(A/N: Hey all! Here's the very first chapter of Bleeding Out, the semi-sequel of Rhapsody on a Windy Night. The title comes from the Imagine Dragons song, and if you have time I highly recommend you listen to it and buy the album, Night Visions. Just a few things you should know before we get started. Firstly, the pairing of this story is MarcoxAce. Secondly, for those of you who didn't read Rhapsody on a Windy Night, it's not a problem. No prerequisite knowledge required. Thirdly, this story is rated M for very good reasons. There's going to be explicit sexual content, as well as violence, so be prepared for that. On extreme chapters I'll post a warning at the beginning. Ummm…what else…Uh…Oh! Yes. So I feel I should give you all a very overt warning that the updates on this story may be few and very far between. It will be completed eventually, but school's crazy, and I don't actually have the entire plot of this story mapped out yet. It's almost there, but I only write when I have something I think is really inspired, so if things take a while it's just because I'm trying to get something that's really what I want it to be, that's really worth reading. So yeah. Telling me to update quickly may slightly expedite the process of my writing, but screaming at me about how slow my updates are won't really help at all.
Okay. Well, that's that. Time to begin I guess…(I'm randomly nervous about this fic…I don't know how people are going to take it…no flames please, even if you do hate it!) I hope you like it.
UPDATE: I don't own the image used for the cover. If the original artist wants it removed, PM me or leave a review saying so and I'll take it down. :)
DISCLAIMER: Yeah. Don't own One Piece or Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons. Well, technically I bought Bleeding Out on iTunes, but I don't own the RIGHTS to it.)
~I'll Bleed Out for You~
Marco stared down at the document. He knew he should be focusing, should be working, but he couldn't keep his mind still long enough to get anything productive done. He sighed for probably the tenth time in the last fifteen minutes and pushed back from the desk, giving up. He couldn't focus. He was too distracted. A knot of tension had been curling in his stomach for the last few weeks, and had only grown tighter as time passed. Marco shut his eyes and leaned his head back.
Quit worrying. Worrying doesn't change anything. Yet another sigh escaped Marco's lungs. He leaned his head forward and rubbed at his eyes. He needed to stop this. Worrying only makes you unproductive. It doesn't help you or him. There's nothing you can do. And Ace is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Marco heard the door open and close softly. He didn't bother turning to look. There was only one person who came into his room without knocking.
Warm hands settled softly on Marco's shoulders, smoothing over his skin and attempting to ease out some of the tension.
"What's got you so tense? You're stiff as a board." Marco sighed again and leaned his head back, closing his eyes. For a long moment he didn't answer and the question hung unobtrusively in the air. Marco chewed on his next statement. He took a deep breath, deciding blatant honesty would be simplest.
"I don't want you to leave tomorrow." He opened his eyes as he said it, looking up.
Ace was looking down at him in mild surprise. His hands had stopped moving, and for an instant he just stared at Marco. Slowly a tiny, resigned smile came to his face. "You know I have to."
"That doesn't mean I want you to." Ace gave a small chuckle at that, and his hands began moving again.
"Yeah. To be honest I don't really want to leave either. But this mission's important and nobody's arguing that I'm the best man for the job. Duty calls. I would have thought you'd be the first one kicking me out the door, seeing what's at stake." Marco sighed again. He knew Ace was right. Well, mostly right. He would have been the first one kicking Ace out the door…eleven months ago. But things had changed. "It's not going to be a huge deal. Three weeks at most." Ace smiled down at him, brushed some hair off his forehead, and kissed him there softly. "I'll be back before you know it."
"What time are you leaving tomorrow?" Ace gave a despondent sigh.
"Too fucking early. Nobody should be awake at that time." Marco gave an amused half-laugh.
"So by your standards that'd be about nine o'clock, right?"
"No!" Ace gave Marco an annoyed look when he started to laugh outright. He punched Marco in the shoulder. "Fuck you, Marco. You're a jerk." Marco's laughter subsided and he looked seriously up at Ace again.
"No, seriously. What time are you leaving? I want to be sure I'm awake to say goodbye." Ace allowed the annoyed look to fall of his face, giving another remorseful sigh.
"We're setting out at, like, 3:30. It sucks."
"We?" Ace gave Marco a surprised look.
"Yeah. Teach, Thatch, and I. Didn't Oyaji tell you?"
"No." Marco's face was dead serious.
"Thatch is coming to help me with the stealth ops. We are trying to steal devil fruits from a high level marine base after all. We can't just kick down the front door. Thatch and I are the best at this kind of thing, and I prefer to have back-up if I'm stealing shit from a base usually guarded by an admiral." The intensity hadn't faded from Marco's eyes. Ace looked down in confusion. "What's the matter?"
"Why are you bringing Teach?" Marco's look was serious and hard. Ace didn't understand why Marco was upset, but he responded anyway, eyebrows gently furrowed in confusion.
"He hasn't had a field assignment in a long time. He needs more experience with this kind of stuff, and I figure even if he doesn't actually infiltrate the base with us it'll be good for him to see the planning process. He almost got some people from twelfth killed a few months ago by being an idiot. He needs to learn how to strategize. This seems as good an opportunity as any." Marco had pulled his eyes from Ace's, staring instead at the wall. "What's the matter? Do you not like Teach?" Marco took a deep breath, trying to force himself to calm down.
"It's not that exactly…"
"Then what is it?" There was real concern in Ace's voice. Marco's eyes narrowed and a surprisingly fierce surge of dislike flowed through him.
"I don't like the way he looks at you." Ace blinked down at Marco in surprise. A moment of Ace's stunned silence passed before Ace responded.
"Marco…" Marco wouldn't look up at him, still staring off at the wall.
"He watches you. All the time. All. The. Fucking. Time. I hate it. I can tell what he wants from you. And now you're going off on a three-week mission with him?" Marco's voice lost its anger. "I'm just…worried."
Ace stared down at Marco in shock for a moment, then slowly lowered himself. He wrapped his arms around Marco's torso, his chin hovering just above Marco's left shoulder. Marco exhaled and leaned his head against Ace's. Ace pressed a kiss onto the side of Marco's face, then spoke.
"Marco, it doesn't matter what Teach may or may not want from me. I'm his division commander, he'd never actually try anything, and if he did I'd refuse him."
"But what if he doesn't ask for permission?"
"Then I'll kick his ass." Marco didn't respond and Ace could tell he hadn't resolved the issue in Marco's mind. He sighed and stood, walking around the chair so he was in front of Marco.
He moved forward, placing one knee on either side of Marco's hips, half-sitting on Marco's thighs, near his knees. Ace wrapped his arms loosely around Marco's neck and Marco automatically raised his hands, placing them gently on Ace's waist. Ace looked seriously into Marco's face and his voice was firm.
"I'm not going to cheat on you, Marco. I'm not." His expression softened and his voice went quiet. "Don't you understand yet? I love you. You make me happier than I than I knew I could be, and you love me back, which is more than I'd ever dreamed I could have. You really think I'd throw all of that away? For Teach?" Ace reached down and grabbed one of Marco's hands, raising it and pressing it flat against his chest, his own palm over it.
"…Do you feel it?" Marco was staring at Ace, feeling the quiet drumming of Ace's heart under his hand. Ace looked at him softly. "It's yours, you know. It has been for a long time. It beats for you and because of you. You're the reason it keeps going and without you it'd stop." He released Marco's hand, wrapping both arms around Marco's neck and pulling him into an embrace. "I love you, Marco. I love you. Nothing's going to change that, come hell or high water."
Ace let go slowly and pulled back. As he did, Marco raised a hand and gently cupped the side of Ace's face. Ace leaned into Marco's touch and Marco stroked his cheekbone with his thumb. He smiled softly up at Ace.
"How is it possible for one person to be as amazing as you are?" Ace smiled jokingly.
"Well, you know. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it." The laughter faded from his eyes, the smile following shortly after. His face turned thoughtful.
"…Your birthday is coming up pretty soon, huh?"
"Hmm? Yeah, I guess it is. I have to admit I'm intrigued to see what you come up with as far as celebration goes. Last year's will be pretty hard to top." Memories of a ballroom, a red dress, looping in the perfection of a waltz…and then, of course, their first kiss the next day. Ace was staring down at Marco's chest, lightly tracing his tattoo. He looked up slowly, staring into Marco's eyes, small smile finding its way onto his face. There was fire in Ace's eyes. His hand began to wander from the tattoo.
"Oh, you know. I've got a few…ideas." His hand trailed downward, fingers stroking over Marco's abdominal muscles, the tips of his nails tracing the skin along the waistline of Marco's pants. Marco's skin tingled under Ace's touch, and a smile that matched Ace's tugged at his mouth. He dropped one hand from Ace's waist, placing it high on his outer thigh. He heard Ace's breath catch slightly.
"You know, with you leaving tomorrow and all…" His hand moved slowly up Ace's thigh, and he wrapped his other arm around Ace's lower back, pulling him more fully into his lap, hips flush against each other. "…There's no 100 percent guarantee that you're going to be back in time for my birthday." His voice dropped to a whisper, hot breath puffing against Ace's skin and leaving goose bumps.
"I think we should celebrate early."
He leaned forward, bringing his hand up from Ace's thigh to tangle in his hair, pulling Ace down into a kiss. He pressed his tongue into Ace's mouth, and the two of them twirled and fought for a long moment.
They drew back, breaking for air, and Ace was panting lightly, lips gently parted. A light blush painted his cheeks and his eyes were slightly unfocused, clouded with pleasure. Marco felt arousal blooming and growing inside him, burning like a fire, setting his nerves alight. He needed more.
With a gentle but firm tug, Marco pulled Ace's head back, leaning forward again and pressing hot, wet kisses against Ace's throat, flicking his tongue over Ace's jugular. Ace drew in a shaky breath, more of a shuddering gasp than anything, and Marco felt Ace swallow thickly.
"You know" Marco's face was right beside Ace's collarbone. He bit down, and the tiny sound that passed Ace's mouth was more than enough of a reward. "I'm really enjoying this kind of celebration." He kissed the place he had bit Ace before and allowed himself to venture lower, exploring down Ace's chest, sucking and biting. "I think we should make it a habit. A little more frequently than annually would be a good idea, though." He looked up to Ace's face.
Ace's head was tipped back, throat bared. His lips were parted, halting pants passing between them. His eyes were closed and his hair fell back from his face, aroused blush painted on his cheeks. Marco felt his self-control slipping away by the instant and had to resist the temptation to throw Ace on his bed, tear his clothes off and fuck him senseless. An appreciative, possessive growl came out of Marco's throat at Ace's face. Seeing Ace like this was by far the most arousing experience Marco had had in years.
Marco, unable to keep himself still, resumed his oral exploration of Ace's chest. As his control began to further crumble, he grew more passionate, more frenzied. His mouth landed and he sucked hard on Ace's nipple, relishing in the sound Ace made in response. Marco's hands wandered up and down Ace's legs, back, and chest. Ace's breathing only grew more and more uneven, more frequently accompanied by tiny sounds that only pushed Marco closer towards the edge.
Marco's hand trailed down Ace's back, feeling Ace press into his touch. As Marco's one hand traveled lower, he traced the other partway up Ace's inner thigh and gave an appreciative smile when he felt the muscles in Ace's back tense as if he wanted to buck his hips forward, into Marco's touch.
"Mnh…M-Marco…!" Ace's voice, saying his name, no less, almost threw him into a frenzy. He bit down on Ace's collarbone, simultaneously wrapping an arm around Ace's waist, pulling him even closer. His other hand dropped from Ace's back, grabbing his ass. Ace's back arched in response, a moan sliding out his throat.
Whatever force had been keeping Ace still before evaporated and his head snapped down, breath coming in gasps. His eyes were open now, full of desperation, of need. He grabbed at Marco's shirt, pulling at it thoughtlessly, trying to push it from his shoulders. His movements were fast, desperate. Something needed to give, there was too much delicious pressure, he was going to explode…
Managing to finally get the shirt off Marco he promptly threw the offending material away, not bothering to watch it sail across the room. Ace set his sights on Marco's blue sash and golden belt next, but was cut short, throwing his head back as a throaty moan passed his lips.
One of Marco's hands was wrestling with the buckle on Ace's belt, the other massaging Ace's ass in his palm. His grip was almost bruising, but Ace loved it, needed it. He dimly realized his fingers were digging into the skin of Marco's chest, his toes curled. His breath came in ragged gasping pants, Marco's not much better.
Ace's back arched again as Marco squeezed his ass. Ace moved then, wrapping his arms tightly about Marco's neck, pulling their bodies flush against each other. He kissed Marco's ear and throat sloppily, lustfully, biting and sucking fiercely. His offensive move had Marco pausing for a moment, frozen in the pleasure for that instant.
When the moment ended his need was even greater than before and he pulled impatiently at Ace's shorts and belt, wrestling with the buckle. He finally got the damn thing unclasped and reached for the button and zipper. Ace, at this point, was gasping for breath, clutching Marco's neck-
Both froze where they were, Marco's hands on the button of Ace's shorts, Ace pulling his head back to try to draw Marco into a kiss.
"Marco I know you're in there. Open up." Thatch's voice came from the other side of the wood. Ace sighed.
"Fuck." He mumbled. He moved to climb off Marco, but Marco was unwilling to let go. Ace looked at him regretfully. "You know if I don't open the door he's just going to come in." Marco's face pulled into a scowl and he looked away.
"Fuck." His tone matched Ace's from before, and Ace almost laughed. Ace extracted himself from the chair and walked to the door. He grasped the handle and pulled it open, putting a bright, overly happy smile on his face.
"You know, we need you to get you a motherfucking crown." Thatch, surprised at seeing Ace and confused by his words, had his hand raised to knock again.
"Because you, good sir, just managed to win worst timing of the year award and cock-blocker of the century." Thatch glanced over Ace's shoulder into the room beyond, taking in Marco's shirt, hanging off a rather distressed looking ceiling fan, and Marco himself, still seated in his desk chair, glaring murderously.
"Oh. Oops." Thatch grinned back at Ace. "I will take that crown, though." They both laughed and the conversation took off from there. Marco didn't really listen to what they were saying, opting instead to watch Ace and think.
Damn Thatch and damn his bad timing. Marco was pretty miffed at Thatch. Of all the times for him to possibly come to the door he had to choose that minute? Marco didn't think there was much in the world that was important enough to ruin that moment, and based on the lighthearted nature of Ace and Thatch's conversation, he didn't think whatever Thatch was here for was on that very short list.
To be honest, Marco was surprised at how far he'd gotten with Ace. Ace usually pushed him away, gently but firmly, whenever they reached what Marco would deem "second base". Marco didn't blame Ace for that, and respected Ace's boundaries, when he set them. Today, though, had been different. Ace had seemed ready, like he actually wanted to go all the way. If they hadn't been interrupted, Marco was almost certain they would have had all out sex.
It would have been their first time.
When they had officially entered into a relationship about eleven months ago, Marco had been almost certain that Ace would be the one pulling their relationship further, moving them into new territory. At first Marco himself had been a little nervous. Before Ace he'd never had an intimate relationship with a man, and the concept had been foreign and a little frightening to him. He adjusted pretty quickly, though, and Ace had been gracious, giving him space when he needed it.
After a time, Marco became the one leading their relationship along, bringing the two of them to try new things and become more intimate with one another. Marco had been surprised by this, had expected that he would be much less willing to experiment with Ace than Ace would be to experiment with him. He'd been proven wrong, though, when Ace had started shying away from more extreme forms of physical affection. The reason became clear when Izou approached him about it about four months into his and Ace's relationship.
Ace was a virgin.
Izou had made Marco promise he wouldn't tell Ace that Izou had told him. It certainly explained a few things, though. Ace was nervous. It was perfectly understandable and Marco didn't blame him. Izou, along with making Marco promise not to tell Ace what he'd told him, had made him swear that he'd treat Ace well, promise that he'd never push Ace into anything Ace wasn't ready for.
Marco had been a bit outraged by that. As if he'd ever force Ace into anything that wasn't entirely consensual! He cared about Ace way too much for that and told Izou as much. Izou had merely smiled at his reaction and nodded with a simple, "I believe you." and left Marco to it.
Izou wasn't the only one who knew about their relationship either. They'd told Oyaji, and by now the whole crew knew. They'd never attempted to keep it a secret, but they were still very discreet about their relationship in public. They could be found occasionally holding hands in front of the crew, or sometimes Ace would fall asleep, head on Marco's shoulder, as they sat out on deck. Nothing even remotely passionate, though. They didn't want to make things awkward for their friends, so their affections in public were limited and chaste.
At first people had been surprised by the news. Some had found it a little unsettling or immoral, but over time things had settled down, and even if there were still a few people who didn't altogether approve, they could at least tolerate. Everything was going well. Marco was happier than he thought possible, in a relationship with a person he really loved, and he had a warm, supportive family all around. It was near utopian. If heaven exists, this must be what it's like. Marco thought with a smile. Because I can't imagine anything better.
"Oi, Marco! Earth to Marco! Do you copy? Over." Marco snapped out of his reverie and looked over to Ace. Ace had been waving a hand in front of his face, trying to get him out of his zoning.
"Hmm? What is it?" Ace chuckled.
"Oyaji wants to talk to you. Thatch said so twice, got miffed you weren't listening, and left."
"Oh." Ace ruffled Marco's hair and bent down, kissing his cheek with a small laugh.
"Space case." He straightened and turned, walking to the still open doorway. He looked over his shoulder back at Marco. "I have to go pack. I'll see you later, okay?" Marco was looking at him, an honest, warm smile lighting his face and eyes. "…What?"
Ace felt his heart clench and a fierce blush lit his face. He spun away, trying to hide the blush and the smile that accompanied it. "Sh-Shut up."
The afternoon and evening was a blur of packing and preparation, and it was beginning to get late by the time Ace was finished. He collapsed back onto his and Marco's bed with a weary sigh. Marco, seated at his desk not far away, was studying a report by candlelight, his reading glasses shining in the yellow-gold glow. Ace watched him for a moment, trying to memorize that pensive, absorbed look Marco got when he read anything.
"...You look sexy in glasses." An amused smile found its way onto Marco's face and he finished the sentence he was reading before turning to look at Ace.
"You think so?" Ace smirked.
"Know so. Now get over here. It's bedtime. That paper will still be there in the morning." But I won't. The thought made Ace sad and he pushed it from his mind, holding the smile on his face. Marco chuckled and pushed himself out of the chair, folding his reading glasses and setting them on the document. He bent slightly and blew out the candle.
Darkness swept over the room and Ace truly couldn't see anything. Marco had a window in his room, but the curtains were down, blocking all but a few lucky rays of moon and starlight. Ace's eyes began to slowly adjust, but even with his pupils dilated he could only barely make out the general shapes of large objects in the room. Marco liked it really dark when he slept. And Ace had above-average night vision, too. Marco's was just on a whole different level.
"Hey. Scootch over." Ace obliged, moving to the other side of the bed. Marco's night vision was better than anyone else's that he'd ever met. It was why he liked having his room so dark at night. Anything brighter was practically daylight to him. It made sleeping hard and was the reason behind his constantly half-lidded eyes. Opening them all the way in daylight was practically blinding and he would only open his eyes all the way in anything from mild candlelight to pitch darkness.
Marco settled himself comfortably on his side. Once he was still Ace didn't take long to move into his established place, back pressed against Marco's front, head near Marco's chin. Marco dropped his arms around Ace's waist, one above, one below, pulling him closer. Ace grabbed one of his hands, slipping his fingers between Marco's. Ace made a satisfied noise feeling the warm solidity of Marco's chest against his back.
Marco pressed his face into Ace's hair, inhaling deeply. Ace, as ever, smelled of cinnamon, black tea, and just a trace of wood smoke. Marco pressed a kiss into the top of Ace's head.
"Goodnight, Ace. I'll wake you up in the morning when you have to leave."
"Mnh." Ace snuggled his head under Marco's chin. "Why don't we just skip the whole "waking up" part, how does that sound?" Marco chuckled and Ace felt the vibration of it against his back. As Marco's quiet laughter subsided Ace gave a massive yawn and pressed further into Marco's warmth. "Well, in any case, I need to get some sleep. Goodnight, Marco. I love you." Marco kissed his head again.
"I love you too, Ace." Ace loved it whenever Marco told him he loved him. There was always something special about Marco's voice when he said it, a slight change in intonation. Every time Marco said those words that special note was there, and it spoke of deeper sincerity than just those words could convey, contained deeper emotion than the words alone ever could. 'I love you' was sometimes used for family or pets or very close friends, but the way Marco said it to him... it was more. It spoke of possessing but also giving, receiving without asking. The way Marco said 'I love you' seemed to say everything about you makes this world a better place to be. Ace loved Marco's 'I love you's because they said you're special and you're mine. But more than that, above all else, Ace loved it when Marco said 'I love you' because of what Marco was really saying beneath even that.
Ace had always hated goodbyes.
He stood on the deck of the Moby Dick staring out at the starlit sea. More people than Ace was expecting had actually woken up to see them off. By now he'd said his fair share of farewells and given plenty of hugs. It was beginning to depress him, honestly. Saying goodbye felt way too final. Ace like to think that everyone believed he was actually going to come back from this trip, but saying goodbye seemed way more serious than that, like he was never going to see them again. That was why he hated goodbyes. If he said goodbye to someone he wanted to actually mean it, and if he actually meant it that meant it was final and Ace didn't like finality like that. An insistent tugging on Ace's arm pulled him out of his thoughts and he directed his gaze in that direction.
Marco's face was serious, his blue eyes locking with Ace's. He nodded off to the side, indicating a place a little removed from the crowd. Ace followed where Marco led, up to the railing near the bow of the Moby Dick. He stopped beside Marco, leaning on the railing, staring out at the stars. A smile came to his face.
"Remember two months ago when there was that meteor shower? We sat out here all night looking for shooting stars. We must have seen hundreds." Ace closed his eyes, the memory floating back to him. His smile pulled wider. "The air was a bit hotter than it is now. It was June then. It was so quiet...like there was no one else. Just me, you, and the sky." He slid his hand along the railing until he found Marco's and squeezed it gently. "...I liked that night."
Marco made a quiet sound of assent and squeezed Ace's hand back. He tugged on Ace's hand, pulling him so they were facing one another. He swept some hair from Ace's face, sighing deeply.
"What am I going to do without you?" Ace faked a thoughtful expression.
"Well I assumed you'd be breathing and eating and sleeping and working, but if you've got something else planned I guess that's cool too." The mirth faded from Ace's eyes and he smiled softly at Marco, leaning into his hand. "It's not forever. I'll be back before you know it."
"Ace, just..." Marco's voice was serious, but he cut himself off, clenching his jaw and looking away.
"What is it?" Marco took a deep breath and looked back to Ace, meeting his eyes seriously.
"Don't do anything reckless, okay? Just..." Marco again trailed off. He closed his eyes and pulled Ace close, embracing him. He whispered the next words into Ace's hair. "Just promise me you'll come back home." Ace smiled into Marco's neck, wrapping his arms around Marco's torso, trying to sear into his memory exactly how he felt at this moment. The warmth of Marco's arms around him, the comforting, rhythmic thump of Marco's heart, and the feeling of being protected, of someone honestly and deeply caring about his wellbeing. It was a wonderful feeling, and Ace hoped he'd remember how he felt at this moment forever.
Ace watched the Moby Dick's fading silhouette against the dawn-red sky. He still fancied he could see Marco waving from the bow, but knew they were far too distant for that to be true. Ace turned away from his watching with a smile, spinning to look in front of them instead. He didn't need to look back. He'd see the Moby Dick again. It was his home, his place of belonging, right by Marco's side.
Because while everyone else had said goodbye, Marco had smiled and waved lazily, blue eyes full of confidence as he sent Ace off with three words, three words that meant far more to Ace than any goodbye ever could.
See you later.
(A/N: And there's the first chapter. Cheesy? Yup. But I love that stuff. :) Not going to lie, I'm a die-hard romantic. All the passionate, cliché romance, all that gooey mushy shit, yup. It's just so perfect. Cuz nothing like that really happens in real life, so why not enjoy it in fiction? Anyone who says they don't want their life to turn out like a romantic comedy is most likely lying.
But for those of you who aren't such big dopey fans of kisses in the rain and cliché lines, fear not! This chapter probably contains 85% of all the cliché crap that will appear in this story. I just couldn't help putting it in. C:
Ummm...yeah. To be honest we haven't even really gotten to the plot of the story yet, so if you don't like this chapter you might consider sticking around until the plot actually gets rolling, hopefully somewhere between chapters 4 and 6, if I had to guess. That's where I'm aiming for, anyway.
On a final note, I would like to implore absolutely all of you to review! You really make my day so much better and reviews inspire me to get started on the next chapter(s)!
Well...bye for now, I guess!