I decided to make a One-Shot where Luffy sees his scar for the first time after the war. If you haven't gotten through Marineford, then I warn you there WILL be spoilers. No yaoi, just some Law-doctoring-Luffy fluff. This is a touch OOC, but nothing major in my opinion. Anyways, let me know what you think! If I forgot any details let me know!
And thank you to XxFire-PhoenixxX for correcting my mistake with the yoi thing! Dually noted and appreciated!
One Piece belongs to the great Oda-sama!
Artwork is mine:3
Chapter 1: There Are Shadows In His Eyes
Luffy slowly blinked open his eyes. The room was hazy and cool, a sign that it was probably early morning. Lazily, he turned his head to the side, hearing his hair rub against his pillow. His precious Boshi was resting on the little table next to his bed, catching the light coming through the slightly cracked-open window. His head was pounding, but the semi-cool breeze was helping.
Closing his eyes for a second, he slowly tried to remember what happened before he fell asleep. He remembered that the war was over, that Ace was... Luffy swallowed thickly. He also remembered feverishly ripping out all of the various IV's that were delicately but firmly stuck in his rubber limbs. The breathing mask was also a liability in his escape from the blood, the screams, that horrible DREAM. As soon as the mask left his face, his breathing had almost instantly became ragged from lack of oxygen. Luffy also remembered violently bursting out of Law's submarine, and his time in the forest...
Rubbing his face with the heal of his hand, he groaned, trying to get the remainder of the crusties out of his eyes.
The sudden voice startled him, freezing his insistent rubbing of his eyes. Sluggishly, Luffy turned his head the other way to see someone sitting in a chair on the other side of his bed. The picture was blurry, but eventually he could make out a fuzzy white hat with brown spots on it, along with a plethora of tattoos.
"Law...?" Luffy wheezed. He had refused to put back on the oxygen mask, hence the difficulty breathing.
"You really shouldn't have left the infirmary – most of your wounds started to tear. Although, knowing your reckless behavior, I honestly can say that I half expected to sew you back up again."
Luffy shivered, even though his face felt like it was burning. He lightly clenched the thin blanket fighter in his fists, dragging them up just a little bit. "How..." He swallowed, trying to get the dryness in his throat to go away. Law noticed this and handed him a glass of water after Luffy half-hazardly pulled himself up. The raven relished in the cooling the water brought to his throat. "How long..."
"About ten hours." The Death Surgeon took the empty glass back and set it on the floor next to his chair.
Slowly putting his Boshi safely on his head, Luffy nodded slowly in understanding. At least it wasn't two weeks like it was right after the war...
An intense burning started to form on his chest, making him cringe and sweat a little more. Funny... he didn't feel anything like this right after he woke up for the first time... His hand couldn't decide whether it wanted to clutch his chest or not, so instead he settled for tightly clenching his shorts and itching the air above the thick bandages circling his torso.
Law must have noticed the confusion and pain in Luffy's face that he was so obviously trying to hide. "That's also the reason why you have a fever."
Luffy's eyes now bore into Law's with a mix of curiosity, increasing pain, and, deep underneath, a touch of fear. Luffy was almost silently pleading for an explanation for the immense fire-like pain that just wouldn't ease up.
The surgeon sighed. "Can you not feel it? You were severely burned, you know. It's a good thing you were unconscious – the pain could have made you go into shock by itself."
Of course. The rubber man stared down at his bandaged chest, face blank. "Who was it?" He asked in a soft voice.
Law paused, hesitating whether or not to say that the person who permanently scarred the young man was also his brother's murderer. The surgeon sighed again, deciding not to hide the truth from Straw Hat. "Akainu."
It felt as if Luffy was punched in the gut. Fire. There was fire everywhere, coming from the ground, coming from the sky, coming from his brother. Or more specifically, the fire wascoming from the massive hole that was ripped through his chest, quite obviously tearing out his lungs and obliterating his spine; the shaking teen could see the magma-coated admiral quite clearly through it, much to his horror. Blood. The red life-force liquid was EVERYWHERE, pulsing out of Ace with every weak heartbeat and dribbling onto the stony ground in front of Luffy's slight form. His flesh was cooking, and this one smelled entirely different from the meat that Sanji cooks – maybe that was because he was fully aware that the GOD AWFUL smell was coming from a human, his BROTHER. He desperetaly tried to move but his legs wouldn't work; instead they just twitched under his body as if unsure of what to do. As soon as his brother was falling, however, his legs made one last successful move to catch the falling Shirohige no Kaizoku. The blood was warm on his hands as it bubbled past his fingers. And after his last brother's final words ("For loving me, atigatou!") were forced passed bloody lips that were wet with tears, his throat was raw and burning as broken sobs were ripped out of his lungs. This feeling, of utter DESPAIR and HOPELESSNESS, oh God, oh GOD-
He was jolted out of his own mind. He wasn't on the battlefield, he was in the infirmary (a different one than the ICU down on the lower levels of the submarine, which was in disarray at the moment...) and Law was staring at him. Luffy's heart was jumping and sputtering, as if it forgot how to work properly, and for once since this whole fiasco he wished for the breathing mask. The burning only seemed to increase on his chest – why did it hurt so much more now that he knew it was HIM that gave it to him? He was wheezing – he knew he was – while clutching the bandages on his chest, semi-ignoring the tight, hot burning it brought.
Through his pain-filled haze (both mental and physical) he could hear Law get up and bring something over to him. "Straw-hatter!? Oi! Mugiwara-ya?! I need you to breathe, okay? You have to breathe!" Something was shoved into Luffy's hands, and, along with Law's own, was brought up to the raven's face.
Cooling air was coming out of the mask, easing his aching lungs gradually. More so out of instinct than anything, Luffy clutched the breathing mask with a primal need, greedily sucking in oxygen. After making sure the bandaged boy had a grip on the mask, he let go and took a seat back on his chair. The kid's eyes were wide and watery, and his chest heaved. Once the oxygen started to work, the desperate need for the mask started to gradually fade, but he still kept it pressed against his face.
"Well, since you're awake, I guess now's a good time as any to change your bandages." Wide chocolate eyes gazed at him, clearly not wanting that, but too tiered to argue. Luffy just watched him as Law went to grab saline solution, antibiotics, and bandages. He wheeled a silver cart in as well.
For some reason, even though it was hard to admit it to himself, he was scared. Scared to see the mark that will forever remain on his skin, a constant reminder of his failure. Scared to get a glimpse of what happened after he became unconscious. Scared to once again remind himself that it WASN'T a dream, but instead horrible, twisted reality.
Law gently pried away the thin sheet that Luffy wasn't aware he was gripping up to his chest with one hand, while the other was still clutching the breathing mask, and resting the fabric on Luffy's legs. Once the blanket was removed, the Mugiwara no Sencho moved his hand to gently grip the bandages on his chest, refusing to look the medic in the eye.
"I'm going to have to get at it in order to clean it," Law stated matter-of-factly. Although he tried his best to sound bored and neutral, worry was so lightly hidden in his tone it was almost not noticeable.
Clenching his jaw and finally relenting, Luffy let the Death Surgeon carefully start to remove the bandages that circled around his rib cage. The more bandages he took off, the more Luffy could make out red through the white cotton. When the last few layers were being removed, some spots around the red were a yellowish color, and the smell that arose from it was sickly and slightly putrid.
"Che, damn. I knew it would be infected..." Law muttered. By now Luffy had taken off the breathing mask to get a better look at his chest. The smell made his stomach churn, but he refused to look away. He owed it to himself... to Ace. His aniki gave his life to save his – he had failed in rescuing him. It would be a slap in the face to see a visible, solid reminder of that broken promise, but he couldn't run away from this. Not anymore.
The second the last of the bandages came off, and the wound was exposed to see, Luffy promptly threw up on the floor. Even though he only saw it for a second, the detail and the shape had been sealed into his mind.
The wound was gruesome. His flesh had literally been melted away, leaving warped muscle and blistering skin. The edges were crusted with blood clots, while the center was shiny from moisture and white in places from infection. There were a few, sparse areas where thin, shiny pink skin had started to form, but other than that the wound was still pretty much open.
The worst part was the shape. Now a giant X dominated his chest. It almost seemed to be mocking him, saying, "Hahaha! X marks the spot! This is where your brother was impaled! Look here, everyone! Here is the failure!"
It hurt, too. It hurt a LOT. Not only was it hot from it being a burn wound, but since it was open and exposed it was really cold too. He really wanted to press his hand against it in hopes of easing the pain, but on the other hand he didn't dare touch it.
A cold towel was offered in front of his face and Luffy graciously accepted it, whipping away the remnants of sick and sweat from his brow. Law then moved to clean up the sick before it could get in the way in the future, watching the straw hat boy with concern.
Throwing away the filthy towel, Law went to move back in front of Luffy. "I still need to clean that, so you don't have to look."
Luffy shook his head, the towel still pressed against his mouth. "No... no I will..."
Law raised an eyebrow. "You sure?"
The raven shakily nodded his head.
The surgeon grabbed a soft cotton cloth and doused it in saline solution. "You should lay down." Even though it was phrased as a suggestion, Luffy wasnt dense enough to know that it was more like a command. Complying, the bandaged boy carefully eased down while trying his best to not stretch (for once) his damaged chest. The second his head was close enough to the pillow, he let the rest of his body flop on the matress, sighing in relief as the pain of moving his exposed wound slightly let up. Law allowed him a second to catch his breath as he prepared a saline solution. "You can't move, Mugiwara-ya; it'll just make it worse for you." But as soon as the cloth touched the middle of the wound, Luffy flinched and hissed through his teeth.
Every time Law lifted up the cloth, it was coated in pus and thin blood. "Damn, guess this is what I get for not cleaning it within the past 72 hours... And would you hold still?! It was so much easier to treat you when you were unconscious..." He muttered the past part under his breath.
"You treated me when I was out?" Luffy asked, voice still a little shaky.
Law replied in annoyance, "How else would your wound get clean?"
The raven lowered his head. "Oh..." He was quiet for moment, not counting the few gasps that escaped his lips every time Law went over the middle of the wound, where it was the deepest. "Sorry..."
The surgeon looked up curiously. "What for?"
"For you having to take care of me for two weeks... For not being stronger–"
Luffy was cut off when Law put one of his hands on the young man's shoulders. "You don't have anything to apologize for, Mugiwara-ya. You practically went – no, you went through hell to save your brother–"
"But I didn't!" Luffy shouted. Tears collected in the corners of his eyes. "I didn't... I'm sorry... I'm so sorry..." The surgeon could tell the boy was trying to suppress sobs, and wondered who exactly he was apologizing to. He had a good feeling on who it was, though.
Without saying anything else, Law finished cleaning the remaining blood and infection from Luffy's chest. Law had antibacterial burn cream that he gently smeared on the X wound.
The rubber man visibly relaxed and sighed as the cream started to relieve some of the intense burning and itching.
Clean, soft cotton gauze was wound around his rib cage again, making the wound disappear behind white again.
Luffy's eyes started to drift close, but before they shut all the way three pills were put into his sweaty hand. He looked up at Law tiredly. "What're these for..." He mumbled.
"For the infection and for your fever." He handed the re-bandaged boy a small glass of water for the pills. Luffy took them without complaint.
"What was the third one for?" the raven asked after he handed the cup back to the surgeon.
Law collected the soiled bandages and put the rest of his medical equipment on the silver cart, starting to wheel it away. Wide eyes followed him and watched as he stopped right outside the door. The surgeon looked over his shoulder. "For pain."
Luffy gave a slight smile. "Thanks, Torao." The Mugiwara no Sencho yawned then, his wide mouth stretching even wider. "I wanna go outside."
Law furrowed his eyebrows. "You should be resting."
Luffy pouted, somewhat resuming his regular behavior. "But I'm not tiered!" He whined as he tugged the sheet of of his legs and swung them over the bed. "It feels like I've been in here for forever!"
A tick mark appeared on Law's forehead as Luffy strutted right passed the surgeon and started to walk out of the door leading to outside. "Che, shoulda known he wouldn't stay put..." He muttered. "Oi, Mugiwara-ya!" He called after the boy. "If you open up your wound I won't sew it back up again!"
He just heard the rubber man laughing as he rounded the corner and left the ship.
Law couldn't help let the slight smile form on his lips. "Kuso gaki." The smile faded almost as quickly as it appeared, though. "You've been through so much..." He turned away to finish cleaning up the small mess that was still in Luffy's room.
'Will he be able to recover from this?' The Death Surgeon thought. 'And if so, how much of his former innocence will be lost forever?' One thing was for certain: Luffy will never be the same as he once was. Akainu made sure of that.
After finishing cleaning up, he went to stand on the deck of his submarine, watching the rubber man happily chat away with Rayleigh and Jimbei. He wondered how much of it was an act.
'Be prepared for one hell of a recovery, Mugiwara-ya. Good luck – you're gonna need it.'