Yay, it plopped out.
(Continuing the constipation analogy.)
Boi: Thanks for dropping a review. *grin* I thought so too, that was part of what made me write this thing - Bakugo is indeed the Angriest and The Coolest Dude. His POV is seriously one of my favorites, and does fit in the bombastic-style OP-verse pretty well. There were other reasons too, but well, I'll keep those to myself for now. Hope you enjoy. :)
What the hell is the Pirate King
It was his third day in town.
"Hey, wasn't that guy with Fire Fist Ace earlier?"
Katsuki just caught the snatch of conversation, from a seedy-looking pair crouched in the alleyway behind him, and paused. He half-turned, letting his eyes catch on them, and grinned the devil's grin when they startled.
Then he turned around all proper, walked to the men, leaving his hands loose in the air, a threat, and a sign of readiness for combat. He was in town alone this time – Ace had gone off to explore and ask about his younger brother "Luffy" deeper in the city – and Katsuki was making the most of the opportunity.
"You talking about me?" he said bluntly, leering at them with a nasty half-grin as he looked them up and down. He'd seen them loitering around all day, sneaking around the alleyways in the dark. He was confident he could take them.
The men exchanged looks.
"Well," the smaller one started, voice high-pitched and thin. He was skinny like a rat, and had a ragged black-brown belt to match, all lopsided and too big for his girth. It'd be easy to catch it in a fight. "We just heard you were with that Whitebeard pirate, that's all."
"You got a bounty?" the bigger man, fat with hair tied into big lopping braids, asked brusquely, looking at him in the eye as he hovered over Katsuki.
Katsuki sneered right back at him.
"Why the hell should I tell you?" he asked. He sure as hell didn't have a bounty, of all things. "You interested in Ace, or somethin'?"
"Or somethin'," the bigger man agreed loudly, looming forward, leaning into the argument.
"Catching him's gonna earn us a loooot of good rank," the smaller one agreed, a smirk on his face as he reached a hand towards his back, like he was about to grab a weapon.
"Look here," Katsuki said, not able to help the smile that stretched across his face in anticipation of the upcoming fight. These guys were just small fry, he was sure of it, and in the past days he had learned that this country didn't seem to have any rules against releasing his pent-up aggression against thugs. "That guy rescued me. I owe him. So if you got a fight with him, you have a fight with me."
"Ooh, he rescued you," the bigger one sneered, before abruptly leveling a gun on him with a chink. "Come on, let's take this arrogant shit," he said to his partner.
Katsuki grinned viciously.
Knee bashing time! He leapt forward, one knee crooked forward, the other trailing behind him in a streamed line to conserve velocity. When he was appropriately close to the man's face, he twisted midair, pivoting, and bashed his other knee cap into the man's face before he could blink.
Score! He watched as the big man's face bent backwards, felt a satisfying crunch, and felt a visceral satisfaction. He outstretched his hands, feeling the itch in them build as sweat and exhilaration pooled on his palm. And I wasn't even getting serious yet, he thought, noticing rapidly as the larger man crashed to the earth.
In the same motion, as he fell, he pivoted to the smaller one, sending a large concussive blast his way with an outstretched hand, causing the thin man to fly out into a nearby stall in the main street, stopping only when his back caught onto the thin wooden rail that propped up the stall. Katsuki saw but didn't pay attention to the angry merchant raising a fist in his direction. He was sure small fry like those two would have backup.
There was a scuffle behind him, a foot sliding on hard sand deeper in the alleyway, and with a wild grin, Katsuki turned around, eyes locking on his new target. There. This time, he came in with his hands, explosions popping, and the first one was enough to take out the thug. Luckily, there was another one behind him, emerging out of another corner alleyway, and it was with a ferocious glee that Katsuki went after him too, knocking him down with an concussive blast, jumping over him as he went after the next one, then the next.
Soon, the area was disappointingly empty, bodies littering the ground – singed, brutalized, but alive. Smoke scattered around in the air, and Katsuki inhaled the heavy scent with relish, never feeling more alive as he whirled around, still looking for the next opponent.
When he found none, he had to admit his disappointment. He looked down at the fallen, limp men, nudged one with his foot, then scoffed. What was with this weak-ass small fry?
Did they really think they could've beat Katsuki?
One looked like he was still awake, trying to crawl away while he wasn't looking, so Katsuki kicked his head down onto the concrete, till he was sure to stay down. It wasn't hard enough to crack his skull, but he was sure to get the message.
Finally, sighing to himself, he turned and emerged out of the alleyway, back to the main street where an angry merchant was wringing the rat-like man's shoulders, angrily shouting at the thug, who limply dangled in his grasp, ashen and a dazed look on his face.
When the merchant saw Katsuki, his scowl grew bigger, the furrow of his eyebrows grew deeper, and he dropped the thin man and began marching towards Katsuki. He held a long, wooden stick in his hands.
"You idiot boy!" the man shouted, waving the stick at Katsuki. "Fighting in the streets! This is my business!" He spat. "Keep your pirate hands out of my work. We everyday folk have lives to live, you know." He shook his head, nose creasing angrily, before he spat on the floor again, in front of Katsuki, and stomped back to his stall, and Katsuki felt…
What the hell? It was obvious those guys were thugs, up to no good. Hell, earlier he had seen one of them nab something from a stall, without being subtle about it at all. Instead, the big thug had grinned then shook his holster until the merchant had paled and let him have his take.
Wasn't it shitting obvious enough that they were the bad guys?
"Hold on, old man," he said, catching up to the merchant, scowling as most of the adrenaline high left him. "I'm not a shitting pirate, and you can't tell me you didn't think those two were shifty as hell. If they weren't going to try something now, they sure as hell were going to later."
The man shot him an incredulous look, then looked him up and down.
"Stupid boy," he then muttered, giving him a nasty look. "If you're not a pirate, then get out of that garb before the marines arrive, or worse. You'll only get yourself hurt, dressed up ridiculous like that."
Katuski scowled. He happened to like his costume, having designed it himself.
"It's a hero costume," he said shortly. "Know what a fucking hero is?"
The man looked at him, a near-perfect repeat of the earlier incredulous expression, then he barked out a near-surprised laugh.
"A hero?" he said. "Kid, heroes don't exist." He shook his head, a twitch in his lips like there was some joke he knew that Katsuki didn't. "It's all just crooks, liars, and greedy men like me trying to make a living. Now, let me go on your way and leave me alone, you foolish boy."
Katsuki stared at the man for a long time, but the merchant didn't wait for him to gather his wits. Instead, the man simply laid his staff onto the tarp of his stall – after giving the rat-like man who was still huddled on the floor a sharp rap, prompting him to scurry up and scuttle away – collected his wares in front of him once more, and began shouting, "Here, here! Trinkets, baubles, and carved jewelry the like of which you've never seen! An exclusive deal, today only! Here, here!"
A couple of turbaned women were immediately attracted by the call, splitting off from the roaming crowd to look over his wares. It was obvious the fight was forgotten quickly, because the ladies and the merchant were soon chattering and bartering like nobody's business, like a synchronized dance that everyone except Katsuki understood. Katsuki watched for a long moment, before tearing his eyes away, and stomping forward, past the merchant's stall without a second glance.
Eventually, after having gotten one too many wary, suspicious looks himself, adrenaline from the fight fully out of his system, he found himself taking the merchant man's advice and approached a modest-looking stall with a scant amount of clothing hanging from a rack. As he held one of the robes up in the air for his purview, he thought it would protect him from the desert sun better, anyway. His bare shoulders had already started burning red for all the time he'd spent out in the sun.
"You got the money for that, sir?" the merchant at this stall asked warily, when he had held up the clothing for long enough, inspecting it. This merchant was opposite to the one previous; wheras the jewelry merchant had been all harsh lines and sunken cheeks, this one was all portly curves and bright cheeks.
"Yeah," he said, lowering the robes. He dug into his pocket, reaching for the coins Ace had given him to spend, then hesitated. "Five hundred berries," he said. The price tag had read a thousand.
The man laughed. "You are swindling me!" The man's gaze turned serious. "Nine hundred."
"Six hundred," Katsuki tried, but the man's face then grew contrite. His eyebrows furrowed together in a mournful gesture, and clucked his tongue and shook his head.
"Now, now," the man said, wagging a finger. "It is obvious that you are a foreigner and don't understand what you are doing. I will take pity on you, but do not imagine others will be so kind. 850."
This only made Katsuki angry. If the man hadn't said all that, he might've let it go – he didn't really know how much the money the robes were worth after all – but now –
"Six hundred fifty," he bit, matching the man's price decrease.
The man's eyes widened in surprise.
"No, no," he said. "That is not the way. I will be run out of profit if I take a deal that low, you see."
"Six hundred fifty," Katsuki repeated evenly, meeting the man's eyes temporarily before the other man filched his own away.
"Then you shall not get a deal," the swarthy man proclaimed, crossing his hands. He shook his head again. "I see that you are a troublesome foreigner." He paused. "However, if you are so thrifty, might I instead suggest this other piece of fine cloth," he reached out, and pulled out a robe that appeared near-identical to Katsuki. "For this one, I can accept your proposed price, no matter how lousy a deal it is to me."
Katsuki eyed his original choice, then the one the man suggested, wary.
"What's the difference?" he asked gruffly, not wanting to betray his ignorance but having found himself forced to.
"The weave," the man shrugged. "I imagine it would not make such a difference to a foreigner such as yourself."
Katsuki stared at him for a long moment. At first he wondered – but no, he refused to play into the merchant's game and feel out of his depth. He would take this, head-on.
"No," he said. "The first one. 650."
The man's gaze relaxed as he looked at Katsuki. He dropped the other piece of clothing he had held.
"Very well," he said. "I say 800, you say 700, let us meet in the middle, yes? 750?"
Katsuki scowled, but said, "Deal."
Katsuki handed him the money, counting out the coins carefully. For his part, the merchant watched, before handing him the robe and recounting the money. Katsuki immediately draped the robes over his hero gear, not wanting to bother with carrying around any parts of his suit or underrobes.
"You have spirit, boy," Katsuki heard, and once he had gotten his head through the hole of the robes, he was startled to realize the merchant was talking to him. The clothes merchant gave him an affable smile that did not quite meet his eyes. "But it may be wiser to bend sometimes, yes? For even the young sapling can beat the large oak in a storm."
… the merchants here seemed to really like giving cryptic advice.
Katsuki stared at him, then shrugged uncomfortably. As he left the store, he gave the merchant a one-handed wave, but found himself with a lack of other words to say.
He wondered briefly if he preferred this strange behavior to the fake-polite smiles he often met in his home town at the counter. Then he decided that both were just shitting annoying.
When he was back out on the street, he immediately noticed the difference. While the greater amount of clothing was stifling, he immediately felt much cooler, the sun no longer beating down on his skin. There were less stares, too, and after some more minutes of walking, he was able to relax again and put the merchant encounters out of his mind.
Instead, he wondered about the thugs he had encountered and beat up. The jewelry merchant had just let the rat-like man go - wasn't there any law enforcement to deal with this kind of thing? Would all the guys he beat up just come back to harass the merchants another day?
It was a strange, discomforting feeling, knowing that the world would not just run itself while Katsuki went about his own life. There was something deeply wrong about this place, and though he wasn't in the mood to go runnin' around fixing everything, it discomfited him.
Maybe more importantly, worse, after three days of asking around, there didn't seem to be anyone around here that had heard of Japan, much less Tokyo – any of the other countries he had mentioned. It looked like he was stuck in this strange-ass barbarian-like country for a long time, 'least until he figured out a way back to Japan.
He was back in the cave. The day's excursions were done, and he had had his fill of this place and its backwards town. Now, Ace and him had settled back in the cave, where they had agreed to meet, at least until one or the other of them got their respective hunts sorted out.
"Find anything?" he asked Ace, who was merrily chowing down a drum of beef beside him, camplight flickering. Ace had started it up earlier with his fire quirk.
"No," the man said, swallowing in one big gulp. "I figure I'll check around the port area again tomorrow. Might've just missed them, or Luffy's not coming here at all." Ace tore off another big chunk of meat again, then said with his mouth full, "Wha' 'bout 'ou?"
Katsuki shrugged. "Ain't no one here who knows where I'm from," he said. "I don't understand it." He changed the topic. "Some people were looking for you. Not your brother though, just some thugs lookin' to start a fight."
He looked Ace's way, but he didn't seem to notice the last thing Katsuki had said. Instead, Ace had some strange look on his face. Almost absently, the man swallowed until a lump of food had travelled down his throat again.
"Say," Ace said, his mouth now clear. "You said you fell from the sky, right? Do you know whereabouts?"
Katsuki narrowed his eyes.
"You think it matters?" Seeing Ace's steady gaze, he shrugged, then shuffled in closer. "You got a map? I could tell you my velocity and about how long I was flying, then we can figure it out from there."
Ace nodded. "Yeah, I picked up something from town today." He craned back, reaching into his pack, before he brought out a rolled-up sheet of parchment. He then put it down, running his hands across it until it laid flat and they could both see it in the flickering firelight. In the top left corner, it read ALABASTA in large, cursive letters.
"I think we're around here," Ace said, pointing to an area on the south-east coast, near a large river-bed that cut the country nearly in half. "Which direction did you come from?"
"The east," Katsuki said, leaning over. "I followed the sunset, mostly." He squinted. "What's the scale on this map?"
Between the two of them, they were able to figure it out, and after some minutes, Ace neatly penned a giant X over the location where they thought Katsuki had appeared from.
"Well," he said, leaning back, "I think that's as good as we're going to get." He then lifted up the map, rolled it, then held it towards Katsuki, loose smile on his face. "Here, take it. Might come in handy."
After a brief pause, Katsuki took it. "Thanks," he muttered. He found himself looking away. "For a lotta things," he found himself saying. "You didn't have to do shit, but you did."
"Ah, it's not a problem," Ace said, stretching back, all loose and comfortable. He fell back on the stone, then tipped over his hat over his eyes, at the same time pulling over a blanket over himself. "S'been good to have some company," he said drowsily.
A moment later, he was already snoring, and Katsuki scoffed, before rolling out the map again, studying it.
This "island" was bigger than he had expected, based on the scale of the map. How come he had never heard of it before?
He narrowed his eyes, but without any answers appearing before his eyes, he decided to follow Ace's example, and closed his eyes once more, settling in for another uncomfortable night in the cave.
The next day, Ace found his brother – in quite a splashy way, too. It turned out that when Ace checked out the port district again, Luffy and his crew had just arrived. Katsuki had been staying in a nearby bar, not in the mood to really go out and explore, just soaking up the chatter and getting a better impression of this place, when he heard the commotion outside.
Like most of the bar inhabitants, he streamed outside with the crowd when the shouting first started. Most of the crowd seemed to inhabit a dull curiosity as they shuffled out, like this was something normal and expected but still obligatory event to attend – until they reached the outdoors and witnessed the conical storm of fire and smoke tangled in wreaths above them.
With the mutterings around him about "Fire Fist Ace" and "Smoker" drifting about the crowd, it hadn't taken long for Katsuki to figure out that the wreath of fire was Ace's doing.
He hadn't had much time to act, however, before the storm had dissipated, the smoke had condensed into a man - what a weird-ass quirk - and all signs of Ace had disappeared. So naturally, Katsuki had decided to run around looking for his sort-of-friend, whereupon Ace had appeared behind him, grabbed him with a grin, and then dropped the both of them off right where a black-haired boy was sitting on a water barrel looking confused. The two talked, and the black-haired boy introduced himself as Luffy, Ace's younger brother. Then, thugs looking like the ones Katsuki had beat up earlier attacked them, so naturally the three of them quickly demolished the thugs without even trying. Then they ran to the port, saw a ship, Luffy had stretched out his arm over to the ship and carried himself to it - another weird-ass quirk - Ace had gotten his own motor-powered sailboat and sailed to it, and Katsuki used his explosions to catch up, too much caught up in the madness of the moment to do anything else.
Ace had then promptly introduced himself and Katsuki to the crew of a pirate ship, who apparently the black-haired boy, Luffy, who was Ace's brother, was the captain of, and the pirate ship set sail to the sea.
And so he found himself in his present situation, three hours later.
"I'm going to be the Pirate King!" the boy in front of him told him, grin on his face as outstretched as his hands, fists pumped in the air. He was scarcely a year or two older than Katsuki, but from what little he had seen, he acted even younger than that.
… Pirate King?
The day could not get any fucking weirder.
Katsuki had a brief image of a large, scruffy black-bearded man, scimitar in hand, pointing it to the sky above his legions of similarly-dressed pirates. "Conquer them all! Kill! Die!" the man would say, and his legion of scruffy-haired, scimitar-wearing pirates would roar and charge forward, under the command of their all-powerful leader.
He then compared this mental image to the boy in front of it. He found himself eyeing Ace's brother dubiously.
"... Pirate King," he said flatly, crossing his arms, still not quite sure what was going on. "You sure about that, kid?"
But the boy was undaunted.
"Shishishi," he grinned, white teeth nearly sparkling in the light. "You'll see," he promised.
Then just as rapidly, he turned away, and Katsuki blinked as he only realized the largeness of the boy's presence once it was gone.
"Oi, Accee," the boy then whined, and he was draped limply over a barrel. "How long is this going to take?"
Ace's eyebrow twitched, over from where he was implacably crouched on his own barrel, looking comfortable and loose but happy. "Why don't you ask your navigator, Luffy?"
"But Naaaami told me not to booother her," Luffy said, forlorn.
"With good reason," Katsuki muttered under his breath. "How are you even captain, you little shit?"
Luffy evidently heard it, because he then turned, eyes uncharacteristically serious. When they met Katsuki's own, black and flat, he had to stop himself from flinching.
Then Luffy turned his gaze away, disinterested and eyes puckered, and yawned, his mouth gaping open like a huge beast as his hand waved idly before it. Then he rested his head on the barrel.
"I just want to be there already," he lamented, like a little kid. His arms were wrapped around the barrel, almost like he was giving it a limp hug – with unusually long arms. Weird-ass quirk.
But Katsuki didn't comment this time. There had been something in that look – something serious – that had taken him aback. Something that had sent his danger senses prickling. He was loathe to admit it, even thinking it sent a feeling like bile rising to his throat, but as he watched Luffy, he had to admit –
The boy could be a real opponent. The weight of that gaze lingering over him, Katsuki had to acknowledge at least his strength of will.
Fucking weird day, he thought to himself, shaking his head.
Katsuki turned away, deciding to leave the brothers alone. He would leave Ace to deal with the strange captain. They knew each other better than he knew anyone here, anyway. He had only known Ace for three or so days, and they were brothers.
He found himself on the front of the ship, leaning his arms over the rails, letting the wooden edges bite into his forearms. What was this part of the ship called, the fucking bow? He didn't know. He wasn't a fucking pirate, like the rest of the kids on this boat apparently were.
He found himself sighing, lips pursued into a friend frown as he watched as the waves undulated, reflections moving with them, as well as a deep blackness that seemed etched into the water even as it glided smoothly up and down and right and left as the waves rippled and grew and swelled. He found himself watching it, his thoughts being taken with the motion, as he once again remembered crossing that endless ocean like it was a mindless haze, an remembered echo of that desperation rising within him.
He remembered almost drowning, then he remembered almost drowning before inside the sludge villain's body. Then, he had fought, fought like he had over the ocean, with desperation and strength. Back then, he had been rescued by All Might, and this time, he thought, eyes sidling over to the deck where Luffy and Ace were chatting companionably, Ace had saved him.
In this place, he had realized, that was a near-miracle. If he had been on the coasts of Japan, he had no doubt that some hero or beach bum would have spotted him, and it'd have been an ordinary thing, forgotten quickly as they moved on back with their lives. Katsuki would have gone on back to UA, to the Forest Training Camp, and kept fighting to be the top hero and training hard. The beach bum or two-bit hero or whoever had dragged him from the water would be forgotten.
Here, it was different.
There were no heroes that would rescue or help him in a tight spot. Ordinary people were scared, concerned with their own lives, lack of water, and the growing whispers of a civil war. The marine's might've thought him a pirate and let him drown, just by his clothing and explosive ability. And the rest of the country seemed to be mostly made up of ruthless or crazy pirates, no real law or care for humanity in sight.
For Katsuki to have even encountered anyone remotely like a hero in this place was a fucking miracle.
"Heavy thoughts?" a voice asked from behind him, and he turned around. It was the orange-haired chick, he remembered from their earlier introductions. Nami. The navigator.
He looked at her for a long moment, then eventually tossed his hand in the direction of the deck. "He was asking about you, earlier," he said, not really feeling like responding to her question.
Nami's eyebrows raised, and she glanced briefly at the deck. "Ace?" she asked.
"Straw Hat," Katsuki said, then drew his gaze back to watching the ocean, and the land drawing up close, the mouth of the river close approaching. "He wanted to know when we'd be there."
Sudden laughter bit across the air after a clank, one high-pitched and helpless, the other only a little older and raucous but also young. Long Nose and Reindeer, he knew without looking. Their loud voices filled the air as they began talking with Luffy and Ace. It wasn't long before hebegan hearing the clanks of mugs and shouted nonsensical toasts.
"I swear, those guys," the navigator said, sighing. "They never take anything seriously." A pause, then with surprise in her voice, "Vivi!"
"Nami," the blue-haired woman greeted with a smile in her voice. Katsuki found himself curious enough to turn now, and watch the conversation. "And Bakugo." Though cordial, her greeting was obviously less friendly, and she immediately turned her attention back to Nami, a smile reappearing on her face before her eyes drew to the land again. "So we're already almost at Eluberu, huh?"
Katsuki watched her. Though he had only been on this ship for a few hours now, he had already realized that there was some secret about this woman, those on the crew weren't telling him. She wasn't one of them, she held herself somewhat different, yet she almost was. She walked a ship like she belonged on it, yet her features were finer, softer, and it was obvious that she had a connection to this land that the others did not, the way she looked at it.
"Yeah," Nami said, now also staring out into the land. She gave her friend a sympathetic glance, before reaching out and squeezing her shoulder. "We'll make it in time."
Katsuki now felt that he was intruding - even though he had been there first - so he shifted and began walking away, leaving the two women to their peace. It didn't seem that he had a place to be anywhere, really, and finally, he contented himself with sitting hidden behind the tangerine trees on the back of the ship, on the – stern? – as he wondered, what really was he doing here.
He had somehow hitched a ride because of Ace, who had hitched a ride because his brother was on this ship. No, was the captain of the ship. Katsuki was here on goodwill and pity alone and it pissed him off, but Ace had also given him that map, that clue to getting back to his own life, and so while this was probably giving Ace nothing but a headache, he felt that he somehow… owed the man.
So he figured that until he had figured out a way home and got the resources, he would stick around until he figured out a way to pay him back.
It wasn't like he had much else to do around here, anyway.
"Hey, kid," a voice interrupted, walking through the bows of the trees. Two beady eyes landed back on him, critical, as the sound of three swords clinked against each other. "What are you doing all the way back here?"
Katsuki frowned. What was it with everyone fucking interrupting his thoughts today?
This time, it was Roronoa Zoro, the first mate. He met the man's serious eyes.
"Nothing," he scowled. "Just sitting here, thinking. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on."
The swordsman approached closer, giving him a speculative look.
"Who the hell are you, anyway?" the green-haired man asked.
"Bakugo Katsuki," Katsuki said snappily. "Who the hell are you?"
Green Hair raised an eyebrow. "Roronoa Zoro, first mate on this ship," he said slowly. He looked down at Katsuki for a long moment, a brief tension sparking in the air, before the man shrugged carelessly. "Ah, well, I guess if Luffy's brother knows you, you can't be all bad."
The man strode forward to stand in the center of the space on the deck, then looked at him again.
"I was going to practice my sword katas here," the man said mildly. "You might want to get out of the way, kid."
Katsuki stubbornly stayed still, only to regret it when, with a shrug, the man started, twirling three blades around in the air, and one of them came inches from his face, sharp air from the edge of the blade slapping his face.
Then Katsuki bit off a curse, scrambled to his feet, hunched his back, and looked for another place where he could sit in peace on this blasted pirate ship.