The Recovery Room
The sun shining brightly right outside the window seemed to be mocking all of the disastrous events of the past twenty four hours. Law glared at the shining yellow-white orb in the sky from his place on the white sheets in the hospital bed. After the power had come on again last night, Marco had called 911 and after that, they had all been dragged into police cars and ambulances.
Killer had been put into a medically induced coma to calm the swelling in his head. He lay in the bed next to Law, hooked up to a machine, his long blond locks spread under him. He looked like a sleeping angel.
Law scoffed at the notion; both of them had done things angels would cringe and curse them for doing. Well, more so Law, but Killer had been there on at least three of the numerous occasions.
The door creaked and Law looked over at the bland white object. Pale hands were opening it, and Law knew who it was even before the head filled with unruly red locks peeked out from behind its edge.
"I'm awake, Kidd," Law said, leaning his chin on his elbow, which rested on his bent knee. The redhead opened the door and snuck in, slamming it behind him. Then, he turned his red eyes to Law, glowering at him.
It was the first time either of them had seen each other alone (well, they weren't alone, but Killer wasn't exactly present consciously) since hours before the attack, and it was the first time they talked since Law handed him the knife.
Kidd turned his gaze to the floor, his fists trembling at his sides. Law figured it was because his arm was in a sling, since the scarlet haired boy kept glancing at it with a glower.
"Glaring at it won't make the wound disappear," Law said softly, an empty smile accompanying his words. Kidd's head whipped up and he grit his teeth. He stood there for a moment, trembling, before sprinting up to Law's bed. He threw himself on top of the edge of the tall hospital bed, clenching the sheets in his hands.
"Why the fuck would you do that, Law? Why do you always do it? I don't get it!" He yelled into the sheets. "Why do you always do dangerous shit? I don't like it!"
"You shouldn't swear, Kidd."
The eleven year old shot up and pulled at Law's collar, pulling him down. The teen didn't look fazed at all by the motion. The child's eyes were glaring at him with heat, though the nasty effect was ruined by the tears at the corners of his eyes.
"That's not what we need to talk about!" Kidd eventually yelled, shaking Law by the lapels of his hospital gown. "Why are you like this? Why?" His head turned down, tears now beginning to stream his face. Law stared at him, his eyes fuzzy, as though he was thinking. Then he blinked, shaking his head before sighing softly. He put one of his hands on the top of the child's head and ruffled the unruly locks. Kidd let himself fall forward onto the teen's lap, body shaking with sobs. Neither said anything else. Talking would get them nowhere.
It never did.
Ace sat curled up in a ball on the hard plastic chair, clutching at his knees so hard that his knuckles turned white. He was listening to the sound of footsteps, people talking, and crying. It was all combined with the stench of chemicals and white walls.
He had never liked hospitals.
Yeah, maybe this was his first time in one, but whenever he would look up at the large buildings when he lived on the streets, they seemed to reek of death and despair. He also feared going in one whenever he was hurt. He never knew who had connections to him.
A small hand touched his leg. He lifted his head slightly and saw Sabo standing there. His eyes were red and wet and he was biting his lip tightly. Wordlessly, Ace uncurled his body and reached down for the five year old, pulling him into his lap. The two clutched onto each other tightly, their fingers rumpling the fabric of their shirts.
"Ace, I'm scared," Sabo whimpered. Ace felt his shoulder getting wet and he grit his teeth together, gulping thickly to keep his own tears at bay.
It's all my fault.
"It's gonna get better, Sabo. Soon, you won't have to feel scared anymore, okay? We're…we're gonna get through this," Ace whispered, his voice hoarse. Sabo shifted in his lap and pulled back a little, looking into Ace's eyes with emotions Ace couldn't name but he could easily recognize. It was a look he never wanted to see on Sabo's face.
"What about Ace?"
"What do you mean, what about me?" Ace asked, struggling to meet his brother's intense gaze.
"When can Ace stop feeling scared?"
Ace tensed slightly, freezing under Sabo's concerned stare. A shaky smile made its way onto Ace's face directed at Sabo. Though it was meant to calm the younger boy, the child only felt worse.
"What do you mean, Sabo? I'm not scared," Ace said with a trembling voice, shaking his head in denial.
"But Ace," Sabo interrupted, "You was cryin' last night," Sabo whispered. Unknowingly, his words had a grave impact on Ace. His head was spinning with turmoil because the one thing he never wanted to know was apparently obvious to the five year old.
"It's alright to be scared Ace. Everybody get's scared once in awhile."
"But I don't wanna be scared anymore! I don't want you to be scared anymore!"
"…I know. I don't want to be scared either."
"Ace? What's wrong?"
"When I'm older, I'll never ever be scareded again! And, and we can stay together forever, right? Right?!"
"Ace, Sabo," a voice said, calm near Ace. He blinked and returned to reality as Sabo was lifted off of his lap to be seated on Marco's hip. He watched Marco ruffle Sabo's curly locks a little as the boy buried his face into the man's shoulder. When Marco reached down to do the same to Ace, the boy flinched away. Marco paused for a moment, staring at the child, and then sighed as he lowered his hand to his side. "Let's go see Law."
Marco began to walk away, but Ace didn't move. After a few steps Marco paused and turned to look at Ace, who was looking at his hands curled up in his lap. "Where's Luffy?"
Marco blinked before turning and walking back to Ace, rubbing at Sabo's back at the same time when he felt the child tense. Once in front of Ace, he knelt down slowly and made sure to look at the boy's eyes.
"Luffy's safe. He's with Thatch right now, and they're both with the doctors."
"What if the doctors hurt Luffy?" Ace demanded, eyes shooting up to meet Marco's gaze with terror. Marco stayed calm.
"Thatch won't let anyone hurt Luffy."
Ace felt a pang in his chest.
"I won't let anyone hurt Ace."
"Come on now, Law is probably waiting to see us, especially you. He looked concerned when told me what happened last night," Marco mentioned, waiting and making sure Ace stood. He walked a few steps ahead, and when the child followed without question, Marco began to walk to the teens room. He was unaware of the tragedies playing out in the child's head.
"Don' leave me alone, please, I don't wanna be 'lone!"
It was a few hours after Marco had found Sabo and Ace in the hospital halls. The sun was setting, bathing the city in various shades of crimson, orange, gold, vermillion, and red. The light reflected off of the hospitals spotless windows beautifully, but Thatch couldn't find anything beautiful about it. He sat across the street from the building, watching it from inside his truck as he smoked his fifth cigarette down to the butt.
The sound of vibrating suddenly filled the soundless space. Thatch blinked lazily and reached for his phone, hitting the green answer button and bringing it to his right ear.
"Thatch my boy? Is that you?"
"Pops…yeah, it's me," Thatch sighed, tapping on the cigarette outside his car window, adding to the growing pile of ash on the pavement.
"I heard about what happened. Is everyone safe?"
Thatch was silent for a moment. "No, we're not."
Pops was silent. "I heard Smoker is missing."
Thatch nodded to no one. For a solid minute, neither person spoke.
"This is the most upset you've been in a long time. You're not talking much."
"I don't know what to say."
A beat of silence.
Thatch gulped when he felt a lump building in his throat. "These kids shouldn't have to live in fear. They've been through enough."
"Life is always cruel to the innocent. All we can do is try to protect them."
Silence. Again. Thatch took a long drag and dropped the butt out the window. He exhaled, the gray cloud swirling in front of his face. God, Thatch hated smoking.
"If worst comes around, I'm not going to stand around."
"I wouldn't expect you to. I won't either. That's not how our family works."
"No, it's not," Thatch trailed off, leaning into the seat of the car with a sigh, tilting his head back. He closed his eyes. "If they want a war, they'll have a war." He opened his eyes ever so slightly and reached his fingers up, pushing against the fabric of the truck ceiling. The sound of a dull thump could be heard as he pushed at one place in particular. "I'm not going to let them take us down without a fight."
"We'll be watching, Thatch. We'll be ready whenever they come."
The line dropped off with a beep. Thatch merely hung up and put the phone down, bringing his hand down from the ceiling. Things were becoming too dangerous for him to just sit and do nothing but twiddle his fingers.
"It's time to tell Marco to gear up."