A Change for the Better?
Ace smiled down at the gurgling infant in his arms as he sat on the couch. Luffy was yawning and cooing, finally about to fall asleep after having his bottle and being burped. Sabo was asleep on the couch next to him, snoring and mumbling in his sleep. The TV before them droned on at a low volume, the news on and boring Ace.
"Ace," The boy looked up and saw Law standing in the hall, books and papers in hand. Ace grimaced when he saw it. Law was scowling.
"Do we have to do that?" Ace groaned, not wanting to do the work.
"Yes, you do," Smoker's voice called from the kitchen. Ace scowled and stood, Luffy still in his arms, and put him on the blanket they set up for him on the floor. Law grumbled as he walked into the kitchen, Ace following him, as both sat down on the table. Smoker was cooking in the background as they glared at each other for a few moments, neither in the mood for work.
"Law, Ace," Smoker sternly said. Law huffed and took out a few pages of paper. It was the paper used in kindergarten and first grade, with the big lines and letter outlines.
"These are the letters. Copy them."
Ace blinked, annoyed and not amused.
"What letters are they?"
"I'll tell you after."
"Isn't it better that I know what I'm writing?"
Law frowned, knowing he was right.
"The first one is 'A'."
Ace mumbled something as he grudgingly began to trace the dotted lines with the pencil. Smoker turned around and looked at the two boys with a heavy, silent sigh. The doorbell rang and he mumbled, turning fully and walking out the kitchen doorway.
Ace had a narcoleptic attack.
Law smirked and grabbed one of the markers on the table.
"Tashigi? What are you doing here?" Smoker asked, surprised. Tashigi never came over to his house, and now here she was, trying to look by him.
"I came to see Ace, Sabo, and Luffy."
Smoker stepped aside and let her in, taking her coat for her and putting it on one of the many coat hangers lining the wall as she took her shoes off. It was then that he noticed what she was holding.
"Why do you have so many shopping bags?"
"Oh, these?" She held them up, smiling sweetly. "I thought that you might need some clothes for the baby."
"I have enough," Smoker grumbled. Tashigi made a chastising 'tut' sound with her tongue.
"Smoker, you know that won't last long. Babies always need new clothes," She said with a smile as she walked in. She immediately began gushing when she saw that Sabo was on the floor next to his baby brother, absent-mindedly petting his soft, dark locks as he watched Spirited Away on TV.
Tashigi cooed and quickly walked over, picking Sabo up and hugging him tight. The blond boy yelped in surprise and looked up at the woman. She put him down and then turned to Luffy, picking the baby up and cradling him close. She began to talk quietly to the five year old and he was soon laughing and smiling as he rummaged around in the bags she brought.
Smoker stopped staring when he heard angry shouts from the kitchen. He sighed heavily and walked into the kitchen.
He stared with annoyance at the sight.
Ace had marker all over his face in the form of words and pictures and now he was drawing on Law's white and black dotted pants with pink. Law tried to get him off, but Ace seemed stuck like glue. Law brought his hand down to shove at Ace's face but then the ten year old bit the appendage, causing Law to shriek like a girl.
"You bit me, you little shit!"
"You drew all over my face you bastard!"
"Not my fault you fell asleep!"
"It's cause you're such a shitty teacher!"
"Take that back you fu-"
The two turned with pale faces to Smoker, who was literally steaming with rage.
Probably because the meal he had been working on for three hours was now all over the floor, the walls, and the boys.
"What did you do to all my hard work?!"
Sabo laughed as he watched Smoker chase the older boys around as Tashigi put Luffy into a bunny onesie.
Law sighed as he walked along the street in the cool evening air. The sun was setting over the horizon, turning the sky shades of red, purple, and pink. He was really tempted to eat some of the pizza that he was carrying, but didn't dare. He didn't want to bring his uncle's wrath upon himself again. Next to him, Ace was carrying a 2 liter soda bottle and the salad they had ordered as well.
The younger yawned and blinked blearily, causing Law to look down. He did that a lot.
Ace looked up at him, blinking tiredly and curiously, before shaking his head. "Narcolepsy makes me fall asleep at random times. Sometimes I can't fall asleep at night and end up falling asleep during the day."
"We can get you pills for that you know."
Ace grimaced, and Law noticed he even seemed to tremble, before shaking his head.
Suddenly the younger bristled like a cat and turned around, eyes searching frantically.
"What's wrong, Ace? Is there," He was cut off when he saw a form disappearing behind a corner behind them. Ace was shaking now. Law's eyes narrowed. He moved the boxes of pizza to one hand and put the other on Ace's shoulder, turning the boy around him and leading him to the apartment. Neither said anything for the rest of the walk home.
Luffy hiccupped and then gave out a little burp over Law's shoulder. The teen had just fed the baby while Smoker tried to wrangle Sabo and Ace into their bedroom. So Law had been left to deal with the baby, who was in one of the twenty or so outfits that Tashigi had brought them. It was another onesie with pirate crossbones spread among the outfit, the word captain over the front of the outfit.
Suddenly a small hand tugged on his short locks. He grunted and looked at the infant in his arms, who was cooing and gurgling and ugh he got drool on Law's shirt. But still, Law couldn't help but to smile softly as the baby yawned and seemed to press himself into Law's chest. He chuckled a little as he walked down the hall to the boys' room.
He walked in and saw Smoker putting a whining Sabo in his bed while Ace sat stubbornly on his. But when he saw Law enter with the baby, he watched until Luffy was in the crib between his and Sabo's beds before getting under the covers. Sabo seemed to calm down then too.
Law smirked, amused.
They really did care for each other.
He walked out of the room and into his own, pulling off his clothes until he was left in his boxers, and crawled under his own covers.
For once, he was actually tired.
He had his first good sleep ever since he was diagnosed with insomnia three years ago. And for once, his sleep wasn't plagued by nightmares.
As the last light of the apartment was turned off, a man from the streets below, across from the complex, grinned. He chuckled and mumbled to himself, pulling out a cell phone and dialing a number. He spoke quietly into the phone as he walked away from the building. At the street corner, he hung up and smirked.
"You'll never get away, my pet."
He disappeared into the night as storm clouds covered the moon, bathing the town in a foreboding darkness as the first drops of rain fell, drowning out all traces of him.