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Keep Calm This is Reality

Chapter Text

"Finally." You stretched from your seated position on the floor, your back clicking as you straightened. Taking stock was never fun on a Sunday evening, but it was an important job that needed to be done. If only to avoid a worse headache later on.

Your eyes wandered around the shop floor, it had a standard bookshop vibe to it with its wooden bookshelves and small seating area in the middle of the room. At the front of the shop, in the corner, was your till and, weirdly enough, a sofa. You weren't exactly sure why the previous owner had put a green sofa there, but, hey, you weren't complaining, it was a good napping spot.

Slowly rising, you looked at the stacks of books that surrounded you, then at the mostly empty shelves in the room. Hmm, no, you could let Monday morning you deal with this mess. Stepping around the piles (and ignoring the sound of one falling, nope you were done), you headed to lock the front door.

If you had to choose, it was the green sofa and the stained-glass door that were your favourite things about this shop. The sofa for obviously reasons, but the door, the way the evening sun lit up the coloured glass and then painted its reds, violets and blues onto the wooden floor.

A soft smile appeared on your face as you peered through glass. The blue sky was darkening, the sun was setting, and...

You squinted, smile becoming stiff as you leaned forward, placing your hands on the glass.

There was something in the sky that definitely shouldn't have been there. And was it getting bigger? You rubbed your eyes. Yep, it was definitely getting bigger.

Oh. Oh no. No. No. No. It wasn't just getting bigger, it was getting closer. And it was headed straight towards-

Things seemed to slow down for you as a body crashed through your stained-glass door. You barely felt the glass shards shower over you as you were propelled backwards. Automatically, you brought your hands up around the mystery person shoulders as you were flown into a bookshelf, inhaling sharply at the impact, though you refused to loosen your hold, a warning at the back of your mind flashed that there were pieces of glass on the floor, so the bookshelf was the safer landing spot.

You could hear the domino effect of another bookshelf falling behind, and then another. You wished the tears springing to your eyes was just from the pain of the glass and hitting the bookshelf, but damn it, you had just organised things back there.

Taking a deep breath, you felt the adrenaline slowly retreat and finally looked down. Blond hair, a purple shirt, and blue shorts told you next to nothing about who this was. A thought suddenly struck you, they were alive right?

Feeling the adrenaline rush back at that thought, you brought your hand to his neck and started searching for a pulse.

The stuttering of breath on the skin of your neck took you by surprise. Immediately you removed your hands from the blond stranger, and watched with wide eyes as they slowly pushed themselves up.

You had about a second to realise the position the two of you were in. Their arms moved to either side of your head, a leg slotted between yours, the blond head moving themselves upwards, skin just shy of brushing against yours.

Then finally, they raised their head, and it was those eyes, those sleepy-looking murky blue, magnetic eyes that stole your breath for a second. He didn't seem to notice the blood caked all over his front as he stared, dazed into your eyes.

"You... alright?" His words came out slow, quiet, but you could still pick up on his concerned tone.

And just as you opened your mouth to reply, his wonderful blue eyes rolled back and his full weight fell back onto you.

You coughed out a breath and stared incredulously at the ceiling.

This was definitely karma for not putting those books back wasn't it.

Chapter Text

Only a selected few individuals knew this, but this wasn't your first 'life' so to speak. In fact, you already had a long 75 years of life experience under your belt - not counting this current life's 26 - so you could confidently state you had experience in a lot of aspects of life.

Taxes? You got that.
Education? Psh, you've learnt how to play the system.

Pirates though? Yeah, not so much.

You leaned back and wiped the sweat off your forehead. After managing to wiggle out underneath the unconscious male, you cleared a path through the shattered glass and dragged his body to the sofa. You couldn't decide if his body was just heavy or if you just needed more exercise. Nope, it was him, you're fine as it is.

Grabbing the makeshift first-aid kit from under the till, you pulled out a clean cloth and a water bottle, slightly wetting the cloth you began meticulously cleaning the blood from his chest.

While your actions were strictly professional, your eyes couldn't help but wander and take in the pirates exposed skin. Tanned, no doubt from being constantly out in the sun, your eyes danced over his tattooed top half, the pirate crest looked familiar, but you weren't too bothered about remembering which crew it belonged too. Not like the pirate was gonna stay long after all.

Throwing the now bloody cloth to the side, you grabbed a clean one and resumed your work. Your eyes couldn't help but, glance, over his abs (and yes it was only a quick glance, no you definitely did not linger) and as you wiped over the last patch of blood on the man's skin, you gave a confused stare at the now-cleaned chest.

Where were his wounds? You were pretty sure he was bleeding when he lost consciousness-

"I heal."

You snatched your hand back and clutched it to your chest, you watched as the mysterious pirate use the back of the sofa to drag himself upright. His eyes slowly opened and took in his surroundings, giving a second to land on you before roaming around the rest of the shop.

As much as you enjoyed watching how his blond hair fell across his blue eyes, you had to make sure your guest (and yes, regardless of how he entered, he was one) was mentally fine alongside his physically health.

"Do you remember what happened before you collapsed?" You leaned back against the cashier's desk, hands in your lap, face in what you hoped was a pleasant expression. Crowding around a person who's not only disorientated, but could not remember how they ended up shirtless in front of a stranger had the potential to be dangerous for you.

His blue eyes squinted at you in confusion for a few seconds, before they widened with clarity. "Ah, are you all right?"

Your lip twitched at the question. The first thing he asks after regaining his consciousness was about your well-being? What a weird pirate. "Some light scratches." You gestured to the light red lines on your forehead where the glass had cut you. "But nothing to worry about."

He looked at you critically for a second before nodding. "Hmm, that's good." He let out a lazy smile and leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees. You were enjoying the way his muscles moved a bit too much perhaps, and coughed slightly to cover up your slight embarrassment at the pirates eyes alighting with amusement at your reaction.

Standing up abruptly, and ignoring the way he blinked in surprise at the movement, you moved away from the incredibly good-looking pirate and towards the centre of the shop.

With a gesture you indicated to the great mess that use to be a functional book shop. "W-Well as you can see, it was my shop that took the most damage out of the two of us." You refused to turn around and look at him, but you still felt those blue eyes drilling into your back. "I'm gonna make a guess and say those healing powers of yours are from a Devil Fruit."

A hum was the only response from the blond, but you decided that was a good enough affirmation. Not like he had to tell you, a stranger, the exact details of his abilities. You hope your shiver was not too noticeable to the man, as you felt his eyes trail over you once again. Those eyes of his were deadly, you were sure of it. Oh man you could feel them following you around. Grabbing the broom from beside the door, you busied yourself with sweeping the glass into small piles.

You allowed yourself a moment to grieve for the loss of your stained-glass door. It will be missed, you figured you could replace it, but it just wouldn't be the same-

Two strong arms, one encircling your waist, the other covering your hand that was on top of the broom, startled you from your thoughts.

"Er-"

"Hey now Miss, let me help." You tensed as his breath hit your ear, just tickling the fine hairs that rested on your neck. "Afterall, you did help me with my injuries."

Out the corner of your eye you could just see his teasing smile. You both knew it wasn't much of a reason, but you still called him out on it. "You healed yourself, I just cleaned you up." You wanted to cheer at how monotonous your voice came out. No need to alert the pirate to his effect on you.

He hummed again in response, and you could feel the vibrations at your back. He was incredibly warm against you, and the combination of both caused a slight tremble to your muscles.

You swallowed as his smile stretched into a grin. "Ah, but it felt so nice." He tilted his head down closer to your ear, which at this point you were sure was going red. "For such a good-looking Miss to be cleaning this dirty Pirate was just like finding treasure." His voice went deep and rough towards the end, and you jumped as his hair shifted forward and tickled against the side of your head.

"Alright then!" You shouted, embarrassment rolling off of you in waves. He pulled back, startled at your loud proclamation, and you took the opportunity to slide out from his arms and put some much needed distance between the two of you.

Swinging yourself around, you faced him again, hands determinedly resting on your hips to show you meant business (and not to hide tremble in your hands, no way). He stared at you in open surprise, the space where you had been between the broom and him was still empty and he blinked slowly, looking at the space and where you stood now. What could you say, embarrassment gives you a boost in speed.

Seemingly recollecting himself, his eyes went back to their half-asleep look, and a slight smile decorated his face.He brought the broom closer to himself and held it straight. It almost looked like he was standing at attention.

"What's your name Pirate?"

You were pretty sure he was mocking you, with the way he straightened his back - by Gods he was tall - and lazily saluted you. "Marco, Ma'am."

You nodded, maybe a bit too enthusiastically. You would test how his name ran off your tongue later. Definitely when he wasn't here to witness it. "You willing to stay and help me clean up this mess?"

His gaze became serious as he nodded in response, and oh wow, his glares must be terrifying.

You let out a long breath, allowing your muscles to relax and the previous embarrassment to leave you. "Alright."

And with that agreement between the two of you, you finally told him your name.

Chapter Text

It was a slow fall from being embarrassed to being annoyed. You had given Marco the job of picking up the fallen bookshelves while you swept away shards of glass and splintered wood. Simple, quick, and most of all, your paths would never cross.

Well, they shouldn't have, but they kept crossing. Again. And again.

It seemed that whenever he could Marco would pass by you, and with whatever excuse he could think of. And while the constant movement in your personal bubble was annoying, Marco also used it as an excuse to touch you whenever he could.

A pat on the head,a lingering touch on your shoulder, that one time you bent over to clear some glass and his finger trailed over your spine. If it wasn't for the fact you knew he was doing it mostly for your reactions you would have booted him out a while ago.

You watched carefully as Marco started walking towards you again. You were crouched on the floor near the door.

Raising an eyebrow at his approach, Marco held his hands up in surrender, a smile tugging at his face at your wariness.

"I just want to make sure that there's no Marines searching for me." He stood next to the doorframe and carefully inched his head outside. You couldn't help but be intrigued as his eyes took on that serious look he showed before. You had initially pegged him as the carefree type, but perhaps that was just a façade.

Then he sat down, leaning against the doorframe and stretching his legs to the other end. He took up the entire doorway.

"Seriously?" Maybe your initial thoughts were correct.

"What?" He smiled again, a hint of teeth this time. "I've been working so hard, figured I needed a rest."

You started returning his smile before you caught yourself. You pretended to cough, bringing your hand up to cover the light blush dusting your cheeks. "Ah, yeah, that's fair." You stuttered. "Good- Good job, so far."

You internally scowled at yourself. Get a grip.

Marco, thankfully, didn't point out your sudden inability to make coherent sentences, instead returning to watch the street outside.

He made a nice picture, you had to admit. The glow of the evening sun had made Marco seem almost ethereal, and you took a second to appreciate the view.

"Why didn't any of the villagers check up on you?" His soft voice broke you out of your reverie.

"Ah, out village tends to get a lot of sea traffic, whether it's Merchants, Marines or," You glanced at his tattoo. "Pirates, which also means a lot of broken buildings and what not. Generally, as long as no one gets injured the villagers mind their own business."

Marco hummed in reply. He was still facing the road, watching as the occasional passer-by hurried past.

You both watched as a Mother walked with her child, and as she was going past the shop, her eye caught Marco's tattoo. You watched as a look of recognition flashed across her face, before she grabbed her kids arm and pulled them away from your shop.

Standing up, you made your way next to Marco, leaning on the other side of the door next to his outstretched legs. "What was that about?"

Marco tilted his head back to look at you, eyebrow raised. "You know I'm a Pirate right."

You pointedly looked at his tattoo. "Yeah I gathered that."

"You know which crew I'm with right?"

You looked off to the side. "Umm..."

His voice took on a teasing lilt. "Have you never seen my wanted poster? Ah, I must not be as famous as I thought."

"I'm not exactly up-to-date on current events."

"I've been wanted for maaaany years."

You groaned. "Alright, you got me. I have no idea what crew you're with."

Marco chuckled under his breath. Eyes never leaving you, he pushed himself off the ground and stood close to you.

You felt your heartbeat stutter as his head dropped closer to you.

"What's in it for me if I tell you?" His deep voice spoke in a whisper that sent a chill down your spine.

"Hmm." You played along, looking as if you were contemplating it. "How about..."

Marco leaned even closer, and you couldn't help but notice his tongue swipe at his bottom lip.

"...you get back to work." You answered in a breathy whisper.

Marco's eyes widened and he took a half-step back in surprise. You couldn't help but laugh as you walked away from him. "Come on Casanova, I'm making use of your free labour while I still can, infamous Pirate or not."

Pushing his hair back, Marco gave a dejected sigh. "Aah, and I thought you'd forget about that."

You snorted. "Unlikely. Now get back to work, I'm watching you."