I'm sorry that this chapter is so choppy, but I just had so many points I wanted to cover, and it just involved a lot of jumping around. It'll be more linear later, I promise.

Kid woke up feeling absolutely disgusting. He felt overheated, sticky, and his right arm had gone completely numb. Cracking open his eyes proved more difficult than he could have imagined, and he realized he never got the chance to wash off his make up last night. Looking down at his chest, the answer as to why was easily supplied.

Across his bare and scarred chest, a man with hideously gelled hair and fanged incisors had drooled from the crest of his pectorals to the dip of his belly button. Kid scowled and his eyes scanned the discarded clothing around the room, the still open and leaking bottle of lube on his end table, and the filthy used condom half-hanging out of the trash bin.

"Get the fuck off of me," Kid grated out, his voice sore and gravelly. The man on his chest clenched his brow and slurped in his own puddle of drool before slowly inching upward, his eyelashes fluttering.

More patient than he could have imagined, Kid waited for the stranger to come to, and then watched as he also took inventory of the room whilst wiping a string of saliva from his bloated lips. "Eustass?" he asked, his voice equally rough and exhausted. He touched his temples and rubbed a languid circle on each, trying to alleviate a no-doubt killer hangover.

"At least somebody knows who's who," Kid scowled. He sat up and grabbed a shirt he didn't recognize from the edge of the bed and used it to wipe the spit off of himself before handing it to the stranger.

"Shit, Eustass, do you even have a liver anymore? I'm Bartolomeo. We met like last week? I guess we went home together from the bar last night."

Kid grunted affirmatively, "Yeah, I do remember one thing," he reached out and tapped the bottom the the man's sharp teeth. "I remember I had to rip your ugly mug off of my cock before you punctured holes into it."

"Shut up," Bartolomeo snapped, pushing Kid's hand away. "I don't need your bull right now. My boyfriend is gonna have my balls for this."

Pushing off the bed, Kid stood and began to scavenge for his own clothing. He looked up over his boxers, which he held between his forefinger and thumb at arm's length. "You have a boyfriend?" he rolled his eyes, "You're such an idiot. Please tell me the twink isn't going show up here in a week." He eyed the poor sap on his bed, "I may pity the bastard, but that doesn't mean I'll go easy on him."

Bartolomeo shook his head, "No, I'll just have to spend a bloody fortune on flowers. We...it was an open relationship, but we decided to make things more...mono - mono ..."

"Monogamous?"

"Yeah. But fuck me if I can remember that when I'm half a bottle in."

Kid flung the pants and jeans that weren't his at Bartolomeo's head. "You're still a retard. I may not have anyone in my life, but I know if I did I wouldn't go around messing up what I got."

Pulling on his jeans, Bartolomeo sneered back at Kid. "Let's see you say that when you really do settle down, you mother -"

He froze and sat down very swiftly, his face in the oddest expression. Kid waited a good minute for his to finish, but Bartolomeo just started wriggling and shifting back and forth in place, his knees clenched together.

"What the bloody hell is it?" Kid demanded. "Don't have a damn nervous breakdown now."

"No, I -" he squirmed again. "I think I have to shit. Real fucking bad."

Kid turned around, his attention completely evaporated. He pulled a shirt over his head and used tissues to clean up the leaking lube on his table. "Don't be dumber than you look," he said, "It's just because of last night."

Bartolomeo squinted up at Kid. "That's rich coming from a guy who barely remembers it."

Kid faced his guest again and lowered his head right before the man's darkened and threatening eyes. He gripped a handful of the guys hair in his hand and turned his face up toward him. "Don't tell me..." Kid breathed, just close enough that it lingered on Bartolomeo's cheeks, "...that this is your first time as bottom?"

The redhead had years of experience reading honesty in someone's eyes. There was no need for a verbal answer. Kid dropped Bartolomeo's head and bared his next as he laughed. "Oh, now that is wonderful!" he snickered as his laughter died down. "I can't believe I stuck it in a virgin hole last night and I don't even remember it!"

Bartolomeo just sat and sulked at Kid's reaction. "It burns, too. Damn. Are you sure I don't have to take a dump?"

"Pretty sure," Kid remarked seriously. "You can sit on the toilet as long as you want though. It's down the hall to the right."

His guest nodded and stood, buttoning his jeans properly this time before leaving the room. Kid watched him go with an smirk playing on his lips.

As much as he might have been a nice warm body to sleep besides that night, Kid was glad he wasn't steady friends with a jerk like that. He located the man's wallet and pulled out some credit cards, thumbed through some crumpled pound notes, and then flicked through at least seventeen pictures stuffed in the back compartments. Each one was a different photo-shoot quality image of some blonde price charming type. Must be the elusive boyfriend. Kid was sure from the man's apparent vanity that he was a real prima donna type, but if a raggedy thug like Bartolomeo kept every damn picture in that heavy chained black wallet, then he really must be worth something to the guy.

What an idiot, Kid scoffed, putting everything back where it had been. To go and mess something up like that, and then think it could be appeased with a bundle of flowers. The longest relationship Kid had ever had lasted nigh on four months, and that was when he was sixteen, hustling in Chicago. She had been a loud and brash woman, and already Kid had been fed up with her before her fiance showed up at his doorstep and bashed his face in. That was Kid's first encounter with a soldier, and it wouldn't be his last.

Kid never had the ability to pretend or lie; it was a talent that simply did not reside in his repertoire. He had fun with somebody until he was sick of them, and likely they got sick of him as well. He used to pick his partners just like he picked his friends; somebody with a good collection of scars, and maybe even some fresh bruises. Innocence and meekness generally repelled him, and he found people who were unable to stand on their own two good legs disturbingly unattractive.

"Oh mother of god..."

Kid stopped stripping the sheets off of his bed as his eyes turned to the hallway where Bartolomeo stood only in his boxers, his legs shaking. "Wha -" Kid was about to ask, but then he saw it: a thin river of think, white-clear liquid slowly creeping down Bartolomeo's quaking thigh.

"Well," Kid chuckled, "I guess we did it a second time without the condom. I sure hope you don't have anything."

Bartolomeo met Kid's eyes, his own pupils shaking in horror. "I-I don't but..oh shit," he whispered.. "It feels like I'm peeing from my asshole, you bloody bastard. And it's cold."

Kid couldn't help but cackle this time. "Clean yourself up then, you disgusting fool. Don't drip on my carpet."

Shaking his head, the guest trudged back into the bathroom. "I don't know why I idolized you so much, Eustass," he huffed as he closed the door.

On the other side, Kid shrugged. "Neither do I," he answered honestly. "Neither do I."


It was around noon that Kid's lunch was interrupted by some incessant bastard knocking on the door. Bartolomeo has retired from the toilet and was still fumbling around in the lukewarm bath, while Kid regularly pestered him every half hour for being such a drama queen.

"Come in," Kid called out gruffly from around a mouth full of food.

The front door jangled for a minute and then opened. Trafalgar Law waltzed inside, dressed in his street clothes for once. His hoodie was a bit oversized and his jeans a bit too tight, but he flashed his normal half-mad smile. Cradled in the delicate fingers of his right hand Law waved back and forth a square-lined bottle right in front of Kid's face.

"What?" Kid snapped, swatting the bottle aside. "Don't wave that shit in my face, what is it?"

Law turned the bottle toward himself and read off the label. "Johnie Walker Blue Label Blended Scotch Whiskey." He went to tuck it back into the front pocket of his hoodie. "And here I'd thought you'd help me polish it off. It's hard being such a lightweight, you know."

Kid went to snatch the bottle from Law's hands, but Law pulled back, dancing out of the way. "Ah, ah, ah!" he chided. "Why don't we hang out at my place for once, so I don't have to put up with that maned mother you call Killer?"

"Shut up," Kid murmured, "he's napping. If you wake him, he'll live up to his namesake, you know." He eyed the scotch and the playful grin he was getting from the surgeon. "Where did you get that from, anyway?"

"A patient," Law responded, settling down on the couch. He picked at Kid's plate and eventually popped a piece of sushi in his mouth. "This from the market two blocks down? California roll?"

Kid nodded and handed Law another piece. The doctor surprised him by eating it right from between Kid's fingers. "What's got you prancing around, princess?"

Law chewed his mouthful and then licked his lips clean of stray rice. "Nothing, just taking the day off. Well deserved, I'd say." He placed the bottle on the coffee table and threw one leg over the other as he sat back. "Last night some freckled kid nearly barged into my place looking to get some burn wounds dressed. He didn't have any money, but he handed me that. It feels good sometimes to do some charity work."

"This bottle can go for well over two hundred dollars," Kid commented. "That ain't charity work."

"Sure it is," Law said. "I hardly drink that poison. Besides, I would have charged him double any other day."

Kid scowled. "You really are a rip-off." He got up and walked to the closed bathroom door, giving it a polite rap of the knuckles.

"You almost done in there?" he called inside, "I got a friend over and we're gonna be heading out, so I need you to wrap up, ok?"

An affirmative grunt came from the other side of the door, and Kid could hear the gurgle of dirty bathwater rushing down the drain. Law raised an eyebrow from his seat on the couch.

"Another sexual partner, Eustass-ya?" he teased, "As you're physician, I recommend you get more regular check ups for -"

But Law never got to finish his sentence, because he swallowed his words when the bathroom door open. Bartolomeo stumbled out, fixing his septum piecing with his left hand and pulling up a pair of borrowed sweatpants with the right. He handed a damp towel he was using on his hair to Kid, who accepted it and tossed it into the laundry bin, before handing the man back his band tee from the night before.

"Killer washed and dried it, and your jeans are on my bed," Kid said. "So get lost, would you?"

Bartolomeo nodded and headed off to Kid's room to change. Meanwhile, Law found his bearings. "That's a different tattooed and pierced face around here. A friend of a friend?" he asked.

Kid shook his head. "Nah, you guessed right the first time," he answered as he pulled his jacket on. "We fucked after the bar last night and he just apparently can't take a backdoor visit." He shrugged. "Hell, it's not for everybody."

"I wouldn't have pegged you for a homosexual," Law tried to comment as off-handedly as possible. He didn't move from his place on the couch, but merely eyed the closed door to Kid's room suspiciously.

"Homosexual?" Kid scoffed. "It isn't 1970 anymore. I'd stick my wanker where I'd like, thanks. If you got a problem with it, you can leave that scotch behind and sod off."

Law threw up his hands in mock surrender, a smile twisting the corners of his lips. "Not at all, Eustass-ya. Far be it for me to judge."

Bartolomeo left shortly following that, thanking Kid rather brusquely, a somewhat defeated stride in his walk. Kid snatched the bottle off the counter and nudged Law for them to get going. "Come on, faggot police," he said, "Let's get out of here before Killer wakes and starts looking for blood."

Law nodded and pushed himself off the couch, following obediently after Kid. Although he returned the mechanic's comments easily enough, the glitter that was formerly in the surgeon's eyes had gone out, and in its place was the cold and iron sense of dread.


Outside of Trafalgar Law's cramped apartment, it was pouring rain into the dusty streets, washing around the grime of scuffled boots and another miserable work day. But inside, the dim lights were almost warm upon the two men who laid sprawled out on the couch.

Law's glass of scotch sat on his reading table, leaving a thick ring of condensation in its place, as it was only half-finished and likely would not be touched again for the rest of the evening. Kid rested his own glass on his stomach, sipping on it regularly, working on the bottle on the coffee table down to the half way point. He lazily flipped through channels, often stopping on something inane or random before making a comment and passing on. Law indulged him, listening and bantering back appropriately, although the mass percentage of his concentration was dedicated to the book he was devouring in his lap.

Kid had placed his legs in the doctor's lap over an hour ago, and the doctor made no move to shove them off or complain. Instead, he used the man's calves as a book rest and continued to flip the pages with nigh languid disinterest.

"Iron Man," the mechanic commented off-handedly, stopping on a movie channel.

"I can see that." Law glanced up from his reading. "Do you feel some sort of brotherly connection with him?"

Kid chuckled, "He's a hero, Trafalgar. Look at me. Maybe those books have rotted your eyesight?"

"My eyesight remains at 20/20, Eustass-ya, which is why I can see past that point and observe other facets of your similarities: both of you are rude manwhores, correct?"

"Jealous?" Kid snickered.

"Hardly," Law gritted his teeth. "That fanged boar you had in your bed last night was far from my type."

"How about me, then?"

The doctor tossed the mechanic the most scathing glance he could muster. "Disgusting," he cursed, the lower part of his left eye twitching. "Are you trying to flirt with me? Has it ever occurred to you that I like women?"

Kid tossed his head back to give his usual rowdy laugh up at the ceiling. "Has it ever occurred to you, Trafalgar," he began, as he moved his right foot to the inside of Law's thigh to trace his toes down toward the man's bony knee, "that the one thing I'm best at is seeing a lie in somebody's eyes?"

Law scoffed deep in his throat and disdainfully shoved Kid's feet off his lap. "I'm glad you have such an astute gaydar, Eustass-ya, but that doesn't mean that I'm into you."

"Fine," Kid surrendered, "Whatever makes you sleep at night. So what is the reason for trying to get me drunk?"

All that touched Law's lips was one of his all-knowing smirks, as he reached across the table and refilled Kid's glass. "I just wanted to share an evening with a friend. Is that so much to ask?"

Kid accepted the liquor and brought the chilled amber to his painted lips. "Lie as much as you'd like, Trafalgar. I wouldn't have passed up Blue Label no matter what the reason."

Absentmindedly, Law rubbed Kid's sock-clad feet as he continued to read his book over the sound of machine guns and weaponry on the television. He filled Kid's glass two more times within that hour, and by eight in the evening, when he had finished his copy of Cardiac Surgery: Operative Technique for the second time, he noticed that the mechanic had fallen asleep.

The man did not sleep gracefully. His right arm was sprawled over the side of the sofa, and the remote had tumbled from his fingers and on to the floor. Lips slightly parted, he did not snore but did have a propensity to breathe heavily, and it was simple to ascertain that, given more time, the man would begin to drool.

"I assume that you are knocked out, Eustass-ya," Law spoke to the unconscious figure. There was no movement on his end. "Well," he concluded, pushing Kid's feet off of his lap and getting up, "It is best to be safe."

Unaware, the last thing that happened to Kid on that couch was a sharp and professionally clean needle that sunk deep into his basilic vein and unloaded a healthy dosage of general anesthesia into the leaking vessel. The redhead would not wake for the next two hours.


When Kid came to, he was much more displeased than he had been in the morning. First of all, he was in pain. Without even opening his eyes, he had the distinct feeling that somebody had run his left arm through a sandpaper mill. And although he could tell it had been numbed - his tingling shoulder was familiar sign - it had not been enough for his body size, as was the common shortcoming of every surgery he had ever undergone.

Thinking of surgery gave the mechanic a hint as to what was going on. After all, he recalled passing out on the doctor's sofa well aware that the Trafalgar likely had some sort of sinister plan. But what was he fussing around on his arm for? Kid wouldn't have been surprised if he had woken with one less kidney, and hell, he doubted if he would've even been put out by it. Yet the arm...and that arm in particular...

"You ought to be thanking me," he heard Law speak from above him. His voice sounded tired, and muffled as though a mask. Sure enough, when Kid opened his eyes, Law was straddled over Kid's hips, his mouth covered with a surgical mask. His hands were gloved, and his hair wrapped back, but otherwise the man was free of scrubs. Kid's stomach involuntarily flipped over at the sight of discarded dead skin and excess blood that pooled around his left arm on the dressed and sterilized side table.

"These skin grafts ought to have been monitored for circulation, and it was clear that they were not. The nerve damage would have spread and likely could have resulted in infection that would have lost you the precious bit of sensory development you have in this limb." He took a set of tweezers and peeled off a sector of the sick-colored, synthetic flesh that covered Kid's left arm, placing it in a sample tray.

"I read the entire article three times over, but it's much more interesting up close. Doctor Vegapunk and Engineer Cutty Flam really outdid themselves. The only way I could imagine that surgery like this was possible was if..." Law's mouth may have been covered, but Kid could see the smile in his eyes, "...you agreed to endure agonizing pain, a stimuli beyond the measurements of any dolorimeter, for at least seventy-two hours."

Kid tried to move his right arm, but realized that it had been secured to the table by leather straps, as well as his lower limbs. "I know what happened to me. I was awake the entire time. You could have just asked me instead of picking me apart." His voice was weak and lilting in and out of a true tone and a whisper, likely due to the medication.

"And where is the fun in that?" Law said. He unlocked a sealed box that had been set aside and Kid observed the chill rise from the insides as he removed its contents. "Besides, you will be rewarded." The surgeon waved the plastic-sealed biological parts in his face. "New skin grafts, expertly designed and specialized just for you, fresh from the black market. I traded a rare AB kidney for these, Eustass-ya. You really should be grateful."

The mechanic swallowed the bile that rose in his throat as he watched the doctor take apart the new skin grafts and situate their positions atop the manufactured flesh and the quivering arteries. He forced himself to keep his eyes open, like he had done all those years ago, as he watched as Law stretched the pre-meshed skin over his limb and fitted it tightly. He bit his lip and tasted iron when the skin was fastened to the currents of his silicone and metal muscle, and then allowed himself to hiss when the doctor finally began to stitch.

Law's hands paused, and as he held them still, they didn't shake in the slightest. "Would you like more morphine?"

"No," Kid murmured. "Just stop dawdling and get on with it."

"I want to do it right," the doctor answered, "So I'm going to take my time."

Kid rolled his eyes and tried the leather straps one time, as tempted as he was in this moment to slap the older man across the back of his head. But the strength that had been sapped from him by the pain and the medication prevented him from working his muscles properly. "If that's how it's going to be," Kid conceded, "then give me a gag."

"What makes you think I have something like that?" Law asked, but nevertheless, he reached into his side drawer and pulled out a leather strip that fastened in the back with breathing holes in the front. His eyebrows creased delicately as he stared into Kid's eyes, bringing the gag around the redhead's mussed-up hair. "Will you try to kill me after this, Eustass-ya?" Slick latex fingers touched the side of Kid's chin as Law caressed it gently, soothing the clenched jaw. "I know you can barely speak right now, judging by your pupil dilation, but you're very angry, aren't you?"

Nearly choking on his bloated tongue, Kid managed to answer. "I killed a dozen men for you and never asked questions. I put on a sick show of beating a woman half to death for you. I let you drink me to sleep."

"You trusted me," Law murmured, sounding disappointed.

"No," Kid chuckled. He forced a smile, although the pain shooting up his arm in that moment caused him to grind his teeth in the meantime and bare his sharpened incisors. "I just need you to trust me."

"What?" The surgeon pulled back the gag and stared at Kid intently. "What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean, Kid?"

A red tongue ran over the teeth of the mechanic's smile. "Exactly that, Trafalgar. Exactly what just fell from your lips." He opened his mouth and tilted up his jaw, beckoning the surgeon with a lick of his upper lip. "Now gag me and be done with this. We don't have all night."

The surgeon obeyed, and when he drew the belt for the gag, he tightened it a bit more than necessary, so the bit was working into the corners of the redhead's mouth. Each stitch following was done with a slow and tenacious care, and although Kid could not speak, he watched with open and dancing eyes.

It took an hour to complete, and by that time, the sheet below Kid's arm was soaked through with his blood and dripping to the wooden panels below. Law meticulously washed the limb and the area around it, and then bandaged the fresh skin to prevent infection. All the while, he sat spread-legged over the mechanic's lap, his booted feet swaying on each side of the thin operating bed.

By this time, he had figured that Kid would have passed out, but the man still laid and stared at him, gag patiently between his reddening and raw lips. Finally, Law surrendered and undid the buckle that was tangled in the mess of Kid's hair, ripping out a good couple of strands in the process. The man winced, but did not complain. He practiced his jaw for a minute and tried to work out the pain and kinks that came from the stiffness before trying to speak.

"The skin looks incredibly natural," he remarked, "I'm impressed, Doctor."

"Don't fuck with me," Law snapped. "I betrayed you. I drugged you, I tied you down. What's your problem?" He rested his gloved and bloody fingers on Kid's adam's apple and lowered his face close enough to taste the mechanic's breath. "The man I knew from a few weeks ago would have been in a thrashing rage."

"Sorry, Doctor," Kid answered. He flexed his bandaged left arm and found that he could almost move it now. "I'm a bit of a child. I rage against things that I don't understand."

The surgeon scowled and pulled down his surgical mask, revealing his sleepless eyes and chapped lips. "You claim to understand me?"

"I learned more about you on this table than you could ever learn about me, even if you picked me apart to minced meat."

Law's grip on the man's neck grew more secure. "You want to make that scenario a reality?"

"No," Kid answered honestly, "but neither do you."

"Yeah?" Law snapped, "And what do you want to wager that on?"

"Oh, anything, really." Kid used his unsecured and still stinging left arm to reach up and lay his palm on Law's bony hip. "Because no matter how much morphine you pumped into me, I could still feel your raging boner this entire time."

The silence fell at the same time that Law's grip on the mechanic's neck slackened to a mere touch. The surgeon pulled his hands away and leaned back on his own hips, finally becoming fully aware of himself for the first time that night. He had been so enrapt in his plans, so enticed by the excitement of pulling the new specimen apart that he had hardly noticed, no, never noticed at all -

And how was that even possible? It had been years since Law had felt anything down there, no matter what he watched, no matter how he touched himself under the steam of the shower. He had slid from one extreme to another in his life, and when he took up the obsession with his medical career, he had abandoned any of the sexual self-certification that had tainted his past.

But there it was, as plain as day. His tight jeans were full and straining with his now obvious and uncomfortable arousal, and for the first time in many years, Law had realized that yet again his own body had betrayed him. Just by responding, just by the hideous hungers of sexual desire, he had lost the game he had been, up until then, winning.

"Fuck," he cursed, brushing Kid's wounded hand aside ruthlessly. "Fuck fuck fuck." He pushed himself to his feet and tried not to hide his shame as he stood beside the operating table. "I'm going -"

He looked over and met Kid's eyes for only a second, and then had to quickly look away. Instead of the self-righteous and arrogant smile that Law had expected, Kid's forehead was creased with concern, and his lips were pursed in decided silence.

"I'm going to get coffee," he announced. "And I want you the hell out of here when I get back."

He didn't wait for Kid's response. He didn't ask if the mechanic and part-time assassin would want to murder him instead. After all, what would be the point? The redhead had won from the very beginning. There was never even a need to fight.

Well that was unexpected. Uh, leave a review s'il vous plait!