THIS IS NOT RELATED TO THE MAFIA GAME THREAD IN ANY WAY. THIS THREAD = WRITING.
Now that I've got that out of the way and changed the thread's title, there's no confusion! Let's hope this thread doesn't get merged. Again. Once was bad enough thank you very much. I was going to wait for Skyrius, but it looks like things can't be helped. This is in fact, a remake of the original One Piece Mafia AU (crack) thread created by Skyrius so long ago. I'll keep all the fics updated here, and the second post will have any… "relevant" information from the original thread. :ninja:
Which incidentally happens to be here:
but it's all broken up in that monster thread, so that's why I'm making it all convenient for everyone.
! Original Post:
! > One again, twisting the minds of people everywhere, the crack-filled Fangirling/Fanboying thread over on the General One Piece section has produced another masterpiece. For random people who just stumbled onto this, feel free to read along and comment, although it might not make as much sense if you haven't taken a look at said thread. Then again this stuff doesn't make sense to begin with XP A round robin between me and Gypsy. Trapped, Charmed, Mette, everyone, jump in already! The more the merrier.
So, here we go guys. Hopefully this will keep the cluster and page count down on the main thread down a bit, although I can't promise anything XD To everyone who hasn't given me their bio yet…. grabby hands I need material to work with people! Ok, so for those who haven't seen it, I've made a list of the known member so far:
! “Tyrant Queen” Gypsy- Head of what is renowned as the most dangerous, despite being relatively small, group, the Ensenadas and their branch family the Fedoras. However they are loyal to their own and to their oaths.
”Crimson Diva” Nia- She’s the singer for Gypsy’s Midnight Club who was once a top assassin and dancer and one of Gypsy’s favorites. Before she stepped down from the frontlines she was known as the “Bewitching Lorelei” for enticing and destroying her targets. She refuses to dance for anyone anymore for unknown reasons (fufufu. Secrets, shadowed pasts, deceit. giddy I’m having fun)
”Silent Death” Piratemarimo-A talented spy and assassin for Gypsy (and other allies, if they can pay her price) who’s known to charge steeply for anyone outside her immediate circle of acquaintances. She’s one of the top, but under Kidd and Killer’s reach of power. She likes to take calculated risks and is enjoying a game of cat and mouse with Crocodile at the time. She an Mette also have a bit of a friendly rivalry/competition whenever they meet.
Kidd- No intro needed really XD One of Gypsy’s main bodyguards
Killer- The same as Kidd
”Bloodhound of the Queen” Charmed- Admires and is viciously loyal to Gypsy. Most families and members disregard her due to the fact that she has little experience in combat and is often too emotional. Since she’s Gypsy’s favorite, no one touches her. However, the last family to directly threaten Gypsy was said to have collapsed on itself from within after a visit from the Bloodhound. In reality a master of espionage and sabotage, when properly motivated she can do far more psychological and internal damage than any fighter. Of course, under normal circumstances she never hits that point.
”Reaper” Meta- The doorman for the Midnight Club. As such, most people don’t think much of him. However, what they fail to understand is that he’s the only one keeping people from getting in. And with all the killers, thieves, and scoundrels that try to force their way in, not a single one has ever made it. Or was seen again.
"Angel of Death" Skyrius- Formerly the consigliere, advisor, of the Ensenadas. One of the frontline fighters and the first to run into a shoot out. Tactician and head of information, dangerous, unpredictable, and certifiably insane. It's said that meeting the Angel of Death is a one way ticket to hell, the only difference is whether or not she ends up going with you, given her disregard for life. Claims to only want to alleviate her boredom, but never breaks promises. Had a falling out with Gypsy for yet unknown reasons.
! ”Empress of Ruin” Mia: Head of the Vindice (avenger in Italian), the largest criminal syndicate in the city. Unlike Gypsy, Mia takes in almost anyone who’s got the determination to make it and holds countless allies, ceasefires, and treaties of different sorts. No one attacks it because if the family were to actually fall, the ensuing chaos would be impossible for any one person to reign in.
”Calamity Blaze” Trapped- The second-in-command for the Vindice, and in all honesty the one that does the most work. She has a strained relationship with the boss, but underneath the snapping and kicks to the head, respects Mia. She and Piratemarimo are sworn siblings, which is the direct reason for the alliance between Mia’s group and Gypsy’s. She’s nicknamed the “demon” by her underlings for her no nonsense attitude (due mostly in part to Mia’s pushing everything onto her). She no longer joins the frontline often, due to the clerical work. But when she does, the whole fight goes to hell. Her nickname “Calamity Blaze” was from those days.
”Black Wind” Metteminne- One of the top hitman in Mia’s group. He’s rather laid back and prefers not to go through the trouble of most missions. He will, however, jump out of bed at Trapped’s name, which is how most subordinates manage to get him out in the first place. When he gets serious, people start running. He likes to compete with Piratemarimo whenever they cross paths, but they aren't really antagonistic.
”Poisonous Blossom” Masha- An elite spy that specializes in infiltration. She has a 100% success streak. It’s said that not a single one of the deaths she designs can ever be linked to her, making it impossible for anyone to know if they are a target, or pin anything to her.
”Anelace of the Arbiter” Eli- (note: Anelace is a double edged short sword) The one NO one ever wants to tango with. The "Anelace", sword that judges enemy and ally alike. The “Judgment” of the mafia family. Those who break their vows or the commandments answer to her. None escape. But since she often has no work to do, she’s actually quite fun-loving outside of her job. While she's officially allied with the Vindice, her judgment extends to all families. If she comes after you, you write your will up and pray for a quick death.
”Lucid Dame/Aureate Shadow” Pervy- A free flying, unbound informant. There’s no vault she can’t break, no reputation she can’t ruin. Her prices are steep and she only deals with people that interest her. As an informant, she’s the Aureate Shadow. As an assassin of the past, she’s the Lucid Dame. It was said that no one matched her marksmanship, but she disappeared from the battlefield and her family without any warning nor known reason.
! "Lynchpin" Bart- The unallied, uncontrolled king of the black market. His business lies with whoever pays the most, but his favor lies with those he personally takes a shine to. He's rather cryptic, though often seems not serious. Most people who meet him agree that there's no way of telling what he's truly thinking. Currently he's taken an interest in Roger's will, but not the will itself, but rather the vacuum of power and competition that will emerge from it.
! "Thousand Webs" Alice- A former detective, and before that a freelance journalist. After she was wrapped up within the folds of the town of sins and lies, she quickly adapted and transformed her keen sense of insight into an all encompassing web of knowledge throughout the city. It's said that nothing happens in the town without her knowledge. When people need references, connections, or information it's almost guaranteed that Alice will have it. But unlike informants, none of her knowledge is for sale, and she only gives out information in the interest of preserving balance….most of the time. Sometimes she just gives out information to start chaos as a giant "screw you" to Bart, who's her rival.
! "The Doctor" Cyber-Robin- Sky and some others just call him C-R most of the times, but Cyber is in charge of one of the largest medical facilities in the town, or rather, one of the largest hospitals that actually looks after mafia members without turning them into the cops. Most of his patients are rich, corrupt, or both. As such, he's developed a rather dry sense of humor to deal with the type of people he does. You wouldn't know it from the first glance, but he's also quite the pervert, and tends to make inappropriate jokes. Rumor is he used to be a fighter on the streets before an injury took him out of commission for good and he disappeared. His nickname from that time is unknown. (Although Local and anyone who knows Doctor Who should appreciate his current unoriginal nickname as well XP)
! And being the largest group, Mia also has a bunch of misc. OP characters in her family.
! Ok, and some misc. stuff since we haven’t come up with nicknames for all the OP characters yet XD
! Crocodile: Head of Baroque Works, an ambitious and powerful group that’s been picking fights with many of the established families. They’ve recently come to a temporary ceasefire of sorts with Gypsy’s group after Mia got particularly miffed at the destruction of one of her favorite hangouts during one of their fights.
All of Baroque works is under Croco’s command.
! Monkey D. Luffy- Head of the Straw Hat crew, the smallest but undoubtedly most destructive family in existence. They tend to stay out of major fights and just enjoy themselves, but if any of their allies are attacked, it’s hell. Currently un-allied to Gypsy, Mia, or Crocodile.
! Trafalgar Law- King of Hearts. More information to come as Gypsy writes it XD
! Etc etc.
People who's descriptions I have. If you're on this list with a "?" after it, I need your character's description. Remember, you can make up your own or base it off of your appearance in real life. It's your choice.
Hair color: Dark chocolate brown (I like that color XD)
Hair style: Until the mid-back in the back, styled in the front (I have a pretty good mental image for this)
Eye color: Brown with gold flecks
Yes, you can trade in your fedora, since you're the leader of the group anyways XD
Hair color: Obsidian (which is this really lucid black, it's really pretty and it shines blue and purple in the right light)
Hair style: A classy diagonal straight cut at shoulder level (bangs to about halfway down your face in length ok?)
Eye color: Emerald
Hair color: Red (I imagine it to be this fiery color that shines orange and yellow in the light)
Hair style: Ponytail on the right, flows to mid back length (seems about right)
Eye color: Green
Hair color: Dark brown with blue and purple streaks (why not both :D)
Hair style: Straight sheetlike hair until the shoulder
Eye color: Heliodor (It's beautiful gold-green color and it'll help me differentiate you from Piratemarimo.)
Extra: Freckles on her face
Hair color: Dark reddish brown, more red than brown (somewhat like the color of rust?)
Hair style: Long hair to the lower back, relatively straight with waves at the bottom
Eye color: Unknown by all but Piratemarimo and Mia, wears tinted glasses
Hair color: Dark brown
Hair style: Wavy (I see it to be just above shoulder length in my mind)
Eye color: Blue
Hair color: Gympsum (another pretty color that's a mix of yellow, brown, and red. You can look it up to see)
Hair style: The sort of spiky bangs in the back
Eye color: Agate blue (it's this wonderful, striking blue color with white highlights. It's certainly hypnotizing XD)
Hair color: Midnight black (it's a real life hair color that's really rare. sighs It's so pretty, I'm always jealous >___<)
Hair style: Slicked back (I need to draw this, but I have the perfect image in my mind)
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: Warm, light beige caramel
Hair style: Medium length bob cut with curls (sorta like the Marilyn Monroe style, but wavier)
Eye color: Hazel (which is grey with green in real life <3)
Hair color: Platinum blonde
Hair style: Very very long hair, attached in a loose braid.
Eye color: Silvery-grey
Extra: Medium size and flat chest
Hair color: Red
Hair style: Just hair
Eye color: Green
Hair color: Honey blonde
Hair style: Long wavy hair that curls naturally at the bottom (there, no more curling problems XD)
Eye color: Green
Hair color: Red. Or something like lilac-pinkish.
Hair style: See pic. Bangs to just above the eyes and mostly straight to the shoulder with slight waves
Eye color: Blue, lighter in the center and darker on the edges Sai
Hair color: Brown, with tints of gold
Hair style: Up to my waist, up in a ponytail, with two long bangs on the sides of my face. (like my chibi)
Eye color: Faded/grey-ish blue-green
Hair color: Brownish-red
Hair style: David Lynch like, if you know what his hair looks like
Eye color: Deep brown
! Etc etc. I don't have anyone else's information, so even if I didn't list your name here, you know who you are stares I just got lazy XD There's a lot of you.
! Sorry for all the gemstone and crystal references. I tend to take colors from those since I had a mineralogy class in middle school I loved. Plus gemstones make for wonderful colors that exist in real life.
After digging through 30+ pages, I found Gypsy's original theme for the fic XD Finally. Other themes in general as well. I'm putting them all under one spoiler tag to keep this a bit neater.
! The theme of the fic in general
The theme of the "town of sins and lies" the story takes place in
! And here's the BGM for the aftermath of a violent fight that I posted….somewhere in that thread.
Alright, now for the actual fic.
Part 1 by Gypsy
! The curvy shadow in the frosted glass meant only trouble for detective Mr. 2. He knew this, he wasn’t dumb. When she opened the door smoothly, like drawing a curtain, he thanked it all he wasn’t smoking a cigarette. If he had, he’d of swallowed in shock. Purple dress practically pained on and wrapped in a boa, he made mental note to drag out this case to keep this eye candy around.
! The woman swung her bang onto her shoulder. “You Mr. 2?”
! “I am.” He put a thumb to his fedora. “You have any serious business with me?”
! “Do I look like a Girl Scout or somethin‘?” She sat in the busted seat across from him. “How good are you?”
! Jabbing a thumb to the wall to his left, she slickly rolled her neck to study the odd wallpaper. Newspaper clippings and magazines covered the wall, yellowed and fresh, it was obvious they stated a high success rate. Sly smirk forming on her lips, she looked back to the detective.
! Mr. 2 pulled out a notepad. “Name?”
! He looked from under his eyebrows. “Your name is Skyrius?”
! “And I’m to believe that your surname is a number?”
! “Touché.” Scribbling down the false title, he tapped the pencil on the desk. “Well? Whom I catching? A dame up on your man? Or perhaps he ran off with your cash and you want me to find where and why?”
! “Not entirely.” She took out a cigarette case for her tiny bag and looked at him for permission. When he nodded, she stick on between her bright red lips. “Actually, I’m in need a team.”
! “A duo, if you will.” Smoke blew elegantly from her mouth. Mr. 2 gulped. “Heard you’re fairly good at disguises.”
! “The best you’ll ever meet.” He said, removing his hat.
! Skyrius smiled, smoke between her fingers. “Tell me, Mr. 2, how do you feel about parties?”
! Dragging his fingers through his dark hair, he leaned back. “Can’t say I throw many, but I’ll attend them. Why?”
! “I was invited to one by,” She took a photo from her bag and threw it on the table. “This woman.”
! Mr. 2 whistled as he studied the picture. “Quite a looker.”
! “Her name is Gypsy.”
! “She gets a code name too?”
! “We don’t even know her real name,” Collecting the picture by dragging it to her view with her ling nails, she studied it. “As in my friends and I. But we’re in need of information about her.”
! “What kind?”
! The woman dipped her head to one side and smiled. “Blackmail.”
! “I’ve done thousands. What do you want? Love affair? Secret occupation?”
! “Just some dirt.”
! Exhaling more smoke in thought, she shook her head. “Nothing you’d need to worry about.”
! “So…what are you in need of my assistance for?”
! “I need you to attend this party with me and coach me on how to collect what I need.”
! “I see.” He looked the woman from head to toe. “And you’ll pay me?”
! “Only a foolish man would want to be paid to attend a party with a woman like me.” She ashed on top of the picture of her friend. “Double what your usual is.”
! “That’s a lot of dough.” He smirked. “You got the upfront.”
! “Persistent, aren’t you?” She threw a stack of bills on the table. “You must know, she won’t come easy.”
! “They never do.” He licked his thumb to count the bills.
! “She’s got this man.” Crossing her legs, she sat back in thought. “Big guy. Hell, it’s even hard for her close friends to get close to her without him grimacing over head.”
! “Does he have a name?”
! Her lips parted to a slick smile. “You’re so rude. But yes, we call him Kidd.”
! “Kidd?” He raised his black brow. “That’s gotta be a code name.”
! “Not at all. Plus he’s got this…acquaintance…I wouldn’t even say they’re friends. His name is Killer.”
! “And if that’s not enough to make you shake, those two have digits on their wanted posters to send your expensive fantasies to the moon.”
! Mr. 2 chuckled deeply. “You underestimate me.”
! “I certainly hope I do.” She grinned. “Because my prospects are so high.”
Part 2 by Skyrius
! Smooth jazz music flowed across the dimly lit room, like water rolling off of a worn down boulder. The low cello notes and pinging piano alone accompanied the hushed lyrics of the single singer on stage. The crowds around conversed, laughed, teased, blackmailed, threatened in hushed tones. Here was a den of lies and hopes, a facade of geniality covering the true face- a gathering of the corrupt, the strong, and the rich. From the outside, the entrance was a dirty wooden door, at the bottom of a flight of stairs that led to a dimly lit basement, only wide enough to let a single person in at a time.
! Once inside, the only light source was the myriad of overhead globes that glared down on the woman singer on stage, clad in flowing red dress, neither modest nor revealing. The diva in red, from her fiery locks to the blood ruby heels that clicked softly as she walked, red satin scarf hanging from one side. As she descended, slow step by step, the light followed her off of the stage into the crowds, the music never ceasing. The round tables covered with black velvet and each adorned with a single bottle of the finest wine lined the circumference of the half moon shaped room.
! In an unlit corner, rustling so softly that even those less than an inch in front didn't notice until they had been sent sprawling head over heel from behind, was the sound of fabric. The chatter in the surrounding radius immediately ceased. Two men, clad in traditional suits and heart stopping glares walked forwards. The patrons immediately stepped to the side, whispering only once they were out of hearing range. Kidd and Killer. Which meant. All heads turned as a single clop of an immaculately designed heel resounded. The woman walked through the crowds meeting no eyes, the velvet gold flaked gaze fixed on some distant figure those around could only guess at. Her confident strides and freezing air gave the impression of a tyrant queen, as cold and beautiful as ice and would burn insubordination with the heat of hellfire, deigning to walk among the peasants. The feel that both intimidated and enraged those around, which is why her security was the best there was.
! A low vibrato resounded across the low rise ceiling as the song finished. A single shot rang out. The newcomers screamed, diving for cover while the veterans chuckled to themselves, wondering what fool was suicidal enough to fire on the “Tyrant Queen” on her own turf. Gypsy stopped, eyes closed in disdain.
! “Hey hey, little queen. What’s wrong?” a drawl came from her right. A middle aged man, with a slightly ruffled trench coat and tattered hat held a pistol to her temple. His clothes were stained from mud and rain, indicating he had just come in from the downpour outside. Instead of answering, Gypsy only turned her head to glare at the doorman, the silent demand to know how this cur had been allowed in. Meta, used to her refined temper tantrums and accusations, simply chuckled.
! “He knew the password.”
! “Hey hey hey. Come on now, you’re ignoring me babe?” the man to her right perked up again, drawing his face closer, close enough so she could feel his breath. Unforgivable.
! The word hadn’t even finished resounding when there was a sharp gasp and gurgle as the man lurched backward, a red satin length of cloth wound firmly around his neck.
! “You’re one hundred years too early to be approaching the queen just yet,” the soft timber of the diva in red practically cascaded off of the walls. She stood behind him, having not made a single noise in her approach. With half lidded, uninterested eyes she pulled the blood red scarf and the man went limp.
! “I hope you didn’t just sully my party with such an ugly death,” Gypsy warned, finally looking at the man for the first time.
! Releasing the cloth with the grace of a dance, Nia stepped back.
! “Of course not, he’s simply unconscious. Kid and Killer can take care of the disposal.” She curtsied and turned back to the stage.
! “Nia.” She turned her head at her name. “Wonderful singing as usual.” To the crowds around it wouldn’t be noticeable, but she knew the queen would notice. Giving the smallest of smiles, she bowed her head and returned to the stage. Already the guests had begun chattering amongst themselves. They would need a distraction again.
! “Tch. You did that on purpose.” Another voice rang out from the shadows, startling those around. Gypsy turned to the speaker, smiling for the first time of the night, albeit in an almost smug manner.
! “I simply didn’t want blood staining my new carpet,” she said with a lilted tone. The cold gleam of steel flashed off of the semi-automatic pistol hanging from her belt as Piratemarimo walked into the light, twirling her black fedora on her index finger in a bored manner.
! “I had it covered.”
! “I know you did.” Gypsy turned to leave.
! “Wait,” the spy stopped and spoke clearly, “You’re aware that we have another turncoat on our hands?”
! “Oh? Another fool has run sniveling to Skyrius?” Gypsy responded with no intention to turn, and her tone of voice made it amply clear, “Deal with it would you dear?”
! Green eyes stared at the back of the Tyrant Queen, as if trying to determine something unknown. A sigh.
! “Fine. You better have a fancy restaurant reserved for me when I get back.” The swish of a trench coat, the slam of a door, and the echoing blues of a new song.
Part 3 by Skyrius
For the record of mafia chain of command:
Boss (Don, or Capo Famiglia)
Underboss (Capo Bastone)
Advisor (Consigliere) These three make up the Administration, the ruling panel.
! Piratemarimo paused for a second, staring out from under the alcove which the entrance to the Midnight Club, one of Gypsy’s many exclusive gigs, was located. The rain hadn’t let up a bit. If anything, it seemed to be getting harsher. A sigh escaped her lips for the second time that evening.
! “I should’ve charged her more. Maybe a fancy restaurant and a date with that Crocodile guy…” she paused and almost giggled, remembering the look of surprise on the rival mafia leader’s face when she had him at a stalemate, pistol at his forehead while all his lackeys aimed at her. Ten to one. She’d had worse odds stacked against her before. But apparently he’d never been in a situation where someone had managed to get past all defenses before. She blew out her breath, watching it freeze in the air, becoming visible. There was a sort of heated appeal to a game of cat and mouse, especially when one wasn’t sure who was which.
! The spy fingered her fedora, lighted atop her obsidian hair, as dark as the cloudy night sky. It would get ruined in this weather.
! “I guess she’ll owe me a new hat as well,” she decided and sprang out into the rain, running with unordinary balance in the slick conditions. The sooner this was over, the better.
“You’re sure about this?” An exasperated and strained voice floated through the arched hallway. Trapped had just closed the door marking the end of her latest meeting when some new recruit had stumbled in, breathless, babbling about some breach in security. THIS was why she was against using fresh meat as guards to any information at all.
! “Yes sir! I mean ma’am! I mean-“
! “Stop it.” Her voice cut in, cold and annoyed. The recruit bit his lower lip to stop himself immediately. “Yes or no.”
! She sighed, putting her fingers to her temple. There hadn’t been this many problems since she stepped down from the frontlines.
! “Send the Black Wind in to deal with it,” she answered curtly, turning heel. Off schedule already because of all these delays. “Tell him to report back to me afterwards.”
! “Eh…? Sir Metteminne….? But isn’t that overkill for something like th-“
! “Did I ask for your opinion?” Trapped stopped, whirling around to face the poor lackey.
! “N-No ma’am!” he jumped, straightening and trying not to meet her glare.
! “You’re dismissed.” Her tone of voice made it painfully clear that if he wasn’t gone within the next five seconds, there was going to be a hole through his head. The greenhorn ran. Trapped sighed, putting her hand to her forehead to slow the coming headache. Why was she in charge of all this again? After all, shouldn’t the leader deal with these sorts of things?
! Laughter rang out from behind her, one she recognized immediately. Speak of the devil. The second-in-command spun around to meet the leader of the largest mafia organization in this town of sins and lies.
! “Working hard aren’t we?” Mia laughed, patting her on the shoulder. Trapped could feel a vein in her temple throbbing. The “Empress of Ruin”, head of the largest criminal syndicate, was in reality a talented but extremely lazy, carefree, troublemaker who liked to put things off. She glared at her boss.
! “I’m sorry? Working hard? Isn’t that what you should be doing?” she asked in a cutting tone. If anyone else had spoken like that, they would have been dead in a heartbeat. But Trapped was an exception, partially because she was the second in command, but mostly because Mia tended to push everything onto her.
! “Now, now,” Mia continued lightheartedly, “If you keep stressing yourself out like that you’ll get white hairs.” She patted the coppery, sandstone colored tresses as if to prove her point.
! It was all Trapped could do not to explode in frustration.
! “And who exactly is the cause of said stress?” her voice was strained, “In case you haven’t noticed, we’ve had two breaches in high level security in the last week alone. That’s inexcusable. I keep telling you not to let the new recruits-“
! “Oh don’t worry about that,” Mia cut in patronizingly, as if talking to a child, “None of that is actually useful you know. It’d be much easier just to keep everything in a list. I don’t know why you go through all the trouble of making those fancy little combinations.”
! Something snapped.
! “It’s because you never take your work seriously!” A jump kick, a crash, a broken wall. Down at the end of the hallway the passing members sighed. The boss’s daily skirmish with the Capo Bastone, the Underboss and second-in-command, had started. Sometimes it was hard to distinguish who really was in charge here.
! Past the hallway, down a flight of stairs, and two left turns later, a seriously shaken and nervous new recruit hesitated outside of a pair of large, ivory lined double doors. He had been sent to get Sir Metteminne….but there were rumors. That the last man to disturb him had disappeared without a trace, or that bloodcurdling screams emanated from his room at night. He raised his hand to knock, then lowered it. If he went back like this, Trapped would kill him anyways. Taking a deep breath and preparing his will in his head, the recruit knocked hard three times.
! He cautiously pushed on the door, which slid inwards effortlessly, unlocked. Peeking his head through the crack, he saw a high rise canopy bed with a large bundle firmly tangled in the middle.
! “Er….Sir Metteminne?” he called out, hesitatingly. The bundle grumbled and rolled. A sweatdrop.
! “Sir, it’s the middle of the day already,” he tried reasoning, but the bundle simply rolled further away.
! Of course, there were the other rumors as well. That the fearsome and deadly Black Wind was…a lazy bed worm who wouldn’t leave the comfort of his room for anything short of Armageddon. Well, it was worth a try.
! “Miss Trapped says there will be consequences if she’s forced to come down here to get you herself.”
! The bundle shot up, hitting a low hanging beam in the process. Metteminne emerged from within layers of tangled blankets, rubbing his head. He was having such a wonderful nap, but conditioning had practically made it an instinct for him to jump out of bed the moment Trapped’s name was mentioned. The reasons were left to the imagination.
! The recruit faltered. Sometimes the antics in this place felt more like a circus than a criminal organization. But then again, the second-in-command wasn’t called a demon for no reason. He took the moment of confusion to tiptoe away from the door and back up the stairs as fast as he could.
! That was an hour ago.
Piratemarimo melted into the shadows behind her target, who was frantically trying to dial a number on the payphone. There wasn’t a single soul besides them out in this torrential rain. She slid her hand over her pistol, instinctively and automatically checking the holster, safety, and dryness to ensure that it would fire. Wet gunpowder was a pain in the ass. There were other ways to kill someone, but it was so much more of a hassle.
! She had her eyes trained so intensely on the figure ahead of her that it was only years of experience that warned her body ahead of time. Almost by instinct, she dived out of the way at the sound of a gunshot. The shattering of glass rang out and her target slumped down to the ground, dead. She whirled, body moving on its own, hand reaching and pulling her gun just as her eyes found the source.
! The moon poked out from a hole in the overcast skies just long enough to illuminate two people, the cold gleam of two gun barrels pointed parallel to each other.
! “Oh? This is a surprise,” Mette said lightly, though in a rather bored tone, as if he wanted to go back to bed, “I thought the Queen’s little Bloodhound would be the first to jump at the chance to impress her mistress.”
! The Silent Death didn’t answer in words. A shot echoed but Mette had already jumped down. Landing on a windowsill with precise timing and balance, he held his hands up, gun still swinging from his left hand.
! “Woah, woah, hey there,” he waved, motioning, “I didn’t come here to pick a fight. My job’s done. I’m just going to go home and get back to bed, kay toots?”
! Piratemarimo shrugged. She hadn’t expected to hit him.
! “Well, my job was to kill that traitor. As long as he’s dead, I don’t care.” She paused for a second and then twirled her gun, letting it fall back into its holster like an acrobatic act. Mette laughed.
! “Ok, then we’re on the same-“ he was cut off as a second bullet pierced the wall right beside his head.
! “Hey, how much was that bounty on your head again?” his adversary teased. He simply glared at her and jumped backwards through the window, which had been left open. The assassin shrugged. Her job was done. Now to go get a warm meal at a fancy restaurant and a new hat.
Part 4 by Gypsy
! Music trickled through the night club lazily. Easing in and out of conversations, all of which uneasy to Gypsy’s presence. Even the music hesitated before reaching her. Leg crossed and perched on a barstool, her eyes combed the room as she clicked her tongue.
! “…And put it on the rocks.” Kidd finished his order at the bar with a intimidating slap at the table. “Well, Queen. You look pretty blue today, what’s got you shaking on your throne?” He reached for his drink, service came fast for him these days.
! “My mood has a new color today.” She sighed and knitted her brow dramatically as he rolled her hair off her shoulder. “Black.”
! Kidd stopped the glass a inch away from his lips. “Black, huh?”
! The lady blinked slowly, tracing her thigh with the very tip of her fingernail. “Yes, and I fear that I have no way to remedy my foul frame of mind.” Piano plunked into the thoughts that raced her mind.
! This room was in a forced peace. No one dared stir too the disliking of anyone, for there could be any sorts of backstabbers and under covers at each table. Tiny tea candles were flickering shadows of drinks on to the shaking hands of guest. Eyes darting was almost a sport in this place.
! “You know what will lighten my mood a bit?” Tyrant Queen rolled he shoulder back, placing her elbow on the bar. “Martini and turn it topaz, would you?”
! Snorting, Kidd set his glass down with a clank. “Topaz combats black moods, huh?”
! “Alcohol makes anything and everything better.” She said as her crystal glass was set in her hand. “Remember that.”
! Drawing up his dark lips, he studied her for a moment. “Even Winds?”
! A smirk over the glass. “Exactly.”
! Killer leaned from his position to her left, he spoke into her neck in the deadest of whispers. “Silent Death has made her return, Queen.”
! Licking the rim of her glass, Gypsy grinned devilishly at Piratemarimo’s return. The young assassin walked up, shaking her head free of the cool drops from outside. Kidd and Killer both snickered at their underling’s appearance, while the command only calculated her overall air.
! “Your poor fedora.” She said, back of hand holding in a mocking jingle.
! Silent Death threw the hat on the bar top. “I’d like a drink, if you wouldn’t mind?”
! Anyone around the duo stopped breathing. Demanding the purchase of a drink from the Tyrant was like requesting magma from the volcanoes. But before the uneasy eyes could dart away at the bullet being driven into the brain, they’re nerves where loosened by the wind chime laugh from Tyrant Queen.
! “Order away, child.” She reached her fingers to the assistants cheek and patted it like an affectionate mother. “Mama will buy you whatever calms your nerve.”
! “Baccarat.” Silent Death told the bartender. “The glass had better the chilled!”
! “Whisky? Didn’t think you liked the taste.” Kidd craned his neck to her, rolling his glass in his hands. The intricate pattern from its cut illuminated the table from the bar lights.
! “Beat it, Kidd. If you’re going to insert your unwanted opinion.” Silent Death snapped, placing herself on a barstool.
! “Cold.” Kidd stretched his arm to table, showing an array of pistols that lined his waist under the pinstripes. “You sure you want to mess with Tyrant Queen’s number one?”
! “I don’t want any fighting at my party.” Said their barrier, while she clicked her fingers for a new drink. “This should be a happy day, don’t get so worked up, okay?” The same affectionate pat to the face, and her fiery haired underling was melted.
! Piratemarimo held her drink to the light. This caught the bulbs and her upper’s attention.
! “Drug check?”
! “With so many traitors tonight, you can’t be too careful.” She sipped it. “Now…about my payment.”
! “It’s all about what the goods are with you people.” Gypsy put her palms to the edge of the bar. “Outsiders would think you don’t enjoy working for me.”
! Downing a bit more of the Baccarat, Piratemarimo crossed her arms on the bar. “Ran into Mette.”
! Gypsy studied her assistant. “You failed to mention that in your greeting?”
! “Didn’t think it mattered. Traitor’s dead, who cares turned up.”
! “Kidd, be a dear and order me what I like.” The Tyrant Queen let her gold flecked eyes meet the green ones beside her. “It’s time for me to hear a story.”
! “Not with that one around.” Piratemarimo jabbed a thumb to Kidd, who was waving the bartender over with his glare.
! “You know Kidd’s position.”
! “Screwing the Boss?”
! Gypsy dropped the charm from her tone. “There are limits, Silent Death. That’s why me and Pretty in Pink are on such poor terms.”
! “You mean…Doflamingo?”
! “Child, when I say a code name, you best follow my lead.” The drink set in front of her was being traced by her finger. “But yes, he and I have butt heads again.”
! The assassin swallowed. “R-really?”
! “Oh, yes.” She sighed. “I’m debating whether I blow it off or…get rid of the problem entirely.” Folding her fingers beneath her chin, she looked at the bottles in the bar. Piratemarimo tapped her fingers on the bar, waiting the decision of her boss. This meant she was going to have to carry out another job, and she knew it. Her payment had better be a ride a blimp with gold lining the rim of her drinks at this point. Doflamingo had a nasty habit of turning people to do his own deeds. Though a strong will, she was weary of just how he did that.
! The nasty tug in her stomach told her she would be finding out.
Part 5 by Gypsy (I combined them together since they were short enough)
! “Where’d you pick this one up?”
! “Boss, she was snooping around the alley across the road.” Penguin shoved the teen into the dim room with the barrel of his pistol. “Said something about the Queen’s reign.”
! Trafalgar Law closed one eye, letting the other swivel at the shaking girl in the center of his office. The one lit bulb in the collection of three did no justice to help him with his visual investigation. No weapons, if she had them before, they were in that alley now. No doubt she had no idea how to use them at all, but carried it due to facsimile of her idol. “Nice hat. I forget the fedoras were a trait of Queen’s.”
! The girl squeaked and tore the hat off. Law chuckled under his breath and shook his head lazily. “Q-Queen has her…her eye on you!”
! Law cupped his chin in his hand. “Are you the eye she issued?”
! Charmedward gulped deeply, looking ready to sob. “No. I did this out of-”
! “No wonder they call you Bloodhound.” A nudge to the small collection of drinks on a tabletop. “Care for a drink or two?”
! “I don’t drink.”
! “Figured.” He waved a hand at Penguin, who took his position at the door back up. “How’s old Queenie doing these days? Still slinking around with her nose in the air?”
! “She has a right to. She’s the best around!”
! Law laughed. “Bloodhound, you have a warped devotion. I like that.” The King of Hearts lay back in his seat. “Heard she’s on the bad terms with Pretty in Pink.”
! “Well…” Crossing her arms behind her back, she tried to feign courage. “Her sense of justice clashed with is.”
! “Queen has too much of a heart.” Rolling his neck, he picked up his drink. “Tell me why she didn’t shoot Handsome Duval in the brawl on Iron Street?”
! Charmedward thought briefly. “Keimi is with child.”
! “Heart…” The man took a long swig of his nameless drink. “Too much of it to be a Boss. Her slip up of not knocking him off has cost Pretty in Pink some information. But, no one can find Handsome to bump him off. My guess is he’s in hiding with his lady.”
! “It’s not like they’d get her if s-”
! “Doflamingo has no respect for the rules.” A deep breath through the nose and he closed the discussion. “You know that.”
! Charmedward went pale. “Are you going to shoot me?”
! “Why? I am but a humble surgeon just wrapped up in this ludicrous gang scheme.”
! “Queen wants to make a deal with you!” The blurt hit the walls and rang the room.
! “A deal?” Law perked up from his slouch, setting the drink to the desk. “Elaborate.”
! “I’m not sure of it myself, but she said the other day that we have business with you! So I came to scope you out and make sure it was safe for Gypsy to come around!” Her fist raised in her person triumph, she smiled. “And I have decided that I did right and you are worthy of her presence.”
! “You were right by spilling her information?”
! Charmedward’s jaw dropped and she started to make choking noises of protest. “I…”
! “Please leave, I believe I have an appointment any moment.” After her frozen stance broke apart to allow her to retreat, he added when her hand hit the knob: “And please tell your Queen that I’d take pleasure in her pretty companionship before long.”
! Gypsy blew the last puff from her cigar towards the ceiling of Trafalgar’s office. Biting her lower lip, she let a closed mouth moan break the silence. Killer at the door and Kidd behind her seat, she really had no worry to an ambush. Demands were in her favor today.
! “Might I suggest a drink from you, Law?”
! “Absolutely, it’s not everyday a woman like you is perched in my chair.” He stood up, adjusting the ends of his coat. “I take it you want your Royalist?”
! “You still remember after all these years?” Her raised brows displayed favor.
! “A man doesn’t forget a date like that.” He mixed the drink as Kidd coughed with meaning. “Heard you’ve been causing quite a racket these days.”
! The dark-haired woman folded her hands on her knee. “You’ve been eavesdropping again, haven’t you?”
! “The mess with Duval has stirred your name up like dust.”
! “I couldn’t shoot the man.” She closed her eyes to recall the event. “His wife is about to drop a babe. Could you imagine if my father was shot before I were born?”
! “You wouldn’t be in charge of the Ensenada Group, would you?” He handed the amber drink into the grip of the lady. Setting back into the chair, he withdrew a folder and placed it on the desk. “You could have dumped Duval and his soon to be family in a double-decker.”
! “What a sick man, isn’t he, Kidd?” Gypsy handed the end of her cigar to the man behind her.
! “This racket is about to extend to me, isn’t it?” Said the doctor, sitting down at his desk.
! “You’ve continuously verified to be sharp, old friend.” Holding the drink up towards the man behind her, he took the drink and sniffed it. Swirling it’s contents he tasted it carefully before handing it back to her. “I’m sure with your inside intelligence, you’ve heard of Roger’s Will, yes?”
! “Who hasn’t? Somewhere in this city it’s hidden, that is, unless it disappeared with his late wife.”
! “Indeed.” She pulled up her purse and thumbed through it. “What if I told you I knew where a piece of it was?”
! Law traced his gaze over her, the champagne color of her suit seemed to set off a sort of glow to her aura. A shining answer and threat, he crossed one foot over and balanced it on his knee. The pistol under the leg’s fabric was exposed slightly, his tanned fingers sat on top of it.
! “A page?”
! Tyrant Queen gave him a look that showed no joke was in her yarn. Fluttering her lashes, she knocked her teeth together in consideration of her next words. “I wish this didn’t have to involve guns.”
! Kidd put his hands on his hips, drawing back his black coat. Countless guns were bedecked on his chest like a steel vest. Trafalgar eyed them for a moment, knowing that even with his luck, that it wasn’t best to mess with a man who seemed to be a magnet of weapons. The heavily armed bodyguard pulled his chin into the air. “This is where you put the pistol on the table.”
! Law’s eyes narrowed at the man. Gradually, the straps to his hidden pistol were removed and it was placed upon the table. Kidd looked at it for a moment and snickered, he picked it up. Spinning it on his finger, he leaned an elbow on the head of his Boss’s chair. Tyrant Queen sighed and placed her drink in her lap. “Now that we’ve taken care of that. I’d like to know what you’ve done with the page.”
! “The page, huh?” Law said as she sipped her drink casually. “How long have you known that I had it?”
! “You’ve changed since your La Piccolina days, Gypsy.” King of Hearts rubbed his hand over his mouth.
! “If I were a little girl, no one would listen.” She placed the glass on his desk. “Now, about this will…you’re going to need protection if you posses it, no?”
! “Perhaps…unless the hazard is you.”
! Gypsy let out a chirp of laughter. “Goodness, no! What would I want with a silly will? That’s not what I desire.”
! “Oh, please.” Law rolled his eyes and waved the woman’s words off. “You tell me that, then soon I get a button on my doorstep with a gun between my eyes.”
! “You’d just have that Bepo do the cleaning to anyone who saw you leaving.”
! “Don’t compare my practice to gang!” Law said coldly, standing up suddenly. His rise was met by the swish of a switchblade snapped and Kidd whipping out a gun from under his armpit. Gypsy’s smile faded from her features. The fan overhead was loose and made a small bump routinely, like a metronome for this sickening musical. Once cleared of the smile, Gypsy’s mouth curled into a sneer.
! “As I was saying.” Killer put his blade back into his sleeve, but Kidd kept the gun cocked at the tanned doctor. Gypsy went on. “My covet doesn’t lie within in any document. And if you want to pursue whatever it is you desire, you’re in need of my services.”
! Kidd scoffed. “This is ridiculous, Tyrant Queen. We shouldn’t even bother protecting this man, it‘s obvious that Pink isn’t the only wants his sniveling mouth iced.”
! “The Fedoras are growing restless.” The woman reminded. “They want that paper soon. And if either them or the Galley-La get it, the whole city will become a crime scene. They have their bothersome babbos and cugines out around sniffing for it. I managed to clean what I could for my connections, but you haven‘t done well at all. As we can see by the fate of Handsome.” Gypsy picked up her purse and threw a small card from it at Law. “You’re welcome to call us if you get the sudden urge to live.”
! Law looked form the slip of paper to the back of the woman at his door. “I suspect The Committee will be hitting the mattress soon, eh?”
! Simply, the woman looked over her shoulder and patted her hair twist. “We’ll be clocking you, Trafalgar. Good day.”
! The fan trembled with her leave.
Part 6 by Skyrius
! “B-Boss!” the almost childish shout came bursting from across the corridor as Charmed lurched out of her seat outside the door as it opened. She skidded to a halt as the first one out was Kidd, who simply glared and turned away, not bothering with her. Eyes narrowing, she turned to look behind him. Gypsy glided out, a calm look of satisfaction upon her face.
! “Boss! How did everything go?” Charmed asked as she jumped over to stand next to the leader. Gypsy tilted her head slightly and smiled at the enthusiasm.
! “I’m sure we’ll be hearing from our dear surgeon within the week.” she raised a hand and set it gently on Charmed’s head, stroking her hair once before walking past her. Charmed spun on her heel and trotted after Gypsy, trying to keep up with her leader’s longer strides.
! “I knew it. No one could ever refuse you boss,” she grinned, but then let it fall as she steeled herself to converse on more serious matters, “Boss, I have a report to make.”
! Gypsy inclined her head back the slightest of angles, to motion that she was listening. Kidd and Killer up ahead made no indication that they had heard, but Charmed knew they could. She shook her head.
! “I’ll tell you later.”
! Gypsy’s eyes narrowed, scanning her face. After a moment, she smiled.
! “Of course dear.”
! “What’s this for?”
! Iceburg looked over from the construction he was directing as Paulie shuffled through the numerous papers on his desk, plucking out a cream color envelope embellished with a gold lining and wine red wax seal. The mark melted into the seal was the one for the Ensenadas.
! “Ah, that’s an invite.” Paulie glanced over at him.
! “For what?”
! “A party. It seems Gypsy’s hosting one in two days, at midnight.” He paused in his explanation as an echoing thud and numerous colorful curses flew through the air. A low hanging beam had swung in too close to the wooden frame of the building. The decrepit old apartment was being remodeled into a new storage facility for Galley La. There had been a significant set back when it was discovered that the condition of the main foundation and woodworks was revealed to be much worse than expected. Water and termite damage had worn it down to dangerous levels. Iceburg was overseeing the project himself after a few broken bones and one man had been hospitalized in moments of carelessness in the renovation.
! Paulie sighed, breaking the envelope seal to take a look. Iceburg would be too busy to worry about things like parties for a while yet. The letter began in the normal manner, embellished greetings written in flourished cursive writing. The second page was a guest list, in case anyone had any….complaints about who they would be attending the party with. He scanned it over quickly, running down the list. It didn’t seem like any particularly volatile combinations were being invited. Donflamingo was out. Right at the end of the list, he froze, blinking, trying to ascertain that his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. This couldn’t be right.
! “B-Boss!” he whirled around, letting the letter fall to the floor out of his hands. If this list were right, there was no way the night would end without someone dead. Most likely many people.
! The dim backlights of the Midnight Club increased in intensity as the last of the guests left for the evening. There was no need to keep things so dim now that the austere atmosphere of the room no longer had to be kept. Florescent lights came on above head, illuminating the nooks and crannies. Their glow ignited a mosaic of colors along the walls, revealing that the glittering star effect that shone in the dark was actually numerous pieces of colored glass melded into the fours sides of the room. The ceiling sloped upwards, with the lowest point being directly above the platform Nia sang upon. From the top, long red curtains flowed down to make an open semicircle surrounding the stage. From there, it curved upwards in a concave hyperbola shape, until the highest point at the edge of the room, arching over twenty feet above the heads of the guest.
! Along the bottom of the walls, adorning the circumference of the half moon shaped room were carvings of plants and animals, real and mythical, lined in gold and silver. Anyone who had an eye for detail would see that a significantly large amount of time and money had been put into the construction of the club. Of course, Gypsy was rather certain that most of the regulars that frequented the club would not have an eye for detail. The slavish detail she put in, such as the crystal chandeliers that dipped delicately into the shape of a peacock’s tail or the ivory handles upon each door inside the facility, was for the satisfaction of her own pride. Luxury was proof of power as well, not just wealth.
! Well, so she would have told any passerby to question, but Gypsy wasn’t in at the moment. Nia sighed as she glided down the steps, deftly removing the ruby high heels she wore. She could never get used to them, no matter how often she performed onstage in them. It was a force of habit from her days in the frontlines, even though over a year had passed since then. She still couldn’t fathom how Piratemarimo could run, flip, and somersault over some poor fool’s head in her heels without breaking an ankle.
! The numerous waiters and maids that had been waiting on the guests’ each whim were now busy folding up the black velvet tablecloths or gathering up the delicate china plates and bowls. She paid no attention to them as she walked across the room, rolling her head to stretch out the neck muscles.
! “Rough night?” a voice floated over from ahead. She peered up, opening one eye from her after performance relaxation routine. Meta was standing a little ways apart from the front door, leaning against the bar counter, a small smirk on his face. She rolled her eyes and moved on to stretching her arm muscles.
! “You shouldn’t have let him in.” she responded when she was close enough not to have to shout. Sliding out one of the chairs, she settled down into it, her dress floating down to wrap around the chair legs.
! “Hey, he knew the password. You know how that works. If you want to blame someone, go find the guy who was stupid enough to tell some bum off the streets how to get into this place. Unless of course Gypsy already has someone on that, which she probably does,” he chuckled, reaching across the countertop to pluck one of the wine bottles and two crystal glasses, “Want one?” he inquired.
! Nia didn’t answer, moving on to side stretches. Meta took that as a yes, since she never really answered unless it was to say no. Pouring until each of the glasses was about three fourths full, he slid one of them over to her.
! “You know, you look more troubled than usual,” he commented, turning around so that his back was to the countertop again, leaning against it. His eyes were on the scene in front of him, numerous people scurrying about to clean up any messes that had been made that night. Nia looked down into her glass, facing towards the countertop, away from Meta. She picked it up and swirled it around, contemplating for a minute.
! “How….do you think she’s….doing…” She paused, as if second guessing herself.
! “Are you thinking about Skyrius again?” Meta finished for her, raising his cup to his lips and sipping it, eyes not leaving the scene in front of him. Even without looking at her, he could feel Nia stiffen slightly, tensing. He sighed, lowering the drink and turning his upper body around to half-face her, putting his right arm on the countertop to lean on.
! “That wasn’t your fault. Hell, it wasn’t anyone’s fault here. It was-“
! “You don’t know that for sure!” Nia snapped, hardly raising her voice, but the smooth silk like quality hardened into an icy, jagged sound, “I was the one in charge of the mission. I was the one who should have…should have made the kill…I shouldn’t have let her listen to him…” she trailed off, staring back into her drink again, still untouched. Meta watched her for a second, then sighed, even louder than before and in a far more exaggerated manner. Nia looked up and glared at him, knowing he was doing it on purpose.
! “Listen princess,” he began, his previously teasing and even consoling voice tightening a bit, as if he was scolding a child, “You can beat yourself up as much as you want. You can stay off of the frontlines forever. You just sing your pretty little songs the rest of your life if it makes you feel better, but just know this- it’s not going to change anything,” he set down his wine cup, still half full and turned to face her completely before continuing, “The only question I have is this- if she shows up here again, do you still have the resolve to put her down?” he stared at her, not breaking eye contact, challenging her to answer.
! "Do you?" Nia responded in turn, glaring back at him with emerald daggers. For a long minute, neither of them so much as twitched. Anyone looking on from afar could almost believe that they were two wax statues, perfectly sculpted. Then the moment passed. A loud crash resounded from the wooden door that marked the entrance. Nia didn’t flinch. Meta sighed, turning his attention away to see what the fuss was. The front door was swinging from one hinge, the lock broken in two from having been slammed open. A man, red faced and reeking of alcohol, was stumbling in, a scene normal enough on most nights.
! What drew Meta attention was the self-powered .311 Maxim gun dangling from his right hand. The bulky weapon was a heavy artillery type machine gun, usually seen on the battlefield. Meta could feel another sigh coming, and only stopped himself upon realizing that it would be the fifth time in one night. Dealers these days gave anyone with a fistful of cash and head full of empty a firearm.
! “A’right, e’ryon ‘ands in d’ air!” the man shouted, his tone slurred with inebriation. Meta studied him. In his current condition, he doubted the drunkard could even lift the weapon, much less aim straight. But he’d still have to hear hell if Gypsy came back to find rounds of gunshot in her precious chandeliers or priceless paintings. Behind him, Nia turned away from the scene, finally turning her attention to her drink.
! “I sai’ freeze ‘ou ninnies!” the man yelled out again when none of the workers so much as turned a head to look at him. Meta stepped forwards
! “Hey, jackass. Get out,” he said simply, annunciating each chilly word with a step forwards. The man paused in the middle of his next rant, turning his face to look at him.
! “ Heeeeh? Wha’dya jus’ say to me?” a drop of slobber dripped out of the side of the intruder's mouth. Meta wrinkled his nose slightly in disgust. This idiot was even drunker than he thought. The man turned tipsily around to face Meta, matted hair and rumpled suit. He lifted the gun shakily with both hands, his depressed muscles not functioning at full capacity due to the alcohol in his system.
! “I dare ya to say ‘at one more ‘ime.” He drawled, finger twitching on the trigger. Meta’s eyes narrowed to slits and the air rippled. Anyone there who so much as blinked would have missed it. The sound of machine gun fire ripped through the room, bullets clattering. But they didn’t hit anyone. The self-propelled Maxim gun was now aiming straight up at the roof. There was howling and cracking as the sound of broken fingers crunched. A black and silver blur, from Meta’s suit, had launched itself underneath the drunkard’s extended arm before he could even comprehend what was going on. Meta’s foot had shot upwards, crashing into the hand that held the gun with enough force to shatter all the bones and enough momentum to kick the 50+ pound gun straight skywards when the trigger went off. As a result, there was a myriad of holes in the ceiling, but he figured Gypsy wouldn’t mind too much when he mentioned that he could have kicked the gun into a chandelier instead.
! The intruder was still howling in pain, having dropped his gun and was nursing the broken hand. There wasn’t even time for the pain to completely set in before Meta grabbed the man’s face with one hand, deftly ramming his head into the marble floor in one motion. The ground creaked and cracks blossomed from where the now unconscious man hit the floor, his eyes rolled back and foaming at the mouth. Dusting his hands off, Meta straightened.
! The sound of glass clinking came from behind him as Nia stood up and picked up her empty glass. Meta turned heel and walked back over, lifting his glass up as he passed and walking back towards the sink along with Nia, dumping the rest of the wine on the drunkard’s face as he passed him.
! “Gypsy’s going to complain about the floor.”
! “I’m going to complain about that damn door. Every single one of those things is bulletproof inside the building, and she can’t bother to upgrade the front entrance?” Meta snatched the wine glass from Nia’s hand and set both of them down into the sink.
! Nia chuckled softly, and turned to walk back to her own room behind the farthest door to the right in the main room, “It’s Gypsy’s way of saying that there’s no need for extra protection. You should think of it as a compliment. She respects your strength that much.”
! Meta let another sigh escape and rubbed the back of his neck, craning his head to glare at the limp body on the floor, “Yeah, well I can do without it. Never a peaceful night in this place.”
! Across town, through unlit alleyways where stray cats prowled, through the barred iron doors of a large apartment building, down a flight of spiral stairs, past a vault of titanium doors and finally through a pair of oaken double doors, another mafia member was suppressing the urge to sigh for the umpteenth time that night.
! Mia sat, elbows on the table in front of her and hands interwoven, resting her head upon the net her fingers made, trying to figure out how she had ended up in this situation again. She vaguely recalled Trapped shouting some nonsense about an important meeting and a hurricane of movements as a multitude of hands dragged her through the hallways, brushed her hair, plucked at her clothes, and made her presentable.
! The meeting in question had taken all of 10 seconds to turn sour. The group that had come to meet with her had immediately gotten on her nerves with their arrogance and demand to operate freely in her territory. There were procedures to be followed. Even Mia, with her disregard for rules and tradition, held certain standards in check.
! “Brownbeard,” she started again, inwardly cringing at the ridiculous name, “As I have stated within the first minute of this conversation, and will continue to state, I will not have you running about as you wish within my boundaries.” She paused to glance through lidded eyes at the ring of men sitting in front of her for the slightest of moments. That was enough to chill the air in the room another five degrees, even with the pouring rain outside. The leader, a massive man with an absurd beard from which he took his namesake, simply chuckled, as if he was dealing with some flighty broad, which he personally thought he was.
! “I think you’ll reconsider that girly,” he continued, leaning in so that his coat slipped, revealing the myriad of guns holstered on his belt, “We’re being quite generous here. I know that the Vindice is the largest family around, but honestly it’s just because you pussyfoot around any fights.”
! Mia froze, eyes piercing up, in a rare moment of complete seriousness. Anyone with half a brain who looked at her then would have shut his or her mouth in a second. It seemed the men in front of her didn’t have even half a brain.
! A long knock followed by to short ones broke the silence, and in all likelihood delayed the deaths that had been about to befall the motley crew in front of the Empress of Ruin.
! “Come in” she called out, taking the reprieve to gather up her calm again. The doors slid open and a single woman glided in, garbed in a form fitting red dress with black open diamonds laced down the side (Gypsy! It’s your dress ) bowing her head to Mia for the slightest of moments.
! “Masha,” Mia perked up, the tension in her face melting out at the sight of someone she knew, “you’re back earlier than I expected.”
! Masha smiled gently, curtsying. “I finished faster than I expected,” she responded liltingly, still smiling calmly, “So I thought to hand in my report earlier. Are you busy at the moment?”
! “Shouldn’t you be giving it to Trapped?” Mia asked, untangling her fingers and standing up.
! “She said that I should give it to you,” Masha laughed softly, “Something about you having to take on more responsibilities.” She bowed ever slightly to the men in the room to show that she had noticed them. Browbeard gave a loud guffaw at the arrival and turned to face Masha.
! “Sorry miss, but your boss is a bit tied up with us at the moment.” Masha looked to Mia for confirmation.
! “No, we’re done here,” she asserted, walking around from behind her desk and past Brownbeard, “I have no more to say on this matter.”
! “Hold it there girlie,” the previously jestering tone of voice the mafia leader had taken disappeared as a click rang out, the sound of the safety latch snapping, “I think we aren’t done just yet, don’t you?” Mia stopped in her tracks, eyes closed. The men were now surrounding her in a ring, each holding a gun of sorts to her head. She could feel that sigh building.
! “Gentlemen,” Masha’s soft voice rang out melodiously, “To point a gun at Miss Mia is inexcusable here. Lower your weapons and leave immediately.”
! Half the men turned their heads to look at Masha, who was standing behind them, hands in a cradle shape around her stomach. Brownbeard laughed, motioning with his head for his men to keep their guns trained as he turned around, sauntering over to the light haired girl.
! “Well well, I might consider that missie,” he slurred, stopping right in front of her and leaning in close, “If you were to give us the pleasure of your company this evening.” The men around laughed at his line, barking and sharp. Masha didn’t flinch, simply smiled smoothly and lifted a hand to stroke his face.
! “My dear sir,” she began, pronouncing each word precisely as if it were flowing off of silk, “There isn’t a single woman in the world that would spend a night with a pig like you.”
! Brownbeard froze as did the men around him, choking on anger. His hand shot for his gun, but before it so much as touched it, Masha clenched her fingers in the smallest of movements, nails biting into his skin. There was a beat and an anguished scream erupted from the man. Brownbeard’s men had only a moment to react before a whirl of caramel and ruby was in their midst, fingers alighting upon their skin in the softest of motions, like a bird’s wings brushing a flower. There was nothing more than a prick here, the thinnest of slides there, and soon the room resounded with howls as they fell to the ground, clutching at faces and necks. Masha slowed to a stop besides Mia, bowing down.
! “I’m sorry you had to see such a scene. Please go Boss, I’ll call for one of the recruits to come clean up the mess in here.”
! Mia shook her head and lifted one hand to grasp Masha’s, lifting it. As she suspected, they were immaculately done nail extensions. But rather than plastic or glass they were crafted of the thinnest of steel. Knives, tiny enough to fit on the tip of a finger and sharp enough to cut with the smallest of movements. There was a thin liquid coating atop each nail, curare, a preparation made from the toxic skin of the poison dart frogs. Physical effects were instant and death would follow in a matter of minutes from asphyxiation.
! “Never mind, let’s both go. You were going to give me a report, right?” Mia released the spy’s hand and walked past her. The pitter of feet behind her indicated that Masha had followed.
! Piratemarimo cursed under her breath. It had been clear all goddamn day. ALL day. In fact, it was dry all the way until a minute before sunset. She had already had one assignment that night, another one was pushing it. Gypsy had better be ready to carve her face next to George freaking Washington on Mount Rushmore for this one.
! She glanced down at the laminated list in her hand, water sliding off of the plastic. Two down, one to go. The last one though…
! Her mind wandered back to less than a week ago.
! “I’ve got one more job to finished up,” Mette had sighed, setting down his gun. Holes riddled the curtain of the room where he and Piratemarimo had just finished their little skirmish. The tables laid overturned and the flowers scattered upon the floor from their vase. He slid down to sit on the floor against the wall, waving for her to come over as well. The black haired woman slid her gun back into its holster and walked over, plopping down next to him.
! “Putting it off again?” she teased, pulling out a packet of cigarettes and pulling one out. Mette plucked it out of her hand and she glowered at him, elbowing him. The cigarette jumped out of his hand and he fumbled to catch it again. She turned and pulled another out, taking out her lighter as well, igniting both of them.
! “Er…you can call it that,” Mette answered haltingly, smoke spiraling from the tip of the roll, “It’s more like…hm, it might be more of a pain to have him dead.”
! Piratemarimo glanced over, interested. Mette hardly ever gave his thoughts on missions, figuring the sooner he was done, the sooner he wouldn’t have to worry about it.
! “Oh? Who is this amazing figure that’s managed to pull an actual opinion out of that skull of hot air of yours?” she chuckled. Mette frowned and stomped down on her foot, which she slid out of way right before it was crushed.
! “Ha ha. I’m perfectly capable of thinking for myself,” he grumbled, chomping down on the cigarette, “I’m just saying that taking out the head of a gang is going to cause chaos.”
! Piratemarimo started for a second, inhaling and coughing, “Wait wait,” she managed between coughs, waiting for it to settle, “You’re going to kill who?”
! Mette sighed, crushing the stub of the still smoldering cigarette under his thumb. He didn’t feel like it anymore.
! “Some guy the Straw Hats have their eyes on as well.” At this the other assassin raised an eyebrow, more interested than ever. This was new. Mia hardly ever went after anyone that another gang had an agenda with. And the Straw Hats, while being a small and normally unobtrusive group, were highly volatile. If someone was on their bad side, it was a matter of time before they ended up smeared against the wall of some alleyway.
! “I dunno. Some prick named Bellamy.”
! She sighed again, staring out at the rain. Her fedora was already ruined, so it didn’t really matter that much anymore. She had left her hat on the table inside the Midnight Club before she ran out for her next assignment.
! “This is her way of getting back at Doflamingo, huh?” she muttered aloud, referring to Gypsy’s previous run-in with the rival mafia leader that ended in…complications. She was 99% sure that this was Gypsy’s version of a “screw you” to him. And of course, instead of dealing with it herself, Gypsy sent her. Out into the pouring rain. At 3 AM in the morning. On a Saturday night. A street light flickered before sputtering out. She could feel the physical pressure of a loud groan build up in her stomach at the compiling thoughts.
! “I better get a goddamn mansion for this.” She said forcefully, loudly, to the rain, sprinting off again. She’d have a lot to explain to Mette, and a lot of bullets to dance around, once he found out that she was taking his target. Actually, for that matter, that there were three families all aiming for one guy. She almost felt sorry for the mark. Almost.
! An explosion took out the top half of a high rise apartment building, raining debris upon the men scattered like mice below, sending them scurrying in all directions. The narrow alleyway was only large enough for two people to walk side by side, and even less with the trash cans and dumpsters peppered along its length. The oil based fire blazed high into the sky, even in the harsh rain. Below, underneath an alcove so as to avoid a rain, a single hooded figure tossed a burning cigarette to the floor, smothering it beneath the heel of an Italian loafer. The people around the figure stared, half in shock and half in fear as it walked past them, leaving the burning building in their wake. Exiting the alleyway, the hood was pulled back and a face turned upwards, eyes closed, to bask in the rain for a moment.
! “Il giudizio,” one man whispered, voice harsh with soot. The Judgment. Whatever the poor fool had done was negligent. An appointment had been broken. Under normal circumstances, he would have gotten off with a probation period, maybe a few broken bones. What proof stood here was that he had had the galls to try and resist.
! Behind them, the figure readjusted her hood and continued to walk leisurely, enjoying the brief period of rain in the hot summer season.
Backstory by various (these are snippets written by people, mostly Gypsy at the moment, that flesh out the backstory or personality of characters and plot points in the story. They are set in the past and so set apart from the present storyline; flashbacks are not included here. These are stand alone pieces linked to the main story. Reading them enhances certain parts of the main story, but they are not necessary for understanding of any plot threads in the main story.)
! “Tom?” Buzzed the crackling voice of the blonde secretary from the call box. Pressing his yellow finger into the button, the fish man answered back with the usual question.
! “Yes, Kokoro?”
! “There is an interview here for you.” Her throat clearly slightly, the sound of her palm meeting the bottom of the phone. “Mister Roger is here to give you an interview.”
! Tom’s eyebrows fell as he looked up at the two boys in his office. The older boy with navy hair was staring at him, his dark mouth open slightly. While the younger, with the lighter hair, was sitting in a chair with his elbows on his knees. He had been playing with his fingernails, but was now watching the call box. Meeting his boss’ eyes he mouthed: “Who?”
! In response, Tom pressed the button again. “Tell him to go grab a coffee and come back. I’m not ready.”
! “Will do, sir.”
! A moment passed before the draw of her breath. “He says he’d like to take you out for this one. He’ll pick you up later.” And the beep of the ending call sounded. A cue for the seated boy to stand.
! “Mr. Tom! Is that the Roger?! Why is he here?! Does he think it’s smart to come walking in here when he knows we’re in hiding?!”
! “Franky is right, sir.” Said the older boy. “If he slips up, the whole town will know by sundown that we aren’t really running a normal penny saver’s newsletter.”
! Waving a great hand at the young men, Tom laughed in his boom jovial. “Come now, Iceberg. I think the heading mind of The Committee knows what he’s doing.”
! “I’d assume so, but what if someone sees him enter?” Iceberg pressed on. “And then we have no interview to dish out as evidence?”
! “We’re screwed then!” Franky called from the coat rack. “We’d all be filled with bullets if a peep of this gets out.” He removed the dark dress jacket from a peg and put it on over his bright colored button up. “Anyone seen my gold chain?”
! Iceberg groaned and ran his fingers through his hair. “Why do you insist on wearing that stupid necklace? You just look like an idiot when you have it on.”
! “Would you hit a guy wearing a chain made of solid gold?”
! “If he looked like you.”
! Franky shot Iceberg a glare of severe caveat, pointing at him ominously. Tom smacked the table in hysterics. “You two kill me! Whahaha!”
! “Anyway.” The eldest went on. “What are we going to do? If he takes us out, we’re goners for sure.”
! “So we say we’re talking to him about a boat he’s selling.” Franky shrugged, heading to the fireplace to hunt for his chain. “Bet he has enough dough to buy one to hold that lie up. Damn, where is it?”
! “Most likely it’ll have drugs or something in the seats.”
! “You’re always one for optimism, Idiot-berg.” Cutty Flam jeered, getting on his knees to search under the tables. Iceberg glared at the back of his head, nose crinkled in irritation. The room stood like this for a moment, with only the sounds of the other workers in the press bustling outside the door and Franky bumping objects and swears. Tom inhaled through his nose and took out a folder from the underside of his desk. Taped there for years, he figured it was time for it to get some air.
! “You two need to watch yourselves tonight. Do not meddle with any decisions I make, okay?”
! A cheer interrupted Iceberg before he even began to question. Throwing up a fist, Franky followed his raised fist with the gold links in one fist. “There you are, sucker! Of course it would be under the drink table.”
! Iceberg punched his friend in the arm to shut him up. “We won’t mess with any decision you make, right?”
! “What? Oh, yeah. Right, Boss.” Franky clasped the chain behind his neck. “Do I look swank?”
! “You look like an idiot.” Said Iceberg, his voice dipping as he tightened his tie. “At least wear a tie for tonight.”
! “Never! The King won’t pick on a guy who wears this!” He threw out his chest and pointed at the glinting jewelry.
! Tom burst into his usual hysterical reaction by pounding his knee. “Boys! You can’t be doing your routine tonight! The King won’t like it too much! Whahaha!”
! “The Baterilla?!”
! “Oh, this is going to be awesome!”
! “Why would The King want to come to a boarder line strip club?!” Iceberg gaped at the flashy sign over the glass doors Tom was heading towards. “Sir, we cannot go in there!”
! “Get a grip, Ice.” Franky threw his arm around his shoulders and pointed. “We’re in our twenties! Let’s grow up and get some ladies!”
! The response was a swift punch from Iceberg into Franky’s crown. “No, you calm down! It’s just going to be a night of girls shaking around! How can we get any business done! King must have a sec- hey! Where are you going?!”
! Franky and Tom had pushed the doors open in unison, the bass from before blasted out, like a flood of musical water. Iceberg didn’t even need to see Franky’s face to know it was wearing the stupidest grin in the world. Slapping his face in defeat, he followed his partners into the club. The waitresses wore more than he expected, but were still in less than normal. Standing stupidly in the arch of the dining room, he looked about the room to see it was classy, with it’s dark wooding and whatnot.
! Browns in dark dyes paneled the room and furniture, each surface with a streak of gold light eerily mirrored across it. Much like the moon over lakes, the enormous collection of glass orbs overhead reflected around the room. Each bubble on it’s pattern frosted to resemble candles inside rather than tiny bulbs. A purple carpet the color of royalty was stretched from under the desk of a few feet from the door, which Iceberg now noticed to have knobs the shape of large crystals. Even the trays carried by the women were crystal.
! A stage was build into the back wall, with an apron extended out and into the crowd. A few tables lined its stretch, each one with a cream table cloth and miniature version of the grand chandelier in the center. Though it was illuminated by tea candles that smelled like linens fresh from the dryer. To his further horror, he saw Franky wildly waving from the table at the dead end of the apron. Whomever would be dancing that night would give the impression that they were walking right at them. Another palm to the face meant that Iceberg gave up.
! “Hey, sugar.” Said a woman with a black bob and a cherry colored dress, tray under arm. “You sitting for one?”
! The help didn‘t match the elegance of the room. It was like when Franky wore a tux. “No, I’m meeting up with those…men down there.”
! “You want me to walk you down there?” Her eyes traced up his chest, he shook his head and marched off. Eye wide in disgust, he scowled at the table. At least, he did until he saw his dinner guests.
! Gol D. Roger, or The King to most was seating at the opposite end of Tom with his arms crossed across a crude, yet classy red suit jacket, a large red flower in the breast pocket of it. Next to him set the Dark King, Silvers Rayleigh, with his sandy hair slicked off his grinning face. And, to Iceberg’s wonder, two other boys around he and Franky’s age. One with oddly bright red hair and the other a strange red nose. When he arrived at the table, he gave a bow with his head to the other men.
! “Ah, here he is!” Tom slapped Iceberg on the back, causing his knees to almost buckle. “And this is Iceberg! Good kid, he is! A little uptight, but we need that, don’t we, Franky?”
! Franky was too stuffing complementary bread in his mouth to properly answer. Nodding fiercely, he chewed loudly and looked at the other end to Roger. Swallowing, he said: “Man, this place is great!”
! Roger smiled under his long moustache. “It’s a favorite of mine. And we came on the night of my favorite entertainer.”
! It took all Iceberg’s will power not to let his mouth drop. The King came here to watch the dancers? Turning to Tom, Iceberg started to plead with his eyes to let them leave before he saw this suave gang boss turn into a dirty old man at the sound of a bass line.
! Expectedly, Tom ignored his desperate needs to not see the men around him make him feel like he needed a bath and nodded at Roger. “I’ve heard the dancers here were top notch.”
! “They are.” He replied, unfolding his arms onto the rests of the chair. “Any girl up on that stage is at least a hundred times more appealing than the woman on the floor.”
! A woman approached, their waitress. Setting down their drink orders, she bounced off in her yellow, flounced skirt. Iceberg was sure she made sure she totted with enough spring to keep it lifted up just inches under her rump. Cringing, he looked back at the others.
! “We ordered for you.” Franky said once he had unglued his eyes from the skirt’s dance.
! “What did order for me?” Iceberg sipped the drink and sputtered into his napkin. “OH GOD. What is this?!”
! “A Robbie Burns, dumb ass!”
! Iceberg groaned at his friend’s stupidity, pushing the drink away. “You know I hate whiskey, Franky!”
! Silvers chuckled, putting a hand to his thigh and the other on the table. “I’ll tell you, she’s not dancing alone tonight.”
! “Oh?” Roger looked at his partner. “Shame. Know the other ones?”
! “Eh, read their names somewhere. Lu and Mare, I think.”
! The boy with the clown nose cackled. “Ah, Mare is always pleasant too look at!”
! “Too bad she doesn’t look back at you, Buggy.” The red head snickered, dodging the push his friend executed.
! “Bite me, Shanks!” He pointed a finger at his partner’s nose. “Fifty bucks says I get her number tonight!”
! “I could use fifty to take her on a date!” Shanks retorted, throwing a hand out for him to shake.
! Iceberg couldn’t believe that there was actually two boys who fought just as much as he and Franky did. He looked down to see Franky shoveling more bread into his mouth. Charming. Before he could tell him to knock it off and look professional, Tom piped up and addressed Roger.
! “Your business tonight?”
! The others at the table all held their breath, even Franky swallowed his bread drier than he liked. Simply, Roger sipped the large mug of brandy he had ordered. “Well, how should we start this, Silvers?”
! “From the beginning?” His number one replied, shrugging off his jacket.
! Nodding, The King let his tongue play around in his mouth for a moment in thought. After a lick to his mouth, he grinned at Tom. “I’m in constant danger, you know that. As a business man like me, I’m sure you’re well aware of what we put up with once our deeds are stuck to our names. Well, seems mine has been stuck to one going to the Big Brother’s level this time.”
! “The government?” Tom inquired, rubbing his thick neck.
! “That’s right.” He took a pause to gulp his brandy. “My luck, right? Well, it’s going up and it’ll meet the big guys before we know it.”
! “Ain’t it? Well, you see, I’ve got a large fortune I’ve made in my years of business. And, because I’m not going to be around long enough to give it away to a blood, I’m in need of a Will.”
! “A Will?” Tom furrowed his brow. “Who on earth would it go to?”
! “Ah, see that’s the fun part.” Roger put an elbow to the table and pointed to the fish man. The look on his face made Iceberg shiver. “You know I like games. Such a kid at heart, I am. I think we should play a nice game of finders keepers.”
! Tom’s face wore an expression of such intensity, it was almost terrifying. “You can’t be serious.”
! “Oh, I am.” Roger grinned wickedly. “This city is in need of a much better generation of our profession. More better than my self’s work from all these years! Why not spark that want to continue what we do after we’re rotted away with a little fun?” Another swig. “Plus, how brilliant would that be to stick to the government. A whole new mess of troubles.” Throwing his head back, he laughed loudly. While his men smirked and sighed at their boss.
! The other group, however, were in distain of the idea they were just presented. “And you want me to write it?”
! “Indeed. Best writer around, you are!”
! “I take it that this will also stick my name to whatever has yours?”
! Roger’s smiling reply was interpreted by the sound of drums bashing in warning. Buggy and Shanks both straightened up, smoothing out clothes and hair. Silvers laughed with such glee, he looked ten year younger.
! “Gentlemen! Gentlemen!” Called the voice of an announcer from the stage. “Take a moment to set down your drinks and remove any clothes you don’t want ruined by sweat! We’re about to bring out tonight’s spotlight of Bon Kurei’s finest dancer’s from his studio. Give him a hand for his allowance of his girls to be showcased here! And please, no touching, for this is their exam!”
! “What’s going on?” Franky nudged Shanks and pointed to the stage.
! “Were you chewing to loudly to hear?” He teased. “The performance is about to start.”
! “In other words.” Buggy leaned back to talk to Cutty Flam behind Shanks. “GIRLS.”
! Wildly, Franky grinned from the stage to Iceberg and back again. Iceberg noticed he adjusted his gold chain to show more.
! “And now!” Screeched the announcer again. “Here they are! Lu Clini, Mare Barrel and your own customary beauty…Rouge Portgas!”
! The sound of the final name perked Roger’s attention up, although he sat with his cheek rested to his knuckles. Lights went out, except the candles on the table. From they’re feeble sparkles, Iceberg saw the people around him shift and bump their friends. His back was to Franky, and certainly didn’t want to see his face at the moment. Thinking of shooting a remark about a cold shower to his idiot partner made Iceberg smile, but it was wiped off his face when the music started. Curtains of deep purple drew back, and the dancers started in silhouette.
! Even in shadow, it was obvious they were good at their craft.
! Hoots and hollers were shouted through the air, but none full effected the performers. And even when they were brought to full light, they stayed with the same passionate intensity as they were when hidden. The leading women was exactly as the announcers anticipation build her to be. Tall, slender and far more elegant than a regular dancer of a joint like this. Her hair the lightest of pinks and face dotted with freckles, you’d think she worked in a market selling fruits.
! In her hair she wore a flower that was large and red. But even it’s out of place presence, didn’t distract from the gracefulness her body seemed to move. It was absolutely clear she was skilled years beyond the two other girls behind her. (Who weren’t bad either. Buggy made that clear by the shouts at his bet decider.)
! When the show ended, Iceberg thought he’d go deaf from the claps and shouts around him. Mostly from Franky, who was screaming along with Shanks and Buggy; all three linked in arms. Tom was laughing at the boy’s antics and was repeatedly hammering the table between bleats of laughter.
! “Ah, and here come the reason to my will.” Roger said, standing up at the sight of the showcased woman. Rouge floated over, even lovelier in up close. Her other dancers a few feet behind her, giggling into each other’s shoulders at Buggy’s ferocious waves. “You were wonderful tonight.” He said, pecking the top of her hand.
! “I seem to always be best when you come to see my shows.” She smiled, and looked down the table. “Did you enjoy the show tonight, Silvers?”
! Dark King beamed over his glass of ale. “I’ve seen better.”
! “Then I’ll try harder.” Iceberg noticed her voice was exactly like what velvet sounds like on the skin. He wondered if she sang too. “On business?” She inquired, watching Buggy and Shanks nearly shove the other clean off their feet to get over to the other girls. The two about to fall over in their fit of giggles.
! “Yes, I am.” He cupped her hands in both of his. “But don’t worry about it, their isn’t anything dangerous involved.”
! Her light blue eyes looked over him. “If you say so. Though, even if it’s simple the selling of kittens, you’d make it dangerous somehow.”
! “I like my fun.”
! Beaming, she turned to her girls and waved to their attentions. “Girls, go on back and get ready for the next show. Make sure you check in with Mr. 2.”
! “We should call him that.” Lu giggled, unpinning her brown hair from it’s bun.
! Mare nodded in agreement, eyes not leaving Shanks. “Mmhmm. Ever since we came in second at the nationals, he hates anything referred to being second.”
! “You ladies? Number two?” Shanks laughed with a eye rolling shrug. “Were they judged by the visually impaired?”
! The two girls responded my more chortles and squeals as they walked away. Shanks turned a smug face to Buggy, his wide grin mocking.
! “SHUT UP.” Buggy stormed back to his seat as Franky and Silvers doubled over in laughter at the clown’s misfortune.
! “This means I must go back as well, Roger.” Rouge sang, turning to walk away. But her lover held her hand a bit tighter.
! “Are you sure you’re okay?”
! A sweet smile stretched over her freckled cheeks. “Of course. It’s only a month in…I can go for at least five more before the costumers complain of my belly.” And with a chuckle, she followed after the two younger girls to prepare for the next showing.
! Tom watched Roger, who was staring after the woman. Not like the other men, who were watching her rump sway as she walked or her chest bump against the front of her shirt. But rather like he was watching his favorite song personified. The fish man inhaled through his nose and nodded wordlessly. Iceberg noticed his action with marvel and disbelief.
! “Alright. It’s a Will you want…it’s a Will you get.” Tom said with his usual punctuating laugh. “I can have it done as soon as you need.”
! Iceberg’s gut told him this wasn’t going to end well for anyone.
Extras by Various (anything that's random or one-shots. These are just snippet when the current writer is busy, so they don't have to follow linearity)
! Staring into the black hole of a barrel is a time of reflection, as Trafalgar Law always taught his nurses and newbie doctors. In a town oozing with so much crime and gang, you want to avoid the sudden meaning of your life. Since, if you got to see the light in the barrel tip, you’d quickly lose it a moment later. Today was his day of reflection, and it brought many firsts for Trafalgar.
! Firstly, he’d never seen a mafia woman before. To the treat of the events, it was the Ensenada’s direct heir: La Piccolina. In other words, the little girl. To his shock, the woman was no letter of the word “little.”
! Secondly, he had just purchased this suit. And never did he have a cigar burn to a new tie.
! Thirdly, this was his first time realizing he didn’t have an answer to his life.
! Squirming under her weight, he sighed into the pistol. “Buttleggings? On my expensive tie?”
! The woman narrowed her brown eyes, reflecting the gold off the silver gun. “You know your cigarettes. You sure you’re not a fanook?”
! “The fact I’ve been staring at your breast since you sat on top of me isn’t an indication otherwise?”
! A dark brow raised, her lips pushed out in deliberation. “You’re controlled. How many women sit on you a day?”
! “I’m a surgeon.” The bulb in the overhead fan flickered. “I see nudity like you see death, La Piccolina. Which further confuses me as to why I’m about to die.”
! “Papa says you’ve got something that we want.” The tip of the gun bore into the doctor’s forehead, denting his shaggy black tresses into his skin. “And I’m here to take it.”
! “Seduction was out of the question?” Law chuckled. “What are you, a babbo?”
! Piccolina growled and pulled the gun back. Whipping the back of it across the cheek of the surgeon, it sounded a crack when it collided with his face. Bone meeting metal sent a shearing pain up into Law’s temple. His face in pain, he grabbed it with his only free hand. The culprit of the smarting heaved breaths of antagonism out. “I am not a babbo, I suggest that stick in your brain for your next life, Law.”
! “Please, call me Trafalgar.” The stinging wasn’t lifting.
! The young woman gulped and wrinkled her nose. “I’m…Gypsy.”
! “Gypsy, huh? That’s some arm you got on you.” He blew a sigh from his cheeks. “But do you have enough guts to shoot me?”
! He had called her out. Of course, only the blind could not see her trembling arm. Whether from the clash a moment earlier or this being more than expected, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t something she could do, not until she knew why Papa had sent her here.
! “What does my father want?”
! “Father? Can’t you call him Whitebeard like the rest of the world?”
! Gypsy raised her arm in warning of striking his face again, Trafalgar didn’t flinch or jerk at all. Simply, he looked at her brown eyes with his black ones.
! “Papa must really want what you have. Spill.”
! “You aren’t ready to be the Boss. I’m hoping that he doesn’t get a contract put out for him with his babbos about sitting on doctors.”
! “Do you want a turban, Trafalgar?!”
! “And now you have gumption enough to crack my head open? Make up your mind.” Groaning, he shifted his legs. “You’re heavier than you look. Now, all I have of your “father’s” is a payment I never made for protection.”
! “You…owe a large?!” Her jaw dropped, showing lipstick on her teeth. “What do you need protection from to make you owe a large?!”
! Law blinked at her. “That’s not really your concern.”
! “But…I…” Her thoughts were never finished. Law grabbed bother her arm and heaved up, dragging her with him. Slamming her back to the desk, she let out a gasp of hurt and anguish as her pistol flew from her hand. The contents of the desk burst into the air, rolling about and clanking to the floor. Oak felt terrible when brought with force to the spine, Law knew that his move was made. Leaving the woman to groan at the tenderness of her back, he ranked open the drawer to the desk and lifted it’s bottom panel. Pulling out a check, he put it to her hands.
! “That should cover it.” He watched her sit up, coughing to retrieve her breath. “Cugine, you’re alright. I look forward to your days as boss.”
! “You better get a secretary or something.” Gypsy rubbed the back of her neck, check in hand. “Or find a lady to share the double-decker with.”
! “I’ll keep that in mind.”
! “It’s going to take a gun to her head to make her want to have dinner with me.”
! Iceberg leaned back in his chair, his assistant had been in his office for the past two hours moaning over a barmaid he had met a couple weeks back. The endless banter of the worry was begging to grind into his tension. “Paulie, perhaps you should just ask before she thinks you’re an alcoholic.”
! “Yeah, I would, but heard a rumor she’s with a Fedora.”
! “A Fedora?” Iceberg looked from over the rim of his glasses.
! “Yup.” Paulie ashed the cigar in the cup he had next to him. “Therefore, as the Fedora’s number one enemy, she won’t even give me a dance if I asked.”
! He was quite right, the Galley-La Family had been butting heads with the Fedoras for generations. A timeless dispute that involved a money ploy and a run away bride. Where they were to merge at a time, they were driven further apart. The bride ended up back east and married to a cop, both gunned down by the groom’s side. Spurring more hate. The Don of Galley-La swore for no forgiveness for the next six generations. Eight births later, the hate was still fanatical between the gangs.
! Iceberg placed his glasses to his lap. “Perhaps you could…remove the Fedora from her sights?”
! “I ain’t up for bumpin’ anyone off today, Boss.”
! “Charm would work too.” He sighed. “But you youngsters are all about who makes the biggest scene these days.”
! Paulie laughed smoothly, and stood up from the windowsill. “You always know how to phrase things, Boss. Such an old man, you are.”
! “I had the same thing to the man I succeed.” Iceberg smiled in memory. “Though not a blood relation, Tom was the best Don the world ever saw.”
! “Bet he knew where Roger’s Will was, huh?”
! The Gentle Don snapped his glare to the blonde man. “If he did, there is a reason he didn’t tell me.”
! Paulie scratched his head. “Or he didn’t tell you before the meat eater got him.”
! “With all the people going these days, it’s hard to say who knew from the original Committee.” A sigh. “For all we know, it could be in a hot place.”
! “I’ll bet.” Paulie had heard this a million and a half times. Maybe even more, but he’d lost count. Pacing to the door, he took his orange hat from the rack. “I’m going down to the Electric Fairground. Drinks are calling me.”
! “Tell the barmaid I said hello.” Iceberg said as Paulie slammed the door. The blonde man chuckled and put his hat firmly on his crown. His pace was set directly for the swank bar in the dead center of the town. A grand building, only employed by the finest and stalked by the many. It’s large sign was lit up after dusk every night in the rain or the shine. Paulie was only set on the bartendress behind bar five, the one with blonde hair and the desire to be a talk show host. At least, that’s what Paulie had learned from her chats with the other bartenders.
! As he pushed open the oak doors, his neck was immediately seized by a foreign arm. Cursing loudly, Paulie wrestled the grip off and flipped around to the source with a hand on his gin strap. “Oh, it’s you.” The retaliation was a hard sock to the arm from the choker. “Owch! Dammit, Kaku! You mind not making such a fucking scene?” He yanked his friend’s hat down, the bill of it pulled over Kaku’s nose.
! “Ah, don’t be such a stiff.” He used his palm to push the hat back up. “Girls like men who at least look like they’re cheerful.”
! “Like, you’d know.” Paulie removed his hat and put it under his arm. “Whoa, what’s up with Jyabura?”
! The base of a dark braid was pointed towards the ceiling as his nose was pressed to the bar top. Another black haired man was beside him, pushing glasses of drinks towards the facedown man. “Aw, he got dumped by some girl.”
! “Not some girl!” The clearly upset man cried. “THE girl! I will never move on from Gatherine!”
! Kaku rolled his dark eyes and sat down next to the man. Paulie removed his jacket and combed the back of the bar for the target to order a Brandy Julep. He couldn’t wait to see her usually giggling eye roll to his usual drink order.
! “I’m starving.”
! “Boss, you’re ALWAYS hungry.” Trapped rolled her neck to meet her palm. “Can’t you act like there is a reason you’re feared?”
! Mia scoffed and put her hand on her lower hip. Swinging her bag at Trapped, she let her mouth draw down to a look off passive annoyance. “Oh, please. You’ve got to lighten up. You’d think your new found fling with Red Hair would cool you down.”
! Each shade of skin red flashed over the complainer’s cheeks, as he boss whipped her head around for a restaurant. She let her eyes scan around in mock searching, she knew where she wanted to eat. But feared forever teasing if she blurted it before spotting it. After she gave a performance of deciding, she pointed to the tall building with the crude fish head atop the door. Bag swinging, she grinned. “Let’s eat there!”
! “There?” Trapped made an unpleasant face. “But we ate there three days ago! And I‘m going to meet up with Shanks in a cou-”
! But, it was useless. Mia was her boss and was already halfway there by the time she said her protest. Trapped checked the road, before clacking after her. The doorman took their coats from them, taking an extra second to eye the ladies profiles, before guiding them to a table. Low lights hovered over the tables, balls of crimson that made the sugar-white table cloths have a faint shadow of pink in the center. The second her rear hit the white cushion, Mia adjusted every bit of fabric she wore.
! “I love the way this place smells” She said with a struggle, her hands yanking the top of her black dress up. “Like Thanksgiving back home!”
! “Are you sure you aren’t here for that?” Trapped said, pointing from her laced fingers that her chin was balanced on. Mia whipped around to follow the finger’s subject, breaking into a grin, she rubbed her lips together.
! From the distance walked up a boy with lemon colored hair, covering half his vision. Over the only peeper in view, curled his eyebrow. The strip always seemed to the tucked into a questioning position and now was no exception. He perked up from his chat with two other waiters and swayed over, pulling his order pad out from him pocket as he approached. Mia flipped back around, wearing a smile of complacency.
! “Ah, ladies.” The waiter said as he approached, thumbing to the empty page of this notepad. “You seem to quite enjoy the food here, don’t you?”
! Mia had her chin in cupped hand, the elbow dug into the table. Her response was a rather stupid, airy chuckle as she grinned into her nails. Trapped nodded, folding her napkin in her lap. “Very much so, lovely atmosphere you have here.”
! “But with guest like yourselves! The air seems to become sweeter!” He said with a frontal bow.
! “Yeah…sweeter…” Mia gurgled out between snickers.
! “Now, what shall you two like to drink this evening?”
! “I’ll just have a water.” Trapped said, rolling her eyes to his compliment. These were times she wished she were with Shanks, his jealous glare always seemed to tug the corners of her mouth up. “And…she’ll have one too.” She said for her girlishly giggling boss.
! Sanji wrote the order with a flourish and nodded. “I shall be back within seconds!”
! After he trotted off, Mia rolled her head around from it’s gaze to his back. “He is gorgeous.”
! “He is pretty nice looking.” She squirmed, talking about other boys this early in her and Shanks relationship made her a tad bit uncomfortable. Apparently, it didn’t affect Mia that way.
! “I want to make out with him!” She groaned. “Do you think he likes boobs? I can use some of the money we raked in from the large last week to pay for a boob job.”
! Trapped snorted into her napkin. “Miss Mia!”
! “What? Dear, to get boys you must accommodate! Oh, wait.” She gave her a revolting look. “You HAVE a man.”
! “And without the use of plastic.”
! “As much as you punch him around, I’m astonished you didn’t have to. The boy has more bruises from your annoyance than from missions.”
! Trapped scoffed and removed her napkin from her lap. “Speaking of him, mind if I get him here too? This is important matters we will be discussing.”
! “Fine, go find a phone! You’re cramping my style anyways!” Mia smiled as Trapped pushed her seat back to go to the phone in the front. She passed the blonde waiter and heard the giggle of her upper. Making her way to the front, she politely asked the same man who took their coats for a phone. He nodded wordlessly, and handed her a bronze phone. The metal was cold against her ear when she dialed the number to the Headquarters. Ringing dug into her ears as she paced her eyes back and forth over the ceiling.
! At last, the end was picked up by Shanks. “Hello?”
! “Hey, Shanks!”
! “…Trapped? Where are you calling from? Is everything alright?”
! “Why do you always worry about me?” She moaned into the phone. “I’m fine, I can handle myself anyway. So…what are you up to right now?”
! Shanks inhaled on the other end. “Are we going to do this here?”
! “Do what?” Trapped looked up from her nails quizzically, looking at the line of jackets on the wall.
! “Erm…” Shanks cleared his throat. “Are you we going to have that ‘phone sex’ that I’ve read about? Because I’m totally not against it, it’s just early and I don’t even know where you a-”
! “NO!” Slamming her head down on the counter top, her rust colored hair fanned around her shoulders. “Shanks, we are NOT going to do that! I just want to know where you are so you can join Mia and I for lunch!”
! “You just want to go to lunch? Oh, thank it all.” He sighed into the receiver. “Okay, where are you at now?”
! “That horrid restaurant with the fish head. Everyone here is a hick or stupid.”
! “Except you, I bet. Is everyone there jealous of Mia being able to sit with a girl like you?”
! “ANYWAY.” She pinched the bridge of her nose. “Just come down here. We’re going to talk about Gypsy’s latest racket with King of Hearts.”
! “…She got Law?”
! “Of course, well, not officially. You know about that THING they had. He’d gobble up her offer the second she threw the bait.”
Last edited by Skyrius; October 13th, 2010 at 12:02 AM.
Part 7 by Skyrius
! There was a slam as a fist pounded onto a table hard enough to resonate through the floor. Paulie was beginning to get increasingly fed up with this game of who-can-beat-around-the-bush-longest. The woman in front of him was apparently trying her best not to laugh at his explosion, which only served to annoy him further. She leaned back in her seat so that the front legs were just off the ground, twirling her honey blonde hair around her left index finger.
! “I told you,” she said, pausing in between to stifle giggles, “There’s a perfectly easy solution to all of this. You give me the blueprints to the Nostoi’s HQ and I’ll give you whatever information you want on any of the Ensenada members.” She leaned back slightly further, legs crossed with a playful grin tugging on her lips once the laughter settled. Paulie shot her the most withering glare he could, which didn’t seem to have much of an effect.
! “You’re out of your mind. Galley La wouldn’t compromise any of our clients’ trust,” he spat out firmly. Pervy sighed, leaning forwards and letting the chair legs fall back to the floor with a clatter.
! “You know, you’re no fun at all,” she huffed, placing her elbow on the table and resting her head on her hand, “Taking everything so seriously is such a drag. Well, I suppose that’s what makes you cute.” She chuckled and winked. Paulie pulled back a bit too quickly and swerved around so she couldn’t see his face, which the informant was amusedly sure was turning red. A few seconds of silence passed before he spoke up again.
! “Do you know about the party Gypsy’s throwing in two days?” his voice came across steadily. She had to give him points for not panicking even though he got flustered so easily. She snuggled her cheek more comfortably into the palm of her hand and answered.
! “Of course. The whole town probably knows about it by now.”
! “And do you know who’s going?” Paulie turned back around, most likely back in control of his nerves once more. Pervy shrugged, turning away to stare at some corner of the room in and uninterested manner.
! “Not really. I wasn’t invited so it doesn’t interest me.”
! Paulie gauged her reaction for a second before reaching into the pocket of his jacket, pulling out a folded piece of paper, thick and of high quality. He tossed it to her. Pervy glanced at it briefly.
! “And this is?”
! “The invitation list. Take a look and you should be able to see what’s wrong too.”
! Pervy peered at him from the corner of her eyes before looking down at the list. Sighing as if this was a waste of her time, she slid her free hand over slowly to pick up the list haphazardly, flicking it open. Without removing her head from her other hand, she skimmed down the list.
! “I don’t see what the issue is,” she responded languidly, scanning the names with deliberate delay, “Obviously Doflamingo wouldn’t be on it after what-“ she froze in mid-sentence, eyes beginning to open in shock as the last name on the list settled. Paulie watched carefully, observing the tensing of her hand, even with her head still resting upon it, the straightening of her back and uncrossing her legs. The signs of attention.
! “I see you noticed,” Paulie replied, satisfied and with just a hint of ‘I-told-you-so’ smugness. The woman across from him didn’t respond to the taunt, seeming not have even heard him. Her eyes scrolled over the last name over and over before she slammed the list onto the table, both hands on the table and straightening her head to stare straight at him.
! “What the hell is the meaning of this?” she demanded, all traces of humor gone from her voice and face. Paulie shrugged.
! “That’s what I’m supposed to ask you,” he shot back, “Don’t glare at me like it’s my fault. I just saw the list since Boss was invited as well.” He leaned forwards, both hands on the table, now more confident that the one shook up was the woman in front of him instead, “Now then, I think giving you knowledge of what’s on that list is more than fair enough in exchange for information.”
! Pervy settled back into her chair so that her back was cradled solidly. The Galley La worker’s tone of confidence triggered an instinctive challenge in her and calmed her momentary temper. She watched him carefully for a second, wits collected again but without the light hearted impishness of before.
! “Information is take and give,” she started slowly, steadily, “And so I’ll admit that this is new information for me. Even though I could have easily have gotten it for free elsewhere, I’ll indulge you this time. I’m assuming the Ensenada member you want information on is her?” she flicked the list back over to Paulie with a single finger. It fluttered off of the table before he could catch it.
! “Obviously,” he finished, picking the paper up from the floor. Pervy’s eyes flicked over to the wall as she ran through a mental list in her head quickly.
! “I’ll only give you information equal in value to what you’ve told me,” she said, looking back at him again, “Which in this case isn’t much. If you want more you’ll have to meet more of my demands.”
! Paulie tensed, feeling the annoyance well up in him, “I already told you, we’re not-“
! “Let me finish,” Pervy cut in, holding her hand up to stop him, “In light of things, I’ll change my demand.” The constructor paused, eyebrows raised and she continued, “There’s a motel building on the corner of 4th and 5th street. The roof’s leaking and I’m sure more than one flight of stair is about to collapse. Fix it up for me and I’ll call us even on any information I give you.”
! “You want us to fix the building for free?” Paulie questioned, running figures through his head, “I don’t know how much you charge for your information normally but that’s just-“
! “50 percent,” Pervy cut in again, as if she had never stopped, “I’ll pay you 50% of what you normally charge.”
! At this Paulie’s eyebrows practically shot up into his hair. True, he didn’t know how much she charged for her information, but everyone else seemed to agree that it would be nothing short of extortion if she wasn’t so good at what she did. And she never paid anyone a dime.
! “What’s this place to you,” he pried, interest piqued, “I thought you never incurred charges on your own wallet.” Pervy sighed and settled more comfortable into the cushioned seat, closing her eyes for a second before peeking out at him through her right eye.
! “None of your business,” she countered fixedly, “Now do we have a deal or not?”
! Paulie paused for the tiniest of seconds before nodding.
! “Fine, deal.” Pervy sighed again, and straightened, crossing her arms across her stomach and meeting his eyes squarely.
! “So? What information do you want to know?” Paulie opened his mouth to answer but she continued, “And before you even ask, as good as I am, even I have no idea why she left.”
! The man before her paused, and shook his head, “That’s not it,” he said, “You know the rumors about her, that she’s some sort of demon that broke out of hell, that there’s something…not right about her.”
! Pervy closed her eyes, brows scrunching as if recalling some unpleasant memory. When she opened them again, the viridian orbs were downcast, her head lowered in the slightest of movements.
! “Skyrius isn't…” she hesitated, as if trying to gather the words correctly and failing. Closing her eyes again and giving a long groan she leaned back in her chair, lifting the front legs far off of the floor so that her head could roll back, staring at the ceiling.
! “She’s schizophrenic.” She said simply, as if deciding being blunt was the easiest way to go. Paulie blinked.
! Pervy sighed.
! “You know, insane. Sees a shrink every week, takes meds. If she’s off them she starts seeing things like writing in blood on the walls or people that don’t exist. Starts babbling about things that don’t make sense. She’s sick in the head,” sighing, she swung forwards again so the chair landed and stared at Paulie, “Don’t get me wrong. There’s no one more logical and calculating than she is, as long as she’s taking her medication and staying out of one too many bloodbaths,” she paused, as if remembering something, “Have you ever met her when she’s off her meds?”
! Paulie shook his head, meeting her gaze. Pervy broke off eye contact slightly, without looking away. She simply stared past him at the rain rolling down the windows, staring off into the distance at something he wasn’t quite sure he wanted to know.
! “Even when…even when she’s not making any sense, when she’s obviously completely out of her mind when the bouts get worse,” she paused, “They come in bouts you know, the hallucinations. It’s not as if she’s always off her rocker. But even when she is, she’s…” she stopped, trying to make her thoughts into words, “She’s…why is this so hard to explain? She’s got this light in her eyes. It’s this mad gleam, but it’s completely lucid. Not like some drunkard or doped up idiot. It’s too sharp and sober.” She paused again, and then shrugged, indicating it was the best she could do to explain. Paulie just stared at her for a second, then sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
! “Great,” he groaned, “Perfect. Just what we need. So she’s not only a suicidal freak with the highest body count on this side of the hemisphere, she’s insane too. What the hell is Gypsy thinking?”
! Pervy didn’t bother trying to answer, just staring intently at the rain. That used to be Skyrius’s favorite weather. Then she got tired of it since it washed away all the blood after a battle. A jumble of noise brought her back to her senses. Paulie had just said something.
! “Sorry, what?” she asked, focusing back on him again. Paulie wavered for a second, then smirked.
! “Oh, so even you get off your game in situations like this,” he poked at her, leaning forwards so that he could get up close, “So, what’s your relationship to her anyways?” Pervy actually backed away in a moment of surprise, bolstering his confidence.
! “None of your business,” she stated again, collecting herself. The smirk grew larger slightly.
! “Oh, really? Well I’m sure we can make another deal for that information,” Paulie continued, now simply teasing her to get back for his earlier embarrassment. Pervy froze for a second in surprise, and then burst out laughing, startling him. Paulie pulled back, confused. Her laughter didn’t stop for several seconds.
! “Wow,” Pervy finally managed, wiping away tears from laughing so hard. She stood up, still chuckling and leaned forwards, “You honestly have no idea who you’re dealing with, do you?” Her smile grew as she lifted her hand and tugged on his tie, pulling him off balance so that when he caught himself his face was only centimeters from hers.
! “I’ll tell you this for future reference,” she breathed out beguilingly, eyes narrowed in amusement, “The mafia doesn’t have a monopoly on seduction. The only difference is I play the game better.” She released the stunned man’s tie and swirled around, heels clopping as she walked over to the door, opened it, and sauntered out, leaving behind a red faced Paulie.
Part 8 by Skyrius
! Cyber was just about to doze off when a sharp rap on his door startled him, which was unfortunate since he had been dozing off with the front legs of her chair tilted up. Tumbling backwards onto the floor, he pushed himself up cursing whoever it was at the door. 3 AM in the morning. This place wasn’t even open at this unholy hour. The daytime had already been ridiculous. There were more and more outbreaks of violence recently, even though it had just managed to settle down after Whitebeard’s death, it flared up again for unknown reasons. Well, almost unknown. He had a pretty good idea what the cause was, and if Gypsy wasn’t such a charmer, he would have kicked every single one of her members out of the clinic and told them to deal with their own goddamn mess.
! Marching over to the door and slamming it open, half hoping to squash whoever was behind it, he growled out in the most annoyed and intimidating voice he could muster.
! Trapped stood a good distance from the door, having long since learned to never stand near any door when she went knocking in the dead of night. It hurt to be hit in the face when you wore glasses. Cyber’s expression instantly lightened when he saw her though. He laughed and greeted her off handedly.
! “Oh hey, it’s Miss flat-ches-“ the sentence was never finished as Trapped established her entrance by round house kicking the doctor back into his room.
! “I see you’re as lively as ever,” she retorted coldly, “And you still have that ridiculous looking bow-tie on.”
! Walking inside and making her way over to the table without regard to the groans coming from the side as Cyber picked himself up, she shuffled through the papers.
! “Once again, you can’t be bothered to keep track of anything,” she sighed, “Where are the medical records for our group this month?”
! “You know, ‘hello, it’s wonderful to be in your presence again’ would have worked just as well,” Cyber grumbled, rubbing his stomach where Trapped had planted her foot firmly. Trapped ignored him and continued rustling through the numerous manila folders on the table, paying no attention to the countless papers that flew off the table. Spotting the familiar curly V from amidst the mess, she rescued the poor folder from paperpocalypse.
! “Hey! Don’t go making a mess out of my table!” Cyber finally noticed all his notes flying every which way and rushed over to stop them. He shoved Trapped out of the way, cautiously in case she decided to inflict bodily harm again. She deftly stepped to the side, brushing off the sleeve he had touched.
! “It was already a mess.”
! “No it wasn’t! I knew where everything was until you messed it up!”
! Trapped sighed. It was pointless to argue. She’d prefer to wrap this up before Cyber started busting out the not-funny-and-somewhat-annoying perverted jokes he seemed to have on hand every time anything with two legs walked in. A chilly breeze blew past her and snapped her out of her thoughts. She pulled her jacket a little closer then froze. Wait….breeze? All the windows were automatically locked for the night here. She glanced over and stared at where the window was….or should have been.
! “What?” an annoyed grumble answered her as the doctor re-organized/spewed the papers in some manner only he understood onto the table.
! “Where’s your window?”
! Where the window pane should have been was a gaping hole, with the frame still intact and tiny jagged edges indicating that, in all likelihood, it had been shattered outwards from inside. A morbid type of curiosity took hold of Trapped and half of her wanted to walk over and look outside towards the ground to see if anything was there. The other half of her urged her to just forget it, take the folder and run away from this place as fast as she could. While sense and bile fascination were debating in her head, Cyber had finished organizing/re-messing up his desk and walked over to the window. He carefully poked at one of the edges.
! “I wonder if I can claim property tax reduction for this?” he muttered aloud, shaking loose a small piece of glass. The noise snapped Trapped out of her mental debate.
! “Tax reduction? Are you mental? There’s a hole where your window should be. What did you do?”
! Earlier that day…
! Cyber was tapping his pen impatiently as the man in front of him explained, for the fifth time in a row, about how much pain he was in. The only things keeping the doctor from booting the man out of the room were the two large bodyguards waiting outside the door which he had brought with him, completely against regulation for the hospital. Well, using the examination rooms for sex just because they were soundproof was also against regulations, but those were a different set of regulations.
! “And all those other fakes have been givin’ me nothing but lip,” his obese patient complained, wringing his hands, “But I’ve heard some promising rumors about-“
! “Just a second, if you could,” Cyber cut in, holding his hand up before the urge to reach over and strangle this fat tub of lard peaked, “Can I just make one comment, in my position as an experienced physician?”
! “Of course,” the man replied, perking up. No doubt he intended to hear promising results, the way he had his whole spoiled, well fed career. Cyber put on his most charming smile, the one that almost made even the people who knew him well forget what kind of person he really was, ALMOST.
! “You’ll live,” he said assuredly, still smiling. The man in front of him stood up, opening his mouth to undoubtedly rant again over how horribly he had been treated by the other doctors who had foreseen his death.
! “For about a week.”
! There was a dead silence that stretched for several seconds. The large business man froze, mouth still upturned stupidly as the words settled in. A pack of emotions flitted across his face after that, surprise, disbelief, a slight bit of horror, and finally outraged anger. Cyber seemed completely oblivious to them as he continued, charismatic smile still firmly in place.
! “Quite frankly, I’d give you five days, max. What kind of putrid life have you been drowning yourself in, dear sir? These results aren’t something you obtain overnight,” he motioned to the papers in his hand happily, “From the looks of things, you must have been smothering yourself in fat, drugs, and women for years to wind up this royally fucked up. But don’t worry, there is good news. I’m sure your widow will be overjoyed to see the return on life insurance it says you have here-“
! A shot rang out, shattering one of the vials on the shelf behind the doctor, the bullet grazing his hair. The man stood, heaving and red faced with fury, pistol shaking in his chubby hands. Cyber didn’t move and his smile didn’t waver, though there was a deadly glint in his eyes now. He reached up to smooth out the singed edges of his hair.
! “Now, do you have any idea how much the equipment in this room costs?” he sighed, as if reprimanding a child, “And you can’t just go ruining my hair. I’m a professional, I have to keep up appearances you know.”
! It shouldn’t have been possible, but the man’s face must have deepened another shade of red as his brows scrunched up under the numerous wrinkles on his forehead.
! “You bastard!” he aimed the gun once more, this time at Cyber’s head. But that was all that he could do. Before he had even blinked, a hand was crushing his face in a deadly vice grip. Cyber dropped the papers he had been holding, all pretense of mocking joy gone from his face. If there had to be a word to describe him at that point, it would be like a bullet. Cold, fast, deadly. The bones under his fingers crunched from the sheer force he exerted as the business man was lifted off his feet and slammed straight through the window behind him. The glass shattered almost instantly from the impact and it was only the sheer size of the patient that kept him from flying through and tumbling to his doom. Instead he lay unconscious, stuck between the frames.
! Straightening himself, Cyber walked over to the intercom near the door and pressed the button for two way conversation without a second glance at the scene in his room.
! “Sadi-chan?” he began, referring to one of the nurses at the clinic, “There’s a bit of a mess up here. Can you send someone to pick up a body?”
! There was a short pause as the message made its way down and the reply back up through the wires.
! “Mmm, of course doctor. Is it a corpse?” Sadi-chan’s voice poured out of the mike above.
! “Nah, I’m pretty sure he’s still alive,” he sighed, running a hand through his hair, “Ah that’s right. There are two big guys standing outside of my door that I need taken care of. I thought you’d enjoy having something to do.”
! There was no response for a while, but within five minutes the screams that echoed from outside the door informed him that the nurse had indeed found something to entertain herself with. Straightening his doctor’s coat, he opened the door just in time to see one of the guards fly across the room. The patients still waiting ranged from shocked newcomers to disinterested veterans, flipping through magazines as a whip crazy nurse chased around two burly men twice her size.
! “Next!” he shouted.
! “Eh, a fat guy went crashing through my window,” he finally answered, shrugging, “Nothing unusual.”
! The mafia second-in-command blinked. Well, it certainly wasn’t what she expected, but somehow managed to be less weird than what she had feared, which coming from Cyber reached around to equal genuinely surprising.
! “Huh, I was expecting some degenerate story about how an enraged lover hurled you out the window when he found out you were seducing his girl,” she deadpanned, joking but completely serious. Cyber paused and glared at her.
! “Speaking of fat guys,” he ground out in an annoyed manner, “It seems like you’ve been racking up the sweets again. Did that red-haired little servant of yours spoil you with too many of those pies you love so much?”
! Now it was Trapped’s turn to whirl on him, glaring.
! “Oh sorry, I think I heard you wrong. For a moment there I thought I heard the pitiful screams of some dead brat on his way to hell.”
! “What a coincidence, for a moment there I thought I heard some piggy dame squealing out a pathetic attempt at a comeback.”
! The blows were instantaneous. Trapped’s foot whirled out and planted itself firmly on Cyber’s chest just as his elbow hit her shoulder. Cyber had a policy of not hitting girls if he had the option of seducing them instead. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t hit girls though, and Trapped had already proven the alternative pointless multiple times.
! Cyber stumbled back while Trapped twisted her body in the direction of the blow to soften it. Both of them glared at the other.
! “Whiny broad.”
! “Perverted quack.”
! And with that, there seemed to be some silent signal that broke the tension. Trapped huffed and picked up the folder she had dropped in the shuffle while Cyber grumbled and straightened his coat.
! “Ah, why can’t she be more like Mia or Masha,” Cyber mumbled, loudly, obviously intending for Trapped to hear, “Or that nice little bar girl on 4th. It’s a waste to give a demon like her any sort of looks at all.” He perked up, as if remembering something, “She was a lot cuter when she was younger. I remember she used to cling onto my coat when I first met her.”
! “You freaking pedophile,” Trapped pinched the bridge of her nose to keep herself from kicking him again. Less than a week beforehand, when for whatever godforsaken reason some members had felt compelled to bring his children to this freak of nature, she had given what she considered the gem of the century advice.
! “Kids, stay away from Cyber-Robin. Breathing the same air as him will get you pregnant. Yes son, even you.”
! She didn’t think it would be possible, but she agreed with that statement even more right now than then.
! “Oh oh, and remember she used to chase after me playing nurse,” Cyber continued to muse to his invisible conversation partner.
! Trapped’s face scrunched up as she kicked a nearby stretcher towards the doctor to shut him up before he dug up any more embarrassing incidents that, as far as she was concerned, should have never happened. The stretcher went skidding across the floor, crashing squarely into Cyber and knocking him back next to one of the shelves where medicine bottles and equipment shook dangerously from the ricochet. The doctor reached over quickly to steady it just before one of the boxes of large syringes went tumbling down.
! “Hey hey hey!” he turned to glare at her, “Watch it Ms. Non-existent fuse, these are expensive!
! “Cyber,” Trapped sighed, leaning back onto one of the medical tables nearby, “I don’t have time for your messed up humor. If these are all of the records, I’m going to take them and go.”
! “What’s up your ass?” Cyber grumbled, pushing the stretcher away, “You’re going to end up an old woman, all alone except for her 139 cats.”
! “Yeah, and you’re going to end up behind bars under multiple charges of stalking and sexual assault,” she shot back.
! “Well that’s better than ending up a naggy old bag screeching at kids to get off her yard while crows fly over the house and the sun disappears in fear.”
! Trapped flinched slightly, feeling the sudden urge to punch something and a vein throbbing just above her eye.
! “I forgot that just being in the same room as you can sap a person’s patience and sanity,” she snapped back, “I’m pretty sure I’m allergic to scatterbrained perverted quack doctors.”
! “Well then, I hope you’re not allergic to nuts, ‘cause I like to rest mine on the table,” Cyber continued volleying insults, almost in laughing by now, and practically completely ignoring her. Trapped froze, a series of expressions flashing across her face from shock to disgust to utter disbelief. The rational part of her brain was screaming at her again, saying he was just joking. But as long as there was even a 1% part that dreaded that possibility, it was impossible not to feel completely violated just by touching the table, which she had shot straight up away from without thinking. By this point Cyber was too busy laughing at the look on her face to notice the murderous glint of moonlight against her glasses. The last thing he did remember noticing was a black boot flying straight towards his face.
! “GO DIE YOU PERVERT!!”
Backstory By Mia
! When you’re involved in the mob you have to brace yourself for an unpredictable lifestyle. It isn’t completely unusual to leave your home for a few hours and come back to find that everything has gone to hell while you were gone.
Even if you knew not to be surprised by it, sir Crocodile still couldn’t supress a sigh of annoyance as he stepped over a limp body lying in the hallway outside of his city apartment.
! First sign that shit has indeed hit the fan while you were away? Your goons are leaving blood stains on your carpet.
! The door was unlocked, not broken. With a growing sense of irritation Crocodile felt in his coat pocket for his key. It was missing. A young woman at the bar had brushed past him. A good looking woman whose curly bob bounced and shone as she walked past him under the bar lights. He hadn’t thought to get a better look at her which was uncharacteristically foolish of him since now in retrospect he realized it was the poisonous blossom- masha, and that she’d left with the contents of his pocket.
So the second sign would be that your house has been broken into. Crocodile opened the door and silently slipped in though he knew stealth would probably be useless. The room was dimly lit and seemingly empty. The only hint of another prescence was the curls of smoke wafting towards the ceiling.
! Since bad luck supposedly comes in threes I bet you’re wondering what the last sign is that everything has gone to hell. The third sign would be that the empress of ruin is sitting in your armchair.
! He couldn’t see her- he was facing the back of the chair. He could see one of his own cigars held loosely between her red-nailed fingers. Though he’d never had the displeasure of officially meeting the empress of ruin, Baroque Works had recently chased an enemy of theirs beyond their ‘jurisidction’ and things had gotten ugly on Vindice territory. The law had showed up and one of his officer agents- Mr.5, had been arrested. Because of the sloppiness he’d shown in his work, Mr.5 was being allowed to rot in a cell. His partner had a much worse fate though- she’d received a bullet wound running away from Hina and naively gone looking for help at Local’s.
Poor girl would probably never see the light of day again.
! It was an insult to the Vindices though- to soil their streets with outsider’s blood when they weren’t the ones to have spilled it. Even if Mr.5 and Valentine had managed to escape they were smart enough to know if they tried crawling back to Crocodile with their tails between their legs they’d get no protection- just a bullet in the head and an unmarked grave.
! In the silent apartment now there were two armed bosses who hadn’t spoken a word yet. But neither of them were amateurs- pulling weapons and shouting threats were delinquent level theatrics. So Crocodile merely hung up his fur coat calmly without saying a word and poured himself a glass of scotch, watching his uninvited guest out of the corner of his eye. He saw her stamp out her cigar with a soft hiss and took it as a cue to walk around to face her, leaning against the wall opposite.
! “Nice place you’ve got here.” the woman said calmly.
! He’d never seen her up this close before. Wearing a rather modernly short dress that fell just above her knee in a gentle wave of swishy, black fabric and her stockinged, slender, legs ended at a pair of stiletto heels that looked as if they could punch a hole in someone. Over the sleeveless dress she wore an open grey blazer with thin white pinstripes. Her dark hair was slicked back and her all monochrome outfit was starkly contrasted to the crimson of her lips, her fingernails, and the ruby ring on her pinky. Crocodile liked a well dressed woman- ‘with shoes that cut and eyes that burn like cigarettes.’
! “Thanks. I’m sorry it’s not neater- apparently a crook’s broken in recently.” he responded to her nonchalantly.
! The edge of her red lips twitched upwards momentarily and her eyes seemed to smoulder with a dangerous mischief as she held his gaze unwaveringly.
! “How dreadful. You should really be careful for pick-pockets.” her thin eyebrow quirked at him.
! He was growing tired of playing games with this woman who was atleast 10 years younger than him.
! “It won’t happen again.” he said firmly, cutting to the chase. But for him to have to make assurances to some dame was below him and an insult to his pride. No matter how much power she held in this city, he’d still been making a living off killing since probably before she was even born. “…so kindly get the fuck out of my house.” he finished, his face turning to a scowl instantly.
! She didn’t flinch but instead smiled casually, now that the tension atleast had been broken by the blunt aggression she leaned back in his chair and put her hands up in mock surrender.
! “Ara, ara~ who says I’m here to scold you? We haven’t been formally introduced yet. Consider this a cordial visit from your friendly neighbour, the Vindice.” she smiled crookedly, leaning forward slightly and twining her fingers together over her knee, “After all, villains like us should try to get along, ne?”
! “Friendly visit, eh? Then I guess those guards in the hallway just wound up dead due to a series of unfortunate but unrelated events?” Crocodile asked darkly. She smiled making a face of pretend guilt.
! “Oh? That was just a slap on the wrist, nothing more. There is ettiquette to uphold.”
! “Since when is it proper ettiquette to break into a man’s house?” Crocodile was still annoyed by her disrespectful attitude.
! “Come now, I’m not trying to start a fight. I’m a pacifist- really! We’re all just trying to make a dishonest living in this town without ruffling too many of other people’s feathers.” Her casually innocent tone was highly suspicious.
! Crocodile lit a cigar and after inhaling looked the woman in the eye and said bluntly, “If that’s all you’re here to say- you’re already aquainted with the location of the door. Be a doll and find your way back out.”
! Now her face lost some of it’s impish nonchalance and her smile faded to a thin red line on her face.
! “Well, aren’t you a prince? Can’t a gal even get offered a drink?” she said but her voice had lost it’s humour.
! She was trying his patience and he was too powerful a man to lie down and exchange verbal barbs with women in red lipstick. From insider his jacket he pulled a gun and aimed it point blank between her eyes.
! “I can offer you some lead. Will that suffice?” he asked calmly, taking another drag from his cigar.
! “Sorry but I get hungover the next morning. Don’t you have anything a bit less toxic?” she retorted, cool as ever.
! He pressed the gun to her forehead, “This ain’t a bar, lady. Now find your way home like a good girl- you’re out past your bedtime.” he no more than whispered harshly.
! With her arms rested against the sides of the chair she leaned her head to the side slightly, looking up into his eyes.
! “I told you I didn’t want trouble. I thought you were more level-headed than to pick fights that will only leave you worse for the wear.”
! Another drag from his cigar and he blew the smoke in her direction derisively as he leaned over her, placing his hook on the armrests of the chair and still holding the gun firmly against her head.
! “As you can see, I’m not pissing my pants from fear right now. If your gang of street rats has a complaint they know where to find me.”
! He heard a soft click and didn’t even have to look down to see a gun pointed at his chest, red shiny fingernails stroking the trigger. Her expression didn’t falter for an instant.
! “You don’t have a hand to spare… so why don’t you put your toy gun away and we can try to have a civilized conversation like grown ups.”
! On a silent count of three they both let down their weapon, only using the fierce gaze of eachother’s eyes be the threatening force between them.
! Crocodile had become angry with her smug attitude and even if he knew her mafia was formidable it didn’t mean he had to take orders from her personally but it turned out she was more able then she let on. It had been a while since someone had even had an opportunity (or the nerve) to pull a weapon on him.
! He took a step back and she stood up, the accomadating fabric of her dress loosely sifting around her slender form to adjust to her new position. It had given him a thrill to have his life threatened so directly again- or more like, it had set his senses off.
! He felt acutely aware now of her smooth-looking skin, her dark painted eyes, the long dark lashes surrounding them, the strong line of her jaw, her neck, the glimpse of collar bone the revealing dress allowed. She seemed to turn slightly in the direction of the door but after giving it a moment of thought Crocodile stopped her.
! “You said you wanted a drink.”
! She stopped, looked over her shoulder slightly to gaze at him out of the corner of her eye.
! He smirked. “It would be unfortunate if the boss of the Vindice left the boss of Baroque Works house with nothing but bad feelings…” he poured her a glass of scotch and held it out in her direction. “Come. As a gesture of good will.”
! She stayed where she was. Mia didn’t like the look he was giving her. Even if he was smiling it was a leer more than anything else and his expression read nothing less than that of a predator taking sadistic amusement out of luring it’s prey close. Nevertheless, she couldn’t turn down such a challenge even so and took the glass from him. It was now a contest. Whoever could be more darkly affable to the point of being shady would win.
! “What’s this? Are you trying to convince me that you actually are a gentleman now?” she teased, taking a step towards him. He loomed over her, being atleast a foot or so taller than her. He was a giant of a man and strong too. Somehow even so and with the crude gold hook replacing his hand and the scar across his face he still managed to maintain an aristocratic quality of elegance about his appearance that couldn’t exactly be pinpointed down to any one attribute.
! “No. I’m trying to convince you to sleep with me.” He answered bluntly, taking a sip of his drink. She was impressed by his forwardness but didn’t let it show.
! “Oh? Do you get lonely if no one’s here to watch over you when you sleep? Ah, I can see why you were so upset that I knocked out your guards then. Poor baby.” she mocked with a crooked smirk. “Some of your agents have days of the week as codenames, don’t they? Is that the days they’re assigned to baby sit you?”
! He traced a finger down the line of her neck and slid it just under the fabric of her dress’s straps. “Only my female agents have days of the week as codenames.” he murmured, his eyes wandering down the curve of her cleavage.
! “Hm~ They sing lullabies best.” she whispered, continuing her joke.
! He chuckled quietly, “For a self proclaimed pacifist, you sure like to push the limits of people’s patience. Where did a little girl like you get such a foul mouth?” he rubbed his thumb against the curve of her neck. Only minutes ago her coyness was pissing him off but now it was feeding into his feelings of lust not anger- or perhaps both.
! He brought her face to his in a lazy, shallow, kiss and pressed his forehead against hers, closing his eyes to enjoy the warmth of her breath against his neck, the sharp smell of her perfume… “Nice little girls don’t carry guns on them.” he breathed, slipping his hand under her jacket and taking her gun, pressing it against her ribs. He felt her stiffen slightly at the touch.
! “Well it’s fine ‘cause I’m no little girl” she said and a metallic snap rang out as a switchblade opened against his side out of his line of sight as she deftly ran it under his belt buckles, “…and I never said I was nice either.”
! He lunged at her, ignoring the switchblade skimming his side as he did and pushed her back into his armchair, falling on top of her and pinning her down with his weight. She dropped the knife by her hip to free her hands up to unbuckle his belt, no semblance of composed toughness between either of them now- only desperate, frenzied, lust. He he ripped her blazer off her. She clawed her hands against his waistcoat, slitting it down the middle with the switchblade out of impatience to lay her hands on his bare chest. Soon the blazer, cravat, and a lacy pair of lingerie were all thrown over the side of the chair carelessly. The one hand he had went up her skirt, pulling it back to reveal the garter belt and straps of her stockings which he pulled at until they ripped and were tossed aside as well. He ran his face against her knee, her inner thigh, eager to touch every part of her. The feeling was mutual as he felt her bony, dexterous fingers exploring every camber and muscle of his torso, his chest, the curve of his hip…
! There was a shuffling noise from outside the hallway followed by a low groan of “uhhh boss…?” apparently one of the goons who’d been standing guard wasn’t quite dead and was now sitting up bleary eyed rubbing his head and squinting at the scene before him.
! Impatient to get on with things and irritated at the useless trash daring to wake up right when things were getting good, Crocodile without hesitation pulled out his gun and shot his own henchman square in the forehead. A thump as he hit the ground and with a final glare of irritation at the corpse he forgot all about him again.
! Mia laughed musically, “Is that really alright?”
! “I don’t need anyone who can get beaten so easily.” Crocodile grunted briefly as he unbuttoned his pants and leaned in to the other mafioso. She panted, arching her back until she was looking up at the ceiling as he pressed into her she was forced against the cushion of the chair, a tight fit for both their bodies. He too seemed to be frustrated by this and with no semblance of gentleness grabbed her by the shoulder and tossed her on her back onto the ground. She only grinned through gritted teeth as she gave him a look that clearly spelled out she wouldn’t be giving him any tender treatment either.
! It’s true that cities don’t sleep. Even at 4 am the polluted sky isn’t completely dark- only a smoggy shade of dark purple obscuring the stars. There is no peace and quiet because cars are always in motion on the streets, you can still hear drawled chatter or drunken singing faintly no matter how late it is. A neighborhood mutt barks, trash bins are knocked over noisily as a tramp stumbles through the dark alleyways, a glass beer bottle shatters followed by the sounds of an inebriated husband shouting against the shrill reproaches of his wife. All these become like white noise, a comfort even, to city dwellers. They’re the lullaby and the mother’s kiss on the forehead that most of the mobsters never had. The familiar warmth that guides them to sleep.
! The sharp smell of cigar smoke burned his nostrils and roused him from sleep. A small flame flickered in the room, leaving a yellow glow on the young womans face as she held the fire to the end of her- no, his- cigar. The moonlight bathed the bed they both lay on now, washing her skin over with a pale luminosity. Smoke curled in wisps up to the ceiling from her lips as she stared out the window’s view- of other grimy buildings, horizon dotted by a few neon store lights and billows of acrid smoke. He saw the muscles in her back tense slightly, her spine straightening beneath her skin. She turned her head to notice he was awake for the first time, cigar still held loosely between her lips that weren’t so crimson anymore. Most of the lipstick had ended up smeared across his white pillowcases or on his own skin. She smiled at him with unexpected warmth and for a moment completely without arrogance.
! Then she stood up silently, the sheet falling away from her elegant form as she padded across the floor to pick up her clothes. He watched her slip the black dress over her head, shrug into the gray blazer and begin buttoning it closed at the middle. She was leaving with less clothing than she’d come in with and now it was a bare foot that slipped into her heels. She clicked over to the bed in them to lean over him, her slender fingers brushing over the stump end of his left arm with surprisingly gentle affection as she used her other hand to push away the loose tendrils of dark hair that fell onto his forehead. Her lips touched his temple for only an instant before she pulled away, making her way for the door without a word.
! Crocodile leaned his head back against the wall and smiled.
! “I think you’re forgetting something important.” he informed her smoothly.
! She turned on her heel to see him twirling her black lingerie around one finger mischeviously. A sardonic smile broke across her face.
! “When a girl leaves something at a man’s house, she’s using it as an excuse so she can come back.” she said smoothly.
! He only smiled, watching her hips swing with cat-like grace as she moved, the dress hugging the curves of her bare ass underneath.
! An excuse to come back, eh? Maybe next time he’d break into her house.
! She’d been totally surrounded but the slippery little girl got away. It was actually quite disturbing- that she’d been able to break through his defenses with such ease and so quickly have him in a stalemate.
! Crocodile chuckled, tossing his cigar to the ground and stamping out the glowing lit end with his heel.
! “Not bad…” he murmured to himself.
! The image of her staring him down with a gun pointed at him while she was surrounded by guns aimed at her kept reappearing in his mind. Not a hint of fear was visible in her emerald eyes, in fact they were alight with a perverse sort of excitement. She was enjoying the threat on her life and having power enough to threaten his too.
! The cheeky curve of one side of her lips upwards as she locked eyes with him.
The fedora casting a shadow across her striking features…
! “Who exactly was that girl just now?” Crocodile asked casually as his lackeys still seemed shaken up at being completely dominated by a lone hit woman only a minute or so before.
! “I-I believe that was piratemarimo, sir.” one finally answered, “An assasin on Gypsy’s pay roll.”
! “Oh.” was his only response and he calmly began to leave.
! “B-boss! Should we find her and kill her?” one of the goons called out stupidly.
! He paused in the doorway. “….no,” he said after a moment of thought. And they couldn’t question that decision. He left them tense and unsure of what to do or what exactly had just happened.
! Mia let out a long, exaggerated, sigh at the sight of bodies littering the hallway to her apartment. She slumped into a defeated pose and rolled her eyes up to the ceiling. She sighed again and began stepping gingerly over the casualties (most bleeding out of tears in their flesh from some sort of hook [foreshadowing to the perpetrator?]).
! She dragged her feet as she went into the apartment and dropped her purse to the ground. As expected, the scar faced criminal had made himself right at home in her house and was currently ashing his cigar in her ashtray at her desk reading her papers.
! “Y’know, it’s sort of romantic for a guy to leave a trail of roses to his girlfriend’s house when she comes home but… You really take it to the next level by leaving a trail of corpses instead. Should I feel touched?”
! “Well you don’t expect me to climb in through the window, do you?” Crocodile asked smoothly without looking up at her.
! “I have a door.” she said flatly, “With a doorbell and everything.”
! He smirked, still keeping his eyes on the paper in his hand. “Your point?”
! “Use the door.” she answered with emphasis. She stripped off the thin pinstriped white jacket and laid it on the couch leaving her in a black slip-like dress and kicked out of her red heels. “Geez. And it’s all just to take revenge on me for breaking into your house. How childish.”
! His lips twitched upwards in satisfaction at her annoyance.
! “And I never went looking through your stuff.” Mia went on.
“You took some of my cigars though.” he argued.
“So take some of mine and call it even, you five year old.”
“As if I’d poison myself with the cheap shit you smoke.”
! She sat on the desk and leaned forward, skillfully knocking the cigar free of his lips with a flick of her tongue. Catching it between her own crimson lips she pulled away, taking a long drag, eyes alight with mischief. He didn’t look her in the eyes, only watched the smoke curl from the end of what was his cigar. With a sweep of his arm he knocked the papers and any other items on the desk to the floor with a clatter and grabbed Mia by the arm, knocking her onto her back on the desk and catching the cigar that fell from her lips all in a serious of quick, fluid movements.
! Looming over her, his hook pinning her down to the desk, he breathed in the cigar and blew a large cloud of thick smoke into Mia’s face.
! She sighed and gave him an exagerratedly long suffering look, “Can’t we ever undress ourselves and get in an actual bed like normal people?”
! He ignored her, scraping the edge of his hook against the wood finish of the table as he pressed himself ontop of her, a single hand sliding up her skirt. She didn’t supress a small moan at the cold metal of his rings rubbing against her thighs and above.
! “Oi, don’t ruin my desk,” she griped, eyeing the scrape left by his hook.
! “Shut up,” he growled in response, tearing at the lacy fabric of her bra with his teeth and not caring if any of her skin got in his way. She plucked the cigar held loosely in his fingers and brough it to her own lips as she freed her other arm to stroke the back of his neck, leaving thin scratch marks where her nails scraped intentionally.
! “Somebody is desperate today.” she said calmly blowing a ring of smoke into the air, “what’s got you all hot and bothered?”
! Crocodile threw her underwear to the side and unzipped his pants unceremoniously, paying no heed to her once again. She sighed again. Mia was a laid back sort but she wasn’t incapable of losing her temper. And this was one of the times when she was getting a bit frustrated.
! She sat up suddenly and pulled his hair at the same time as she gently but effectively pressed her foot against his groin, forcing him to look her in the eye.
! “Don’t just do as you please,” she snapped before releasing her grip on him and sliding off the desk, relighting the cigar she’d abandoned. She turned her back as she headed to the bedroom. He sulked for a moment before following her.
! She was sitting on the windowsill, smoke streaming in lazy wisps from the end of her cigar into the purple-tinted night sky of the polluted city. As much as he hated giving in, it wouldn’t be good for her to be angry with him at that moment. Wordlessly he stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist and trailing gentle kisses on her shoulders, her collarbone, all pale and practically skeletal looking in the moonlight’s glow.
! He couldn’t see her face but it seemed to work as she closed the window and leaned back against him. He soon felt her slender fingers wrap loosely around his wrist, guiding his hand across the curves of her body. Crocodile pulled her around to kiss her deeply on the mouth and push her onto the bed.
! “I heard you had your ass handed to you by some broad with a gun.” Mia finally brought up as she watched Crocodile trying to sleep with a cigar and a playful smirk occupying her mouth.
! “Gossip travels faster than bullets from guns in this town.” he finally grumbled reluctantly without opening his eyes.
! “It’s not gossip if it’s true.” she said, her grin widening.
! Knowing that sleep wasn’t a realistic possibility anymore he opened his eyes to glare at her.
! “Aw, don’t feel too bad. I heard it was piratemarimo. She’s about as crafty as they get. Has to be for the amount I’ve heard she charges.”
! “I don’t feel bad,” he said stubbornly closing his eyes again, “….In fact, I’m excited.”
He smiled, “To see if she got lucky or if she really is a formidable enemy for me to have.”
! Mia rolled her eyes at his arrogance as she took another drag from her cigar.
! He flipped onto his back looking up at the ceiling. “Maybe she won’t be an enemy at all though. I can always use smarter suboordinates.” He smiled with blatant mischief, “Maybe I’ll ask her out to dinner.”
! Mia cocked an eyebrow at him skeptically.
! “A girl attacks you and you get dizzy with the dame? You’re like half retarted or something, y’know that?” she teased with a mocking laugh.
! He didn’t open his eyes or lose his smile as he said coolly, “Don’t be jealous.”
! Her jaw dropped and she could only glare at him and set her cigar in the ashtray on her bedside table.
! “Well, to be fair, I guess I put a gun to you the first time we met too…” she changed the subject, laying herself ontop of him and tracing swirls across his chest with one of her crimson red fingertips, “…and we screwed later that night.”
! She looked up at him with an impish grin. “The start of a sordid love affair?”
! Since that night of their first meeting, their relationship had consisted of frantic, restless, sessions, shoved into whatever corner, closet, or private room they could find when out in public or else one would come home to find the other waiting. There would be few words beforehand, except some of the friendly insults and volleying of quick banter that got them both off.
! Then it would be all frenzied pushing, scratching, biting at eachother to release their violent, pent up, lust. Tearing at clothes and knocking over furniture that just got in their way. They gnawed on their own lips to somehow restrain their moans of frustration, bliss, pain, and pure ecstacy- neither wanted to give the other that satisfaction.
! People like them died everyday no matter how tough they thought they were. They could end up dead in a dark alleyway or with their corpse shoved into some dumpster. So they didn’t have time to be patient or gentle- not when they could be dead by tomorrow.
! Then afterwards they would share a cigar or a drink and talk some.
! The next day or maybe even some weeks later they could pass eachother on the street or see eachother at the Midnight Club or some similar place. Usually surrounded by their own henchmen they’d send eachother a sly glance as they pass- “I know where you were last night” being said by their eyes (probably accompanied by a naughty snicker).
! Both being bosses when there was a meeting of famiglia’s in the city sometimes an eyebrow is raised at an accidentally revealed mark of red skin along Mia’s neckline or wrist. She would flush and cover it up quickly while Crocodile chuckles to himself and looks particularly smug.
! “Why should I be jealous anway? Because she’s on the receiving end of your affections?” Mia crooned mockingly before she laughed once, “That’s a fate I wouldn’t wish upon anyone!”
! Crocodile just kept his eyes closed and folded his arms behind his had, smiling complacently, “No. You should be jealous because she’s way prettier than you.”
! He received a quick punch to the stomach making him jump and knocking the breath out of him. She glared at him and jabbed him in the chest with her index finger repeatedly as she spoke.
! “You’re not supposed to say rude stuff like that to ladies! I bet that’s why you’re still a bachelor at your age!”
! His mouth dropped uncharacteristically looking offended.
! “’your age’?!” he sputtered with incredulous outrage.
! Mia waved it off with a flick of her hand, “Besides. I didn’t think you were the type to be so easily won over by a cute face.”
! Crocodile propped himself up on his elbow to scowl at her.
! “She’s not ‘cute’… she’s ‘sexy’.” he corrected tersely.
! Mia paused then narrowed her eyes and gave him a cat-like smile. “Oh? Well in that case she must be totally out of your league.” With a self-satisfied smile and flip of her hair, she lay down on her side facing away from him.
! He stared at her back, mouth agape for a moment before composing himself (for revenge).
! “From what I’ve heard I’m not the only one with a crush.” he said casually, “A certain blonde waiter….?”
! She seemed to stay perfectly still for a moment as if not even breathing before she mumbled into her pillow “s’not just a waiter… he’s the sous-chef….”
! The reaction wasn’t exactly what Crocodile had prepared himself for and was rather shocked to see that even from behind a blush was visible on her face reaching all the way out to her ears which were now red with embarassment.
! “Isn’t he a little young for you too…?” he crooned with obvious amusement.
! In a quick movement Mia had flipped over and smacked Crocodile in the face with a pillow.
! “H-he’s only 2 years younger than me, d-dammit!” she really was bright red and as flustered as he’d ever seen her before, “A-and he’s even a little taller than me so it’s fine!”
! Crocodile watched her pout and grab her pillow back but with a strange pang in his heart knowing he hadn’t been the only one who’d had someone else in the back of their mind that night when they’d made love.
He covered it up by continuing to tease her of course.
! “Is he good in bed?”
! “Oh yeah. A thousand times better than you.” she said seriously.
! Again his eyes widened with indignation. She gave him a sidelong glance and sighed.
! “I’m kidding. Of course that hasn’t happened yet.” she seemed dissapointed about this fact and again Crocodile felt a twinge of some sort of emotion. He was tempted to pin her down to the bed and warn her to never ever look at or speak to or love any man but him because though he’d never thought that he loved Mia, her smirks and her teasing glances and her shiny red nails and the taste of smoke on her lips- all those things belonged to him. Him and no one else.
! The idea of someone else lighting the female don’s cigar at 4 in the morning as she sat naked and bathed in moonlight was just wrong.
In fact, he resented the very thought of it!
! There was no way some other man could break into her house on a regular basis and be okay with her doing the same to him. Whose cigars would she steal if not his? Who else could possibly know every slope and edge of her body, could say that they’d left a bitemark or bruise in every single one, could know how to make her cry out and gasp? Surely not some punk busboy.
! “…..hrm.” was all he managed to mutter, turning back on his side and closing his eyes, this time for good. If he tried to say any of the things on his mind he could picture her reaction quite clearly- literally kicking him out of bed and bellowing ‘then go fuck yourself next time you’re horny!’ as she threw his clothes at him.
! She gently touched his shoulder and murmured, “goodnight.”
! “Miss, would you like a re-fill?”
! The raven haired woman could see a tiny frame of her own reflection and the man who now stood beside her in the surface of her tea. She smiled calmly, tucking a lock of hair behind her ear as she met eyes with him.
! “No thank you.”
! The sous-chef paused, taken aback for a moment by the full frontal meeting of his eyes with the woman’s own long-lashed dark ones. Then he smiled warmly.
! “Let me know if you need anything.”
! She smiled to herself with a hint of amusement as she raised the tea cup to her lips once more. But the young man didn’t leave. He seemed to shift his weight from one foot to the other awkwardly and then looked down at the floor, scratching the back of his head in nervous restlessness.
! He seemed to muster up his courage and looked her straight in the eye and said clearly, “My name’s Sanji!”
! She blinked at him, her eyebrows raised before tittering a lilting laugh into her hand.
! “I know.” she said grinning while raising a skeptical eyebrow at him, “your nametag says it.” She reached out and tapped the nametag on his chest with a click of her red-nailed index finger.
! Sanji’s face turned bright red- half from embarassment and half from the tingling warmth he felt spread from where her finger had touched.
! “My name’s Mia,” she said kindly with a gentle smile that seemed to be encouraging him not to feel too embarassed.
! “Mia…” he repeated and smiled down at the woman sitting at the table, “….would you… let me take you out for dinner?”
! “yes.” she answered simply and quickly, not losing her composure.
! Sanji stood in shock for a second before grinning rather stupidly and squeeking “thank you.” and then turned on his heel robotically walked back to the kitchen. As soon as the kitchen door closed behind him he jumped up, kicking the air once and raising his hands above his head in victory. “She said yes! I’ve got a date with a beautiful lady!” He exclaimed making his co-workers roll their eyes and laugh at his usual lovestruck attitude and they immediately began teasing him.
! Outside, Mia’s eyes were wide and blinking from the unexpectedly dramatic response she’d overheard (along with everyone else in the restaurant) from the kitchen. Then she broke into laughter behind her hand.
! “Huh.” she finally murmured to herself, closing her eyes and sipping her tea once more, “….it’d be swell if I could stay with a nice guy like that.”
Extras By Mia
! It was easy to find which room she was in. It was the only hospital door that loud bickering could be heard from. Thuggish, obnoxiously loud, particularly rude bickering. Crocodile sighed to himself and wondered why he’d come as he approached the open doorway.
! “Miss…. please…. you can’t smoke here. This is a hospital…!” a mousy nurse was pleading tentatively.
! “I just got a bullet taken outta me and you’re asking me not to smoke? Go find some bed pans to clean, tutz.” Mia snapped with considerable venom.
! The nurse looked like she wanted to say something in return but thought better of it and left the room in a passive huff.
! Crocodile watched her go and turned back to the reluctant patient before him.
! “You’re in a particularly foul mood.” he observed dryly.
! “Go fuck yourself!” she spat back almost on reflex.
! He sat in the chair by her bed and crossed his legs.
! “Your usually pretty devil-may care and unshakable but I gues when your life’s been threatened you get worked up.” he said with a smirk, “I guess it just proves how scared of death you are.”
! “Yeah right. Something like this won’t kill me.” she brushed off with an impatient wave of her hand, “What gets me worked up is knowing some unknown person X running around MY town has got some bloody nerve to try and attack me.” she was inhaling and exhaling quick, shallow, puffs of smoke from her cigar now as she spoke.
! Crocodile reached across the bed to pull up the bottom of her shirt. He examined the blood spattered bandages underneath and asked apathetically, “Probably still smarting, right?”
! She slapped his hand away sharply.
! “Yeah, yeah, save your sympathy- this shit doesn’t even hurt. The only pain is in my ass and my pride is the only injured thing on me.”
! “A huge but sensitive ego, eh?” Crocodile muttered.
! She barked out a laugh, “Oh that’s rich- coming from you!”
! He scowled darkly at her, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
! “It means you’re both conceited.” a third voice entered the conversation with a teasing tone as Trapped walked into the room with Shanks following close behind.
! Crocodile narrowed his eyes at the third party sullenly. “I don’t want to be talked down by some second in command,” he grumbled.
! “Don’t be rude, Crocodile-kun,” Shanks chimed in with deceptive cheeriness, “That’s my lady you’re talking to.” he gave extra emphasis to that last sentence and said it with such obvious pride that the threat lost it's credibility.
! “Did you get me lots of get-well-soon presents?” Mia changed the subject, her foul mood seemingly replaced by her usual playful self.
! “If I had to buy gifts for every time someone in our line of work went to the hospital I wouldn’t even have money enough for food. Besides, you’re fine. The doc said you can leave tomorrow- and he’s not shady like Local.” Trapped replied callously.
! Shanks sat down on the edge of the now pouting don’s bed.
! “She talks rough but she’s been worried sick- fussing around and chewing on her nails.” he informed Mia cheerfully making Trapped turn red.
! “I wasn’t worried about HER! I was stressed out trying to find the culprit so I wouldn’t have to listen to her bitching!” she protested.
! Mia and Shanks giggled to eachother.
! “Aw, she’s so cute when she’s defensive.” Shanks crooned.
! “Hehehe, it must be rough having to deal with such a tsundere lover. After I get out let’s go to a bar and pour our heart’s out about our moody little Trapped-chan.” Mia snickered back with equal affection.
! “Hell no! If you two went out drinking I’d be the one who’d have to drag your drunken asses home at 3 am!” Trapped snapped.
! “Aww, she’s possesive. Doesn’t want me having a drink with another girl” Shank’s interpreted out loud.
! Trapped threateningly grabbed him by the nape of his neck and rumbled, “Don’t put words in my mouth!”
! “I’m leaving,” Crocodile stood up and started for the door.
! “Why? Stay! I hope we didn’t interrupt!” Shanks said.
! “Oh, don’t mind that guy. He’s just allergic to fun. Sad really.” Mia said with a coy smile sent in the hook handed man’s direction.
! He looked back at her from the doorway, the edges of his lips twitching upward momentarily before he left without another word.