The Grand Line truly was a terrifying and erratic place for anyone to sail, either experienced or otherwise. The constantly changing weather and threat of attacking monsters were definitely something no one could ever fully become accustomed to, but one bit of advice most sailors on these seas come to accept wholeheartedly is to expect the unexpected at anytime. Not to mention a guy who had spent some of his childhood and most of his teenage years on these seas should know just how unpredictable it was, but right now Trafalgar Law was met with yet another horrible sea storm. The only difference between this one and the last three he and his crew experienced in the past hour alone was that if you were to take the strength of the prior storms, add them all together and multiply it by ten you'd still get no where close to the magnitude of this cyclone.
Law stood in a doorway leading to the entrance of the submarine, practically throwing his crew members that were outside in through the entrance as waves threatened to toss the vessel halfway across the ocean. He braced himself as one more wave toppled over the deck and washed a few unsuspecting men against the railing, drenching everything in its wake. Law cursed under his breath before dashing out into the storm, hauling the crew members to their feet and shoving them in the direction of the door. The men obliged quickly, eager not to waste their lives this early in the journey as they rushed for the entrance. The Heart Pirate's captain surveyed the area one last time, looking for any stragglers left behind before darting for the door as well. Suddenly, a large wave swept up the sub, causing it to tilt nearly ninety degrees in the air and successfully sending Law crashing into the railing he had just come from. Through the torrential rain and churning sea the pirate could hear a few men shouting "Captain" at the top of their lungs. Law glanced straight across the deck and noticed something large and dark slowly growing much taller than the vessel, extending hundreds of feet into the air.
The pirate captain let a grin of anxiety and fear creep over his expression before scanning the deck for anything useful that could float.
"Captain! Hold on!" Called a voice that sounded suspiciously like Shachi. Law cursed under his breath before laying eyes on a life preserver stuck to an outside wall of the submarine.
"Shut the doors!" He called to his crew members before climbing to his feet.
"Shut the damned doors!" Law swore under his breath again as his obstinate crew tried to save him when it wasn't currently possible. The pirate quickly made his way across the inside of the railing and reached up for the floatation ring. He yanked it from its fastenings and quickly shoved it over his head before the sky grew even darker. The last thing Law remembered seeing was the enormous wave cascading over the submarine before sending him tumbling into the ocean, successfully separating the captain from his ship.
Something seemed to be turning him in all different directions, as if he had jumped from the tallest cliff in the world and was now tumbling down the side, doing summersaults while plummeting to his death. Law suddenly sprung to attention, breathing haggardly and feeling as though he really had splattered on the ground after some cliff diving thrill gone horribly wrong.
"Looks like somebody's finally awake." An unknown voice commented off to the pirate's side. Law swiveled his head, meeting the eyes of another man. The stranger was casually sitting in an ordinary wooden chair, his purple shirt completely unbuttoned and showing off a large tattoo engraved into his chest. His head was entirely shaved except for a blonde tuft on top and his expression looked rather tired, yet relieved at the same time. Law couldn't help but think he had seen this man's face somewhere before.
"The name's Marco, First Division Commander of the Whitebeard Pirates." The man introduced himself. Law cocked an eyebrow, realizing the déjà vu he was currently experiencing was from a few wanted posters he had happened to read in the newspaper a little while back.
The Heart Pirate's captain glanced around, noticing the room he was in wasn't exquisitely decorated but also wasn't that of a third rate pirate ship. He sat on a fairly comfortable bed, his legs still covered with a warm blanket and he noticed a glass of water on the bedside table. Law turned back to Marco.
"Where am I?" He asked a bit hesitantly, the events from before he was rendered unconscious playing through his head.
"The Moby Dick, of course. A few of the crew members noticed you were just floating around in the middle of the water not moving and decided to pull you aboard. Good thing we did, or else you might be dead by now." Marco explained straightforward. Law scoffed at the thought of him dying out at sea now of all times, grinning as he swung his legs over the side of the bed before standing up.
"Then I guess thanks are in order." He stated calmly, noticing his clothes had also been changed. Marco gave him a skeptical look but dropped it for a casual smile after a moment, standing as well when his guest gave no signs of collapsing from fatigue.
"No need, we were just helping a fellow man." The division commander stated, extending a hand. Law followed suit and shook it.
"My name's Trafalgar Law, captain of the Heart Pirates." The pirate introduced himself. The other man grinned before turning away.
"Come with me, I'll show you around the place." Marco suggested, heading over to the door. The pirate captain considered it for a moment and decided to oblige before he realized he was still barefoot. Law looked around, finding a pair of shoes sitting next to his bed and began putting them on before replying.
"Actually, I was wondering if I could use a Den-Den Mushi to call my crew. We managed to get separated in a storm and they're probably wondering where I am." The pirate stood up again and approached Marco who began opening the door.
"Of course, it's just down this…"
"Division Commander!" Called a man who was running though the hallway. He stopped in front of Marco, a grave expression on his face which seemed to be infecting the blonde's features as well.
"What is it?" The man hesitantly asked, but it looked like he might have already had an accurate guess on his mind.
"It's Ace, his condition has just gotten worse!"
There was a tense moment of silence following the report. After a little while Marco regained his senses and cursed before turning to his guest.
"Sorry, it seems something important has come up. Squardo here can show you the way." He stated off handedly. Just as Marco was about to dash the same way Squardo had come from, Law grabbed the man's arm and held firm. The division commander glanced back at him with a look of confusion mixed with a bit of anger while the pirate began to explain himself.
"I'm a doctor, if someone's sick I might be able to help." The captain stated. Marco blinked a few times in utter shock before narrowing his eyes and speaking again.
"Follow me." The division commander ordered, quickly taking Law's arm in his hand and pulling him along through the hallways as fast as they could go.
Law removed his surgical mask, hefting a large sigh as he stood in front of his ill patient. Portgas D. Ace lay resting on a cot with all manner of machines running through his body showing the state of his organs and administering various drugs into his system. Marco, the ship's doctor, and another man named Thatch were the only others in the room since they couldn't exactly trust some random stranger who had shown up half dead only a few hours earlier with their weakened crew mate.
"Well?" Marco asked. The three men looked anxious beyond belief and hadn't stopped watching the rookie pirate captain's every movement since he first stepped into the room. Law had already come to a conclusion about his patient but was hesitant to relay his thoughts to the other men in the room because he knew he was about to be met with a lot of resistance from the second division commander's friends. After all, he wasn't entirely sure he even believed his own diagnosis. Prior to becoming the captain of the Heart Pirates, Law's past wasn't exactly what a typical boy experienced. For over a decade he had worked for the infamous pirate captain Doflamingo, traveling the world on the man's ship and in his adventures on the seas Doflamingo had made a pit stop at Gekko Moria's enormous vessel for whatever reason which had given the younger pirate doctor a chance to explore the ship and come across Dr. Hogback's research notes. Law vividly remembered reading novel upon novel of illnesses the likes he had never even dreamed of, which was where his current diagnosis of Portgas D. Ace originated from. But what was worse was that the theory he was basing Fire Fist's ailment off of hadn't even been proven yet, not even by the man who had first discovered it. Apparently Hogback had only come across it in some cadaver he had happened to dissect for whatever reason.
Oh well, here goes nothing.
"Disconnect all of the machines, get me a tub large enough to fit Mr. Portgas and fill it a quarter of the way with sea water." He instructed, walking over to the first of many intravenous lines and pulling it from Ace's arm. A hand clamped down on his and Law looked over to see the elder doctor glaring fiercely at him.
"Are you joking? Those are the only things keeping him alive!" The old man practically yelled at the other. Law narrowed his eyes and gruffly pulled his arm away from the elder doctor.
"These things are speeding up his untimely death; get rid of them now or get rid of your friend. And where is that tub?" The last part was directed at the two still sitting, torn between wanting to beat the life out of the guest pirate or believe his side of the story. Suddenly, both commanders snapped to attention and ran off to comply with Law's orders, bursting through the door and running down the hall. The pirate scoffed and returned to his work. But the Whitebeard doctor grabbed his wrist once again and thrust it away from the injured man.
"I told you to knock it off! What could a greenhorn like you possibly know about medicine?" The elder man demanded, gripping Law's wrist as if goading him to defy his superior's wisdom.
"Have you ever heard of The Devil's Virus?" The pirate captain suddenly spoke up. The elder doctor took a moment to see if Law was asking a serious question or not.
"Of course I have, brat. What respectable doctor this day and age hasn't? It attacks Devil Fruit users and causes their powers to become unresponsive; either a specimen loses its abilities or is consumed by them." The pressure on Law's wrist began letting up the longer the two talked but it seemed the older man was still in need of a bit more convincing before believing the younger's diagnosis. The elder doctor continued. "But Ace is showing none of the symptoms, nothing but a fever twenty deg…"
"Degrees high than his core temperature should be. Yes, I know. This must be a mutant strain caused from a parasite rather than a virus. I've only read about it in one of Dr. Hogback's research journals a while back, but I'm certain…"
"A theorized strain? And you're expecting me to believe you've managed to get your upstart hands on Hogback's research? How gullible do you think I am? !" Law was suddenly dragged away from the cot, being pulled towards the door by the surprisingly strong doctor.
"Do you have any better ideas? !" The pirate exclaimed, not exactly thrilled about being accused of trying to kill the second division commander of the Whitebeard pirates in front of the fearsome captain himself.
The older man stopped in his tracks, obviously battling between which to believe; a complete stranger or his decades of medical knowledge. Law swallowed heavily as the odds didn't look too good in his favor. Just as he was about to drop to his knees and hopefully win the man over with a bit of pleading, his wrist was let go of. The pirate stood still for a moment before realizing this was his chance. He managed to disconnect all of the IV lines and every machine except the heart monitor just as Marco and Thatch reappeared in the room with a very large tub.
"Set that on the ground there and come help me carry Mr. Portgas into the water." Law ordered. The first and fourth commanders both sent a glance at their doctor who gave the pirate a skeptical look.
"But if he's in the water won't that drain his strength?" The man questioned. Law let out a haggard breath, rapidly getting more irritated with their hesitation.
"That's the point. Right now Mr. Portgas' Devil Fruit powers are taking control of his body and cooking his insides. I would be surprised if he hasn't already developed some sort of mental defect with his internal temperature rising so quickly." At that bit of information, Thatch and Marco immediately sprung into action. They went to each side of the cot and gingerly lifted their friend while Law wheeled the heart monitor along with them. The two commanders gently set Ace down in the water and were shocked when large amounts of steam began to rise from the liquid as soon as Portgas made contact with it.
"That's only his Devil Fruit powers releasing. Mr. Portgas must have been holding them back with the remainder of his strength for some time now." Law stated reassuringly. But of course the news probably wasn't very reassuring to the doctor who hadn't been able to do anything for his fellow crew member. Trafalgar walked over to a drawer and began taking out many instruments and preparing a sedative only to be met with more resistance.
"Now what are you doing?" The old doctor asked.
"Preparing for surgery, obviously. By the way, prep the patient." Law said. It sure was nice having a completely competent and experienced assistant for his use. Which reminded him; "You two should get out. Unless you don't mind watching your comrade getting cut up." The pirate was also tempted to send the old codger away but decided he should probably keep the only one in the room, besides himself, with advanced medical knowledge around even if the old man did get on his nerves.
Marco and Thatch exchanged surprised looks before consulting their ship's physician again.
"What the hell does he mean "cut up"? What did we miss?" Marco asked exasperatedly. The doctor grumbled something under his breath but also followed the other pirate's lead in setting up.
"It's a parasite located in your friend's heart. If it isn't removed soon there will be no saving him." Law evenly stated as if he was just saying the time of day. The news caused Marco to blanch while Thatched looked as if he was about to pass out. "Of course we might already be too late, I've only ever read about this disease before and apparently it works very quickly." The pirate captain began setting knife after knife on a tray as he eagerly pulled them from several drawers. Marco took a step to regain his composure and also managed to steady Thatch as the man nearly toppled over.
"Don't you have any idea how to say these things in a more reassuring manner?" The old doctor chided. Law just doused a rag in his newly concocted sedative and approached Ace.
"I can reassure these two that if they don't get the hell out they'll also be getting a dose of this stuff to keep them unconscious for a few days." The pirate threatened. The two division commanders suddenly regained all sense of urgency and dashed out of the door, shutting it firmly behind them.
"Now then, back to the procedure."
Several grueling hours of endless surgery later had Law walking out of the room with a slight stagger to his step. He immediately noticed Marco and Thatch who were directly in front of him and had apparently found a couple of chairs in order to stake out the door. The men sprung up the moment the knob was turned, their expressions switching from anxious to absolutely fearful as soon as they saw the younger pirate doctor walk out severely lacking in color.
"Hey, what happened? You were in there for over six hours! You said it was just a parasite in his heart, right? Is Ace going to make it, will he be alright? !" Thatch asked impatiently. He had placed both of his hands on Law's corresponding shoulders and was looking right in the doctor's eyes with a puppy-dog expression, hopeful for some good news. Trafalgar narrowed his eyes and rolled the thirty-or-so sheets of paper neither commander had noticed were in his hands into a tube. Law smacked the role on Thatch's forehead unexpectedly, causing the man to back up with a perplexed expression on his face.
"Just a parasite in his heart? Do you know the odds of success for open heart surgery under such poor conditions as these? ! I had no prep time! I didn't even know what the hell I was doing besides basic surgery! These," Law explained, waving the heavily-inked pages at the fourth division commander's face, "are probably the only notes of successful medical practices on this type of parasite! In fact, they're probably the only valid documentation on it! I'll have them published as soon as I can get into some port town, might save somebody's life in the future." The pirate captain finally finished, calming down after ranting at the two extremely inexperienced men. The two commanders blinked with owlish expressions before glancing at each other and returning to gawk at the doctor.
"Don't worry, they have nothing about Mr. Portgas or anything to do with the Whitebeard pirates written in them. In fact, that old doctor didn't even want…" Law was cut off as Thatch grabbed his shoulders again and shook him a bit.
"Wait, what was that? Say that again!" The man demanded with a ghost of a smile on his still fearful expression. The pirate doctor raised an eyebrow and tried to think what exactly the man wanted him to repeat.
"I told you, there's nothing to do with…"
"No, no, not that!" Marco explained, also looking like a hopeful child about to receive a piece of candy. "You said it was a successful medical practice and those notes might save someone's life in the future, does that mean Ace is okay?" The two of them looked about ready to explode from the anticipation and Law found it quite hilarious that he had two of the strongest Whitebeard division commanders so easily under his thumb.
"Well, yeah. I thought that part was obvious." The doctor said offhandedly. "The old geezer is still in there making sure Mr. Portgas doesn't go unstable on us. He told me to step out and get some fresh air." Law suddenly realized that he was talking to a wall as Marco and Thatch ran around one of the corners and out onto deck.
"Hey! Everyone!" The pirate captain could hear Marco call out to what he thought was just a group of worried crewmates on deck.
"Ace is gonna be alright!" Thatch called out right after his friend. All of a sudden an enormous eruption of cheers rang out into the air at that bit of information. Law flinched slightly at the sound, wondering just how many people could possibly fit on this ship and were now on the front deck. From what it sounded like, there might also be a few other pirate ships docked around Whitebeard's main vessel, but the noise was just phenomenal. The doctor decided to check it out, leaving his notes on one of the chairs and peering around the same corner both Marco and Thatch had disappeared behind only to be met with a dozen ships surrounding the front of the Moby Dick along with what looked like the entirety of the Whitebeard crew out in plain view as well. Gun shots and canons rang out, signaling just how excited these people were to hear about Fire Fist Ace making it through his surgery. Law blinked, completely stunned at just how crazy these people could get over one person. Suddenly, two familiar figures came up beside the doctor and latched their fingers around his upper arms, successfully pulling him from his hiding spot and parading the pirate across to the bow of the ship. More cheering and gunshots sounded off as the doctor was brought out and introduced as the one who saved Ace. Law swore that if he was struck by any of these stray bullets he'd personally see to it that Thatch and Marco both experienced cruel and painful deaths.
Just as the words "cruel" and "painful" came to mind, the doctor was enveloped in a large group hug. Several pirates wrapped their arms around to embrace him, several pulled him into a side hug before messing up his hat and hair with "loving" noogies, a few punched him in the arm and Law could've sworn some even smacked him on his ass. Just as he thought the endless appraisal had ended, a very large man (whom Law recognized as Diamond Jozu) hoisted the doctor onto his shoulder and began marching him though the ship as the followers shouted out their excitement.
"Drink until you drop!"
"Ace is alright! Let's eat for his health!"
"Crack open the good stuff! This is a special occasion!"
What have I gotten myself into…?
AN: i had actually written this several months ago in hopes to some day integrate it into my other fanfic "Back Story" but obviously that's never going to happen. but good news! (or bad news?) only one more chapter to go unlike "Back Story" and "Consequences" ;)