One Piece Fanfiction
In The Mirror
Summary: There is something wrong with Luffy and his crew doesn't know what to do about it. This is the last time he will see his brother before his execution.
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Family, & Tragedy
Warnings: Rated M for language, arguing, emotions, sexual themes, character death & possible OOCness
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece.
Bon Clay: "Ne, Vivé-chan, is this really going to be a tragic story?"
L.J.V.: "Of course it is. Why wouldn't it be?"
Rikku: "Because you're making it too damn emotional."
Buggy (female): "Speak for yourself. I haven't felt one ounce of anything during this entire thing. If anything, this is just a waste of time."
L.J.V.: "So in chapter 2 you didn't snivel?"
Buggy (female): "Nope."
L.J.V.: "And in chapter 3 you didn't make ketchup."
Buggy (female): "Not at all― stop talking about my nose, damn it!"
Rikku: "And in chapter 4 you weren't bawling your eyes out with the rest of us?"
L.J.V.: "Speak for yourself. I was perfectly fine for that episode/chapter."
Rikku: "That's because you don't have a heart."'
L.J.V.: "Not true, but I'm gonna ignore that. So what about chapter 4 then, Sir Tomato Nose?"
Buggy (female): "Leave my nose out of this! And besides, I didn't feel anything when that idiot was in the bathroom."
Bon Clay: "How? That was probably one of the most heartbreaking parts in this entire story."
Rikku: "Besides Vivé had to translate for you."
Buggy (female): "I don't remember that."
L.J.V.: "Yeah, I bet. Alright, how about chapter 11? Everyone turned red during that one."
Rikku: "Right, that was the― Vivé, how could you write that?"
L.J.V.: "What? It was fun."
Law: "You're a bad girl."
L.J.V.: "Why thank you."
Ivankov: "Vivé-girl. As funny as it is to see you torment clown-boy over there v'e must see v'hat happens next, yes?"
L.J.V.: "Yes. Alright, as Sir Tomato Nose stays in denial about showing no emotion to this story―"
Buggy (female): "SHUT UP!"
L.J.V.: "―I'm going to let everyone read this next chapter. Enjoy."
Impel Down: Level 6
A sharp chill hovers just above the damp, cold stone ground, going from cell to cell to taunt the inmates. The scent of old blood lingers in the air, allowing a person to taste it at any given moment. Old, scabbing wounds itch while newer ones made from the jailer beasts burn; it's the body's way of telling the brain that there is something wrong but the person is unable to give it any type of medical attention.
The silence, however, seems to be the most unsettling thing about Level 6. Never mind if an inmate is tired, hungry, or anything else that can possibly be wrong with them, the aforementioned things mentioned included; it's the silence that really takes the toll down here. Any inmate or guard can speak with one another but no matter how trivial the taunts may be from the guards or how obnoxious the boasts or threats may be from the inmates, it will only last for so long. Silence will always be there when everyone has finished talking, screaming or shouting, or, strangely enough, singing for whatever reason they would feel the need to. Silence is always there and the worst part about it is that it will never be from peace or tranquility. No, the silence will always be from some sort of pain, whether it is mental or physical, and knowing there is absolutely nothing any of the inmates can do about it.
In a two-person cellblock along the back wall in the west is a man beaten, bloody, and forced to sit while his arms are chained to the wall as his legs are crossed and shackled. His head is hanging down low, his black hair covering a majority of his face, hiding the freckles that are now hard to see thanks to the blood running down either side of his cheeks. Nails are digging into the palms of his hands and if he weren't so deep in thought then he would probably notice the blood starting to paint them. Subconsciously he keeps changing from biting down on his lip with every few breaths he exhales from his nose to grinding his teeth together and he's just staring at the ground right in front of him. He's not looking at it. No, he's already counted all of the cracks and tiny pebbles it has out of sheer boredom a few days ago. He's looking at the direction of the ground but not the ground itself. He can't seem to focus on anything except for what she told him. She said that―
Said man widens his eyes a bit and finds himself panting as he comes back to reality. Lifting his head up just a bit, he tilts it to his left to see his friend looking at him sternly but he can tell within those eyes there is concern in them as well. The large fishman was brought here a day or two after he was and instantly after that so called baptism he was properly introduced to the spiked-club belonging to one of the jailer beasts, the same one that likes to visit Level 6 more than the others.
Jinbe closes his eyes and takes a deep breath. He's been trying to call out to his young friend for quite some time now. He refuses to be loud enough to let these foolish people hear them, less they want another verbal lashing as they had earlier when they imprudently threatened to kill Old-man Whitebeard. No, these people need to keep quiet and not involve themselves in other's matters.
Opening his eyes, Jinbe releases his breath and continues to sternly look at the young man. Even if he is a friend, he needs to be straight with him and Jinbe knows he won't get the answers he's looking for if he only shows compassion and not some form of strictness. This man is not a child and Jinbe will not treat him as such.
"Why does it bother you so much to know he may possibly be here?"
Ace keeps his head towards the fishman but casts his gaze to the right, looking at the same cracked floor he'd been staring at for the past seventeen minutes. It's not that he doesn't want to tell his friend what the problem is. He just… he just doesn't want to acknowledge the fact that it's true. That what she had told him is true―
"You don't," Ace straightens his head and clenches his eyes shut. He's being forced to speak and he doesn't want to, not about this at least. "―you don't know him! You don't know what he's capable of!" He turns back to his cellmate. "Jinbe, you have no idea what―"
"It's apparent that you don't either!" Jinbe raises his voice an octave higher.
"What?" Ace asks confused. Why would he say that? Of course Ace knows. That's the reason why he's feeling the way he is now, because he knows what his brother is capable of! The kind of trouble he's capable of getting into! There's no way his brother can get through all of six of these levels to him undetected. None! And if Luffy gets caught here, in this so-called prison that's a living Hell, then―
Taking a quick breath Jinbe calms himself down. He cannot allow himself to get loud so anyone else can listen and learn about his friend's little brother. If anyone caught wind of it then it could be chaotic, not just for the boy but for Ace himself. Who knows what Ace will do if something happened to the boy.
"Ace-san, the few days we were in here you would tell me of your brother, the same brother that had broken into this very Hell, did you not?"
"Have you or have you not?!" Jinbe bellows. Ace is trying to avoid his question but Jinbe won't let him. He's going to get his answers so can try to ease his young friend's mind.
Movement can be heard outside of their cell and both Jinbe and Ace know that they've caught a few inmates attention. This is the last thing they need. Neither of the two says nor do anything for now. They will wait until they know that no one will listen.
"What? I want to know if you have or not, Fire-Fist."
"Heheheh. What do you think he has or hasn't done?"
"Yeah, he's one of Whitebeard's, right? So that means that he can pretty much get away with murder."
"Psssh, I bet he's never done anything illegal anyways."
"Yeah, he's probably just using that old bastard's name as a ruse to do anything he wants. Plus everyone out there is just a bunch of scared pussies when they hear that old decrypted name anyways."
"Hahah, that's a good point."
"He's jus' a boy. The hell could he possibly do?"
"Maybe it's not what he has or hasn't done but who he has or hasn't done, dun cha' think?"
"Dun'cha mean who has or hasn't done him?!"
"Chechechecheche, now that's the right question to ask."
"You're right 'bout that. He does have a very nice body. I'm pretty sure he's a good fuck. And I bet he takes it well."
"Not to mention all the time."
"Yeah, he can probably handle a couple of guys at once."
"Ah, he does got a mouth on him. I'm sure e' can fit two in it wit' no pr'blem."
"Ahahahaha! So if ya were free then you'd do him?"
"If I hadn't just seen that fine piece of ass that was here talking with him then I would fuck the hell out of 'im."
"She is one fine ass."
"Ah, and to think it's only women on that island too?"
"Man, if I were there then all of 'em would be pregnant by me."
"Yeah, maybe in your dreams…"
"I said if I was out, dumbass!"
"Chechechechecheche! That's the dream I was talkin' bout, asshole!"
Distractions are the only good thing about Level 6. Whether it's from a jailer beast, the warden, or just idiotic inmates, one can always count on them to come at promising times.
"He…" a low breath escapes his mouth, "―he is that brother but what are you getting at, Jinbe?"
"If he's strong enough to break into this impenetrable fortress that no one dares to even think about then he may be strong enough to sneak his way in and―"
"That won't happen…" Ace closes his eyes and leans his head back against the cold wall, ignoring the sting on the back of his head when the jailer guard hit him with the spiked-club the previous day and he grits his teeth.
"What do you mean?"
"Luffy," Ace opens his eyes and opts to stare at the damn ceiling, feeling a drop of water hit his right cheek. "―he always gets into some type of trouble." His eyes close and a small breath leaves his mouth. "Jinbe… I don't want Magellan to find him."
The sternness leaves Jinbe's eyes as concern overtakes him once more. "Ace-san…"
Ace clenches his eyes shut even more as he tries not to let the feeling of dread overcome him. "I don't want my brother to die because of me…"
Hidden in between level 5 and level 6 of this physical Hell known as Impel Down, is a secret garden; a safe haven for prisoners who were lucky enough to stumble across it. A place where they don't get tortured and have to suffer just for speaking or for any guards amusement. A place where there is food, clothes, drinks, and weapons; a place where they can be free. Not free from the prison itself but just free. Sure the warden, guards and prisoners alike believe that they were actually taken away by real demons and sought to be sent to the real Hell but the joke is on them. They're just in a tiny crack where no one who has not been there knows about. They are in the Secret Flower Garden of Impel down.
There are several rooms in this level; a few for recovery and a few others for designated sleeping quarters. The main room is a sit-down café and a discotheque, with the main attraction being a cabaret stage for anyone to entertain the others on. But on the opposite side of the room and down the long corridor is a small cave, a cave currently being occupied by two people.
One being a rather flamboyant man dressed in revealing, women's garments, fishnet stockings and mantel and excessively thick foundation, eyelashes, and lipstick on his face. Plus a king's crown on top of a queen's crown he's wearing on his huge, indigo afro. His chin is particularly unique, being shaped as an arrow. And he has a jolly roger tattooed on his chest, which is visible to see due to his rather open clothing.
The other person is relatively small compared to the first. His dark hair is covered in streams of purple poison, which is slowly drying. The purple poison is also covering half of his face, accompanied with ice from Level 5, bruises and blood. His vest is nowhere to be seen as he's chained to a cold, rusty, metal table. The cold is freezing to him and is strangely making his open wounds covering his torso, arms, and legs burn. There's more blood, ice and poison littering the aforementioned body parts and he's on the table, trying his hardest just to make sure he's breathing but for some reason he's having trouble to even do that simple task.
"Ten years of your lifespan…" The flamboyant man sternly looks at the younger, watching the wavering yet determined eyes looking back at him. "From the life that you v'ould have lived otherwise from this day fourth… I v'ill use those years instead, Strawhat-boy."
Scratchy pants leave Luffy's mouth as he's trying to keep his focus. His vision is too fuzzy from all of the poison in his body now but he can just see the blur standing in front of him, telling him to sacrifice something so meaningless. No, not meaningless. He'd never just throw something as important as his life away, but if he has to sacrifice ten years of his future in order to have a fighting chance to survive then so be it. His brother's life is at stake. He'll offer twenty years or even fifty if he has to. He'll just have to make sure that he accomplishes his dream within the remaining time that he's alive.
"All… right…" Luffy wheezes out.
The older man crosses his arms as he continues. "However, even v'ith those ten years subtracted from your life, I cannot guarantee that you v'ill be saved…!" He continues to watch the determination in the hazy, brown eyes. "All that this v'ill do is boost your chances of survival from zero percent to a minor two percent, maybe three if you're lucky; no more than a tiny possibility."
He uncrosses his arms and holds both of his gloved hands up in front of him. "From there on out, v'heter you ultimately live… or die,"
Luffy continues to pant on the metal table, trying to catch his breath the best he can but he continues to struggle doing that simple task.
"―depends entirely upon your own v'illpower!"
There's an annoying ringing in the young paramecia's ear as he's listening to the man. Not only that, but his vision is starting to blacken and it's getting really hard to breathe now.
"If you die then that means the poison prevailed. If you live, then it is you who has won." The man raises his right hand a little higher and watches as his nails grow slightly longer. "V'ell then, enjoy your trip," he does the same to his left, "―to the valley of death!"
"Emporio Healing Hormones!" He stabs his right hand in the young man's left side before using his left hand to do the same in the other, quickly injecting the hormones into the younger's body.
"AANNGHHH!" Luffy gasps and arches his back from the table as his eyes get wide and he grinds his teeth together, tasting blood in his mouth. Something is going in him; something is making his body feel really weird. The numbing sensation from the poison quickly disappears as he feels complete agony. It feels like every inch of his body is ripping itself apart; every single part. From the top of his scalp down to the edges of his toes, it feels like it wants to rip itself away from him. His body is trying to break itself away from him. His insides are no better. His heart, his organs, his bones, and even his blood, it all feels like it's trying to escape from his body. It feels like they're pulling away from each other. No, not pulling. Splitting. Every inch of him, every cell in him or whatever Chopper called it, is trying to split in half right now. This… this is unbearable. This is, by far, the most painful thing he's ever experienced in his life. "NNNNNGGGGUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
The man just watches as the young pirate screams in agony. The deafening wails echo off of the walls in the small cave and he's sure that anyone close to these corridors can hear them. He knows the boy is in pain. The special hormones he had injected into the boy will break down his immune system and rebuild it, making it stronger but not just one time. It will continue to break down and rebuild for at least two days. And given the condition of the boy's body, it's a miracle that he hadn't died yet. But that isn't exactly how the healing hormones work. It's depends on the person's willpower to live. If the boy has a strong willpower then the condition of his body is pretty much meaningless in this endeavor, however, if his willpower is not strong then he will succumb to these injuries and he will die.
"UUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!" Luffy pulls his arms upwards, trying to get them free so he can do something about this pain but he can't move. He's not even exactly sure what he would do if could get them free. His body is in excruciating pain but it's mainly coming from the inside, right above his stomach. If he could just reach down and grab it, maybe even pull whatever is it out from him, then he might just feel better. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!"
"Remember," the man says as he looks over at the intruder one last time before turning around, intending for the boy to fight this battle by himself. "―it all depends on your v'illpower if you live or die."
Luffy can't hear anything that the man is saying. He can't hear the door closing. He doesn't even know that he's by himself now. The only thing that he's focusing on at this very moment is the pain, the extreme pain he's feeling. He needs to do something, he needs to distract himself somehow but no matter how much he twists and turns his body or tries to pull his arms and legs free he can't budge. The chains pinning him down won't let him. He can't do anything except continue to feel this agonizing pain. And the worst part is that this is only the beginning of it. "NNNNNNNNUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
3 Hours Later
Outside of the cave where Luffy is residing, fighting against his body, are Bentham ―normally known as Bon Clay― and the members of New Kama, shouting and cheering for him. Once Bon Clay had found out what his friend was going through he made the decision to help him anyway way that he could. A few people had tried to pull him away but he wouldn't leave. He couldn't. His friend was fighting for his life! How could he leave his friend to do such a thing by himself? No, he stayed. He made it a point that he was going to stay and nothing anyone did was going to change his mind about that. After a while he noticed that more and more people had came outside of the cave and joined him to help in his friend's fight and they've been at it ever since.
"Don't give up~!"
"Don't give up, Straw Hat~!"
"You can do it~!"
"Don't give in, Strawhat-boy~!'
"Hang in there~!
"Don't give up, Straw-chan~!"
Inside the cave Luffy is still strapped to the table, wailing out in agony. "UUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH!" His body is still in immense pain. He can feel every part of him wanting, needing to rip itself away from his body. He can feel every inch of him crying out in excruciating pain but, he can also see an image. An image of the reason he's in the situation. The reason he's giving away ten years of his life. The reason he broke into this place to begin with; he sees his older brother's smiling face.
Ace is the reason why he's here. He can't allow something as feeble as a little pain like this stop him. Yes, it is hurting him in ways he'd never thought possible but all this really is, is just a stepping stone for him to cross. He can't allow himself to be taken down from something like this. If he does, then his brother will die.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" He turns his head to the right and clenches his eyes shut even more. Ace has always been there for him when he needed his brother and now he needs to return the favor, even if his big brother is going to get upset with him. In fact, Ace will definitely get mad at him for coming all the way here to break him out before he gets executed but that's something that he's willing to take. Ace can be mad at him all he wants; so long as he's alive then Luffy doesn't care at all.
"NNNNNNNNNNNNUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!" He can taste more blood in his mouth but completely ignores it as he clenches his fists and tightly curls his toes. But in order for him to reach his brother again, he first needs to overcome this pain and beat whatever this fight he's fighting at the moment. He can't lie and he will not act tough about it either; this is a very hard fight that he's fighting, but since it's for Ace, then he's going to give it his all and more. "AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
7 Hours Later
The small cell is intensely uncomfortable. Tension is in the air from Ace, stifling around him. His head is down low, once more, and he's gritting his teeth as well. His hair continues to hide his clenched eyes. He has been thinking about this for too long.
Jinbe turns his bruised face towards his friend and can see the turmoil state he's in. The young commander is still beating himself up over this, but what if this is a trap? What if the government sent that woman here to put Ace on edge before his execution? But if they did, what would that benefit? Ace is strong, there is no doubt in Jinbe's mind about that since they nearly killed each other during that three day fight back then, but Ace won't be able to fight back nearly as much as he could due to the seastone handcuffs. The only thing Jinbe can think that they would send the woman here is to make Ace worry so he won't be able to think straight. As ridiculous as that sounds, Jinbe won't put it past the government to do that, to use any means necessary to get what they want.
"Ace-san… I… don't know much about that woman, but wouldn't it be better for you to assume that she was lying―"
Ace raises his voice. "What? You want me to believe she came all this way just to lie to me?!"
What good will lying do at this point? His life is already literally on someone else's time. This damn execution is going to take place whether he likes it or not. No one can stop it from happening, he already knows this, so what good would lying to him in his face about his brother being here do for anyone?
No, he's in the wrong. He's taking his frustration out on his friend. He shouldn't have done that. Jinbe is just trying to help by easing his mind. He shouldn't have lashed out like that.
Ace slightly shakes his head and he releases a sigh. "I… I'm sorry, but you need to know Jinbe, this is just what my brother's like…" Ace lowers his head even more and his body starts to unconsciously shake a little as beads of sweat roll down his forehead and a few tears run down the side of his nose and drop. This is so frustrating that it's making him worry too much. "―he's always doing crazy things like this…! Ever since he was a kid… he never does anything but make me worry about him…"
Jinbe clenches his teeth and continues to look at the troubled male. It's unusual to see someone who is so confident about almost everything he does to be so distressed… vulnerable… frightened about anything.
Just seeing his friend like this makes Jinbe even angrier. He needs to stop this war at any cost. He's willing to give his life for this young man even more than he was just moments ago.
It doesn't occur to Ace that he's letting himself cry, even if it is just a little. Hell, he doesn't even care if the strongest people in the world were standing just a few feet from him, watching him act the way he is at this very moment. He's just so worried about his little brother right now that nothing else matters. "He's… always been like this… That idiot…!"
The worst part is that there is nothing Ace can do about it. Just knowing that his brother is here, knowing that Luffy is in some type of trouble, knowing that his little brother needs help but is unable to get any. No one in this Hell is going to help his brother. No one here cares that his little brother is in a life or death situation. No one here has a heart, save for Jinbe, but he too cannot help because they're both imprisoned in this cell. No one else, though, cares that his little brother can most likely die in this place.
8 Hours Later
The Vice Head Jailer stands at attention in front of the Warden's washroom, ready to alert him of their important duty. "Chief Warden! Chief Warden Magellan, good morning!"
The warden's voice comes from the closed door. "I'm on the toilet."
"Well, please hurry. The time has arrived for Portgas D Ace to be transported to his execution!"
Everyone outside of the cave is heavily panting, trying to catch their breaths and some of them are even coughing. They have been screaming for this young man, putting their hopes in him to recover for hours now and truth be told, they are getting tired. That is not an excuse to not continue fighting along someone who is struggling to stay alive but the fact is if they don't recuperate themselves then they won't be able to continue fighting alongside this man.
"Ah, look!" Someone hysterically points at the chained door, gaining everyone's attention.
There, leaking from the bottom of the door and pooling around it, is a small pond of deep red liquid.
"…Yeah, it is…"
"Wait," someone else puts both hands up to their ears, trying to hear for something that should be there but isn't. "―it's quiet!"
Bon Clay takes a step forward on shaky legs. "His voice… it's…" His own voice is raspy from all of his screaming.
"The pain should not stop at any point during the healing process…!" Ivankov explains. "In other v'ords, if he stops crying out at this point… it means…"
More blood is coming out from under the door as everyone lets what their queen said sink in their heads. The man isn't screaming anymore. He should still be screaming out in pain for two more days but he isn't. That means that he―
Bon Clay trembles at those words as he falls to his knees looking at the blood pooling in front of the door. His friend… his friend is…
Everyone else has their heads hanging down low or looking at the ceiling with their arms covering their eyes, crying for the brave man. He tried his best but in the end, even he was another one who succumbed to the harsh treatment.
'It's a pity… but still…!' Ivankov stares at the door as he mentally gives his respects to the young man. 'Twenty hours. He put up a brave fight!'
Bon Clay clenches his eyes shut and bites hard on his bottom lip, refraining from crying out as tears are pouring out from his eyes. His friend is… 'Straw-chan…!'
All of the sudden is there a crash at the door, startling everyone. They continue to watch on in awe, not knowing what to expect as the door continues to be beaten against. It's too strange. If the man had stopped screaming then surely he must've died but the door that he's behind seems like it's trying to break open.
Something on the other side of the door falls and a weird sound can be heard afterwards. "Nnnghhhhhhhh…"
"Wha…?" Bon Clay's tearful face continues to look at the door, just waiting to see what will happen. Maybe a miracle did actually happen. Maybe… just maybe, his friend did survive…!
"FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOD!" A voice booms from behind the door, blowing everyone a few meters back from it. What on earth can have that type of power?!
"S-S-STRAW-CHAN?!" Bon Clay exclaims excitedly while both tears and snot shoot out from his eyes and nose. He was right! His friend didn't die! No, his friend is surely alive! Straw-chan is alive! He survived this harsh treatment! He is alive!
Cheers can be heard within the cave from everyone.
"He didn't die!"
"The treatment didn't take his life!"
"Strawhat-boy!" Ivankov yells before realizing something. This isn't normal at all. In fact, this is far from normal! 'It… it's impossible, surely?! What's going on?! It hasn't even been a single day and he survived through it!'
"You are late!" Domino tells Magellan, not fearing what so ever that he is the warden of Impel Down and that she can quite possibly get into trouble from it.
"Strict as ever, eh, Domino…" Magellan simply replies back. He knows she means well. In fact, she keeps him on track from how strict she is. Even though it is a good thing it's still no fun for him to get lectured at by her.
They walk out of the lift onto Level 6, heading for the most dangerous criminal's cell. "Make sure you finish what you are doing quickly in the future."
A comical sweat drop goes down the side of his face. "That's a little―"
Domino quickly interrupts him. "The prisoner is to be handed over at the main entrance at 9:00 am sharp. Accomplishing this is our duty. If we fail to do so, it will be a heavy stain on our reputation and we cannot afford that, now can we?"
"Can we?" She strictly repeats her question.
"No…" Magellan mumbles. It really isn't fun being lectured by her.
Vice Admiral Onigumo stands at his ship, directing his attention to his soldiers, giving them the orders that they absolutely need to follow. Failing to do so is not an option. "We are to take custody of Portgas D Ace here and transport him to Marineford, home of Marine HQ! And from now until the moment we hand him over not one of you is allowed to let your guard down for an instant!"
The soldiers salute back to their vice admiral. "YES SIR!"
"Be prepared for any eventuality! This operation is to be carried out in a convoy consisting of five battleships, commanded by five marine vice admirals! Steel yourselves for the task ahead!"
Staircase to Level 6
Guards are falling down the staircase as three people are running down it, trying to reach their destination. They only have a few minutes to get there and time doesn't exactly seem to be on their side.
"I have to make it…" Luffy pants out as he jumps over one of the fallen guards, "I have to make it!"
He sees a guard with a gun raised before the man quickly pulls the trigger. He dodges the bullet by moving to his left and quickly pulls his arm back before thrusting it forwards, punching the man in the face as he continues down the stairs. "I'm coming for you, Ace!"
Jinbe looks to his left and he can see the Warden and a few guards coming their way. He clenches his fists, instantly feeling his nails digging into the palms of his hands, making blood run down them. This is not good. If they're here then that means they'll be coming to take Ace away. There's nothing he can do to stop them!
Magellan finally reaches the cell and looks at the young prisoner, telling him of his fate. "Well then, Portgas D Ace. I hereby take you into custody,"
Ace is just staring back at the man, lightly panting. He wants to ask this man about his brother. He needs to know about Luffy's well being but if there is a slim chance, even the tiniest of possibilities that Luffy hasn't been found out, then he can't ask. He won't let that information slip out. He won't put his brother's life in danger.
"―for your transportation to your execution ground in Marineford!"
That's right, huh? He has been here, unfortunately, waiting for this moment; for the time to be taken to whatever place they plan to do this execution. But it's even more unfortunate for him to follow in that man's footsteps.
But, so long as his brother is safe…
Then it's fine with him.
A Few Moments Later
"ACE!" Luffy calls as he finally stops in front of a cell on his left side. He's trying to catch his breath a little as he turns his head to the right and then to the left trying to find his brother. Unfortunately, he can't find his brother at all; all he sees are people who are beaten up like himself.
Ivankov takes a look around, holding one of the guards as Inazuma tries to look as well but they too can't find the person this boy is looking for.
Luffy continues to catch his breath as he looks in the cell in front of him, at the empty spot that has fresh blood on the wall and floor by the chains. "He's… not here…"
Ivankov raises his right arm and brings the guard's face close to his, trying to figure out what's going on. "You are absolutely sure this v'as the cage?!"
"On my life! I… I am most certain it is!"
Inazuma turns to Ivankov. "We must have been just a little too late…"
Jinbe turns his head to the left to see who the people are in front of his cell only to spot a rather big man holding a jailer, another one holding a glass of wine, and a young boy wearing a― 'That strawhat…?! So this is the man? He truly is here! He breached Impel Down and made it all the way down to Level 6!'
"You are Strawhat Luffy, correct?!"
Luffy turns his head a little to the right to see what inmate is talking to him. There he sees a fishman who looks like he had been beaten up pretty badly but looks pretty strong. "…Yeah…"
"They left but a few moments ago! Go after them! Ace-san was taken away through the lift!"
Luffy takes a second and just looks at the fishman. "Old man, who are―"
What is this boy doing? This is the same boy who Ace-san was worried about getting here but seeing how he safely made it here means that he can probably make a difference. But if he's going to make a difference then he has to get a move on! "If you hurry, you can still make it! Now move!"
Blinking his eyes, Luffy finally takes the advice and starts to turn on his heels but not before giving his thanks to this mysterious, strong, old man. "I see! Well, thanks even though I don't know who you are!" And with that does he take off with the big faced man and the two-colored guy towards the lift.
Jinbe watches as they run to their destination. 'Unbelievable. One or two lives should not be enough to get a man down here! He truly conquered all five hells? It seems like that woman was not lying after all.'
Inazuma points at the lift, directing the young boy where it is. "That must be it! Let us go! The lift's cabling is exposed!"
Ivankov throws the guard to the side, not caring about the man for the moment, and heads for the controls but for some reason they are stuck. "The operational circuits are locked! It's not going to work!"
Inazuma stops and turns to the taller man. "So we cannot use it?!"
Luffy runs to the edge of the opening and looks up, seeing the chains connected to the bottom of the lift. "Well, whatever. If we climb up here we should be able to reach the top." But before he can move his arm to grab onto the chains he hears something and sees spikes quickly falling down the shaft, forcing him to back away.
"But of course," Ivankov turns his head to his left and looks up at the wall, seeing a video denden mushi, "―they v'ould not let us make our v'ay up that easily! It seems the lift is out of the question… they have beaten us."
Not being deterred from this trap Luffy quickly turns around. He absolutely needs to reach his brother and he won't stop for anything until he finally does. Inconveniences or not, he absolutely will not stop. "We'll just have to go back up the way we came down!"
The three quickly sprint back to the staircase, making a sharp right at the corner of a cellblock before they can finally see it but as soon as they are close enough a cage encircles it, quickly making them stop in their tracks.
"Hey!" Luffy hates the fact that he's forced to stop again. "The stairs are blocked off!" This is not what he needs right now. His brother's life is on the line! He can't afford to be wasting time like this!
"So they mean to shut us in by blocking both of the exits…! V'e must destroy this, or there v'ill be no getting out!"
Before anyone can do anything gas suddenly appears from the top of the guarded staircase, quickly spreading through Level 6.
"Ahh!" Luffy jumps back. What is it this time?
"There is gas flooding in! Could it be poison?" Inazuma asks as he steps back, cautious from this new threat.
"I dunno who the hell you guys are but you better not be getting jus mixed up in this too!"
Ivankov quickly turns and snaps at the inmates. "Silence, Level sixers!"
"I don't give a damn what it is!" Luffy says as he charges for the staircase, preparing to break it down so he can free his brother. "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" But as soon as he runs deep into the gas cloud he instantly falls asleep. "ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!"
Inazuma quickly deduces what the gas is. "It would appear to be sleeping gas."
All the while Ivankov can feel his eyes bulge out as he yells at the now sleeping boy. "Could you be just a little less reckless, boy?!" Seriously, the boy's recklessness is going to get him hurt one of these days.
Tightening his hold on his glass Inazuma looks at the gas in front of them. "They mean to put us, along with everyone else on the floor, to sleep, and be done with us."
Ivankov notices this too as he stares at the clouded stairway. "But this is the only exit remaining to us!"
Magellan quickly puts his hand on the back of the young prisoner's head, slamming his face into the stone floor below. This man had heard what was going on in Level 6 and out of some form of desperation he had attacked some of the Impel Down Staff and tried to reach the lift. What a foolish mistake that was. Has he forgotten who he is being escorted by? It's not that Magellan is being arrogant and putting himself above everyone else but he is at a drastic advantage compared to every single prisoner here and this young boy is no different. He may be the most dangerous criminal at the moment but that doesn't give him right to have special treatment.
Ace grits his teeth as he feels the cold sting on the right side of his face but quickly ignores it when he hears the heavy cages slam on the ground and lock itself in place, preventing anyone from going in or out of it. Ignoring the hand holding him down he struggles to get his head up but as his chin leaves the hard ground does he feel his forehead slam against it, courtesy of the warden. He can't get out of it; he can't help his little brother. They found out about him but he can't do anything about it! It's so terrifying to know his brother is down there and there is nothing he can do to help! "LUUUUFFYYYYYYYYY!"
Magellan presses his hand harder onto the head forcing the younger from moving it around. "You heard the report. Now I suggest you stop this meaningless resistance." He feels the head shift a bit before forcing more pressure onto it. "Your brother, too, is a pirate. He was doomed the moment he set foot here."
Ignoring the blood dripping down the side of his forehead Ace looks at the only means of getting to where his brother is safely and grits his teeth again. His brother… his little brother… his only brother in the world is down there and these people are going to get a hold of him. He's going to be stuck in this place, tortured, and left to rot!
Damn it! Luffy was not supposed to come here. He was not supposed to come at all. He was supposed to be on the seas with his crew, following their dreams, doing something, anything far away from him; not here. Not caught in here. Not trying to save Ace only to be caught in the process. This wasn't supposed to happen. 'I hoped so badly it was just a lie! You idiot, you reckless fool!' Ace clenches his eyes shut, 'Why did you come here, Luffy?! I'm not worth it! I'm not worth you risking your life over, you idiot…!'
Directing his attention to the gate Magellan narrows his eyes a bit. The boy is still alive? He shouldn't be, not with all of the poison that was littering his body. He should have died just a few hours ago. 'How could you survive the poison to that extent, Strawhat?!'
After what seemed to be a long struggle, Ivankov was finally able to wake the impatient boy from his forced slumber. Talk about reckless. In fact, this boy is the epitome of recklessness. Ever since this young boy beat his life or death struggle, he has been reckless. Even when he ate days worth of food in that inhumane way, that was too reckless. It's almost a wonder how he's still alive from putting himself into such dangerous situations one after another.
Luffy stretches his arms high above his head and opens his mouth, letting out a long yawn. He then rubs at his right eye before turning around to look at the two-toned, cup guy. "Hey! I need to go up there, Crab-chan! If you close off the stairs, I can't go after Ace!"
Inazuma crosses his arms, steadily making sure not to spill his glass of wine. "There was no other method of stopping the gas from coming in. We can hardly escape if we are rendered unconscious."
Luffy continues to fuss at the older male. "If that's what I gotta do, then I will! I'm not gonna let them kill Ace!"
"Do not speak suck nonsense, Luffy-kun. The enemy's strategy was simple yet successful. We are completely trapped here in Level 6. Every exit is unavailable to us. We have no means of escape now."
The information finally sinks into Luffy's head. The elevator lift that they took Ace in fell down too fast and almost hit him in the process. And the staircase that they used to get down here is trapped in a cage and even though he would have no problem breaking the cage to get to it, there's sleeping gas filling the inside of it, that's why Crab-chan had to do something about it and turned the floor into a force-field of some kind to make sure that it wouldn't get them again.
But by doing that, then he can't reach Ace.
They're all trapped down here.
And his brother… his brother is―
Ivankov uses his death wink towards the ceiling, making the fourth denden mushi fall, catching it afterwards. "This is all v'e can do for now… Rob the enemy of their means to observe us."
The flamboyant king turns towards Luffy. "Logically speaking v'e can no longer make it in time. Ace-boy has been swiftly transported directly to the surface using the lift. V'hilst v'e stand trapped v'ith enemies awaiting us outside. The military escort v'ill be swift." Ivankov nods his head, "Take a look at your vivre card."
Using his right hand to reach over his left shoulder, Luffy takes a hold of his strawhat and searches around the inner ribbon, finding the important piece of paper he's looking for.
"I daresay it is no longer even pointing directly upwards."
Looking closer at the paper, Luffy sees that it is in fact tilted more on the side than up. He turns around, following the paper's pointed direction as its still moving. That means Ace is walking somewhere. He's being walked to―
"By now, he has most likely been handed over to the marines already." Ivankov drops the denden mushis. "Out of respect for your feeling, I v'ill assist you in escaping from this prison in v'hatever manner possible. But Ace-boy is already on his v'ay to Marine Headquarters. You should give up. No, leave the rest to V'hitebeard and his people."
Leave it to… Whitebeard….?
Leave Ace's life to his captain…?
Leave his brother's life to someone else…?
Luffy doesn't know him. He doesn't know that man or his crew. He doesn't doubt that they are powerful if Ace was part of their crew but he isn't going to leave his brother's life in someone else's hands, no matter how powerful they are or how much Ace admires them or whatever. This is his brother, older and unfortunately stronger, but Ace is his brother.
"If that's where he's going then that's where I'll go; Marine Headquarters!" He's getting his brother back, no matter the cost. He's going to save Ace.
Shock doesn't even compare to what Ivankov is feeling right now. This boy said… what?! He wants to go… where?!
"Do not be ridiculous! The greatest battle this v'orld has even seen is about to take place there! Do you have any idea how powerful V'hitebeard is?! V'hat of the Admirals and Vice-Admirals standing ready to fight him?! Or the Shichibukai?! Do you know of their strength?! How many lives do you think you have?!"
Luffy turns to look at the loud guy, sternly letting him know what he'll do if he can't go. "If I gave up… If I don't go I'd regret it forever! Me and Ace promised each other that we wouldn't regret anything we do! Ever! So I'm going! I'm going to save Ace, at any cost! If I don't then I might as well let them catch me here right now!"
Ivankov sees the fierceness in the young man's eyes and takes a step back. It's not just the look he's receiving that's making him in awe, it's the all too familiar feeling he's getting. 'This sensation… I have felt it many times before…! It is exactly the v'ay it feels to face Dragon! This is another proof of him being Dragon's son!'
Inazuma decides to step in, trying to make sense of the situation at hand. "Resolution is one thing, but none of us are going anywhere while we are trapped on this floor."
"…If you want to get out of here…"
A voice says in a cell directly behind Luffy.
"―then release me from my bonds!"
"Huh?" Luffy turns around, trying to see the person who is willing to help him. It doesn't make sense: aren't the people in this level all supposed to be bad? Wait, there is that one old man who told him to go after Ace before they got stuck here, so he can't be bad. But isn't everyone else supposed to be bad here? Then why is this guy willing to help him?
"I could open a great hole in the ceiling of this room. How about it, Strawhat? Kuhahahhaha…"
Getting a closer look, Luffy can feel his eyes widen. It's him?! "You! You were locked up in here too?! Crocodile!"
Said man gets up from the bench and takes three steps, standing just in front of the bars. "I had lost all interest in emerging into the outside world, but now I hear that Whitebeard and the marines are to do battle? To think the day would come when I might have a chance at taking that man's head."
Unconsciously does Luffy's hand ball into a fist, clenching tighter by the second. Why is he talking about Ace's captain? But more importantly, why is he here? He didn't think that the sand jerk who hurt his friend would be in a place like this, never mind this place being meant for no one but bad people, which makes him wonder why that old fishman who wants to help Ace is here. But still, he didn't expect to see this jerk so soon.
"I have great interest in this war." Crocodile takes another step and tries to coax his former advisory. Not so much coax as giving him another chance to kill that old fool. "With the aid of my power, both you and I could escape this place. Not a bad deal, you agree? Both of us would stand to gain."
Luffy quickly makes his way to the front of the cell, yelling at the bastard. "Don't screw with me! You're the bastard who tore up Vivi's whole country!"
"That's in the past. I no longer have any interest in that land."
Ivankov quickly walks up to the cell. "Let us free him, Strawhat-boy."
Iva-chan wants to do what? "What?! Iva-chan! Look, all right, this guy―"
"This man v'ould certainly be a valuable asset to us." Ivankov interrupts, not needing to hear the younger's complaint. "All the more if you truly mean to head to headquarters itself!"
Crocodile scowls at the disturbing man. "Ivankov!"
Said person just smiles and walks until he's in front of the bars. "It's been quite a v'hile, Croco-boy."
Luffy looks from Iva-chan to the jerk and back to Iva-chan. "You guys know each other?"
"V'e did, a long time ago. Back v'hen he v'as still an up-and-coming rookie. Don't you v'orry. Even if he v'ere by some chance to attempt to betray us, I v'ould suppress him myself. He is not a man to be trusted, but," He closes his eyes and chuckles a little. "―Mmmmfufufu… I know a precious v'eakness of his…!" He opens his eyes once more and says in a teasing voice. "Though if he agrees to lend up us his power then I v'ould be v'illing to keep quiet about it, hee-hah!"
All Crocodile can do at this point is glare at the okama bastard and grit his teeth. "Why you…!"
"Woah, woah, if you're freeing him," a prisoner nearby says, "―then free me as well."
"Me too, me too! I have a bone to pick with Whitebeard!"
Ivankov turns to the prisoners. "Silence! Death Wink!" He blinks his left eyes and quickly shuts them up.
"Guah!" The inmates get knocked over from the attack.
"I beg of you all!"
A voice booms from the right side, quickly gaining Luffy's attention. Turning his head, he sees who it is. It's that one guy, that strong, old fishman who told him to go after his brother.
"Take me with you as well!" Jinbe firmly states. "I swear that I will be of use to you!" He lets out a quick pant. "I know Ace… have known him ever since he first joined the Whitebeard Pirates. He has even told me tales of you, his younger brother!" He takes a second to catch his breath. Jinbe is in no real pain but the beatings he received from the demon guards weren't exactly kind to his body either. "I am locked up here because I objected to this war! I want to save Ace-san myself!" He explains. "So please! Let me die a glorious death!"
Luffy just looks at the old man, reading his expression. There are no signs of regret or trickery that he can see. No, this man looks sincere to his words, sincere about saving his brother. Plus he looks really strong too. It might be because of how he's looking at the moment or maybe it's because of all the blood and bruises covering his body but whatever it is, Luffy can tell that this old guy is strong. What's even stronger, though, is his dedication to want to help him save Ace.
"Ooh…" Ivankov looks to see who Strawhat-boy is talking to and sees another man who is not to be taken lightly. "Another man to be reckoned with…!"
Luffy looks at the fishman for a few seconds more before nodding his head. "Okay."
Inazuma quickly turns to the youngster. "What? Are you sure? We know nothing of how dangerous this man is, or of his personality! There can be a chance that he'll attack us once he gets set free."
"It's okay." Luffy turns towards Crab-chan. "Get him out of there," he sees the man about to say something but he quickly continues. "―please."
Jinbe closes his eyes and lowers his head in appreciation. "…I am in your debt!"
"Hanya~! Hanya~! Hanya~!" The guards keep chanting, watching their vice warden wielding his Kessui as the naginata begins to create flames on both ends. "Hanya~! Hanya~!"
"You shall know Hanya Carnival!" He quickly twirls his weapon from left to right, making the flames to become greater in size. "Blazing Hell Wheel!"
"If you won't move," Luffy sees the flaming weapon quickly coming towards him, attempting the burn and cut him but he blocks it by using his hand to punch the hilt of the dangerous weapon to the side. "―then I'll just have to make you! I need to hurry and save Ace!"
"Don't make me laugh!" Hanyabal quickly reacts and brings the other flaming end towards the criminal. "If I were to be defeated so easily I would unfit for my title!"
Luffy jumps backwards and skids on his feet before he kneels and brings his right hand down, just barely touching the ground. He then uses his legs to pump blood through his body at an incredible rapid rate, making his skin glow and steam emerge from his body.
Hanyabal is quick to the sudden change and brings his weapon up to defend whatever attack the criminal is about to make.
"Gomu gomu no…" Luffy turns both of his hands into fists and brings them to his side while grounding his feet on the stone floor, making sure that he won't lose balance. "―Jet Gatling!"
The vice warden sees the multiple hands flying towards him and he tightens his hold on his weapon, ready to defend each individual hand off. However, the attack is too quick for him. He's only able to fend off the first hand before he feels himself getting pummeled by the following ones. One after another do the hands hit his face. "Bugohogagehoooooooo!"
Luffy stops his attack when he sees the man fall to his knees as he, himself, starts to pant from using second gear. That's the only downfall about using this technique; it uses too much stamina.
Hanyabal brings his left hand down to catch himself, needing not to lose so quickly in this fight. He needs to stall these criminals until Magellan gets here to do the rest. "It's not over yet!"
Not needing to waste anymore time, Luffy quickly stretches and twists his right arm back before launching it towards the man in his way. "Gomu gomu no Rifle!"
Hanybal is unable to dodge in time and takes the attack to his face once more, making him skid backwards but he forces himself to stay on his feet. He then brings his weapon to front, ready to attack. "I'm not done yet!"
Luffy doesn't want to be here any longer than he has to be. He doesn't want to be here now. He needs to go save his brother! Ace's life is on the line but this man, this guy won't get out of his way! He needs to save Ace, now! "Jet Gatling!"
Hanyabal takes the attack again and quickly falls to his hands and knees. As he's about to get himself up he hears the intruder quickly coming towards him.
Luffy does several front flips and right when he's above the man he stretches both legs out. "Jet Stamp!" He sees the man hit the ground face first before he runs passed him. He needs to get to his brother!
"Wait!" Hanyabal forces himself up and grabs a hold of the criminal's shoulder as he passes him. He can't afford to let this man go any further. He needs to stall him, no matter what.
A few pants leave Luffy's mouth as he turns around, facing his foe. He has to admit that this man is tough to get up after all of his attacks.
"V-vice warden Hanyabal!" A jailer says.
"Please don't get up anymore." Another one calls out. "You'll die!"
"How dare you…" Hanyabal spits out as he gets himself on his knees. "Your only accomplishment is reaching infamy… in the outside world… as a pirate, and now a rebel!" He spits out blood but doesn't take his eyes off of the young criminal. "You will save your brother? That is very touching coming from the scum of society! Common people lose their loved ones day after day… and are so terrified that they cannot sleep…!" He gets to his feet and sways to the left before catching his balance with the help of his weapon. "Just because men like you are out at sea!"
Hanyabal grounds himself and fiercely yells at the intruder. "This is the fortress of Hell built for the sole purpose of locking up villains so that even the frailest of people can feel safe out there! If it were to collapse, this world would become one ruled by fear! I will not let you take a single step further!"
"Vice Warden!" The jailers cry out.
What the funny hat wearing guy is talking about has nothing to do with Luffy. All Luffy cares about right now, in this very moment, is his brother's life. Nothing else matters. Not the fact that he is a bad guy in society's eyes or the fact that this place is meant for pirates and criminals. Nothing about what the man is saying. He just needs to save his brother. "Ace's life is really important to me! So get out of my way!"
"I said you're not going to pass me!"
Hanyabal hears the jailers that are guarding the staircase behind him and he turns around. "What?! What's wrong?! Bazooka squad?!"
"HEEEELP?!" They scream out as they're being sucked in by an unknown, dark force.
"Stop your blabbering 'bout good an' evil!" A new voice says. "No matter where you look,"
Hanyabal sees a blur before he's met with a foot coming down on his face, smashing it. His head then connects with the ground afterwards, knocking him unconscious.
'―there ain't no answer, ya dimwit!" The newcomer then lets darkness come out of his back, forcing the jailers out of it.
Crocodile takes note of this man, biting down on his cigar just a little harder.
Ivankov puts her fight on pause as she turns her head to see what the new commotion by the staircase is about.
Luffy narrows his eyes at the big guy who interrupted his fight. That's the guy he met back at Jaya, the one who talked about dreams coming true. What's he doing here?
"Whoa, what a mess!" Another person says as they walk down the stairs and come into view for Level 4 to see.
"Looks like there's been quite a brawl here… Zehahaha!" The first person says and the rest of his crew comes into view.
"Teach!" Jimbe bellows, glaring at the man. "What are you doing here?!" He clenches his fists. "Or should I call you Blackbeard?!"
"Zehahaha. Jimbe, haha. Hey, hey, don't get so worked up, will ya?" He continues to laugh at the fishman. "Oh yeah, you an' Ace were close, huh. But you're barkin up the wrong tree if you're blaming me for what happened."
Luffy's eyes widen in surprise. "Blackbeard?!" He then remembers what he was told about the man.
"I'm looking for a guy who did something really nasty… He goes by the name of Blackbeard these days."
"News is that a pirate named Blackbeard managed to capture Fire Fist Ace and has thus been invited to become part of the Shichibukai."
Luffy takes a few steps forward until he's in front of the newcomer. This was the guy that he couldn't see in his dream?! This was the guy that had fatally wounded his brother in his dream?! This is the guy who had actually beat his brother?! This is the man who made him be in this situation in the first place! "You're Blackbeard?!"
"Huh?" Teach turns his attention to the young pirate who now stands in front of him. "Oh, seems I forgot to introduce myself back then."
Teach looks at the group in front of him, seeing all of the inmates who are out of their cells. It's quite a lot of people; some look rather threatening while others look utterly ridiculous, flamboyant even. But there are a few he sees that are very dangerous and he knows exactly who those ones are.
Looking back at the young ring leader he takes his right pointer finger and directs it at the boy. "I already know the one who took down that former shichibukai," he moves his finger to the man with the cigar, "―is you, Strawhat Luffy."
Crocodile rolls the cigar in his mouth to and fro a bit as he tilts his head upwards. No one is supposed to know that information, at least not common people but this man clearly knows the truth about what happened. Maybe not in detail but he knows that it was the boy who had unfortunately beat him instead of that marine who got promoted at the time. This man… he's one that they need to look out for, even if he does look like a dirty idiot.
"And by capturing you," Teach puts his hand down, watching how the young pirate is keeping quite. The look on the boy's face is intense; his eyebrows are knitted together. His eyes are fierce, angry even. His mouth his closed tightly. Yes, the boy is scowling at him and it's surprising that he's not lashing out right now from seeing how his clenched hands are almost shaking due to anger. "―I could've made them acknowledge my strength."
"Let's go an' kill Strawhat Luffy in Water 7. When we do that, we'll hand him over to the government as a present! That's a good idea, yeah?!"
"Seems I can't let you go after all… He's my little brother!"
"But fate was on your side! Ace was always tailing me after I committed something nasty on Whitebeard's ship… and he turned out to be your brother!" Teach closes his eyes and chuckles to himself, remembering that conversation. He opens them to see the look on the younger's face again and is really surprised that he's facial feature haven't changed that much. "When he learned we were setting out to kill his little bro, he stood in our way, refusing to let us go after you… sealing his own fate!"
Teach narrows his eyebrows while a sinister smirk spreads across his face, not only allowing everyone to see his missing teeth but also letting everyone know he's enjoying this moment, more than he should. "Do you understand what that means? If he let us walk, not only would he've brought shame on Whitebeard," his smirk turns even more malevolent, "―but he would've gotten his little brother killed, too! Zehahaha!"
The guy with the weird looking glasses and big hat tilts his head to the side and raises his chin a little. "There are no coincidences in fate. In other words…"
The weird guy with the weird horse next to the man starts to talk. "Yup… it means," he coughs a few times and blood can be seen running down his chin but instead of being worried he just merely smiles at the young boy. "―you're a lucky guy… Guhh!" He starts coughing again.
The man with the top has is the next to say something. "Our captain has already become announced as a shichibukai." He pulls the side of his hat down a little. "So we are no longer concerned in taking you life anymore."
The last guy that was talking about being a champion back on Jaya is the last to speak. "Uiiiihahahahaha!" he laughs, "Your brother fought like a true warrior! Even after he was beaten… Uiiihahahahahahaha!"
Teach crosses his arms over his chest, seeing how the anger is slowly starting to spread over the younger's face. He's done an excellent job to keep it in check for this long. "Ah, yes, even after he was beaten… he refused to let me go after you. I even made him an offer to join me." He sees the mouth beginning to open as the teeth are tightly clenched together. "If he did then I would have spared your life, Strawhat, and looked for some other way to become shichibukai, zehahahaha!"
Luffy's body starts to tremble out of anger. He's trying to keep himself composed, but this bastard, this bastard is just going on and on about it. He won't stop. And how dare he try to have Ace join him? Or use him as bait to get his brother to join him?!
"You'll have to thank him at his grave…! If he hadn't shown up back then… you would've been the one to die today, Strawhat!"
Luffy can't do it anymore. He can't keep hearing this bastard talk anymore. He can't keep himself still from hearing that, he can't. And he'll be damned if he lets his brother die today!
"Well then," in a blink of an eye Luffy bends his knees, places his left hand on his left thigh, and lowers his right hand on the ground, going in Second Gear once more. He then quickly moves from where he is to go directly in front of the bastard, all the while stretching his arm back. "WHY DON'T YOU TRY KILLING ME NOW!"
Teach is not expecting the boy to be this fast and is clearly unprepared to see him right in his face!
"JET PISTOL!" Luffy quickly thrusts his glowing fist at the man, hitting him directly in his stomach, and sending him crashing to the wall behind him. A giant cloud of dust quickly emerges from the crash as stone and the man can be heard falling to the ground right after.
Van Augur quickly turns his head to see the damage done to his captain! "Captain!"
"GUWAA!" Teach holds the crown of his head, trying to lessen the pain. The attack was quite powerful and really damn fast. He had not been expecting it nor did he think that the boy was this strong! He can feel blood running down his face.
Luffy quickly disappears from his spot and jumps in the air a few feet away from the bastard, about to send another painful blow to the howling pirate. "I WON'T LET ACE DIE!"
Teach gets on his knees and quickly gets to his feet as he lets the darkness start to come out from his back.
"GUM GUM…" Luffy pulls his left arm back this time, "―JET―"
Teach puts his left hand out in front of him, letting the darkness cover it. "DARK VORTEX!"
Luffy is forced to stop his attack. Instead he's being dragged to the outstretched hand and there's nothing he can do to stop it!
Jinbe quickly notices the change of the battle. Something isn't right at all about what Teach had just done.
"Straw-chan!" Bon Clay screams out, seeing how his friend is getting caught.
Once Teach has the boy in his hand he quickly thrust his arm downwards, slamming the boy's head into the stone ground, returning the favor of him being sent to the stone wall.
Crocodile notices the blood in the air. "Isn't he supposed to be rubber?"
"GYAAAAAAAAA!" Luffy grabs the crown of his head as he screams out in pain. It hurts. It really hurts. Him being slammed into the ground and even having it crumble around him isn't supposed to hurt this badly but it does! Why does it hurt so much?! No! He doesn't have time to be down here! He needs to get up, now!
Quickly, Luffy rolls himself backwards and gets into a kneeling position as his right hand goes to the top of his head, not realizing the blood flowing down the right side of his face.
Everyone sees the darkness quickly come out from the threatening man and go towards the boy, quickly swallowing them both in it. "STRAWHAT!"
Luffy hears the screams of everyone as the darkness surrounds him. The darkness… it's the same thing that was in his dream! The same thing that had surrounded him before Ace got…
"Zehahahaha!" Teach breaks the boy out of his thoughts. It's just the two of them in here. No one can come into this place without his say, which also means that the boy cannot get out with his say. This is a minor setback for Teach but all it's really doing is just prolonging the show that the world will see in a few hours.
Luffy looks around, trying to see if he can see anything than the darkness but he can't. He knows that they didn't leave Level 4, he knows that all of his friends and inmates and those damn guards are still around but he can't see them. It looks like the darkness is never ending, no matter where he looks. The only thing that he can see other than himself is that bastard in front of him… and that damn grin on his face.
Teach sees the boy stand on his feet and puts his fists out in front of him, ready to go another round before he clenches his right eye closed. The boy then brings his right hand up to wipe the blood from it. The thing that is amusing is seeing the look on his face; he's completely confused. "Zehahahah… is this the first time that you've seen blood in a while, Straw Hat?"
Luffy brings his right hand up and sees blood. Why? He's made out of rubber and the bastard didn't stab him or anything. He just slammed him into the ground that's all. Sure it was stone but still he should have just bounced if anything, but he didn't. It made him bleed and it actually hurt him, a lot.
Bringing his attention back to the older man he brings his hand back in front of him and narrows his eyes.
"You know, you're brother had that same exact look on his face. He was completely confused as to why it hurt him when he's made out of fire, zehahaha." Teach brings his right pointer finger up again and points at the boy. "You see, the devil fruit that I ate was the only reason why I stayed on that fool's ship for so long. The darkness was the only reason why I wasted so much time on that ship and once I finally got my hands on it, I left." He closes his eyes and chuckles a bit. "It's a shame that I affected your brother's life the way that I did," he opens them to see the scowl go back on the younger's face, which makes him laugh even more. "―but it was meant to happen. It was just sad that he refused to join my crew."
"There's no way he ever would!" Luffy yells as he can feel himself shaking in anger. This bastard needs to quit talking about his brother.
"Yeah, and that's the reason it's a shame. Do you understand what it would've meant to have him by my side? All of the power that we would've gained if he joined us?
Teach ignores the boy. "No one would be able to stop us. None of the Emperors; not Big Mom, Kaido, Whitebeard, or that young one, Shanks."
Luffy can't take it anymore and launches himself at the man. "I said shut up!" He pulls his right arm back, ignoring the blood going in his eye, before thrusting it at the bastard. Right as he's about to hit the man, the bastard does something with his hands and Luffy can feel something forcing his body from moving anymore. The really bad thing is that his fist is only two inches away from the bastard's chest.
"Zehahaha! You really are like your brother, Straw Hat. You're too strong, zehahahaha…" He lowers the hand down to the boy's side in a mocking manner. "Ya know, that would've hurt if you hit me again."
Luffy just grits his teeth in frustration. He doesn't want to take his eyes off of this man. He doesn't want this man to watch him look away to see the thing that stopped him. But, he doesn't need to see what stopped him either. He already knows. It's the same thing that happened in his dream, immobilizing him. It's this damn darkness. It has a hold on him. He can feel it wrapped around his legs and his wrist, pulling them downwards. He has to fight with the darkness just to keep himself standing in front of this bastard. No, there's no way he's gonna let this man see him struggling, none.
"But more importantly," Teach reaches his hand out and places it on top of the boy's head, feeling the bloody scalp before moving it to the base of the skull, yanking his hair afterwards to get a better looks at the face.
"Don't touch me!" His head is jerked backwards once more as he grits his teeth to suppress the pain. Why is this man able to hurt him so much? It doesn't make sense.
"―I'm able to hurt anyone who has an ability. That's what my ability is: to drag everything down and nullify everything, just," his grip on the hair tightens, "―like," he makes the darkness tighten its hold on the boy's limbs, "―this." He harshly pulls on the hair, ripping some strands out in the process while the darkness forces the boy on his knees and pins the back of his hands to the unseen ground.
Luffy keeps his teeth gritted and clenches his eyes shut at the suddenness of it all. He can feel more pain going through his body but he won't let this bastard enjoy it, he can't. A second passes before he opens his eyes and he sees the man kneeling down directly in front of him with that damn grin on his face.
"You see, this was how I beat Ace. I took his flames away from him. Not permanently. Oh no, once I told him that it had no effect on me he still used it but not nearly as much as he would've like to. Besides, he was quite strong even without them. His physical strength was quite threatening really." He sees the boy just glaring at him while taking quick breaths from his nose. Oh, the boy looks so upset, maybe even enraged but there's nothing that he can do about it at the moment. If anything, this is becoming a fun game to play. He wants to see how much more the boy can take before he finally loses it.
"Ya know, pummeling that body of his was quite the task, zehaha. And if I wasn't so determined to becoming a shichibukai at the moment,"
Luffy can feel his body trembling once more as he's trying to get his left arm free from the damn thing but it seems like the bastard is on to him as he pulls his head back some more.
"―then I probably would've fucked him right then and there. He really does have a nice body, the perfect body if I do say so myself. Zehahahahaha!"
It all happens so fast that Luffy can barely register it. All he knows is that a muscle in his upper left arm hurts from pulling at it so fast but is quickly forgotten when his fist hits the side of the bastard's face, sending him to the ground. He knows that some of his hair was ripped from his scalp in the process but that's the least of his worries. He tries to get up but the darkness tightens its hold on him and even reclaims his left hand. Not only that, but it's starting to tightly wrap around his throat as well.
Teach sit up and quickly looks back at the boy. He can feel shock and anger overcome him. Just how the hell was the boy able to get out of the grasp like that?
He gets up and walks to the boy until he's directly in front of him, seeing how the right eye is clenched shut as the other one is opened but unfocused. The darkness is choking him. Good, but he doesn't want the boy to die, not like this at least.
Teach moves his hand to the side, making the darkness release its hold on the boy and he watches the younger place his hands on the ground in front of him with his head lowered, having a coughing fit while trying to catch his breath. The boy is, indeed, just like his former commander: able to do things that shouldn't be possible.
Luffy lets out another few coughs before he raises his head, seeing the man's boots in front of him. He clenches his left eye shut as another cough escapes his mouth and he lifts his head some more to glare at the bastard but as soon as he does he feels a hand being placed on the top of his head, lifting him up from the ground into the air. Before he can even move his hand up to grab the bastard's from him does he feel a fist dig into his face and the hand releasing his head, sending him flying backwards.
"AAAGHHHH!" Luffy lands a few feet away from the man, crashing into the ground once more.
"Strawhat-chan!" Bon Clay cries out as he sees his friend hit the ground. Both his friend and that man had been gone for only a minute or two but it seemed so long.
Luffy quickly gets to his feet and shakes his head. It doesn't make sense. When he hit the ground the first time it hurt really badly but this time didn't hurt at all. Why? No, he does know why. The bastard already told him but it doesn't matter right now. What matters is beating the crap out of this bastard. "GUM GUM…"
Teach raises his darkness covered hand, waiting for the boy's next attack. He's going to show this boy just how badly he beat his brother.
As Luffy launches himself forwards he's forced to stop yet again but this time it's from something different. This time it's the old fishman guy getting in front of him and gripping his arms tightly.
"Wait, Luffy-kun! That's enough! This is not the time to fight him! Bear with it!"
"LET ME GO!" Luffy places both feet on the man's stomach to try and pull his arms free but isn't able to when the grip just tightens. Why isn't this man letting him fight?!
"Think about it! What is more important?! What is the reason you came here in the first place, Luffy-kun?!"
Luffy is just glaring right now as he's catching his breath. He isn't glaring at the man speaking to him. He's trying to glare at the bastard who beat his brother― ACE! That's right! Ace is…!
Jinbe looks over his shoulder to see Blackbeard. "Ever since he had been on old man Whitebeard's ship no one has known his true nature!" He looks back at the bundle of anger in his hands. "I do not know how he was capable, but he has enough power to even beat Ace-san!"
Jinbe feels the younger calm down a bit, letting him know that it's alright to release him. "Wasting time and energy is pointless. If you fight him out of rage now, then you will not be able to save Ace-san! Your brother will be executed, Luffy-kun!"
"Huff… huff…" Luffy lets the words sink in. This bastard… He has to let him go… for now but after he saves Ace and when the time comes, then he'll fight him and there will be nothing to hold him back. Nothing.
Teach wipes the blood from his mouth. "You're stronger than I thought… You've raised your haki since back then, too." He starts walking and right as he passes the young boy he stops but keeps his focus in front of him. "Zehaha, I actually believe that you can do it. Besides, I had told him that I'd show him your corpse before anything happened to him." He then looks at the boy, seeing the rage filling his eyes but is forcing himself from doing anything. "So you should go save him so I won't be a liar. Zehahahahahahahahaha!"
All Luffy can do is watch as the man and his crew walk deeper into Level 4, balling his fists to his side and remembering that Ace is his priority. No matter how much he may want to beat this man to death right now, he needs to go save Ace.
To Be Continued
Everyone: Just stares at the television.
Rikku: "He's a bastard."
L.J.V.: "He really is."
Rikku: "And he's fat."
L.J.V.: "Well… yeah…"
Rikku: "And ugly."
L.J.V.: "Okay, now you're just being mean."
Rikku: "But you saw what he did. He's taunting poor Luffy like… like a jerk! It was bad enough that he did it to Ace in the last chapter!"
Buggy (female): "Vivé, you didn't give me any parts in this chapter but you gave some to the okama! I was there too!"
Bon Clay: "It's because I value my friendship with Vivé-chan that I had a part. And thank you for showing how much Mugi-chan meant to me!"
L.V.J.: "You're very welcome Bon-kun. It's because Sir Tomato Nose is in denial about having any type of feels for this story."
Law: "Is it really?"
L.J.V.: "No, I just love tormenting him― err her."
Buggy (female): "You bitch!"
L.J.V.: "Yeah, yeah, I love you too.
Spoilers for the Final Chapter: Garp can't believe what he just witnessed. How could he let this happen? How? He had let Luffy beat him to save Ace. They were on their way to safety. They should've been home free but… but Sakazuki had gotten in the way. Sakazuki had… HIS GRANDSON…! HOW?!
So, yeah. The next chapter is the last and please remember that this is a tragic story with character death in it, so… yeah. Please don't hate me. Well for not uploading in a year (I should really work on my timing) but also for the next being the last & this being a tragic story where someone dies. Really, don't hate me.
Originally I was going to make this the last chapter but it would've taken too long and you all waited long enough for just this chapter. For the last one, I'm going to make a playlist on youtube so you can listen to music while reading it. You know, just to get more feels for it. So, yeah… I feel like I'm going to get so much hateful reviews for the next one.
Okay, I'm gonna let you all go as I edit and work out all of the bugs for the outline to the last chapter to this and work on the end of Day 8 for Why We Don't go in Gramps Room. Oh, right, I wanted to have those 2 come out on the same day so when you read In the Mirror's final chapter then you can read WWDGIGR and you can laugh and hopefully not hate me as much…? Please…? ^.^
Like always, take good care of yourself.
~Le. Jester. Vixen.