Somewhere To Belong

After the Battle

Thatch sat tensely on his bed, ready to spring into action should he need to. He was still hurt but he was in much better shape than the men that were being carried in through the door. Apparently the battle going on deck was a fierce one. One that he desperately wanted to join to keep his family from being hurt but he knew that he would probably just get in the way. In other words Lyra threatened his manhood if he even thought about joining in because he wasn't at full strength.

She really had.

Sabo laughed and everything when she did.

The boy had been more anxious than Thatch was since the first sounds of battle had begun. He was worried about his brothers and wanted to be there but Lyra had threated to drug him into next week if he thought about getting out of bed before morning.

Not long after the battle had started the first wounded man appeared and the nurses sprang into action. As time wore on Thatch could tell that while the battle seemed to drag on they had definitely been in worse battles.

It took a little over three hours for the sounds of fighting to die down. Numerous member of the crew were lying in bed and being seen to by the nurses.

"Is it over?" Sabo asked after about ten minutes of silence.

"I think so," Thatch said moving to sit on his young friend's bed, ignoring the glare he was getting from the doctor. He was fine.

"Do you think that there are going to be others that were hurt as bad as them?" the blonde nodded towards the group of men that were currently lying in bed moan in pain.

"I hope not," Thatch responded.

Not ten seconds later the door slammed open to reveal Haruta supporting one of her division members into the room followed by Marco, carrying Luffy and leading Ace in with a hand on his back.

"What's wrong with them?" Lyra asked nodding towards the children as she checked over the man that looked as if he had been shot in the side.

"Take care of him. We can wait," Marco said walking towards the blonde boy. He set Luffy down on the bed and Ace climbed up as well.

"What happened?" Sabo immediately asked.

"Luffy was shot," Ace informed.

"WHAT!?" Sabo shot up and started checking the younger for signs of injuries. Thatch winced. That had to have hurt. He had had burns before and they were not fun.

Thatch slowly processed what Ace had just said and he too started checking the boy for injuries.

The top hat wearer's face scrunched in confusion as he checked the straw hat boy's back. "There's a hole in his shirt and a bruise but that's it."

"There's a bruise now?" Ace asked as he leaned over to look at his brother's back. Thatch shook his head.

"I don't think he was shot. It just looks like he just got hit really hard by something," he said examining the bruise.

"No he got shot," Marco said. Thatch turned to the phoenix. "We saw it happen."

"Then how-"

He was cut off by Lyra as she strode over. "I'm sorry did you just say that Luffy was shot?" she demanded turning to Marco.

"Yes, but he's made out of rubber so he's fine. At least we think so. We're hoping that you can examine him and Ace once you're done looking at the wounded."

Sabo turned a glare on Luffy. "You told them?"

"Actually I was the one that told everyone," Ace informed rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.

"Oh well. It was getting annoying trying to hide it anyway," Sabo shrugged.

"Wait, what do you mean Luffy is made out of rubber?" Thatch asked thoroughly confused. How was it possible that Luffy was rubber? People weren't made out of rubber. Then it hit him. Luffy must have eaten a devil fruit. When had he done that?

"My nurses can handle the injured." Lyra said turning towards the boys and picking up Luffy, sitting him on the next bed and pulling up his shirt so that she could see the bruise. "Rubber you said?"

"I ate the gum-gum fruit," Luffy stated happily.

"When did he do that?" Thatch asked Marco who shushed him.

"Is that so? Does it hurt when you get hit?" she asked.

"Only when Grandpa hits me," the boy pouted.

"He hits you?" It was asked casually but Thatch knew that everyone that heard was filing the information away. No adult has the right to hit a child for any reason.

"He calls it his fist of love," Ace informed and Sabo shuddered next to him.

She hmm'd as she continued to examine his back. She poked it a bit and even stretched some of the skin, as if testing it.

Thatch watched all of this in mild fascination. He would have never guessed that Luffy had eaten a devil fruit but thinking back, when he had shown Luffy the one he found the boy had told him that it wouldn't taste good. And he didn't know how to swim. In fact the more Thatch thought about the more he wondered how they could have missed the fact that Luffy was a devil fruit user.

"Well it seems that he is just going to have a very ugly bruise but is otherwise fine." She turned to Ace. "What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing."

"They were both briefly held hostage," Marco cut in. "Pops just wanted to make sure they were alright."

"What?" Sabo asked looking at his brothers as if to make sure they were alright.

"It was only for like a minute. They didn't have time to do anything to me," Ace said.

"Yeah, Ace didn't really give them the chance to do anything," Marco said smiling in pride at the boy.

Lyra examined Ace and declared that he was fine before turning back towards the wounded. "Get back in bed Commander," she ordered Thatch as she did so.

Thatch stuck his tongue out at her retreating back but did as he was told and took the bed next to the one the boys were currently crowded on. "I have to get back and see who's injured in my division," Marco said. "And second division. And fourth."

"Thanks for that Buddy I really appreciate it," Thatch said sincerely.

"Yeah, yeah, I'll keep you updated." The blonde pirate waved an arm as he made his way out of the room.

Thatch turned his full attention on the boys. He had a lot of questions. When had Luffy eaten a devil fruit? How come they kept it a secret? Ace mentioned powers earlier, did he eat a fruit too? He finally settled on, "So. Garp hits you?" Thatch asked as casually as he could.

"He says it training," Ace said sticking out his tongue.

Sabo snorted. "How is it training? That doesn't teach us anything."

"But me and Sabo got off easy when it came to the old man. He only visited me once before Luffy came to live with Dadan. Luffy had to deal with him a lot more."

"I don't like fighting monkeys," Luffy said making everyone give him confused looks. Where had that come from?

"What?" Ace finally asked.

"Grandpa made me fight monkeys. He said it was training. They were hard to beat and then he would hit me if I lost."

"Yup that's the geezer for you." Ace shook his head in exasperation.

"It was horrible being on a ship with him. There was no way we could get away. I thought we were going to die," Sabo said dramatically.

"Remember when he found us talking about being pirates," Ace asked eyes wide.

Luffy giggled. "Grandpa sure was mad."

"He really was going to kill us that time," Sabo said.

Thatch watched as the boys continued to talk about the crazy marine, who was apparently abusive as well as negligent.

Their conversation brought up a lot of questions for the man and he filed all of them away for a later date, when he was sure Lyra wasn't going to interrupt them.

He would have to let Pops know about how Garp treated his grandsons.


Marco shook his head sadly as he considered the results of last night's battle. Two men from his division had been critically wounded and three had died. But things could be worse he supposed. At least casualties had been kept at a minimum.

He looked at the sky and was happy to note that he still had a while before the sun rose and Pops had dismissed him so that he could sleep for a bit. He made his way towards the infirmary to pick up Ace and possibly Luffy. Repairs on the boys' room was one of the first things on the list of priorities for cleanup but it would be sometime before it was gotten to.

He opened the door quietly, not wanting to disturb any of the wounded men and quickly saw that it was unneeded. The men were all watching as Ace, Sabo, and Luffy were telling them a story about some gang they beat up.

"What's going on?" Marco asked looking at the three.

"The brats were just telling us a story about how they beat up a couple of thugs," Thatch informed him. "I don't think I believe them."

"It's true," all three boys chimed.

"We're some of the strongest fighters on our island," Ace said looking upset that his friend didn't seem to believe him.

"Alright you guys beat up a bunch of thugs," Marco said. He was tired and wanted to go to bed. "Congratulations. It's time for bed, Ace you're still going to be staying with me for a while. Luffy-"

"I don't wanna go to my room. I don't like being alone."

"Alright then, you can stay with me too until Sabo is better."

The little boy cheered and followed Marco out of the room before running back in to stand next to Ace.

"Goodnight Sabo," both boys said.

"Night!"

When they reached his room Marco was annoyed to see that his door, which he had locked, had been forced open. So that was how they got Ace. He shrugged before pushing the door the rest of the way open and gesturing to the two to go in. Luffy instantly claimed the blankets Ace had gathered earlier and was curled up on the floor in only a few seconds.

Ace hesitated for a moment before forcing Luffy to give him half of the blankets and the curled up on a different part of the floor.

Marco shook his head before climbing into bed. It still amazed him how these kids never expected anything from anyone. He was sure they would ask for the bed. And he would've given it to them too, if they had asked.


A week past and the Moby Dick was almost back to normal. Nothing could replace the lives lost, but they were lost with honor and dignity.

Sabo was healed and back to running around with his brothers and Thatch had finally been allowed to leave the infirmary.

"I'm free! The witch finally let me go!" An enthusiastic Thatch greeted Marco.

"What do you mean finally? It hasn't been that long since you were literally stabbed in the back and had major surgery. I bet Lyra told you to stay in bed."

The other commander shrugged. "I'm a fast healer."

"No you're not."

"Well compared to you no one is. Now stop nitpicking and let's get the party started!"

"What party?" an excited voice asked. Both pirates looked down to see a seven year old bouncing between them.

"There is no party," Marco stated much to the boy's disappointment.

"Well then why did Thatch say there was?" Luffy pouted.

"Because we should have one," Thatch stated. "I'm free. I think that's a good reason to celebrate."

"Well you can throw yourself a party from your room because if Lyra finds you walking around deck she is going to tie you to a bed if not something worse. You know it's true. It wouldn't be the first time she did something like that."

"Yeah I know. Kingdew still won't go near her unless he's dying."

"Can you blame him?"

Both men shuddered.

Luffy laughed. "You guys are weird," he said before stretching his arm out and grabbing onto the railing, rocketing himself over to his brothers.

Thatch shook his head. "I still can't believe Luffy of all people was able to keep the fact that he was rubber a secret for all this time."

Marco shrugged. "He just didn't want his brothers to be mad and I'm pretty sure they just didn't want Garp to be mad."

"You knew didn't you?" Thatch asked unamused.

"Namur didn't tell you? I've known for a while."

"Then why didn't you tell?"

The blonde pirate shrugged and turned to watch as Ace attempted to make a ball of fire in his hand, making sure that he didn't need to step in to keep Sabo and Luffy from getting burned. The boy was a natural fighter and improving rapidly but he still had some trouble. He smiled in satisfaction as Ace was able to make the palm sized fire ball and launched it into the ocean. The three boys watched as it sizzled out of existence laughing.

"It wasn't my place," the blonde pirate answered.

Thatch nodded.

"What about Luffy and Sabo? I heard that they were also looking for someone to train them."

"Sabo talked Namur into teaching him a few things. He says Sabo is about as good as Ace."

"And Luffy?"

"Luffy will take a lesson from anyone who will offer it and has actually followed some of the men around begging until they agree to help him just to shut him up for a while."

Thatch smiled and shook his head at the mental image of Luffy bouncing after a few of the rougher looking members of the crew.

"He any good?"

"For someone his age yeah he's fantastic," Marco said with a shrug. "He just has bad aim. Izo has made it his mission to fix that so the brat doesn't accidentally hit any bystanders."

"Has that happened?"

"Oh yeah. No one says anything because they don't want to admit that a seven year old was able to hit them, even if it was by accident but everyone has seen it."

Thatch couldn't help but laugh at that.

"You better get to your cabin before one of the nurses spot you," Marco said clapping his friend on the shoulder.

"I'm not afraid of the nurses," the pirate informed his friends as he turned towards the mess hall. "I'm starving. I'm going to go get something to eat and then maybe I'll go see if Luffy wants me to show him a thing or two."

"I'm sure he would enjoy that," Marco said shaking his head at his friend's stubbornness.


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