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Nearly Lost, Loosely Loved, Tightly Grasped

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The gunshot goes off, and there's that chaotic moment of silence as every person mentally checks for pain, even if their subconscious assures them they were not the victim of such brutality. As the tension clears, just slightly, and the natives of Sabaody Archipelago breathe a sigh of relief that the fish-man has been dealt with by that Celestial Pig. The three pirate crews stare in angered, shocked silence. The first two to break this stand-still were the Surgeon of Death, and the Straw Hat doctor, both instinctively moving towards the scent of blood and the aura of pain. Franky immediately restrains the Straw Hat doctor, not wanting his nakama put in harm's way just yet, whereas the surgeon was loyally followed by Bepo, who was going along simply to protect his captain.

Trafalgar Law waited impatiently until Luffy was distracting the crowd and the 'security' by initiating a fight with the snotty pig-man. He raced past the fighting duo, narrowly avoiding the desperate array of bullets, and fell to his knees next to the now unconscious Hachi. With the very limited supplies he had available to him, Law began to perform a primitive, temporary solution so the fish-man wouldn't bleed to death on the steps of the auction house. Realizing he could use some help, Trafalgar addressed Bepo.

"Bepo, that tanuki-reindeer thing at the back on the auction house?" Law began, pausing so his nakama could quickly search and spot the creature of interest. "He's the Straw Hat's doctor. I need you to go get him." The bear gave him an uncertain look, not trusting the bastards around them to not attack his captain while he was working. "Just go! Or this guy'll die. Nothing is gonna happen to me," Law snapped.

Bepo gave one last lingering glance at the top of his captain's hat before rushing off up the steps, getting lost in the chaos of the panicking crowd. He easily found the hulking form of the reindeer doctor, grabbed his wrist, and began pulling him along, throwing "My captain needs your help" over his shoulder to inform the baffled Chopper of where he was being dragged to.

As they were walking back, Bepo spotted one of the clowns from the auction house, gun raised and pointed at Law. In a mix of panic and fear, Bepo realized there was no way for him to reach his captain in time. He let out a primitive, animalistic roar. Law looked up and over at Bepo before turning to stare straight into the barrel of the gun pointed at his head. Before Law could react, the end of a broadsword was suddenly protruding from around where the man's heart should be. His attacker fell, dead, and Law looked past him to see Eustass Kidd, in the middle of his own fight, with his hand extended in Law's direction. Presumably, he had 'borrowed' the sword from one of his fallen enemies and used his devil fruit powers to help protect the surgeon. Kidd turned, locked eyes with Law, and gave him a brief nod. Law nodded back in kind, proceeding with his work of Hachi.

Bepo gave a shaky sigh of relief, continuing his trek back to his captain's side with the other pirate still in tow.

০ೱ০

After Rayleigh made his astounding appearance, dispelling the remaining nuisances, Hachi had regained consciousness, and the Straw Hats were all focused on getting the mermaid girl out of her collar. The Heart Pirates and the Kidd Pirates had migrated to the back of the auction hall, milling about while deciding what to do about the Marine presence outside. Law and his nakama were in one corner, Kidd and his crew in the other. With both of them reaching the same conclusion (nothing), Law slid down the wall, and Kidd slowly meandered over to his fellow captain. In any other circumstance, he wouldn't dare ask the other for help, and he still refused to admit he was doing so now.

"Oi," he poked Law with the toe of his boot to get his attention. Law looked up at him with an expression of complete boredom. "So how do you expect to get out of here?"

"Oh, I dunno. I was thinking of digging a hole in the ground until we came up outside of the blockade. How do you think I'm planning on getting out of here, idiot?" Law said testily. He was extremely displeased with their current predicament. He didn't want to have to deal with Marines, but life just wasn't that kind-hearted. Kidd glared down at the smaller man, not in the mood for the asshole's sarcasm.

"Look, I know you want minimal injuries, and I know you want out without harm to your crew. You know Straw Hat wants the same thing, especially with the injured fish-man and his weaker crew mates that don't have as much experience with the Marines. Normally I wouldn't care, but I'd rather like to get out of here unscathed." Throughout this whole speech, Law's expression went from bored, to utter disinterest.

"Would you please get to the point, Kidd?" Law complained, rolling his eyes. Kidd frowned, but let it slide anyway.

"What I'm getting at, is between us and Straw Hat, we could take care of the Marines no problem, walk away with our minimal injuries, and get out of the blockade."

"Hmmm? Well, I suppose if you're that unhappy with my hole plan, then we could go with your second-rate one," Law teased. Kidd fumed. This pirate was seriously getting on his nerves. Law's face suddenly turned serious. "By the way… Thanks… You know, for earlier. I would be dead right now if you hadn't killed that guy."

Kidd blinked. He didn't quite know how to take that statement, so he answered it honestly. "Just don't go making a habit out of it. In the New World, I won't bat an eye if you get shot in the head." Law chuckled at that, even if he wasn't sure to take that dead seriously, or if Kidd was just talking tough to protect his image and boost his ego.

Law sighed, making a show of getting to his feet, and addressing Kidd once he was up and leaning against the wall. "Before we get Straw Hat involved in this, we should go scout and see one, if we even need him, and two, how much time we have before the troops are given the go ahead to charge the place."

Kidd nodded, leading the way to the short passageway that led to the front doors of the auction hall. Once they were away from prying eyes and eavesdropping nakama, the two captains were on each other. Kidd backed Law against a wall, kissing him fiercely and gripping his hips as if he would never let go. Law had a bit of trouble keeping up with Kidd's ferocity and desperate need, but allowed the man to have his way. As soon as they broke apart for air, Kidd was mumbling against Law's mouth.
"Don't you ever let that happen again," he demanded harshly. "If Killer hadn't have spotted that bastard, I wouldn't have even known he had a gun pointed at you."

"Then I owe your nakama my gratitude," Law panted. "If Bepo hadn't roared like that, I wouldn't have even known there was a gun pointed at my head." The teasing tone in Law's repetition of Kidd's words was streaked with hidden relief. The unsteady breathing wasn't just from the frenzy of kisses anymore. Law was shaking in Kidd's hold, shock finally overcoming him. It wasn't like this was the first time he'd had a gun pointed at his head, but it had been the first time he'd been so absorbed in something that he hadn't noticed the threat on his life. The thought of that actually happening, of being so close to reaching the New World, only to have it ripped away by a sneak attack, it was infuriating and frightful at the same time.
Kidd just wrapped his arms around Law's waist and let him have a moment to release his emotions. It was truly terrifying; seeing the notorious captain of the Heart Pirates break down so completely. As the dry sobs ceased, Kidd kissed the smaller man again, portraying his compassion, regret, loyalty and subdued relief through the small action.

Law's hands made purchase on Kidd's shoulders through the haze in his mind. The kiss grew steadily deeper, with more passion. Soon enough, tongues were exploring, teeth were nipping, hands were wandering, and logic was being slowly pushed to the back burner. Thoughts of crew mates and Marines flittered away like butterflies.

As soon as Kidd's hand made contact with a hardening bud on the surgeon's chest, the distinct sound of 'gomu gomu noooo…' breached through the fog in their minds. They had just enough time to separate and fall back against opposite walls before the rubber boy shot through the short passageway, busting through the doors of the auction hall right into the Marine blockade.

The green haired swordsman and the blond cook would have followed right after their captain, if Kidd hadn't stopped them. Law gave them one of his mysteriously happy smiles, explaining to the Straw Hats why the captains were hesitant on letting their nakama fight.

"As much as we all appreciate that our subordinates," Law's smile turned into a smirk at this, "can hold their own extremely well against the Marines, we have all come to the agreement that we would like to get out of here with minimal injuries to our respective crews," he explained calmly. "That, and I'm pretty sure that your captain and Eu-kun are set on showing each other up."

Sanji and Zoro looked past the surgeon with the furry hat to see that Luffy was fighting a bunch of Marines while Kidd just stood there, arms folded across his chest, watching the rubber boy with an extremely well-crafted poker face. After Luffy had disposed of a gaggle of troops, he stepped back and watched Kidd with the same kind of calculating intensity.

"You see, it's a game to them, as well as a learning experience. You wouldn't want to ruin their fun, would you?" Law said, regaining their attention. "Why don't you go and round everyone up? Get each team to cooperate under orders from their captains, and tell them to put their asses in gear so we can leave. I'm getting sick of this stuffy auction house."

Without another word to the baffled young men, Law raced down the hallway, leaping through the doors, past Luffy, who was just getting ready to throw another attack, and into the line of Marines, proving himself to both his lover and the Straw Hat captain that he truly could defend himself if he wasn't lost in his work.