. You don't mean-"

She chuckled lightly, leaning back on the stool once more and taking another sip of her drink. "I could only meet Iva-san for a short time, but when he realized I knew you he had quite a few fun things to say!"

Crocodile slapped his hand over his face, groaning into his palm. "Oh sweet Jesus, is there no mercy in this world?"

"Sure there is," there was of course, no hiding the laughter still in her voice, but the feeling of one of her delicate ankles running up the length of his calf was more than enough to make him look up again. "I just couldn't help but tease you a little when the chance comes up, you know?"

Nico Robin was still sitting prettily in the stool with her cocktail in one hand, and would look perfectly innocent if not for the spare hand that had appeared out of the leg of his barstool to rest meaningfully on his thigh.

Well. So that's what she had shown up for. He wasn't really surprised - Nico Robin was a woman who knew what she wanted and took it; always had been. It made just as much sense as anything in regards to reasons why she'd seek him out, after all.

"I see," Crocodile twisted the tip of his still-fresh cigar into the nearby ashtray on the bar top. "So that's how it is."

"I am a grown woman, after all," she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "If I'm going to go out of my way to relieve tension, then I don't want to go wasting my time training in little boys."

Crocodile grinned. A straightforward answer in exactly the style he liked best about her. They were both adults here, weren't they? "Well, then I'd say we should take this somewhere a bit more private."

"We have rooms for rent available upstairs," The bartender offered suddenly, startling both of them into looking at her. The girl fidgeted. "We charge nightly or hourly?"

Robin and Crocodile looked at each other for a moment, then she shrugged and placed her still-half full glass onto the counter top and stood. "How convenient," she said, and waltzed towards the staircase, casting an enticing look over her shoulder at him as she left.

"Dude, you better tip me well, I just got you SO laid."

The scowl he sent the bar girl could have melted iron. She held up her hands defensively. "Well where were YOU gonna take her? You're dressed like some kind of pirate pimp, I bet your ship has leopard print sheets and reeks like manstank."

He stood up abruptly, slamming money onto the counter and grabbing the key she handed him in return. He absolutely did NOT have leopard print sheets. But. The whole ship did smell enough like stale cigar smoke to choke a horse, so. Bitch might have a point.


 

Her skin was paler now than he last remembered. He hadn't been sure he liked it at first, having loved the way the time spent in the desert sun with him had painted her skin in sepia, but when he saw the way the moonlight made her pale body glow, he could find nothing to complain about.

Getting her naked had been like unwrapping a present. Slowly peeling down the zipper of her shirt, rubbing his thumb lightly over the scar he'd left right between her breasts, usually concealed by the swell of her cleavage. If he knew her as well as he thought he did, then she wouldn't bear a grudge for it. They'd both known it had been nothing personal to it - not stabbing her after she'd lied would have just been bad business sense. And when he'd touched the pad of his finger to that off-white patch of skin, her only response had been to raise an eyebrow as if to say 'Really? That's what your interested in touching right now?' and he took it as an invitation to slide his hand over and fondle her left breast, leaning down to press a kiss against her neck at the same time.

Robin hummed a pleased breath of air at that, and Crocodile decided that she had been right about the merits of a partner whose body you already knew. She tossed her head to the side a little, a fountain of inky black hair tumbling to one side to expose her neck better, and he smiled against the pale skin of her throat. Woman certainly always did know what she wanted, didn't she?

A small hand pressed against his chest to push him backwards, but he knew what the gesture meant and stepped backwards towards the bed, his left arm looping around her torso to press the metal base of his hook against the small of her back to drag her with him. She had, of course, more than enough hands to be able to unbutton his shirt as they went, and also dig her fingers into his hair to keep his head attending her throat, and also grip his bicep, and also peel the her shirt of the rest of the way and drop it to the floor, because Nico Robin was the best thing to ever happen to the entire planet.

By the time he sat down on the bed with her slim body between his legs they were both shirtless, her soft breasts pressed flush against his chest. His trail of kisses and licks and bites moved down her neck towards her collarbone, and one of the two hands she normally had on her wound long fingers into the strands of his hair, tightening her hold when his mouth reached her right breast. She sighed, and he felt the long threads of her own hair fall down onto his shoulder as she leaned forward into the feeling of his tongue on her nipple.

He used his good hand to untie the knot on her skirt, and when the fabric fell to the floor her right hand slid down his bicep down the path of his arm, pulling it from where it was still wound around her waist to let it fall to the side, stepped backwards by just one step. When he looked up at her face, if was flushed red and glowing mischievously, her pretty pink tongue poking out to lick at her lips just the slightest bit.

He raised an eyebrow. She smiled, and very deliberately, pushed at his left arm until it fell between her long legs. His eyes fell downwards the path of her body, from her neck down past her breasts, below where white panties tightly clung to her hips, to where his hook fell between her knees, the gold glinting slightly in the light form the window.

Crocodile grinned. "You dirty little thing," he praised, and pulled her down to finally get a kiss onto those perfect lips while he reached up with his left arm to press the rounded bend of his hook up against her panties. She sighed into the kiss, winding her arms around his neck and rocking her hips downward, into the motion of his carefully maneuvering his artificial limb just so to be able to part her lips through the fabric of her underwear and settle the outward curve of the metal perfectly against her cunt to ride.

The most beautiful sound rumbled out of her throat, and he pulled away from her mouth that he might be able to hear the slightest hints of voice she let fall from her lips as they worked against each other, softly grinding his hook against her clit. She didn't make much noise, never had. Made the soft gasps and tiny moans she did let him have all the better, though - would prefer one little sigh from Nico Robin over the screams of any woman, truth be told. Every little hitch in her breath was its own reward - proof that he was getting to her, cracking that perfect veneer just enough to let him know she was feeling good.

If they had more time, he'd have liked to make her come like that - soak through her cute white panties and taste the wet trails she left behind on the metal of his limb- but she was already pulling away again. She back away just far enough to pull the underwear off her hips and step out of them, a second pair of arms coming out of the bedspread below Crocodile to unbuckle his pants.

"Subtle," he teased, his right hand reaching out to stroke a lock of hair over her shoulder from where it had fallen in front of her breast.

Robin just smiled her favorite smile, but she looked the slightest bit out of breath. "I'm a master of subtlety," she climbed onto his lap.

He put a steadying hand on her hip, leaning back to brace their combined weight on his right elbow, planting the arm against the bedspread. It took only a few more moments to fumble his pants open between their bodies, and then she was shifting her hips and slipping his cock easily into the wet heat of her body.

She sighed again, a hum of contentment as her cunt swallowed him down to the base, grinding her hips in the the slightest little circles and tossing her head back. She might have taken more time to enjoy the familiar stretch of being filled, but he didn't give her time to adjust before he was moving, the hand on her hip curling into a steadying grip as he withdrew just enough to be able to start fucking up into her.

He was rewarded with a moan, soft and pleased and real, and Robin started to roll her hips down to meet his. They rocked against each other like that for a while, Robin content to let him set the pace as she lazily swiveled her own, not bothering to try to match rhythms as much as luxuriate in roll of their bodies.

And then she leaned backwards, an extra pair of arms blossoming out of her back to brace against the bed as she picked up the pace, leaning her weight into the motion as she worked her hips harder to take in as much of his cock as possible. Crocodile kept his the push of his own hips in the same steady cant as before, grinning to himself as he watched Nico Robin squint her eyes closed in pleasure, panting loudly out of her open mouth and large breasts bouncing with her rhythm.

He could feel her thigh start to shake under his good hand, which meant she was either getting tired and about to slow down or about four seconds away from coming. Either way, Crocodile took that as his signal, and the grip on her pretty white hip turned bruising as he sped up, plowing into her wet cunt hard enough to make her breath hitch with every thrust like he was fucking the air out of her lungs.

She pushed herself forward again, enough to fall against his chest, and he changed the hold his right hand had from her hip to grope at her ass, fingers squeezing the flesh and steadying the increasingly erratic movements of her hips as she came closer to climaxing.

One of her hands dug into the bedspread underneath them, fingers curling the sheets into knots as her other hand clawed red streaks into his shoulder. Nico Robin didn't tend to make any actual noise when she came - she really couldn't, considering she usually stopped breathing for most of the duration of her orgasm. No, Robin didn't make any sound. Instead, her entire body talked for her. Every muscle in her body tensed up, from her shoulders down the the curl of her toes. And then, she began to writhe, body twisting and twitching as she gasped repeatedly, like the air just wouldn't reach her lungs - before finally, she relaxed, six feet of the sexiest woman in the world(3) melting in Crocodile's lap.

He wanted, right now, to push her onto her back and flips her legs over his shoulder so he could fuck her properly. Maybe bend her over - just roll her onto her stomach on the bed and shove his dick back into the tight, inviting heat of her body. he wanted to - well, he wanted to not pull out and thrust against her thigh until he came, but that is exactly what he did do. And then, quite belatedly, remembered he was still wearing pants, which he had probably just ruined with his jizz. Robin hummed in contentment, sliding off of his lap rolling onto her back on the bed, where, completely unconcerned by anything, she reached one lazy hand down to stroke herself between her legs, for no other reason than to enjoy the pressure of her own fingers.

Whatever, he could just buy new pants. You can't buy a sight like that.


 

Penguin yawned, trudging his way through the submarine towards the Captain's cabin. He still needed to talk to Sanji about plans for tomorrow – it seemed like everyone wanted to leave within the next day or so, but until then he didn't want to keep just winging all the meals randomly like they'd been doing today. As for right now, though, Captain had called to plead that Penguin save him from the perils of his own stupidity, and was thus on his way to Law's room with his hangover remedy.

What he found was the pathetic sight of Law stretched out across his bed, groaning miserably from where his face was pressed against Luffy's thigh while his boyfriend ran small hands through his hair with a look on his face Penguin could only describe as 'affectionate pity.' "Hey, Pen-guy," He greeted. "Sorry about this, but silly Torao came in all useless drunk, and I sorta still need to use him tomorrow."

The cook just waved a dismissive hand. "It's fine, I was still in the kitchen anyway." He gestured to the large glass of unpleasantly green liquid in his hand. "C'mon, Captain, you gotta sit up and stay awake long enough to drink all of this."

"'M gonna hurl," he muttered into Mugiwara's bare leg, because the boy was only wearing a conspicuously yellow over sized shirt, the origins of which Penguin could not possibly begin to guess, and apparently nothing else.

"Yeaaahhhhh, you are going to throw up a lot, sir." Penguin agreed, waiting for Luffy to help prop up his drunk captain before handing over the glass. Law had barely swallowed a single sip of the concoction before he was falling off the bed trying to reach his garbage can, immediately vomiting into it. Luffy patted his back.

"Yeah, exactly," Penguin observed. "So, make sure Captain drinks all of this, and then once he's done emptying his stomach into his trashcan, you'll need to give him these with a glass of water," he said, placing two little white pills on the desk.

"Got it," Luffy answered, rubbing little circles into Law's shoulder where the older pirate was still hunched over his bin. "C'mon, Torao, have another drink of this weird stuff so you can puke it back up."

"I'm gonna die," Law groaned miserably, not lifting his face from the can.

"No, you're not," Luffy reassured, pulling Law up by the shoulder and holding the glass to his mouth. "'Cause I'm here, and I'm gonna take care of you so tomorrow we can go outside in the light of day without your head splitting open."

Law spilled more of the remedy down his throat, eyes squeezed shut and face warped into a disgusted grimace. When he pushed the cup away, Penguin and Luffy both waited. Law also waited.

"I think... I think I'm good," Law said, hesitantly.

Penguin raised an eyebrow. "You're good? You're good as in you aren't about to throw up?"

"Yeah, I feel pretty good. I think I got this."

Luffy and Penguin waited for a beat. Law bent over and puked into the garbage can again.

"Thought that might be the case," the cook observed mildly.

Law moaned wretchedly, his voice echoing a bit from inside the garbage bin. "Ohhhhhh my Gooooodddd. How does this keep happening? Why do you always see me at my most pathetic? I swear to god I used to be cool, Luffy-ya. M'not just the loser you keep hanging out with."

"Awww, Torao, it's okay," Luffy looked a little bit like he was trying to politely smother a laugh behind Law's back. "This is just what a relationship is! You might not have thought much of it at the time, but you've seen my at my worst, too, remember? I'm supposed to be here when you're at your most pathetic. So I can help you get through it and back to less embarrassing times."

"You're too good for me," Law lamented, still face-first in a trashcan full of his own bile. "I love you so much."

"I know you do, Torao, and I love you, too." Luffy said, comfortingly. "I just wished you'd picked a better time than right now to say it."

"Fuck!" Law swore. "Me too. How am I so BAD at this?!"

Luffy really did start laughing at that, pressing his face into the back of Law's shoulder while his partner shoved the trashcan away so he could bury his face in his own hands.

Penguin backed out of the room, closing the door behind him as quietly as possible.

However bizarre their relationship was, Penguin reasoned, Luffy would take care of his captain.

But for now he still needed to worry about goddamned breakfast for tomorrow, so Penguin still had shit to do. Off to the Thousand Sunny for him.

Sanji was still in the kitchen like he'd expected, but it seemed like he was on his way out the door. "Oh, hey man," he scratched at the back of his head. "I already pretty much did most of the prep work for tomorrow. Sorry you came over here for nothing."

"Well, I can't exactly say no to doing less work," Penguin shrugged. "But, do you have anything thawing that's gonna be nice and greasy? Captain's all drunk right now, gonna need to soak up the last remnants of tomorrow's hangover with like. Well, I know he'll eat bacon."

Sanji's face immediately warped into a scowl. "And tonight he's drunk. I fucking hate Trafalgar Law."

"If it makes you feel any better, the last I saw him he was somewhere in the area of hurling into a garbage can apologizing to your captain for being a terrible boyfriend."

"...That does help, actually." Sanji went to the freezer to pull out some fatty, low quality bacon he'd probably been planning on dumping into his garbage disposal of a captain. Well, not that Luffy wouldn't be eating any.

"So, um." Penguin started while the blond kicked the freezer door shut and tossed the frozen meat into the sink. "What happened to your wrist, anyway?"

Sanji looked at the bandages on his hand and clicked his tongue. "I had the displeasure of learning Miss Mag is a biter when aggravated."

Penguin's eyebrows shot up to his hairline. "She BIT you? What the hell did you do to get her to BITE you of all things? I know she starts a lot of fights, but. This seems like new territory, right here?"

"Apparently," Sanji hissed, "it was because I'm an inflexible, closed-minded misogynistic bitch-boy."

"Uh," Penguin gaped, opening his mouth for a few seconds, no words falling out. "Um. Oh. Whoops?"

Sanji walked past him, "Yes. That has been my day. So if you will excuse me, I think I'd like to go to bed and try to sleep off my entire life."

"Aw, geeze," Penguin rushed to follow after the chef as he walked out the door. "Look, I'm sorry about the stuff I said this morning, I didn't mean to go off on you like that." He could admit to himself at least that he'd been projecting his own frustrations onto the guy. Yeah, Sanji's closed-mindedness and the whole 'ladies' thing were faults, but he didn't deserve to be literally torn apart by teeth just for being kind of a douchebag. They probably should have tried harder to keep he and Mag away from each other to begin with, if anyone had really thought about it they might have realized guys like Sanji rile her up more than anything...

"Well, don't be." Sanji shrugged, impressively managing to remove all traces of nonchalance the gesture inherently carried. "Because it turns out you were right, after all. I was talking to Nami-swan today and apparently everyone already knew all along about how gay Zoro was, include fucking Luffy, it was just ME who didn't goddamned notice. So. Top off the day with an extra 'fuck you.'"

Crap, Penguin felt so bad about this. He hadn't been trying to contribute to the complete freakin' ruination of Sanji's day, he just wanted to. Make him open his eyes a little. Fuck, he felt so bad now! Sanji-san spent all day cooking, was constantly taking care of his crew and even finding the time to teach Penguin how to be better at a job he should already have mastered by now. Sanji was such an amazing person, and Penguin just... Just wanted to be able to do something for him, to take of him the way he took care of the Strawhats... There had to be something he could do, something he could say before Sanji really did just leave to be alone and all miserable...

"Can- Can I give you a foot rub?!" Penguin shouted at Sanji's retreating back.

Fuck. Fuck fuck fucking fuckity- what the FUCK, Penguin, you are SO DUMB! HOW DID YOU LET THOSE WORDS COME OUT OF YOUR MOUTH?

The other chef slowly turned around, his one visible eyebrow raised so high it reached his hairline. "Excuse me?"

"Fuck." Now would be a good time for like, Marines to suddenly show up and shoot him In the face. That would be really convenient. "I didn't mean it in like – a perverted way, that came out so completely wrong, I'm so stupid. I swear to God I don't have a foot fetish!" Why, Penguin? Why is everything you say so terrible? Why do you keep talking when everything you say to him is the worst possible thing you could say?

Sanji's eyebrow remained rooted to his hairline, but now it was twisted into a furrow that clearly asked if there was something perhaps wrong with Penguin's brain. Which, obviously, there was. "Then what did you mean?"

Oh, thank Christ he was being given a chance to take his foot out of his mouth. He took a deep breath, though about how he was gonna say this. Took off his hat so he'd have something to wring in his hands. "Okay, It's just that. I felt bad about the telling you off bit, even if it was true and not even the worst part of your day. And I was thinking I wanted to be able to do something nice for you, since you've already taught me so much about cooking and motivated me and stuff and you were walking away so I said the first thing I could think of which was because I'm an idiot and also I kinda figured your feet must hurt?"

Sanji blinked at him. Rolled his cigarette from one corner of his mouth to the other. Thought for a moment. And then finally, said "Okay."

Now it was Penguin's turn to blink. "Seriously?"

Sanji took the cig out of his mouth, blew a final breath of smoke into the air, and shrugged. "Yeah, sure." He snuffed the cigarette out. "I'm supposed to be more open-minded, right? And quite generally, I've had a shit night, and you're right. My feet DO hurt. I'm gonna say fuck it all and take you up on that."

Penguin's jaw dropped open a little, his face flushing red. Oh, shit, he hadn't expected that! Was this good luck or bad?! He didn't even know! "UHHHH I- I -uh – I'm uh- THANK YOU!"

Sanji raised his eyebrow a bit, shaking his head. "Riiiight. You're lucky I'm already used to weirdos."

Zoro yawned, wide and loud, as he hobbled through the Thousand Sunny to find an empty hammock to pass out in. It'd been a pretty good night, by his standards. After Nami had sent Bepo to fetch him and the captain out of the swampland they were wandering circles through, he'd been run into Daz Bones of all fucking people and spent the rest of the night drinking and getting into bar fights with the guy. So, obviously, an awesome time was had.

Until, on his way down to the men's bunk to crash out for the night, he passed by the Aquarium Bar. Whereupon inside, for some UNGODLY reason, there sat Sanji on one end of the couch, legs stretched out to the other side where the Heart Pirate's little pissant cook sat with one of Sanji's bare feet in his lap.

"Oh, what the FUCK." Zoro complained, more for the sake of cursing than any kind of actual desire to be heard. He was though, and he only really cared as far as the fact that the shit-chef had the decency to look embarrassed.

Managed to twist it into indignant rage real quick, though, and he bit back "What the fuck's YOUR problem, Marimo? I'm not allowed to get a foot rub if someone offers?"

Zoro scoffed, trying not let his eye linger on the bare calf revealed by the rolled up leg black pinstripe pants. "I don't have any problem," he snarled. "It's got absolutely fucking nothing to do with me."

"You don't sound like it has nothing to do with you," Sanji hissed back, still red-faced but obviously more because he was pissed off than anything else.

"Why don't you just the fuck out of my face about it. I SAID I don't have any goddamned problem, except that I've had to look at your rat-ugly face this long!"

It was his little friend was starting to look more uncomfortable than anyone. "Uhhhhhh, you know what Maybe I should just head back!"

"No," Sanji refused. "You stay right there. You're not doing anything wrong, and if this asshole has something to say, he should just fucking come out and say it!"

Annoying ass stubborn son of a bitch! "FINE THEN," Zoro growled. "You're right! My problem ISN'T with him, it's with you!"

"Finally, we're getting somewhere!" Sanji goaded, now sitting completely upright on the couch to face Zoro while the Heart pirate tried to sneak away.

"Wow, you know, I really don't wanna be caught up the middle of... whatever kind of tension you two have going, here, so I'm just gonna-"

Zoro barely even noticed him, his world narrowing down to the white-hot knot of agitation the bastard chef could invoke just by existing. "You're so goddamned annoying all the time, you know that? Every minute of every day is devoted to worshiping the female form, and not even because Nami and Robin are incredible as people, but just because you like the way they can get your dick hard! Not that the way you talk to men is any better, since apparently we're all worthless scum not fit to lick Nami's feet and the only people you'll actually interact with like HUMANS are Chopper and, if you're feeling SUPER generous or bored, Usopp! So every second of every day, you're already irritating as all shit and back, and now you've only loosened up enough for me to walk in on you getting a goddamned foot rub from THIS jackass!"

"What the fuck does that even mean?" Sanji shot back, quick as a whip-crack. "It hasn't got anything to do with you, unless you're saying YOU wanna rub my feet!"

"WELL, MAYBE I DO!" The words had already left Zoro's mouth to hang awkwardly in the room like the stank of fish before it actually occurred to him what he'd just shouted.

Penguin stood up. "WOW. That was fun. I'm glad I was there for this, and nothing is weird here at all. Goodnight!" He walked out the door before either man even fully registered him, both of them still staring at each other with their jaws gaping like either one of them was actually gonna provide a decent answer here.

It was, eventually, Sanji that reacted first. His reaction was not what Zoro might have expected it to be. "Well, FINE! Do it, then!"

"What?!"

A long leg swept out towards Zoro as Sanji, red-faced as a cherry tomato and scowling haughtily, wriggled his toes with meaning. "Penguin only got to one foot before you scared him off. I still want my foot rub, damn it!"

Zoro stared at that appendage for a few seconds, his face twisting back into its default scowl. "WELL since I already said what I did, it looks like I haven't given myself any choice, now have I?!" He shouted like this was Sanji's fault and not his own stupid ass's. He trudged to the far end of the couch that Penguin had vacated and thudded heavily into the seat, reluctantly turning around to face the other man only once his bare foot was dropped into Zoro's lap.

It was... smaller in his hands than he'd expected. Zoro knew he and Sanji were about of a height, and knew that the blond was slimmer than him. It did make sense for Sanji's feet to be a bit smaller than Zoro's considering the difference in weight they had to carry; and they weren't even little feet or anything – Luffy's were way tinier, in comparison. Zoro supposed he must have expected them to be larger because he'd felt their kicks so many times – the guy could make a pinpoint strike with the ball of his foot feel like he'd caved in your whole torso.

Since he was pointedly not looking at Sanji right now, Zoro couldn't see that Sanji was also very deliberately not looking at him. "The ball and heel are pure callous and don't have much feeling, so you can probably just focus on the arch and toes," He muttered helpfully. Curious, Zoro tested the toughened skin, pinching at the heel and digging his thumb into the thick pad just below the big toe.

The sound Sanji made was enough to make Zoro look up, a sort of strangled whine the cook smothered under his hand. "Nevermind," he mumbled into his palm, still not looking at Zoro. "You seem to have a handle on this, carry on."

Zoro quickly dropped his eye back to the foot in his hands, careful not to let his gaze catch the sight of Sanji stretched out on a couch with one foot extended into Zoro's lap. Stupid sexy bastard. Whatever, he could do this. It would be weird, and it would be awkward, but fuck if the swordsman wasn't at least going to make this the best goddamned massage he'd ever given. And Roronoa Zoro had, in his life, given out an almost embarrassingly large number of foot massages by now. To Nami when he owed her money, to Robin when she'd mindfuck him into it without Zoro noticing, and of course to goddamned Perona, who would use any time Zoro was too injured to resume training (or stab her) to force him to be her personal doll and make him waltz and have tea parties and rub her feet, and by the end of two years she didn't even have to use her depressing ghost powers on him anymore because that hellhole was so boring hanging out with her had been the most excitement on the whole island. Of course, Sanji's feet weren't nearly close to small and delicate like all of the girls' had been, which meant Zoro could use as much pressure as he wanted without, oh say for example, being kicked in the face while Nami shouts that he's about to rip her toes off. So that was good.

But there was still no pretending this wasn't absolutely weird. The silence that hung in the air was probably the most awkward Zoro had ever had the displeasure to choke on, and he could feel his own face burning hot with embarrassment, nearly equal to Sanji's. All that fucking gonorrhea whiskey must have gone his head, after all, for him to open his stupid mouth like that now of all times. Just when he'd gotten so good at ignoring the cook altogether, too. He just had to get through this, preferably without actually looking at Sanji, and then they could both go back to largely pretending the other doesn't exist like normal.

"S-so what is it with that anyway?" Sanji sputtered after a while, apparently desperate to break the silence. "Guys and... my feet, I guess."

Zoro tried not to choke. "It's not your feet," he responded honestly. Shit, it wasn't like anything he said could possibly make this any worse, right? Just fucking tell the guy. "It's about your legs," he explain, indulging himself in just a moment of sweeping his right hand up and down the skin of his calf as an enunciation of his words.

"AH." Sanji squeaked, and Zoro couldn't help that he looked up at that, and they locked eyes for just a split second before the cook once again looked away towards the fish tank, mouth still covered by his hand. "I suppose that makes sense. To a guy attracted to other guys, my legs would be..." He trailed off awkwardly, bringing his other hand up so he could completely cover his face. "YEP. THIS IS NOT AWKWARD AT ALL."

"I don't know what you're talking about. This is clearly the smartest thing either of of us has done with our lives. I've never been more comfortable." Zoro said back with a perfect deadpan, enough to make Sanji snort an aborted laugh into his hands.

And then suddenly, like all the fight had been drained out of him at once, Sanji forced himself to relax, hands falling from his face with a deep sigh. "Just when I thought today wasn't gonna get any weirder," he sounded exhausted. "Then here we are."

"Here we are," Zoro agreed, deciding that at least now that he wasn't so tense the foot rub would be easier. He set to focus on his task, carefully prodding at the thick skin to test for the most sensitive areas. Massages were a lot easier if the person worked with you, let you know what the sore areas were. Perona had been pretty vocal, but Robin never said anything, so he'd ended up learning to read any little sign; a twitch of the toes here, a light sigh there. Sanji had been incredibly unhelpful while he was all tense, but now that he'd given up and relaxed into it, Zoro could pick up a bit more.

The heel was probably what hurt the most, right? It was the place most of his kicks landed with. Maybe if he just sort of dig his fingers in sides just where the callous turned back to normal skin hard enough... Sanji made another high whine, his hand once again flying up to cover his mouth. Zoro desperately ignored the reaction, telling himself that yes, good job, that meant this was the spot. Nothing else. He focused on running pressure all along that seam, then put both of his thumbs to the bottom of the heel and jabbed the hardened skin with as much force as he could. Which had apparently been the right amount, judging by the pleased little hum he could hear escape between Sanji's fingers. Well, of course he'd like it rough, right?

NOPE, wrong train of thought, let's just leave that where it lies. Zoro moved his thumbs upwards into the arch, not letting up on the pressure as worked the digits in small circles in the relatively softer flesh. And ignored the noise Sanji made. What noise? There was no sexy sighing noise! Just the sounds of a foot rub well executed. Yep.

The ball was nearly as tough as the heel, and Zoro concentrated the pressure on the seams where each toe met, before carefully moving upward to the bottom of the toes where they met the foot, using less pressure at the more sensitive joints. He was rewarded by Sanji biting out a sharp hiss of a curse, the word "Shit," breathed out in a tone so low it couldn't be read as anything but a compliment. Don't look up, Zoro told himself firmly. Just look at what you're doing. The toes, the toes were next, right? He started with the smallest, rolling the small digit in his fingertips, before pulling on it hard enough to hear a relieved crack. Sanji may have huffed out tiny bits of breath through his nose as Zoro did each toe, but he wouldn't know because of hard hard Zoro was currently not listening.

And then, Zoro reached the top of his foot, moving his hands around the soft flesh of Sanji's bare ankle and precisely massaging the sore tendons. And oh God, did Sanji moan. If Zoro didn't know better he'd have claimed the sound was deliberately and maliciously erotic, and took all of his will power not to look up and see what kind of face he must making right now. Just. Just concentrate on the goddamned foot rub, Zoro, you dumb fucking son of a bitch. Fuck, the bottom of his calf was hard as iron under his fingertips. There was no way Sanji would let him rub his legs, too, right?

"Why is your face all red!?" Sanji suddenly demanded loudly, breaking the spell of quiet that had fallen over the room. "Oh my god, do you have a boner right now!?"

"What? NO!" Zoro defended in a shout of his own. He had a semi. There was a DIFFERENCE. "I'm just humiliated on your behalf for all the sounds you've been making this whole time! It's like listening to the world's most boring porno!"

Sanji yanked his foot out of Zoro's hand, and whether his face was red from embarrassment or rage he couldn't tell. "YEP, I think this has gotten weird enough! We're done here!" He stood up abruptly.

"Thank Christ!" Zoro stood up, himself. "I'm going far away to a place that doesn't have any YOU around!"

"That sound just perfect to me!"

Zoro stormed off towards the crow's nest while Sanji went into the men's bunk, both of them red-faced and refusing to make any kind of eye or physical contact, each of them stomping until the other was out of sight.

Jeeeeesus. What the FUCK had just happened? Fuck. Whatever it was, now they were both going to be more on edge around each other than they'd ever been. Which Zoro wasn't even sure was POSSIBLE anymore.

Inanely, that was when Zoro remembered last night when Sanji had promised to play the piano for him. Unable to find any more suitable way to react, Zoro burst out laughing.

Penguin ruffled his hair awkwardly, trying to put the entire catastrophe that had been the last half hour out of his mind. Well, now he knew for sure where he stood with Sanji-san, right? With Roronoa Zoro mixed into whatever this was, Penguin didn't even stand half a chance. But he knew form the start it had been hopeless, he supposed.

At least back on his own ship he could forget the whole thing for a while. Well, until breakfast when he saw Sanji again, anyway.

Except that Penguin couldn't just go straight to sleep, because now he had to deal with this, apparently. "Kazu!" He shouted into the dark hallway, the radiologist scrambling from where he was lying on the floor in front of his door and answering with an automatic salute. "For fuck's sake, man, why are you sleeping in the hallway?"

The blond fidgeted mousily, not looking Penguin in the eye. "I- um. Sano and Gawaine and Buccha kicked my out of our room again, and normally I sleep in the infirmary when they do that, but I can't when Mag is already there so I just sport of... Gave up and lied down."

Penguin slapped his hand to his face. "Oh for the love of God. You can't just let them push you around like that, man!"

"Well," Kazu smiled, helpless and watery. "Last time I tried is also that time when I was pushed off the railing of the ship and broke my leg on the dock, so I figure it's best to just... Do what they say?"

The cook sighed. Why was everyone still such an asshole to this poor kid? They'd gotten Caesar Clown, he wasn't the newest member on the crew anymore! "Oh my god, it's like the whole stupid ship is a junior high!" He shook his head. "We'll get you switched into the room with Nue and Gabishi, they don't care enough to be assholes to you. But for right now, come on." Maybe they should like, force him to hang out with Mag and Gabishi more. Whenever those two went out they got into some kind of public brawl, maybe if Kazu got dragged into enough of them he'd actually learn how to fight.

Kazu perked up, following Penguin as he led them back down the hallway again towards the kitchen. "A lot of the time I can't sleep because of Shachi or Jean Bart, so I set up a cot in here when I wanna be alone," he explained, pulling a ratty mattress out of a thin cabinet stuffed between the fridge and wall and spreading it out on the narrow floor. "You can sleep here tonight, and if this shit keeps happening just. Come tell me, I'll give you the key and you can crash in here."

"Thank you so much!" Kazu said, bowing dramatically. "I can't tell you what this means to me!"

Penguin looked at the cot on the floor, one eyebrow raised. "It's. Literally the least I could do, so. No big deal."

But the radiologist shook his head quickly. "No, it's so much more than that! Out of everyone on the ship, you're the only one that's really been nice to me, you know? If it wasn't for you I'm not sure how long I could have lasted in this place." He was shaking a little, bending his head too low for Penguin to see his face. "I'm sorry for always causing you trouble, I know I'm a pathetic excuse for a pirate. But I really will get stronger, I swear! So until then, thank you for looking out for me!"

"Aw geeze," Penguin rubbed at the back of his head awkwardly. "It's really no big deal, the guys aren't assholes ALL the time! Er. Your welcome, I guess."

Kazu finally stood back up straight, beat-red in the face but beaming with pride. Been trying to say that for a while, hadn't he? Poor fucking brat. Penguin couldn't quite resist the urge, reached over and ruffled the blond hair. "Goodnight, Kazu." He said, only to see the kid smile like that simple gesture of faint affection was the highlight of his fucking life.

Penguin sauntered back to his own room in a better mood. Well, even little beats like that could be cute once a while, right?


 

The morning was a good one. Why wouldn't it be? It had been a great night. Daz Bones sat on a dock watching the sun rise over the waters, casting the world in early morning reds with a plate full of quail egg omelet on his lap. Behind him, Crocodile appeared, wearing half of last night's clothes and holding the rest on his arm as he stood next to his first and watched the sun come up.

"Did you get laid last night?"

A breath of cigar smoke wafted over Daz's head. "Yep."

"Nice. Me and Roronoa found a guy with scorpions for hands."

"Kick his ass?"

"You know it."

"Nice."

The stayed there for a while. Daz Bones took a bite out of his omelet. It was a fine damned breakfast, just the right amount of green pepper.

"The world's a crazy fucking place, isn't it?" Crocodile observed idly.

"I'd say so," Daz agreed.

"Seems to me like the only way to survive in a world this crazy is be pretty nuts yourself, huh?"

The faces of all the Shichibukai ran through his mind. He nodded. "Seems like it."

There was another beat of silence. Daz Bones finished the last bite of his omelet. Crocodile snuffed his cigar out on his hook, and declared: "Let's break Bon Clay out of prison."

Well. He'd never really liked that guy at all, but. He had to agree – the idea was downright insane. "If they didn't expect Mugiwara, they're sure as hell not going to expect us."

(1)Read: Gaydar.

(2) There was indeed, one tattoo on Law's ass. It was the image of a leopard attacking a large heart shape, inside which bore the words "I sold my balls to Benkei." Law had, to this day, no idea how he'd gotten this tattoo or who Benkei was, and and indeed only knew it existed because Bepo had read it aloud to him.

(3) Boa Hancock was, technically, the most beautiful woman in the world. However, she could not, in all honestly, also claim the title of sexiest due to the simple fact that it was a little impossible to be properly sexy when one did not have sex at all. In another lifetime far away, she and Luffy might have married, and the idea that they could even HAVE sex would never occur to either party for the entirety of their blissful joined lives.

 

Chapter Text

 

"Toraoooooo~" Luffy's voice sang, gently pulling Law out of sleep. "Torao, I let you sleep in, but if you don't wake up I'm gonna eat all the breakfast I brought up for you and this is the last of the bacon because I already ate the rest."

And in the haze of sleep and leftover liquor, the one and only thought that managed to surface in Law's mind was "You saved me bacon?" He mumbled into his pillow, "It really is love."

Luffy laughed, and Law finally raised his head enough to look at his small boyfriend, sitting on the edge of the bed with a plate by his knee. Carefully, Law sat himself up, testing the level and speed at which his head spun and finding it pleasingly steady. Well, they had designed that hangover tonic as a way to purge poison out of the body, so he should expect it to do its job well, but Law had always thought of hangovers as karma for being such a fool the night before and always expected one like some kind of divine retribution. Absent headache aside, he still felt gross as shit, though – his mouth tasted like acid roadkill and the shirt he was still wearing from yesterday was stiff like he'd sweat through the entire garment and then let it crust dry, and his pants were even worse. He ran a hand down his face, rubbing the sleep-sand out of his eyes and sighed, just a little. "Fuck."

"How ya feelin'?" Luffy asked, scooting carefully closer on the bed.

Law thought about that. "Surprisingly sound." He finally let his hand fall from his face, deciding the sunlight was probably not going to burn his retinas out. "You're wearing my shirt," he said dumbly as soon as Luffy registered in his sight. A shirt he hadn't worn in a while, bright yellow with his own jolly roger emblazoned on the front cheerfully. The sight of the sleeves, which had been short on Law but fell rightly about Luffy's wrists was what made him remember the last time he'd worn the sweater – in Shabaody. When they'd met.

"Yeah," Luffy admitted easily, trying to look like he wasn't still side-eyeing that bacon. "I was gonna try to seduce you last night but you were all worthless drunk, so." He shrugged.

Law blinked. Well, fuck, he thought. He looked down at Luffy's bare thighs. "Well, fuck," he said. Luffy gave up the pretense and stole a piece of bacon, shoving into his mouth unattractively. That helped a little, he guessed as he pulled the plate into his own lap and out of his boyfriend's thieving reach. Luffy shifted on the bed, and Law's eyes stayed glued to the way the movement slipped his legs farther apart than they'd been, revealing the soft insides of his thighs. Didn't help much, though, he amended. He shoved a piece of bacon into his mouth. "Did you eat breakfast downstairs with no pants on?"

Luffy looked down at his own legs. "Looks like it," he shrugged. "Whoops."

A sharp frown twisted across Law's face as the image settled in his brain. "No." He said firmly. "I can't tell you what to do on your own ship, but I don't want you wandering half-naked around my crew."

An impish smile was Luffy's response. "What, you decided to get all possessive and jealous and say you don't want other men looking at your lover?" he teased, breaking into a snicker.

Without warning, Law shoved himself forward off the headboard he was leaning against, one hand flying out to snatch Luffy's wrist into his grip as he pushed him down, his back hitting the soft bed. Their bodies pressed flushed together to pin down Luffy, Law loomed over his small boyfriend, enjoying the wide-eyed look of surprise Luffy wore under the shadow cast by Law's body. "Yeah," Law said, his voice dropped low and lips curved into a smirk of his own. "That's exactly what I decided, actually."

Luffy swallowed, unconsciously tipping his head back to expose more of his beautifully still-bruised throat. "Oh. That's fair, then."

"Mm-hm," Law hummed, leaning down to whisper directly into Luffy's ear. "But for right now," the hand that wasn't pinning Luffy's wrist to the mattress was suddenly on the outside of Luffy's bare thigh, gently parting it to fit his own hips in the space between Luffy's legs. "I am going to eat breakfast, and then I am going to take a shower," his hand didn't leave Luffy's skin, running his fingertips softly up and down the underside of the thigh down to the knee. "And then when I come back, I am going to lock this door," Law let his voice drop lower with each sentence, until he was little more than hissing into his lover's ear as he suddenly hiked Luffy's leg up to wrap around his own waist. "And I am going to fuck you until you're screaming my name."

The full body shiver he got from these words, Law decided, was it's own reward. He leaned back again, enjoying the red hue left on Luffy's face. "So until I come back," Law said letting go of the thin leg he'd wrapped himself "stop stealing my fucking bacon."

Luffy instantly split into a toothy grin, and the hand that Law wasn't pinning to the bed was suddenly between their faces shoving a fistful of bacon into Luffy's mouth. Which, how and when had he even? Law rolled off him, grabbing a pillow and shoving into Luffy's face as his dumb boyfriend cackled. Jesus Christ, why did he even want to fuck this person again?

Law got up, trying to decide if he wanted to change out of his dirty clothes just for breakfast. He bought the collar of his shirt up to his nose to smell, and deemed it acceptable for ten minutes of use when he planned on being naked for as much of the day as he could, when he noticed a scratching against his wrist. Curiously, he reached into his sleeve, pulling out a small slip of paper with befuddlement.

'Throat Bayou too hot for the Coyote

Losveros more hospitable this time of year ;)'

He stared at the paper. How and when the FUCK had that gotten in there? God, he'd been so absurdly drunk last night; how had he not noticed someone slip something into his – a flash of blue nailpolish splayed behind Law's eyelids, and he cursed. The bartender. Fuck, he hadn't even noticed, she must have been watching him both nights...

Law shook his head, crumpling up the paper. Well, whatever. This was good news, ultimately. Even if this shitty info broker was sending him on a goose chase, it was better than having to go hunt down this information himself. And now he didn't have to go back to that shit hole, and really DID have the whole day to spend fucking off with Luffy. Small miracles, or whatever.

The shower was everything Law had needed to feel like himself again. Well that's not entirely true – brushing his teeth once he got out. THAT was what got him back to one hundred percent. Freshly cleaned with food in him, Law went back to his room to see what kind of chaos Luffy had gotten into in the twenty minutes he'd been left alone.

The sight he was greeted with was... Not what he'd expected. Silently, Law closed the door behind him as he stepped into his room, dropping the used shirt from last night quietly to the floor to watch Luffy on his bed.

The words "touching himself" brought to mind a certain image that was not entirely accurate, but touching himself Luffy was. Lying on his back on Law's bed with closed eyes, Luffy was running his hands over his own skin, feather-light fingertips grazing trails over his own neck and collarbone with one hand while the other danced over the inside of his left thigh. Stepping forward discreetly to get a better view of the lovely show he'd been treated to, Law leaned against the wall to watch the gentle teasing motions of Luffy's hands as they explored his own body, retracing with his fingertips all the places Law had tasted with his mouth not days before.

"Well," Law said softy, watching one of Luffy's legs twitch at the sound of his voice. "Isn't this an enticing vision? Is this an invitation, or were you just so excited you couldn't keep your hands to yourself?"

Luffy sat up to look at Law, his expression warm and alluring. "More like, a warm up? I was getting bored waiting for you and figured I'd try to think sexy thoughts."

Law crossed the last few steps to the bed, crawling onto it to hover over Luffy's body. "Oh yeah?" One tattooed hand went to stroke Luffy's head, fingers softly tangling in black hair. "And what's got you so determined you started thinking sexy thoughts in the fifteen minutes I was gone?"

Luffy wound an arm of his own around Law's back, one knee pulling up deliberately in between Law's legs to press against his crotch. "Today is our last day together for who knows how long, Torao," he said easily. "We've done ONE sexy thing and I haven't stopped thinking about it since, if we separate now with just that little taste I'll go NUTS wondering about what these other 'ideas' of yours are -"

His words were cut off with a kiss, Law leaning down to lay claim to his mouth before Luffy even finished his sentence. He showed no signs of minding, just wound his other hand up around the back of Law's neck to hold his head in place while the two of them exchanged unhurried kisses. Perhaps a little too unhurried even, as somewhere in the wet press of his tongue into Luffy's mouth Law realized he was not exactly sure what he should do next. Which was. Not a problem he'd ever had before, when it came to sex. Law had had enough sex in this lifetime to generally know exactly what he was doing, so this present uncertainty was... Gonna slow this down. That was probably a good thing anyway, right?

Except for the part where Luffy had the attention span of a goddamned gnat, so if Law didn't manage to light this furnace fast his lover was liable to get distracted by any number of idiotic things and we'd be done here. He'd managed to turn Luffy on before, right? Law could totally do this. How had this worked the last time? Law had just... Oh. Right. Law had done whatever he'd felt like at the time. Because sex really WAS easy.

He pulled away form Luffy's warm and lightly bacon-flavored lips to nip at his jawline, this time determined to line the right side of Luffy's neck with marks where the left was already bruised. Judging by the pleased little hum and calloused fingers winding in Law's hair Luffy more than approved, and Law let his hands wander over the rubber-smooth surface of those too-tempting thighs, up past his hips to dive under the hem of his stolen yellow shirt. He pulled away from Luffy long enough to pull the garment off altogether, tossing it somewhere onto the floor beside the bed while Luffy landed against the bed again, flushed red and smiling nearly naked for Law to play with. Luffy took care of the last shred of clothing himself, wiggling out of his boxers and kicking them to the end of the bed while he reached for Law, pulling him back into another hot kiss.

"So, as far as this sex stuff goes, I only have like, a vague idea of what actually happens besides a lot of yelling," Luffy admitted against Law's mouth, only barely breaking their kiss. "So these first couple times here I'm alright to let you take the lead. But feel free to, you know, share ideas?"

Law couldn't help the laugh that escaped him, passing from his lips to Luffy's in their embrace. "Sex is easy, Luffy-ya. The only thing you have to do is whatever you feel like doing. And if you aren't enjoying it, say 'cut that the fuck out,' and then try something else. And that's the secret to great sex everywhere."

"Well that makes sense," Luffy blinked. "Hell, if someone had just put it like THAT before I might have tried it even sooner."

Law raised an eyebrow at him. "Well then I'm glad no one ever did. It took long enough for us to get here, I'd hate for someone else to have touched you before I got the chance."

Luffy grinned that smug little cute smile of his, tugging at Law's hair playfully and scolding "Possessive."

Law just dove in to bite at his collarbone. "I have every right to be possessive. I have the goddamned future king of the pirates in my bed," which was of course, as far as Luffy went, probably the best thing Law could have possibly said to turn him on right now. Sexy little fucker moaned. And Law saw fit to have himself a taste of all this naked Luffy he was finally, finally allowed to touch however he pleased.

The bite to the collarbone had garnered a lovely reaction, and Luffy had already made it more than obvious he liked whatever Law did to his neck. Now Law had the inclination to take his tongue lower, mouthing down his chest and stopping briefly to suck at a nipple, letting it fall out from between his lips so Law could run his tongue alone the jagged outside edge of the cross-shaped scar adorning his lover's chest. "'M not a girl," Luffy mumbled, but Law didn't stop running his lips along the edges of the healing flesh, content to indulge himself for a few moments before giving an explanation.

"You probably see this and think of how you got it," Law said against the pink skin, not waiting for any kind of answer. "But I see something else. You know a lesser surgeon wouldn't have left such a neat and clean scar from a wound like that, right? You had a hole blown clean through your chest. A lesser doctor couldn't have even saved your life that day." He finally looked up to meet Luffy's eyes, which were currently blown wide and staring at Law like he hadn't decided what to think yet. "When I see this scar, I think of how it's from the time I held your heart in my hands and saved your life. I see this scar and it says to me 'Law was here.' So, I'm rather fond of it, actually," he finished with a grin.

"That," Luffy answered in squeak, "is certainly a new way to consider that. Okay. Wow."

"I thought you might appreciate my point of view," Law grinned, placing one last kiss to the center of the old wound.

He'd intended to continue his southward journey, but his plans were disrupted by Luffy groaning "Damn it, Torao, you don't play fair!" He launched himself forward off the bed to knock Law backwards, climbing onto his lap with huffed cheeks and declaring "I was supposed to be the one seducing you here, you slick bastard! You're not even allowed to talk anymore, I hate you so much," and determinedly tearing open the front of the jeans Law had honestly forgotten he was still wearing. He was hardly going to complain.

Between the two of them, getting Law out of his pants and underwear was... embarrassingly complicated. It would have worked better, perhaps, if they had not still been trying to make out during the process, but Law figured it was well worth the extra effort. And Luffy was apparently completely determined to have his way with him, grabbing Law's erection with... perhaps a little less finesse than he usually preferred, but at this point even the clumsiness itself was sort of arousing. He'd never had any kind of interest in virgins, so the obvious inexperience in the touch would have normally been a turn-off, but as always, Luffy changed the rules. And then his lover kneeled down on the bed between Law's legs, and jesus christ that was Luffy's face right next to his dick, is what he was looking at. This was. A sight to take with him in the months ahead, that was for sure.

"This can't be that hard," Luffy mumbled to himself as he placed a steadying hand around the base of Law's cock, and he really wanted to laugh at that and say something awful like 'Well if you just keep staring at it it won't stay hard for long,' but then Luffy's tongue was licking up the underside of his dick and instead Law could only groan and thank whatever god had been kind enough to bring his truly terrible and shitty life all the way to this glorious moment. No, seriously – Doflamingo was in Impel Down and Law was getting his cock sucked by the goddamned pirate king. Life could not get more awesome.

And then Luffy's teeth scraped unpleasantly against his skin when he sucked the head of his cock into his mouth and Law realized that okay, technicality it could get better than this, because in all honesty this was somewhere around the worst blowjob he'd ever received. But Luffy's enthusiasm made up for his lack of actual skill, and Law weaved his hand into the back of Luffy's hair and sat back to enjoy the wet sloppy heat and squirming tongue against his cock.

"Mm, that's nice," Law praised absently, and Luffy opened his eyes to meet Law's gaze and – fuck. His face was flushed red and his lips were shiny wet sealed around his cock and – he was glaring angrily? Why was he glaring at him?

Luffy pulled off enough to accuse "'That's nice?' You are still not nearly seduced enough, damn it."

Law actually did have to laugh at that, petting the back of Luffy's head affectionately. "Then get better at this," he teased back, which may or may not have been the right thing to say considering the familiar spark of determination that light up his lover's eyes, and Law could pretty much guess what was bound to happen next. "Don't hurt yourself."

Luffy rolled his eyes. "I've eaten bigger things than your dick," he snapped back, and Law realized quite at once he had been underestimating the capacity of Luffy's mouth as he then proceeded to swallow Law's entire cock without choking, which. If Law had ever thought about the way Luffy consumes food, he might have seen coming.

"Sweet holy fuck," Law swore appreciatively, and Luffy smirked triumphantly around his mouthful. Yeah, Law supposed he had earned that one, the feeling of that harsh suction of Luffy's mouth from root to tip of his cock was more than enough to drive Law to distraction, God damn it, was everything about Luffy's body made just for sex? Law could genuinely fucking believe that at this point.

Fuck, and the thought of Luffy's body... It was back again, the one thought about Luffy that had been haunting Law since the first day they met. Law could probably come like this from Luffy's mouth if he wanted, but he knew that's not what either of them were really here for – and Law had taken it slow and been patient as all fuck up to this point. As much as he was enjoying this, he was taking what he wanted now.

He pulled Luffy off of his cock by the grip he had on his hair, silencing the questioning look on his face with a kiss before he shoved his lover back onto the bed with a low growl of the words "My turn," grabbing Luffy's legs to run dark hands up his thighs.

"Can't say no to that," Luffy mumbled as leaned back against this pillows, watching with interest as Law enjoyed the feel of skin and muscle under his fingertips. And goodness, did his Luffy have the loveliest legs; Law felt he could hardly be blamed for the need to taste of the soft flesh of that inner thigh, licking a stripe of skin indecently high before sinking his teeth in and relishing the melodious gasp torn from Luffy's throat. "Oh, Fuck, Torao." And Law decided he should spend some time down here, grabbing one of Luffy's legs and flinging it over his shoulder to give himself more room to suck and kiss and bite his way up to Luffy's hips. As long as he was indulging himself so, Law saw fit to put his mouth wherever the hell he pleased and before he even paused to consider issuing a warning Law was pressing his tongue against the sealed muscle of Luffy's asshole.

"Wha-?" Luffy's startled moan was cut off into a gasp when Law pushed his tongue firmly enough to breach, licking the tip of his tongue inside as Luffy panted out "WOW. Okay, this is... New. Weird-new. Okay, wow."

Law withdrew just far enough to ask "Weird-good or weird-bad?" But didn't give Luffy enough time to answer before pushing his tongue inside anyway, licking as far into the tight passage as he could reach and smirking against Luffy's skin when his boyfriend's whole body jerked, violently throwing a leg out and nearly knocking Law's teeth out when his thigh collided with the side of Law's head. Worth it.

"Holy FUUUUCking – good-weird, that's definitely good-weird, you can keep doing that," Luffy confirmed in a shaky voice, one hand reaching down to tangle in Law's still-damp hair. Law determinedly squirmed and wriggled the slick muscle of his tongue, and jesus god fucking christ Luffy was so wonderfully responsive. He could feel the muscles of the hard thigh pressed against his ear every time it tensed or twitched, there was a heel digging harshly into Law's back, and the hips Law was holding down with one hand kept shaking and bucking back and at one point Law even bit his tongue because of it and – fuck. It was all so goddamned beautiful. He didn't even like rimming people and this was absolute gold-plated heaven. Luffy was just the best.

And Law could do this for ages, he really could. Spend half a day with his face buried in Luffy's ass and enjoy every minute of it, but... But right now? He pulled away, grabbing the leg slung over his shoulder and moving it to his waist so he could sit up to get a better look at his debauched lover, who was currently breathing heavily and panting out the words, "HOO. Yeah, okay, see that's not a thing I would have ever thought to do right there. Definitely a good idea to just... Let you do your thing, it's looking like." His face was flushed bright red his eyes were glassy-wet as he stared up at Law, while he babbled and... Yeah. Right now? He really needed to be able to see what he was doing. A sight like this was too good to pass up. "I mean from what I could hear through walls people get like, weirdly descriptive when they dirty talk but that's not a thing I ever heard anyone say, 'oh yeah baby put your tongue in my ass,' that didn't ever... come up. From what I heard."

Law couldn't help the smirk from carving across his face if he'd wanted to. Was this what Luffy looked like when he was nervous? How cute. "Well, that's because if you were going to hear something it would probably be 'Oh yeah eat my ass, eat me out baby,'" He stated matter-of-factly, before sucking his first and middle finger into his mouth to get them wet.

Beneath him, Luffy's eyes widened in consideration. "Actually, I think I HAVE heard that. Well damn." Law decided to use the moment of distraction to slip the two spit-slick fingers straight inside the heat he'd just been tongue-fucking a moment ago without warning or preamble, and God, the give around his fingers was just perfect. His lover of course, expressed his opinion audibly. "OH MY GOD- Oh my god, that's – you keep surprising me, though, Torao, you gotta-" Law began to move the digits, dragging them purposefully in and out of the tight passage and chuckling to himself when the smaller captain's word were cut off into a howl – before he immediately started rambling again. "FUCKING SHIT Torao you goddamned son of a bitch, why does this feel so good? I mean, I knew people had sex this way but I didn't think that – oh, don't stop, fuuuuck!"

His words, loud and uninhibited and so unabashedly Luffy in nature, were somewhere in between charming and dangerously erotic. With careful precision Law flicked his fingers, the very tips of his flat fingernails brushing teasingly against Luffy's prostate without making enough contact to properly stimulate it yet. For now it was terribly enjoyable just to watch the way every time Law glanced against that spot Luffy's eyebrows would draw together in a twitch, his breath hitching enough to make him stutter a bit as he spoke, beautiful nonsense falling out of his lips until Law leaned forward again to suck them into a kiss.

Law, of course, had more than enough experience to have long mastered the art of fingerbanging someone into mindlessness without needing to look at what he was doing, but it still occurred to him that the kiss may not have been the greatest idea just based on the fact that it was impolite after going ass-to-mouth not forty seconds before. He could have at least like, had a sip of water probably, but Luffy seemed to not care in the slightest instead sloppily jamming his own tongue into Law's mouth to return the kiss. The last hints of breakfast were gone from Luffy's mouth, he noticed, leaving behind instead the salty-bitter tang of of his own precome because the last thing that had been in Luffy's mouth was his own cock. Fucking shit, Law was so hard right now. Luffy felt so good around his fingers, shuddering beautifully while Law played with him, and he could already imagine how it would feel to replace those fingers with his dick and finally slide inside...

And really, it occurred to him, what was stopping him? Luffy certainly didn't need to be prepared – a fact that had long plagued Law with fantasies of pulling his lover into dark corners and fucking him dirty and fast only a closed door away from Luffy's precious nakama. He didn't need to worry about Luffy not enjoying it, either – every thrust of his fingers produced a delightfully sinful reaction, a gasp or a twitch or a moan or a tug on Law's hair because Luffy seemed to grab a fistful of it at the first given opportunity. Yeah, Luffy was definitely having a good time, and while a part of Law wanted to stop teasingly avoiding contact with Luffy's prostate and jam his fingers in there hard enough to watch Luffy come all over himself, Law also had no idea if Luffy had any kind of refractory period or what and did not really want to find out that getting Luffy hard a second time was a no-go while his own dick shriveled and fell off from blue-balls. He just. He just wanted to finally fuck his boyfriend, Goddamn it. They'd have time for long drawn-out foreplay later. Later today even, if Law had any choice in the matter.

"Luffy-ya," he broke the kiss to whisper against those lips. The smaller captain opened his eyes but took a few seconds to really see Law, gaze glassy and unfocused as Law slowed the movements of his fingers to a more gentle caress. "Luffy-ya can I fuck you now?"

"You already are fucking me," Luffy responded coyly, and Law supposed he couldn't technically argue that one.

"You know what I mean," Law said shortly, nipping at the rubbery skin of Luffy's jawline.

Luffy reached a hand out to stroke Law's dick. "Yeah, I do," he agreed with a grin, and then, because he was an irredeemable little shit, pouted over-exaggeratedly and keened out "Stick that fat cock into me, baby."

A small fraction of Law was turned on by the words, but the rest of him rolled his eyes and shoved Luffy's face into the pillow. "Don't just repeat weird dirty talk you've overheard from strangers!" Luffy burst out laughing under Law's hand, because, as mentioned, he was kind of a shitstain. Law stood up to grab the lube from the table by his bed.

"Hey, Mezibelle was the most popular of Mount Corbo's three prostitutes, I only learned form the best!" Luffy said back in between giggles.

"That's it I'm not turned on anymore, we're done having sex." Luffy just laughed harder and reached a rubber arm out to pull Law back on top of him on the bed, drawing him into another kiss. Well, he'd said he liked a partner who could laugh during sex, he supposed. God damn Luffy.

Law broke the kiss to position them more comfortably, leaning back a little so he could pull Luffy's hips into his own lap while he slicked himself up. Which left him a perfect and tantalizing view of his lover, naked and flushed red and smiling at Law and. God damn, Luffy. And people kept saying how they couldn't even compute 'Luffy' with 'sex' in the same sentence? The idea was ridiculous. Could they really not see what Law did?

Well. Of course they couldn't. Because no one else had ever seen Luffy like this, not even to the slightest degree. Never even seen the innocently cute faces he made when Law kissed him or held his hand, so how could they conceive of how he looked right now, excited and eager and spreading his legs to make room for Law before wrapping them around his lower back? Law licked his lips, and something about that train of thought aroused the same part of him that had lead Law to become a pirate in the first place; there was a treasure laid out before him, one that no one else in the world could taste or touch or smell or see, and Law... Law was greedy for it.

He might have drawn the moment out to enjoy it even longer, but the thing about that was the other person in this bed was still very much Luffy, who was currently grabbing Law's shoulder and and teasing "Come on, Torao, I thought you said you wanted to fuck me?"

God, he was in love with this little asshole. Law slid inside with a single roll of his hips. Both of them cursed. "Shit, that's- that's bigger than your fingers, that feels..." Luffy's eyes were closed again, and his hips were twitching back against Law's like he was trying to take more of of his cock in where he was already fully seated, and he was so fucking hot inside. Hot and tight without being painful, just the perfect amount of wet pressure and nothing and no one had ever felt so... "Good. Feels good, Torao."

Bit of of understatement, Law thought to himself a little wryly as he drew his hips back. Slowly, he started to move in a gentle roll, rocking slowly into Luffy like waves moving a ship, watching the expression on his face as Luffy let his eyes fall closed and his fingers curl into the flesh of Law's shoulder. "God, Toaro, this is." He bit his lip for a moment, holding in a sigh to breath it out of his nose in a huff that managed to make his whole body shudder deliciously against Law's. "A really good idea, is what you had here." His breathing was getting heavier, and Law wasn't sure if the pounding heartbeat in his ears was his own or Luffy's or both. "I like how deep you feel."

"Fucking hell, Luffy," Law cursed in a voice so low he barely recognized it as his own. They'd have time for slow later, he promised himself as he started to thrust into Luffy a little harder, gradually increasing the force of his hips and trying not to lose himself in the obscene delight of sex. Fuck, Luffy's ass felt so good around his cock, and come to think of it hadn't it been more than a year and a half since he'd had fucked someone? How had he not missed it it all?

Because it hadn't been Luffy until now, that was why. None of the sex Law had ever had before had been so indescribably intimate, for all the fun it had been at the time. He hadn't missed it because it hadn't been this; Luffy underneath him, rolling his own hips back into every movement in a desperate haphazard rhythm, panting audibly now and still muttering mindless curses and praise in a voice that had gone just a little high-pitched. Well, shit – he certainly wasn't gonna be able to live so easily without it now, was he? He was never going to be able to keep his hands to himself after this, would be waking Luffy up with his tongue and bending him over every surface of both their ships...

Luffy's eyes opened again, looking straight into Law's as he reached his other arm out to loop around his neck, fingers winding sharply into the hairs on the back of Law's head. So grabby, the surgeon thought to himself affectionately, and reached down a steadying hand on Luffy's hip so he could shift the angle of his own and drawing out to pause. "You should scream for me," he told Luffy with a smile, and shoved his cock back in hard, right into Luffy's prostate.

He did, beautifully so. "Fuck, Law! LAW!" Luffy cried out, his grip on Law's hair and arm now painful. Law barely noticed, not when everything about this was so fucking perfect, just continuing to pound into that spot to tear as many of those raw shouts from his lover's throat as possible.

"Luffy," Law groaned out in between breaths. Luffy, Luffy, Luffy. The most difficult and outrageous and incredible person Law had ever met in his life, and he was in Law's bed wrapped around his cock and screaming his name. There was a part of Law that couldn't believe this was real, but more than that... More than that, it was like he finally could believe it was real. Since the moment Law met him Luffy had been this incredible force of nature, drawing Law in like being sucked into a whirlpool. He was larger than life, and even when Law held him in his arms there was a part of him that felt like Luffy was was going to wander off on another whim and forget about him, leave Law broken and pitiful in want of him. And he didn't know why it was only right now that he finally felt like... Like Luffy was really his. Luffy was real and human and for some reason had the poor judgment to fall in love with Law of all people, wanted them to spend the rest of their short disastrous lives together, and Law loved him so fucking much.

He sped up the movements of his hips, letting go a little and losing himself in the slick-hot wrap of Luffy's ass as the passage made room for Law's cock on every thrust. Luffy moaned in that sexy too-high voice again, his own hips losing their rhythm against Law's as he finally relaxed into the thrusts, locking his legs more firmly around Law's body to hold on and ride out the ear-frantic pace Law had set. The bed had started to rattle against the wall in an angry staccato, probably had been for a while if Law had been listening for it, and Law couldn't decide if he loved how filthy it sounded or hated it for nearly drowning out the music of Luffy's voice as he panted and cried out for Law.

"Fuck, I'm-" Luffy started, his voice breaking with every jolt of his body as Law fucked into him. "Law, I think-" His whole body was tensing up, fingers clawing into Law's skin hard enough that'd he'd probably be wearing stubby bruises on the back of his neck by tonight. Match the new ones he was leaving on Luffy's hip, anyway. "I think I'm gonna..."

Law knew what he meant. Both from context, and because he himself was awfully close to losing his last shred of control and come into Luffy's ass before he'd even finished him off first, which was too rude even for Law. He used the hand planted on the bed to raise himself up off of Luffy's body just a few inches, enough space to move the hand he'd had on Luffy's hip and use it to fondle and grope at Luffy's rubbery dick.

His eyes shot open, the gasped out words "F'rgot 'bout-" cut off into a mindless scream as Luffy came all over Law's hand, the stickiness of come between their bodies unnoticed in favor of the way his body was was wracked with shudders and his ass throbbed, clenching around Law's cock. So goddamned beautiful.

The last thought coherent in Law's head was something like 'Well that went better than I'd even planned.' After that there was nothing but the hot swampy madness of the last few moments of sex, ramming his cock into Luffy as he whined and went slack in Law's arms, twitching and shaking a little through every thrust. And then Luffy used the grip he still had on Law's neck to draw him down into a kiss, licking into Law's mouth and sucking a little on his tongue and that was all it took for Law to be gone. He came hard inside Luffy, cock stuffed in as far as he could reach as he shot off, hips stuttering and rolling to drag out the last seconds of pleasure as he filled the tight space with his come.

When it was over, neither of them moved. Just stayed wrapped in their filthy embrace, panting and listening to each other's exaggerated heartbeats as they lied together and caught their breath.

"Well," Luffy said after a while, pushing Law off to roll them both to the side before settling into a cuddle. "That was a good time. Thanks, Torao," he patted Law's chest, right over his heart before settling his head there, and Law wrapped his arms around him to hold Luffy close. "Is it, uh... Is sex usually so... intense?"

Law couldn't help but laugh. "Not in my experience, actually. That one was definitely something new." They lied together for a while, enjoying the intimacy of afterglow until Luffy finally yawned. "Take a nap and do it again?" Law offered.

"Fuck yeah," Luffy agreed, and closed his eyes to fall asleep.

They were gonna be gross as fuck when they woke up, though.

"It's perfectly normal for human couples to engage in sex," Chopper argued. "You can't fault them for their nature!"

"Yeah, no." Zoro disagreed. "I'm definitely gonna cut his dick off."

The rest of the Straw Hat crew all muttered amongst themselves, bickering loudly. "No shame whatsoever! We could hear them form THE NEXT SHIP OVER! He deserves to be castrated just for subjecting us to that horror!" Nami spat, arms crossed.

Brook waved his hands, bone fingers rattling. "Come on now, they're young and in love! How can you possibly want to stand in the way of their joy?"

"Very easily," Sanji flicked at his cigarette. "Their sex life has ruined TWO of my days now. And more importantly, He FUCKED. OUR CAPTAIN."

"Didn't even have the courtesy to give him a ring first." Franky agreed.

"Come on now, we all know how this works. If we can't agree unanimously we take a vote, right?" Robin said, tossing her hair behind her shoulder. "All in favor of gelding dear Torao raise a hand, all opposed cross your arms.

As expected, Nami, Zoro, Sanji and Franky all raised their hands. Robin, Brook and Chopper crossed theirs over their chests, and everyone turned to Usopp who still had his hands on his hips while he thought about it.

"Usopp!" Nami snapped in a scalding tone.

"Well.." Usopp waffled, rubbing at his chin. "As much as I didn't LIKE it, I mean... Brook does have a point." He crossed his arms over his chest decisively. "I can't do it, man."

The others all groaned, dropping their hands and shooting dirty looks at their sniper. They all knew who'd won – the unspoken rule of the Strawhat crew? Tie-breaker goes to whatever side Nico Robin is on. The bitch just... tended to be right about everything.

"Fine," Zoro grunted. "Vote to scare the shit out of him and throw him into the ocean?"

This one WAS unanimous.

Chopper sighed, having only raised his hand to agree because he didn't wanna be the only one arguing. Humans were so weird about their mating habits.

 

Chapter Text

 

It was already late into the afternoon, since Luffy and Torao had spent all morning in bed trying to figure out how sex worked. He had THOUGHT Law knew, sure seemed like he knew what he was doing the first two times, but then when they woke up from their nap and tried to do it where Luffy was the one doin’ stuff to Torao it all kinda crashed and burned, and if he’d REALLY known all that much about sex then Luffy wouldn’t have gotten stuck like that, now would he? Well. After that Law had been all pissed-off frustrated and had pinned Luffy down hard, both of his wrists in one of Torao’s big tattooed hands and it turned out sex was even more fun if you added a little bit of fighting to it. That made sense considering how much fun fighting was to begin with, and totally explained the weird way Zoro and Sanji flirted to boot.

Speaking of, Zoro had wound up not far away from Luffy on Sunny’s upper deck. It wasn’t for any particular reason, they just always sort of tended to drift towards each other when nothing was going on; that unexplainable best-friends gravity that drew Nami and Robin together or Penguin to Shachi. Neither of them had even said anything since he’d sat down, Luffy leaning on the rail to look down at the lower deck and Zoro sitting up against to to face the opposite direction.

Down below them the deck was filled with people like always, including scattered Heart pirates around who hadn’t separated back to their own ship to prepare for their departure yet. Luffy was content to people watch without talking and Zoro usually agreed, able to spend a good twenty minutes like that until one of them broke the silence.

“It’s our last day here,” Zoro said idly. “I figured you’d spend every second of it glued to Torao’s side.”

“He’s his own person,” Luffy shrugged. “I had him all morning, so I won’t hang off him while he looks at his buddy’s seagull-rat.”

“Yeah, you had him alright,” Zoro muttered, probably rolling his eye. “The whole ship could hear how you spent your morning.”

Luffy snickered. “What can I say, we were having fun! Sex turned out to be a pretty entertaining way to spend time with Torao.” He grinned to himself. “I like having all of his attention only on me.” He still didn’t understand why some people seemed to spend their whole lives devoted to it. Like, sure he’d try it again, but if wasn’t with Torao then what was the point? And no one else had a Torao like Luffy did, so what the heck was all their fussing about, anyway?

A snort of laughter from his friend. “Of course that was the part you liked best. Never change, Luffy.”

“Dunno how or why I would,” Luffy said back honestly, because that was a pretty weird thing for Zoro to say. Luffy was awesome , what on earth would he need to CHANGE?

Plus… Luffy grinned a different sort of smile, one he was compelled to hide under his hand for reasons he could not actually explain. Plus Law must like him exactly how he was. Because last night he’d told Luffy that he loves him. He’d been miserable and drunk and throwing up, and he’d meant it. A part of Luffy wanted to brag and shout it to the whole ship, to the whole world, but… This was one of those things Luffy couldn’t think to describe as any way other than greediness. Law was his and he was Law’s and this was something that they didn’t need to share with anyone but each other.

Well, and Penguin had been there, but that was fine. Stumbling on something wasn’t the same as gossiping about it, or whatever.

And… Yeah, Luffy had been watching Torao, and had been certain the whole time that Law was at least half in love with him, but… That wasn’t the same as Law saying it. That wasn’t the same as knowing for sure that… That Luffy really did make him happy.

That was what Luffy really wanted. Everything in Luffy wanted to protect Torao and take care of him, but Luffy did not actually know how to do that. The odd, crow-like urge to present Torao with shiny objects also didn’t do any good, since gifts weren’t really a thing pirates had much use for. What was the point in having anything you didn’t take for yourself, right?

But if Law loved him, well. Then Luffy didn’t need to worry about that kind of stuff, because he could just give Law himself, instead. And as long as he knew Torao actually wanted Luffy - which clearly he did - then just that would be enough. If he really could make Law happy then Luffy wasn't just repeating the same bad habit he always did where he just dragged people he loved with into his own pace whether they like it or not, and this was actually… you know. A marriage or something? Luffy wasn’t sure. He… did not actually know any married people. He’d been winging this whole… relationship… thing since the moment he realized how much he was gonna miss Torao when they parted, even with that word “alliance” and a shared bounty binding them.

And he was still gonna miss Torao a lot, the same way he’d missed his nakama during their two years apart, but… They also had Transponder Snails, so. That fucker was gonna be hearing from Luffy every goddamned night. They were playing the No-Escape Game(1) now, and Luffy hadn’t lost once yet. Just ask Nami and Robin.

God, but he knew so many people, were there really no married couples? Or husbands or wives or anything? Did no one around here know anything about marriage?

Oh, hey, maybe Hancock would know, she- Oh…  She had said she wanted to marry Luffy, was how she’d brought it up. Well, crap. He’d forgotten about that. Might be a problem for Torao. Well... He’d let just Law deal with it. It’d probably all be fine, Hancock was cool when she wasn’t being weird.

Speaking of not knowing anything about relationships…

“So what ended up happening with you and Sanji, anyway? You guys make out or something?” Luffy hadn’t been around for most of the day, but he had been for breakfast, and the two of them had literally not looked at each other once the entire meal. Waaaaay creepier than any arguing they did, even with all the Heart pirates around for distraction.

Zoro made a noise like a dying giraffe, and held it so long for a second Luffy thought he might have lost the ability to speak and would never use words again. When he recovered it was with a sigh that was also kind of just a groan, and without turning around he barked out, “No we didn’t fucking make out, although I managed to humiliate myself just fine anyway, thanks.” And then, under his breath muttered “Bad enough that Penguin was there to see that mess.”

“Oh, Penguin was there for yours, too? That guy sure has bad timing,” Luffy snickered. Knowing Zoro wouldn’t explain even if Luffy did ask what happened, he opted instead for, “So, then your plan’s just to never speak to him again? ‘Cuz you embarrassed yourself?”

“So far, yeah,” he spat back in return. “I blame you for this anyway. What the hell got you to convince me anything needed to change from the way it was?”

Oh, Zoro. Stubbornness personified, aren’t you? Just because it’s what makes you awesome doesn’t mean it never gets in the way, dude. Luffy tipped his head back to look at him. “You’re just mad because you like it better than being embarrassed. Stop trying to give up halfway just because you got frustrated and don’t know what to do anymore.”

Zoro turned his body around to level a glare at Luffy, who just raised his eyebrows meaningfully. Somebody sure had turned into a chicken all of the sudden, huh? Luffy should start clucking at him if he was gonna be such a little bitch about it. “If you already embarrassed yourself once then what’s the big deal? You’ve got no face left to save.”

An angry twitch of a scowl, and Zoro turned away again with a huff. After a few long minutes, Zoro eventually asked in a voice that just wound up sounding resigned, “...If neither me or Sanji does anything about this, do you think things will go back to the way they were before?”

Luffy took the time to think about his answer. If it was Sanji and Zoro and if Zoro had probably let it slip how much he thinks about Sanji to him, then… “Not completely ever, but you’ll probably start fighting again pretty quick.”

Zoro sighed again, tired. “...I’ll think of something.”

Luffy knew he would. Zoro wasn’t enough of a coward to back down from anything once he knew for sure it needed to be done. It was just things he didn’t consider important he got lazy on.

Down below on the deck, Luffy watched Usopp fiddle with something on his friend with the hair’s collar with a delighted, “Alright, let’s test her out!”

The girl coughed lightly into her first to clear her throat. Pushed a button on the device Usopp had wired into her jumpsuit, and drew in a deep breath.

The sound of a loudspeaker cut through the din of chatter, and the breathy and heavily amplified voice of a woman declared with righteous conviction: “ t’s ZOYA, motherfuckers, Z-O-Y-A, Zoya! One more ‘Zuli’ or ’Zora’ or ‘Zoe’ and I’mma sink the whole god damned submarine!”

There was a brief moment of silence in which everyone stared in blank awe at the small sniper, with the exception of Usopp who just looked pleased his toy had worked and entertained at Zoya’s choice in announcement. And then Luffy broke it by bursting out laughing, and Penguin shouted “I TOLD you everything she has to say is actually terrible!” And everything pretty much sunk back into the same normal as usual.

Luffy grinned, deciding it was about time to wander back to the Revolver to look for Law. They only had a few hours left together, after all - just think of how lonely his poor Torao would get if they didn’t take advantage of it!

--

“Alright, how about here?” Ohm scowled impatiently, carefully prodding at the outstretched seagull wing.

Chopper, standing next to the operating table with one ear held up to the rat’s face, confirmed, “Yeah, she says she can feel that, too.”

“And here?” Another poke way toward the tip of the wing.

“...Yep, full feeling, from the humerus to the terminal phalanx.”

Law whistled, low and impressed. “Son of a bitch, looks like you pulled it off. Complete nerve attachment, all by hand.” Ohm let the wing fall back down to the gullrat’s side, and Law rewrapped the splints around them to keep the adorable abomination from moving its wings too much before they were fully healed.

“Still won’t count as a success unless we can get ‘er to fly.” Even lovingly cradling a pet they’d sewn together themselves, Ohm’s wicked sharp-toothed grin made them look more like they intended to eat their surgical masterpiece than nurse it back to health. “I owe you, Dr. Chopper. Bepo’s creeped out by the operating theater and would have bitched out if I’d made him help me on this.”

Chopper shook his head humbly, “No, it was super interesting! That loser Hogback couldn’t do this kind of operation without his patients already being dead first! You must have spent hours and hour in here operating.”

“I wouldn’t know where to begin without my Devil Fruit,” Law agreed, turning towards the door. “I’m sure we’ll be able to get her in the air. Monet figured out how to fly in no time, and I bet your rat is smarter than she was.”

He exited to a bark of hoarse laughter from Ohm and a hesitant, “Um, well she is very smart?” from Tony Tony.

It wasn’t much of a shock to find Luffy on the upper deck of the Revolver when he stepped outside, back to Law as he leaned over the railing watching the sea. The sun was only just deciding to set, barest traces of violet tinting the edge of the horizon. Luffy seemed to be watching as the two crews each meandered naturally back towards their own ships, one hand resting in his palm on the railing and a content smile on his face.

Law stopped where he had been approaching. Something about this moment, the sight of Luffy’s back right now, was surreal. Suddenly Law was experiencing complete dissociation, stepped out of his own reality into an unfamiliar one where he could recognize nothing, not even his own body. And there in front of him was a stranger, some unknown young man in a battered old hat looking down on the world with the contented smile of a father watching his children play.

Enchanting. Law was pulled into staring without even knowing why, caught by the simple and unconventional beauty of someone in absolute peace with this world; the smile of a man who had everything he wanted out of life and was currently content to bask in it.

The moment was broken by a bark of laughter from Luffy, and Law snapped back into himself in an instant at the sound of his voice. He crossed the rest of the way over to see what Luffy had been laughing at, joining him at the railing to see a group of his own crew members gathered around, including a not-even-close-to-recovered Red Mag and her new pet/best friend Caesar Clown.

“So waitaiwaitwaitwait,” Buccha was waving his hand at Caesar. “So if he’d tried to go through you and knock you out, you’d’ve killed everyone on this ship with that gas? All for the sake of getting him to hit Mag?”

Caesar looked like he didn’t want to answer. “Only whoever was inside at the time.”

Mag beamed proudly and the others, unsurprisingly, all burst out into laughs of their own. Buccha slapped Caesar on the back, jovially declaring “You were right, Mag, this one is fun!”

Understandably, Caesar Clown wore the a man who had no idea what had happened to his life, and why the hell helping Red Mag get kicked in the face was, of all things, what inspired acceptance form the rest of the crew. Sano conversationally asked, “So what kind of gas were you using? The project I was working on at the time I was exiled was using a toxic gas too, actually...”

Law had approached Luffy from the right side, standing next to him on the upper deck just in front of the ship’s rail. When Luffy didn’t bother to acknowledge Law’s approach he took the initiative himself, plucking the hat off of his head before Luffy had the chance to stop him. He held it out to his right just out of Luffy’s short reach, and when he tried to lean past Law to make a grab at it Law swooped in and met his head halfway down to steal a kiss. Luffy froze, fingertips just barely brushing the the rim of his straw hat before relaxing as he sunk into Law’s touch.

They parted after a few seconds, Law pulling away from Luffy with a pleased smirk as he pinned Luffy's hat back onto his head. “You’re still wearing my shirt,” he said in lieu of greeting.

“Yeah, I’m prob’ly stealing it.” Luffy agreed cheerfully.

“How presumptuous,” Law chuckled, fingering the hem of the oversized yellow hoodie. Not that he could say he himself was any better; having already stolen the yellow shash form Luffy’s belt and tied it around Kikoku’s sheath sometime this morning. Luffy hadn’t noticed yet and he doubted anyone else ever would either, but Law was still a pirate and couldn’t resist the allure of claiming a trophy. Just because no one else knew that yellow ribbon was proof that Law had gotten into to the Pirate King’s pants didn’t mean Law himself couldn’t enjoy it.

Luffy had nothing even close to shame. “It’s not like you ever wear it anymore, Mr. Never-Close-My-Shirts-So-Everyone-Can-See-My-Sexy-Tattoos.”

Law laughed, fingers curling in the worn fabric to pull Luffy’s body closer to his own. “Hey, you don’t get a full set of chest tattoos not to show them off.”

Luffy looked like the might laugh for a moment, before his face twisted into a familiar pouty scowl. “Actually, I don’t think I like that.”

A raised eyebrow. “Don’t like what?”

“You,” he waved a hand vaguely at Law’s torso, indeed on display from the shirt he hadn’t bothered to button. “Showing off your goods all the time. You’re mine, and I demand you start wearing real shirts.”

“Yeah, that’s…. No.”

“Why not?” Luffy demanded, raising up on his toes to better look law in the eye. “You said I have to wear pants all the time! Well I don’t care if you wander around like Franky, but I want you to close your shirt.”

Ah, fuck. That was… What Law had indeed said. God damn it. He really didn’t want Luffy to wander around with no pants in public just to spite him - which he would. It wasn’t even a possessive thing anymore, that would just make it fucking embarrassing to be associated with him. “God damn it Luffy, I didn’t get these for no one to see! And my tattoo artist got eaten by locusts, this his final work,” he tried to argue.

“Yeah, and I’ll make sure to appreciate his masterpiece. And your crew can still see it, and all of Dressrosa saw it at some point, so.... I think it’s pretty appreciated. We’re good now.”

Law’s head landed on Luffy’s shoulder with a dejected huff. “You’re such a pain in the ass.” Literally, after this morning's… poor judgement call. “If I have to wear real shirts again then I’m taking this one back.”

When he lifted his head it was to see Luffy grinning. “You’ll have to get it off me first,” he teased with a flicker of his eyebrows, peeling Law’s fingers off his shirt to dance out of his grasp.

Now that was the kind of challenge Law liked to hear.

Naturally, because this was still his life, he didn’t have time to do much more than chase Luffy down and drag him into some light petting before the Marines showed up.

Luffy of course, saw this as nothing short of a going away present, dragging Law into battle with him with a manic and irrepressibly contagious grin.

“STRAWHAT PIRATES!! How dare you flagrantly flaunt your ships in our ports! We’ll show you you’re no match for the Navy! ANNIHIL-STACEON 6000, DESTROY THEIR SHIPS!”

“OH MY GOD, YOUR ROBOT IS SO COOL! But not as cool as ours! Franky, show ‘em who’s boss! BUST IT UP!”

By the time the Marine’s… Bizarre giant crab robot was destroyed and sinking into the swampy waters, six more vessels had arrived from the Marine base on Gullyfern, which they were apparently still far too nearby.

Well, shit, looks like they wouldn’t have time for a romantic goodbye, after all, Law thought as the two crews scrambled back to their ships as they each prepared to set off the fuck out of here. Or actually, nevermind, he realized as he watched Luffy delightedly wave to him off from the top of the Sunny’s mast, uncaring of the navy cannonballs whizzing past. This was probably the perfect send off, wasn’t it? Fighting side-by-side before escaping into the sunset in opposite directions. A fitting departure for any pirate.

“I’ll see you later, Torao! Try not to miss me too much!” A pause. “And watch out for Boa Hancock!”

Wait, what? The Pirate Empress? Wasn’t she friends with Luffy if she’d let them all dock on her island? Why would...

“Captain, we’re going underwater! Please get inside!” Bepo pleaded frantically from the closing door.

“Yeah, I’m coming!” Law answered, following after just in time for the Revolver’s heavy door to slam shut behind him.

A part of him wanted to keep watching the Thousand Sunny as she sailed off all the way into the horizon, but. It’d be fine. They each had their own paths to follow and their own things to do now.

Law for one, was on his way to Los Veros to see a man about a plan to dethrone an Emperor. Law felt himself smirking, glad to be feeling confident in his place in the world again.

Kaidou’s looming shadow had turned from a threat into a challenge, Law’s mind was already reeling with new ideas and plans, and this morning the mail had been delivered with an invitation to Baby Five’s wedding. And well, she and Law were just about the only family either of them had left, right? Might as well crash his his dear little sister’s most special of days.

Law had a busy schedule ahead of him. Places to go, people to blackmail, schemes to scheme.

And motivation to make sure everything went smoothly. It’d hardly do if the only stories he had to tell Luffy when they saw each other again all ended like Dressrosa had, after all. He had to repair his tarnished reputation.

Something struck Law as strange, and he let his mind wander. Tarnished… Like brash tarnished, like a statue tarnished. Statue…

Law stopped mid-step in the middle of the hallway. Wait a minute. He remembered Boa Hancock now.

“Oh shit, is that crazy bitch in love with my fiance?!”


--

It was the beginning of a long night after a very awkward day, and Sanji was grateful for the silence of his kitchen as he started up washing the dishes.

They’d left behind the Heart Pirates, parting ways with them in a flurry of action when the Marines attacked and abruptly ending their previously peaceful sojourn.

REALLY, peacefull, actually - barring the bullshit that was his own personal life, of course. But unlike most of their stops, there were no grievous injuries or mad townspeople or… you know. Riots. They tended to start a lot of riots. So any time that didn’t happen was usually a pretty relaxing time. Pirate standards, you know? Or maybe just “I-live-with-Luffy” standards, who knows. Sanji had lost his perspective on ‘normal’ a long time ago.

He must not have been the only person who thought it was so relaxing, too, because that Trafalgar Law had found some new kind of Zen Sanji had not known he was capable of. He’d been on the Sunny twice both before and after Dressrosa, and it seemed like every time he met the guy his personality was different.

On Punk Hazard and towards Green Bit he’d been tense and angry and wary, snapping at anything and avoiding human contact; a starving beast backed into the corner of his cage. Then on the way back from Dressrosa he’d still been grumpy and generally exhausted, but had already started looking at Luffy with that awestruck sort of look of a man whose entire life had been changed, but the thing about THAT was? Not an uncommon look to see after meeting Luffy. Vivi and Shirahoshi-hime made that face, too; it didn’t mean they were in love with Luffy. Just meant they were grateful.

Except apparently on Law it had been because he was in love with Luffy after all, and then Luffy had ‘decided’ and… Here they were now. He still lost his temper easily and got into petty fights with Zoro just because Zoro liked picking fights with people, and he had never at any point stopped being creepy as hell, but he was also visibly and inarguably more… laid-back. He’d been in a nap pile with Zoro, Usopp, and a bear, for fuck’s sake. Not something Sanji would have expected out of the creep who’d sliced Kin’enmon up into jenga blocks.

Was Sanji the only one who even noticed? Law’s own crew adored their captain, and had been acting like everything was completely normal; Luffy’s presence included. Maybe… That’s because it actually was? Maybe the Trafalgar Law who smiled at Luffy and traded ghost stories with Robin and snickered at their own sarcastic comments to a bear was the real one, and the one they’d known on Punk Hazard and Dressrosa was just… Doflamingo’s broken toy.

And now? Trafalgar Law was someone completely comfortable with himself again; a man confident in who he was and what he was doing.

Rather like a five hundred million berri pirate captain would act, come to think of it.

Oh, that was why this whole thing had seemed so unnatural before. Until now, Law and Luffy hadn’t actually felt like equals; something about how Luffy treated him and how Law reacted almost made him seem like more of a pet than a boyfriend. Law had stopped falling into his pace so easily now, and somehow a weird balance no one had realize existed had been restored.

Huh. Sanji hadn’t thought of it like that before. It if was true, it did go a long way towards explaining why Luffy liked him so damned much. Their captain would have gotten bored of someone who was really such a downer all the time, right?

Didn’t make Sanji like him any better. What did the fucker have to be so complicated for?

Sanji was broken out of his thoughts by the sound of the door to the kitchen swinging open, and he glanced over his shoulder already prepared to send Luffy off with the assurance that he had already eaten all of the leftovers.

To his complete and appropriate surprise, it was Zoro who was actually there, not quite stepping inside in favor of hovering awkwardly in the doorway. He continued in this manner for a few strained seconds, face twitching like he was using every ounce of his willpower just to stay in the room, much less actually say anything.

Zoro, who, Sanji had neither spoken to nor even looked at since… Last night. Just… walked right into Sanji’s kitchen.

“...Can I… help you?” Sanji eventually ventured, eyebrow raised.

Zoro looked like the question, along with everything else right now, physically pained him. “No, I’m fine. I was…” he started off. His face changed a little, adopting the expression he’d worn that one time they’d caught him about to yank one of his own molars out because he had a toothache(2). “I was just wondering if you needed any help washing the dishes,” he threw out with forced casualness.

Sanji blinked at him like he’d grown a second head. “Pardon?”

Zoro scowled, crossing his arms to lean against the doorframe. “I asked if you wanted me to help you with the dishes,” he grit out tersely, glaring at Sanji like he was the one being difficult and weird right now.

Okay, so he had heard that right, but… What the fuck? Last night’s weirdness, today’s reasonable refusal to acknowledge each other’s existence, and now this? This of all things? What the fuck even went on in this guy’s head?!

“I can’t let anyone else wash my chef’s knives,” was Sanji’s dumbfounded automatic answer, unable to form anything close to a coherent response on such short notice.

In an incredible display of maturity Zoro scoffed and rolled his eye at the same time. “Fine, whatever,” he spat, pushing himself off the wall to turn back to the door. “There, at least I fucking tried.”

Tried? Ohhhh shit, Sanji knew what this was. This was Zoro actually acknowledging that things had gotten fucked up between them; he just didn't know what else to do but… offer this. Sanji didn’t blame him. Sanji didn’t know what to do about how weird things had become, either.

“I just meant -” Sanji said quickly, stopping Zoro’s hand on the door handle. “...That you’d have to rinse and dry while I wash.”

He watched the tense line of Zoro’s back for a moment as he stood in front of the door, before sagging in defeat with an audible huff. “Yeah, that… Makes sense.” He reluctantly turned around.

And lo. Just he thought he and Zoro’s relationship could not get any weirder, here he was, knocking elbows with Sanji as they silently washed the remains of dinner off of Sanji’s cookware.

Fuck. This meant things really had gotten to the point that they needed to actively fix something, didn’t it? After last night something had changed, irreparably shifting the way they looked at one another to the point where they literally couldn't exist in the same way that had this far. Which… considering the volatile nature of their relationship paired the fact that they lived together? Would have had to happen eventually anyway. They couldn’t keep being the only two crew members who didn’t get along, could they?

Lord knows Sanji hadn’t expected THIS to be what changed, though. He would never be able to become unaware of the fact that Roronoa Zoro was, at the very least, undeniably sexually attracted to him. The fact seemed at war against all logic and reason, but. The compiled stack of little bits of evidence was nothing compared to half a sentence and two seconds of rough hands swiping over Sanji’s calves; “It’s about your legs.”

Roronoa Zoro was many things but subtle was not one of them. And telling Sanji he sounded like a porno, albeit a boring one, was pretty telling.

After that… Any time they got into any kind of fight Sanji wouldn’t be able not to think about it. And since Zoro knew he’d given himself away, or had just given up on keeping it to himself or...something, he would know that Sanji was thinking about it and… Jesus fuck. This was all so stupid.

But it was also still the problem even now. Sanji couldn’t stop thinking about it. That look on Zoro’s face when he’d held Sanji’s ankle in his hand… Sanji couldn’t even describe it. Some kind of determined longing like a hungry dog that had been given a steak he was only allowed to lick but not eat. And the thing about that was… Sanji had never felt, ah. Appetizing , as it were. Not really. Not until last night.

Okay, so, first of all - it had been a really good foot rub. Like, what even? Why was this seaweed head good at the weirdest things? But not only had he somehow known exactly what he was doing, but he’d been, like. Attentive and shit. Every little twitch and noise Sanji had failed to stifle he’d responded to, using it as feedback to figure out exactly where and how to touch. That was… Unexpected, to say the least. Like, when this fool put his foot in his mouth and accidentally gotten himself into this he could have just half-assed it for a minute or two and they’d have both been on their way. But no, that probably hadn’t even occurred to weird old Zoro, who half-assed most of the things he did on the ship but for some reason decided this was something to put forth all of his effort in, and poured all of his limited concentration on… On… Making Sanji feel good.

And he had . Sanji couldn’t even say it was the fact that he’d never gotten a footrub before, because five minutes earlier he’d had Penguin on his other foot and - good LORD what had Sanji’s life turned into? Men asking to rub his feet. What the fuck.

No, but. The combination of Zoro’s own… thing about Sanji and the fact that his touching Sanji really did feel so embarrassingly, humiliatingly good, made the entire situation unbearably… well. You know… Erotic. So much so that even Sanji couldn’t deny it.

And that’s when we wind up back at that other thing. The thing where watching Zoro’s face and realizing he was becoming aroused, because of something so simple, because of Sanji , had been… thrilling. This wasn’t some random subordinate with a crush on him, this was Roronoa freakin ’ Zoro. Someone Sanji had held a grudging respect and even admiration for since the day they’d met and Sanji had watched him stand unmovable in front of Mihawk’s blade. Seeing him like that, red-faced and glassy-eyed with his eyeline flickering up and down Sanji’s calf like he couldn’t help himself? The whole thing had made Sanji feel… Powerful. Sexy, even. And Sanji… kind of liked feeling sexy, it turned out.

Which was the exact moment he’d spazzed out and kicked Zoro off of him. Sanji kind of stood by that, still. It was all a lot for one man to take.

Not that he had been able to stop thinking about it today, of course. Wondering insane things like how far he could have taken it, what would have happened if instead of yelling he’d pressed the ball of his foot into straining hardness that had been waiting under Zoro’s pants, what would happen if he asked for another foot rub and if Zoro would even agree at all and if he did what and could happen, what could Sanji MAKE happen without even trying at all… It was all driving Sanji kind of insane. Bad, terrible, kind-of-gay-horny insane.

He didn’t know whether or not he wanted Zoro - or even if the possibility was there, what was sexuality anyway? Like, Luffy in general? Or all of Kamabakka, an entire island full of confused people merrily making out in varying arrays of gender? There were clearly just no fucking rules to this shit.

But he did know one thing, by now. He knew he wanted Zoro to want him.

Sanji just… wasn’t sure where that actually left them. Somewhere weird, from the looks of it.

Without quite meaning to he glanced over at Zoro, good eye on Sanji’s right side where he could see it trained on the cutting board he was drying as though it were a bomb he was trying to diffuse. Another really weird time to actually try, Zoro. Sanji could not comprehend this guy at all. Was being such a douchebag all the time really how he acted around people he was attracted to? Did he even like Sanji?

No, Sanji realized with a frown. That wasn’t the question. Sanji knew what the real question he needed answering was, the one thing that had always frustrated him most about trying to interact with Roronoa Zoro.

“Do you even respect me?” Sanji asked suddenly, startling them both.

Zoro looked like Sanji had swung the barrel of a cannon to point at him. “Uhhhhh,” he twitched ineloquently, eye darting towards the door behind them in panic.

Well that answered that pretty fucking well now didn’t it. “Jesus fucking christ, I knew it you don’t ! You don’t respect me at all, do you?!”

“I didn’t say that!” Zoro snapped defensively. “There are ways that I respect you!”

Sanji rolled his eyes so hard it made his whole body tired, dropping the pan he’d been scrubbing to land a soapy hand on his hip. “Oh you respect me a little then, that’s so fucking comforting.”

“Stop putting words into my mouth!” Zoro spat back. “Give me more credit that that, I respect you plenty! Your place in this crew and what you do for everyone, like.” His face was twisted like the words had to be torn out of him instead of falling freely, eye locked intentionally on the wall in front of them.  “Keeping Luffy well-fed on the ocean should be physically impossible but you pull that off, and I know if the captain asks you to do something like, I don’t know, protect Nami and Chopper then you’d die before anyone got near them. There’s plenty to respect about that.”

Sanji watched him critically. “But?”

The scowl made Zoro’s entire face visibly twitch with annoyed discomfort. “God damn it, are we really doing this?!”

“Yes we’re really doing this, I can TELL you don’t respect me, I’ve always been able to tell and it’s always been a fucking problem!”

Zoro finally threw his dishtowel onto the countertop, turning his glare on Sanji. “You make it impossible to! How the hell am I supposed to respect someone who doesn’t even respect himself?” Sanji blinked, taken aback, but Zoro wasn’t finished. “It’s back to same argument as always, the same thing everyone’s been trying to tell you since the beginning of time - this fucked up way you act with women! Instead of just objectifying them like a normal man you somehow managed to idolize them instead, prostrating yourself at their feet singing praise like you’re begging for attention, and it's actually disgusting to watch.” He swiped one hand in the air in an angry nonsensical gesture, eye unconsciously pulled up towards the ceiling as he struggled desperately with his words, before giving up and squeezing them shut into a frustrated scowl. “Why can’t you just be normal?! Even around Nami and Robin, who you live with? You don’t have to act like this, you don’t have to fucking… drown women in romantic overtures, Sanji! Anyone actually worth knowing or talking to will like you just fine based on your ACTUAL personality!”

Sanji stared, dumbfounded and pretty sure his mouth was actually hanging open a little in shock. Wait. What… the fuck? Was that??? That had almost sounded like some kind of backhanded, hidden… compliment?!

Zoro’s face did that same thing it had last night where he looked like he hated himself and all of his life choices. “Nami and Robin, I mean. Like you in spite of your creepiness, and not… because of it.”

Sanji couldn’t force himself to do anything but continue to stare at Zoro with raised eyebrows, until finally he managed “Do you like me or hate me?!”

Zoro looked miserable. “I don’t know. I can’t… I just don’t know, man.”

Well. That feeling, at least, Sanji could relate to. “Oh. Well that I get, okay.”

Apparently knowing exactly what he meant by that Zoro snorted something that could have been a laugh.

And then, because they were both idiots and still had no idea what to do or say from here, just kind of… Went back to doing the dishes.

Eventually, Sanji did feel compelled to offer, “I am trying, you know. Yesterday I talked to Nami and she told me about the first time she got drunk with Arlong’s crew. Apparently got into a bar fight when she started hitting on someone’s girlfriend.”

This time Zoro’s snort was definitely a laugh, and Sanji felt himself relax at having finally broken some of the tension. “You don’t even know how great that story is yet - she already told me once the first time she got drunk was when she was fourteen .”

Cue the image of a fourteen year old beanpole of a redhead drunkenly swinging a tequila bottle at a fishman. “She is just the absolute greatest, isn’t she?” Sanji marveled. Zoro just shook his head in amusement, unable to hide his grin because it was true and Nami was in fact, the greatest.

“And you’ll really like this,” Sanji offered, remembering the reactions of every single person who had asked about his wrist bandage thus far. “Before that I was on the Revolver, and Red Mag bit me so hard I had to kick her in the face to get her off of my arm.”

Zoro’s head snapped over to him so fast Sanji thought he heard it cracking in whiplash. “You wouldn’t even hit women who were about to kill you!”

Sanji looked at him seriously. “There are no words to describe how crazy that girl is, Zoro,” he said gravely. “She fucking boxed me into it.”

“I wish I could have seen that,” Zoro said genuinely and with awe, which, yeah, seemed to be the consensus. Nami had very adamantly bemoaned how bady she wished she had been there. “And now I already respect you more than I did ten minutes ago. Little psycho worked a fucking miracle.”

Sanji was just going to assume the miracle in question was Sanji breaking his code of honor by striking a woman and not just gaining respect for him.

At that they lapsed back into silence again, no more words needed in the silent exchange of dishes.

This was not, realistically speaking, actually going to go that far in the name of changing things. All it was was an offer to help wash dishes and an effort at human conversation. What it was, was a start.

A start to what, it couldn’t be said. Neither of them had any idea what to do after this or even what they really wanted, but things were already changing.

It’s wasn’t a lot. But it was something new, and it was only just beginning.

--

--

Deep in the heart of Marine Headquarters, Monkey D. Garp was hard at work. Hard at work on this word search he’d been fiddling with for the last half hour that is, the entire process made more difficult by the failing eyesight he refused to acknowledge. He wasn’t about to let that stop him - that’d be the same as admitting he was getting old. Besides, crossword puzzles were too smug and demanding; a man needed to relax before he started his day, and Garp loved a good word search puzzle.

He had just put the pen to his paper, beginning to draw a circle around the letters D-A-L-M-A-T-I-A-N when one of his subordinates came in, fresh-faced and nervous as he brought an envelope to Garp’s desk. “Sir, these just arrived by express mail for you. Apparently Strawhat Luffy was confirmed to be at Throat Bayou, and the weapon the local marine base sent was equipped with a camera den-den mushi.”

Oh good, then someone had actually listened when Garp said he wanted any new information on Luffy to be sent to him before the higher admirals. A man needed to see with his own eyes what his renegade disappointment of a grandchild was getting up to, after all. It was shameful to be told this stuff second hand.

The first thing the pictures revealed was that the Strawhat crew had not been alone. Right away in the first photo he could see a tell-tale submarine in the background, standing conspicuously behind a full-guns Cyborg Franky shooting at good marines with a Heart Pirate gunman with too much hair and not enough face. The next picture was a depressingly clear shot of a marine being held in a baffled arm lock by several elegant hands, holding him still for the polar bear that was about to kick him in the face. Oh, look this next picture was fun; Pirate Hunter Zoro appeared to be physically throwing a manically grinning little woman in an arm sling at a horrified marine. Just picked her up and tossed her right at ‘him, from the looks of it.

Ah, and there was his darling menace of a grandson. Boy had grinned like the devil in every picture of him ever taken, and Garp was pleased to see this was no exception. He liked the sight of a smirking Trafalgar Law standing next to him significantly less, but if he just folded him out of the picture it was really a fine photo of Luffy. Would it be inappropriate to frame a picture of a government-wanted pirate on his desk, even if it was his grandkid? Bah, he probably couldn’t get away with it.

It was only in the last picture that it finally caught his eye. None of the others so far he’d been able to see it clearly enough, but now it was glaring at Garp like a slap to the face, startling and unignorable.

Luffy was wearing the wrong jolly roger.

Right there on the front of his shirt in plain view for everyone to see was the Heart Pirate’s straight-toothed smiling skull, glaring right at him through a field of yellow.

Monkey D. Garp had lived on the ocean for thirty years. He knew what it meant to be seen wearing another pirate’s jolly roger, a silent message so overt and obvious even a fool like Luffy couldn’t have done it by accident.

Garp put the photos down, leaning back in his chair with a worried scowl and feeling about a thousand years older than he had ten seconds ago. How could this even be a thing? That brat wasn’t even old enough to be… galavanting around with former shichibukai! Or - how the hell old was he again? Six plus two plus three minus one… Oh shit, he was nineteen already? When had that happened? And when had he started sleeping with anyone, much less fiends like Trafalgar Law?! Garp remembered hearing that rumor after their alliance was published, because he remembered laughing so hard at the idea he’d lost his breath and choked on his own laughing coughs. It was… It was Luffy ! His precious tiny baby grandson, who’d been so small when he was born Garp had been able to hold his entire body with one hand and now he was… “ DEFILED !”

The subordinate looked at him with confused apprehension. Garp cleared his throat and pretended he’d yelled on purpose. “Has anyone else seen these since they were printed?” Garp wouldn't be the only one who knew what that stupid shirt meant at once glance, and the idea of more people knowing about Luffy’s… poor judgement was something he was not comfortable with.

“Just you and Vice Admiral Smoker, sir,” the young marine looked even more confused and uncomfortable as he relayed, “He fell over laughing and saying something about ‘Trafalgar, you poor dumb bastard.’”

Well that confirmed that theory. Garp grumbled, grabbed a pen from his desk, and hastily scribbled a black smear to color in Luffy’s shirt. It wasn’t really tampering with evidence as much as… Employing discretion. This little detail wouldn't be of any use to the government right?

He put the pictures back into their envelope and passed them back to the young man. “Alright, you can send ‘em off to Akainu now.”                    

The marine scrambled out, leaving the door open behind him. Through it, Garp could see the bodies of a few of his men milling about doing nothing but enjoying their morning, and he instantly snapped at them, “What do you guys think you’re doing?!”

His men snapped to alarmed attention. Garp gesticulated wildly at them. “You guys should be concentrating on hunting down and arresting Trafalgar Law! That bast- that guy Akainu issued a direct order, didn’t he? Top priority!!”

He sat back down heavily in his chair, feeling very old and slightly vindictive. Looked back down at his desk, where his word find sat patiently waiting for him next to the daily jumble. And then he picked his pen back up, leaning down to circle a series of letters spelling out the word ‘dachshund.’

HA! Today was looking better already.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

--

(1.) The No Escape Game, as the name suggests, is a game in which the player tries to cut their personal ties to Luffy and fails. Sanji would be the next to play, and really, after Law’s disastrous loss when he didn’t even live on the same boat as them? He should have known better than to think they’d just let him go .

(2.) Chopper had stopped him, given him a root canal, and informed Zoro that if he didn’t start brushing his teeth more often Chopper wouldn’t bother pulling his bad teeth out because he’d just knock them straight out of his head instead. He had then informed Zoro that it was so very disappointing that he managed to have even worse hygiene than Luffy did, and it was in fact that disappointed little reindeer frown that did more to motivate Zoro into cleanliness than any threat ever could.

--