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That’s just not fair.

It’s Straw – Luffy’s fault, Law just fucking knows it. The asshole just had to go and poke the slumbering beast. They were on Raftel. They were finally there.

And now he’s not.

Now, he sits in his submarine, trying to breathe through his panic.

Just minutes ago – it hasn’t even been half an hour – Law was fighting for his life. He can vividly remember the raw terror seeping through his being by standing in front of an eldritch being that sounded like they were telling Law that they were the ones to pick the fruits off the Tree of Life and create the Devil’s Fruit.

What even is his life? Things had gotten so unfairly complicated since he had the misfortune to cross paths with Luffy. Fortunately, the one thing Law has always been great at doing is compartmentalizing. Even if the doctor part of his brain is shouting at him that he is unhealthily disassociating, Law could not care less. He has a new problem to deal with, a bit more urgent.

Because Law shouldn’t be anywhere near the Polar Tang. But that could be explained because this wasn’t his Polar Tang.

This would be the submarine of the younger Law that Law has sent into his ‘Domain’ as soon as he landed here.

Fuck.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much time for Law to really sit down and figure himself out. As soon as he had put his younger self into a coma and thrown him into the space-pocket of ‘Domain’, Bepo had rushed over with concern on his eyes and asked Law if he really wants to do this.

Law remembers that conversation, from what feels like ages ago. Four years ago, he was on this submarine, his crewmates displaying the same looks of anxiety as Law said he wanted to go to Marineford.

I need his favour.

Isn’t that what he said? He needed Straw Hat in his debt so he could put his plan in motion. But somewhere along the way Straw Hat became Luffy and his plan(s) became moot and despite it all, Law never lost again.

This time, he goes because he doesn’t know what else to do. Why is he even stuck here?

It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because Law knows what he needs to do even as the Polar Tang rushes full speed to Marineford and Law doesn’t have a plan. He owes it to Luffy to at least try.

Stupid Luffy rubbing off on him in all the worst ways.

“Captain!” Penguin calls, right as the submarine shudders. “I can see it!”

Okay, no time to think.

Law gets to his feet, rushing over to their visual center, scopes catching the absolute shit show that is the Marineford base. Law never quite forgot, but seeing the vivid color of all that destruction again is a bit nauseating.

But that isn’t what matters. He grabs the scope, turning too and fro and praying to Gods he doesn’t believe in that he isn’t too late. He had pushed the Polar Tang three notches above its full speed. It’s shaved off a few minutes at most, but he needs every second.

And –

There.

“Fuck you, Mugiwara-ya,” Law mutters under his breath seeing Straw Hat run for his life, the shadow of his worst enemy creeping behind him. “Fuck you.”

He sees Straw Hat trip – body giving out.

Room.”

One moment, Law is standing on the distressed but relatively quiet Polar Tang.

The next, he’s standing in front of stupid Straw Hat and his stupid brother. His ears are assaulted, wretched pandemonium making them ring. His heart is lodged in his throat, his gut is trying to shit itself out, and while Law thought he knew what fear was just an hour ago in Raftel, it’s absolutely nothing staring at a giant magma fist.

SHAMBLES!” he shouts, eyes closed.

And it’s quiet again. Well, that might just be the deafness from the panic attack. The first thing he hears again is the heavy breathing. Then.

“Torao!” Luffy tiredly yells in pure relief and excitement and trust – and Law recognizes right away that this isn’t his Luffy and pushes away the thought of why any Luffy should be his in the same thought.

“Wha – what?” and that would be Straw Hat’s brother, Firefist Ace, staring at Law in disbelief, looking around in a clear display of shock.

Around him, his crew is losing themselves. “Captain! What did you do!?” Shachi screams even as Bepo has his own anxiety attack in the corner.

Law groans, running a hand over his sweaty face. “Turn around and run like the entirety of the Navy is on your tail,” Law barks.

He catches Luffy right as the kid collapses. “And prepare the operating room!”

Ace looks torn, looking at Law, the screens displaying the battlefield, and his comatose younger brother.

“I - ” he snaps out of his daze. “How can I help?”

Wow, so Nami-ya and the others weren’t exaggerating. Ace really was a different type.

“Follow Scalp and Venus to the O.R.,” Law hisses, struggling to find his feet as adrenaline courses through his body. “Are you the same blood type as him?”

Ace nods, hastily. He still looks at the screen with indecision but Shachi’s scream of, “He’s seizing!” snaps him out of it.

Law rushes after the gurney. Okay, time for round two. He saved Straw Hat once, he’ll fucking do it again.

Hours and hours later, Ace and Luffy both passed out, Law slumps against the operating table, staring at the cardiograph that beeps with Luffy’s steady heartbeat, he whispers, “You owe me, Mugiwara-ya.”

Then he chuckles, trembling hand clutching his heart. “Is this what you wanted?” he asks no one. “Can I go back?”

Law’s eyes slip closed as exhaustion takes over.

-

Luffy is positive he had beaten Mingo’s ass so hard that the bastard wouldn’t even think of wearing that ugly pink feather coat he had bathed in his blood.

And yet, there he is. Except – there are two? The other blonde guy is on the ground, looking a bit worse for wear. He kind of looks like Mingo but Luffy instinctively knows that they aren’t friends. Smiley – because he has a weird stretched out smile – is saying something to Mingo. He’s slumped against a treasure chest.

Luffy knows that chest is covered in a Fruit’s ability. His senses have never had trouble knowing when something is off, and there is definitely something off about that chest.

But why does he even care? Luffy hums, sitting on the ground crossed-legged, head tilted to the side in consideration. He’d been on Raftel, hadn’t he? Torao had been beside him.

Oh, Luffy remembers. Torao had pushed Luffy away from an attack coming towards them. He heard his crew’s screams behind him. Luffy had been scared, in a way he hadn’t been since Sabaody, nearly four years ago.

There is some of that terror now, radiating from Smiley. He doesn’t falter, smile fixed in place, but Luffy can sense a resignation in him. And a desperation. It’s so faint, Luffy doesn’t know if Mingo even realizes it.

He’s hiding something. It draws Luffy’s curiosity. And well, he never needed an excuse to punch someone, especially not Mingo, before.

So, when Mingo’s fingers cover the trigger, Luffy leaps to his feet.

“Gear Second,” he whispers, blood rushing through him. In the next moment, he launches from his seat, arm stretched out. He coats it with haki. “Gomu Gomu no Red Hawk!”

It’s just as satisfying the second time around, punching Mingo right in the face. The poop-head doesn’t even sense Luffy coming.

In fact, he doesn’t even use armament hardening to cover his face.

Huh.

The crunch of Mingo’s face breaking under his punch is a bit unsatisfactory. Luffy feels a bit icky, like he’s just punched a kid. But, oh well. It’s Mingo, he probably deserved it.

Mingo goes down and doesn’t get back up. Luffy ignores him, turning on his heel to face Smiley.

“Hi!” Luffy says, looking over the sorry figure. Hmm, he should probably get him to Chopper. Or Law. “Hey, have you seen my crew?”

Smiley is staring at him in pure shock. The smile has slipped off his face completely and Luffy feels a bit of regret. The man looked nicer with the smile on, even though his lips curve up as if he has no choice but to smile.

He doesn’t answer. Luffy scratches his head. “I guess not? Have you seen Torao then?”

Still no response. Luffy’s finger pushes against his forehead, humming in confused thought. He needs answers. What had Nami said before? He might not be asking the right questions?

“Oh!” Luffy slams his fist down on his palm in a gesture of understanding. “Toaro is Law. Have you seen him?”

That gets the man to snap out of his shock. His eyes move, wariness and fear replacing the awe. “Law? Why are you looking for him?”

Luffy grins, relieved the man knows Torao. “He’s my friend! He was just next to me, but then that weird Tree Guy hit us with something and now I don’t know where anyone is.”

Smiley continues to stare at Luffy in shock.

“You don’t have to be scared,” Luffy says awkwardly because that’s probably it right? His bounty has gotten a bit high and people kind of only gawk at him now when he passes through the street. It’s annoying. “I’m not gonna hurt you. Or steal your treasure chest. Um, you should probably open it. I don’t think people can breathe in small spaces.” He remembers Sanji yelling that at him when he suggested infiltrating the last island in some barrels. Hey, it worked for him all those years ago. 

That gets the guy in a fit all over again. “Who are you?” Smiley asks.

“I’m Luffy!” Luffy introduces, pleased that the man doesn’t seem to know him. So maybe he was just nervous because of Mingo. “Don’t worry, I can kick Mingo’s butt again! If I do, can you help me find my crew?”

Smiley continues to stare and stare until Luffy gets discomfited. Then, out of no where, the man starts to laugh.

“Luffy,” the man says, smiling so bright, and oh Luffy was wrong before, this is a real smile and it makes the man look really pretty, even if he is bruised and bloodied. “Thank you, I am in your debt.”

The man stumbles to his feet, kicking the lock off the chest. He snaps his fingers and piercing yells and swearing fills the air. Luffy winces, hand pressed to his ear. Wow, they really had a sailor’s mouth. Zoro would like him.

The lid flies open before Smiley can open it and a little kid springs out, face a mess of snot and tears. Luffy feels a smile tug on his lips as the kid launches himself at Smiley, beating his tiny fists on the huge man’s chest while crying, “Cora-san, I’m going to kill you, you stupid shithead! You stupid ass, you promised, you promised!”

“I’m sorry,” Smiley whispers, holding the kid delicately, affection and love rolling off him. “Hey, come on, Law. Don’t make yourself sick.”

Luffy blinks. Did he hear wrong?

The little kid can’t stop crying. Smiley stands up, holding the kid to his chest in a protective hold.

“Hey, come on, Law, your friend is here to see you. When did you make such a cool friend huh?”

Okay, Smiley definitely said Law. Maybe it was a common name?

Except, when the kid turns to sniff pitifully in Luffy’s direction, Luffy finds his jaw dropping and eyes bulging. He may be slow on the uptake sometimes, but it’s not like he is going to misplace his best friend’s eyes. Those pretty steel eyes are definitely his Law’s.

“Torao!? What happened to you!? You’re a kid!” Luffy shrieks.

That seems to set Law off all over again, crying and burying his face in Smiley’s chest.

Smiley looks down at the unconscious form of Mingo and then up past Luffy. Luffy can sense there are others milling around, but no one has made a move towards them yet.

“Um, maybe we should talk somewhere private?” Smiley asks, but it sounds more like an order.

In the next second someone is yelling, “Boss!”

Smiley takes off at a run but stumbles after a few steps. Luffy scoops him up, ignoring the indignant shout and takes off with a ‘shishishi’ on his lips. This, at least is familiar.

_

Still not fair.

Law wakes up in his own bed, smothered under blankets and a worried bear by his side. “Captain!”

Okay, so still back in this weird past-illusion-fuckery. Minks probably don’t age the same way humans do, but Law can definitely tell that this is a younger Bepo right now.

He analyzes himself. He’s still the same at least. “Give me a brief.”

Instantly, Bepo’s worried and mother-henning abates. Law’s been unconscious just under three hours – yeah, that sure feels like sleep depravation – and that they are on route to a small island. They’d received communication from Jinbe and had followed his direction to rendezvous with the Whitebeard Pirates in the next hour.

Law rubs a tired hand over his eyes, realizing belatedly he’s been changed and wiped clean.

Law looks up at meets Bepo’s eyes. Unflinchingly, his first mate stares back. “Captain, you have an explanation?” No apologies or anything are tacked on, showcasing Bepo’s seriousness.

Law doesn’t. He has a staring contest against those cute stern eyes before sighing in defeat. “I don’t know what’s happening. I’m four years from the future.”

Bepo’s eyes narrow and Law isn’t sure if he’s thankful or upset that Bepo is being rightfully wary. “Where is my Captain? Sorry.”

Law relaxes a bit. “He’s in my ‘Domain’.” Bepo would have already seen him use his ability, will already know it’s impossible for two abilities to exit at the same time. But still, Law draws up a light blue ‘room’ in the palm of his hands. Then he activates the next stage of his devil fruit and the dome turns red. “He’s safe.”

Bepo nods. “I trust you, Captain!”

“Thanks, Bepo,” Law says, relaxing a bit at the brilliant smile that takes over Bepo’s face. Still the same, even if he’s different. “Can you get me something light to eat?”

Bepo goes off with a gusto, leaving Law a moment to gather himself.

So, the past. Law still has no idea how he got here. And now he is realizing, in a horrific dawning kind of way, that he has just changed a key part of history.

Fuck.

Stupid impulsivity. Stupid Straw Hat.

Law breathes through his knees to calm himself down. Logically, he realizes that this past isn’t his past. Law studied time and space only briefly because he needed to know what the capabilities of ‘Room’ and the Ope Ope no Mi were. He is confident that time doesn’t move linearly, otherwise there would be markers of having lived this day before. And a living Ace is sure as fuck a large indicator that time can change and the world won’t unravel.

The prevailing theory is that he is trapped in a dreamscape or an illusionary reality. But damn it, his leg hurts because while Law is really imaginative, he doesn’t think he can ever replicate the sheer agony of flesh searing because of magma. It’d just been due to proximity too, not even a proper hit. Enough for Law to hastily wrap and throw down some pain killers to allow him to focus on saving Luffy.

It’s since been taken care of, probably Bepo’s work, but fuck does the smell of burned flesh stink.

So, unless the person pulling off this illusion is truly at a god-like level, or Law’s imagination really is that informative, this is probably the past. An alternative past? Is he in a different dimension? Or a diverging time stream?

Fuck. Law groans, rubbing his forehead. For once, he’s glad to take a page out of Luffy’s book and just stop thinking about it. Focus on the now and then he’ll work towards a solution.

After eating and resting for a bit more, Law’s summoned by a polite knock and a directive that they’re reaching land.

“How are our…guests?” Law asks Penguin.

“Both knocked out, but I think Firefist is rousing. Straw Hat’s still hooked up to the good stuff.”

Law nods. “If Firefist-ya gets up, tell him to find me.” In the meantime, he sits in the Captain’s seat, watching through the monitors as they reach land, and seeing nothing.

His mind whirls because he really can’t stop thinking about how he can get back despite how much he wants to stop thinking about it. But there is an encroaching misery just barely kept at bay. This isn’t his crew. This isn’t his ship. This isn’t Law. There is nearly four years between who they are now and who they will become and that four years holds a lot of life in between.

If Law has to stay here, he’ll go insane. He can’t do it over again. He can’t redo Doflamingo and Kaido. Can’t redo the journey to Raftel.

“Hey.”

Law jerks out of his thoughts, looking over his shoulder to see Luffy’s brother approach him.

“We’re almost at land,” Law says, jerking his chin towards a spare chair, “take a seat. You should really be resting.”

Fortunately, it seems Ace isn’t the type to argue against a doctor’s orders. That or he really is just tired.

“Thank you,” Ace whispers. They’re quiet words, nearly drowned out in the thrum of the machinery keeping the submarine going.

“Don’t worry about it,” he waves away. And just because he recognizes that same prideful guilt complex on Ace’s face as he does on just about everyone else he’s met, including his own, he adds, “I did it for Mugiwara-ya, not you.”

Ace’s eyes flash in surprise before a bright grin takes over his face. “I’m glad he has such a good friend. You’d have gotten him out of there even if - ” Ace cuts himself off.

Law nods, jerkily. “I got there in time. I figured why not two birds? Good to have an Emperor’s favour.”

He’s talking out of his ass. Fuck if he knows what Whitebeard can do. Gods, is Whitebeard even alive?

The question must show on his face because Ace’s smile doesn’t falter. “I’m sure Pops will pay it back. He hates being in anyone’s debt.”

So, he’s alive then. Well, what do you know? Does that mean Blackbeard didn’t succeed in snatching Whitebeard’s fruit? That would be brilliant because Blackbeard is a huge pain in Law’s ass.

Law rubs his eyes. “Whatever.”

There is that awful smile again. It looks similar to Luffy’s and that’s just annoying. “Seriously, thanks.”

Law is saved from having to respond with the call for his crew preparing to dock. “Come on,” Law mutters. A quick ‘Room’ and Law is outside on familiar land. Not a moment later, Jinbe breaches the water and hops inland.

“Trafalgar-kun,” Jinbe greets, bowing low. “Thank you for your assistance.”

Law waves his hand away, with a scowl. “People need to stop thanking me.”

“But it was no small feat, what you did.”

That voice is familiar and yet not. Law stiffens, eyes turned to Marco the Phoenix. The man touches down, and in the same step he lands he leaps forward, arm outstretched. Law watches, gobsmacked, as Whitebeard’s First Division Commander slugs Ace across the face with enough force to send the man flying.

“You. Fucking. Idiot!” Marco yells. Law wonders if he should do something. He is a doctor and that is his patient getting wailed on, but Law has no interest getting in between two powerhouse freaks.

Ace leans up on one arm, the other cupping his cheek. “Sorry,” he whispers, eyes tearing up.

Marco straddles Ace. If he starts to punch Ace’s face in –

Instead, Marco goes in for a tight hug.

Law politely turns away, giving them their moment. He walks to Jinbe instead. Using his Observation Haki, Law feels the Whitebeard crew approaching, still a bit out. There are other ships littered in the vicinity. The alliance, probably.  

There is also another presence a bit further away.

“How is Luffy-kun?” Jinbe asks worriedly.

“He’ll be fine. He’s sleeping,” Law assures. Luffy wasn’t quite in dire straights this time around without the shock of his brother dying in his arms.  

Jinbe sighs in relief, but his face solemn. “Thank you, Law-kun. I do not know what would have become of us if you were not there.”

Law makes a disgruntled face. “No need for thanks.” He’s always liked Jinbe and he hopes the fisherman doesn’t stay away from Luffy too long this time around. “Let me see your injuries.” Jinbe doesn’t put up a fuss.

Law is just finished up with Jinbe when Marco and Ace walk over to him.

“We owe you a great debt, Trafalgar Law,” Marco says, reaching out a hand. “Thank you for saving our Ace.”

Law resists rolling his eyes. “Don’t worry about it,” Law says, shaking the hand. He’s getting tired of repeating himself but he still says, “I was doing it for Mugiwara-ya.”

Marco laughs. “He does seem to have that draw on people, yoi. I don’t know how Ace is going to live down his little brother and his friend saving him.”

“I had it handled,” Ace grumbles.

Law remembers the visual of Ace with a hole torn through him. His medical knowledge has ensured Law knew each detail of how Ace’s body was incinerated.

Marco looks over to Law again. “What you did, is no small feat, Trafalgar,” he repeats. “The entire world saw you save the Pirate King’s son and Whitebeard Second Division Commander. The Marines aren’t going to let this go.”

Law takes a second to digest that. For some reason, the consequences of his actions on himself didn’t occur to him. Well, poor baby Law is going to have a hell of time figuring out why the world is after him and why Luffy won’t leave him alone.

“I’m a pirate,” Law says, shrugging.

Ace laughs heartily. “I’m really glad Luffy has a friend like you.”

Law makes a face at that, and that sends Marco and Ace into laughter all over again. While waiting for the Whitebeard ship to dock, Law is filled in on what else happened. Once Law was able to get Luffy and Ace away, Whitebeard went all out, destroying the entire base. Supposedly, most of it’s sinking in the bottom of the ocean. He’d also dealt a critical blow to Blackbeard.

The man himself is wounded heavily, but Marco, as the doctor on board, assured Ace that he would live. Ace has started crying all over again at that. Law was really tempted to chuck Luffy out of the Polar Tang and hightail it out of there. He did not do well with pretty boys crying.

Whitebeard’s ship finally docks amidst a frenzy of cheers. Ace takes a running leap to get on the ship, instantly going towards his old man. Law is content to wait on his rock with Jinbe.

Finally, the man he’s been waiting for arrives.

Silvers Rayleigh.

_

“Wow,” Cora-san whistles as Luffy downs an entire plate of meat without pausing to chew.

“Disgusting,” Tiny Law hisses. But he watches Luffy with blanket fascination, eyeing how Luffy’s stomach bulges with all he packs away.

The restaurant owner laughs, patting Luffy’s back and offering him more food. Cora-san smiles too, sliding more beri across the table.

“Aw yo’ gun ‘t tha?” Luffy’s arm stretches out to snatch Tiny Law’s bread. His Law said he didn’t like bread.

Tiny Law makes a cute face full of threatening intent but isn’t quick enough to stop Luffy. With a spiteful face, he retaliates by stealing Luffy’s meat.

“Nooo!” Luffy wails, choking on bread as Tiny Law mercilessly takes a huge bite. Then the little brat has the gall to spit it back on his plate, choking.

Luffy decides to forgive him when Cora-san panics, patting Tiny Law’s back in fright. Tiny Law tries to stab a fork in Cora-san but that doesn’t deter the older man.

“I’m fine,” Tiny Law insists. He’s doing that familiar pout-in-scowl that Luffy is familiar with.

“Here,” Luffy offers magnanimously, giving Tiny Law his pudding. Law liked pudding.

“Don’t need it,” Tiny Law snaps. “Cora-san, stop being stupid and indulging him.”

Cora-san puts his hands up placatingly, nervously laughing while Tiny Law glares at him. “Now, now, Law, Luffy saved us. Remember I told you how important repaying debts are?”

Luffy doesn’t really get it. Cora-san seems really strong, but he seems to hold back when Tiny Law is around. Luffy had kicked the rest of Mingo’s crew out in the ocean, then Cora-san called the Navy – Cora-san was a Marine! – and looked kind of like Gramps a bit when he got serious. But then Tiny Law kicked a fuss until he made himself sick in treating Cora-san.

He didn’t even use ‘Room’ and when Luffy asked, Tiny Law had told him to shut up. But then he used a small ‘Room’ the next moment. But that’s what makes Tiny Law so cute, the way he acts hot and cold.

Now they’re in a dinner, Cora-san practically a bandaged mummy and Tiny Law with a bad fever but refusing to leave Cora-san alone, sitting and eating because Luffy was starving. He’d lost Sanji’s bento once the Tree Guy started making mazes and Luffy nearly fell into a pit of spikes.

Tiny Law is scowling at Luffy. “We didn’t ask you to save us,” he says defiantly. Then he takes a big scoop of pudding into his mouth.

Luffy laughs. “You’re welcome!” he says because he can hear it in Tiny Law’s voice how he is trying to thank Luffy but not thank him. “Are you going to explain why you’re tiny now?”

“How about you explain how you know me?” Tiny Law retorts.  

“So cold,” Luffy whined, leaning forward and trying to snatch a spoonful of pudding. Tiny Law smacking his hand away. “Torao is being mean!”

“Stop calling me that!” Tiny Law snarls. “I don’t even know you.”

That gets Luffy blinking, staring at Tiny Law. He hums. Truthfully, he knew something was weird about Tiny Law. About this entire place, really. When they walked into the dinner and saw the wanted posters, Luffy was surprised to see names of pirates he never even heard of on the boards. But they had pathetically low bounties so Luffy didn’t mind it. Maybe it was like Kuma, and Luffy got blasted to another place.

Oh.

“Am I in the past?” he asks Tiny Law.

Tiny Law blinks at him, jaw slacking in surprise.

“Okay, and that’s my cue,” Cora-san says, laughing awkwardly. “Let’s get back to the inn.”

Tiny Law struggles to get up. Luffy can’t help himself. He grabs the kid and swings him on his shoulders.

Tiny Law shrieks. It makes Luffy laugh with a gusto. “Put me down you fucking ape!” Tiny Law screams. Tiny Law grabs Luffy’s hair, pulling it and smacking down on it. It only takes a moment for Tiny Law to stop, awed by how Luffy’s head stretches.

“Thank you,” Cora-san says with a smile as Tiny Law gets immersed in pulling and bending Luffy’s ear.

“Shishishi, Tiny Law is cute!” Luffy answers back, beaming.

They enter the room and Cora-san does a weird snap. A purple shimmer takes over the room for a moment and then Luffy makes a surprised sound as all the noise from outside gets cut off.

“Nagi Nagi no Mi,” Cora-san explains. “I made the area soundproof. I think we should sit down and talk.”

Luffy makes a noise of awe. “So cool!”

“I think he’s not complete there,” Tiny Law says to Cora-san in a mock whisper, gesturing to his head. He jumps off Luffy’s shoulders, stumbles, and then makes his way to the tall man that barely fits on the bed.

“Tiny Torao is so mean!” Luffy whines again. “I’m smart!”

Tiny Law makes a strangled noise of frustration. “Never mind. What’s your deal? Who are you?”

Luffy blinks, then laughs. “Now who’s the dumb one? I already told you I’m Luffy!”

Tiny Law launches off the bed and only Cora-san’s well timed grab has Tiny Law’s sharp nails kept away from Luffy’s eyes.

“I think what Law is trying to say,” Cora-san interrupts, putting Tiny Law in his lap to hold him still, “is we don’t know a Luffy. But you seem to know Law.”

Luffy cocks his head to the side, a troubled frown crossing his face. “That’s weird,” Luffy says. “Torao is my best friend. I don’t think he’d forget me, even if he turned Tiny.”

“Best friend,” Tiny Law wheezes. “Fuck off, I would never be friends with a dimwit like you!”

“Hey,” Luffy whines again, “you said we were best friends after we took care of Mingo!”

That has Cora-san freezing. “Doflamingo?”

Luffy makes a noise. “Un. I kicked his ass again for you, Torao! Doesn’t that make us friends here too?”

Tiny Law is gaping at Luffy. Cora-san lights his hat on fire. Did he even have a lighter? Tiny Law screams, tying to pat it out and Luffy laughs. They’re so funny.

After the disaster, Cora-san coughs. “You said something about time travel?”

Luffy shrugs, slumping on the bed. “I wish Robin were here,” he says pitifully, finger rubbing a circle into the comforter’s fabric. “She’d know what is happening.”

Cora-san chokes again. When did he get that cigarette in his mouth?

“Robin?” Cora-san wheezes. “Nico Robin?”

Luffy perks up. “Yeah! She’s my nakama, do you know where she is?”

“Nakama,” Cora-san repeats. Luffy is beginning to wonder if Cora-san isn’t the dumb one. He looks to Tiny Law to see if he agrees but Tiny Law is still gaping at Luffy.

“Nico Robin is on the run from the World Government,” Cora-san answers, haltingly.

Luffy’s brows furrow. “See,” he points out, “must be time travel. We already beat up the World Government.”

That has Cora-san swallowing his cigarette. The next few moments are filled with Luffy laughing as Cora-san increasingly nearly dies and Tiny Law finally snaps out of it to wring his dad’s neck himself.

Eventually they get through the whole story.

“I don’t believe it,” Tiny Law snaps, tears in his eyes. He’d lost it when Luffy had told him about going to beat up Mingo and how he is the Heart Pirates Captain, and no, Luffy’s never heard of Cora-san but Luffy knows his Law is filled with a lot of hurt and grief.

Cora-san accepted it more factually, reminding him of Nami with the expressive way his face contorts. He’d nearly squeezed Law too hard when Luffy mentioned taking on Mingo and Kaido.

“It’s so crazy, it has to be true,” Cora-san weakly argues back. “So, we’re looking at the second Pirate King?”

Luffy scowls. “Not yet.” He punches the comforter lightly in irritation. “I didn’t get to beat up Tree Guy.”

“Forget that!” Tiny Law screams, voice hoarse and sending him into a coughing fit. “Cora-san – you – you – died!

Tiny Law breaks down. Luffy is just as stunned as Cora-san. Luffy doesn’t think he’s ever seen Law so emotional. Even when he escaped the chest, he was more fearful and anxious. This time, he cries like he doesn’t know what to do with all the hurt.  

It’s touching as it is alienating. If this was his Law, he’d hold him tight until he could alleviate some of that pain. But he can’t be that for this Law. Without prompting, Luffy gives Cora-san a brief smile. “I’m going to go explore.”

Cora-san nods, distractedly. Luffy leaves them to it, a bit of hot emotion clogging in his throat. He’s known loss.

“I’m glad,” he whispers up at the moon, legs dangling off the roof. “Torao deserves love.”

He isn’t sure how long he is stuck in the past. He hopes not too long. He misses his nakama.

_

This tiny island is too fucking small for this.

He’d completely forgotten that Boa Hancock and Emperor Ivankov would follow Luffy out to this island. That coupled with Whitebeard’s crew practically throwing a party has Law itching to leave.

But no one will let him move. Law had the dubious honor of being thumped on the back by Whitebeard and thanked by the legend himself. Law feels a bit embarrassed now, but he wasn’t able to do much other than stare at the giant like man in utter awe.

He’d only been saved from humiliation by the laughing crew by a loud, “ACE!!!!”  

Luffy had burst through the submarine and flew high, landing in a perfect heap across Ace. Then it was more tears and yelling, a lot more people laughing and cheering, and then more drinks were being poured, and the moon illuminates their celebration in full swing. It feels like Law has lived years since this morning.

“You’re an interesting one,” Rayleigh comments, finding Law on the outskirts of a cliff. Law has resorted to ‘Room’ to escape. The only reason he hasn’t jetted like he did last time is that he really needs to talk to Rayleigh.

“Silvers Rayleigh,” Law intones, eyes level as the legendary number two of the Rogers Pirates sits beside him. He’d gotten to know him briefly over time, mostly because of Luffy.

“And who might you be, young man?” Rayleigh asks, an infuriatingly knowing smirk on his face.

“Trafalgar Law,” Law introduces.

Rayleigh’s smile gets wider. “Try again.”

Law pauses, mug of cold beer freezing in mid-air. Ah. “Trafalgar D. Water Law.”

Rayleigh clanks their mugs together. “Nice to meet you, Law.”

Law bows his head in deference.

“Now, care to tell me why you were waiting for me?”

The old man is scary.

Law cups his mug of beer in his hand staring from Rayleigh out to darkening sea. The sun stays out so much later, in this part of the world.

He outstretches his Haki, confirming they are well and truly alone. It would be great to have Cora-san’s silence barrier right now, but Law is willing to take his chances that there isn’t a super hearing crew member on any ship.

“We made it to Laugh Tale,” Law says quietly.

This time it’s Rayleigh who freezes. Then the man lets out a hearty laugh. “Now, that wasn’t quite what I was expecting. Am I assuming you’re talking about in the future?”

Palpable relief floods through Law. “You know what’s happening?”

Rayleigh downs his mug, placing it beside him. He turns to face Law, a grim smile on his face. “Tell me what you experienced.”

Law explains it, the journey to the end of the ocean, the Tree of Life, the weird being that had stared deep into Law’s soul. Seeing it go for Luffy. Foolishly getting in the way.

Rayleigh doesn’t interrupt, nodding along until Law finishes. “Roger, he described the same thing. We never got to see it.”

“The Pirate King also went back in time?” Law asks, trying to wrap his head around it.

Rayleigh nods. “Roger explained it after. It’s a trial for those that carry the Will of the D. A chance to face your greatest life’s regret. Change destiny.”

Law’s brows scrunch together. “This isn’t my - ”  he pauses, something clicking. “We switched.”

Rayleigh shrugs. “I don’t know what happened. But if you displaced Luffy and yourself, there is a good chance that your fates were swapped.”

Law frantically runs his mind through the possibilities. Law doesn’t know Luffy like his crewmates do, but it also isn’t hard to figure out that Luffy’s greatest regret was the loss of his brother.

“How?” Law breathes. “Why?” Then. “Is this real? Am I hallucinating it all?”

That gets Rayleigh to huff out an approximation of a laugh. “I’m real. This is real. I think you know it too.”

“Then how do I get back?”

Rayleigh gives him a heavy look. “I don’t know. Roger never went into great detail, and I never asked. The only thing I know for sure is Roger chose not to stay.”

“There is a choice?” Law blurts out.

Again, Rayleigh shrugs. “Very few people ever made it to Laugh Tale, Trafalgar. And as far as I know, Roger was the only person to ever conquer it. If this is a trial, there will be an end. A choice will come.”

“But how long?” Law grits out, trying to bite back a frustrated whine. He isn’t a child. “If Luffy’s greatest regret was not saving his brother,” Rayleigh’s eyes flash in understanding, “then I’ve already fulfilled it. I should be able to go back.”

“When Roger went under,” Rayleigh says, “we fought with everything we had to get to him. I sliced a branch off that tree. It hit Roger on the head. He woke up, right after.”

Law’s jaw drops. “I have to depend on Mugiwara’s crew to smack us with a piece of the Tree to wake us up?”

Rayleigh laughs and Law really doesn’t find it funny. “I don’t think that’s what woke Roger up, Law. But I think it helped remind him he has something to come back to. If you and Luffy switched fates, there is nothing anchoring you to this world. Perhaps all you need is time.”

Law feels jittery with that answer. Law had woken up at dawn, realized what was going on, and told Bepo to steer the Polar Tang at full throttle to Marineford. A new dawn is still nine hours away. Was the answer really that simple?

Hunching over, Law takes deep breaths. He can do it. Nine hours is nothing. And knowing Luffy and his insane crew, it might be over faster than that.

“Thank you,” Law says.

“I thought you didn’t like ‘thank yous’,” Rayleigh chuckles. “And truly, it is I who should be expressing my gratitude. Thank you for saving Roger’s son.”

Law can’t help his curiosity. “You didn’t know he was alive.”

Rayleigh’s old eyes are filled with melancholy. “Roger was more secretive than anyone would like to remember him being. He kept everything close to his chest. Rouge and I were probably his closest companions and even then, we both knew we barely had half of him. I don’t know why Roger hid Rouge and her son from us,” Rayleigh’s fingers tighten on the mug until the wood creaks and shatters, “but what’s done is done. Whitebeard is going to get an ass-kicking though.”

Rayleigh reminds Law a bit of Zoro. There is an unquestioning loyalty that wraps around the man, even in the wake of personal devesting revelations.

Law senses him coming before he hears him. “Oi! Torao!”

“You’re good at that,” Rayleigh comments just as Luffy appears from the bushes, entire body wrapped in bandages and yet he is freely swinging around like a monkey.

Law thinks of the cook and his near telepathic abilities. “There are those better,” he mutters just before Luffy tackles him to the ground.

“Ray-ossan!” Luffy yells happily, already a bit drunk. “You came too!”

There is rustling and then Ace stumbles into the clearing. “Oi, idiot, you’re still injured - ” Ace’s words die in his mouth as he stares at Rayleigh.

Heartlessly, Law kicks Luffy off him. “I’m out of here.”

“What?” Luffy yells, followed by a whining, “No! Stay!”

Law kicks Luffy’s foot. “Since when do I take orders from you?”

Luffy laughs and fuck if that isn’t so similar to his Luffy. “Join my crew, Law! I want you!”

Law rolls his eyes. He’s had enough of those propositions over time. He looks over to Rayleigh one more time. “Thanks. If I don’t find you in the morning, you’d be right.”

Rayleigh nods, smile never faltering. “I hope so, kid. Good luck to you, but something tells me you won’t need it.”

Law nods, disappearing with a ‘Room’ just as Luffy tries to jump on top of him again.

He can’t set sail on the Polar Tang, not without his crew. But he can keep himself locked in. In the comfort of his own room, Law sets his head down and tries to sleep. Instead, memories of four years ago – of a grieving Luffy that nearly broke his own heart, float to the surface. He can’t help but feel something in his chest unclench, feeling a bit proud of himself the same way he does when his crew heals up without a single scar left behind.

_

“Law’s asleep,” Cora-san says, when Luffy tip toes back into the room, hours later. With a smile, he does that cool flick again and a little dome settles over Law. Another snap and a second dome overcomes them. “Sorry, for cutting you off earlier, Luffy.”

“Shishishi,” Luffy waves his hand in front of his face, “don’t worry about it, Smiley-san!”

That makes Cora-san laugh and Luffy was right, the man’s real smile makes him look beautiful.

“Let’s discuss what we can do, Luffy,” Cora-san says, inviting Luffy to sit across from him. “I don’t know how I can help, but I am willing to try.”

Luffy likes Cora-san. He sits down in front of him, legs crossed and grinning. “Whatcha got? Torao likes to make plans, but he’s stopped now because he knows I hate them.”

Cora-san smiles, looking at Luffy seriously. “Thank you, for being there for him.”

Once again, Luffy waves it away. “Torao is my best friend,” he says, all the explanation needed. Then his shoulders slump. “I want to find him. And my other nakama. I miss them.”

Cora-san nods. “I want you to get back to him too. We’ll find your friends, Luffy. Now, I’m thinking, if this problem came while you were in Raftel, most of the world won’t know what to do. We’ll need to find someone that does.”

Luffy’s head alights in understanding. “You want to find Ray-ossan!”

Cora-san blinks. “Ray – do you by any chance mean Silvers Rayleigh!?”

“Yeah! He’s my teacher!”

Cora-san making another comical face that has Luffy laughing. He gathers himself fast and nods. “Okay, well, we’ll start there. Last I heard he was in the Lyabendara Sea - ”

“He’s not in Sabaody?” Luffy asks, curious.

“Sabaody? The Archipelago? No, I don’t think so. Remember, kid, we’re in the past. If that’s where your Rayleigh was, there is a good chance he isn’t there now.”

Luffy nods, serious. That is a good point. Luffy isn’t sure how far in the past he is and he sucks at math, but he trusts Cora-san. “Got it. Where is the Lavy Sea?”

Cora-san coughs. “The Lyabendara Sea is just due south from us. Once Law wakes up, I can take us down. It’s only about four hours away.”

Luffy looks at Cora-san’s bandaged covered body. “Are you okay to do that? I can make it on my own, you know. I’m strong!”

Cora-san smiles, nodding. “I know, Luffy. But I’d like it to see this through.”

Luffy grins. “Good! I hate being alone!”

Cora-san ruffles Luffy’s head and that feels really nice. He isn’t sure how much older Cora-san is but he feels like a dad.

“If you’re running away,” Luffy says, without really stopping to think, “Dandan is really nice. She always helps out those who don’t have a home.”

“Oh?” Cora-san asks, intrigued. “And where does she live?”

“East Blue!”

Cora-san makes a thoughtful face. “That’s not a bad idea…” he mutters.

Luffy wonders how far the East Blue is from North Blue. It makes him miss Nami. Luffy’s eyes squint tight as something else rolls through his memory. “Oh, do you know where the Germ Kingdom is?”

Cora-san looks at him blankly. Luffy makes a huffing noise trying to think of how else to explain it.

“Do you mean Germa? The assassination kingdom?” Cora-san finally says, voice squeaky high.

“Yeah!” Luffy says, laughing. “I’m not really sure…when…I am but I think my cook is trapped there.” Luffy’s voice drops down low. “They’re not good people. I want to beat them up.”

Cora-san looks torn. “I don’t think we can afford to find them. Law and I aren’t in any condition for battle and – they’re strong.”

Luffy makes a thoughtful noise. “Ray-ossan will help,” he says with a surety.

Cora-san looks like he is going to faint again. “Right,” he says weakly.

Law refuses to wake up, so Cora-san just bundles him into a small ball and carries him cradled to his chest to the boat-yard. They hire a touring boat to sail them down to the Lyabendara Sea. The woman nearly refused because of the late night, but Cora-san’s Marine badge was all that was needed.

Cora-san is a fun guy, trading stories with Luffy about Tiny Law for Big Law. Cora-san seems proud with how high Law’s bounty is and that makes Luffy really happy.

They dock in the early morning on a shore that smells a lot like flowers. Luffy uses his Observation Haki to scan the area, laughing when he senses the familiar brilliant light that is Rayleigh’s aura.

“He’s here!” Luffy says excitedly.

Law stirs against Luffy’s chest. Luffy had wanted to hold the tiny grumpy ball. He’s so adorable. One eye pops open, and when he realizes it’s not Cora-san, Law starts scratching at Luffy like a disgruntled cat. But he stops real fast, tired.

Luffy frowns. “You’re smart, Law,” he reassures in a quiet, sure voice when Law makes those familiar self-hatred eyes. “You’ll fix yourself.”

Law says nothing, but he does tighten his hold on Luffy. Luffy laughs, taking it as a win. “Now, hold on tight! We’re going to go to Ray-ossan!”

Cora-san makes a small noise. “Um, Luffy, I don’t – hey, wait! Don’t run with Law! Luffy! Luffy!”

_

Law wakes up to Luffy staring straight at him.

“Mugiwara-ya, what the ever loving fuck?” Law yells, scrambling up, trying not look as panicked as he feels. He didn’t feel Luffy’s presence at all.

Once the shock fades away, awareness comes crashing back to overtake Law’s fight-or-flight dope. He takes one look at a too young Luffy and instantly remembers. The past. Marineford. Rayleigh’s advice.

Law’s eyes flit to the clock hanging by the door. It’s just before dawn. Fuck, he must really have been tired.

“I had this feeling you were going to go away, so I wanted to say thank you.”

Law’s eyes drag over to Luffy, staring at a surprisingly mature face. Before Law’s startled self, Luffy drops down into a bow.

“Stop that,” Law hisses, hurrying over to Luffy, “you’re going to tear your bandages!”

“Thank you, for saving us. For saving Ace.” Luffy’s voice is low and solemn, a rare bout of maturity that has Law pausing.

Luffy follows Law’s hand and allows his head to lift from the floor. He stares at Law as if he sees into Law’s soul. It’s always been disconcerting, but Law doesn’t know why he feels comforted by that knowing look. But then, he supposes, it’s good to see that Luffy is always Luffy.

“Don’t mention it,” Law says with a sigh, relinquishing his hold on Luffy to fall back to the bed. He replays what Luffy said and finds a stupid smile twitch its way on to his lips. “You’ve always been stupidly perceptive on the uncanniest things.”

“I don’t know what that means,” Luffy says with an unabashed grin. “But I’m glad. Are you mine, where ever you’re coming from?”

Something lurches in Law’s chest and his heart stutters. His face heats up and Law snarls, “I’m not yours!”

“Shishishi!” Luffy laughs. “You are! I’m happy! Where can I find my Torao?”

The end of Luffy’s sentence halts Law’s impulse to cut out his patient’s tongue.

With a sigh, Law reaches into space itself. “Domain.”

A red shimmering dome overtakes the bed and there lays a younger Law. He does a quick scan and removes the trigger for the younger Law’s coma. His face warms into something more natural, but he is so still in sleep he nearly looks like a corpse. It’s really disconcerting to look at, but Law shrugs it off. He’s seen weirder.

“I’ll leave it to you to fill him in,” Law says, in the same tone he delivers a plan.

Already, he knows that Luffy isn’t really getting it, but Luffy laughs and gives him a reassuring smile all the same. Younger Law isn’t going to understand what transpired in these 24-hours, even if Luffy were to give him the truth. But he will know what to do to take advantage of it.

“Leave it to me!” Luffy says, thumping his chest. The gesture makes him cough a bit and Law frowns, ushering him to the operating room. 

“I’m fine,” Luffy protests, but doesn’t fight back.

Luffy is in better shape that he was the first round without the trauma of losing his brother, magma trying to sear through his skin, and Law’s superior medical skills, but that doesn’t mean Luffy isn’t still heavily injured from all the other shit he’s done to his body.

“You’re really not,” Law denies. The rest of the crew must be sleeping – passed out – because Law only senses a few people awake outside and no one near them.

Luffy pouts but handles a check up as quiet as he can. Law isn’t surprised when only a few minutes later, Luffy says, “Thank you for taking care of future me too.”

Law isn’t sure when Luffy came to that conclusion, so he ignores it. “You’re normally not this polite.”

Luffy gives him a tired smile. “I hate being alone. You made sure I wasn’t. I can’t hold on to you forever, so all I can say is thank you.”

Law can’t remember a lot of things he’s ever done to have Luffy thank him. When he’s patched up a Straw Hat crewmate or shared his food – aka thrown bread to Luffy – he gets a smile and a ‘you’re a good guy, Torao!’ but nothing like the sincere words he is receiving now.

After a moment, Law says, “Don’t mention it.” Then with a blush, “It’s what friends do.”

Luffy beams.

“I’m happy to have you as my friend,” Luffy says. He hugs Law tight. “I’m going to miss you.”

As Luffy lets go, a disorienting feeling sweeps through Law. It’s not unlike when he first started to experiment with shambles, but rawer and more firm in guiding him somewhere Law doesn’t have a choice in going.

“This is goodbye, then,” Law says, lamely. Gold light begins to sweep up and around him, covering him in an aura.

Luffy’s eyes look sad, but he still has that bright grin on his face. “I hate goodbyes. But I think it’s fine if it means I still get to have you. I’m sure my Torao is going to be just as cool as you.”

Law rolls his eyes, reaching out to fondly ruffle Luffy’s hair. His hand is nearly transparent but he hopes the warmth shines through. “Take care, Mugiwara-ya. And this time, don’t provoke Yggdrasil’s Guardian, please.”

Luffy looks confused. But also like he has been told not to push a shiny red button he is definitely going to push. Law sighs. “Bye, Luffy.”

“Bye bye, Law!” 

-

“Well, you do have the same look,” Rayleigh says. He sounds amused and Luffy laughs, but quietly.

Cora-san and Law are passed out on some spare futons combined together on the living room floor, looking adorable. Tiny Law is like a kitten, clinging to Cora-san and refusing to be moved from under the giant feathery coat.

Rayleigh follows his eye. “You D’s,” he shakes his head fondly. Luffy isn’t even surprised Rayleigh knew immediately who Law was.

“He’s my partner,” Luffy tells him, grinning wide. “Or, future him is. Right now, he’s too tiny. But just enough for tiny me!”

Rayleigh makes a fond exasperated sound. Luffy knows he’s staring at a man nearly twenty years removed from his own Rayleigh. Still hurting from the loss of his captain. He’d looked at Luffy as if he’d seen a ghost.

Which gives him an idea.

“Ray-ossan, after you beat up the Germ Kingdom, would you take them to East Blue for me? To Dawn Island and a village called Foosha.”

Rayleigh quirks an eyebrow. “You want me to fight the Germa Kingdom?”

“Yeah!” Luffy says enthusiastically. “You’ll have fun!”

Rayleigh laughs, shaking his head. “You’re not my captain, despite your uncanny similarities. Why should I listen to you?”

“Just a favour, for the first. Sanji will be okay, but if I can help him, I want to.”

Rayleigh stares at Luffy’s unflinching eyes. Sighing he says, “Fine, it’s been a while since I wrought havoc anyway. But being an escort sounds pretty boring,” Rayleigh challenges.

Luffy smiles, hand on his hat. “I think you’ll find someone who needs you there.”

Luffy doesn’t tell him about Ace. Doesn’t want to make it an obligation. But he hopes.

“Alright,” Rayleigh sighs, “put away those eyes, kid. I’ll chaperon them there but only because you got me curious.”

Luffy grins bright and beaming. He sees Rayleigh flinch before sighing wistfully. “You’re both too good at that.”

Luffy doesn’t say anything swinging his feet against the ground and munching on some tea biscuits. He misses meat. Misses Sanji’s cooking.

“You don’t want to ask me anything?” Rayleigh says after a few moments of comfortable silence.

Luffy shrugs. “Nope. It’s still my adventure.”

Rayleigh smothers a laugh into his cup. “You’ll be a good King, kid.” And then, he pauses, something brief flashing over his face that has Luffy wanting to reach forward and wrap the man in a hug. “Live long, okay? One Piece isn’t all this world has to offer.”

Luffy nods. “Of course! We still have to sail the world so Nami can create her map. And we gotta find All Blue for Sanji! And Elbaf for Usopp! And Robin wants to create a new – um, - smart tree library! And - ”

Rayleigh just smiles as Luffy lists all the dreams of his friends out.

“…and,” Luffy finishes staring at Tiny Law, “I want to make sure all my precious people are happy.”

“And that’s what will make you a good King, brat.”

Luffy smiles, staring past Rayleigh to the breaking dawn. The sun barely gleams over the horizon, haloing Rayleigh.

Luffy’s throat feels warm but he chokes down his tears. “Are you proud of me, Ray-ossan?”

Rayleigh pauses sake bottle halfway up his lips before understanding dawns. “Yeah, kid. You’re a fine young man.”

Luffy’s heart swells and this time he doesn’t resist launching himself to Rayleigh for a hug. The table clatters noisily as Rayleigh tries to dodge but fails, waking up Cora-san and Law who both go from sleepy to alert.

Luffy laughs apologetically from where he is wrapped around Rayleigh. “My bad, but I’m glad you’re awake. I’m going to say goodbye now!”

It’s adorable how Tiny Law looks like he’s bitten something sour. He tugs his hat over his eyes and presses his face into Cora-san’s chest. Cora-san looks absolutely delighted by the movement. “Whatever,” Tiny Law says.

Luffy laughs, bounding over to pat his hat covered head. “You’re going to be a great man one day, Law,” he says, crouching down to the too small body of his best friend.

Cora-san beams, covering Tiny Law’s small back. “Thank you,” he says to Luffy, so sincere Luffy can’t laugh and brush it off. He knows how much this man means to his Law. “Can – can you tell the other Law that I’m proud of him?”

Luffy nods, looking up at the giant man and hopes his promise is reflected in his eyes. “I will.”

A weird tingling sensation blooms over his skin, not unlike when Law displaces him inside his ‘Room’. Luffy pokes Tiny Law’s cheek who is still half buried in Cora-san’s chest, but staring at Luffy with sad eyes. “We’ll meet again,” he promises to Tiny Law.

Tiny Law struggles with his facial expression before he gives a weird smile. Luffy bursts out laughing which makes Law scowl and turn away again.

“Bye bye, Tiny Law! Smiley-san! Ray-ossan!”

Before Luffy disappears he sees Tiny Law wave his hand in a small goodbye. Luffy smiles so hard he can feel the pull in his cheekbones.

_

Law wheezes when a sturdy body lands right on his diaphragm. Without conscious thought, he kicks it away. He doesn’t even feel a bit of regret when he hears Luffy’s yelp and a straw hat covered head tumble ass over head to the side.

“Luffy!” various shouts of Luffy’s name come at the same time as “Captain!” does from Law’s crew. There are other supernovas yelling and there is chaos all around not unlike Marineford, but this at least is familiar.

Even the weird ugly looking spirt doesn’t seem as scary as before.

“Torao!”

Law grunts as he’s tackled into a hug by Luffy. “Cora-san says hi!”

Law freezes. Ah. Rayleigh has said the trial was a chance to fix his greatest regret, wasn’t it? Swallowing the hot lump of emotions that brings – this is definitely not the fucking time – Law leans into the hug just briefly.

“Ace-ya isn’t such a bad guy,” Law offers.

Luffy tenses so hard, Law almost freaks out. But then he sags, and Law can feel Luffy’s smile buried into his neck.

“I’m glad you liked him. In another world, he could be your brother-in-law,” Luffy teases.

Law elbows Luffy to the side, blushing furiously as he tugs his hat down over his eyes. “Shut – shut up. Let’s go – Bepo and Zoro-ya are calling us.”

More like the crews are alternating between relieved crying and frantic yelling as they fight the reason for the Void Century. Law never would have guessed it would literally be a devouring spirit. He kind of misses Marineford.

“Yeah, let’s go kick some ass!”

Law grins ferally, matching Luffy’s eager smile, and they both dive back to where they belong.

{End.}