Inspiration: Cover ( pixiv member_ ?mode=medium&illust_id=36231591) and Doujinshi ( lawlu-otp .tumblr post/56425618977)
This is a co-work with Moonlight-Lullaby4427
The door opened with a gentle sound before being closed again just a few seconds later with a quiet click. The noise and the noticeable presence of Doflamingo let Law flinch but didn't elicit any further reaction of him. The face hidden between his entwined arms he denied to look at his new old 'master'.
Ever since Luffy had to pay the highest price possible for his failed plan and this room had been assigned to Law he hadn't spoken a single word let alone paying attention to anything in his immediate environment – much to the annoyance of the former Shichibukai. He was sure Luffy would have chosen a much more conspicuous way of protest but this form of resistance was all for what Law could pull himself together.
A new wave of guilt swept over him as he once again remembered Luffy's motionless face and his dull, blank eyes otherwise so radiant with joy and friendliness. He couldn't bear their sight anymore; it tore his heart apart! As the now strangely familiar pain once again burned through his chest, he moved involuntarily his legs closer to his body before he was torn from his painful thoughts by a body behind him and Doflamingo's voice rang out: "Good morning, Law-kun."
A brief moment, Law was surprised whether it truly was morning again – whether he once again survived a day without being really alive. But then he found it to be unimportant. Dully, he heard the rustle of clothing behind him, accompanied by Doflamingo's distinctive laughter but didn't pay too much attention to it just like to everything in his current life and turned his gaze away from the man. He didn't want to see anything of him.
Suddenly, he heard a ridiculously high pitched voice which he recognized slightly as Doflamingo's after a short moment. "Hey, Torao! You alright, you alright?" Slowly, Law gazed back to the other side to find out what the other tried once again to tear him from his lethargy; everything so that he could use him once more for his purposes. Dimly he saw a small figure that hovered a few inches from his face. Law hesitantly turned his head and stared apathetically at the little doll that Doflamingo let float and wave with his devil fruit's ability.
"Don't be so sad, Torao!" That name. It burned like fire through his veins and made his heart ache. Slowly, Law recognized the straw hat on the head of the little puppet that further waved with both arms, and the familiar red vest combined with blue shorts. Luffy.
Without him really noticing it his eyes filled slowly with tears as he looked at the doll. Even the scar that he himself had treated had been painted in a darker color on the fabric skin. His hand reached out to the tiny figure on its own, his eyes full of longing/yearning; Law could no longer hold back these feelings anymore, they ate their way through his heart to the surface of his being.
"Lu … ffy", croaked Law as his eyes filled further with all the held back tears of the last few weeks and his fingers almost touched the puppet. He wanted to touch Luffy again only one time, holding and protecting him. Making up for what couldn't be changed anymore. Luffy had died because of him and would never laugh again for him – never shine again. He wished so much that he would still be with him; would not have left him alone. His sun was extinguished but he still longed, no hoped for the light in the darkness of his life. This doll was an irresistible promise of warmth.
But before his hand could reach the fabric of the puppet, Doflamingo pulled it away from him and back into his hand using his threads. Law followed with his eyes as the tears finally flowed down his cheeks and his body was shook with the suppressed sobs, finally turning to the man who had taken the only joy in his life. Luffy's murderer. Doflamingo looked at the doll thoughtfully before he casted a searching glance at Law. Then he sighed. "Honestly, Law-kun. If I had known that you would miss your little toy that much I would have let it live a little bit longer …"
A toy … Yes, that was all what was let of Luffy: A small toy doll in Doflamingo's hands.
Luffy stared at the bizarre scene right in front of him. It was like he was in a movie gone wrong: Law stood in front of him, his sword in his hand and a serious expression on his face. His position gave away that he got ready to attack. Behind him sat Doflamingo on a piece of stone with a distorted smile on his lips. He had his hands put out wide and his fingers were bent like claws.
"Stay where you are, Luffy-ya!", screamed Law. The panic in his voice couldn't be overheard.
"But Torao, what are you doing? We are friends, aren't we?" asked Luffy with a confused expression on his face, "Why are you ready to attack me?"
"I'm not!", was bellowed back, before laughter sounded behind him. The young captain took a look behind his comrade to the Shichibukai. The blonde laughed happily while he pulled his hand back and Law changed his fighting position simultaneously.
"He's right, little Straw Hat~ Your little play pal would never ever lift his sword against you. No, that's me!" he explained as he let the hand snap forward and forced Law to attack Luffy. Latter dodged out of pure reflex and cowered on the ground watching. The doctor looked like every move was pure agony. If that was physical or psychical nature couldn't be noticed.
"What did you do to him?" Luffy hissed and glared. Now he was really angry.
"Aww, someone is worried about that traitor?", Doflamingo piped and smiled, "I just did to him what lies in his nature: He's my puppet. He's been my puppet since the day I brought him here. He was mine when he founded his crew. I played with him when you first met. But I have to admit; by that time he began to develop some really stubborn quirks.
"He's controlling me with his devil fruit's ability!" Law explained because he knew Luffy wouldn't make some sense out of formerly said things, "He's a puppet master who leads humans against their will."
"Ah ah ah, Law, you mustn't tell him that~ You're taking the fun out of it", the Shichibukai said with a displeased expression, spread his fingers and forced his victim to tilt his head far back as if he wanted to break his neck. No wonder that the doctor went silent with a rasping sound.
"What are you up to, Mingo?!", Luffy growled at him with anger clear in his eyes.
"I'm gonna force Law onto you", the blonde meant as he loosened his grip on the young man in his care so that he could finally breath again. "He will be the one to kill you."
Law stared right in front of him without focusing on anything. He should kill Luffy? That's … That's something he couldn't do under any circumstances! Everything … Everything but that!
The younger one straightened up and shot a dark glare at Doflamingo: "You'll never be able to do that. Law's too strong to let you take advantage of him and force him to kill me."
"Awww, take a look at that, you've gained yourself a fan, Law~" the man laughed forcefully and made his 'doll' regain its attack stance "Let me tell you something, Straw Hat: You're overestimating him. He's not as strong as you might think he is~"
As if he wanted to prove it he dragged both his arms apart and thus made a circular movement with his hands which let Law rush forward and make one attack after the other.
"GET DOWN, LUFFY!" the attacker screamed loudly and performed a blow with his sword that could've easily cut off the boy's head "On my left side! Right! Right again! Jump!" The younger one might've been able to dodge but it continuously got harder to get away without being hurt. It had been a bit easier to get out of harm's way with the doctor's instructions but the smooth movements and hard pushes of the sword were still very dangerous. Law didn't gain his high bounty for nothing.
When he gained a cut to the side while he didn't pay enough attention, Law screamed: "Just run away! Leave me behind! It's better than killing you!"
"I won't go without you, did I make myself clear?" Luffy growled and pressed a hand to the wound while once again dodging.
"But … What about your comrades?! If you die here they'll be without captain!"
"Well, then I mustn't die here!" Luffy answered with a dangerous smile and got ready to attack "Gomu Gomu no Pistol!"
He was lucky: His attack was very effective and disarmed the swordsman. Before latter could regain his weapon while being led by Doflamingo, Luffy jumped in front of his foe and gripped him by the arms.
"I won't die here. I still have to care for my friends, you know? And I have to show you how beautiful it is to be free!" The smaller one smiled and looked at him with the sweetest expression he had ever seen.
"Luffy …" Law sighed and starred down at him. He couldn't believe what a great amount of self-esteem the little one had.
"But you mustn't give up either? You got that?" Luffy asked softly, reached up and pressed a long kiss on the doctor's lips.
After he pulled away and once again stood solidly on his two feet, he opened his eyes. What he saw swiped the blessed smile from his face.
Law stood there with tears in his eyes, bit his lips and had his eyebrows furrowed.
"I'm so sorry, Luffy."
Soon after, the boy felt a strong burn in his chest. Shocked he looked down on himself and noticed a big square hole. His legs gave out beneath him and he sunk to his knees while his hands touched the place where his heart should be beating.
Meanwhile Law vanished from his place right in front of him and paced behind him. With half openedeyes the boy watched the movement of the other captain with a pretty blurred eyesight. He walked to a little box lying only a few meters away from them. What was that? Was it … his heart …?! Luffy felt dizzyso that he had to steady himself with his arms while the background was filled with Doflamingo's maniac-like laughter.
"Didn't I tell you that he isn't strong enough? He was and will always be my little puppet. You may have driven him into rebellion but in the end he'll always come back to me, Straw Hat" the Shichibukai proclaimed happily and let Law stop right in front of the heart "He'll ALWAYS be mine."
"Law …", Luffy croaked and stared at him with tired eyes, "Don't do that …"
"I … I'm so sorry, Luffy" Law exclaimed looking over to his friend desperately as he lifted his leg "I beg of you … Forgive me!"
The Straw Hat boy heard nothing more because shortly after that the body part crashed onto his heart and crushed it underneath. While Law could hear exactly when the body of the boy fell the last bit to the floor and caused a dull sound, he could only stare in shock on the blood puddle in front of him, where his leg still stomped onto the heart as if it was still beating.
With a devious laughter which would haunt Law even into his dreams, Doflamingo released his hold on him and let him be free again. Immediately the man dashed to the lifeless body of his friend and hugged him tightly to his body.
"Luffy … Luffy …! Say something!" the doctor begged and shook him harshly, "Please, Luffy!"
But that mouth gave no more answer. Dead eyes stared at him through barely opened lids, his skin lost its soft brown tone it formerly owned and got pale.
Hot tears ran down Law's cheeks as he tried a few more times and shook desperately on Luffy's shoulders begging him to not be dead.
He couldn't be dead.
He wasn't allowed to be dead.
But he was.
Law knew he was.
"LUFFY!" Law screamed at the dead body and let out all the agony spreading inside of him while Doflamingo's laughter got louder and louder and thudded in his ears like something that took pleasure in his pain and wanted to say "It's your fault".
The red liquid dropped like a steady clockwork from Law's hair while his fingers frantically tried to get the thread through the eye of a needle. Gingerly he grabbed the ripped off part of the doll and lead it to the glaring hole with shaking hands. Foam gushed out of it like blood and vitals from a wound. He had to silence a desperate sound in his throat when he saw Luffy without his left arm right in front of him; hurting and bleeding and most likely in pain.
The first stitch cost him quite an effort – the fear to hurt him even more or to cause him more pain ate away at him. But he knew he had to help him. When he finally fastened the thread and was about to place a new stitch he heard a soft and faint murmur. It took a moment for Law to realize that it was his own panicked and desperate voice which talked insistently to his precious.
"Don't worry, Luffy. Everything is going to be fine. I won't let you die again!" He placed another two stitches and fixed the arm to the torn skin bit by bit. He was a doctor; he surely knew how to patch up people, yet he still couldn't stop the uncertainty rising in him. Would it be just like before? Was he good enough for that? Law tried to silence these doubts. He was the only one there and he wouldn't let anyone else touch Luffy. He had to be good enough!
Just a few seconds later, he had the arm reattached loosely to the doll. The seam wasn't perfect yet and barely provided support for the injured arm but if he would strengthen it, it would surely last and stabilize the wound even in the future. But he paused when he was interrupted by a stertorous breath not far away from him.
Law only had to look asquint at the corner of the room to spot the body which was covered all over with his own blood. The former snow white walls were now soaked with a bizarre red and even Law's clothes and his hair were coated with the liquid. As a doctor he should have rather treated the dying person on the ground than the lifeless doll, simply because of responsibility, but Law would've liked to squeeze the life out of him a bit more.
He dared to hurt Luffy!
Law was happy to have bumped into him. He didn't like to imagine what that bastard would've done to Luffy after he abducted him from Doflamingo's private chambers and took him away. Not once was Law allowed to visit him without the Shichibukai's presence. And he needed him to survive. Luffy was the only one that let him bear the situation he was trapped in. He wasn't alone with himself, his pain and sadness. Luffy would always be there for him and comfort him; he knew he was. And he wouldn't let anyone erase this light in the darkness. Rather, he'd blow out the attacker's life.
With a few last movements Law tied a tidy knot at the end of the threat on Luffy's arm and cut it off thoroughly and carefully. He didn't want to risk tearing up the wound again. Worried, he let his gaze wander over the doll; searched for further injuries or some other alterations but couldn't find anything besides the fresh suture. A relieved smile crossed his features and without thinking about the dying body in his immediate proximity he pressed the doll against his heart. "Thank goodness!"
His relief vanished as soon as Law heard footsteps coming his way. They were near. Doflamingo was on his way over here; his haki told him as much. He surely wouldn't be pleased about this mess and the massacre of one of his subordinates. Law remembered the words which the blonde man had burned in his mind with an evil grin when he had finally let him out of his room for the first time with a fearful shudder. "Always do as I say like a good boy, Law-kun. Or otherwise … I might feel like cutting your lovey's head off."
His heart sank as he though back to the scissors around Luffy's neck and the sheer despair and raw fear that passed through his body at the thought of losing him again – this time for good. He couldn't give Luffy back to him now! Who knew what he would do to him? From the desperate reflex to conceal Luffy from Doflamingo's eyes and thus perhaps to escape the cruel punishment – to protect him –, he hid him in his trouser waistband behind his back just as he could feel the presence right in front of the door. But deep in his heart he already knew he wouldn't be able to fool Doflamingo; that his efforts were in vain. If it came to the utmost he would have to give him back his light voluntarily to at least hope that he would forgive him.
When Doflamingo entered the room it didn't seem as if the sight that greeted him surprised him that much. He glanced briefly over the walls and the ceiling, both dyed in bizarre patterns, then over the body on one side of the room and finally to Law who was standing as far away from the walls as possible to avoid exposing Luffy to the dripping blood. Without saying a single word, he lifted his arm and pointed his hand with splayed fingers to Law.
When Doflamingo activated his devil fruit's power, Law flinchedand closed his eyes. He reopened them only a moment later disbelievingly when he felt how Luffy was taken from him. As he saw him floating through the room back into Doflamingo's hand, the fear nearly crushed his heart and took his breath away. But he calmed down a bit when he saw the smile on the man's face and how he grasped Luffy with his long fingers. By far not carefully enough but not too rough either. He wouldn't hurt Luffy.
"I'm forgiving you, Law. But just this once" Doflamingo warned with his typical coldness in his voice and Law understood the threat immediately. The Shichibukai turned around to leave the room when something seemed to come to his mind and he once again turned to Law. "Clean this up!" Law couldn't prevent a worried gaze afterLuffy when Doflamingo left the room with him. Would he really be fine? He wished he could have an eye on him; take better care of him. After the door closed with a softly audible sound and the presence of his master disappeared from his mind, Law fell feeble to the ground. He nearly lost Luffy two times today. He couldn't bear this anymore! His mind was made up. He had to leave; as far away from this place and Doflamingo as possible and take Luffy with him … to protect him.
He had planned everything down to the last detail. This poison was tasteless, for a remarkable doctor like himself easy to synthesize and when the symptoms finally set in after two days it was all over. And Law was aware that it would start to take effect at any moment.
It was actually pretty cowardly that he wanted to eliminate Doflamingo using this drug but he had it coming. He had to die. There was no excuse that he had murdered Luffy and now also had the little doll under his sway. The final blow, however, would be performed by the doctor himself. The puppeteer should know whom he owed his death to. He owed his beloved as much.
Law slowly walked along the dark passage, accompanied by the sound of his own footstep and the tortured groans behind each door. He hadn't only poisoned his former master. No – this time he made sure everything went right. This time everyone who could prevent his plan would bite the dust. He wouldn't act so careless again.
At the end of the corridor was Doflamingo's bedroom and Law's hand clutched tightly around the scabbard of his sword in order to suppress the joyous trembling. It would be over soon. By the end of the night he would have his loved one back in his hands. His useless death would finally be avenged.
His serious face was chiseled on his face as he slowly opened the ajar door and looked down at the Shichibukai kneeling on the ground. "Law … What?" The man brought forth with great effort and showed him his pained face. "What-What is this? D-Did you … do …?"
A smile played about the doctor's lips when he heard the anguish in the voice of the man who had destroyed his life. "Indeed: This is my doing" he said with a diabolic smile. "Why?" groaned Doflamingo whose veins already loomed on his forehead.
"Because you took my most precious person from me" explained Law and nearly stalked to the desk nearest to him before he pushed himself on top of it and sat down with crossed legs. "And the other day you even took away the only thing that gave me the courage to face life again. Since I can't trust you I must kill you now before you'llmurder Luffy again."
"You-You've gone completely crazy" gasped his opponent, holding his chest. "You're one to talk" Law replied without wasting a look at him before he pushed off the edge of the desk and came to stand before his victim. "You're killing people just because they don't suit you anymore. Because they changed. What was with Bellamy? You nearly killed him just because he underestimated someone. And you say I'm crazy because I want to avenge and take back what rightfully was mine? Very nice of you."
The doctor drew his sword from its sheath and brought it into position: "Don't worry: You won't die from the poison. I'll kill you in person." Just as he raised the weapon over his head and wanted to whiz it down, Doflamingo leaped to his feet and stabbed him with a dagger in his shoulder.
Law drew back slightly in his shock and stared at his opponent. He shouldn't be able to move anymore. The poison had a paralyzing effect or did he remember it wrong? He gritted his teeth while he made something clear to himself: This was one of the most dangerous Shichibukai. Of course he wouldn't be defeated by the drug so easily.
"Heh … If I die either way I'm gonna take you with me" Doflamingo laughed dangerously and went into battle position, still breathing heavily. "Try it" replied Law and did the same.
The fight took longer and was harder than Law could have anticipated. But in the end the inevitable happened: Doflamingo was defeated. His whole bedroom showed deep cuts which emerged because of the relentless fight. The furniture had been destroyed. Yet, there he laid in the middle of the continuously growing pool of blood with a sword in his chest. His breath stopped only a few minutes ago and the doctor's hands were still clenched around the hilt of the weapon.
The only noise in the room was Law's heavy breathing. He did it. He … did it! Finally!
He stood up with shaking legs and in the process ignored the pain running through his limbs. He himself received many injuries, but it was worth it. Finally Luffy was safe. No psychopath would ever hurt him again. That's what he would make sure of personally!
Suddenly, he was reminded of something with a start: Where was the little captain anyway? Panicking he let his eyes roam through the room until he found the miniature Luffy lying on the ground. Slowly he walked towards the object and dropped to his knees as he reached it. With bloody hands he lifted the doll gingerly and held it in his hands. The blood was seeping through his destroyed clothing, but that was of no matter. The only thing that mattered now was this little angel.
Hot tears streamed down his cheeks as he looked at the thing he fought for. It was like a knot inside was bursting. All this self-hatred, all this tension, all these charges … When he realized that he finally did it, they were blown away with the wind. Finally Luffy and he were free.
"We did it!" Law mumbled hoarsely when he nudged the doll with his nose, "Did you hear that, Luffy? We are free!" With shaking arms he pressed his lovey to his chest while tears flowed once again.
And for a short moment Law could have sworn that there were these warm hands once again which he had once felt so often: Luffy's hands.
He had to do this, Law kept telling himself while he wrapped himself tightly in his coat and forced his body through the crowded trade routes of the nameless town – at least for him it was nameless. Law didn't read up about the next island's name or how even one of its towns was called. He long ago lost the strength to be interested in such trifles …
The only thing that still got his attention was that he slowly but constantly came closer to his goal; the intermediate stations which he had to endure hardly faced him. Even the crowds which took away his breath while he forced his way through them consisted only of gray, faceless beings. He didn't see a single person; they could have been ghosts just as well.
The closeness in this crowd was uncomfortable nevertheless. Uncomfortable enough that he had considered the possibility to up and leave for his journey without further food several times. The heat of the many bodies overwhelmed him and hiding his figure under a black cloak and a hood wasn't helping to cool him down either. But this was the new world and you could never know when you would reach the next island. Even he wouldn't survive longer than a week without food. He had to buy supplies.
Determined to get over with this whole matter and finally be able to set sail as soon as possible – fortunately, the log pose needed only a few hours to compute its new course on this island – Law headed for a stand nearby with pickled vegetables and fruits and cured meat. Originally, he had wanted to buy cured fish too in order to have a balanced nutrition during his journey but he doubted that he would have enough patience to do so.
When he pushed himself between the people whose closeness almost thickened the air into water, Law felt panic rising within him. He felt his heart begin to race and his lungs burned with the urge to gasp for air. But he fought the anxiety. He couldn't afford a panic attack in a crowd. In a desperate attempt to calm down he let his right hand wander under his coat to a front pocket just above his heart. His fingers found soft fine-meshed fabric. Luffy. He was still there.
A wave of calm got hold of him and drove away the fear as he clarified that he wasn't alone. Abruptly, images appeared in his mind, flashed and disappeared just as quickly, but they were comforting images. Law would have never thought how much solace it would give him to imagine how the young Straw Hat would have enjoyed himself in this mass of people, how he would shine and laugh while looking at the stands with shining eyes. And as much [as] the idea encouraged and further calmed him at first, the more painful and unbearable this place became for him when he realized that he wouldn't live to see something similar ever again. That Luffy was dead and yet continued to live on only for him. Only in his mind and in his heart.
He couldn't endure this place any longer. Without buying anything, Law cleft hastily and violently a way to one of the small side streets that almost seemed deserted and ignored the indignant shouts and painful cries of those who he had pushed roughly to the ground. He ran away and he knew it. But Law was too desperate to be ashamed of it.
When he was finally able breath again, Law leaned against the brick wall of a house and tried to somehow get rid of the burning pain in his heart. It brought tears to his eyes but he wouldn't cry here. It wouldn't do anything to cry for Luffy; it wouldn't bring him back. When his efforts were of no avail, a dry sob escaped his lips and without realizing it, his hand clenched his shirt just above his heart. The pain on his skin distracted him a little bit from the one inside of him but he forced himself to let go. He crushed Luffy.
"You'll stay with me, won't you?" Law murmured as if to himself. "You'll never leave me again, right?" He didn't expect an answer. He knew that Luffy hadn't left him alone voluntarily and he knew that Luffy would even now do anything to protect him and stay with him. Now that he was free again.
When the pain finally subsided and left Law to think clear again, he decided to give it a second try. Maybe this time, he'd manage to get to one of the stands and get a chance to buy something at all, he thought with a bitter smile. He wished he wouldn't have to eat. Did the dead need to eat? That thought almost made him laugh.
Law pushed off the wall with another deep breath. He didn't want to go back to the booth where he failed miserably because of his feelings, so he decided to try his luck on the other side of the alleyway. But before he had even made two steps he suddenly bumped against something warm and stumbled a few steps backwards. He felt a gust of wind on his face when he lost his hood. It took Law a few seconds to comprehend that he bumped into a human. Admittedly, it was impossible to not hear the furious clamour of that person.
"Oi, did someone gouge your eyes out, or what? If not I'll get it done for you!" A few more obscenities followed but Law decided to just ignore the stranger and push past him to finally get away from this island. Before he could even begin to, he was rudely pushed back by the shoulder and then grabbed by the collar. He was forced to stand on tiptoe; the stranger had to be taller than him. Slowly, this idiot got on his nerves …
"Where do you think you're going you –" The sudden interruption puzzled him but he only gazed properly at the person when he heard an incredulous voice call out his name "Trafalgar?" When Law forced himself to look at the man's face and to actual notice him, the fiery red hair caught his eye. It was unruly and stuck out in all directions, only prevented from falling into the person's eyes by a pair of pilot googles. Pale skin and thin lips that had been traced with black colour joined the eye-catching hair colour just a short while later.
He knew that face – he knew the person behind it; not that it would have made a difference. He felt equally indifferent towards him. Nevertheless, he felt compelled to respond. "You wouldn't happen to have the kindness to let me go, Eustass-ya?" Of course, he didn't even think about it. Instead, laughter echoed through the alley.
"What a coincidence to meet you here! Then we can sort out which of us is the stronger one at last!" Law lifted one of his eyebrows in old manner. Didn't that idiot ever think of something else? "Not interested." The fist which his opponent had already lifted to deal the first blow hesitated. Then it sank a few centimeters.
"What did you say?!" Kid's voice sounded equally surprised and angry. Though 'angry' wasn't exactly describing his facial expression. He was furious. "You heard me" Law said quietly and grabbed the wrist of the hand that still held his collar. But Kid's grip around the fabric only grew even tighter and Law felt how all the breath was slowly squeezed out of him. "Do you think I'll let you have a choice?" In his rage he lifted Law a few inches further so that they were nose to nose.
Just from the corner of his eyes, Law saw how something tiny fell out of his coat and dropped to the ground not far from him. Luffy! He lost Luffy! Immediately, Law tried automatically to take him back to himself but was held back by the hand around his collar. Out of pure instinct he tried again to break away from Kid, this time with more force. When he didn't come free, he involuntarily turned his gaze away from Luffy and to Kid while nearly crushing said man's wrist with his own hand; he heard the bones creak. He should finally let him go!
Law held his breath when he noticed that Kid's gaze was glued curiously to Luffy. "A straw hat?" he muttered before he finally let go of Law and pushed him back in the process – away from the doll. But before he could even try to take a few steps forward and retrieve Luffy, Kid beat him to it and bent down to the puppet. Something snapped in Law. Before he even knew exactly what he was doing, he had his Nodachi pulled out of its sheath and held it against Kid's throat when he reached out for Luffy. "Don't touch him."
Kid straightened up a little puzzled but remained still as the sword blade followed him and broke the skin on his neck. A small trickle of blood ran down the pale skin and seeped into his collar. "That doll is supposed to represent Strawhat, isn't it?" He took another hard look at Luffy, then fixed his gaze on Law and studied his face. Law knew that despair and anger loomed on his facial expression but he couldn't bring himself to hide his feelings. Kid averted his gaze with a frown and ran his hand over the small wound.
"Too bad, I had thought he would be my final opponent at the end …" he said with a nod to the doll and looked at Law from the corner of his eyes "There are far too few people like him in this world." He grinned. "But at least now I know how I can get you to fight me." When he bent down again to touch the puppet, Law was no longer satisfied to only hold his Nodachi's blade to his throat. He dealt the first sword strike in months against someone.
"There's no other being like him in this world." And thus the fight Eustass Kid longed for began.
Law didn't know what exactly he was doing here. Their task hadn't really been to cross the town square but to walk around it and meet up with the others once they were there. But the captain of the Straw Hat Pirates had to have a mind of his own and disappeared – without a single word – towards the marketplace. He hadn't had any other choice but to retrieve the erratic young man.
Now that he stopped in front of a stand while watching the Straw Hat as he joyfully beamed at the goods, he had to admit that the trip perhaps hadn't been such a bad idea after all. This way you could at least enjoy the cute joy in the face of the younger man. A sight Law would never come to dislike.
"Torao, what do you do standing around there?" Luffy's voice rang out and yanked him out of his thoughts abruptly. "Don't you want to look for something, too?" Only now the elder noticed that he loped towards him.
"Ah, don't worry, Luffy-ya. I've got everything I need" Law denied. A smile crept onto his face as the smaller one came to a halt mere inches in front of him and gazed at him with a happy grin. Too cute.
"Now, don't act so coyly!" urged the Straw Hat and took him by the hand "It can't hurt to forage a bit. Maybe we'll even find something you like?"
Without waiting for an answer of Law the rubber man stormed off and pulled the doctor along by his hand.
"Chopper said there's a bookstore over there! Surely there'll be something for you. And Robin said …" Luffy chirped happily but the swordsman already stopped listening to him. Actually, everything else had moved out of his focus as well. The pain that usually surrounded him and the dark thoughts that haunted his mind – as an overwhelming warmth spread through his body, it seemed to banish all this and he forgot everything else around him. Nothing in the world seemed to exist anymore. Nothing except the almost radiant form of the young captain who had experienced so much in such a short lifetime.
Many people claimed that it would be hard to not get won over by the dominant personality of the boy. He wouldn't have considered it possible if he hadn't experienced it himself. And he had to say that it felt good to be near Luffy. To let himself be won over by him wouldn't be so bad after all. Would it?
He had finally arrived. His last destination sprawled before him in untamed wilderness with high mountains shrouded in mist, long forgotten ruins of an ancient civilization and the sounds of animals which had taken control of the area. He had finally reached it: Raftel.
Mesmerized, Law let his view slide over the indomitable nature of this place. The roughness and lawlessness of these forests, only towered by an eroded dome which clung to the mountains, gave him the feeling as if somebody had spread out his deepest inner before him. An eternal struggle for survival – regardless whether you won it or lost miserably. Law wasn't sure what applied to him …
Luffy would have loved this island. He had always been fascinated by wild nature and deadly animals where everyone else would have run away in fear for his life. Even sea kings hadn't been able to scare him. He had once asked him how it came to this after the crew had told him of his many strange 'pets' and Luffy had told him with the with the most joyous beaming apparent in his face of his native island in whose rivers lived giant crocodiles and whose forests were ruled by deadly bears and big cats. And suddenly Law had felt irrepressible admiration instead of the usual annoyance for his fearlessness.
He was pulled from his thoughts by the sound of a launched cannon. When the cannon ball hit the ground with an audible sound just meters away from him, Law turned around and realized that the about six marine warships which had followed him here had successfully sunk his little boat in which he had reached the island. He couldn't leave Raftel any longer and this was probably the reason why the Marine had targeted the small nutshell – it was only thanks to his devil fruit's ability that he had survived the storms of the New World in the unsteady ship at all.
With an impatient clicking of his tongue, Law leaned his Nodachi against his left shoulder and went with hasty steps further into the interior of the island – to the dome which dominated so inconspicuous and yet majestically over the island. He had no intention to go toe to toe with the marines.
He had to force his way through the densely overgrown forest which slowed him down considerably. It bothered him a little to think that the soldiers could catch up with him because he had to cut through the vines and fallen trees but he pushed the thought away. In a brief moment of rest, Law untied the laces that held his cloak and threw it in a part of the forest without paying further regard to it. He left enough traces in the thicket – it wouldn't do any harm.
"Do you see this, Luffy? I made it …" Law breathed as he climbed over a fallen log when the doll which rested in his front pocket finally could see its surroundings again. "You always wanted to reach this island, didn't you?" He didn't enunciate many things but he knew that Luffy understood him anyway. That he would realize his dream as long as he stayed with him. And that Law would never stop as long as Luffy wasn't what had been provided to him by destiny; a future that was taken from him by Doflamingo: To become pirate king. He had atoned for his death and now he had to avenge his future.
And soon he would see Luffy again. Just the thought of it brought tears to his eyes but he refused to shed them. He had to survive far too long without him, had to wait far too long to meet him again. It had been unbearable and painful but he had to endure it and continued to live, even though he just wanted to sleep forever and escape the world.
With a jittery movement of his arm, Law tried to clear his view and noticed that he had reached the center of the island in his trance. He raised his eyes and let them slide over the ruin which he had already seen from the beach and staggered him despite its dilapidated condition and the holes that penetrated the walls. An archway which had once contained undoubtedly wooden gates served as the entrance.
But before he moved to enter the building, Law turned around and tried to make out whether the marines had already landed on the beach and maybe even followed him through the woods. It was nearly impossible because of the cries of the birds though; at worst he would have to hurry. Without wasting any more time Law went up the few wide stairs to the entrance and finally stepped through the gate.
With a few quick glances he took in the great hall – left and right of the marble stone path that ran like an eternal carpet to the back of the room were magnificent colonnades that were decorated with rotten paintings. But his focus was entirely on the end of the hall – the point everything in the room seemed to portend.
Law walked with slow and awestruck steps towards it though his impatience and yearning drove him to go faster, his eyes glued in front of him like otherwise only Luffy could.
There rested a massive, marine blue stone in the form of a cube. Law hadn't had to be able to read the ornate, intertwined characters to know that it was a porneglyph that probably contained the true story of the world which they had once lived in. And he couldn't shake off the feeling that, even though Luffy probably wouldn't have been able to read it, he would have understood this wisdom at least. That opportunity had been taken from him as well.
He tore his gaze from the porneglyph and set it on the lithic throne in front of it. It was perfect – so much more perfect than he could have ever imagined. Here it should happen, here, Luffy's fate should be fulfilled – and his own as well. Gently, Law settled on one of his knees and lifted Luffy from the safety in his pocket before he put him on the throne. This was Luffy's place. And Law alone crowned him here – to the king of all pirates.
He closed his eyes when his feelings overwhelmed him. At last it was done. Finally, he could let his tears flow. They poured hot over his cheeks when a sob freed itself from his throat and floated through the hall. In Doflamingo's captivity everything fell into place. He suddenly knew that there was something that would bring Luffy back to him. When this desire had placed itself in his thoughts during the first days after that fateful day he had banished it into the darkest corners of his mind. It hadn't been the time for it.
He had always known that the little doll which had even accompanied him to this place until now wasn't alive. He had known that all the emotions and promises he projected on it were only a macabre game of his mind. That this doll wasn't Luffy. But still, he had deceived himself voluntarily just to be able to endure the pain better. Without the sun, a world perishes – and without Luffy Law would perish. He had to cling to the doll, to hold it tight, to protect and love it to be able to live at all. To be able to endure his own survival. Without light, everything is dead.
But he would now part ways with it; he would finally embrace his Luffy, hear his laughter – see his smile again. He hadn't been able to accomplish this before his arrival here. But now it was finally time. He heard the marines run on the cobbled ground in front of the ruin. They were here. It was perfect. Through his tears a laugh rose from Law's mouth, echoed in the dome and came back as a bizarrely distorted noise that send cold shivers through the body. The marine was a fool. He had never intended to leave this island again. He was at home here – because everything here was Luffy.
He closed his left hand lovingly around Luffy's body of cloth which had kept him alive for so long and gave it a grateful smile. He had done much for him. The smile still lingered on his face as Law pulled a long dagger from his waistband and thrustit in his stomach without hesitation. As a doctor, he hit his abdominal artery with precision, but not without pain. It shot through his body and cleared the smile from his face as a gush of red blood spilled on the marble and colored it pink at first, then deep red. He heard how the first soldiers walked through the gate and how the sound of their boots changed on the ground. They were near. Then a carpet spread itself over his hearing and he felt the cold overtaking his body. The gaze fixed on the doll, everything went black.
He floated in a black nothing when he did his last breath at the feet of the pirate king. And as he slowly saw a white, warm light overtake his vision, he was fully content when he heard a familiar voice: "Torao!"