SUMMARY: Crack!actionfic based on the fake spoilers. Ace finds himself falling head over heels for the cute girl Luffy 'sent to rescue him'. One-sided Ace x Luffyko. Lots of crack.
LENGTH: 2700 words approx
DISCLAIMER: Not mine, no profit, yadda yadda yadda.
NOTES: Pretty much takes up where the AP forums fake spoilers left off. Was posted first anonymously on the op_fanforall on livejournal the week after. AU from manga canon at chapter 537, and spoilers accordingly, obviously.
NOTES2: Fanfiction net fails. Ace's garbling is actually supposed to be the "hearts!" special html character but ffnet's formatting refuses to show it in any format I can think of. Dammit.
Escape From Impel Down!
"Hey. Hey, Ace! Hey, Psssst! Ace! I'm not a guard, I'm in disguise! I'm here to save you."
Ace looks up as the soft, high voice finally penetrates his tense gloom and for a moment he just stares at the... guard... in front of him. The words themselves don't register.
Something has happened. It's obvious now, and it must have happened quickly. The blonde jailor is on the floor, the rest of the guards are on the floor, Hannyabal's standing over there looking beat up and shifty, and this small female person is leaning forward with her hands gripping the bars like they're the only reason she's standing at all. She's sweating, but the sweat hisses and fizzles on her flushed skin and turns into the steam that's rising up from her body.
Even in the circumstances, it's impossible not to note how her already-revealing uniform is sticking to her in a way that emphasizes her very ample cleavage.
Ace is then horrified with himself for staring at her breasts when his petite rescuer looks like she's about to fall over.
"Where are the keys?" she asks. Her fists flex and stressed metal whimpers. "I could try to break the bars, but I figure they're tough enough to hold you guys, and I might still need my strength to fight, so where are the keys?"
"--------!" Ace garbles helplessly (unhelpfully). His would-be rescuer gives him an odd look, and considering the noise that just arose from his throat, he can't really blame her. Jinbei, though, wordlessly points, and from the shadows of his corner, Crocodile snorts and chuckles, which is about all he ever contributes to any conversation.
The girl turns and sprints unevenly back across to the insanely dangerous individual she appears to have taken out single-handed, and she bends over in an entirely inappropriate fashion and gropes at his pockets in an equally inappropriate fashion until she finds the keys. Ace, distracted trying to stem the blood flow from his nose, realises the steam's been lessening as he watched, and now it's almost gone. She looks even more tired and sick as she makes her way back to them without the weird effect flushing her skin, and he smacks himself in the face, hard, horrified with himself again.
The keys rattle a stuttering melody in her shaking hand as she turns them, and then, although he's still chained, the door is open. After all this time, Ace can barely believe he's even this small fraction of the way to freedom.
"Kairoseki," Jinbei warns as the girl staggers across the cell and drops onto her knees in front of Ace's shackles. Her eyelids are drooping, but underneath them her gaze slides to the fishman and she nods. She still manages to drop herself on her face twice as she goes through the large keyring trying to find the right key.
A devil fruit user, then. Ace supposes it was obvious -- at least to anyone but him. It's not his fault. His brain just doesn't appear to be functioning very well since he laid eyes on her. But he takes over with the keys when he's got enough feeling back in his hands, and as the last of the kairoseki falls from his legs he finds five-foot-nothing of sweaty, busty female clamped to his body in a bone-crunching embrace.
"Dammit!" she chokes (while Ace just chokes for breath). "Finally. How'd you be so dumb as to get caught? You stupid, stupid, stupid... idiot! Well? Aren't you even glad to see me, Ace, huh?"
"------! ------! ------! D-d-d-did Luffy send you?" Ace manages to force out from his compressed lungs.
His rescuer makes a confused little noise and backs off like he accidentally set fire to his pants. He looks down, urgently. No.
When he looks back up, she's biting her knuckles and standing in a not-very-feminine way. She avoids his eyes, pulls a face and stares at her feet. She looks embarrassed. "Huh. Ah, Ace? Ace, don't you rec--?" Way across the outer cavern of the jail, Hannyabal's gesturing to hurry up. Ace has never seen Hannyabal with fountains of tears streaking down his face before, so maybe it's not actually Hannyabal. Meanwhile, the girl snatches up the keys again and lurches over to Jinbei.
"I'm gonna save the fish guy too!" she yells to Hannyabal, who looks like he's considering panic, but then kind of melts in on himself and hugs his arms over his chest, twirls, and cries some more as he looks wistfully at the shadows at the back of the cell. Definitely not Hannyabal. Jinbei looks surprised.
The girl's visibly struggling. "You're not a bad guy!" she gasps half through her teeth, while staring Jinbei straight in the eyes with a boldness Ace can barely credit he's witnessing.
"Really. So if you're in the business of rescuing the worst of the worst," Crocodile rumbles, extending his chained arms invitingly and leaning forward into the light, "How about it, girl?"
Ace sees her go from neutral to ear-splitting distress in an instant. "GAAAAAAAAHHHH! Crocodile!!!!! You're here?!!!" Then she stops and blinks and throws the keys, almost ludicrously casual. "Okay. You're a strong guy too. It'll be pretty useful for us all to escape together."
Ace did not just witness that. He did not... Shit, apparently this girl has about as much air in her brainpan as Luffy--
"C'mon, you guys!" She scratches her butt (Ace's mind does its best to blank out that part, too) and waves to 'Hannyabal' as she dashes out of the cell, grabbing Ace's wrist and dragging him along like a prize behind her. Literally dragging, since she moves before he has any chance of finding a footing, and ignores his frantic protests as half his face is skinned against the floor's hard stone. "Let's get outta here!"
Luffy is freaking out. Not only is he a girl, but he's stuck in the stupid disguise the okama guys found for him that really, really emphasizes just how much of a girl there is of him. Then, he doesn't feel very well anyway, and Ace didn't even recognise him -- the ungrateful idiot -- and Crocodile is here. And Ace keeps saying "------!" to him which, while he's not sure exactly what that means, he has the feeling it means he really needs to correct Ace on who he is, very, very soon. But like hell is he doing that in front of Crocodile -- it was gonna suck hard enough admitting to his brother that he had to go get himself turned into a girl.
He has breasts. Dammit! And he has... n't... other things. Important things.
This was a stupid plan. He wants his body back, please.
He's also struggling to keep running alongside the other four, and it's not just the boots. So far they've gone through a whole bunch of guards out to block their way, and fish-guy and sand-Croc dealt with them all. Bon-chan is almost as badly off as he is, and Ace has been hovering at his back like a mother hen. Or... not like, which, again, is so much freaking him out.
His brother's staring at his ass! That's not the triumphant rescue he wanted!
Then, they turn a corner up into level 4 and, oh shit, oh shit.... he's been here before, here exactly, and he'd freakin' hoped he wouldn't be called on to do this again. In a skirt.
"CRAAAAAP, it's Magellaaaaan!" Bon-chan shrieks, and dives behind Crocodile, who takes it in his stride as the okama clings to his former boss' waist. He's Bon-chan again, so it doesn't look quite so weird as it might've. Croc just raises an eyebrow.
Luffy, breathing hard from just the thought of what's to come, pushes in front of Ace, who's trying to push in front of him. "Me! Me, it's gotta be me," he growls. "--STOP SHOVING DUMBASS, IT'LL KILL ANYONE ELSE!" He's not letting that happen to Ace. He's not even letting that happen to Crocodile. So he ends up roaring it in Ace's face, right before he activates gear second again (if only he'd found some foooooood...) and darts at the big poison-warden.
It's as hard as the first fight, except -- except, while the poison still hurts him it can't kill him, can't slow him down so much and make him see and hear funny the way it did before, just like Iva-chan said. The others, when they stop yelling (even Bon-chan, who knows he ought to be okay), take cover behind a broken bit of cell wall as the gunk flies around. Most of the other guards drop everything and run off. The ones who didn't, it hurts Luffy just to listen to.
When it's over, Magellan is a sizzling, flatulent heap slowly melting a hole through the floor and Luffy is coughing on his knees, dripping poison from his whole body as gear second fades. His prison warden disguise is still hanging all loose at the top, from the technique that won him the day, and he's even more glad that Nami showed it to him that time. He fumbles to re-fasten the buttons while Jinbei casually empties over him several water barrels the guards brought to fight Crocodile. It gets him clean of the poison, but he might as well not have bothered refastening his shirt and jacket to cover his - ugh - breasts.
...Why's Ace in a dead faint on the floor? With his eyes all pink and heart-shaped like Sanji's?
"How... did the little girl just demolish Magellan?" he overhears Crocodile ask Bon-chan darkly. He pulls himself to his feet. Bon-chan stutters a reply that Luffy doesn't hear...
...Because the world is kind of swimmy and melty all of a sudden. Blobby, dripping shapes everywhere like Magellan poisoned it, too. Iva-chan said the poison couldn't kill him this time, but.... he's so tired... Maybe he's used gear second too much...
...Man, he's hungry...
The world abruptly goes from melty to black. When he wakes up, he's held bridal style in the embrace of Ace's muscled arms, and he's pretty happy to faint again.
"Why did she try to beat Magellan?" Ace chokes as he holds his mortally wounded rescuer against his chest. "I don't even know her naaaame! Dammit, why'd she do all this for me?! Now she's d-d-dying...!"
How the hell could even that moron Luffy be so crass as to send a girl like this in after him? Bad enough to hear his ridiculous brother was in Impel Down, but he'd at least thought the idiot would come himself, rather than involve anyone else in his suicide bid...!
"I doubt that," Jinbei says, touching his broad fingers to her neck. "She only said the poison would kill 'anyone else'. Her pulse is still strong..."
"We need to keep moving," Crocodile puts in irritably. "If she's dying, leave her, if she's not dying, carry her... if you must."
"Zero-chaaaaan!" the shapeshifting okama yells in outrage, and surprises everyone by planting a kick in his former boss's face -- including Crocodile, who's so surprised he doesn't dodge it by turning to sand. Even more astonishing is the fact he doesn't retaliate with anything more than a scowl. "He's not dying! Just tired. Carry him, Flame-chan, and let's gooooo!"
Ace doesn't register half of what the okama says beyond the message that she's not dying, but hugs the limp body closer and follows when the other starts off again, not bothering to see if the two shichibukai tag behind. For a fire man in the midst of a dangerous escape, maybe it isn't the smartest thing to insist upon carrying her, effectively disabling his own powers, but he doesn't care.
She's so small and light, he can't believe he just saw what he saw... (he's still getting nosebleeds every time he thinks back to the other things he just saw). He can't drag his eyes from her... (admittedly, that's a problem, too, when he's running over uneven cobbles liberally littered with poison and groaning bodies). Her hair hangs into her face in dark, damp little curls, tickling the closed lids of her large eyes. Her wide mouth was made to smile. She's got the cutest little scar on her face (like someone else he knows, his subconscious suggests, ignored) -- but not like a blemish-- no, no, he hadn't even noticed before! And even if she is as silly and reckless as his brother, he thinks that he's in love...
"Portgas! Watch where you're damned going," Crocodile snarls, and he's so distracted he dreamily apologises to the monster.
Ace's new love is breathing unevenly in his grasp in a fashion that suggests she's bordering on consciousness again. Her body heat is fierce against his skin, even through both their clothes, and it seems so fitting, with this creature of heat and passion and-- and steam (all right, maybe he's reaching)... He wonders if she would ever consider him? Surely, if she came through all these dangers and mounted this brave rescue for him...?
But not for him -- because Luffy was the one who asked her to -- and does that mean that Luffy already holds some sort of a claim--?
He feels a dark stab of irrational jealousy towards his brother. Totally irrational, because any speculation like that can only be pure paranoia. Luffy is Luffy, after all.
They're cornered in a tight channel beneath the main gateway between levels while guards spray water down from above. Crocodile, soaked and furious, has slapped a hand to the wall and is about to bring out the big guns in his arsenal. The wall begins to crumble into dust and the guards panic and flee. Jinbei dashes aside any of the collapsing stonework that rains down on their group, as well as the odd flailing guard who wasn't fast enough.
Hell, they don't need him, Ace thinks. Outside of the kairoseki chains, with Magellan out of the way, these two could probably take out most of Impel Down on their own. He looks back to the girl in his arms as a soft, semi-conscious moan escapes her softer lips.
The okama has dragged Crocodile back from the wall before they're all turned to dust too, and he's all frantic waving hands and wheedling pleas trying to calm down the former shichibukai. They can and should be moving on now, but Ace is a captive again -- in new, stronger, yet more compelling chains. Once the thought has crossed his mind, he's completely unable not to lean over as the girl's eyelids start to flutter, pressing his lips to hers and waking his sleeping beauty with a kiss...
"GAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!! Ace, you freakin' ASSHOLE!"
He's so stunned that he doesn't have the slightest hope of defending himself as his love deploys her provenly devastating left hook upon his jaw. He drops like a stone and she falls on top of him. But she bounces up (bounces...?) with instant returned energy and starts kicking him repeatedly, yelling all the while.
It's a little higher than he's used to, but it dawns on him now that there's something very familiar about that voice.
"Aghhhhhh! Straw-chaaaaaaaan, nooooo! That's your brother! Your brother who you love with your heart-warming brotherly love--! Think of the brotherly love, Straw-chan! The love that brought you right up to the jaws of death! That brought you to so bravely enter this terrible plaaaace--------!" The okama has tears pouring down his face again as he tries to pull the furious girl away.
"It! Brought! Me! BREASTS!" the girl yells, and kicks Ace again. Ace whimpers as a host of tiny clues and that not-so-subtle exchange all click together.
"That's Straw Hat?" Crocodile demands, eyes almost bugging from his head.
"Straw Hat Luffy?" Jinbei puzzles, mildly curious and a good deal calmer than any of the rest of them.
"...Luffy?" Ace whimpers.
The Really Hot Girl in the Insanely Revealing Uniform bares her teeth familiarly and her eyes and nostrils flare. The okama clings to her leg and laments again about all she's -- he's -- oh, oh shit, that's LUFFY, it's LUFFY -- done for 'her' brother, while 'she' swears and kicks out again, aiming for the crotch.
...Ace thinks that he wants nothing more than for some benevolent deity to wipe out the last few hours of his life and put him safely back in chains.