The last bell of the day had just sounded. Law, whose backpack had been previously filled with all of his homework, stood up as soon as he first heard it, ignoring the protests of the teacher to please wait.
He was fed up with this school and it's people.
As he walked down the hall, his classmates stared at him with criticizing, scrutinizing, cruel eyes. He ignored them as he stalked quickly and determinedly by them, his eyes turning cold whenever someone dared to meet his.
His friends all knew not to bother him. Ever since the fight with Spandam, he had been on edge. He had stayed with him, but they let him have his space, not forcing him into conversations, but just being there as a comforting presence if he ever felt the need to speak his mind.
As he approached the school's entrance, he felt his phone vibrating in his pocket. He passed it off as just a text until it rang again. He let out a quiet, aggravated sigh as he pulled it out, shoving his way to the door past all the other students.
He didn't even have time to give a half assed greeting before he heard frantic yells.
"Law? Law, where are you right now?"
Law moved away from the entrance, brow furrowing. "I just got out of class, I'm still at school, why," He stopped talking at the sounds of screams on the other end.
"Law, listen to me! You need to get out of there and you need to find Ace! You two aren't safe right now-"
Law hung up and turned around. He saw Bepo's white hair over the crowd and shouted his name. The head straightened and turned to Law, eyes curious. Law shrugged off his backpack and dropped it on the ground. He gave his friend a meaningful glance and then turned, running over to the bike racks.
Almost all of the bikes were locked in, except for one on the very edge of the rack. Law saw someone was holding a lock in his hand right next to it, talking to one of his friends.
Law ran up and grabbed the bike. The older teen turned around at the noise and let out a shout of protest. Law apologized over his shoulder as he hopped on, saying he was just borrowing it, and then he was off.
Law considered it pure luck that Ace's school was downhill from Law's and only twenty minutes by foot. He had no idea how long it would take to get there by bike, but he was pedaling like a madman. The curves of the streets and the buildings and the sharp corners were all familiar. He pedaled by them all with ease.
The closer he got to the school, the more he began to panic. What if he didn't make it on time? Ace would…he'd be gone. Law didn't think he could live knowing that. Ace was his little brother – yeah, he admits it. Law had never been a big brother before, but he could understand what Cora was talking about all those years ago, and he wasn't going to let Ace go.
Not without a fight.
Law suddenly saw that traffic in his direction had come to a halt. It was a red light. But he had noticed too late. His eyes widened. If he stopped at this rate, he would probably fall down the hill and break every bone in his body. And the school was right there, he could see it.
Then he saw Ace.
He'd risk it.
Law pedaled faster, swerving suddenly to avoid a slowing car, and pedaled as quick as he could. His feet were moving as fast as they possibly could, putting him in the intersection. Law's eyes widened when he saw a car come out of seemingly nowhere. He veered to the side, almost falling as the bike kicked up dirt and sand, before pedaling in the new direction. The car honked, the sound unending, as he drove out of the intersection.
For those few seconds, he had lost sight of Ace. Law's eyes darted around as he continued in the direction of the school. It was probable that Ace had just turned the corner, he hoped that was all that had happened, please, please, please just let him have turned that corner-
And he had. Law spotted him as soon as he himself turned the corner, making a wide turn due to his speed. He barely missed a telephone pole. He almost lost balance avoiding it, driving off of the street and into the sidewalk for a moment. Someone yelled at him, but he couldn't have cared less as he got back onto the street, heading in the direction of Ace and thank god, Kidd was there, he wasn't alone.
What he saw next had his heart stopping.
A car was about to pull up in front of the younger boys.
And then Law hit sand. The tires went in different directions and he cursed as he was sent flying to the ground, the sound of wheels screeching echoing in his ears. He knew those weren't the bike's tired.
He landed with a loud thud, the bike crashing and the sound of the wheel turning rapidly a faint sound. He groaned a little, but then quickly came back to reality. His head shot up and he watched – only Kidd was there, screaming Ace's name. Teachers were going up to the fiery boy, holding him back and Law looked at the car for a second, watching it drive down the street.
It was another downhill slope.
Ignoring the pain in his limbs, Law scrambled to his feet, bringing the bike to stand with him. He left no time to himself to dust of the dirt or blood, he took of running, hoping onto the bike and beginning to pedal as if he were participating in the Tour de France.
"Law? What are you doing?" Kidd's voice screamed at him, and he could imagine the child struggling against the adults – focus Law. The teen gritted his teeth, his fingers clenching tightly around the handle bars. The car was already at the bottom of the hill, and there were other cars down there. Law burned the surface of the back of the car into his brain as he flew down the hill at breakneck speed, watching as the car speedily began to whip through traffic. Whoever it was they were obviously a skilled driver. But that didn't matter. Law would catch them.
"Hurry the fuck up! We gotta get back to the boss before the cops get here!"
Ace glared up at the man who was sitting on top of him. The boy was furious (and terrified). His hands were bound behind his back and tape was on his mouth, and then this fat lug was sitting on his legs.
He had never felt so restricted before in his life.
"How 'bout you shut the fuck up and let me drive!" The woman in the front seat yelled back. She was driving…recklessly. That was the only word that came to Ace's mind. He could clearly feel each jolt, each sudden turn of the wheel, each abrupt break, and it was giving him a headache. As well as the screeches of tires and the horns of the other cars on this road. It was a cacophony of noise combined with jarring movements, and it all made Ace want to throw up.
"I don't think it's a cop we're gonna have to worry about!" A second man, sitting in the row behind Ace, yelled back. "Some kid's following us on a bike!"
"You're here for a reason, dipshit, gun him the fuck down!"
Ace's eyes widened. He didn't know who it was, but they did not deserve that. He tried to scream through the duct tape and thrash his limbs, but it just resulted in the man on top of him punching him in the head. Then one of his large meaty hands that smelled of sweat and smoke wrapped around the child's neck.
"Stop moving around, you fuckin' brat! Stay put!"
Then the man put a bag on Ace's head. The child tried to protest, but he was slapped across the face. It was difficult to breathe with a bag on his head, and all sounds became somewhat muffled as well. It just made him panic, which resulted in more thrashing.
"Watch it, yah little shit! OW! Fuckin- that's it!"
Ace's world turned dark, the last thing he registered being a sudden sharp pain on the side of his head.
"Shh, Luffy, it's ok, you don't hafta cry, ok?" Sabo attempted to soothe the baby, who was lying on a blanket on the ground. The baby's wails were ear piercing and heartbreaking.
Something was obviously wrong.
Dadan was in the other room, yelling at someone over the phone, and all of her men that she said were her followers were running around, shouting at each other and running out the door as quick as possible.
Luffy's wails echoed. The shadows of the men running past underneath the fluorescent light were terrifying, and the sound of their voices – so terrified and furious and determined – caused something in Sabo to tremble.
And that trembling led to crying.
Tears dribbled down the child's flushed cheeks from his eyes that were tightly shut, and he didn't bother to try to wipe them away. Instead, he continued whispering "It's ok Luffy, we're safe, we'll be ok," to his baby brother, all while instinctively knowing that right then, nothing was going to be ok.
Robin was speeding for the first time in her lifetime of legal driving. The cars around her were honking, probably because she wasn't using her blinkers either, but Robin couldn't care for that at the moment. At this point in time, school had already been let out, and she had no idea if Ace would be safe.
Robin turned the wheel sharply as she came upon a turn, just barely missing a trashcan as she drove in the direction of the school.
And of course now of all times, her phone had to ring. She was lucky at least that her car could answer calls for her.
"What is it?" Robin asked, lips twitching with tension as her eyes tried to stay as focused on the road as possible.
"Robin, it's Marco! Listen, we think that Ace is in danger, and Law too, where are you?"
"I'm on my way to the school," Robin replied. "Shit!" Robin pulled to a break when a car in front of her pulled to an unexpected stop. Robin cursed as she looked behind her and shifted the gear to reverse as quickly as possible before switching back into drive. She pressed on the gas, ignoring the shriek of the tires, and continued down the street. "Ace is in trouble."
"If you see Law-"
Marco stopped talking when Robin let out a short scream of shock, hitting the breaks on her car as hard as she could. Her body was jarred by the sudden movement, but had she been a second late, she would've been killed.
"I'll help Law, but first I need to get to Ace," Robin replied while frantically looking around, trying to find an opening to get to the school, but all of the cars were in a state of disarray from trying to avoid the reckless driver that had almost killed her seconds ago. "Marco, Ace is-"
And then Robin saw Law, speeding by on his bike, chasing after the car.
"Law!" Robin screamed. Her eyes were wide, and quickly she connected the pieces. "Dammit, they've got Ace, Marco!"
Robin honked her horn, several beeps emitting from the car as she pressed the center of the wheel a couple of times in rapid succession. Some of the cars, somehow, managed to move after understanding what Robin was saying.
"I'm going after them!"
"Robin, where are you?"
"West of the school, going down the hill!"
The line cut off and Robin drove, trying to think quickly of faster ways to be able to tail the car and make sure Law and Ace got out of this alive and safe.
Kidd was sitting in a chair in the school's office, his pale face even paler than it usually was. His eyes were open but blank, staring at nothing, and his hands were limp in his lap. He could vaguely hear the teachers running around in the background, talking to policemen on the phones or other parents of other children, who he could hear sobbing in fear.
"Kidd!" He vaguely heard. He said nothing, his eyes till looking at the floor. "Kidd, Kidd, Kidd!" Something shook his body, and something obstructed his view of the floor, but what was it? "Killian Eustass!"
Kidd blinked, then blinked again, and his eyes looked up. In front of him was Killer, looking at him with concerned eyes. Kidd's eyes watered, and he gulped.
"Killeen…they just took him," Kidd hiccuped. Killer pulled him into a hug, rubbing along his back. "I couldn't do anything," Kidd choked out as he buried his face into his cousin's shoulder and long mane of blond hair. He tried to hide his face from the world as he shook. "I'm so weak, Killeen."
"No you're not, shh, shh, it's going to be okay, we'll get Ace back, okay?" Killer rubbed circles on the boy's back, his eyes downcast and serious. "They're not going to let anything happen to Ace."
Kidd gasped and pulled back, shaking Killer's shoulders. "No, Killeen, he went after them, I saw him chasing them, what if they both get hurt now?"
"Who went after them?" Killer asked, putting his hand's on top of Kidd's arms and holding them there, something stable to ground his cousin to reality.
"Law went after the car Killeen, he was on a bike, I couldn't stop him!"
Killer stared at Kidd for a few seconds, his eyes wide. "Law went after them?"
"Yes!" Kidd shouted, frantically shaking his cousin. "Law went after him! What if they both die? Then I'll lose two friends!"
Killer wrapped Kidd in a hug again, and he said nothing of the boy's shaking. Killer himself was also shaking, so he had no right to say anything. But he doubted anyone would judge them now, not when their friends were missing and in the hands of murderers.
Killer listened to his aunt and uncle in the background, talking worriedly with the teachers and the police who had arrived as Killer himself walked in. This was…bad, wasn't it? He wanted to downplay the situation, for it to all be fake, a lie, a game, but he knew it wasn't. Law couldn't play games like this, not after everything that happened when he was younger…
But Killer really wished this was all a game.
Killer brought his hand up to his cousin's hair, massaging the back of his head, something that he knew comforted the other. Kidd sniffled and whined, his grip on his cousin tightening as he continued to cry. Killer, with a voice hoarse from holding back tears, said, "It's okay. It's Law. He can get them out of this. I know he can."
The door down the hall opened.
Smoker lifted his head. He was in the exact same spot as when they had told him that they would be bringing Ace in the next day. Smoker had no way to tell time, and they visited him supposedly once a day, so he figured this meant it was the next day.
He prayed. He had been praying for hours that Ace would not be brought back into this mess. He had prayed that the drug dealers would give the kid a break, that they wouldn't bring him back into this ring of madness, of torture.
It seemed his prayers hadn't reached whoever he had been praying to.
Smoker watched with tortured, distraught eyes as the men dragged in Ace and then, to his extreme horror, Law as well. Both boys looked injured. Ace had a lump on the side of his head right above his left eye and Law was covered in bruises, scrapes, cuts, and blood. His clothes were in tatters.
Both of his boys were going to be in chains. Both of his boys were hurt.
The men carrying the boys brought them to the cell directly across from Smokers. Ace was brought to the corner on Smoker's left, Law brought to the one on his right. Both were chained to the wall and it killed Smoker to have to see that, to see them chained up like prisoners.
But that was what all three of them were now.
The men left, their boots making loud thuds on the ground as they walked out after locking the cage with Law and Ace inside. They had stared at Smoker as they left.
When the door closed, Smoker stared at the two boys. Neither moved. He frowned, anxiety pulsing through his heart.
"Law, Ace, are you two okay?"
He waited for a minute, but neither spoke. Smoker's body collapsed backwards a little bit, eyes staring at the two boys with too many emotions to name. Then he closed them, put his head to the ground, rubbed his forehead against the cement covered in his own blood, and cursed.