Part 2: In Which There is a Crybaby
There were four things Law hated in the entire world. He possessed a relatively equal hatred for all four things.
First was Doflamingo. That was a given and rather obvious to everyone who knew his history.
Second was the World Government. Those bastards were pompous assholes who deserved to die in the raging pits of Hell. Again, very much related to his past.
Third was bread. It was absolutely the worst food in the world and in addition to upsetting his stomach it tasted like refined sugar.
Finally, the fourth thing he hated was being wrong. Law was rarely ever wrong so when it happened, it felt like a punch in the gut because he trusted his logical, analytical brain to never lead him wrong.
So, when the rumors reached him that Monkey D. Luffy had also landed at the Sabaody Archipelago, Law followed his sharp mind to search places he logically knew the teenager would seek out. First, he tried the amusement park and that was an embarrassing yet fruitless endeavour. Then he poked his head in every restaurant and buffet he passed by on the off-chance Luffy would be doing exactly as he had always done and would be found stuffing his face full of food. His ears automatically tuned in to every loudmouth in the vicinity but that was also fruitless. He didn't happen to spot any of the Straw Hat crew either although he had memorized each of their bounty posters.
A lesser time waster was finding the other rookies called Supernovas. They were everywhere. He enjoyed his front row seat to a short fight between the Mad Monk and the Kid Pirate's first mate Killer. At least until his old buddy Drake ruined the mood. It was kind of funny that the marine who used to chase him became a pirate himself. He did respect the man even if he didn't accept the redhead's strong moral code.
"Hey Drake," he drawled, the name rolling off his tongue with a hint of mockery. The man paused in his tracks. "I'm curious. How many people have you killed?"
"Trafalgar," the pirate greeted in return. "I heard you were still skulking around. Seeking out more bodies for your twisted experiments?"
"Just checking out the competition. I'll see you in the New World," Law had then left with his crew. He knew Drake well enough and didn't have the time to hang around and exchange pleasant threats. If he couldn't find Luffy he had to at least check out the other Supernovas before they moved on to the New World.
He sent his crew off in groups. One group was to switch shifts with the crew left on the Polar Tang to allow Clione and the others some time on land. Brenna and Ikkaku, the only girls on the crew, snatched up Rosemarus to run some errands as he enjoyed joining in on shopping for non-medical and non-food supplies. He directed the rather creepy Uni to stick with Ermis as the masked man was the only one other than Law who could terrify the rambunctious teenager into obey all commands.
That left Law with his oldest and closest crewmembers: Bepo, Shachi, and Penguin. Together, they would observe the human slave auction at Sabaody's Human Shoppe. It was the last goal on his list for the day because the next day he needed to meet up with Sabo in Grove 21 to exchange information. However, oddly enough the building was already surrounded by marines lurking behind bushes in uniform. They would need to keep their eyes wide open.
"This place is giving me the creeps," Shachi grumbled as the auction hall filled up. "It's like my nightmares have come to life."
Law glanced at the gold finery and elaborate clothing that every person in the auction hall wore but them. It was quite obnoxious, and Law couldn't disparage Shachi for feeling like he had walked into Hell. The man's mother had been a servant for a family of wealthy nobles who scarred and marked her when she accidentally ruined the noble woman's bed covers. Nobles were the type of trash that valued their useless possessions over other human beings. The building was crawling with people just like that. Even worse, one could argue, as at least Shachi's mother had been paid meager wages. These nobles were looking for slave labour and people who would become their property.
The seats around them were some of the last to be filled. Men and women cringed and looked away at the sight of pirates in their midst. Amazing how the sight of pirates could make them uncomfortable but the idea of owning another human being wasn't worth a second thought. You could dress trash up in gold and jewels, but trash still stunk like trash.
The crowd was starting to settle down as the start of the auction approached. As the volume wound down, whispers about Celestial Dragons swirled around the room. He watched out of the corner of his eye as two of the most protected beings on the planet casually strolled down to the VIP seats at the front. The most elite trash in the world.
His attention was diverted by the sound of his name.
"-That's Trafalgar Law from North Blue. I've heard some nasty rumours about him."
Law tilted his head back and met the eyes of someone he recognized as Eustass 'Captain' Kid grinning at him with bloodlust. The pirate from South Blue had the highest bounty of all rookies and was known to have quite the raging temper. He would be a horrible person to make an enemy of.
A smirk slid across Law's face and he raised a middle finger towards the man. The other captain's grin widened, and Law turned around.
"Looks like someone needs to learn their manners," Kid's voice sounded behind him.
"Aw, Captain, please don't antagonize the crew of angry emo-goths," Penguin sighed. "I don't want them hanging around to jump us in the New World."
"You don't think we can take the Kid Pirates?" Shachi adjusted his sunglasses. "I hear Kid is the only Devil Fruit user on their crew. We've got three."
"Of course we can beat them," Penguin waved off the question. "Not only do we have our Devil Fruit users but also the best guys and gals from North Blue and the Grand Line. Also, I bet Sabo and the lovely Koala would back us up if we needed it."
"I don't think Sabo-ya is particularly amused by your rather obvious crush on Koala-ya." Law hid a laugh at the thought of a Penguin-Koala relationship. Just the thought provided an interesting idea for an experiment, but he would need to get his hands on a koala. The animal, not the woman.
Penguin ducked his head. "You don't think they're … you know?"
"I think they're rather oblivious to their obvious chemistry," Law leaned back in his chair as the lights dimmed in the hall. Bepo nodded earnestly beside him and tapped his nose.
The auction began and Law glanced around one more time before the room darkened. His eyes landed on a small group that had only recently arrived and he glanced quickly over the faces, a buzz of anticipation humming under his skin. The Straw Hat pirates had made a surprising appearance. He promptly realized Luffy was missing from the group. So was Roronoa Zoro the Pirate Hunter. The orange-haired thief held an auction paddle with a number which was a surprise. Law never suspected any person on his youngest brother's crew would bid on another human being. Mostly because Luffy was absolutely the type of person to burst in and save all the people up for auction just because he wanted to become their friend.
Law kept an eye on the Straw Hat crew and the random fishman while the auction went on. They seemed to be waiting for something. The auction was disrupted once when another Celestial Dragon marched in with nothing but complaints and arrogance spewing from his tongue. With the three wealthiest beings possible in the hall, the auctioneer pulled out his grand prize.
A young mermaid with green hair banged on the glass of the large fishbowl they had put her in. Her cries were muffled from the glass and the excited roar of the crowd. Law noticed how the Straw Hats snapped to attention and spoke amongst themselves. They were waiting for the mermaid.
Before a bidding war could even start, one of the Celestial Dragons stood up and called out a ridiculous amount of money that a non-Celestial Dragon could never match. The Straw Hats deflated as the disgusting man jeered that he got the mermaid. The auctioneer gleefully slammed his hammer down and declared the mermaid sold to the highest and only bidder.
One second Law was thinking about how much inbreeding was needed to produce such an ugly face as the childish Celestial Dragon, the next a massive hole had been blasted through the roof and the hall was filled with dust and screams. Bepo sneezed from the dust and Law felt his boredom evaporate as the day became infinitely more interesting. Especially once a slightly familiar voice screamed above all the others.
A teenager in a straw hat popped up from the main chaos, bellowing at the top of his lungs and Law couldn't help but chuckle. Figured that the last place he'd expect to find the teen is where Luffy would crash in. If he were Ace or Sabo, he would've called out to the youngest of the brothers. But Law was Law and it was always more amusing to see what Luffy would do next then interfering.
"Is that him?" Shachi gaped at the new arrival.
Bepo huffed a breath. "Uh huh."
The fishman with the Straw Hats jumped up to hold the rubber-boy back because like Luffy was prone to do, the teen had completely disregarded reading the situation. Even with fishman strength, nothing could hold back a determined Luffy. He started pulling away and Law, along with everyone else, saw the four extra arms pop out from beneath the sports jacket. Law gritted his teeth and debated if he should interfere. Why did Luffy always attract the stupid ones?
People screamed out in disgust at the surprising appearance of a fishman in their midst. A shot rang out and the fishman fell below where Law could see. But he, along with everyone else, had the unpleasant view of the repulsive Celestial Dragon waving a pistol as he danced and jeered about shooting a fishman.
Luffy stopped his descent to the mermaid and knelt next to the fishman. His crew anxiously watched from the back of the hall and Law assumed they had an idea where Luffy's attention would be directed next.
"Be prepared to fight or run," Law murmured to his crew. "An Admiral's going to be on his way."
"Why'd you say that?" Penguin gulped.
"Because Luffy-ya is about to do something truly stupid."
Law wasn't often wrong with his predictions and he wasn't wrong when it came to Luffy doing something no sane human would do. So, when the room gasped and his crew groaned in annoyance at Straw Hat Luffy punching a Celestial Dragon in the face, Law just snickered. Sure, he was annoyed at the extra work he'd have to do to escape and still meet up with Sabo later. But that ugly face somehow turned even uglier and Law was so amused.
The guards came to life and more Straw Hats crashed through the ceiling. An all-out brawl broke out between the Straw Hats and the guards. Civilians screamed and stampeded for the exit, stepping over anyone who got in their way. Law stayed in his seat and watched with growing amusement as his youngest brother's pirate crew easily wiped the floor with their opponents. This day was turning out even better than he'd hoped. He glanced back and noticed Eustass's crew had stayed to watch as well.
The burst of power from behind the stage made Law's heart thump hard in his chest. He had never felt the power before, but he had an educated guess as to what it could be. Conqueror's Haki. An extremely rare ability that people were only born with and couldn't be achieved through any other means.
An old man in a long white cloak stepped out from behind a gaping hole in the stage's wall and stroked his beard with thought. The beard, the glasses, and the incredibly powerful ability all matched one profile. A bead of sweat dribbled down Law's neck. He knew it was possible, but he never expected to meet the elusive Silvers Rayleigh. The man's appearance certainly accounted for the increased Marine presence around the Human Shoppe.
The mermaid was freed without losing her head. Truly a blessing as not everyone could handle brain matter. He could and so could his crew, but the other crew looked like they would have weak stomachs to such violence. Shame.
Excited about saving their friend, the Straw Hats were talking about escaping before the Marines arrived. Were they truly so oblivious?
"The Marines are already here, Luffy-ya." Law smirked from beneath the shadow of his hat when the rubber-boy turned to face him. "I'm sure they came with plans to capture a certain famous pirate, but they certainly didn't expect you to go and kick a Celestial Dragon's ass. Nice work, I'm impressed."
"You're Trafalgar Law," Nico Robin turned to her captain. "Luffy he's -"
"Law!" A tearful smile lit up his face like the sun. Luffy leapt over three rows of seats and Law's rusty straw hat senses started tingling, telling him to stand up. He stood up just in time for Luffy to attach himself to Law's body like a rubber barnacle. In five seconds Luffy had gone from pirate captain kicking ass to crybaby little brother. His teary eyes and wobbling lips were just as Law remembered. "I missed you so much!"
"You know him?!" Some members of Luffy's crew screamed in impressive unison.
"He's my brother," Luffy hiccupped. Law patted his uncovered head as the aggressive hug had knocked the straw hat back. The doctor tried to pull Luffy's rubber arms and legs from crushing his body. "My oldest brother and I haven't seen him in years!"
"Another crazy strong brother!" The orange-haired navigator screeched.
"Luffy, how many brothers do you have?" The long-nosed man asked. Although Law could only see his nose since the man was hidden behind the pirate hunter. "This one looks way creepier than Ace."
Law sighed when the other Straw Hats nodded in agreement. Everyone was a critic. He pulled harder at the stubborn limbs. "Let go you crybaby. Speaking of brothers, we have to talk -"
"Bepo!" Then Bepo's furry head was crushed against Law's shoulder and the Surgeon of Death felt his hard-earned reputation slipping down the drain. Death by hug was a horrible way to go.
"Okay, get off. I didn't think you could possibly get clingier, but you've proven me wrong again." Law finally extracted himself and his navigator from Luffy's tangled limbs. He ignored the pouty look and straightened his clothing. "An Admiral has been called and marines are lining up outside as we waste time, Luffy-ya."
"Right," Luffy ducked his head and put his hat back on. He was trying to look tough, but Law could see the teen's lips still wobbling. "We'll deal with the Marines first. Then we have a party."
"No … Then you and I need to talk."
A loud sneering laugh sounded from behind him and Law turned to stare at Eustass from the corner of his eye. The pirate was smirking at all the chaos and destruction around the room. Law vaguely noticed Nico Robin informing her captain of Eustass's name.
"Well that was entertaining. You really are as crazy as they say, Straw Hat. So here, I'll help you out and finish off the Marines for ya." Law felt his eyebrows tick and cold anger flooded his veins when the other captain uncrossed his arms and started walking towards the exit. He obnoxiously waved his hand as he left. "No need to thank me."
Law didn't even need to look at Luffy to know the younger man completely agreed that Eustass was an arrogant ass and they would never be in his debt. Bepo silently handed Law his cursed nodachi Kikoku and the doctor followed Luffy up the steps towards the exit. They were quickly catching up to Eustass strolling ahead so Law used the little time left as best he could.
"We need to talk. Can you meet me in Grove 21 tomorrow at the Blue Cafe around noon? There's someone you need to see, and we should discuss plans for saving him."
Luffy's wide eyes glanced his way. "Saving who?"
Law couldn't believe it. Maybe it was possible that Luffy was even stupider than he was as a child. But he thought at least Nico Robin or one of the other crew members would tell him as they certainly knew who Ace was.
But Luffy had already lost interest as they caught up to the red-haired captain. Immediately he expressed his annoyance in the only way he knew how: loud. The South Blue pirate was equally obnoxious in his noisy replies. Law gritted his teeth and approached Eustass from the other side. So long as they made it out of this situation alive, Law could tell his youngest annoyance about the upcoming war.
"You're both loud and annoying so shut up," Law grumbled all the way out of the building.
"Just go back inside then," Eustass sneered.
"Don't give me orders," Law snapped and scanned the number of marines gathered in the clearing. The new recruits trembled under the pressure of facing three Supernovas.
One of the nearby marines managed to stammer out names and bounties.
"They're all captains! Monkey D Luffy: worth 300 million beri. Eustass 'Captain' Kid worth: 315 million beri. And Trafalgar Law: worth 285 million beri."
"I can handle this all by myself," Luffy cracked his knuckles.
"Leave this to me," Eustass grumbled from beside him.
"I don't need you here," Law fiddled with the red string tied to Kikoku's sheath.
"Because I'm enough for this!"
The next day was the worst. Law still ached a little from his fight with the Pacifista robot but that was easily ignored. What was hard to get around was the insane security level in the archipelago. Marines crawled from every crack and crevice, making it an exceptionally difficult challenge to reach Grove 21 without attracting attention. Which was why he brought Brenna along so she could use her Dream-Dream abilities to hide him from scrutiny. Civilian and marine eyes slid over and through him like he was the least interesting person they had ever seen.
He had found Sabo easily enough in the crowded Blue Cafe. The blonde kept his head ducked but his ridiculous top hat was an eye grabber. Brenna sat at Koala's table with her back to Law so she could maintain the illusion while the doctor seated himself across from Sabo. Law set his black coffee and gluten-free scone on the table, well out of Sabo's reach because the man already had four plates piled up next to him.
"I've heard Luffy-ya met the real Bartholomew Kuma," Law muttered under his breath. "Bepo and Ermis-ya found their ship but the entire crew is missing."
"Bartholomew was a Revolutionary but he's in deep, deep cover and things are getting weird." Sabo also kept his voice low. "I don't know exactly what's going on with him. It's likely the crew's alive but they're probably nowhere close to Sabaody."
Law's silver eyes pinned him in place. "How likely?"
"He isn't completely lost but if the World Government finds out Luffy and the others are alive, he will be soon," Sabo scowled and ducked his head when a young server girl cleaned up the empty plates and refilled his cup of coffee. She moved on and he lifted his head again. "We can't rely on him to show mercy any longer."
"So, what you're saying is that we can't count on Luffy-ya to help us?" A smirk pulled at Law's lips, teasing the other man.
Sabo matched his grin as he dumped copious amounts of milk and sugar into his coffee. "I thought you were the smart one. He'll come bursting in like a hurricane screaming at the top of his lungs."
"If anyone tells him," Law blew on his coffee to cool it before testing the temperature with a tentative sip. "He seemed completely clueless about any major event happening. I don't expect him to read the newspaper, but I'm surprised his crewmates didn't tell him."
"Maybe they didn't know. After all, not everyone has an interest in the news like you and I do." Sabo sighed and hungrily eyed Law's untouched scone. The older man noticed and promptly shoved the stupid thing to the blonde. He only bought it as an excuse to sit down for a long time. Sabo inhaled it like air.
Law resisted moaning in pleasure at the caffeine in the coffee. He could happily live off coffee if his body didn't require further nutrition. "I sincerely question Luffy-ya's literacy level. Anyways, we need to plan as if he may not make an appearance."
"Prepare for the worst and hope for the best?"
"Luffy-ya ruins every plan he encounters. I was thinking about preparing our best options and if that maniac shows up, we just wing it."
Sabo laughed quietly and pulled his hat down as a pair of marines marched past the cafe window. "The best we can do, I suppose."
Law stood up, catching the attention of the two young women who were exchanging horror stories about living with men on the high seas. Brenna ignored his annoyed look and followed his lead to stand up. Her abilities still tingled over his skin and people's gaze slid over him.
"We can discuss this more in private on the Polar Tang." Law fingered his nodachi as another pair of marines marched in the street.
Sabo stood up and clapped a hand on Law's shoulder with a smile. "Let's go save our brother, shall we?"
Hi! Like many people, I'm stuck at home practicing social distancing. I got a bit tired of binging shows and anime so I thought I would try brushing off this story!
So many people have read, followed, and/or favourited this story since I posted the first chapter way back in 2014. I'm certain some people have moved on and I know that many people prefer other platforms like ao3. However, I'm still grateful to everyone who has read a few chapters and enjoyed this story. I always appreciate the positive and constructive feedback I receive. Every now and then, I receive a review that is very encouraging, and it inspires me to start thinking about the characters again. If I can keep up the momentum, I want to get to the Marineford Arc next!
So, I hope you enjoy this new chapter.
Stay safe and healthy everyone!