Disclaimer: Sadly, I don't own One Piece.
So, this is what I've decided to do: instead of waiting till I find a decent end to chapter 5, I'm going to break up what I currently have into smaller chapters of varying length. You guys have waited long enough for an update. I'll leave my explanation for my tardiness for the end of the chapter.
Ch 5: Out and About Pt 1
Law put away his medical tools and pulled out a small container of medication. "Have her take two before she sleeps."
"Thank you!" the middle-aged man in tattered clothes took the container and Law's hand in both of his and held them in gratitude.
The teen pulled his arm out of the grip and left. Just as he was exiting, he said, "That's all you get; so don't go selling it on the streets."
He ignored the angry outburst as he stepped out of the hovel and continued his rounds in the Outskirts. The Outskirts. He hated the Outskirts. They reminded him too much of Spider Miles. Mountains of trash with hovels and huts either built on top or in between. Still Dr. Sartorius insisted on helping the less fortunate; he believed that was what separated the good doctors from the bad. And Law respected him even if he didn't always agree with the old man's beliefs.
"Hey, Kid! What's in de bag?" An unscrupulous character with greasy hair called out to him. Suddenly Law found himself surrounded by a pack of thugs. He reached for his nodachi, before remembering that Dr. Sartorius made him leave it at the office.
"Tch." He prepared to defend himself as the first thug charged. However, the thug never got close. A figure leapt from the closest trash mound; using the bright sun to hide himself and cracked the thug over the head with a bokken.
"Five against one?" Bright green eyes flashed dauntlessly as the newcomer stood up. "Well that's not exactly fair, now is it?"
Two thugs charged this time, one from each side. Law and the newcomer stepped out of the way and the men collided with each other, knocking themselves out. The fourth man carried a cast iron pipe, which he swung with all his might at Law. When he felt it make contact, he looked up to find Law using the first thug as a shield. The pipe wielder was so shocked by what he'd unintentionally done; he didn't see the newcomer swinging his own weapon. He crumpled to the ground a second later.
The fight hardly lasted a minute. The last remaining thug, the one who stopped Law in the first place, watched in disbelief as Law and his companion stood amid a pile of groaning, bloodied up bodies. Four of his strongest men taken out by a couple of scrawny kids. He said nothing as he turned tail and fled.
Law continued on as if nothing happened.
"What? No 'Hey! How've you been?' or maybe 'Jee, thanks for saving my skin back there.'?"
"I don't recall asking for your help, Foxx-ya," the young doctor stated.
"How many times do I gotta tell ya? It's just Foxx." Much to Law's annoyance, Foxx fell into step with the teen, "There's no need for the honorifics."
Foxx stood a head taller than Law and was a year older. A mane of untamable black hair kept falling in his face and at the same time stuck up in places where it should have been lying down. He wore old navy fatigues a marine friend gave him. He held his head high and walked with a confidence that didn't quite fit in a place like this.
That's what irritated Law the most. This guy stood out like a sour thumb. Besides his confidence and devil-may-care attitude, he was very charismatic. He could walk up to complete strangers and talk to them as though they were childhood friends. For someone like Law who liked being anonymous, Foxx was the worst possible companion.
He watched as the teen's sea-blue eyes darted left and right, looking for any possible trouble.
"I take it your meeting with the marines didn't go very well." The older teen's reaction was almost comical. Like a balloon, he visibly deflated and a cloud of depression hovered over him, then evaporated as flames of anger erupted.
"Ever since Captain Drake was stationed here, things have changed on the marine base. I'm not complaining; most of it was for the better. But it used to be that you could join up no matter what your age. Now you have to be 18 before you can even be considered a chore boy."
"Then why don't you just leave for another island with a marine base?" Law sighed as he continued on.
"And uproot Mira from the only home she's ever known? Not a chance!"
Law rolled his eyes. Mira was Foxx's younger sister, who lived with him on the far edges of the Outskirts, just beyond the border of Sherwood Forest. Foxx was delusional if he thought the fourteen-year-old girl, who used every chance she got to escape the oppression of the walled city and its surroundings, would want to stay here. He recalled when he first arrived on the island; how she would pester him for weeks about the other islands he visited. Not that he ever told her.
"You know…She's been asking about you." That brought Law out of his reverie.
"And?" he asked with a guarded tone. Painful memories came unbidden.
"You two used to be close but now you hardly ever hang out anymore. Did you have a fight or something?"
"No. I've just been busy," Law stated as he tried to shake that man's laughter out of his head, "Dr. Sartorius has me making a lot of house calls lately. Now, if you don't mind, I still have work to do." With that he ended the conversation as he headed toward the Gate.
"Then why does it feel like you're avoiding her?" Foxx asked quietly to himself as he watched the quiet teen walk away.
The first and probably most offensive things Sabo noticed was the two massive walls towering overhead. From his vantage point on the ground, he could see a third farther up the rising mountain. The deep-seated resentment he felt for Goa's walls boiled to the surface.
"Do they offend you?" Hunter noticed the stink eye Sabo was giving the walls.
"Walls don't sit well with me," was the sharp reply.
"I suppose they can feel a bit oppressive at first." Hunter said casually, "You get used to it after a while."
Sabo glowered, "They don't bother you?"
"They've been around since before I was born," shrugged Hunter. "They're just part of the scenery."
"How long have you been at the orphanage?"
"I was five when my brother, Eddy, and I were brought to the Good Samaritan But we've always lived in Noise."
"Ah—The name of the city," Hunter clarified. "Government officials call it and the surrounding area the Sherwood Prefecture, one of about a dozen on Crescent Island. I've never been to any of the others, but I can tell you from rumors that Noise is tame in comparison."
He went on to explain the different levels of the city. The upper ring was where the nobles and government officials resided. The middle ring was the where you could find the bourgeoisie and the merchants. The lower ring was where most of the working class and the orphanage called the Good Samaritan was located. According to him: the count eliminated the segregation laws that prevented each class from mingling. This gave those from humble beginnings of a chance to improve their living situation while also allowing those with a high-class upbringing to live a simple, yet peaceful life. Sabo tuned him out after Hunter explained that, except for the count, none of the nobles would be caught dead in the lower rings.
No matter how much Hunter dressed up the city; in the end, Noise sounded no different than Goa. Hell, he said it himself, there was a darkness lurking about. Sabo couldn't have been here for more than a week and already he was suffocating. If only there was a way to escape the walls…
"Of course, local authorities are still guarding all the gates leading to the Outskirts—."
"The slums," Hunter explained. "The area just outside the outer wall. The people that live there are the ones who can't afford to live inside the city or—."
"—Choose not to because they find it stifling?"
"Or that. Anyway, it's considered a bit of a lawless zone; sane people tend to steer clear of it."
Sabo grinned, "Well, I think I proved this morning that I'm not exactly of sound mind."
"That's true," Hunter laughed. "Very well my fatuous friend: the slums it is."
A/N: 4 years. That's how long its been. To all who've waited, I'm so sorry. I've had severe writer's block. There just wasn't any inspiration these last few years. Not for the lack of trying though: I've got this little green notebook (pictured as the story cover) that I've been writing in when I have free time. I have enough material in there for at least three chapters; I just have to get it organized. That being said, I'm looking for a new beta to read my rough drafts, PM me if you're interested. That's it for now please read and review.