Corabelle AU, sort of.
Credit to saisai-chan for coming up with this adorable ship!
Law sat in the uncomfortable metal fold-out chair in the waiting room, a thick medical textbook open on his lap as he kept an ear out for approaching steps. Eventually though, the fluorescent lighting forced him to shut his book and rub at his eyes to prevent a headache.
His hand drifted down to his cheek and to the fading white patches that still ached on occasion. He reminded himself not to scratch at them anymore, or he'd never hear the end of it.
He jolted upright as he heard footsteps out in the hall, but it turned out to just be a wayward soldier passing by the open door. They gave Law a curious look and small smile before continuing on their way.
Cora had assured him that very few people in the East Blue knew what Amber Lead Poisoning was and wouldn't be able to recognize it, but he was still extremely wary of meeting new people. He tried to keep up a strong front when he was with his adoptive father though; he knew Cora still felt guilty about how he had been treated by all those doctors before they found the right one, even though it had been necessary at the time.
Honestly, Law was just grateful it was all over.
He flipped open his text to a dissection sketch of a human chest to calm himself down.
Law's concentration was quickly broken as he heard the racket of footsteps barreling towards him out in the hall.
"BELLAMERE! IT'S OVER HERE, LOOK!" A voice, too loud for the quiet building, called just outside the waiting room's door.
Suddently a small figure was fumbling to an abrupt stop just inside the doorway. A little girl with orange hair, probably a few years older than Lami had been-
That's enough, he told himself as he involuntarily scowled at her.
The girl, who had had an amusing look of utter surprise, scowled back in response. "And who the hell are you?!" She demanded, hands on hips.
Before Law had the chance to reply, another girl ran into the room and hit the first one over the head soundly.
"OW! Nojiko!" The little redhead whined.
"Nami! You can't just go around talking to people like that!" The second, older, girl with blue hair turned to Law with an apologetic look but stopped in surprise when she got a good look at him.
Law tensed under all the attention.
"Now, now, what's all the fuss, girls?"
The third voice turned out to be a woman with bright red hair. It was more the style that shocked Law though; he had never seen a woman with shaved hair, even if it was just the sides. He couldn't say it looked bad though.
She lifted a brow of surprise at Law then gave him a grin and let her eyes sweep around the room as she spoke, addressing him. "I guess there's someone already inside, kiddo?"
Law nodded, but the little redhead was answering for him.
"I think so or the doors would be open."
Law scowled lightly at the girl but caught the woman's conspiratorial eye roll at the interruption but turned to the girl with a patient smile.
"Thank you, Nami, that's some good logical thinking. What's another reason the door could be closed but no client's inside?"
After a brief moment of thought, she piped up. "Maybe they're out at lunch!"
The older girl pointed at the door, exasperated. "If they were having lunch they would have left a note."
"Well, they could have forgot. Anyway, that was just an unlikely example. It's already 2 o'clock!"
While the girls bickered, the woman stepped closer to Law.
"Are there any more of those chairs around here?"
Law laid his book flat over his knees and pointed in the corner behind the vacated reception desk. "This one came from back there but I don't know if there are more." He worried he'd have to offer his chair to the girls out of courtesy. His joints still hurt and Cora insisted he get as much rest as possible; so he cringed at what Cora would say if he returned to find him standing around or sitting on the floor.
Thankfully, the woman pulled three folded chairs out from behind the desk with a triumphant exclamation, catching the girls' attention. But, to Law's dismay, she set them up in a line right next to him.
She took a seat beside him and beckoned the girls to sit on the other side.
They quickly trotted over but the redhead looked at hers in distaste.
"These look really uncomfortable." She stated.
Perceptive, Law thought dryly.
"Just suck it up." The blue-haired girl stated as she took her seat next to the woman.
"You can always sit on the floor, Nami." The woman said with a smile.
The girl eyed the floor with equal distaste but then looked up at the woman with a mischievous grin.
"Or I could sit on your lap!" She exclaimed with enthusiasm, making the woman laugh.
"All right, all right. But just for a bit though or you'll put my legs to sleep." And she helped the girl up.
Law observed the interaction from the corner of his eye, not quite turning, but Still jumped when the woman turned to him.
"Hi there. My name's Bellamere, what's yours?" She held a hand out to him, awkwardly since he was sitting on her right.
After a brief pause, he took it and shook. She had a strong grip, but then he was used to Cora's relaxed one. "Uh, Law."
Bellamere smiled in amusement. "That's a nice name, are you thinking about joining the navy someday?"
Law grimaced. "No way."
Bellamere laughed. "It's just as well, you'd be teased mercilessly with that name."
Law scowled at her, which only amused her further.
"I'm Nami!" The youngest finally chimed in. She waved at the girl beside her. "This is my sister Nojiko."
Law nodded at them reluctantly, feeling like it was getting harder and harder to disengage himself from the conversation. He wondered how mad Cora would be if he up and left to wander the building by himself. Probably very.
"These are my daughters." Bellamere added. "Are you waiting for your parent, Law?"
Law fidgeted a bit in his chair. "…my…father." He admitted reluctantly.
Bellamere nodded but was interrupted by her youngest.
"Is that a dead body?" Nami asked, pointing and staring at his open textbook in interest.
Law half expected, hoped, that the mother would pull the girls away but she shared her daughter's interest so he replied. "Well, yeah. It's an illustration of a dissected ribcage, they can't do that alive."
"What does 'dissected' mean?"
"Something that's been cut up to be studied."
"Oh. How come there's no blood, then?"
Maybe this kid isn't so bad after all. "It's all been sucked out so you can see all the bone, muscle, and-"
"SO LAW, are you studying to be a doctor or is this a hobby?" Bellamere decided to finally interrupt.
"Doctor." He closed the book, but Nami reached over to flip open the cover.
"Nami wants to be a cartographer-"
"AND navigator!" She added.
"And navigator." Bellamere added with a chuckle. "She's been reading up on it a lot."
"I've started my first map of our island! It's still a long way from finished though."
"Really?" Law asked skeptically. "You read books on navigation." The girl couldn't be more than eight, even he-
"Yup! It's really interesting! It's the cartography that's tricky, though. Especially converting relative size of landmasses and choosing what will be detailed and what will be generalized on paper. The math isn't too hard, but it takes so long to make the measurements!" She flailed about in her mother's arms during her little rant then returned to herself. "I'm almost finished with that, though. Then I can start drawing!" She uttered in hushed excitement.
"I'm sure it will all work out fine, Nami."
Nami hummed in agreement.
"So, Law, is your father a navy doctor or something?"
Law imagined that for a moment and shuddered violently. "Dear Lord, no. He'd probably stab someone on accident or set everything on fire."
Bellamere gave him an odd look. "Fire…? Then what does he do?"
Law thought for a minute. What would Cora's title be? "I guess… reconnaissance? Maybe." He shrugged.
"Really." Bellamere turned to the double door of the office in interest.
And they opened.
Cora stepped into the waiting room, eyes on the stack of messy papers in his hands that he had obviously just dropped, and didn't look up at the room just yet. He had changed out his jeans and heart shirt for a professional suit, but nothing special. He had still applied his makeup out of habit and Law had refused to let him take it off ('You look weird without it! Too normal!'). "Sorry that took so long, Law. We're all done now-"
Cora jumped at the shout, somehow keeping hold of his papers, and looked up at the woman. If possible, he looked twice as shocked to see her than he had from the yell. His face went white.
"Bellamere…?" He whispered.
Bellamere set Nami down and stood, taking a few steps forward. Law thought he caught tears in her eyes.
"YOU BASTARD!" She threw back her fist and punched him in the gut, making him reel and fall to his knees. Papers scattered. "I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD, YOU LITTLE SHIT!" A sudden thought seemed to come to her and she leaned over him and grabbed his collar, making him face her. "Did Sengoku know about this?!" She hissed.
Cora tried not to cough directly in her face, but had trouble turning away. "Yes…" He croaked.
Both of them seemed to have forgotten about the children in the room. Law stared in shock and was vaguely aware of Nami and Nojiko's surprised but impressed stares.
"You…!" Bellamere seemed lost for words as she stood there trembling in rage.
"I had to… I had to disappear from the navy for a bit." Cora eventually wheezed out. "My mission… if they found out who I really was… I would have been killed-" Cora gently wrapped his hands around Bellamere's, still with a vice-grip on his shirt, but made no move to pull them away by force.
Bellamere twitched. "…You were undercover?" She said, eventually.
Cora squeaked an affirmative.
After a moment she let her hands drop to her sides and she straightened up, letting Cora massage his throat and cough.
She stormed over to the window, wretched it open, and lit a cigarette.
Cora got his voice back after a moment and he turned to her, who was leaning against the window frame. "It's nice to see you again, Bellamere."
She snarled at him with her back turned.
As if suddenly remembering something, she swerved around to her daughters. "Neither of you are allowed to repeat those words until you're at least thirteen, understand?! Genzo already teases me enough for my parenting…"
"We promise!" The girls said in unison, but Nojiko looked bored and Nami had a wide, insincere grin on her face.
Bellamere sighed and took another drag from her cigarette, parental duty fulfilled, and looked at Cora disdaintfully. "These are my daughters, Nojiko and Nami, by the way. Girls, Rosinante." She indicated them all. "We already met your son, but I didn't think he was yours."
Cora seemed stuck on the first piece of information but snapped himself back at that. "…son? I- uh- Law?" He floundered, looking between Bellamere and Law in confusion.
Law had turned beet red, his white patches becoming even more noticeable. "She asked me who I was waiting for and I said my… f-father." He tried to keep his voice steady and logical.
Cora took a minute to process that before his face lit up in shock and delight, eyes shining. "Law…!"
Law slammed his hand on his book, as much to snap his adoptive father out of his joyful delirium as it was to try and hide his embarrassment. "I only said that because it was easier than explaining the whole thing!"
Still, he only struggled a little when Cora seized him in a hug.
Bellamere observed the scene with an amused frown, gauging their relationship surprisingly accurately.
Nami's curiosity got the better of her again.
"So, are you Law's dad or not?"
Cora turned to the tiny girl as Law finally wiggled to freedom.
"I- Well, I'm… adopting him."
"Oh!" Nami exclaimed in delight, turning to Nojiko and her mother with a sunny smile and then back. "So you're like us! Bellamere adopted Nojiko and me too!"
Cora looked over in surprise at Bellamere's fond one for her daughter.
"Yeah." Bellamere finished her cigarette and rubbed it out on the windowsill. "Now if you'll excuse me," Nojiko handed over a file of papers. "I have a date with some paperwork. Nojiko, watch your sister."
Nojiko waved her mother off as she closed the door behind herself and Nami turned her attention on Cora.
"Were you Bellamere's boyfriend or something?"
Cora choked and turned scarlet. "WHAT?! Where would you get that idea!" He practically shrieked.
Nami shrugged, but seemed to enjoy the reaction.
Law was also smirking at the man evilly.
Nojiko seemed to take pity on the man and intervened. "Hey, Nami, don't jump to extremes so quickly. Just because Bellamere tried to strangle him doesn't mean he used to be her boyfriend. They were probably pretty good friends if she was that mad he faked his death." She finished reasonably.
"I was undercover…" Cora mumbled miserably. Law patted his arm sympathetically, still smirking.
"I guess…" But Nami didn't seem convinced. "So were you?" Nami asked Cora.
The man jumped. "What?"
"Friends." Nojiko interjected.
Cora was suddenly reminded of a young red haired recruit's persistence.
"So you haven't started on Law's paperwork yet?" Bellamere confirmed, displeased.
"Uh, no… Sengoku said he'd help make sure it went through without problems, but I'd have to actually fill out all the papers." Corazon stated.
They were all sitting at one of the tables in the mess hall, having dinner before heading back to their temporary rooms. After standing in the waiting room in a thoughtful silence until Bellamere returned, he snagged her to ask for advice on the adoption process.
Bellamere pouted at her empty plate. "At least he's making you do stuff for yourself. Be careful you don't set the documents on fire." She suggested scathingly.
The girls looked confused but Law laughed at the comment.
"That aside." Cora said in frustration. "Where should I start?"
Bellamere looked away and sighed. "Well… I don't know how much Sengoku's gonna do but with us there was just a lot of background checks, paperwork, and mentions of inspections that have yet to occur. East Blue is a pretty peaceful place, so it's not considered top priority. It took a hell of a long time to finish but no one's just gonna drop by to take him away, so don't worry too much." She took a drink of her water. "Although-" She started thoughtfully. "Do you have a place to live set up?" Cora's guilty expression was all the answer she needed. "Thought so."
They sat in silence for a bit as Bellamere seemed to consider something. Cora sat patiently, trying not to look too desperate for help. Law nudged his plate closer to Nami as she tried to be stealthy about stealing his untouched bread.
Finally, Bellamere sat up straight and rubbed the back of her head. "Well… I can't guarantee much, maybe just an extra room or something, but we might find some place at Cocoyashi." She suggested.
"Huh?" Cora responded.
Law looked up at the woman. "Wait, isn't that-?"
At that moment, Nami climbed to her feet on her chair and threw her fists into the air. "YES!" She screamed, making everyone in the cafeteria jump.
Nojiko wrestled her sister back into her seat and shushed her frantically. Bellamere looked torn between amusement and confusion.
"ANYWAY, I could help you with the paperwork. Make sure you get all the right stuff. It probably won't take as long if Sengoku's helping, anyway. I doubt you'd have to stay long." She finished and looked at him to consider it.
Cora looked speechless and turned to Law.
Law frowned at the unspoken question. "It would be better than sleeping outside, not to mention these navy dorms." He added in distaste.
Cora smiled at him and ruffled his hair through his white, spotted hat.
"Yeah, that sounds great. Thank you, Bellamere."
Once back in their room, after arranging their ride back to Cocoyashi village, Law began packing their bags back up as Cora lit a cigarette by the window. Now that he wasn't with the Donquixote Pirates he was trying to cut back, bolstered by Law's nagging about health.
"Careful you don't set yourself on fire, idiot."
"Quiet, brat, before I make you."
Law smirked but it quickly morphed into something more evil as he remembered something.
"So, Cora-san… was she your girlfriend?" He asked with feigned innocence.
Cora froze, but didn't turn around.
"Don't make me use my Devil Fruit on you, Law." He said sternly, sounding much more composed than earlier.
NAMI WAS TOO FUN TO WRITE. Sorry is she seemed a little OOC, she's a rambunctious little thing as a kid. Nojiko turned out really quiet, I'm a little worried about that but she seems the quiet, supportive sibling and daughter type. *shrug* I think her trying to take Cora's side would be cute. BTW, I can't remember if Law knew Cora's name is Rosinante? I think he did but I'm not sure. I guess he could have found out somewhere in between, though.
If it's not already entirely obvious, I know next to nothing about medical textbooks, cartography, or adoption beyond a super quick wiki search.
I figure, the navy showed up just as Doffy and Cora were having their showdown and saved him. Not completely sure if Doffy was arrested or what, though. As for Bellamere, by Nami's talk of her map it should be clear we're a few months away from Arlong's attack.
This is just to place a time frame, I'm not sure if I'll continue this or leave it as a one-shot. I set it up so I could continue if I got more ideas.