The ship is quiet, held in the night’s arms as she rocks it to sleep. Her wind making the mast above creak, singing a song that will disappear once the morning light comes. It’s peaceful, or so it appears in the rest of the ship amongst the crew. Everyone is asleep in their bunks, nestled away from the day.
Everyone, it seems, but Law. He’s awake, alone and pacing in his quarters, metal groaning beneath his feet. A repetitive noise, over and over as he walks the length of the room before turning around and doing it again. He knows it won’t wake anyone if he does this, it never has before.
In these nights that anxiety plagues him, it’s the only thing that keeps him from spiraling. The only thing that can hold him focused until it fades. Heel, toe, heel, toe.
A knock comes on his door. It’s loud, solid, and the ring of the thick metal makes him stop in his tracks. He eyes it carefully, trying to figure out how anyone heard him, and why they would bother him. Even if they did wake up, none of them would mess with him. They know better than that.
Law grumbles under his breath at the words, familiar in tone, and the nickname bites at his ears. Walking back over to his bed, he falls against it and gives a wave of his hand. Room activates, glowing blue in the dim light, and he lets it expand. Letting his mind focus, he pulls a small item from his desk, and snapping his fingers the objects switch.
Luffy falls with a huff onto Law’s bed, and a giggle slips from his mouth while he bounces to settle. Law looks over to him, sees that sleep already is already pulling at his eyes, and wonders what Luffy could possibly need at an hour like this.
They said good night hours ago, kissed, and Luffy bounced off like usual. Hopefully, he’s not hoping to be fed. He’s already nearly eaten all of their supplies in the short time he’s been aboard.
“Yes, Strawhat-ya?” Law asks, and can hear exhaustion seeping into his tone, “Is there any reason you’re not asleep?”
Luffy blinks, slowly, as if he’s trying to recall what he even came here for, and Law blows out a sigh. With legs and arms pushing, Luffy scrambles up to sit, crossing his legs and aligning his back. Law doesn’t move. He stays laid against the bed with his hands folded across his chest, and when Luffy finishes settling Law raises his eyebrows in a silent question.
“Oh! I, uh, I wanted to know why you were walkin’ so much. It made the ship squeak funny.” Luffy says, laugh gentle in his words, “So, I wanted to see you.”
Law realizes that the thought disappeared once Luffy showed up, but now that he’s here asking about it, it comes back at full force. Do I have a home? So simple, or at least to anyone else it would be, but to Law it’s truly something he doesn’t know. Is he home here? Or is it truly something that is gone, burnt into the void of history, never to be reclaimed again?
The phrase tangles in his head again. Memories of Flevance, Spider Miles, and the small ship he sailed on with Cora-san all mix together. Were they all homes to him? What does that leave him now?
“It’s none of your concern. Go back to bed.” Law says and knows that Luffy ignored his words because he’s scooting ever closer still, “Strawhat-ya.”
Luffy places a hand on his shoulder, and no matter how many times he does it, Law always jerks. It’s nothing like the affection he’s used to with anyone else, what little there is in the first place, and something about it always makes his stomach upset. A twisting of his gut every time Luffy shows concern for him. He hates it, he hates—
Law looks over, but Luffy is already tugging at him, demanding that he moves. He pulls his shoulder up with one hand, and stretching out his other, he quickly slips beneath Law’s knees. Law’s hands come up in defense, shakily trying to adjust himself, or push Luffy off, but nothing is quick enough. Luffy already placing him, back against the wall, and when he retrieves his hands, Luffy smiles.
Law wants to hit him. Everything in his head is begging him to. His comfort in Luffy is one thing, the way they intertwine, in rare quiet moments—but he can’t touch him like this! Just move him around at his whim! He hasn’t been carried in years . Not since Minion. Never again after Minon.
“Now.” Luffy says, matter of fact and Law leans his head against the wall, causing it to make a low thunk, “Why were you walkin’?”
Law analyzes Luffy then. Trying to play five steps ahead in the chess game that he sets up every time he talks to or fights someone. Unfortunately, it seems Luffy is playing checkers. His eyes are shiny, crystal clear with genuine concern, and somehow that’s worse than if he had a motive.
He skips Law’s bishop, leaving his red piece in front of the king.
“It’s nothing. This is my buis—” Law presses his lips into a tight line. He almost said too much. Luffy wouldn’t understand. He couldn’t...could he? “Luffy-ya, where is your home?”
Luffy blinks. Both from the use of his first name, and the question. Where is his home?
“Which one?” Luffy asks, tilting his head gently to the side.
The causality of his answer knocks Law in his chest in a way he couldn’t anticipate. Which one? Which...one? This isn’t an answer Law was prepared for, one he wasn’t aware existed. Luffy stays held in wait and Law feels himself shut down.
It isn’t gradual. Darkness curls around his anxious heart and mind, pulling him in. His knees meet his chest, cutting everything off entirely. Nothing exists but the heavy thud of his heart, and it feels like it’s cracking his ribs.
Home. Home. Home.
The word is broken. It doesn’t sound like a language much less his name to his ears, and Law swallows. Pressure and warmth floods his shoulder at at once, but he doesn’t move. Instead the world starts to come back, slowly, layer by layer.
Law’s eyes open into his arm, darkness still filling his vision, and the warmth on his shoulder shifts. It creeps along his shoulder, laying to rest firm on the other side. A deep sigh finds its way out Law’s lungs, not quite a whine, and Law grits his teeth.
“Law.” Law registers his name this time. It’s full, coming from Luffy’s lips, but still odd. “You have one, right? Here.”
Law lifts his face from his arm, and when the air his skin it’s cold. Tears soak under his eyes, but he isn’t sure when he cried. Luffy reaches up, rubbing against Law’s skin and when he pulls back, Law hesitates. What would Luffy think of him now? Seeing him like this—weak.
“Here.” Law means for it to be a question, but it comes out as a statement, “Here.”
Luffy smiles, unfazed and nodding, “Here! With your crew and the bear! Your ship is your home, your crew is your family. It goes everywhere with you. Isn’t that cool?”
Law’s eyes soften as Luffy’s shine, and Law knows he believes what he said. Luffy leans forward, and presses his forehead gently against Law’s. His breath is sweet as it floats in the space between them, and Luffy lets his nose nuzzle against Law’s.
“You’re one too for me, you know?” Luffy murmurs, tone a little more serious, “A home.”
Law tilts his head upwards, capturing Luffy’s lips, and can feel him smile against Law’s. He stays, pressing two more kisses into Luffy, each one warming him like new kindling. It’s what they are, Law thinks, taking a final kiss.
Their home is small, built with haste and threatening to crumble, but still it stands. In its hearth, wood burns, crackling and warming the room throughout. It’s simple for now and that’s fine, for it will grow with time.
What matters is that Luffy is here, and he’s home.