He didn't bother hiding away from sight or being silent. Loud fast steps could be heard echoed wherever he went and the trail of blood and death left behind him did nothing to hide his location. But that didn't bother him. If more marines were to come he wouldn't care. They could only be of use if they could provide more information of where they put him. Where they put Luffy.
Another marine entered his path, just a grunt, and Sabo didn't hesitate in connecting his lead pipe with the marine's skull. The sound of bone crushing and then the marine falling to the ground, limp as a rag doll. Sabo took a moment to look around to make sure he was walking the same way the previous marine directed him before continuing through the base, his pipe still gripped tight in white knuckled hands. He could hear the commotion his arrival had made. The sound of feet pounding and marines yelling on the floor above him and in the hallway in front of him. He grit his teeth, jaw hurting, because the only thing all this fighting was doing was slow him down even further in his search for Luffy. So far, even though he had killed several marines, only 2 had been able to give him directions to where Luffy was and he still couldn't find him.
Sabo wanted to be mad at his brother, he really did. For being so reckless again and actually getting himself caught by the marines. His crew had told him this wasn't the first time but this had been the first time they couldn't find him themselves. He still remembers the call 2 days prior. It had only been a coincidence that he had been in the same area, so he remembers his surprise when they'd called him. Remembers the way his stomach tied itself into knots when he heard the worry and slight panic in their voices. Remembers himself feeling sicker and sicker and his chest getting tighter as Robin told him that it had been 3 days since they lost him in the middle of a battle and they still couldn't find him. Couldn't understand how this marine base could be so well hidden because they'd left shortly after the marines had fled and they still couldn't find him.
Sabo had asked her what she'd meant, and Robin elaborated. Telling him that they'd been battling the marines, which was nothing new really, nothing they couldn't handle. However they'd been in a similar battle a few days prior. A harder battle that they hadn't escaped from without injury and all of them were still healing. Luffy included. They'd started the battle together. Making sure that everyone was still doing fine after the prior fight before they started paying more attention to the enemies than each other. Luffy, like he always does, had seemed to gravitate towards the strongest of the lot and that was the last they'd seen of him as he went to battle the vice admiral of that fleet. They'd beat most of the marines when one man at the mercy of Zoro's sword had spoken up "You haven't even noticed that he's gone have you?"
Zoro had glared at the marine with his only remaining eye as he narrowed the gap between the marine's throat and his sword "What are you talking about?"
The marine had the audacity to laugh "Your captain, he's gone! And let me tell you it wasn't hard to catch him either! I would have expected more of a fight from the son of dragon but he went down with hardly a battle!"
"Where did you take him" Zoro asked though gritted teeth but the marine only laughed "Even if i told you you'd never find him!"
No one had stopped Zoro or protested against him as he made short work of the marine. And afterwords all they did was meet eyes, each of them looking worried and confused and panicked because they took Luffy. They took Luffy and now they had to hurry and get him back.
That had been three days ago however and they still couldn't find Luffy. Sabo couldn't blame them, even if a small part of him in the very back of his head wanted to. Because Luffy's nakama were stressed and worried and searching under every rock and boulder for him and Sabo would probably be the same if he'd been looking for 3 days with no luck himself. It seems he had a bit better luck however finding Luffy, at least the place where he's without a doubt held. Mostly with the help of koala and her reprimanding him every time he got wound up and agitated because "we need to find him NOW". They did find the marine base a day later. If Sabo wasn't already so furious at them for being able to drag out the time so much he would have complimented them on how cleverly it was hidden. However, all this hidden base did was let Luffy be kept in the filthy hands of the marines for 4 days and Sabo didn't like the way his insides twisted and turned at the thought of what those marines could have done in those 4 days. After all, they've got their hands on Monkey D. Luffy, son of dragon. And Sabo is not ready to loose another brother. Not the brother he promised to protect.
So when another noticeably larger group of marines ends up in his way yelling that they will not let him pass, Sabo's patience runs out. His reinforced lead pipe is gripped tightly in gloved hands and easily spun to jab an incoming marine in the ribs. The cracking of bone and wheezing of breath is barely heard as Sabo takes a step back to be able to knock out the next two marines. Only more follow and as much as Sabo would have enjoyed beating them within an inch of their life any other day, he's in a rush that day so he lights his hand on fire. Flames roaring and bursting and cackling and demanding to be let free and Sabo hears their calls and listens. Letting the flames go at the marines. Hearing them scream as the flames licks at their skin and burns and burns and burns and then silence as the only sound in the hallway is the roar of flames and then nothing as Sabo calls them back.
He's about to start walking once again when from behind the smoke a man comes forward, a man Sabo vaguely knows to be the vice admiral in charge of this base.
"I suppose it won't be too far fetched to guess that you're here for Strawhat Luffy, eh?" He asks, laughing to himself as if the though itself is funny "You're the chief of staff of the revolutionaries arent'cha? What do you want with him?"
"He's my baby brother'' Sabo says, and not much else is needed to be said.
A look of surprise crosses the marine's face and then amusement ''So he has another one, eh? Well I apologize but I'm not just going to hand him over to ya. I'm sure to get promoted to admiral if I hand him in. It's only a matter of time before the ship arrives to pick him up."
Sabo's grip on his pipe is tight enough to leave it shaking "Hand him in?" just like ace ''I'm afraid i can't let you do that. I'm not loosing another brother that way'' Sabo says and before the vice admiral can think it over Sabo has firmly planted his pipe into the man's side, sending him crashing into the stone wall of the hallway. Before he can even get up again Sabo lifts his pipe and slams it over his legs. Bones cracking and the marine barely holding back screams as Sabo renders his legs useless. Maybe on a normal day he could have stood a small chance, but not today. Not when Sabo wants to finish this man as soon as he can and find Luffy get Luffy oh god Luffy. His hand spreading into his signature dragon claw and firmly gripping the man's head. Not hard enough to crush it, not yet, but hard enough to lift the man up so Sabo can look him in the eyes "I would love to crush your skull right now but first I need you to tell me where Luffy is." and when the man uses a bit too long to answer Sabo tightens his grip.
"He- He's in the back! You- You can easily make your way there once you walk past the office!"
Perhaps the marine has been hoping that his honestly would spare him his life but Sabo wasn't that merciful, not to him. Sabo makes quick work of him and as he makes his way down the hallway he was pointed to he shakes his glove in disgust "I definitely need to buy new ones after this. They're covered in filth."
At least the marine was correct in his directions. Because it doesn't take him long to arrive at a room filled with cells. It's dark and cold and smells faintly like sea salt. Cell after cell he walks past, only being barely lit up by the torches on the walls, and every one empty. He's starting to wonder if Luffy isn't actually there when he finds a occupied one. He can't see inside it properly, it's too dark so he lights his hand aflame to see more. His pipe drops from the other. Clattering on the cold stone floor and rolling a ways away.
"Luffy" Sabo chokes out and he decides right there and then that death was too good for them. Luffy's hands are chained behind him in what Sabo knows is sea stone and is suspecting is the only thing keeping Luffy upright. His face hidden by his hair as he leans forward and Sabo feels himself shaking because his brother looks so small where he's sitting unconscious. Arms covered in both fresh and dried blood. His cardigan sticking to his skin and Sabo can see bruises covering his baby brother's skin. Bruises. Purple and yellow and brown. Covering his arms and his chest and his legs and Sabo is afraid to look at his face. The keys to his cuffs are conveniently hanging outside the cell on the wall and Sabo doesn't hesitate in taking them and hurrying over to unlock his cuffs. Being careful not to touch them himself. With only one cuff off he can see the bruised and bloody skin of his brother's wrists and with the second unlocked and nothing holding Luffy upright anymore he falls limply into his arms. Luffy's skin is hot and clammy and feverish against Sabo's own, but thank god he's breathing thank god he's breathing.
Carefully Sabo re-positions Luffy in his arms so he can gently lift his head and look at his face. Blood coats the tips of his fingers from when he brushed the hair away from Luffy's face and Sabo damnes the marines again and again and again because how DARE they. How dare they do this. If he could he'd kill them a thousand times over because Luffy's cheek is bruised a dark purple and a deep cut rests above his eyebrow and there are probably a lot more where that came from.
Sabo takes a deep shaky breath before gently trying to shake Luffy awake "Lu, Luffy please wake up. Luffy, wake up." and it takes him much longer than he'd prefer before Luffy starts rousing into consciousness and the first thing he does is flinch and try to get away, and it cuts deep into Sabo's heart and probably for the millionth time he curses the marines again. "Luffy it's okay, it's me. It's Sabo"
And finally Luffy looks at him, really looks at him and his eyes seem to light up as a smile widens on his face, an exhausted shaky smile, and in a croaky slurred voice Luffy says "Sabo! You're here." and Sabo feels his own smile waver but he keeps it strong yet gentle for Luffy "Yeah, I'm here.'' he says as he gently brushes away blood and sweat matted hair from Luffy's eyes again so he can lean down and gently kiss his forehead. ''Sorry I took so long''
Luffy shakes his head, lifting his shaking hands to grip at Sabo's coat the tightest he can ''It's okay. I'm just glad you're here. I wanna go home.'' He says, voice already slurring again with exhaustion.
Sabo nods, smiling the warmest smile he has, the smile reserved just for Luffy ''Don't worry. We'll go home and you can get lots of meat okay?"
Luffy nods, smiling back at him "Lots of meat."
And when Sabo stands up Luffy curls into him, hands holding onto his coat and refusing to let go even as he falls asleep again. And Sabo holds him close, protectively, as he makes his way out of the base. Stepping over the bloodied broken bodies of marines and finally, into the sunshine.
a/n: tbh after sabo crushed the guy's head i rly wanted to make the worst joke bc sabo says ''crush ur skull like an egg'' and i was like ''that would make a terrible omelette''