Actions

Work Header

The Strategist

Work Text:

 

 

 

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ok, so the file here says he has blond hair, super tall, jeez six foot eight?” He heard the sound of a keyboard and a mouse “And… he smokes.”

There was silence for a moment, the type of silence that follows a person that just finished reading something and was left expecting more “Who is the idiot that did this report?”

“Aren’t we supposed to have a sketch of how the guy would look like?” He heard paper shuffling in the way you do when you are about to throw everything to shit.

 

“Oh yeah, here it is”

 

More silence filled the line, this time it was the type of silence that precedes a murder “Holly shit, who the fuck are we paying to do this job?”

 

“I believe it was Mr. Kanjuro.” He said, putting the rim of his glass of water to his lips.

 

“Fuck! I could have made a better sketch using my asshole and a brush!” Law blinked slowly, forcing his face to remain calm, while in the inside he wanted to either burst out laughing at the idiocy of the idea itself or cringe at how disgusting it sounded.

 

“You’re not helping Portgas” He muttered instead.

 

“Well, neither is this file” the man groaned on the other side, frustrated, sounding just like he felt “This whole thing is just a gigantic waste of time now”

“Oh, there’s something here” Law heard more papers shuffling in a way that indicated Ace was getting desperate. He hated the fact that the Bureau had delivered the documentation of their assignment so fucking late and he had not been able to see the papers with his partner, perhaps he could have been able to provide a different point of view.

“Ok, I got it! Beside the word blond in hair color, I think it says golden”

 

And just as he said that, a flash of blond hair through his peripheral caught his attention, but he resisted the temptation to move his neck.

 

“There’s only one person here that might do justice to that color, but he looks nothing like the description suggested.” He had seen him when he entered the restaurant, hard to miss a person like him.

“Oh, the babe at the bar?”

 

Yes. He wanted to say, but he bit his tongue to hold it. Nothing good might come from losing his poise in this mission.

 

But Ace had different plans.

“Hey, do me a favor and look at the bar again, I want to relax a little bit, this whole fiasco got me stressed out.”

He complied, but only because he wanted to watch too. He accommodated the glasses on the bridge of his nose and followed the mahogany lines of the bar placed in the middle of the room, the blond bartender was mixing beverages from different bottles and some girl with long auburn hair was delighted to be the center of his attention while she waited for her drink.

“That lucky bitch” was the bitter remark of the raven-haired man that was currently speaking to him through his earpiece.

 

Law couldn’t agree more.

 

The man moved with a fluidity that only came with practice, an ease and a sense of confidence that was almost arrogance. He was spinning a bottle of vodka with his left hand while he held a shaker with the right one, he was grinning mischievously and he saw the wink he aimed at the girl that giggled at the bar.

He turned his gaze away and almost chuckled when he heard his partner sigh.

“Shit, I have to fucking focus. Law, man I don’t know how you can do it. If I was in your place, I would be the one at the bar instead of some girl” he heard the man blowing steam from his cheeks, and he was sure that Ace was pouting.

Something suddenly clicked in Law’s mind through his friend’s frustration, for some reason it reminded him of the green-haired man “Hey, didn’t Mr. Roronoa say he thought he got intel from this guy in a previous mission?” he said looking down at the menu.

“Oh shit, that’s right!” When they were given the briefing for this mission, the swordsman happened to be there at the meeting room and he had mentioned to Smoker how one of his assignments was interrupted by a guy that matched the description and general background provided a few years ago.

He had expressed that his gut told him it was the same asshole. But when Mr. Roronoa was asked about the details and results of his mission, he told them to review the file and had been reluctant to share anything else.

Including the fucking file previously mentioned.

“Worst mission of his life” murmured Law. It had been a couple of years ago and afterward, the guy had been involved in more and more criminal events and had been taking down big bosses from the Grand Line organization to expand a new criminal group called New World.

The crews from the New World were run by very famous Capos, each one of them held their reputation high and competed against each other. In some exceptional cases, all the members of the crew held a celebrity status.

 

Such was the case of the Straw Hats.

 

However, the identity of one of their members was very well kept and this mission had been assigned to him in order to recognize that particular member since the last incident at Vega Punk’s laboratory had the guy’s signature: No pictures, no videos, and absolutely nobody wanted to rat on the guy. Everything they had gathered were half-assed stories or tales that didn’t make sense.

 

He was known as ‘Mr. Prince’ but in The Bureau, he was called ‘The Strategist’.

 

“Yes! I found it!” Law exhaled relieved, he was getting bored of pretending to look at the menu while he searched in the room for somebody who resembled the description.

He heard some mumbles indicating the man was reading for himself as fast as possible, he could only recognize bits of the words “—he is a fucking annoying asshole” more shushed whispers continued. “A curly-cue idiot?” and then in a frustrated tone “Good for nothing womanizer!?

A sigh filled the line and he was sure the man was running his hands through his black hair, scratching the back of his head. “Well, that was perhaps more useless than Kanjuro’s report. I’m almost pissed right now. Why the fuck did they even send you there?”

 

Because they are desperate.

 

Their Organization told them the next hit was soon to happen and it will be orchestrated by The Strategist. It was almost funny how the evidence that backed up this theory was never presented to them. But it seemed the so-called ‘floating restaurant’ Baratie was going to dock on an island near the port of Marseille in the Mediterranean Sea and he was going to show himself at the famous restaurant.

The artificial island was called ‘Punk Hazard’. A place known for its commercial activity and amazing luxury hotels. The parties were usually organized near the shoreline and ports, their locals were friendly and always, always smiling.

Law had arrived a few days ago, stayed in one of the hotels closer to the shoreline, and had noted ever since he arrived that all the docks in the port were full with fishing boats, but just some of them disembarked their cargo at day, most of them arrived late in the afternoon and stayed the whole night and they left before sunrise.

Not an unknown practice, but if 87% of the boats that docked in this port did the same thing and the few fishing stores were not overflowing with fish every day and the island’s population didn’t suggest the consumption of the amount of seafood that would bring to port these large fishing boats…

 

What was really happening on this island? He had not been able to share this with Ace but why their bosses didn’t send them to investigate the island instead?

 

But before he could formulate an answer, something on the back of his neck prickled. It was his instinct that made him look up at the bar where the only interesting thing in the night was. He immediately realized that blue eyes were gazing directly at him while those talented hands cleaned a tall glass with a white towel. The guy smiled at him, a smile so charming that almost broke his façade and the tilt of that blonde head was so enticing that a shiver broke through his spine.

“Holy shit” came the voice from his earpiece. Law tore his eyes from the blond, looking at his side, readjusting his glasses that had the camera his partner was using to ogle at the same hot guy. The urge of biting his bottom lip was huge, but he didn’t cave in.

“Let’s switch, now” came the freckled man’s voice.

“You’re still not helping” He was annoyed at this moment; the mission was falling apart and might not have sense but he would not allow some pretty boy to frustrate him.

 

A fucking-hot-as-hell-good-looking-devil-pretty-boy. Whispered his traitorous mind.

 

“Are you seriously not going to do anything?” It appeared that Ace’s mission brief had suddenly changed, and he was doing stupid questions now.

“Not everyone is like you, Portgas” He finished his glass of water, and was looking at his right side trying to find anything that could distract him.

“Oh, is not my fault, if I were there, with this face and this freckles, perhaps he would be serving those drinks to me” The arrogance in the statement was clear, and for a moment Law thought it might be true.

“Don’t think so, he was swooning for the other girl before” Not that it bothered him, he really didn’t care, he cared about the mission, that’s all.

“Oh shit, I think he’s coming” How Ace knew that before him, was beyond him. But before he blinked again, he had the blond standing right at his table, his right hand at his back.

 

“Excusez-moi, monsieur” (Excuse me, gentleman)

“Puis-je vous apporter quelque chose à boire?” (Can I get you something to drink?)

 

The rich tenor had his ears tingling, and he realized then that his heart was beating fast “Oh, shit, I need him in my mouth” and the asshole in his receiver was definitely.not.helping.

 

 

But he still had to see the day in which his tongue remained speechless and his demeanor unguarded.

 

 

He smiled, that smile he knew had brought women and men down to their knees before him, and dropping his voice perhaps a little bit more than necessary he continued fluently.

 

“Je prendrais certainement tout ce que vous recommandez.” (I would definitely take anything you recommend)

 

Was that a glint on the man’s eye?

 

 

“Très bien”

 

 

The blond turned on his heel and went back to fetch something at the bar, Law discretely stole a glance at the man’s rear and could not help but swallow at recognizing the tightness of the fabric.

“Hey man, I definitely want a piece of that too, however…”

 

However, indeed…

 

“How did he know you speak French?” Ace’s tone was serious now, and while the shuffle of papers stopped he could hear the sounds of furious tapping on the keyboard, he knew the man was looking for information.

“At last, some seriousness Portgas.”

“I mean, we are near France, but we are also near Italy and… This island is just weird” the typing came to a stop and then he said “Could he be the guy?” he seemed unfazed by the comment, he heard some papers shifting, calmer this time. The raven-haired man was trying to piece together the incoherent scraps the previous idiots left for him to chew on.

“But the sketch…” Law said.

“I know…”

He saw how the blond moved, long strides carried him across the room as he directed his gaze at the bar again, only to realize there was another guy already there. This guy was tanned, with long blond hair that was slicked back and blushed profusely when the same girl asked him for another drink.

“He seems to work here but not as a bartender” he tried to look as if he was not dissecting the guy with his gaze, looking at his sides occasionally as well.

“Yeah, I’m checking up on that right now as you enjoy the view of that body moving”

 

Law only grunted as he made a mental note to slap the freckled idiot once this was over.

 

He saw how the blond disappeared after the kitchen’s double doors. “Do you think he is escaping?” he heard a chuckle from his earpiece and a teasing voice asked him “Afraid he is not coming back, huh?” but the typing remained so he knew at least Ace was searching for information.

Yes, he was afraid because if this was the guy they were after, it meant that he had blown up his cover and the mission was thrown at the window for a pretty face. But then, he saw the blond emerging from the same double doors. A bottle of what appeared to be some expensive wine in one hand and two glasses in his other hand.

 

“You lucky bitch!” was the reproach that came from his earpiece. He had to blink slowly again to concentrate since Ace had managed to sound hurt and encouraging at the same time. He needed to focus, the idea of the hottest man he had seen in a while was trying to hook up with him in the middle of what they knew was a very important mission was almost hilarious.

 

He saw how he spoke with another waiter, obviously giving him indications and orders, he did the same at the bar with the bartender who nodded in acknowledgment and did a small wave with his hand. The tall woman at the entrance came looking for him, and he saw how he smiled at her and obviously complimented her purple dress before he let her talk. The guy was obviously straight and he told himself he was not disappointed. But the blond seemed to be in control and it appeared that he commanded the whole personnel and seeing him as a boss added another layer to the overall hotness.

And it appeared that his partner noticed that as well “I’m gonna become a waiter, definitely this surveillance job sucks balls and none of my bosses are that hot” Usually Ace was the one who did the whole undercover thing. While Law was able to crack people quite literally to get the information, Ace was capable of making friends of his targets within minutes and he took the information from them without them knowing. The man enjoyed being undercover and he, on the contrary, detested having to deal with people while pretending to be someone else. But the injury on his left shoulder had left him doing the surveillance part, but of course, the man was also fucking brilliant at it.

He saw the black-haired woman nodding a couple of times, and saw how the blond picked up her hand and kissed the back of it, he turned and his strides were directed where his table was located. And suddenly, the room was warmer and the collar on his shirt was almost suffocating.

The blond pulled the chair across him, sitting down and placed the bottle at his right and the two glasses at his left “I’ve never seen somebody that after half an hour cannot decide what to eat and settles with a glass of water at my restaurant” the blond gave him one of the most charming smiles he had ever seen in his life “And it’s even more difficult to understand when you clearly know what the menu says.”

 

Oh.

 

He spoke to him in French to determine if the reason why he was not ordering was because he didn’t understand the menu.

 

“Let me join you so you can see what we have to offer” he opened the bottle effortlessly and poured the wine gracefully into a cup, when he extended his arm, offering the glass he grinned at him in almost a playful way and said with that sinful voice “I’m sure you will not regret it.”

“That’s the best pick up line I have ever heard” Ace sighed again and Law had to restrain himself to not yell at the man, is like he suddenly had decided to be an additional conscience to him who said everything he was not supposed to think right now instead of telling him something useful. Because even though he was trying hard, this blond was getting into his skin and blood.

 

After all, it had been a while.

 

“And yup, sure enough. He is the owner of The Baratie, his name is Sanji Blackleg, born on March the 3rd of 1992, blood type B- and… my future husband” That was better, although he doubted the guy would end up as a husband for the freckled pervert.

“I really meant no offense by not ordering anything from your menu” Law said politely, taking a sip from the offered wine as he let the light liquid run over his tongue. It was a really creamy white wine and oaked to perfection. Rich and smooth, a delicious feeling and taste.

When he looked at those blue eyes through the rim of his glass he saw a gleam on them, clearly indicating that he was able to see through his bullshit. And he realized…

 

He was being dissected too.

 

But why? Why this guy had this sudden interest in him? How he dared to look like if he could see right through him. Law knew he was good, years of training reinforced that, how this rich-ass looking prick saw that? And a distant voice, that was gaining force and sounded louder than any other question in his head: Was he doing well in the blond’s analysis?

 

“No offense is taken, but I recognize a challenge when I see one.”

 

“Oh my fucking God, he is so hot” Law wondered briefly if the brunette would have behaved if he was in his place.

 

He heard the way Ace kept searching, clicks and keyboard at work “… I really cannot find something else, except that he is a wonderful human being that has a remarkable career as a chef and in his free time he provides food to the less fortunate” Ace sigh was borderline melodramatic and he kept adding “This guy was in the middle of the revolution of Alabasta, providing food and necessary supplies back when the country was dying due to the severe drought.”

Law saw those blue eyes running through the menu, there was kindness in that face, yeah… but there was also something else. And just at the same time, Ace added “I feel like I’m missing something… This is almost too good to be true”

 

Exactly.

 

“Oh, the Sole grillée" the blond said, his voice pulling Law out of his reverie, while he pointed at the menu with the description of the plate he was recommending “We just caught it today, I’m sure you will like it” the smile on his face was kind and illuminated his features immediately.

“With that face, I would eat mud grillée if he recommended it to me” Law almost, almost turned off his connection, but he knew Ace was the only one that could give him answers at this moment.

Law took the menu and read the description of the suggestion. It was a seared Fish steak, from a fish species he didn’t recall eating before, with a side of steamed vegetables served over a bed of house rice, the specialty of the restaurant.

 

“Oh wow, he knows you”

 

Indeed he does.

 

Rice, not bread. Fish, not Beef and green vegetables, not potatoes. Which were the most obvious suggestions he had heard in every other restaurant.

 

He fixed his glasses and almost in a bored tone of voice asks “What makes you think I would prefer this over the Tomahawk steak you sell?”

It was his intention to sound arrogant, cheeky, fucking petulant.

But the blond only smirked at him. His canines telling him ‘you can’t fuck with me cuz I already fucked you over.’

“Nah, you’re not a steak guy” The blond dismissed with one of his hands, his tone jovial and completely authentic “In fact, I would risk saying that you are even a pescetarian” he stated with a satisfied smile.

 

Shit.

 

Law felt his heart beating faster, his body tensing all over, adrenaline pumping through his system as he heard Ace groaning on the other side.

“Why would you say that?” he asked, tilting his head, his demeanor revealing nothing of his internal stupor.

“Just look at you” the blond stated, as if it was obvious he preferred fish.

 

Law felt those blue eyes across his face, his hair, his shoulders, his arms, his hands. He willed his body not to shudder but it was nearly impossible.

 

Becoming irritated by his own reactions, he frowned and asked brusquely without thinking “What?”

But the blond didn’t seem fazed by the question or the way he basically spat the word out. Instead, the blond reached out with one of his pale hands and said “Give me your hand” with such a smooth tone that almost made him bite at his lower lip.

Law complied, extending his hand towards the blond, palm up, looking calm, relaxed. However, all his defenses were at their highest level. He saw the blond looking intently at his palm, pale digits hovered across the lines, and gently extended his fingers. He let his hand be turned, he wanted to see the reaction when the other man read the inked letters on his knuckles. But it seemed those blue eyes were more intent on a scar between his index and middle finger and even more interested in his fingernails.

 

It was just his hand.

 

And he felt exposed.

 

He was being explored so thoroughly that he almost, almost blushed.

 

“See?” he heard the deep baritone from the blond’s, still scanning his hand. “The color and texture of your nails indicate that you eat a lot of Omega-3, found mostly in fish, they shine and have a healthy color underneath. And of course, the state of your skin indicates you ingest a lot of Vitamin E.” He saw the blond furrow his eyebrows as if in thought and then almost to himself he said “You take good care of your hands.”

 

Now that made him blush.

 

“Of course, I’m a doctor” he hated the fact that he sounded so defensively at such a simple statement. The blond hummed in understanding, nodding a few times, a small smile tugging on those lips. Those blue eyes looked up to see his face and he couldn’t stop the tremor this time.

The blond didn’t seem to notice, but he did lower his tone of voice while he eyed at his hair and said “And I’m pretty sure your hair is soft and smooth because of your regular ingestion of Vitamin B...” This time Sanji grinned, it was cheeky and playful and he did this thing with his hair that let his other eye peek underneath a golden curtain and Law finally understood why the weight of that smile and the fire of those eyes were taking him apart so easily and making breathing so difficult.

 

It was this mutual familiarity.

 

Like if they knew each other from before.

 

And that couldn’t be faked, no matter how much you tried.

 

“Oh, my God” Ace’s voice almost made him jump “I’m falling in love with this guy...” He really had to remind himself that Portgas was not actually part of his consciousness and was not in any way saying what he really felt. In fact, his partner should be screaming at him not to trust this blond.

“So, what do you say?” and Law felt how a calloused thumb caressed all his knuckles in one of the most suggestive moves someone had ever used on him.

“If you don’t say yes, I will” He could easily picture Ace eating popcorn at the surveillance van, enjoying his suffering.

 

But Law was not about to melt like some schoolgirl.

 

He gently pulled his hand away and closed the menu “I’ll take your suggestion” he added a smile at the end and he confidently leaned back in his chair and crossed his legs. He took a sip of the wine and fuck, it was good. The best wine he had ever tasted.

The blond also leaned back, his eyes never leaving Law’s, and took the glass of wine with such elegant confidence that made him tense and apprehensive. He saw the way the blond smelled at the clear liquid before taking a sip that later he rolled through his mouth before swallowing it.

“Parfait” he said simply and raised his hand, ready to make his order.

 

However, it seemed the waiter was already going towards Sanji before the blond called him out. A lanky man with heavy bags under his eyes leaned down, not before glancing directly at Law, and while cupping his mouth he whispered something to the blond that he could not hear.

But for his luck, the blond was not taking such precautions.

 

“Mr. Prince?” The blond asked almost surprised and suddenly all the alerts were back in Law’s brain.

 

The waiter glanced briefly at him, he didn’t trust him that was obvious, but said nothing and kept whispering. “I thought he was not coming anymore” the blond man groaned while scratching his beard, he looked annoyed for some reason.

The cook sighed and nodded to the waiter “Thank you Gin. Tell him I’ll be there in five minutes” the blond smiled politely and also provided the instructions for the plate that was meant for Law. The other man excused himself and went back to the kitchen.

 

“Don’t fuck it up” said Ace.

 

As if he needed the reminder.

 

“Leaving me so soon?” Law basically purred the words out while stirring his glass of wine.

The blond smirked at him, mischief was written all over his handsome features and it looked so good in him “Why? Will you miss me?” he tilted his head just so, making those golden strands move in that hypnotic way again and Law wondered briefly why did he feel like a mouse if he was supposed to be the cat.

 

But he shrugged anyway, confident he looked good, sounded amazing and was the best thing the cook would ever have “I can come with you if you wish to—”

“You can come with me somewhere else if you wish to.” the blond cut his words while those blue eyes gutted him like some prey. He tried to swallow but realized that his mouth was dry and suddenly he realized that words had left him and he had become speechless.

 

And almost at the same time, he realized with alarm that he was getting hard.

 

He decided to throw away precaution, succumb to what he wanted and said “You’ll just have to lead the way...” and because he needed a reaction from the blond, convincing himself he was not the only one feeling this tension he added:

 

“Sanji.”

 

But instead of seeing him worried, perhaps curious or downright paranoid, Sanji only gave him a grin while a teasing tongue ran through those white teeth.

And it was happening, he was really going to let some pretty boy ruin his mission because if at that moment the cook told him to get out this damn boat to get busy somewhere else, he was going to.

 

But his sight suddenly registered another figure in the background approaching, and after he forced his eyes to look up two things happened at once:

 

 

His boner disappeared (Thank the gods)

 

 

And the hideous sketch Kanjuro draw with his asshole, was suddenly alive and walking towards them.

 

 

“This is so fucked up” and for what it seemed the tenth time this evening, Ace said the exact words he had just thought out loud.

 

The guy was extremely tall, pale blond hair was combed backward, not a messy fringe like the drawing, his jaw looked sharper and the eyebrows were not that curly. It was the sketch. But not really. It was…

 

Better?!

 

But no, not really.

 

“Mr. Prince is tired of waiting for you, Sanji!” the guy shouted in their direction.

 

But it was definitely the guy.

 

“Are you too busy with your new friend?” his left eye did this weird spasm that Law recognized as a wink.

 

“Dude, I owe Kanjuro a fucking apology” And for the twentieth time, Law considered disconnecting his partner.

 

Mr. Prince approached his table, towering over them, a sneer clear on his face “We need to talk” he said with the type of arrogance and belligerence you hate in bullies.

 

Blue eyes turned to him, sharp but apologetic, the bravado he had seen in the cook diminished a little bit and Law felt a tug at his heart for it.

 

“I’ll be back in five minutes” the blond assured him.

 

He was about to say something, anything that could help him tag along with the blond but Sanji stood up too fast before he had the opportunity to speak and if that was not enough, he also pinned him to the chair when he leaned over the table and gave him a kiss on the cheek.

 

It was just a kiss on the cheek.

 

 

On his fucking cheek.

 

 

And he still felt it all over his body.

 

“You should run away—” Sanji whispered to him as Law tried to make sense of the situation. But the raspy baritone caressing his ear was distracting, the way blond hair tickled his skin was too enticing and the smell of smoke, spices and cologne were basically suffocating him “—Agent Law.”

 

Sanji straightened and glanced at him for a second before turning away “So what is it that you want this time, Mr. Prince?” asked the blond with just a hint of annoyance, making sure he still sounded polite.

 

It was unnatural, it was forced, it was…

 

 

Wrong.

 

 

“I am so fucking lost, this is not even a joke” Ace breathed out as frustrated as he felt, the sound of papers being moved around was loud and it was obvious the other man was just trying to find answers.

He saw the double doors of the kitchen opening one more time, what was this guy’s business in this establishment that he had to go to the fucking kitchen of all places? “There is something wrong here, I just...”

“Law you have to get out of there—” Ace interrupted, the sounds of him typing loud on the receiver “—And you need to be fucking careful since it seems your position has been compromised”

Law knew that, he fucking already knew that shit. But how the fuck was he supposed just to run away leaving behind the—

 

And then an idea occurred to him.

 

“Turn off the lights” he commanded to his partner.

“No” Ace could be infuriating when he wanted to “I know what you’re trying to do, It’s too dangerous”

“The blond—”

“You don’t know him and it seems he might know a little bit too much about you” This was getting them nowhere.

“Don’t you trust me?” he said, trying to get into Ace’s skin “I’m your fucking partner”

 

He heard a loud sigh and then complete silence. He took a moment to look around, everybody seemed to be working like usual, waiters taking orders and delivering food like an organized collective. But he knew deep in his gut that something was amiss.

“It’s not that simple, you know?” the other man sounded resigned and he tried not to grin.  He heard Ace typing again, somehow the sound reassured him “I can’t just turn off the lights from the restaurant, it would have to be the entire port and it would probably affect the cellphones and—”

“Then what are you waiting for?” he gulped the last of his wine, he might have sounded rude, but two minutes had already passed since the blond left.

“I have a bad feeling about this”

 

Welcome to the fucking club then.

 

“It would be worst doing nothing”

 

The typing stopped and while he knew he looked cool and composed on the outside, he was more restless than ever “I hope your gut is right” the other man said.

 

“Prepare for blackout in three, two, one...”

 

 

The lights went off as promised, he turned on the night vision in his glasses and started moving. His steps were light and quick, it was good there was no emergency light and he avoided contact with all the waiters and customers that were walking around.

 

 

He entered the kitchen unnoticed and made sure to stay away from the fire stations, there were no signs of Sanji or Mr. Prince.

“The only place they could have a private meeting in the kitchen is in the fridge, just turn right and you will see what seems to be a storage room and at the end, the fridge’s huge door” Ace’s voice sounded as rushed as he felt but he still moved stealthy towards the door, surprisingly there were no cooks around

A loud sound came from the other side and then “I told you, I’m not doing it!” it was Sanji’s voice “You say it as if you have a fucking choice!” It must be Mr. Prince, it had to be.

“I’m going to call for backup, don’t do anything—” Law stopped breathing once he started hearing static instead of his partner’s voice.

 

 

And then…

 

 

Two gunshots cracked into the night and his blood turned to ice. He had heard enough gunshots to know it was close and from the other side of this door. Everything around him turned to chaos and screams but he focused on his task, hoping Ace would come online soon, concluding the communication went down due to the blackout and nothing else.

 

 

 

Nothing else.

 

 

 

He opened the fridge’s heavy door and passed by the frozen fish and meat hanging from different hooks, he pulled out his gun and focused his attention on the now open back door that led to the dock.

 

Outside, everything was dark, not even the moon could cast a light due to the clouds that indicated it was about to rain.

 

A sound to the left caught his attention, it was him, the tall figure of Mr. Prince was visible and he was carrying something over his shoulder. With a start, he realized it must be Sanji.

He was about to scream for him to stop, both of his hands already on the gun. But a sharp pain near his clavicle made his body become rigid, his voice died at his throat, his vision began to blur and he was unconscious before he even hit the floor.

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

“Where did you learn how to do that?” the stupid questions Duval made on a regular basis were annoying, but at this moment with the stakes so high, they were downright worth killing him for.

“Do what?” he stepped into the boat making sure he maintained his balance and the hold he had on Law firm. He had been able to catch him before he crashed onto the floor and had turned him over to carry him bridal style and take him to the end of the dock. The fact that he was taller than him made the fit a little bit uncomfortable but it was nothing he couldn’t manage.

“You know, making him fall asleep while just touching his shoulder” Duval pushed aside the large suitcase he had been carrying over his shoulder to give him some space. He sat down, cradling the agent’s head on his shoulder, and held his body closer to make room for Gin who was untying the rope.

“We don’t have time for that story” said Sanji, even though his acupuncture lessons shouldn’t be something to get excited about.

Before Duval kept on with his ridiculous questions Gin started the boat’s motor and pushed the boat away in order to start their way. The night sky cracked with thunder and the only source of light were the emergency lights at each dock that barely let you see your own hand in front of your face.

“What do we do with his piece?” now, that was the type of question that was worth making.

“Strap it back, he can’t use it anyway” Sanji shrugged, knowing his disinterest will piss off the other man.

“What if I empty the magazine?” Gin insisted.

“Come one Gin, what is life without a few risks?” He grinned at him and Duval barked a laugh.

“Easy for you to say, he wouldn’t shoot you even if you ask him” his tone was resentful, but he returned the weapon, his thieving fingers light and precise.

“Let’s hope he sees me in this darkness then” He ignored completely Gin’s sulky tone and fuck, he was dying for a cigarette.

“I gotta tell you, you did one hell of a job there, to think they sent some other guy at the very last minute” Duval said while scratching his chin, Gin nodded reluctantly adjusting their direction just a bit.

“It was a fucking miracle” he admitted. He knew he was good, but shit, never that good. He had managed to get under the skin of one of the top agents from The Bureau, the famous 'Mr. Yellow'.

 

This was fate.

 

And fate was letting them finish their plan because what they were doing, was the right thing to do.

 

A shadow on the horizon made his heart jump “I see The Sunny” he said. The other two men looked up to see the ship a few miles away from them, very close to the port. Just a few minutes behind the schedule but nothing they couldn’t fix.

Gin slowed down the boat when they approached the last dock on the port, the large shadow of the yacht ominous and awaiting “What are you going to do with your cargo?” asked Gin as he gestured with his head to Law’s body that was tucked in his chest.

“I’ll leave him on the dock, let’s hope he is just as smart as I think he is.” He removed Law’s earpiece carefully, he noticed the pair of gold hoops and his fingertips brushed his jet-black hair unconsciously.

 

It was as soft as he knew it would be.

 

He wanted to touch some more, just as he wanted to get to know him a little bit more. But Gin cleared his throat rather loudly and he looked up, feeling beyond annoyed that he was interrupted.

 

“We’re here” the other man said curtly.

“I know, I know” Sanji stepped out from the boat, walking carefully and, oh so slowly, he placed the agent’s body on the top of the cold wooden planks. He apologized internally as he accommodated his body so he rested his face on the dock, his body looking as if his fall was never interrupted.

He stood up and he fixed his tie, all the time looking down at Law “Tell Luffy to be punctual” Duval nodded and Gin started the boat’s motor one more time.

“Sanji!” he glared in Duval’s direction and looked back at the agent’s unconscious body. He was able to see the large man shrugging apologetically and then pulled something out of the bag he had been carrying “You should give him this” he said in a loud whisper —as if that would help— and handed Sanji a long, very long, sword.

 

“What the fuck is this?” asked Sanji intrigued “His weapon of choice” answered Duval while pointing at Law. “That is not a good idea” argued Gin as he shook his head.

 

 

A swordsman?

 

 

Fuck, he really wanted to know this guy.

 

“I think it’s a risk I will take, Gin” He pulled the sword a little bit, just to see the glint of the cold metal. This was going to get even more interesting.

“I hope you are right with this one” Gin’s tone had equals parts of resignation and venom that made him grin as he retaliated by saying “Well, I was right about you, wasn’t I?” He knows Gin is blushing as he throws him the backpack with the explosives. Such a reckless thing to do.

He was about to go and Gin was already turning the boat to The Sunny’s direction, but before he turned away, he said in a serious tone “Good luck gentlemen, you better make it out alive” and then he turned around and started running across the dock without waiting for an answer, he heard the noise at his back of the boat getting away.

 

He identified the entrance of the yacht immediately, noticing there were no guards or any signs of surveillance.

 

Good.

 

That meant Franky’s team had succeeded and they were good and kicking some ass. He slowed down and stopped when he saw the boarding ramp, he looked up to the transom and in neat cursive letters he read:

 

 

Joker.

 

 

He took a deep breath, rolled his shoulders and cracked his neck. He started walking up the ramp and accommodated the earpiece he took from Law in his left ear. 

 

“Franky?”

 

He heard static for a moment and then “Ugh, finally!” the boisterous reply made him curse the man, but for once, he didn’t have time to insult him.

“Update me” he requested simply, taking a sharp left and started running through a long corridor. He knew exactly where to go, had studied Franky’s blueprints thoroughly.

He heard typing on the other side and could picture the other man’s grin as clear as the day as he said:

 

“My pleasure, bro”

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

The first thing he felt was a strong pang at the back of his head. Logical, he concluded. The lack of blood flooding into his brain might cause this type of symptoms, as well, the fact that adrenaline was pumping so fast into his body just minutes ago might add to the problem.

 

And of course, the fact that he started diagnosing his condition even before completely recovering consciousness was so annoying, it could cause a fucking headache to anyone.

 

 

He opened his eyes realizing he was lying on the dock, face first.

 

 

He got up almost immediately, the idea of his face touching the no doubt disgusting surface irked him. He started brushing dust out of his suit and shirt when he realized.

He didn’t feel any pain on his face or body.

 

Because he never fell.

 

His headache was gone and he was suddenly wide awake.

He touched the side of his face.

 

No earpiece.

 

He realized he was not carrying his glasses anymore.

His hands went immediately to his hip and then…

 

He still had his weapon.

 

What the actual fuck? He gets knocked out, never fell to the ground, his communication devices are gone... but his gun is still with him?

And where the fuck was he? This was not the dock he had been just minutes ago.

He looked around, the lights were still out and the only sounds were the ocean. But there was electricity in the atmosphere, he knew something was going on. He decided to go to the shore and search for the van where Ace should be in so they could piece together what they have seen and come up with a plan.

He started running along the dock, the cold wind hitting his face. As he neared a pole with an emergency light on it, he suddenly recognized the object that was near its base.

 

Long and dark, an object very close to his heart and veins.

 

 

His sword: Kikoku.

 

 

He slowed down and reached out to it as if he was in a trance. Cold droplets started to fall as the storm that had been building since the afternoon started falling into pieces.

The last time he had seen his sword was when he left it in the hotel room. Whoever had orchestrated this, had been two steps ahead of him since the very beginning.

A loud thunder made him look up, the sound of the waves engulfing everything as they announced the storm that was about to fall. But it didn’t matter. Everything had become meaningless as the letters in front of him acquired sense and he started moving towards the plank of the yacht that he had been searching for the last three years:

 

 

Joker.

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

“I’m just saying, this will be a lot easier if you would—” Sanji dodged another kick aimed at his head with the intention of breaking his neck.

The fight had started well balanced, equal he could even say, but now his opponent was moving a lot faster and he was getting stronger. He knew he was fast and that kicks were his thing, but this guy was proving to be a lot more annoying than he had anticipated.

 

He was being a literal pain in the ass right now.

 

“How did you find us?” Vergo asked as he moved away, just in time of avoiding the sole of his shoe. He did it like if it was nothing, like if he had not been seconds ago from having his skull broken.

“And what do you plan to do with the kids?” The man sounded robotic, bored even.

“What a fucking stupid question is that?” Sanji was feeling the exertion but he needed to buy more time for his beautiful Robin, who was taking all the kids to the boats so they could meet the Sunny halfway.

“This is obviously not a place for kids.” he dropped to the floor and then rolled aside the vicious kick from the other man, that left the floor in pieces.

He had seen that kid that couldn’t be over six lifting a piece of boulder without problems. Definitely some of the serum was already being used in traitor assholes like this one.

“You do know that I can end this at any moment, right Mr. Blackleg?” The other man didn’t even look tired as he proceeded to launch one of the office cabinets through one of the windows surrounding the walls.

“Are you insinuating—” Sanji dodged another flying cabinet and tried to get the other man under his feet with no success.

He anticipated the kick flying towards his head but barely crouched fast enough to dodge it “—That I’m losing?”

He grinned satisfied that the other man finally showed some resemblance of annoyance at his words. His victory was short-lived though, as he suddenly felt his back against a wall and he knew the next hit was going to hurt.

“It was nice meeting you, Mr. Blackleg” He changed his stance to defend himself, and just as he was preparing to block, which was no doubt a bad idea and meant broken bones a glint at their side made both men look back, just in time for Vergo to barely dodge a long sword that cut through his arm.

 

“Oh, fucking finally” the blond breathed out as he slumped slightly on one of the broken desks and he saw how Vergo parried the sword with his own leg.

 

Huh.

 

Metal shin guards.

 

He was glad he didn’t have to block that hit. And needless to say, Law was moving fluidly, blocking and attacking, dodging and even throwing some insults.

Sanji is aware the two men know each other, but is still mesmerizing to see such a good fight up-close.

“Bro, now that you are finally free, perhaps you could—”

 

Of course.

 

“Yeah, yeah” he moved quickly and jumped over one of the windows Vergo had smashed, leaving the two men to their fight.

“The control room you need to reach is the one at the very top” He knew this already, but Franky was being kind to remind him why he was here.

 

As he climbed up the stairs, he could only hope that Law’s desire for revenge was big enough to keep him alive and make him come out victorious.

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

“You have improved” Vergo said, while clutching a rather ugly cut on his shoulder, blood oozing from the wound.

Law saw how blood dripped to the floor as he raised his sword one more time, he could feel his heart beating into his skull, he felt out of breath and his ribs were at least bruised. But his hands were steady and his voice remained calm as he said “You will die today, Vergo”

The other man grinned, as if he already knew it. “Just tell me why” the man straightened up, readying his next stance.

“After all this time, the supernovas had never cared, why now?” Law didn’t have an answer to that, in fact, didn’t even know what the hell was going on.

“I don’t know” he breathed out, perhaps he could get some answers.

Vergo grinned wickedly “He played both of us, unbelievable” he saw him straightening his posture, recognized the stance, remembered the pain the other man could inflict.

 

But he was not a little boy anymore.

 

“Let’s finish this, Vergo-san” he gripped the hilt of his sword, the action was almost comforting and then he lunged to the man before him, a man who had taken away one of the people he had loved the most, who left him to die in the middle of the snow.

 

This man owed him.

 

And with a practiced move, a well-trained stance that took him years to master, Kikoku, his beloved sword, cut deep into the other’s man torso, ripping apart muscle, some bone and taking his life in the process.

 

One of the most important events in his life.

 

Over, in a matter of seconds.

 

He turned to see a defeated Vergo dying for either blood loss, choking on his own blood, or his organs shutting down one by one.

He walked to gaze down his convulsing body and heard him say “You will never—”

His sword cut his head without much problem and saw the head rolling with detachment. It was not over, he had promised to himself that Doflamingo was going to fall too.

As he returned his sword to the scabbard the yacht suddenly lurched forward and a loud sound came from the stern.

 

An explosion.

 

He still didn’t know what was going on, but he was certain that the blond was in great danger, so he decided to follow the path he had taken moments before and jumped over the broken window and started going up the stairs.

 

He just hoped he was not too late.

 

As he finished the set of stairs and neared a place that looked like the control room, he smelled smoke.

 

But not just any type of smoke, it was from a cigarette, he would recognize that smell anywhere.

 

 

He smokes

 

 

He slowed down, nearing the door, remembering details he had learned just a few minutes ago but felt like a lifetime by now.

 

 

Golden hair

 

 

“Dammit, Franky. I know that you just stopped the other explosions, but that one alone can sink this piece of shit boat” he saw how those pale hands moved across the board, pulling levers, pushing buttons, changing values.

“Of course I can get this boat out from the docks, you just have to stop the fucking explosions!” he saw him taking hold of the helm, felt how the gigantic yacht complied with the command and through the large windows in front of them, he could see the yacht moving into deeper waters, the storm wild around them. All the time, while he kept checking the screens and communicated with someone through an earpiece.

 

 

His earpiece.

 

 

 

A curly cue idiot...

 

 

 

And in a fucking second, everything clicked.

 

 

“He might know a little bit too much about you”

 

 

How could I be so stupid?

 

 

Carelessly, he gives a step closer which causes the blond to immediately turn with a raised gun held by steady hands.

“I was wondering when you were going to appear, agent Law” Sanji said while grinning at him “I see Vergo didn’t cause you much trouble” he could almost laugh at the sarcastic joke since he had a visible limp and his left eye was swollen and closed due to a well-aimed kick.

 

You are The Strategist” Law felt annoyed he had been played this well.

 

“Not anymore, Mr. Yellow” he said while grinning, moving his cigarette from one corner of his mouth to the other, using his tongue and teeth.

 

Too much, he knew too much.

 

 

And fuck, he looked so good, too good.

 

 

“Who is your guy?” He gripped at the hilt of his sword. He looked rumpled, his blond hair a mess, a bloody lip and dirt across his cheek.

 

Divine, he looked divine.

 

He saw how sharp blue eyes softened to something akin to pity and slowly, he lowered his gun. Which confused him to no end because he was really vulnerable now.

“Everybody is my guy, Law” he shrugged “When you are doing the right thing, everybody will help you” he placed the safety on the gun, took the cigarette out of his mouth, and proceeded to steer the yacht into deeper waters.

Law knew what he had to do, take control, incapacitate the blond for future interrogation.

 

So, why…?

 

“You can check for yourself” said the blond, jerking his head towards the lower part of the control room, where one of the computers was turned on, the white light from the monitor looked inviting and promised information. After all, he knew who was the owner of this piece of shit yacht.

Slowly, he descended a couple of stairs, his eyes fixed on the blond, who looked at him for a moment and winked.

 

Ugh.

 

He let go of the hilt of his sword, deciding in trusting his instincts as he looked over the monitor with several screens open.

 

And yeah, it was just what he expected to find.

 

Pages and pages with pictures of children between four and twelve years old, missing from their own countries, leaving grieving families behind. Some of them to sell just for being children and some others had notations in regards to a serum that was being given to them to make them stronger, to make them grow faster and obedient.

 

Of course, this clown had to be in the middle of everything. "Where is Ceasar?" he asked the blond, who looked back at him with deadpan eyes, as if he knew he was going to ask about him.

 

"Secured" was the short answer and those cold eyes demanded no further questions to be made about him. 

He looked up and saw they were approaching another boat, with a… Lion figurehead?

 

“We’re here” the blond said, tossing the spent cigarette to the side.

 

Sanji moved to a set of controllers that were beside the computer he had been checking “You still going to kill me?” he asked, his smile genuine. He pressed a set of buttons that he recognized were for the anchor.

“According to my job, I still have to” The blond grinned at him while shaking his head. And before he could get too distracted, he remembered something “Where is—”

“Ace?” Asked the blond offhandedly “Safe” a brief smile was all the indication he needed to know it was true as he kept moving around, Law’s eyes following the moment of him strapping the gun to his belt, eyes lingering for an unrelated reason.

 

He heard another explosion, this one closer than the last.

 

“Come with me” the blond gestured to a door near the big windows that lead towards the deck.

 

The air was cold, the rain had started to fall in small biting drops, he saw the blond made his way to the railing and he followed him close. There was something about the whole situation that was not making him as cautious as he knew he should be, but he still couldn’t figure out why.

Once at the railing, the blond dug into his pockets and he felt immediately tense, ready to draw his gun, but all the blond did was pull out a cigarette and light it up. He gestured to the sea bellow and said “You see all those boats?”

 

Law looked down and saw at least ten rafts making their way to the strange ship in front of them.

“Those are the kids you just saw before” Sanji handed him a pair of binoculars and when Law saw through them, the first raft had two idiots he knew too well:

Kanjuro and Kinemon.

 

"When you are doing the right thing, everybody will help you"

 

They had been fucked since the beginning.

 

“Kids that were either migrating with their parents to another country, in search of opportunities, children that had the bad luck to get lost in the wrong place—” he heard him taking a long inhale, while he checked more boats, he could identify the tall woman who seated him at the restaurant “—or they were just kidnapped like Momonosuke from the Kozuki family”

Law grew tired of identifying the staff members that had been just moments ago at the restaurant were now leading the rafts. He was barely catching up with all the times they had received incomplete or false information from Kanjuro or Kinemon. They had been ahead of this for far too long and when he turned to see the blond, he was openly smiling at him, a boyish grin that read 'got ya' all over it, and Law couldn't help anything more but a small smile of his own.

It was impossible not to feel sympathy for the children below, after all, he had personally survived through the Donquixote's family hell.

 

It had been a different blond the one who saved him back then.

 

“Why am I here?” The why of Sanji's actions was clear by now, and not only he felt admiration for them, but he respected them and he no longer cared about the specific instructions given to him by his superiors.

He saw the blond fiddling with his cigarette for a moment, he then shrugged lazily. Blond hair was blowing everywhere and blue eyes looked at him amused as he pulled smoke to his lungs “I don’t know... I have a feeling that perhaps you are not such an asshole as the other guys in the Bureau”

“That’s a risky guess” his warning had no bite, didn’t ring to be true either, he was too distracted with the way the blond sucked at his cigarette and looked with his hair all wet.

“Why, then?” the blond asked, flicking ashes aside while taking a step towards him. “Why am I still alive?”

Of course he had read the dossier with his mission on it “I could ask you the same thing”

A sudden voice that came from the intercom interrupted them “Blondie, we’re leaving. You and your… friend have ten minutes to leave”

From the bowels of the ship, there was a crack-like sound and an alarm started ringing. When he looked back, the blond had the audacity to look bored and was looking intently at the horizon.

 

Fuck, he was amazing.

 

He took one last look below and saw the lines from the lion ship pulling the last of the rafts, this one had the guy he had recognized as Mr. Prince and some other guy with more kids.

 

“So… The last part of your plan is to sink with the yacht?” he asked, admittedly a little bit confused.

“Why? You scared?” he grinned around his cigarette, teeth biting the filter.

“You do know I have to leave no traces, right?” he tilted his head, regarding Law as if he was a kid who had troubles understanding.

 

Ah, there it was.

 

“So you are delaying your escape because you don’t know what to do with me?” There was a flicker in the corner of those lips, eyes looking at the ground as he tossed his cigarette. He looked as if he was embarrassed that he was not entirely sure that leaving him alive will be the best for their operation.

 

He could provide a solution to that.

 

“Perhaps you could give me something to keep my mouth shut” and it was not because he really wanted something out of the blond, the opportunity of killing Vergo had been enough to pay for his silence and probably the other man didn’t know it yet.

“What is that?” the blond asked, tilting his head a little bit, exposing his neck just a fraction and it was enough to distract him.

What Law really needed was information. He needed to know about the dirt from The Bureau the other had obviously discovered. He needed details, names, dates and future plans.

 

But that was not what he wanted.

 

“Give me a kiss” he said instead, a tremor running down to the ship, as it started its slow descent, the rain had transformed to heavy droplets, the waves were angry around them, ready to swallow every bit of evidence.

 

He wondered briefly if the storm had been part of their plan as well.

 

Blue eyes looked up in surprise and then fluttered to look down, but not before he saw the cute blush across that face. A deep chuckle reverberated through the blond’s chest “What type of cheesy-over-the-top pick-up line is that?”

 

It must have been a very good one since there was no hesitation when he was pulled by the collar of his shirt down to a pair of hungry lips that pressed against with intention. This whole mess was happening and he still had a nice smoky breath.

There was an explosion, somewhere at the back of the ship, the tilt of the deck was violent and he almost lost his balance due to the lack of concentration, but Sanji just pulled him closer, adjusted his footing, and buried his long fingers on the back of his head, causing shivers down his spine.

The blond parted his lips and Law tilted the blond's head upwards and deepened the kiss. He tasted like the sea, the smoke and everything that was sin. It was frantic and desperate and his hunger only grew deeper when he realized Sanji wanted him as much as he did. 

The floor tilted violently and the railing dug at his lower back, he could barely feel the pain of it since the movement caused the blond's arousal to rub against his and he separated to catch his breath. He looked down at Sanji, the color of those abused lips, the disarray of that blonde hair, he wanted Sanji here and now.

 

But when Law dove for another kiss, he was greeted with a cheek and a whisper “We have to go now”

 

“Where are they going to pick you up?” later, he will reflect on how he was talking as if they weren't on top of a sinking vessel.

 

But Sanji just stared at him, those blue eyes looked apologetically and he said “I’m sorry”

 

A strong pang at his left arm was all he felt as the world turned black and he fell on top of a strong chest and waiting arms.

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

“Did I? Uhm..... I”

 

It was the fourth time Usopp had tried to form a coherent sentence since they had left the yacht to sink, he heard one last explosion and felt the blast at his back, yellow light illuminating the dark night for a moment as the motorboat got closer to their destiny. 

"As I told you before, it's fine" It wasn't really. He had been too careless and they were behind. That, and also Law had some pretty serious injuries that needed to be taken care of as soon as possible. "Just get us to Sunny as soon as possible"

All in all, shitty attitude and scary reputation, Law had helped them tremendously. Taking care of Vergo and also kinda following their plan was something Sanji didn't expect to go on so flawlessly, and it will be against his morals if the guy died on his way to Chopper.

 

A loud thunder into the sea made their ship's silhouette appear, and he let out a relieved breath.

 

"He will be fine" he heard Usopp saying as he maneuvered the mini-merry with dexterity "I'm pretty sure he wants to finish what you started" he looked back at the man, annoyance filling his features. Usopp looked back at him with big eyes and his lips moved with no sound, he was obviously surprised he had blurted that out.

But Sanji didn't say anything, he looked down at the unconscious form of The Bureau's Supernova, he still looked handsome despite the bruised eye and the droplets of rain falling down his face. He touched again the soft black hair as Usopp guided them beside their ship and as he gathered his body in his arms, he promised him he was not going to die.

 

 

 

~-.O.-~

 

 

 

Law woke up at the hospital.

 

He took a deep breath, inhaling the sterile smell, and felt immediately relieved. So many times he had ended up in an alley close to a dumpster after getting knocked out. Seeing the white room, with the warm low lights and clean environment where he forged his career since he was a kid was way better and he couldn't help but sigh in content.

He closed his eyes and moved his fingers and his toes, his injuries were not that bad, probably he had been unconscious for at least two days and it seemed most of the bleeding had been internal. That meant that most of the recovery now depended on how well he rested and medication. Perfect.

 

"You sure look happy, huh?" he startled at the all-too-familiar voice somewhere at his right and his neck almost broke with the speed he used to turn his head.

 

There, on the windowsill of the hospital, the dark figure of his most recent target was lounging with one leg dangling outside the window and the other inside his room while enjoying a cigarette, as he turned to grin at him, his blue eyes shone under the moonlight and his hair moved around like a halo by the night breeze. "I'm glad you're still alive"

Law was about to go into a cardiac arrest and somehow he couldn't tear his eyes away "You bring me to the hospital and then finish the job here?" he asked, surely after a full minute of gaping at the blond.

"You say it like that, but it's not a bad idea, don't you think?" he asked, inhaling more of his smoke.

 

Fuck.

 

Nobody had any right to look that good. 

 

Also, it was a pretty good idea to get rid of a loose end.

 

He tossed the cigarette as he exhaled the last of his smoke, Law could only register a faint smell from it and he wondered if that was for him to keep his stealth or out of consideration since he was in a hospital.

He swung his other leg inside the room and fell gracefully and quietly on the floor, his hands already inside his pockets. This time, he was wearing a three-piece suit that was a dark wine color with fine black pinstripes "But I'm not here to kill you," the blond said hiding a laugh "not after..." he made a small pause once he was beside him, those blue eyes looking at him with almost affection, "Everything" he finished with a smile, and damnit, he was not blushing.

Before he had the opportunity of embarrassing himself the blond stated "I came to give you this" and proceeded to extract his hand from his pocket and between the thumb and the index held a small flash drive. He couldn't help to notice the black leather gloves that covered the man's pale hands, it seemed he took great care in never leaving traces while looking annoyingly good while at it. 

 

"It has everything you most likely wanted to know and were romantic enough to trade for a kiss" the blond grinned and now he was blushing.

 

He took the device, trying not to pout.

 

This was goodbye after all.

 

"Thanks" he mumbled.

 

But before he could take it, the blond held it firmer and said "I'm still giving it to you, because it was one hell of a kiss, ok?" before Law could get even more flustered about such a line, the blond moved fast, right beside his head and whispered in his ear "Also... don't tell them about Vergo or the clown"

And perhaps it was because he was suddenly so close, or perhaps some of the painkillers were too damn strong for his own good. But he only had to move his head just so for the blond to read his obvious intentions, and those lips found his, and he was suddenly very aware and very grateful that he was still alive.

 

Painkillers or adrenaline, it was one hell of a kiss.

 

"I have to go" he said after he dragged his bottom lip with his teeth, letting it go with reluctance. Law was about to protest and blame his behavior on narcotics, but then he heard the distinctive noise of the door opening and soon, the curtain at his left was going to be opened. 

 

With a last insisting and oh-so-good press of lips, Sanji murmured "Later, Surgeon of Death" and with a ragged whisper of his most secret and most important sobriquet, the blond turned around, silent steps guiding him to the window and he jumped, without looking back.

 

"Who the hell left the window open?" the boisterous voice of his partner broke into the moment as he gazed into the night "He's going to freeze!" he moved his right arm around, and Law noticed how he had his other arm on a sling.

 

"Ace" he called and immediately wide brown eyes regarded him and the big man was all over him, fuzzing over his conscious state and closing the window while he kept repeating how happy was to find out he was still alive.

 

"I was an idiot" the other man said after a moment.

Law turned his head slightly, and deadpan he expressed “You and me, both” because it was obvious enough.

“He played us good” the other man said, not caring to veil the awed tone in his voice "Their operation had counted me inside the restaurant" he had guessed that much as well, "he knew I liked blonds, he knew I would notice his ass the moment I walked inside that restaurant, I'm sure, completely positive, he was using those pants for that same reason"

 

Law didn't want to point out that the blond's ass probably looked good no matter what.

 

"It would have been easier with me, you know?" the other man was almost pouting "I would have disconnected you the moment he batted those long eyelashes to me” he scratched the back of his neck as if he was embarrassed, and before he could add a semblance of objection, Ace stated finally "You did better than what I could have done”

 

Yes.

 

That much was true. And the fact he had been played as well, was a testament to how good Sanji and his team really were.

“Stop punishing yourself like this, I don’t like it” he stated calmly, the device inside his hand had suddenly acquired a certain weight.

“I’m glad you’re ok, man" Ace reached out, placing his hand above the one where the blond had left the USB. He knew then what he needed to do "I’m going to go to Smoker, he's downstairs terrorizing the other injured that were hospitalized” the raven-haired man started to withdraw his hand and Law turned his, palm up and squeezed.

 

“Ace” the other man turned intrigued eyes to him, obviously feeling the device between them "Vergo was a rat"

 

The surprise in the other man's eyes was obvious, but the noises at the hall meant that he couldn't wait for the other to recover his composure, and before the wave of obvious questions drowned him, he added "Trust no one"

"Agent Portgas!" the young officer called from the door, "Chief Smoker is looking for you, he says is urgent" 

Ace eyed him and responded "Tell him I'll be there in a moment"

 

It was obvious that Coby was doubtful about leaving the room without Ace "But—"

 

"I said, in a moment" came his definite answer and one could almost hear Coby swallowing.

"Yes sir!" and the door was suddenly closed.

Ace took the USB from his palm discretely enough and looked at him the same way he did when he was not being completely honest. "What happened... Exactly?" 

"There's no time for that" Law rolled his eyes at him, stating the obvious always did that to him.

 

"Is he..." Ace seemed to be thinking in his words, making an effort to not look so obvious until a shit-eating grin broke across his face "... a good kisser?"

 

He didn't roll his eyes again, but he had been damn close "Like I said..." he gritted out "There is no time for that"

He knew in any case that Ace had to be sprinting down the stairs by now, Smoker was not someone you kept waiting for more than two minutes.

"Fine" the freckled man yielded "—but you are so gonna tell me once you get better"

Law didn't respond, he just saw the man getting up and putting his hand with the device inside his pocket. "Get out" he responded, closing his eyes, he felt suddenly tired.

 

"Get better, idiot" Ace whispered and with that, he was gone.

 

Law looked back at his right again, the moon glowing gently across the black sky where just minutes ago the most interesting person he had met was happily smoking a cigarette.

"Until we meet again..." his eyelids felt suddenly heavy and as he grasped the last pieces of his consciousness he whispered to the night as if asking for a wish:

 

 

"Mr. Strategist"

 

 

 

 

~-.O.-~