AN: This is a birthday fic for Law. Please read and enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece.

*A LINE BREAK…BEHOLD*

Nowadays Law had expectations.

He expected Lami sometimes, other times it was Corazon. Once he'd thought he'd open his eyes and find Doflamingo. That had been a petrifying moment, transported to that terrible time between his happiness, where he thought that destroying the world was his answer. It wasn't until he'd been taken away from the 'family' that he realized how painful fake happiness had been.

But most times he just expected darkness.

He sometimes lay in bed with his eyes closed, and figured, 'I'm going to look around and there's going to be nothing'. It didn't matter if he could feel the crisp sheets wrapped around his legs, smell Bepo's fur, usually freshly washed with pineapple shampoo or some other fruit scent (Bepo was partial to smelling like fruit), or if he sat there for fifteen minutes listening to the mechanical sounds as fans whirred and kept every medical apparatus in his lab functioning.

He most always had expectations for when he opened his eyes, and most often his expectations were of nothing. After all, what was left for him to hope for? Family? The false pacifying promise of violence and redemption? The harried beam of hope that shone from rekindled love and unexpected friendship?

He'd lost all that. Now he had nothing.

But at least he was almost never disappointed.

Today he had a new expectation. It was rather high, and that scared him. More than it should.

Slowly, he eased his eyes open, his heart beat racing with anticipation and sputtering with his attempts to quench that rush of hope.

It took a moment to grow accustomed to the dark. If he had felt like moving he could reach over, flip the switch and light up the room. But the moments it took for his pupils to dilate were a cushion between himself and reality. A few seconds extra that he could enjoy expectation before it was crushed beneath the boot of reality.

His eyes adjusted far too quickly, the darkness seeping into a lighter gray and outlines appearing in the gloom, lit not by sunlight but by minuscule bulbs that blinked in machines and displays regularly around his lab/cabin.

His breath caught. Outlines.

He lurched to the side, jamming his hand onto the switch and flicking the switch on. The lights hummed and responded immediately. Again his eyes adjusted, a cushion, but he didn't want a cushion, he wanted what he'd thought he'd seen, unaltered, now, in all of its reality.

For once his expectation was actual.

Bepo was laid out on the bottom half of the bed, slightly curled around where Law's feet stuck out from under the blankets that had come untucked in the night. The bear's breath tickled his toes with warmth. Closer to him was Shachi, upper half almost right next to Law's face, bottom half splayed out over the floor, fuzzy yellow socks on both feet, the Heart Pirate's jolly roger haphazardly embroidered on the ankles. Penguin was using the back of Shachi's knees as a pillow, his mouth hanging open and drool dribbling a little along his cheek, his hat oh so close to falling off. (Penguin would be mortified when he discovered this, he considered the birthmark covering his forehead to be absolutely hideous, and was known to bestow ill-placed kicks to marines who happened to jostle his hat.) Jean Bart was leaned against the wall next to the door, arms crossed and chest rumbling, a bit like a furnace. Obviously, whatever plan Shachi and Penguin had cooked up, they'd dragged the grateful muscle head into it as well.

Shachi mumbled in his sleep about whales and Law found himself feeling a little bad that he'd moved so fast and knocked his arm against him, he was nearly awake already.

Indeed, Shachi's eyes blinked open, and he gazed blearily at Law's amused expression before bolting up and pulling his hat down over his eyes, attempting to hide the blush that blazed across his cheeks.

"Captain! Uh…" He fumbled for a moment before he tried to stand, effectively knocking the already jostled Penguin to the ground. With a groan Penguin shot up and reflexively adjusted his hat as he stood next to Shachi, grumbling and pushing at the fabric on his head to make it look like he wanted it to.

The shout woke up Bepo, who lurched upward, messing with the balance and sending the mattress rocking as he tackled Law in a full on body slam. Bepo, at least, had no momentary confusion as to why the group had camped out in his cabin for the night.

"Happy birthday Captain!"

Law blinked through the face full of fur and checked his mental calendar. Bepo was right, it was today. Shachi and Penguin were both looking conflicted, as though half of them wanted to bolt away (this birthday plan of their's must have been cooked up at some ungodly hour that they did not consider the repercussions of entering his cabin) but the other half wanted to tackle both Law and Bepo with their own birthday congratulations.

Law offered them a wry grin, though they couldn't see it due to the large polar bear obscuring their view of his face.

"I recommend you do what you came here to do because turning back now does nothing."

Penguin and Shachi exchanged glances before Sachi's face split into a grin. The two of them came at him, arms wide, and they both echoed Bepo's previous call.

"Happy Birthday, Captain!"

Against the wall, Jean Bart snorted in his sleep.

Law smiled, hiding the expression in Bepo's fur (which may or may not have been smothering him). It was nice, he decided, to have subordinates (not really subordinates, more like friends) that care enough to celebrate his birthday. It was also nice that for once his expectations had had a chance of coming true. His crew would and will be there, they're not an expectation, they're a reality, always.

*A LINE BREAK…BEHOLD*

AN: Just a note, when this was being typed, Law's wry grin was mistakenly described as rye. This was changed, for bread is not a gift.

That is all.

Thanks for reading, please review. Happy Birthday, Law!