A.N.: Inspired by the concept of a 'sea daddy,' an older man who was assigned to a young boy in the navy, typically a cabin boy/powder monkey/etc, to teach them the ropes and act as a support system. Also, played around with Marco's devil fruits yet again, as well as his past before joining Whitebeard. And then I was inspired by Ann Rice's lesser-known stories. Which explains the middle of this nasty little shocker.
Warning: This story is mainly driven by erotica and light BDSM. If you think you may be offended by it, then this story is not for you.
Originally, this was supposed to be a oneshot, but then it got way too long, so there will be four parts to this story. It starts off innocent, but trust me when I say it does not stay that way.
Ace snorted, a little flame jutting out of his nose. "Hell if I care. I've been sailing the oceans for a while, so I know what to do on a goddamn ship! I don't need a…sea daddy."
Whitebeard let loose a loud guffaw, prompting the laughing of several other commanders that stood off to the side of their captain's throne of a chair. Ace felt himself grow hot, not embarrassed, just hot. Hot like he wanted to burst into flames and devour all those who dared laugh at him in a raging inferno.
"I don't care how many years you've got on the ocean, brat, this is how we do things on the Moby Dick. New guys get a very specific initiation into the family." Whitebeard raised a hand, pointing a large finger in the direction of some of his crew. "Since you're so hot-headed," another rolling laugh from his crew, "I've decided you need someone who'll be able to keep up with you. So Marco here is going to be your sea daddy from now on. And you're not going to protest or I'll toss you in the drink and pull you out only when you're half-dead."
"Tough love," someone muttered with a snicker.
Ace's lip curled up and he was about to snarl another objection when his eyes caught sight of the man whom Whitebeard had attempted to point out. His supposed sea daddy.
Frankly, the guy appeared to be half-asleep and was leaning rather sluggishly against the ship's gunwale, beside a man with an incredibly meretricious hairdo. He remembered meeting the man with the pompadour hair that morning. He had introduced himself as Thatch. And he had stated that they should be friends.
Thatch waved as they locked eyes, grinning and giving him a thumbs-up. Ace pretended he hadn't seen a thing, tearing his eyes away from those men in order to address Whitebeard again. "I don't need a sea daddy."
Edward Newgate, strongest man in the world, laughed at him once more.
Ace had never felt so inferior in his life.
Angry flames started to drip off of his shoulders and down his bare chest, dropping to the deck of the Moby Dick where they caught the planks of wood. He knew it would be suicidal to fight Whitebeard on his flagship with all of his divisions just a hop and a skip away, but Ace wouldn't tolerate being so plainly insulted.
Just as he was about to melt into flames and attempt to engage Whitebeard in a fight, a hand clamped down firmly on his shoulder. Startled, partly because he hadn't heard anyone come up behind him and party because, theoretically, nobody should be able to simply grab him, Ace spun around.
The man with the droopy eyes, Marco, was the culprit. His hand was still firmly gripping his shoulder with an intensity that Ace had never felt before. A cold chill ran through his hot body.
"Hey, don't burn our beloved ship…brat."
Ace snarled unintelligible words before focussing himself and turning his shoulder to flame. Or, at least it should have turned to flame. He found himself startled once more when Marco's hand would not budge and he could not slip away in a breath of fire.
Able to guess at his discomfort, Marco said, "It doesn't matter if you're a logia type or whatever, I'm not going to magically disappear. Since Pops asked this favour of me, I'll be your sea daddy from now on. So you might as well accept it."
Unnervingly, Ace couldn't get his shoulder free, no matter which way he jerked his body. Marco was strong, he'd give him that much. He heard people snickering at his expense in the background, but he knew he couldn't flare up and silence them. Finally, Ace begrudgingly snapped, "Fine. But I refuse to be treated like a child."
Marco let go of him and walked away, back towards Thatch whose brow was furrowed with concern. Ace stormed off, unable to take being mocked anymore today. He headed below deck, trying to find the room he had woken up in earlier. He needed to start his plotting and scheming. He was not going to stay on this damned ship any longer than necessary.
These people were his enemies, not his friends.
The first attempt hadn't gone as planned. Nor had the second attempt. The third attempt left him in the ocean, flailing for sweet, sweet air, and the fourth attempt had him hung by his shorts at the top of the mizzenmast. Hanging from the flagpole.
He was, currently, trying to recover from his fourth attempt at taking Whitebeard's head when Marco showed up. The man leapt agilely from the yardarms, swung up the rigging, and climbed into the crow's nest just beneath Ace.
"Need any help?" Marco called. There was an inkling of amusement in his tone. He was within reach of Ace's legs and made it known he would easily be able to untangle the other from the flagpole, if only Ace asked.
"No!" Ace cried roughly, struggling to unseat himself lest his baggy, black shorts rip. He closed his eyes momentarily, trying to call his Devil Fruit powers forth, but found he could not.
Marco smiled wryly, knowing the frustration of being temporarily unable to call upon one's Devil Fruit abilities. "He stuck you up here with a twisted form of Haki. The Moby Dick is easily influenced by the old man's will. Trust me, it'll wear off in a few minutes, but by that time I think your shorts will be finished."
Ace tried to ignore Marco, he really did, but when his flailing caused a huge tear in his shorts, he suddenly found himself falling past the crow's nest and trying to grab for Marco. Instinctively, of course.
He missed Marco's outstretched hand and plummeted towards the deck, narrowly missing a furled bunch of canvas that he could have grabbed a hold of to save himself. For some reason, his fire was not being responsive, though it might have been because fear was gripping his chest. Either way, he was falling and feeling entirely too mortal.
He closed his eyes just as a sharp pain shot through his shoulders. He was jarred upwards, the pain intensifying and making him grit his teeth. His eyes flew open and he twisted his head left, trying to see the source of this new pain that had come before his impact with the deck.
Claws. No, talons. And shimmering yellow-blue feet. Bird feet.
"Holy shit!" Ace cried into the wind as a thunderous wing beat deafened his eardrums. He craned his neck back, looking up, but all he could see was a voluminous form made up of what looked to be blue flames. But that made little sense to Ace, who was still focussed on the chicken-like legs protruding from the flaming mass.
Dimly he became aware of being set down on the deck, but his head was still turned up to the clouds he could see poking out from the corners of the ethereal being. He fell on his back, and watched with much trepidation as the blue form convulsed and shrunk in on itself. Finally, he saw the creature – as he had determined it was a creature thanks to the chicken legs – show its face. A pale yellow beak, long sinuous neck, and plumed head. With two rings around its eyes and a rather calm and sleepy look to its face…
He was mortified when the bird continued to shift form, morphing into the shape of a man. And, not just any man, but him.
"Careful. Do you have any idea how bad it would look for a sea daddy to let their young charge go splat on the deck? Have you ever dropped an egg before? Because when both an egg and a human are dropped from a great height, there tends not to be much of a difference between the two."
Marco's face was serious for a moment before his mouth twitched into an amused, lop-sided grin. He continued to peer down at Ace, who sputtered and pointed between what had been a bird and what was the remainder of his shorts hanging from the mizzenmast's flagpole.
"Guess I saved your life, Firefist. See you in the mess hall?"
Ace growled and shakily got to his feet. Before Marco could blast him with anymore stinging comments that would further wound his pride, he stalked off in the direction of the room he had been occupying for the past couple of days. Back to plotting.
He faintly heard Thatch laughing his ass off somewhere behind him, making it occur to him that he was feeling an awfully chilly draft on his…oh, the ripped shorts. His face burned, and he nearly spun around and breathed fire in Thatch's general direction. He certainly felt like a wounded dragon that needed to defend its pride.
Then he heard the soft chuckling; a melody underneath Thatch's rough howling. Somehow, he didn't feel quite as angry listening to that chuckle as he retreated.
Fifty murder plots later found Ace standing outside of Whitebeard's door with a battle-axe he had stolen from one of the gun crewmembers on the starboard side. It was a hefty piece of weaponry, well suited to those gun crew guys who periodically moved cannons around below deck. Ace held it across his shoulders, with one hand free to slowly open Whitebeard's door.
Suddenly, both of his hands were empty and he heard a faint plopping sound akin to something being tossed into water. With a snarl he realized it was something being thrown into the ocean. He flared, readying his next line of attack, fists clenching tightly.
He spun on Marco and dove a hand straight into his gut, expecting the man who had been assigned to 'keep an eye on him' to go flying across the length of the Moby Dick. Instead, much to his horror, his fist sank into Marco's gut. Literally. Like Marco swallowed his fist, hell, most of his arm. With his goddamn stomach.
Ace cried out and ripped his hand back into his own chest, watching as blue flames licked at the hole he had created.
"Hey, I thought I told you that Pops needs his rest. He needs at least eight hours of sleep every night in order to sleep off his daily sake intake. It's not healthy for him otherwise."
Marco crooked an eyebrow in the dark, his whole body lit up in a wash of red as Ace continued to spew little flames from his body, obviously frazzled.
"Yeah, yeah. Pretty fucking ugly sight, isn't it? Holes in my body and all that. I have the power to regenerate myself."
"Ugly?" Ace squeaked, noticing how Marco's blue flames had vanished and in their place solid tangible skin had formed over those hard abdominal muscles of his.
"Yeah, fucking ugly. That's what everyone says," Marco mused quietly.
Ace blinked, then dampened his flames as he knew Marco would soon be throwing him into the ocean to calm down. Marco was very concerned for his ship and hated seeing burn marks on the planks. Ace knew this well, as he had been knocked off his feet many times by sudden gusts of wind from Marco's wings when he behaved badly.
It had only been a month, but Ace was learning some fundamental lessons. And first and foremost, not burning the ship to a crisp was a big thing on the Moby Dick.
"Hey, come join me for a drink if you're just going to stay up all night plotting to kill people," Marco offered. However, Ace felt it was more of a command than an offer. He wished he could say no, but the stern look Marco was giving him suggested that he better agree or he'd find himself sailing through the air.
Marco led the way to his quarters near the ship's stern. Ace had never been down this way, as Whitebeard's quarters consisted of a room that lied above the main deck's surface. Ace's own room, the one he had claimed and fiercely protected, his only sanctuary on the ship, was located closer to the bow. Now, walking under the main deck along a corridor lit with many thousands of lamps, Ace tried to take in his surroundings as best as possible. If only to remember an escape route in case things got messy.
"That's Thatch's room," Marco said, pointing out a door that looked like every other door down the hall. "All the commanders automatically get their own quarters. He's passed out in there, if you're wondering. Too much booze."
"Oh," Ace said shortly, not intending to delve too far into conversation. Though Marco was interesting, he did not want to develop any lasting emotions for him. Not when he was dead set on taking Whitebeard's head from his shoulders and sticking it on the flagpole.
"The second division commander's room is empty, and mine is right across…right here," Marco said, moving towards a door. This door wasn't the last door on the dead end hallway, but it was certainly right next to it.
"Why's your room all the way down here?" Ace found himself wondering aloud.
"Since I'm the first division commander and first mate. Notice the door at the end of the hall? It leads out to the ship's stern, a little balcony. I'm what you might call the first response when we find our ship under attack."
Ace frowned heavily, hung up on what Marco had just told him. First mate? That was news to him. He had thought one of the half-giants or more stern looking commanders was Whitebeard's first mate, not this relatively average man. Then again, it made perfect sense.
Still, this could prove to be an opportunity, Ace thought.
Inside the room was dark, but Marco lit a few candles with a well-aimed match. Ace didn't bother to tell the man he could have lit them with his finger and spared him the matches, because that would be assisting the enemy. And Ace was all about making things difficult.
"So. Beer, wine, or…something else?"
Ace blinked, then refocused his eyes to take in the huge shelf full of various types of alcohol. It nearly spanned the entire wall! He was too overwhelmed to speak.
"Just grab whatever," Marco said nonchalantly, reaching over to snatch a bottle of wine from the shelf. He walked over to the table in the middle of the room and collapsed into a chair, deftly uncorking his prize.
Ace grabbed the bottle nearest to him, not intending to drink all that much as that would lay him out flat for the enemy to attack, and joined Marco at his table for two.
Marco poured his wine into a glass to sip from while Ace drank straight from the bottle, indifferent about how he would be perceived. He didn't know why but he was slightly vexed that he wasn't annoying Marco by doing this. In fact, Marco wasn't really paying his bad manners any mind. He was just simply coexisting like a mosquito on the wall.
Ace figured if he wanted to sucker any information out of the man, he'd better do so now before Marco got completely drunk and, likely, incomprehensible. He decided he'd start off slow, break down the man's guard. Though, Ace had to admit, Marco didn't really seem to have any guard at all…
"How long do you usually stay awake drinking?" Ace asked as Marco took another sip from his wine glass.
"As long as I want to. I don't sleep."
"You don't sleep?" He couldn't keep his disbelief from spilling over.
"I don't need to. I can, but it doesn't make a difference for my body. Part of my strange genetic makeup as a mythical zoan, I suppose." Ace swallowed, finding the idea of going without sleep to be disturbing in its own right. Marco continued, "I can drink myself into oblivion too, though maybe that's not quite the correct phrase since I'll never get drunk. That's the beauty of being able to regenerate yourself; your liver never gets damaged and you never get sick."
He laughed then, but Ace couldn't help but notice how hollow the sound was.
"So…you can't get drunk," Ace said firmly. Marco nodded with a slight smile. "What about Whitebeard? Can he get drunk?"
Marco snorted. "Why do you want to know about my Pops, brat?"
Ace stiffened, an indignant blush spreading across his freckled cheeks. "I'm not a brat." Marco expressed some amusement at that snappish reply. "Shut up…old man."
Instantly, Marco's face turned sour. Before Ace could properly react, Marco's hand was around the back of his throat and his head was forced down on the table. Marco held him there, unmoving, and though Ace tried to use his Devil Fruit powers, Marco would not relent. Slowly, the older man took another sip of his wine, his victory painfully obvious.
"Let me up," Ace barked, though his words were somewhat lost to the wood of the table. He moved his arms to the side of the table and tried to extract himself from Marco's grip, but he wouldn't budge. It was frustrating, how strong Marco's grip was. It was like being trapped within the talons of a bird of prey.
"I don't like being reminded of my age," Marco said quietly. The grip he had on Ace's throat tightened and Ace gasped for breath, wondering if Marco was going to bump him off right then and there and be done with his duties as a sea daddy.
"That's another golden rule here on the Moby Dick. Don't be making fun of the seniority of your nakama, because chances are good that they'll be able to kick your ass with due experience."
Marco fingers glided up his neck and into his hair, and faintly Ace realized Marco was stroking his head as if he were some obedient animal. Though it felt good, to be touched and almost massaged, he was indignant that Marco would even dare to do this to him.
Was he really so weak that he couldn't get out of Whitebeard's first mate's clutches?
After a bit of thoughtless petting, Marco let up on his grip and Ace shrunk away, immediately getting to his feet.
"Remember what I'm teaching you," Marco said sternly as Ace headed for the door. Ace stormed over and yanked the wooden door nearly off its hinges, then turned back to regard Marco, who looked so cool and unfazed under Ace's smothering glare.
"Shut the fuck up, old man."
Marco's eyes flashed dangerously, but he did not give chase as Ace tore out of the room and down the hall. Instead, he watched the open door for a second, contemplating what to do with the presence that was just there.
"I suppose I'll have to up the intensity of these lessons if he's ever going to learn anything," Marco mused, leisurely taking another sip of his wine.