I'd wanted to write a Marco x Ace for a long time now, as they're my OTP, but I didn't have any idea until not long ago. I've always found interesting the idea of Ace as a Marine, so here's a combination of both things.
This is a semi-AU. It takes place in the One Piece world but some things are different, mostly Ace being a marine and its consequences.
I know I have several in-progress stories, but my muse is a little whore that can't help going with the most attractive plot bunny u.u It's not like I'm dropping any story (which I most definitely am NOT) but writing a little of everything does help get past bad times, at least it does to me. Especially when I should be doing other things, that's when my brain becomes the most active.
Contrary to other of my stories, I'm not promising any update schedule, what I'll say is that this story is completely thought out, and it will be considerably shorter than all my other works in progress.
Also, this has passed through several people before being posted, having been beta-read by Dearshul and proof-read by The Red Harlequin On The Luna and Carismai, so I hope it's not too bad.
Marco the Phoenix sighed as he sat on the ship's railing, staring absentmindedly at the vast sea that extended as far as the sight could reach.
Two days ago, a call had arrived through a den den mushi asking for help at one of their islands, telling them about a pirate crew that had been able to defeat their local strongest fighters and had proclaimed the island as theirs.
That place wasn't like Fishman Island, with someone as strong as Jinbe to protect it, and so Whitebeard had dispatched both the first and second divisions, the later still without commander, to help.
It had been a disappointing fight.
Marco hadn't even needed to get serious to defeat the idiot who called himself captain of a barely known crew, and at the sight of how easily their captain was practically killed, the other pirates, that by then weren't in a very good shape either, had surrendered and promptly fled.
Marco had a feeling that crew would become one of many that left the New World to return to the relative safety of Paradise.
"Guys, marines!" That yell, coming from the crow's nest, got his attention easily.
Maybe this trip wouldn't be completely disappointing.
Commodore Portgas D. Ace grinned at the news of a pirate ship in sight and, opposed to the anxiousness most of the marines felt when the ship was identifies as belonging to the Whitebeard Pirates, though it wasn't the Moby Dick itself, Ace's excitement just grew.
The fights were one of the few perks of being a marine, and the ship that, instead of fleeing, was now rapidly approaching them promised to give a good fight. With some luck there would even be one or two commanders on board.
He let the other officers take care of yelling orders and organize their offensive, not that cannonballs would do much against such a crew, and he tried to concentrate on his barely under control Kenbunshoku Haki to try to identify how many powerful enemies were there.
Leave it to the old geezer, just like with any other of his 'training' methods, to give his the most basic notions about how to control his haki before throwing him back into a ship, ignoring everyone's advice on the matter.
Ace's grin widened when he realized the average strength of the crew seemed to be far above that of any other pirate crew's he had encountered so far.
This promised to be fun.
Marco easily located the man he'd been looking for amongst the excited crewmembers moving hurriedly on deck, some taking things out of the way, others getting rid of the cannonballs before they could hit the ship and a few returned the fire, that had the same effect on the marines that it did on them.
"Teach!" He called.
Marshall D. Teach, carrying a plate with two pizzas he was rapidly devouring, turned to the approaching commander and grinned.
"Hey, Commander Marco! Ain't this great? And we were gettin' bored."
Marco returned the grin.
"Yeah. You're in charge of the second division. Defend the ship."
With that, Marco turned to holler orders at the first division, whose members cheered loud at the prospect of being on the attacking team. There were some indignant complaints from the second division, but not many, as they knew if the marines were half competent they would manage to board their ship, and barely any marine ship sailed the New World without at least a vice admiral on it.
Marco licked his lips in anticipation when he saw the ships were almost parallel to each other and at jumping distance for some.
With battle cries from both sides, the chaos began.
Ace, joining in the enthusiasm of his fellow marines, charged at the pirates invading the ship. At any other time he would have been really annoyed at the idea of being on the team protecting the ship, but against the Whitebeard Pirates he was sure most of the battle would take place on the marine vessel.
Stronger than average as these pirates were, they still didn't pose any challenge for him, just a fun way to release pent up energy, and he noticed most men seemed hesitant to approach him once his fire logia became evident to them.
A flash of blue above their heads drew most men's attention to the cloudy sky, and Ace watched in fascination as a flaming blue bird descended on the battleship, its whole body with the exception of the wings turning into a human male form a mere instant before he took out two captains and tens of soldiers with a powerful kick.
Ace grinned fiercely, immediately recognizing the man as Marco the Phoenix, and, distractedly shooting a column of fire at a group of pirates, started running in that direction.
Ace stopped, grimaced and turned around to face a stern-looking vice admiral Onigumo. He gave his superior his best grin, but it had never worked on the man.
"You're supposed to defend the ship, not run head first into battle." The vice admiral scolded him.
Ace held the impulse of making a childish gesture at the man.
"But, Sir, the men won't be able to beat him."
A glare told him to shut up.
"I'll take care of him, you do your job."
Without another word, the vice admiral left. Ace stuck his tongue out at his retreating back, followed it with his middle finger and sent another column of fire at a group of pirates who tried to attack him.
That man was always stealing all the fun guys from him.
Marco kicked another marine away, sending him straight at a group of them that, at the strength of the impact, went flying several feet backwards.
Smirking, he threw his body to the side right in time to avoid ten swords that would have pierced him otherwise, and directed his smirk at the tall man with the spider arms coming out of his body that had just attacked him.
Vice admiral Onigumo, if I'm not wrong.
Marco dodged another swing of the blades and let the next attack cut him just for the satisfaction of seeing the marine's frustrated expression when his body healed and no trace of the wounds was left.
At the next attack, Marco ducked out of the path of all the swords but one that he stopped with his foot, using enough strength to send the vice admiral flying into the ship's mast.
He barely had any time to bask in the surprised and horrified gasps of the marines surrounding him when a powerful explosion rocked the ocean and the ships floating there, the noise enough to momentarily deafen all those standing on both ships.
A deathly silence, not entirely as a result of the explosion still ringing in his ears, fell on the battlefield. No one moved for long moments and then Marco slowly turned around, for the light after the detonation had come from his back, from the other ship. His crew's ship.
There, smoke still clearing and a couple of small fires no one was trying to put off coming to life, were several bodies strewn over the wrecked part of the deck, marines and pirates alike, and from all the crumbled forms, from all the mangled, bloodied and partially burnt bodies, Marco's eyes stopped on the first face he could see and recognize.
On top of a crumbled crate, legs twisted at an impossible angle, was Teach, his head open and blood covering the wood beneath it, unseeing eyes staring what seemed to be straight at Marco.
Instinct kicking in through the shock, Marco ducked before he could be conscious of why he was doing it, but he wasn't fast enough and a cold, emptying metal closed around his wrist as he felt a fire dying inside of him. For what he was fast enough was to pull his arm with enough strength to free his restraint from the hand holding it and dodge the blades aimed for his body.
Marco rolled on the floor and stood up again, facing vice admiral Onigumo, who looked at him with a smug expression, five swords in hand, four handcuffs hanging from four of his spidery hands and the tenth one empty, the handcuffs it had held now clamped around Marco's right wrist.
An entirely different silence occupied the battlefield, broken by an enthusiastic marine's victorious exclamation, followed soon by those of many others.
Marco barely registered the worried exclamations of his crewmembers. He pressed his heels on the floor for less than could be measured and took the necessary impulse to launch himself at Onigumo, his speed so that when the marine officer started to raise his swords he already had a sandal pressed against his face, and once again found himself flying through the ship's deck.
"As if this changes anything." Marco practically growled, his playful mood gone with the events of the past minute.
Ace had to hold in a laugh at the sight of the vice admiral flying across the deck. Again. And this time it couldn't even be blamed on the pirate's devil fruit.
"That guy's cool." He whistled in a low voice, but apparently not low enough.
"Commodore!" Yelled a nearby soldier, an appalled expression on his face.
Kicking an attacking pirate, this time Ace managed to hold his comments when the blond pirate grabbed a sword from the floor and parried Onigumo's next attack, and the marines' momentary boost in confidence vanished when the vice admiral was punched through a wall. By Marco's right hand. And the moment the loose cuff hit the officer's face, his added arms disappeared and the swords he had once again managed to hold with all of them clattered to the floor.
Ace was expecting the pirate to go after his superior and finish the job, which he wouldn't have really complained about, but the man stopped, looked around for a moment, and then surprised everybody by yelling at the top of his lungs for all his men to go back to their ship.
Several stupid blinks later, all the pirates complied without question while half of the marines still stared uncomprehendingly at the pirate commander, who now was kicking away, and in most cases overboard, any marine who had reacted and tried to attack the retreating pirates.
Ace looked around, trying to see what had prompted that strange reaction and half expecting to see a Yonko's ship or something of the sort, but there was nothing strange, just the dark clouds on the sky and the ocean's waves.
Then it all happened in a matter of seconds.
The waves grew, moving faster and faster at each hit to the ships, and rain started to pour down, so fast and so much that it seemed as if part of the ocean itself was falling down on them, and instead of just rocking the ship, a wave hit it with suck strength that it almost capsized it, the ship leaning so much to the side that most men lost their footing, and those standing close to the side, Ace included, fell over the side, plunging down to the ocean.
Ace's eyes widened in shock as he tried to transform and use his fire to propel himself up on deck again just to realize that the thick rain falling from the sky put out any fire before it could come out of his body.
And, just like everyone else, Ace hit the surface of the water and the currents took control over his motionless body.
To be continued
First chapter done :)
Now, I know we don't have an exact date for Thatch's murder in the manga, but at Marineford we saw a flashback of Ace showing Whitebeard Luffy's first wanted poster. As it takes some days to sail all the way to Drum from the New World and Blackbeard found some nakama on the way, I'd say Thatch was killed a couple of days after the poster came out, so this story is the same day Luffy's become a wanted man.
You know, I got a good amount of perverse pleasure writing the explosion. I hope it wasn't too obvious how much I hate Blackbeard, as here he still hasn't done anything to be thought as anything but another member of the crew. I also had fun having Marco beat Onigumo around. After the handcuffs thing at Marineford I really wanted to do it, but here, without Kizaru to shoot Marco when he's distracted, the handcuffs didn't make much of a difference.
Well, see you next chapter ^-^ If you'd be so nice as to leave a review I'd really love it :)