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Sands of Fate and Heartstrings

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Some kingdom in the Grand Line…

It was a big town with a bustling market street. The busy crowds took no notice of a twiggy teen as they darted through, pickpocketing and cutting purses. It wasn’t often they were caught, and the pistol on their belt usually halted most in their tracks – especially when it was aimed at them. Happy with the haul they gathered from that day’s fools, the teen sauntered through back alleys throwing and catching the bag of gold coins in their hand.

The teen was void of any indicator of gender. With mid-neck length hair that was slicked back, a single gold hoop in one ear, and a skinny, malnourished figure, the teen could have been either.

When they reached the end of one darkened alley there stood a group of men and a child wearing sunglasses with their backs to the teen. Suckers. The teen prepared to pick the larger man’s pockets, he looked almost like he was melting, his face an uninterested daze. It took a second for the teen to realise the man had turned around. Another second for the man, who was quicker than he appeared, to grab hold of the skinny teen’s wrist hard enough to bruise. Less than a second for the teen’s life to flash before their eyes. It was nothing important. A homeless thief wasn’t what the teen wanted to die as. Fear left the teen’s eyes, making way for a renewed sense of purpose and vitality.

“Stop, Trebol” commanded the child

The droopy man, Trebol, turned to the child “Ne, ne, Doffy, why should I~? He was trying to steal from me!”

“Fufufu, if anyone is brave enough to do that, then maybe they can be some fun” the child, Doffy, retorted

Reluctantly Trebol released the teen with a grumble. The teen rubbed their bruising wrist and looked between the child and the droopy man. Who was this kid that ordered around a guy like that?

“Hey, thief, What’s yer name?” Doffy demanded

The teen looked the child up and down before replying. The child wore dark sunglasses that blocked out his eyes, his clothes weren’t much better quality than the teens, and his hair was dishevelled like it hadn’t been brushed properly in a while. Just a normal looking kid.

“They call me Croq… Crocodile” the teen replied nonchalantly, ignoring their own stutter, “And you?”

“The name’s Doflamingo, Donquixote Doflamingo” the child grinned, somehow it was like he expected Crocodile to know who he was.

“That’s quite the name, for a kid” Crocodile wasn’t exactly looking down at him but being a kiss ass wasn’t on the list of things either.

Doffy wasn’t impressed but his smirk only faltered for a second. Behind his shades he judged the thief in front of him. Skinny, malnourished, homeless. Perfectly expendable. Behind him Trebol was trying not to main the thief, after all, no one insults his king. But his king told him no. And his king needed this thief for a little thievery.

“How good of a thief are you Crocodile?” Doffy goaded, “Fufufu, you can’t be that great since Trebol here noticed you coming”

Crocodile snarled, “I’m the best damn thief in this town, ask anyone”

“fufufu, if you’re that great then I have a proposition for you croco-chan. We’ll discuss it over some food, what do ya say?” Doffy held out a hand to shake crocodile’s.

Crocodile eyed it suspiciously, whatever deal this kid had couldn’t be good. Just as the teen contemplated rejecting the offer, their stomach rumbled. The child’s grin widened, Doffy knew the teen would take his offer from hunger alone.

He was right.

Though crocodile liked to think they still had their pride, the teen followed, the promise of food the highlight of their day.

*

“You want me to what?” Spoon midway to their mouth, crocodile gaped at Doffy as the child grinned.

“There’s a devil fruit being locked away by the bandits in this town. We need someone on the inside to let us in, so we can take it and use it for our family” Doffy repeated, “Fufufu, and since you’re the best thief in town, you’re only perfect for the job” he teased.

“So, I just need to… open the door?” Crocodile worded slowly, “A thief they barely trust, who is under constant supervision while in said hide out, needs to open the heavily guarded door to let a bunch of strangers in to steal their prized devil fruit?”

“Yeah, that about sums it up”

“You’re insane”

“Fufufu, Yet you’re still here”

“Ne, ne, Doffy” declared Trebol, “Why are we trusting this useless thief with such an important job?”

Crocodile glared at the seemingly melting man with the runniest nose they’d ever seen. “I never said I wouldn’t do it, Snot man”

“Ne, ne! Doffy, he insulted me!”

Doffy laughed, and laughed, and laughed. And so, did the rest of Doffy’s ‘family’. Trebol fumed. Crocodile smirked.

Doffy slammed his hand on the table to shut everyone up.

“Can we trust you with this Croco-chan?”

Crocodile didn’t hesitate, “Yes.”

The teen’s pride had been questioned, and they weren’t going to stand by and let it happen.

*

Over the course of the following days plans were hatched, trust was found, and hearts were won over.

Crocodile found themselves enjoying the time spent amid the Donquioxte family. And, although Doffy was 5 years younger, the child was headstrong and had a dark sense of humour that crocodile shared. They became as much friends as they could be.

When the day finally came for the plan to unfurl, crocodile hoped that they could join in after the mission had been fulfilled. The teen would miss the family if they left.

We’ll send a signal when it’s time for you to open the door for us, the teen remembered them saying. Though they may have forgotten to say what the signal was. Trebol may have said it. But Snot man was grating to listen to and Crocodile switched off when he spoke.

Crocodile made their way to the bandit’s hideaway with the spoils from his thievery as tribute. The bandits at the door looked down at the teen with sour faces.

“Little wench is trying to look like a guy again” sneered the big one on the left,

“Pickpocketing is all well and good, but selling your body would get you more, girly” said the ugly one on the right, undressing the teen with his eyes.

Crocodile refused to let herself flinch. This was why she hid her birth gender. Not that it was well hidden when the bandits that took her in were the ones she least wanted to know. She hated how their eyes followed her more as she grew older.

Crocodile knew that one day soon they’d probably do something.

She vowed to leave before that happened.

Leave with the family… Maybe.

“Do you want my gold or not?” Crocodile glared, holding up the hefty bag in her hand.

“The boss wanted to see you anyway. Take it to him” said the big one.

The bandits opened the doors and bid the teen entry. The ugly one kept his eyes on her until the doors closed behind her. Crocodile was repulsed by the gleam in his eyes.

The hideout wasn’t big, maybe a few rooms and a hall. The bandit leader sat on a throne like chair covered in furs that was elevated off the ground. It was so he could remain above them all even when seated.

The bandit leader watched as crocodile crossed the room until she stood before him. Elbows resting on the arms of his throne he leaned forward to talk down to his most prized thief,

“Croquette D. Elle, it’s been so long since you deemed me worthy of your presence”

“I’d prefer it if you called me Crocodile” she snapped back.

The bandit leader threw his head back and laughed. “With an attitude like that, girl, you can’t be anything but a crocodile.”

Crocodile threw the bag of gold on the ground in front of him. “Here’s your damn gold, I have shit to do”

As she turned around she heard him snicker, it didn’t stop the teen from continuing to walk away.

“Ever the ice hearted reptile” The leader called after her. Crocodile ignored him.

As she neared the doors the alarms were sounded.

Was this the signal she’d been told to look out for?

The heavy outer doors were barricaded and bandits all over the base took up positions. The door was less manned than she’d assumed it would be. As she came up to it the four men who guarded the inner doors signalled her to stop.

“We can’t have you leaving just yet, Elle. There’s a lockdown” a gruff one stated

“But I want to leave.” In her head Crocodile was figuring the odds of her shooting the 4 of them dead and opening the door before others came to see what the noise was.

“You might want to leave, but there’s some strange types wanting to get in and we can’t have that” this one was a slightly more intelligent bandit.

“I’m only small,” Crocodile hated to do it, but acting helpless or feminine boosted these guys willingness to cooperate, “Can’t you open the door just a little?”

The lesser intelligent bandits almost did.

“You’re in a pretty big hurry to leave there, running from something?” the intelligent one was annoying in crocodile’s opinion, “Running to something?” the bandit flashed a wicked grin. Crocodile’s face was that of someone majorly unimpressed. The other three bandits had their backs turned. The smart one was underestimating her.

The doors were closed and could only be opened via a lever crocodile could only just move on her own. Time was precious. She had to act now. She snapped her pistol from it’s holster and shot the 4 of them. The 3 with their backs turned fell to the ground with holes in their heads. The smart one had ducked out the way at the last second and it had grazed him instead. She aimed to shoot again but he was too fast for her.

“Or maybe you’re not running at all” there were voices coming from behind now, hurried footsteps as others came to see what the commotion was.

Angry and desperate, crocodile fired again, hitting the bandit in the thigh and causing him to fall to the ground with a resounding thud. She hurried to the lever with the grounded bandit screaming profanities in her direction. With all her might she pulled the lever, straining with the effort she fell when it finally switched.

The voices and footsteps of the bandits behind her told her she had nearly not been fast enough. As soon as the heavy doors swung open Doffy and his family swung in. There was devastation in their wake as the bandit’s head rolled and chaos ensued.

Doffy stood over her, a shit eating grin on his face with little to no regard for the battle commencing around them.

“What are you doing on the ground, Croco-chan?” Doffy chided, “Fufufu, you should be directing me to the fruit!”

Returning a smirk of her own, Crocodile got up and began to run with him to the room she knew to the fruit to be kept in. The bandit leader had bragged of his ownership of it for a while but had never had the guts to eat the fruit himself. As a superstitious man he feared of angering the gods.

With only Doffy in tow, the passing bandits paid them no heed. A teen they knew, and a strange child were not the people they were expecting to have to look out for. Even if the child was a devil fruit user. Which came as a surprise to Crocodile when she’d found out.

Doffy zoomed on ahead swinging on his invisible strings, Crocodile had trouble keeping up with him.

In some corner of the hideout they came to it. the special room where the leader kept his treasure – and the devil fruit was sat encased in an unlocked wooden box that sat open atop a pedestal.

The bandit leader was nothing if not overly dramatic with his presentation.

“This was surprising easier than expected” Doffy scoffed as he grabbed the pear like fruit from its place, he gave it close inspection before turning to Crocodile.

“Here.” He handed Crocodile the fruit

“Why’re you giving it to me?”

“Fufufu, because I want to, that’s why. Now eat it”

Crocodile looked at the yellow fruit with the swirling patterns all over it. It looked dubious.

“I. Said. EAT IT!” Doffy grabbed the hand of crocodile’s that held the fruit and shoved it into her face.  Taking the hint, she opened her mouth and took a big bite. It tasted like sand. She wanted to spit it back out but Doffy held a hand over her mouth and she had no choice but to swallow it. She shivered with revulsion.

 “I don’t… feel any different…” Crocodile murmured

A portion of the wall opened near them. From the wall the bandit leader and his best men came forth. The bandit leader stopped dead in his tracks when he looked between Crocodile and the half-eaten devil fruit in her hand. A strange noise emanated fromlow in the bandit leader’s throat as he took in the information. Crocodile had betrayed him, had eaten his most prized possession, and had brought the strangers to his door. Crocodile paled at the look of pure hatred on the bandit leader’s face.

Crocodile turned to Doffy to find he was no longer there.

Stuck where she was from fear, the bandit leader ordered his men to pin her down to the ground. By the time she again gained her control, the bandit leader stood over her, and the best of his men had her pinned so hard to the ground she could barely breathe.

“This will teach you to steal from me” the bandit leader said, raising his scimitar above his head.

With a single swipe he brought the blade down, cleaving Crocodile’s left hand clean off. She didn’t even have time to think about trying to avoid it. A bolt of pain lacerated through her, body and soul. Amidst her screams of pain something began to happen in the room. Starting from her body as it began to trickle away like the sands in an hourglass, a sandstorm began to rage. The bandits touching her began to dehydrate as the sand in the air became thicker.

For the first time in her life the people around her feared her.

For the first time in her life she wasn’t in her right mind enough to care.

Pain. Pain was all that she could focus on. Blood poured from what was her wrist as she grew numb to her surroundings. Unaware of the sand. Unaware of the death she was causing. All she saw was red.

Eventually the sands subsided. She was left in a room of corpses, her left hand gone and no one to help her. Her vision clouded, she thought of Doffy and where he might have gone to.

Would he come back for her? she wondered as her consciousness began to fade. Darkness met her as she slipped away.

*

Doffy looked behind him as he ran away, fully expecting Crocodile to be right there. Nope. Not there. Shrugging to himself, Doffy continued out of the hideout. There was no more reason to be here. The fruit had been eaten, and if Crocodile didn’t make it out by himself then Doffy wasn’t going to waste his time with him any longer. Killing all in his path, Doffy and his family left, leaving Crocodile behind to fend for himself.

*

Crocodile awoke to find her wrist stump had been treated and bandaged. Looking around she was in a ward of some back-alley hospital. The place stunk of disease. Still wearing her clothes from whenever she had been taken there she swung her legs off the bed and stood up.

Doffy wasn’t around. She didn’t recognise any of his family nearby either.

She realised she’d been abandoned. And not for the first time in her life either. Crocodile held her stump wrist in her hand, her nails biting into it until the wound began to bleed again, soaking into the already stained bandages. She vowed upon it that she would never trust again. That her strength would be her greatest ally, and that there’d be nobody to betray her if she had no one beside her.

Crocodile marched from the dank and sorry excuse for a hospital. She would rise to the top of whatever path life threw at her.

And she’d do it on her own.

Chapter Text

Logue Town: East Blue…

It was an event that most seemed to anticipate. It was almost time for the Pirate King, Gold Roger’s, execution. For Crocodile it was a passing curiosity as she made her way to more pressing matters, things of somewhat more importance to her. Unfortunately, the miracle worker was a harder person to find than previously anticipated, and the subject of the pirate king’s beheading was too interesting for her to pass up. With time to kill she stood amongst the crowd before the platform.

At 22 it was harder to hide her gender; Crocodile’s chest was now too full for binding and her swaying hips too shapely to disguise. She kept her deep purple hair swept back, it didn’t touch her shoulders, it framed her pixie like face. Her dark eyes were sharp. Her lips were full and uncoloured.

Crocodile’s dress sense was chic. She wore a black shirt tucked into tight fitting trousers that, although covered her entirely, left her with a womanly air that could not be hidden even under the cravat and waist coat she wore. Over it all she wore a floor length dark fur coat. A shiny hook adorned where her left hand should’ve been.

It was time. The crowd below the platform screamed and booed. Some even cheered. Crocodile remained as stoic as ever as the marines brought out the pirate king. It confused her that he was smiling as the readied him. He even chuckled to himself.

It was his final words that reverberated through the courtyard that brought a great excitement to her, and you could see it in her face. With her eyes bright with the promise of future adventures she almost smiled.

From across the courtyard that’s how Doflamingo saw her. Tall, dark, and gorgeous. She was maybe just under 8ft tall and every inch of her was lean. He felt his mouth begin to water. There was a light in her eyes that didn’t die as the crowds began to thin. The woman began to walk away from the courtyard, Doffy decided to follow her.

He trailed her through streets and back alleys until she reached a bar in some corner of the town. It quite surprising that she hadn’t noticed him. He was bordering on 10ft tall and was wearing a giant pink fluffball of a feather coat that was hard to miss. Chuckling to himself he went into the bar and sat in some dark corner to watch her. She was sat at the bar, drinking hard liquor from the looks of things too. A woman after his own heart. As he watched her a snivelling man went up to her and whispered something vulgar in her ear. The woman smashed the empty glass she’d just finished into his face, hooked his neck and slammed his face, glass shards and all, into the wood of the bar. Multiple. Times.

Ouch, Doflamingo winced at the thought of her doing the same to him when he tried something similar. Which he still planned to do. Maybe when she calmed down from the first guys attempt.

The bar patrons left the sorry excuse for a pirate on the floor like the garbage he was. When it Doffy felt it was time, he made his way over to the delectable woman at the bar.

Crocodile nursed another whiskey. The guy still moaning in pain on the ground had spoiled her evening. Was it too much to ask for a quiet drink with no interruptions? She brought the glass to her lips and knocked it back. The smooth heat of it warmed her throat as it made its way down.

She almost groaned when she felt another presence beside her. Not even waiting for this one to whisper vulgarities into her ear she lashed out to slash at him with her hook.

He grabbed her arm and laughed.

She knew that laugh.

“Fufufu, I didn’t even get the chance to whisper sweet nothings in your ear like the poor sod down there,” Doflamingo remarked, “At least give me a chance first” he feigned a pout.

At her silence he took it as a green light to continue, he took the seat next to her.

“I could start with cheesy pick-up lines, or I could buy you a drink, your choice” Doffy grinned

It was a grin that hadn’t changed in 7 years. Sure, his shades were fancier, more ornate and a different colour than they had been. And what was he wearing? The pink feather coat made him look like an oversized flamingo. His fashion sense was in a word, disastrous. As it always had been. The goggles he sported on his forehead as well as the shades on his face tipped the scale further into Disasterville.

“I’ll need a drink” Crocodile sighed, scratch her earlier statement. THIS man was the one to soil her evening.

Doffy ordered 2 whiskeys and got started with introducing himself and chatting her up. Not that he was any good at it, the lines were overused, cheesy, and damn right cringeworthy. But she let him, not because she liked it, but because there was an internal struggle waging inside about whether she should fillet him for what he did 7 years ago, or since he didn’t recognise her, trick him into something that caused him just as much turmoil.

“So, what should I call you?” Doffy asked, bringing her out of her musings,

“Elle.” Crocodile answered a little too quickly, “Croquette D. Elle”

No recognition flashed on his face, no nothing. He didn’t recognise her as the teen he once knew as Crocodile in the slightest.  After all, the Crocodile he knew was a man, because she hadn’t corrected him when he referred to her as one. Croquette D. Elle was a woman. A gorgeous woman that he wanted to get to know better. He wanted to get to know her a whole lot. Especially physically.

“Fufufu, Elle” His voice saying her name, as if testing it on his tongue like a fine wine, almost made her shiver in revulsion. At least she hoped that’s what it was.

His voice was deeper that before but with the same nuances. It still cracked occasionally which reminded her that he was still only 17. 5 years younger and towered over her near 8ft frame by another 2ft at the very least. It was rare she felt small outside the company of actual giants. That wasn’t very often at all.

He was speaking more, she wasn’t really listening, but she assumed it was more god awful pick up lines. Where did he get these? Who told him that if one didn’t work to use the whole list? She looked over at him when she realised he’d gone quiet.

“You say something?” Crocodile asked, unabashed to reveal she had in fact not being paying attention to him.

He just laughed his laugh and tried again,

“Fufufu, I said, do you want another drink?” he picked up his own empty glass as if to reiterate the question.

Crocodile looked at her empty glass, thought back to how many she’d had already, and declined. She stood up from the stool and began to make her way out.

“Hey, wait!” Doffy called after her

She didn’t look back as she left. She was pretty sure he didn’t catch up or follow her, although she still circled around a while before returning to the hotel she was staying in.

*

The following morning, Crocodile was woken up by a knock on her door.

She checked the time. Any time before ever is too early to be disturbed, especially before 10 when she’d been drinking. It was too early for room service. She got up, putting her shirt and trousers back on. She slept in the nude. Her hair still mussed and sleep still heavy in her eyes she answered the door begrudgingly. They had kept on knocking.

“What the hell do you want?” she growled as she opened the door.

Doflamingo was on the other side. A Doflamingo with a bouquet of desert flowers and an attempt at a smoulder on his face. Crocodile Glared.

When Elle opened the door Doflamingo felt a wave of unknown emotion. Her hair was no longer swept back and fell about her face making it even more exotic. Her clothes were haphazardly put on and the shirt wasn’t buttoned up to the top, so he could see down it. She wore no underwear. Her feet were bare.

Doffy wasn’t sure if he could speak without drooling.

“Well?” Anger flashed in her eyes, anger and annoyance. She kept looking at the flowers.

Doflamingo too a deep breath, he could do this!

“These are for you,” He motioned the flowers towards her, “They reminded me of you” He was relieved his voice didn’t crack.

She stared at the flowers in his hand, then up at him.

“And you had to give them to me at practically the break of dawn why?”

He paused. He hadn’t really thought of the why of it. He just wanted to, and he usually just did what he wanted to.

“Fufufu, I just did, that a problem?”

She made a sound of exasperation and snatched the flowers from him. The door was almost slammed in his face, but something stopped it. It wasn’t his foot. Then she remembered his strings. She muttered profanities under her breath.

“Hey, I’m not finished with you yet Elle-chan” Doffy opened the door and bid himself entry into her room,

“Yeah, well, I’m done with you, you overgrown flamingo”

He threw his head back and laughed, “I think I like you. Let me take you out”

“No”

He let her push him out and slam the door in his face. He chuckled as he walked down the corridor. It wouldn’t be long before she was in the palm of his hand, both literally and figuratively.

Back in her room Crocodile stared at the flowers she still held and the door she’d just slammed in Doffy’s face.

What the hell?

*

Over the course of a few days Crocodile stayed in Logue town, the ship she had sailed in on had left in search of the One Piece, leaving her sort of stranded until she found another ship. She tried, with some failure, to avoid Doffy wherever she went. The man was relentless. She wondered how he kept on finding her but came to a blank. He would visit her room, even when she moved hotels, he’d find her in the street, in bars, at one point he found her when she’d actually tried to hide. That one hurt her pride since He’d found her behind a dumpster in an alley way.

“Why are you being so persistent?” Crocodile huffed as Doffy found her again. They were at another bar, fancier this time. The lighting was good, and the drinks were expensive. It didn’t stop Doffy from buying her the most expensive things they had.

“You remind me of someone I had a crush on once” He sounded thoughtful, “I was a kid at the time, so I didn’t notice it, but looking back I really liked ‘em”

Crocodile spluttered on her drink. Doffy laughed and continued his little story,

“Thinking back, they were a guy, skinny and older than me, and didn’t really look like you, but I can’t help but be reminded of them when I look at you,” he paused to drink, “Not that you look anything like a man, you’re about as voluptuous as they can get” he leaned on the bar with his head on his fist and looked her up and down.

Crocodile was still reeling. Was he talking about her? Her emotions didn’t show on her face thankfully, it was the picture of disinterest. She felt something snap inside as she realised he was getting to her, and she wouldn’t mind it happening. She didn’t like it.

“Let me take you out” Doffy asked again, for about the zillionth time.

“We’re already out”

“Fufufu, you know that’s not what I mean” He said

“Fine.” She heard herself say, “I’ll let you take me out. Once. If you’ll stop being so damn persistent.”

“Fufufu, why would I stop? It got me this far”

Crocodile felt that is his grin got any wider is face would split in two. Good. Maybe it would get rid of him. She frowned at his statement, but she wouldn’t go back on accepting. It was like he’d challenged her to a game and she wasn’t about to back down and admit defeat.

He told her to meet him at some swanky restaurant the following evening and walked her back to her hotel. Or rather, wouldn’t leave her alone until she was in her room and able to shut him out.

She went to sleep that night thinking of Doffy, and not in a way she was comfortable with.

The morning arrived too soon. The day passed without Doffy showing his face, and she felt strange to say it felt odd to go about town without him hounding her. There was a package waiting for her at the hotel desk when she returned later that afternoon that was signed from Doffy, “For our date tonight” it read. She dreaded to think, but still took it to her room to open it.

Inside were clothes. Expensive clothes. Crocodile pulled out a long flowing dress, the neck line was low, and the leg slit probably started at her waist or something. It was tastefully black, which she was thankful for. There were matching shoes and jewellery. And underwear she hoped would never see the light of day. It was a full bodice, undergarments, and stockings.  She didn’t want to think about how Doflamingo knew her sizes.

Almost every item of clothing in that box were things she’d never worn in her life. And for some unknown reason she felt like she had to wear them. Like her pride was riding on it. She struggled putting them all on, she had no idea how to properly tie or fasten anything but somehow managed to get into everything one handed without looking too dishevelled. She caught herself in the mirror and almost didn’t recognise herself. The dress was form fitting, and the shoes added a few more inches of height to her already Amazonian size. The jewel that glistened in the necklace was the same pink of Doflamingo’s feather coat. It was the only colour in her outfit. It made her feel like she was owned by him, but at the same time this thought both comforted her and made her extremely uncomfortable.

She really was letting him get to her.

Was it her own old feelings for him that were resurfacing through the betrayal? He was her first friend whether he left her to die or not. Sometimes it was hard to remind yourself about the bad things when it felt more normal just get along. Shaking the thoughts from her head she took the necklace off and replaced it with a small leather choker made from crocodile leather. It made her feel more at ease.

When the time came, she put on minimal make up and left with her fur coat closed so her dress was hidden. She felt wrong to be wearing it, but she wasn’t going to let herself lose this challenge. Doflamingo was already there when she arrived.

He watched her walk up the street. It occurred to him that she’d worn everything he’d sent as he spied her walking in the heels from his package. He grinned as she came closer and he could see the fabric of the dress from under her coat as she walked. There was no doubt in his mind that he had her hook, line, and sinker. He chuckled to himself as he looked to her hook.

He had also dressed up for the occasion. Under his pink eye sore of a coat he wore a deep red suit, a black shirt, and a tie. He felt like a member of the mafia, and he looked good too. He saw the look on Elle’s face when she came up to him, she thought so too.

“You clean up pretty good for a flamingo.” She stated as they were seated.

Doffy chuckled, he didn’t trust his voice just yet. The moment her coat left her shoulders his eyes hadn’t known where to look. Sure, he’d bought the clothing, but he never anticipated just how much they’d work against him. He shifted in his seat as he began to feel like his trousers were a little too tight.

If anything, when she wore the suits and shirts and cravats they made her enticing. In that dress? Every head in that restaurant was turned to her, men and women alike. Some even drooled.

They ordered and doffy felt he could trust his voice again.

“Y’know, I almost expected you to ignore the clothes I sent”

“They were a nice gift, it would have been rude not to”

“And you’ve been nothing but polite to me since we met in that bar last week,” Doffy laughed and the sour expression on Elle’s face, “Fufufu, I’d hate to see you when you’re actually being rude to someone then”

“Count your stars that I’m being nice.” She said through gritted teeth, she would get through this night and leave the island on a random boat tomorrow.

They continued light conversation through their meal, mostly Doffy joking about something, and crocodile pretending to enjoy it. By desert she didn’t have to pretend.

“So, how’d you get the hook?” Doffy asked offhandedly as he ate his ice-cream.

Crocodiles spoon clattered in her bowl as she choked at the question. It was unexpected. She stopped choking and looked to her hook before looking at his ever-grinning face.

“Just like anyone else gets a hook. My hand was cut off, I got a hook” She hoped he didn’t pry further.

He began to reach across the table, before she knew what to do about it he held her hook as though it were her hand and brought it closer to him.

“Wha...?” Crocodile didn’t even finish the question before it was answered. Doffy brought her hooked wrist to his lips and kissed the skin just below it. Crocodile blushed, it was a romantic gesture she was in no way prepared for. She tried to snatch her arm back but Doffy held it in place, his long fingers encircling her arm and keeping her half leaning across the table.

“Give me my arm back, ya dumb flamingo!” Crocodile half shouted, she didn’t like the warm fluttery feeling she was getting in her stomach as he began to make circles on her forearm with his thumb.

“Where’d be the fun in that?” Doffy chuckled, noticing he was affecting her in much the same way looking at her was affecting him,

“There’s going to be a lot less fun if you don’t stop it and give me my arm back” She growled.

He didn’t. Instead he let his lips brush against the skin just under her hook while his hand kept her from moving away, his thumb still tracing circles on her arm.

She was definitely not okay with how her body warmed and melted to his touch. Scared of her own growing feelings she kicked him under the table and grabbed her arm back. He hissed in pain from where her heel had dug into his leg.

“I think it’s time for me to leave.” Crocodile rushed out of the chair, “Don’t bug me again, you’ve had your dumb date.”

He watched her swaying hips as she stormed away and grabbed her coat.

Like he wasn’t going to bug her again? This was just getting started. He paid the bill and strolled out, not even limping from where her heel had half stabbed his leg. He looked up the street where he knew she had gone and planned how to get her to submit to him.

Chapter Text

The moment Crocodile got back to his hotel room he began to shake, his stomach still fluttering from how Doflamingo’s lips brushed against the skin of his wrist. Her fingers traced where his skin still burned from his touch. Leaning back on the hotel door he held his hooked wrist to his ample chest and took a deep breath.

He had to leave before his defences failed him for good.

He began to undress haphazardly. He threw the dress and shoes to the ground and struggled with the fastenings on the bodice. How’d he even get the damn thing on in the first place?

He heard a noise by his window and spun on his heel. Doflamingo was sat on his goddamn windowsill.

“Leave” Crocodile growled

“fufufu, not when I enjoy the view Elle-chan” Doffy looked him up and down, taking in his underwear clad form, chuckling at the fact that he was unable to get himself out of it. Doffy’s grin grew wider as he had a thought,

“I could give you a hand there,” he chuckled at his own joke, “get you out of it”

“I don’t trust that I won’t have to kill you after for touching me again”

Doffy sauntered further into the room, circling Crocodile like a shark, “Don’t be like that Elle-chan, you were enjoying it before, I could tell” His voice whirled around Crocodile’s head until he wasn’t sure he could take it.

Crocodile felt Doflamingo come up behind him, he went to lash out, but his arm was caught again. Doflamingo’s fingers brushed gently up his spine and he was powerless to resist. Not that he tried again after that. He felt Doflamingo’s deft fingers skilfully unfasten him from the bodice and it fell to the floor. He let himself be pulled back against Doflamingo’s chest.

Or so he told himself.

The fluttering in his stomach had spread and caused a haze over his mind. Heat spread out from everywhere that Doffy touched him. The taller man snaked an arm around him to cup his breast while his other hand still held onto his hook, tracing circles with his thumb on the wrist.

Crocodile had never been touched like this. It excited him. It scared him. He was most shocked to realise he wanted it. Deeply.

“See?” Doffy whispered in to his ear, the warmth of his breath against his ear make him shudder, “You like it” Doflamingo dipped his head and nipped his earlobe between his teeth.

Crocodile took a sharp intake of breath before he moaned low in his throat. He leaned back into Doffy’s chest as the taller man’s lips found his neck.

Doflamingo’s lips curved into a grin against Crocodile’s neck. He’d won.

He let go of the hook and began to knead Elle’s breasts in his palms. With his lips he kissed at her neck, with his teeth he nipped at her nape, and with his tongue he tasted her delicate flavour until his mind was filled with nothing but her. The woman in his arms grew weak at the knees from his attentions, he grinned again against her before he slowly turned her to face him.

Her eyes were glazed, and her cheeks flushed red with the strength of her desires. When those eyes met his Doffy felt himself grow hard. Cupping her chin in his hand he brought her face up so he could kiss her. He crushed her lips with his in a possessive way that left her reeling. Her arms rose up to wrap around his neck as he lifted her off the ground with ease. She wore nothing but some silken underwear while he still wore his suddenly stifling suit. When did it grow so tight? He thought to himself as he strained against it.

He dropped Elle unceremoniously onto her bed as he began to tear off his suit. His coat was thrown over a chair somewhere, but everything else ended up on the floor.

Naked, Doflamingo crawled up Elle’s body like a predator stalking its prey, nipping and kissing his way up her thighs, her stomach, her breasts, her neck, until he was nestled between her legs and pressed against her. He devoured her mouth again. He hungered for her like a man starved, and it seemed the feeling was only mutual.

The weight of the man above him made him burn inside. Places he didn’t know he had began to tingle and heat with a desire so strong he wanted to weep from it. Crocodile returned Doffy’s kiss with the same amount of fervour. His hand clawed down Doflamingo’s back, and his hook did the same.

Doflamingo hissed as the hook scratched down his back, but he didn’t stop his ministrations. His hands roamed the lithe body beneath him, he swallowed every moan that emerged from the complacent woman below him. His fingers brushed against her thighs, and slowly, inch by terrible inch, creeped closer to her core. He moved from her lips to her neck, making his way back down her body, taking his time and torturing her with every bite, kiss, and sensual lick. Doflamingo looked up her body as he reached her lower stomach. Elle's eyes locked with his as he kissed his way lower and took her into his mouth.

Crocodile's back arched involuntarily. Instinct told his body to push closer to the devilish tongue between his legs. Doffy's hands continued to caress his thighs to a similar rhythm of his lips and tongue as they toyed with his most intimate part so wickedly. He heard a wanton moan that begged for more. A sob of passion that had left his own lips mere moments before he saw stars. Wave after wave of pleasure spread out across his body, his body. Crocodile sobbed again as he realised Doffy hadn't finished with him yet.

Doffy's devilish tongue was replaced with equally as devastating fingers. He rubbed her clit in slow, lazy circles that caused her to quiver with the feeling of it. He kissed along hip bone as he plunged his finger inside her. She was tight, but thanks to his ministrations was wet enough that the next part wouldn't hurt her. He added another finger and circled her core with his thumb as he climbed up her writhing body again, slowly playing with her all the while.

Doflamingo looked into her eyes through the red lenses of his glasses before he thrust himself into her. He watched her writhe to his touch. He had caused this. The stoic and unfeeling woman he’d pursued for the last week was under him. She wasn’t stoic and unfeeling now. Her eyes were half-closed and bleary with desire, and her cheeks were flushed pink with the heat of their lovemaking.

Crocodile let the feelings wash over him. Delirious with it, he threw his head back and let his voice flow.

Morning came all too soon.

Not that they were awake for it.

Cradled against the taller man’s chest, Crocodile opened his eyes to the dimming light of dusk.

Doflamingo’s arms held him like a vice. He felt him nuzzle into his shoulder from behind,

“So, you’re finally awake, Elle-chan” Doffy finished his sentence with a chaste kiss against Crocodile’s shoulder.

“You were watching me sleep?” Crocodile made another attempt to break the vice grip that trapped him against Doffy’s bare chest.

“There was nothing better to do” Doffy shrugged, matter-of-factly, “Fufufu, your face softens so much that I had to be sure it was still you I was in bed with”

Crocodile growled low in his throat as he stabbed into one of the arms holding him in place with his hook. Doflamingo yelped and let go, holding his injured hand to him. Jumping off the bed with the duvet to cover him, Crocodile spun on his heel and the insults he was about to utter died on his tongue,

“You even sleep in those goddamn glasses?!” Crocodile’s voice came out higher than he’d wanted, causing Doflamingo to laugh at him.

“Fufufu, no,” He crossed his hands behind his head and gingerly leaned back against the pillows, “I woke up a while ago,”

Crocodile’s eyes had a hard time staying focused on Doflamingo’s face. Since he’d taken the duvet to cover himself, Doffy was left bare to the world.

“What’s wrong with your back?” Crocodile asked as he realised how careful Doffy was being to not lay on his right side.

“Fufufu, don’t you remember?” Doffy chuckled, getting up and turning to show his ravaged back. “Quite the claws you have, Elle-chan”

Crocodile was part pleased and part horrified. All down the right side of Doflamingo’s back were gouges caused by his hook. The cuts were both shallow and deep, the worse of them had been stitched together but not bandaged. The other side of his back was filled with scratches and smaller cuts where his fingernails had dug into the flesh.

“I should probably take the hook off you next time” Doffy joked

The thought made crocodile go cold, “There won’t be a next time” Crocodile looked off to the side, away from Doflamingo and out the window.

It was then that Crocodile realised that it was dusk and not the light of dawn.

The realisation hit him like a tonne of bricks. He had finally bargained for passage on a ship that left the harbour earlier that same day. He’d missed it.

Crocodile cursed.

“Hey, a few scratches don’t bother me that much Elle-chan”

“I don’t care about your back you overgrown flamingo, I missed my ride off this damn island because of you” Crocodile snapped,

“Fufufu, you can always catch a ride with me”

Crocodile glared at him, “Why should I? You’ve had your fun so leave me alone” he began to stomp off in the direction of his usual wardrobe.

Doflamingo stood up and walked around the bed till he stood in front of him, looking down at him.

“I’m the one that decides when I’ve had my fun, Elle-chan.” Doflamingo reached out to twirl Crocodile’s mussed hair around his finger, “Fufufu, something tells me it will be a long, long time before I even dent this feeling I have for you.”

Like a deer caught in headlights Crocodile stared up at him, unable to comprehend what those words could truly mean.

But it was Doflamingo, so they couldn’t mean anything good.

*

Later, when they had both dressed, Doflamingo took Crocodile to his ship.

Crocodile had tried to get him to retract his offer, but the man wouldn’t back down. Even after He learned where it was that he was headed. He didn’t even flinch. It was a long journey from Logue town to the island on the grandline he was told was the last known location of the Miracle worker Emporio Ivankov. Several months in fact. Though he didn’t tell Doflamingo why he wanted to go there. Luckily, he didn’t ask either.

The ship, if it could be called that, was gaudy as all hell. Built into the shape of a flamingo and painted bright pink, Doffy’s ship suited him to a T. Crocodile cringed as he took his first step onto the walkway, and visibly shuddered at the thought of people seeing him climb onto the damn thing.

It wasn’t until they were on the boat that another problem occurred to Crocodile.

“ne, ne, Doffy! Who’s this?”

Trebol.

Crocodile groaned inwardly, trying his best not to let the slightest tinge of recognition appear in his uninterested gaze. He could only hope that he succeeded.

“Trebol, this is Elle-chan” Doflamingo began to stare the droopy man down, “We're taking her to where she needs to be, and she's going to make it there in one piece, isn’t she?”

It was more statement than question. Crocodile wasn't sure who was more shocked about Doffy's declaration, and its possessive flare, himself or Trebol.

Trebol sneered at him. “Ne, ne, why are we taking her anywhere?”

“We were headed there anyway" Doflamingo shrugged and started to walk off, “Elle-chan this way, I’ll show you to our room" he sniggered

“I want my own room you overgrown flamingo!” Crocodile stormed after him

“Fufufu, where'd be the fun in that?”

Crocodile growled at him. A low, throaty growl that declared his annoyance at the taller man. It didn’t cause Doflamingo to feel threatened, he was more aroused by it if anything.

“The fun for you would be that I wouldn't kill you for touching me again" Crocodile snapped

Doflamingo faked a sad pout, “Aww, but you liked it when I touched you" as if to prove his point Doflamingo reached over to hold crocodile's hand as they walked.

Crocodile slapped it away like his touch burned him. It did. But not in a way he was happy with. His reaction to Doflamingo was like an instinctive animalistic urge. He fought it as best he could, but he knew deep down that a repeat of the night before was going to happen eventually. He didn't admit to himself that the idea was not disliked.

Doflamingo laughed at the dusty pink blush that had spread across Elle's face.

“See, I touched you again and you still haven't killed me, fufufu"

“Don't push your luck, flamingo" Crocodile muttered under his breath.

Doflamingo grinned down at him as he opened a large, ornate set of doors.

The room was, in a word, pink. Very pink. The bedspread on the large four poster bed was a deep magenta made from rich velvet and the pillows matched. Every material surface was a different shade of pink with a different feel to it. It gave the room a mismatched feeling of home. It was jarringly comfortable.

And hard on the eyes.

“Fufufu, home sweet home for the next few months" Doflamingo looked around the room before looking towards crocodile again,

“I had hoped you weren't serious when you said I had to share with you"

Doflamingo was mock offended, “Elle-chan, I thought we had something special"

“Last night doesnt mean anything.”

“Yet here you are"

“Because you have a means of getting me where I want"

“And I want to get where I want,” Doffy lounged into one of his chairs, his long legs draped over the arm, “And where I want to be is in your impeccably form fitting trousers, while you lay under me. Is that too much to ask?”

“yes” crocodile said a little too quickly, “It is", feeling awkward crocodile added, “You wouldn't fit in my trousers anyway, they're too small for you"

Doflamingo laughed at the unexpected joke.

“Fufufu, Why Elle-chan, you have a sense of humour”

Before Crocodile could retort, the call to dinner was announced.

Doflamingo extended his hand to her,

“Shall we?”

“Only if I get my own room out of it”

“Fufufu, as you wish. Not that you’ll need it” Doffy shrugged, taking a detour to Crocodile’s personal room before guiding him to the food hall.

By the time they arrived, the family was already seated and waiting. Crocodile couldn’t recognise every face that was seated, there had been a few additions to the original 4. Vergo, Diamante, Trebol, and Pica sat at the end of the table closest to Doflamingo’s seat. Crocodile rolled his eyes as he noticed there was only one other seat available for him, between Doflamingo and Trebol. He stopped himself from cringing.

They were seated moments before a slew of nameless cooks and servers erupted from the kitchen to serve a banquet fit for royalty, with lobsters and other seafoods along with meats and vegetables and sundries.

A wave of familiarity washed over Crocodile as he ate. Much like 7 years ago, the family was bustling, swapping stories and having a laugh making fun of each other. Then something came upon him that hadn’t happened for a while. There was a pain in Crocodile’s wrist that seemed to spread to his dismembered hand as though it were still there. The pain was sharp, causing crocodile to flinch at the suddenness of it.

“Elle-chan, what’s wrong?”

Looking up Crocodile was confused by the look of genuine concern hidden behind Doflamingo’s glasses.

The pain throbbed again.

“It’s nothing” Crocodile lied, picking up his fork with his right hand and stabbing it a little too hard into the pile of food on his plate.

Not believing the woman in front of him for a second, Doflamingo left it. He could see it had something to do with her hook – phantom pains perhaps? It hadn’t affected her before, so why now? Doffy couldn’t figure it out. Maybe it was Trebol. He had that effect on people.

Trying to ignore the phantom throbbing that his brain told him was coming from a hand that hadn’t been attached in 7 years was proving difficult. Crocodile tried to focus on the food, but the incessant grating of Trebol’s existence added to the phantoms pains were becoming too much for even he to bare. He felt a migraine coming along.

Slamming down his fork onto the table Crocodile pushed himself up.

“I’ll have my meals in my room from now on.” He announced between gritted teeth.

Before Doflamingo could stop him, Crocodile turned on his heel and left.

*

Once in his own personal quarters he took of his hook. The sight of the stump wrist caused the pain to deepen, but it had to be done. He began to massage it in the hopes the pain would alleviate. The tender flesh was probably worse now than it had been when the back-alley doctors had patched it up. The scars had never healed properly. From time to time the hook would rub the wrong way and the wounds would reopen. It was a mess. The shiny scar tissue was mottled with fresher wounds from recent reopenings. It made the wrist look mangled.

The sight of it made Crocodile angry.

It showed his weakness.

Crocodile despised being weak.

He even had Doflamingo of all people worrying about him. Doflamingo who left him for dead and ultimately caused the pain in his wrist now.

Angry, and with wounded pride, Crocodile remained locked away in his room for the next few weeks. He ate food that nameless servers brought to his room. He ignored Doflamingo at his door. In his room he read books and brooded to pass the time. Until one fateful day when something seemed amiss.

Half way through breakfast one morning, something didn’t feel right. Crocodile felt queasy.

Poison? He thought to himself.

He ran undignified in the direction of the bathroom, pushing things out of his way and generally making a lot of noise. He managed to get his head to the toilet before heaving into it. He heard a clattering behind him, lifting his head between bouts of throwing up he saw Doflamingo had rushed in. Probably after hearing the noise he’d made getting to this point.

“You poisoned me!” Crocodile managed before something else left his stomach,

“I wouldn’t let that happen!” Doflamingo was flustered. The woman that had been ignoring him for what was probably the worst month of his life had her head down the toilet bowl.

“Then what else… could… it be…” Crocodile trailed off. Realisation dawning as another reason for this arose. Counting back, crocodile gaped. He cursed.

“If anyone on my crew has done this to you I’ll punish them accordingly” Doflamingo promised.

“It was you,” Crocodile croaked, his throat raw from heaving, “You did this to me.”

Doffy’s eyebrow twitched, “I haven’t done anything”

“I might be pregnant” it was barely a whisper from Crocodile’s lips, almost not wanting to believe it himself.

Paling at what he thought he heard, Doflamingo cleared his throat, “W-what did you just say?”

“I SAID I THINK I’M PREGNANT AND IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!” The shouting brought on another bout of heaving, and with his head turned crocodile missed the pure joy that had plastered itself on Doflamingo’s face.

Suddenly giddy at the thought, Doflamingo embraced crocodile. Unable to throw the larger man off, Crocodile allowed himself to be embraced. He could feel the rise and fall of Doflamingo’s chest as he laughed under his breath.

“My family…” Doflamingo whispered as he wrapped an arm around Crocodile and placed a hand on his stomach.

Crocodile blanched. A look of horror swept over his face at the thought.

Chapter Text

After seeing a doctor, they were able to confirm that Crocodile was indeed pregnant.

Doflamingo was ecstatic. Crocodile wasn’t sure how he felt about it, but it didn’t take long for him to decide what to do about it,

"If you want it so badly, you raise it."

“What’re you talking about Elle-chan? We’re going to do it together” Doffy had pulled him down to the lounger with him so that Crocodile sat between his legs and he was able to hug him from behind.

Crocodile had grown tired with reminding him that he had things to do. The baby would be born by the time they reached their destination, and once they were there Crocodile would be gone.

He wouldn’t let any amount of feeling get in the way of his goal. Intimacy was weakness. And Crocodile was not weak. He refused to be.

Although intimacy was something hard to avoid when Doflamingo was involved. He’d gone from persistent stalker to more persistent stalker, if that were possible. To Doffy, Crocodile was now his ‘family’.

That’s what he called his underlings.

Crocodile was not submissive to anyone.

Not that Doflamingo gave the rest of his family the same sort of attentions that crocodile received. Crocodile took no notice.

It was worse that Doflamingo insisted that they sleep together in his pink eyesore of a room. When he didn’t sleep there though, Doflamingo crawled into his bed at odd hours. Which woke him up from already fitful sleep. The stupid flamingo was way too warm and seemed to think that cuddling up to him was a good idea.

The arsehole.

Although as days turned to weeks Crocodile found himself not pushing the taller man away from him the moment his arms wrapped around him. The stifling warmth of his arms turned into something comforting. Crocodile blamed the hormones.

The hormones were the worst part about this. Not the overbearing Doflamingo, not the fact he was trapped on the ship until this baby was born, but the hormones. The usually stoic Crocodile was unable to keep his emotions under control.

He’d cried.

He had actually cried. And in front of Doflamingo of all people. The memory played back in his head before he could shake it out.

Crocodile was looking out to the ocean as the sun was setting, he was leaning on the bulwark as he let his thoughts wander. He hadn’t needed to turn around to know that Doflamingo was there, a feather had blown off his jacket and floated past his shoulder.

“You’re actually out of your room Elle-chan, I was wondering where you were” Doffy’s words were soft, he’d started being sweet to him and Crocodile wasn’t sure if he could handle it. It was odd.

“I wanted some air” came a quiet reply. He cringed at how you could hear the tears in his voice.

“Are you okay Elle-chan? Why are you crying?” Doflamingo began to panic, he wasn’t good with tears, “Where hurts? Are you hurting?”

“The sunset…” Crocodile sniffled, “It’s just… so beautiful”

“What now?” Doflamingo wasn’t sure if he should laugh at that or not, and he laughed at everything.

Crocodile felt great deals of shame and other things, but he couldn’t help but cry at the sunset. He started full on sobbing as the sky went from red and orange to pink and purple. How he hated it. Like he was wearing rose tinted glasses everything was suddenly too beautiful for him not to cry about it.

Stupid hormones.

“Everything is just so beautiful today” Crocodile sobbed, “I can’t seem to help but cry about it” but he didn’t turn around to see Doflamingo’s face. The current look on Doflamingo’s face turning from very confused, to very amused.

“Fufufu, what? Is everything beautiful Elle-chan?” Doflamingo moseyed on up and leaned against the bulwark beside him. His smile faltered when he saw his ‘Elle-chan’’s crying face, but it was back within a second.

Crocodile just nodded, unsure if he trusted his voice not to crack. He wasn’t sure if he liked where this was going.

“Even me?” Doffy’s smile widened.

Crocodile sobbed harder. Doflamingo took that as a yes. It was, but Crocodile refused to admit it to himself.

“There, there Elle-chan, I have you” Doffy went in for a comforting embrace, barely managing to wrap his arms around Crocodile’s smaller frame before he ducked out of his grasp.

“Fuck off you overgrown flamingo” The tears had fled from his voice, although his eyes were still bright with them. Crocodile spun on his heel and walked briskly in the direction of his cabin.

“O-kay then” muttered a slightly dazed and confused Doflamingo as the door slammed behind his little Elle-chan.

*

At the same time Doflamingo had thought back to then too. He’d pussyfooted around Elle since, never sure when she’d accept or reject his affections.

Not that he feared her.

He just didn’t fancy her hook impaling him like one of the poor saps that had worked below deck. They weren’t in his family and were thus, replaceable. But it was still a brutal affair. The poor sod had showed up at the wrong time, said something stupid, and been impaled for his trouble.

Even Trebol avoided her, but that may have been the apparently mutual dislike rather than fear. Their dislike of each other would have normally annoyed Doflamingo, but somehow it only fed his amusement. The mother of his child disliked his father-figure. It was like how a mother hated her daughter-in-law. They even glared at each other when they thought he wasn’t paying attention.

He didn’t know the cause of it, but he decided that some people just couldn’t get along.

*

By the time Crocodile reached just over 3 months along the baby bump was really starting to show. This made him grumpy as all hells, especially since Doflamingo followed him around like a little lost duckling. Crocodile hated how the taller man seem to want to protect him from the world when he didn’t need it.

He still didn’t know why the overgrown flamingo was so obsessed with the idea of family, he deduced that whatever it was, it was also why he was hovering over his every move. Crocodile could still feel him hovering a few steps behind him. After the incident with the nameless server and his hook Doffy had started to keep a just-out-of-reach distance, until he was sure he wouldn’t get a hook in the gut.

There were other reasons that the man didn’t end up impaled. The main one, other than his crew hunting Crocodile down, was that if he killed Doffy then what the hell would he do with this child inside him? He could see Doflamingo genuinely wanted it, and as far as he was concerned that was enough. He wouldn’t abandon it to fend for itself like his own parents seemed to have done to him. Instead, it would grow up with at least one person that wanted it around.

And with Doflamingo so obsessed with families the amount of people in their child’s life that would be there for it, whether they liked it or not, would be in great abundance.

With that thought in mind, Crocodile quelled the urge to impale Doflamingo. He punched the fifth man that had looked in Crocodile’s direction since they’d gotten off his pink eyesore of a flamingo boat. They’d docked up to stock back up on supplies, and Crocodile had wanted to see something that wasn’t pink.

Territorial wasn’t a strong enough word for what Doflamingo was being. So, while Doflamingo was killing a guy for staring, Crocodile wandered off in search of cigars. Cigars and perhaps a clothes shop so he could find some clothes he could actually feel comfortable in. once he’d turned the corner and was safely out of sight of Doffy, Crocodile let himself drift off in the wind as sand.

Doflamingo was feeling smug. But a single glance around after he’d finished beating the guy at his feet and suddenly he lost his grin. There was no sign of Elle anywhere. He would have panicked if not for the fact he’d attached a sneaky string to her, so he could find her always. He pulled on the string now. It wasn’t attached to anything. It had somehow been severed just around the corner. It was then that a mild panic had set in.

What if she leaves me for good? He thought, the words ricocheting around his head like bullets, tearing his mind apart.

What if she leaves and takes my baby with her?

It was somehow uncharacteristic of him, but Doffy couldn’t bare the thought.

He began a frantic search all over town, tearing down streets and back alleys in the hopes that she hadn’t left. He searched for hours but couldn’t find a trace of her. People avoided him as he walked by, the look on his face so dark that they feared for their lives. And then, as he felt he may give up hope of her still being in town, he saw her. Croquette D. Elle was sat at an outdoor bistro table reading a newspaper, drinking a small glass of red wine and smoking an expensive cigar.

Any anger or fear of betrayal left Doflamingo in an instant, so quickly that he felt the need to slump against the wall from sheer relief. She hadn’t noticed him yet, he thought. Her face was as stoic as ever as she read from the newspaper, the cigar in her mouth not affecting her womanly charm in the slightest.

As he sauntered closer he noticed shopping bags at her feet. Clothes by the looks of things. He didn’t take her for the shopaholic sort… but he’d also noticed that the baby bump had been starting to show and that her already tight trousers were beginning to not fit. He grew warm at the thought of his child and almost skipped the last few steps before he sat himself down across from Elle.

 

Crocodile looked up to see a cacophony of different emotions fly across Doflamingo’s face before he sagged against the wall across the street from the café he was sat at. Ignoring him and pretending he hadn’t seen, crocodile went back to reading the newspaper. The world was a mess with the number of pirates aiming for Gold Roger’s treasure, and it wasn’t surprising the amount that had died with how ill-prepared they were for the grandline. Doflamingo had offed a few himself over the past few months. They were currently on a relatively small island on the grandline, it was jarringly similar to the one that Crocodile had grown up on and met Doflamingo for the first time. He shook the thought out of his head as Doflamingo sat down at his table.

“What do you want,” Crocodile didn’t look up from his paper, “I thought I’d finally gotten rid of you” he reached for the wine only to have it snatched from his fingers,

“Fufufu, you can’t get rid of me that easily, I’ll always find you eventually” while he had a chance he placed another sneaky string onto crocodile, he would definitely find him again, “And you shouldn’t be drinking wine,” he said, taking a sip of it himself, “It’s bad for the baby”

“Tsk, I’ll do what I want” Crocodile tried to snatch it back but Doflamingo downed it before he could. He may not have been able to enjoy the wine, but he was able to enjoy himself as Doffy spluttered and coughed.

“You shouldn’t throw wine down your throat like that, it ruins the experience.” Crocodile sat back and took a drag of his cigar, blowing the smoke into Doffy’s face just as he’d stopped coughing.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be so dry.” Doflamingo looked at the glass before setting it down, “I prefer it sweeter too,” He looked at Elle then, smirking slightly with a mischievous glint in her eye. His stomach did a somersault and he had to swallow down butterflies.

“You know I could’ve bought all this for you,” Doffy said,

“Technically you did,” Crocodile tapped ash from his cigar into the ashtray on the table, “It was your money I used”

Doflamingo threw his head back and laughed, too amused by it to be annoyed.

“Fufufu, so I guess I did then.” He looked up to the slowly setting sun which told them they should be headed back to the flamingo boat, “Time to go back I guess.”

Crocodile visibly shivered with revulsion. Doflamingo seemed to think it was from the cold and placed his hideous coat over crocodile’s shoulders in a chivalrous act that made crocodile throw up in his mouth a little bit.

Doflamingo didn’t take coat back, and crocodile couldn’t take it off. Doflamingo had sewed it to him with his strings while he carried all of crocodile’s shopping back to the ship. By the time they’d returned Crocodile could’ve died from the embarrassment of wearing the coat alone, never mind the amount of people that watched him walk onto the gaudy ship while wearing it.

Doflamingo felt hot under the collar seeing Elle in his coat. It was way too big and somehow that made her look so petite and feminine. He’d made sure she couldn’t take it off for both her own benefit of being warm, but also because he wanted her to keep it on for as long as possible. She looked adorable in it… It made him think wicked thoughts.

Once they were on the ship, and Doffy had taken a feather clad Crocodile to his cabin, he let the coat fall from crocodile’s shoulders. It landed in a mess on the floor. Crocodile marched straight over to Doflamingo and slapped him with his hook.

“Never,” Crocodile seethed, “Put that pink monstrosity of a coat on me ever again,”

“Fufufu, there’s nothing wrong with my coat” Doflamingo rubbed at the sore spot on his face where he’d just been hit, he could already feel it bruising, “You looked cute”

Crocodile turned red. More out of frustration than blushing from the comment.

“Leave. Me. Alone.”

“Fufufu, no need to be shy Elle-chan”

The feral sound of annoyance escaped Crocodile’s lips before he could stop himself. It had Doflamingo grinning wider. Unable to hold back the annoyance Crocodile did something he would later deem as stupid. He used his devil fruit power in front of Doflamingo.

Doflamingo didn’t notice at first, but as seconds passed he realised that the woman in front of him was dissolving into sand.

Oh? She ate a devil fruit? Was all Doffy had time to think before a small sand twister appeared in the palm of her hand.

“Sables” and with that Crocodile threw the mini sandstorm at Doflamingo. It grew in both size and strength, throwing the oversized flamingo out the door and down the hall. Crocodile slammed the door behind him.

Crocodile brooded in his cabin afterward. What if Doflamingo knew what fruit he’d forced him to eat all those years ago? He would know who he was now. So, he did the best thing he thought for the situation. He stayed in his room. Brooded. And avoided Doflamingo as much as he was able without injuring his pride or making it obvious.

Doflamingo on the other hand still didn’t know who he was. The fruit he had force fed him all those years ago was a mystery to him. But one thing was for sure, if the dehydrated plants and brittle wood panels were anything to go by, Doflamingo would have to be wary. He didn’t fancy being mummified, especially not at 17.

***

As days turned to weeks turned to months, they grew closer to their destination. It was just over 6 months into the pregnancy now, and crocodile was finding out there were side effects he wasn’t expecting. Some he could deal with – the look on Doflamingo’s face when he’d eat some strange concoction that the baby seemed to want him to ingest was almost worth putting it in his body. Crocodile was almost certain though that after this was over, he’d never again have the urge to eat peanut butter and caviar. At least he hoped so.

Other symptoms he could deal without.

He was sat on the deck in the cool morning air, reading a book and drinking coffee. The book was about history, nothing particularly noteworthy or interesting but something he could really dig his teeth into. He shifted in his chair. Doflamingo was napping on deck and sunbathing in the heat that the late spring brought. The man was without his usual feathery monstrosity of a coat, still wearing his ornate sunglasses, and shirtless too. Crocodile shifted again. He was trying his best to avoid looking at the toned, sinewy chest that was laid bare before him. He realised he was failing miserably when he’d read the same sentence fifteen times.  Sighing heavily, he threw the book to the side and hefted himself up. In moving his clothes rubbed against him in a way that made him gasp. The sharp intake of breath seemed to make Doflamingo stir in his sleep, but not wake him up.

Crocodile had gotten more sensitive and it was getting harder and harder for him to ignore it. composing himself, he let out a shaky breath and made his way inside on what he hoped weren’t shaky legs. By the time he’d made it to his room his face was dusted pink and his eyes half closed. Stupid sensitive body. Stupid hormones. Crocodile started stripping off in the hopes that he could be spared from the incessant rubbing of his clothing. Once naked though he found a different problem. There was a draught. A small tickle of air that was finding its way over his body, teasing him with ghost touches. It was like the powers that be wanted his mind to only focus on the carnal feelings that it produced.

It became impossible to ignore the primal craving, he was like a slave to his lust. Later he would hate himself for not thinking straight, but at that moment in his desire addled brain it was the best idea he’d ever had. He grabbed a dressing gown and threw it on, the silk of it caressing his body as he walked purposefully back to the deck. It was empty apart from the still napping Doflamingo.

Perfect.

Unsure of what he was doing, Crocodile straddled Doflamingo. He’d thought of a way to wake him up, and it was something that he had wanted to try, though he wouldn’t’ve admitted it had he been in his right mind. Letting out a shaky breath, from nerves or want he wasn’t sure, Crocodile unfastened Doflamingo’s trousers and let his desire muddled mind control his actions.

 

Doflamingo floated awake on a feeling of euphoria. So much so that he wasn’t sure if he was still dreaming. He could feel something warm around his member, it had to be a dream… Opening his eyes he looked down to find Elle there, her mouth wrapped around him and a devilish look in her eyes. Doflamingo came right then at the sight. He swore at the strength of it, he threw his head back and almost roared.

“Shit… Elle-chan, you really know how to wake a guy” Doflamingo’s breath was ragged, he could see through the silken dressing gown that Elle was wearing and felt himself stir once again.

“I’m nowhere near finished with you yet” Crocodile was surprised at how steady his voice was, his heart was beating a mile a minute and every fibre of his being seemed to vibrate with the extent of his desires. He crawled up Doflamingo’s body, not giving much warning before impaling himself on him. It was fast, hot, and it was the first time Doflamingo had ever laid down and let the other take control. He liked it.

After they’d finished on deck they’d somehow managed to get to Doflamingo’s room to 'finish' it some more. They finally fell asleep in a tangle of limbs. Later, when he’d woken up and calmed down, Crocodile was annoyed with himself.

“This will never happen again.” He vowed as he marched (As much as his pregnant belly would allow) out of Doflamingo’s room, no strength in his legs and only haphazardly dressed in the silken dressing gown

Doflamingo watched Elle leave with a grin on his face, he didn’t believe her words one bit.

***

It would be a matter of days now before they reached the island. Summer was making way for autumn, but the late august heat was still sweltering. But that could have also been the ever-changing weather that was so common on the grandline.

The last few months were the worst. Crocodile wasn’t the kind to feel the heat, but pregnancy made it unbearable. He spent most days in his room avoiding everyone. If he had to listen to Trebol’s voice, or anyones for that matter, he would kill something. Doflamingo didn’t seem to value his life though. He tried to be what Crocodile imagined was his idea of wary, but the man was anything but. He hovered over crocodile, uncharacteristically protective and tender. It was suffocating.

At night sleep was a difficult thing. Crocodile had made a sort of nest from duvets and pillows until he was comfy enough, but then the baby would shift, and he’d have to get comfy all over again. Doflamingo had stopped crawling into his bed at night at least. After Crocodile had started a sandstorm in the room out of sleep deprived frustration Doflamingo had given bed sharing a wide berth. It didn’t stop him from being overly attached elsewhere though.

Crocodile was sick of it.

Sick of affection, sick of being pregnant, sick of being stuck on Doflamingo’s ship.

He’d braved the open air of the deck and was sat on a deck chair when it finally happened. One second, he was reading a book, the next the book was on the floor and his hand was on his stomach. It felt like someone was twisting a red-hot dagger into him. Doflamingo was by his side fretting over him, Crocodile swore.

“Elle-chan what’s wrong? Are you okay?” It was times like this Crocodile remembered their age gap.

“Do I look okay you overgrown flamingo?!” He half shouted back

Another wave of pain washed over him, this time it felt like something was trying to pull his insides out of him. It was torture. He was taken to the ship’s doctor, carried princess style by Doflamingo. Another hour of pain and contractions later and his waters finally broke.

Crocodile was in the most unimaginable pain that he’d even encountered. When one wave of pain ended he could feel another one coming. It was exhausting.

It took all of 9 hours. 9 of the longest hours of both Crocodile’s and Doflamingo’s lives. There were two very different reactions when the first of the baby’s screams were heard. Crocodile cringed. His task in this was over now. He would rest, and when the time came, he would leave. Doflamingo on the other hand was having the happiest moment of his life. He held his son in his hands, his own flesh and blood. His one true family. He looked over to the very disgruntled face of the woman who’d birthed him and felt a genuine need to keep her close.

A few days later, when Crocodile was dubbed well enough to leave the doctor’s cabin, Doflamingo decided to sneak into his bed. He found the bed empty, all semblance of belongings gone. Doflamingo felt the world stop. They’d docked up at the island he had agreed to take Elle to that morning, and she’d gone. Doflamingo tore through the ship, finding his child still in the doctor’s quarters wrapped in a sand coloured blanket and crying. Realising that Elle was probably long gone, Doflamingo went to pick up his crying child.

“Shhh, shhh, it’s okay,” he whispered as he rocked the tiny baby, “Daddy’s here”

He looked down at his slowly calming son.

His only real family.

His Treasure.

His little Tesoro.

Chapter Text

Crocodile had left the ship before the sun had risen overhead. No longer would he have to live on that insufferable pink boat. No longer would he have to deal with the pains of pregnancy. And he would no longer have anything more to do with the king of annoying, Donquixote Doflamingo. Crocodile felt the taste of freedom on his tongue. He wasn’t going to waste it. He went about collecting information on the possible whereabouts of the ever elusive Emporio Ivankov.

By nightfall his information trail had gotten him across to the other side of the island. With money he’d acquired from Doflamingo he paid for a ship and a crew. The ship was high quality, meant for long voyages and stormy seas. The crew… well they were there to make the trip as smooth as possible. They kept out of Crocodile’s way, and he stayed out of theirs.

By the time that Doflamingo rocked their child to sleep, Crocodile’s ship was a dot on the horizon.

*

It took a little longer than expected for the crew he’d hired to show their true colours. It was 6 months after Crocodile had left Doflamingo. They’d reached an Island kingdom that had once been saved by Ivankov, and the now fruitful kingdom was apparently the perfect place to attempt to stage a coup d’état.

It was, of course, pointless. But Crocodile decided to play along with their game.

“This ship is ours now, love,” Said the apparent captain, pointing a sword in Crocodile’s direction, “You’ve got a choice, because I’m such a great guy…” His crew chuckled darkly, “You can stay here on this island, or you can be the ships entertainment”

Crocodile made an attempt to act like he was a scared woman. He really did. It was a terribly flat performance, but the crew were too stupid to notice. The crew laughed louder. Crocodile joined in.

“Why are you laughing?” One crewman asked,

“I think she’s gone mad with terror” Slurred another

“Have you made your choice then?” the captain smirked.

“I have,” Crocodile polished a smudge off of his hook almost leisurely, “I choose the third option”

The crew chortled, the captain had the right mind to look worried before he said his nextline, “And what’s that?”

“I kill you to make an example of why I’m not the weak and feeble woman you all seem to think I am.” Crocodile started to take off the cover from his hook, poison dripped to the deck like a bell toll.

The crew stopped laughing.

The silence was only broken by the captains suddenly quickening breaths.

“You can’t be serious” came a strangled voice, it turns out it was the captain.

“Oh, but I am” With the cover completely off crocodile flicked his hook out so that drops of poison flew over the crowds of crewmen. They scurried like the rats they were to get away from it. It caught one of them in the eyes. He screamed as the poison ate away at them like acid. A dark smirk crawled across Crocodile’s face.

The captain blinked. The woman before him was dissolving into the air… Like sand.

“Oh shit…” The captain didn’t even have time to run before he felt searing burn of the poison-soaked hook impale him. His blood curdling scream was short. Crocodile tore the hook away, blood soaking into his shirt as the body of the captain fell limply to the ground. The poison continued to eat away at his flesh as his crew watched. Some too scared to move. Others were not so smart.

“YOU BITCH!” A sword wielding pirate started to run at him. He just let them swing the sword. Let them see it slice through his head and cleave straight through to his chest.

Let them see that it wouldn’t work.

Chuckling darkly Crocodile looked into the eyes of the man that had cleaved him in two and put himself back together. Quickly grabbing the lesser pirate by the throat, he decided the crew needed another example of his power.

“Desert Encierro”

Slowly the lesser pirate started to wither. His skin became cracked and lifeless, his eyes rolled back in his skull, every ounce of moisture was being sucked out of him until he was nothing but a mummified husk. Barely even human.

When Crocodile was sure that there would be no more attempts on his life he decided to give them a taste of their own medicine.

“You bunch of miscreants have two choices” when they looked terrified enough he continued, “You either remain loyal to me until my search is complete, or you join this helpless sap in becoming a mummy. What do you choose?”

Surprisingly enough, no one chose to be mummified.

*

Crocodile followed every information trail he could. He even stopped being secretive about it after a while, he was beginning to get desperate for it. Every stop along the way heralded some true information, and some false information, but Crocodile searched them all for a chance that something might hold hidden clues. One thing for certain though, no one seemed to know the whereabouts of Ivankov’s Queendom. Those that knew the islands name had no way of knowing which island trail to follow or didn’t had an eternal pose to get there …

His search for Ivankov had taken over his mind, so much that his crew feared when the trail led to failure. With each added dead-end Crocodile’s stoic demeanour grew more frantic. As time went on he started lashing out. Many who had given him false information had been found later, almost unrecognisable, buried in sand and mummified.

His crew feared for their lives.

Almost two years after he had left Doflamingo he finally landed a solid clue. Ivankov was on an island nearby, and Crocodile ignored the connotations of the information being a trap. He was far too gone with desperation to care. The smarter members of his crew noticed though and tried to tell him as much. The were killed. Crocodile didn’t even look at them as they fell to the ground like the bags of flesh they were.

“I’m finished with you,” Crocodile uttered Darkly, “Leave, and take the ship with you I can find another one here”

There was a madness in Crocodile’s eyes that the crew wanted very much to avoid. The moment Crocodile had left the ship, the crew had begun preparations for sailing away.

The streets were almost empty of people. The village was small, war torn, and not the only village on the island. From information he’d gathered, Crocodile new that this village was in the middle of two warring kingdoms on either side of the island. The perfect location for the miracle worker to come work their miracles.

He started out his search slowly, methodically, tricking himself into a state of calm.

He questioned all passers-by.

They all gave him the same blank expression and the same two words,

“Who’s that?”

He was so certain that he’d find Ivankov here that he’d sent his ship away. He wandered to a clearing in a nearby forest. Unable to quell his anger anymore Crocodile started to lash out. The ground turned to sand at his feet. Moisture in the surrounding plants was drained and everything around him withered. A sandstorm raged with him at the centre.

He let out a bellow of rage and the sandstorm grew stronger. By the time the anger had passed the sandstorm was no longer in his control. He didn’t care.

It started to rain.

Out of nowhere grey clouds descended, and the heavens opened. The sand from the sandstorm fell in clumps, the rain making it useless. Crocodile fell to his knees. He felt powerless. Weak. Like a fool. Tears of frustration fell as he tore at the ground with his hand and hook, hoping the alleviate some of the frustration by tearing up the ground.

He saw him out the corner of his eye before he heard his footsteps over the rain. The man was tall in an average sense, shorter than Crocodile. He looked perpetually angry and wore a green cloak.

“I guess this really was a trap then” Crocodile almost whispered.

“It depends on why you’re looking for Ivankov,” The angry man stated.

“Why should I tell you?” Crocodile muttered, “I’ve searched for years and no one can tell me anything useful.”

“If you don’t tell me, I’ll assume it’s ill-content and remove you as a problem.”

“We can’t have that. I have things I want to do.” Crocodile stood up, feeling some semblance of pride at how the man now had to look up to talk to him.

“Then state your reasoning.”

Crocodile knew that this man was not alone, he could see faces amongst the trees as they checked on him. Crocodile had a feeling if he lied that he wouldn’t see another day. He’d probably die being what he hated.

“I heard Ivankov has the power to change the gender of a person.” The man tried to stare him down, but Crocodile stood tall and didn’t turn away.

“Change gender.”

“Yes.”

“You killed people in your search”

“I’ve been searching for years, I got frustrated.”

The man seemed to stare through him and turned around.

“We won’t take you straight to him,” The man said, “We’re still unsure of your true intentions. But if we can be sure that you only want him for that, then, and only then, will we take you to him.”

Crocodile looked on as the man walked away. He paused at the edge of the trees,

“You’re going to come with us.”

“Who are you?”

“We are the Revolutionary Army.”

**

Dragon was all the name that Crocodile could get out of the cloaked man.  Him and the group of other revolutionaries had taken Crocodile back to their island base of operations. I was an oversized tent, easily over 30 ft tall, that was located deep within the island’s forest. There were many people here, just not the person that he wanted. This annoyed him. It frustrated him too. He was going to have to wait longer than he had already, and his patience had already reached its end.

“How long is this going to take?” Crocodile finally blurted after being shoved quietly in a corner out of everyone’s way.

“As long as it takes” Answered Dragon. So far, Dragon had been the only one brave enough to talk to him. A part of him wondered why. Another part knew exactly why.

In the two years of his search he hadn’t exactly been quiet. His name had spread in infamy, everyone knew his name, even if the one they knew was Croquette D. Elle. It irritated him that the posters used a picture that emphasised his uncontrollably feminine body. Anger boiled in the pit of his stomach when people nicknamed him the queen of the desert. He wasn’t a queen.

He was a King.

He took a cigar from the inside pocket of his coat and cut off the end with a slash of sand. He bit onto it and started patting down his pockets in search of his lighter. Fire flashed before his eyes as a passing revolutionary lit it for him. It wasn’t Dragon. It was a much, much taller man. The cigar fell from his mouth as he continued looking up at him. He had long curly hair and his clothing under his cloak held a bear motif.

“Tall…” The word was out of Crocodile’s mouth before he’d realised. He turned red when the taller man looked down at him with a small smile, seemingly laughing at Crocodile’s reaction to his size. At least now Crocodile knew why the tent was so obnoxiously large. The man before him was more than twice his height, easily twenty feet or more. He carried a bible with him.

Crocodile cleared his throat to be sure his voice wouldn’t crack, he felt so small.

“Aren’t Revolutionaries supposed to be low profile?” Crocodile asked,

The taller man seemed to chuckle at that.

“I’m also a pirate, and I think you’ll find ‘low profile’ isn’t in a Pirate’s skill set.”

Recognition dawned on Crocodile,

“Kuma the Tyrant?” He was dumbfounded. The Tyrant? a Revolutionary?

“So, you’ve heard of me then Miss Croquette D. Elle.”

“I would much prefer you called me Sir Crocodile.” With as much emphasis on the ‘Sir’ as he could muster,

“Ah, I had heard that you were after Ivankov-san for a reason such as this”

“Yes, and they need to waste my time with deciding if I can be trusted or not first”

“Well, you’re not exactly the type to keep your hands clean”

“I’ve waited long enough for this. I’ve come too close to have it taken from me now!”

With a rise in his emotions came his usual temper. But before the sand had a chance to do any damage a bucket of water was poured over his head.

“Cool your head Sir Crocodile. Outbursts are only going to make our decision take that much longer,” the gruff voice of Dragon warned, “Or even worse for you, lead us to make the decision you don't want to hear"

Crocodile was mortified. Humiliated and angry he couldn't summon his sand because he was wet and it was useless. Instead he used a different method of acting up. He shouted profanities at Dragon, turned on his heel, and stormed out of the tent. Dignity and pride be damned, that man got on his nerves more that Doflamingo did.

He reflected on his actions later that night. He'd found a large tree and climbed it until he could look past the branches and see the stars. He sat on a large branch and leaned against the trunk. He ignored the cold bite of the bark and focused solely on his thoughts.

He was so close to his goal. He needed to keep his temper and frustration under control so that these revolutionaries would take him the rest of the way. Ivankov would make him a real man then. No one would think him weak or look down on him again. He would be strong...

A star shot across the sky then. Crocodile thought to himself, if he could get through this final hurdle then there was nothing that could stop him. Nothing at all. What was a few more days? He'd waited this long, surely he could stand to wait a little while longer...

*

It was finally nearing its end. The revolutionaries had almost completed their mission on this island of warring kingdoms... just one more task to go. Dragon and a team of his revolutionaries were gone, others had gone undercover into the kingdoms armies to help from the inside. Crocodile was left at the base camp under the watchful eye of Bartholomew Kuma.

“I don't need to be baby sat.”

“This isn't for your benefit. It's for ours"

“You seriously think I would waste weeks and weeks of waiting around for a verdict on whether or not I'm worthy of seeing Emporio Ivankov? That I would try to run or sabotage your mission at the last possible second so that you'd tell me no?” Crocodile was finding it difficult not to shout at the taller man. As the time for their decision grew closer, Crocodile grew anxious.

Would they decide for or against?

“Some do. Others don't.” Kuma said stoically, “I'm here so no accidents occur.”

Crocodile growled in annoyance and started to pace. Today was the final day of their mission. By evening he would have his answer and he hoped with all his might that it was the one he wanted to hear.

*

Evening arrived quicker after Kuma suggested they play chess to pass the time. Crocodile won overall but otherwise they were pretty evenly matched.

Those that returned were cheering. Even Dragon looked less angry than usual, his usually permanent frown a look of contentment. Obviously, their mission had been a success. They were even in good enough spirits to allow Crocodile to join in with their celebratory festivities. Not that Crocodile felt comfortable with it. But, for the sake of their decision he took the offered glass of alcohol and sipped at it while he sat in the corner.

When he was sure the others were too far gone in their festivities he left the main tent. There were other, smaller tents, and a few ships that they had sailed in on. He boarded one of their ships and went in search of the Library that Kuma had told him was there. It was quiet, the partying revolutionaries all in the main tent enjoying their victory celebrations.  Some of the books here were singed and others in languages that he didn’t understand, but he managed to find a book in his own language and began reading that.

He’d just read up on historical ships when there was a knock on the door. He raised his head to see Dragon standing at the open door, a bottle of wine and two glasses in his hands.

“Didn’t think you were the partying type” Crocodile closed the book he was reading. Dragon took that as a sign to enter and sat down next to him, opening the wine and pouring it for them both.

“Nor are you, which is why I came to you to have a little celebration of our own”

“What’s to celebrate other than your victory?”

“We’ve decided to take you to Ivankov.” Dragon paused, Crocodile’s reaction was hidden under a stoic façade, but Dragon could see his eye light up a notch, “There’s a long journey ahead though, so we ask that your patience last just a few more months”

Somehow Crocodile didn’t care that there would be another wait at the end of it, because the end of the journey would have him right on Emporio Ivankov’s doorstep, and this time it was a certainty. Crocodile took the glass dragon was offering and clinked it against Dragon’s.

“So, I guess everyone won this time”

“Except for those that lost”

They spent most of the night talking about nothing and everything. They spoke of dreams, their thoughts on the world, and some other deep conversations that only seem to happen late into the night when alcohol is involved. Dragon was a lightweight when it came to alcohol, his face flushed pink as they were discussing the book that Crocodile had been reading. Crocodile had it open between them. They were swaying slightly, other bottles of wine had been brought through to them through the night, and every now and again the gap between them grew smaller. When they spoke, they’d turn to each other and look at the other to listen to what they had to say, slightly too drunk to pay attention otherwise.

Then it happened. Crocodile turned to Dragon, Dragon turned to crocodile. The gap between them had all but disappeared. Their faces knocked together, lips locking in an accidental kiss. But neither of them pulled away. The kiss went deeper. Crocodile made a noise, the sound bringing him back to reality and causing him to pull away.

Through half lidded eyes they stared at each other.

Through a wine numbed haze they didn’t think beyond how nice it felt to kiss the other, renewing their lip lock with more fervour than before…

 

To Be Continued.

Chapter Text

Spider Miles, North Blue

It had been 2 years since Tesoro had come into Doflamingo’s life. After the novelty of having a true blood relative wore off Doflamingo had realised something important. He knew nothing about actually caring for a child. Luckily, he had his family to help him out with it. He thought of those first few days and remembered how Jora was the only one who hadn’t panicked every time that Tesoro had cried.

Sighing, Doflamingo leaned against the rail of the balcony, watching his son stumble amongst the trash of the plant they had made their base. He was playing with the other children that had joined the family, a young girl of around 4 named Baby 5, and a boy of around 10 called Buffalo. The former followed Tesoro around, watching him like a hawk. The latter was being followed by Tesoro as he marched around the trash piles.

Tesoro tripped over something but got right back up without shedding a tear. Doflamingo grinned with pride as he watched his son some more, only to be taken out from his musings by the caw of the news coo. He grabbed the paper and took it inside, trusting the kids to take care of themselves for a little bit. He opened it to the first page and felt a pang in his heart. Who was there, pictured in her newest wanted poster, but Elle. The poster called her the Queen of the Desert. He sighed. He’d known that she wasn’t going to stick around, but he’d fooled himself into thinking she would. Even now he still classed her as his family, she was the mother of his child and that meant that no matter what, she was connected to him by the strings of fate. He cut her picture from the wanted poster and framed it for Tesoro, so that he’d at least know what she looked like.

***

Somewhere on the Grandline, The Revolutionaries temporary base.

The first things that Crocodile were aware of was the pounding headache, and the warmth at his back. His eyes were still closed when the source of that warmth moved, and an arm was draped over him sleepily. Something stirred within him that he would later refuse to admit happened. He envisioned that warmth to be Doflamingo, and a deep pang of some terrible emotion he didn’t know stabbed painfully into his chest. His eyes shot open. The warmth in his bead was not Doflamingo. He wasn’t even sure why he was thinking about the oversized bastard. The sleepily draped arm fell to the bed as Crocodile shot out of it. The sudden movement woke Dragon up from his slumber. Their eyes met, instant regret shot through them both.

Crocodile, for allowing it to happen again. Dragon, because he knew that nothing would come of this. They got dressed silently, almost awkwardly. Crocodile cleared his throat as he stood by the door about to leave.

“We tell no one of this. It never happened”

Dragon nodded. Crocodile left.

Crocodile should’ve known that it wouldn’t have been the last of it.

About a month or so afterwards he got the first signs of it. His breasts were sore, and he had a ravenous craving for meat on the bone. He tried to fool himself for little while that it couldn’t be that. That it would just pass.

His stomach had already begun to swell in his pregnancy by the time he was no longer able to ignore it. No one noticed as he spent less and less time around the crew. He was never the most social person with them, and they expected his unsocial behaviour. The only one’s who noticed there was something different happening were Dragon, and Kuma. They didn’t confront him at first, instead watching him closely to see if they could figure it out themselves.

They did.

A knock on Crocodile’s door roused him from contemplations. He hid his slightly distended stomach under a baggier shirt than usual and opened the door. Dragon looked straight at his stomach, Kuma let himself in and explained what they knew to him after the door had been closed.

“I had my assumptions about what you two did after the celebration, but Dragon, I thought you would have been more careful” Kuma said in his seemingly monotone voice.

“Things happened.” Dragon muttered,

“Consequences came of it.” Crocodile chuntered angrily

“So, now what are you going to do?” Kuma pondered,

“What do you mean?”

“Well, Crocodile here can’t exactly be a pirate with a baby on his hip,” Crocodile paled, “And you can’t take care of it because there are battle to be fought that a baby can’t be a part of”

Crocodile was silent.

“Hmm, I think I have a solution.” Dragon almost whispered, “I can have an… acquaintance of mine, shall we say, take it” He looked between Kuma and Crocodile, “Kuma, I would need you to take the child to him for me.”

“Who’s Him?” Crocodile demanded

“None of your concern” Dragon shot back.

They were quiet for a moment before Kuma broke the silence.

“How are we going to keep this hidden? I assume neither of you want others to know Crocodile is carrying your child”

“Crocodile isn’t the most social of people, he can stay in here and no one would really notice anything amiss”

And he was right, no one noticed. Weeks passed into months and still no one was any the wiser.

When the time came for the birth they didn’t speak to one another. A doctor was brought in and sworn to secrecy before delivering a healthy baby boy. With the pains of labour still fresh, the child was taken away, Kuma whisked it away to whomever the ‘Him’ was that Dragon had referred to. Regret and relief were strong in Crocodile. He was sat upright in his bed with his head in hands.

He would be finished with all this femininity soon.

But when soon came only days later he balked. His decision was still resolute, he would have the miracle maker change his form into that of a man. But the home of the miracle maker was not what Crocodile had expected. His eyebrow twitched as he took in the very pink scenery. He hated the colour with a passion.

Noticing the glare, Dragon spoke. “Ivankov is in his castle. You won’t get anywhere if you just glare and don’t walk”

And with that Crocodile begrudgingly followed.

As though the kingdom were expecting them, the group were invited into the parlour where a large dinner had been prepared. Once they were seated and plates of sumptuous food was placed in front of each of them the lights went dim.

“WELCOME VMY PRETTIES”

A single spotlight shone to the centre of a stage Crocodile hadn’t noticed was there. He couldn’t even begin to fathom the Okama that was on that stage. They wore a form fitting leotard, wore their purple hair in an afro, and wore their makeup like it had be thrown on with a shovel.

Crocodile was, suffice to say, mildly horrified. An involuntary noise of revulsion escaped Crocodile’s lips before he had a chance to clamp it down. The once boisterous room went deathly silent. The okama stopped dancing their routine and scanned the crowd.

And then their eyes, with their too-big eyelashes, zeroed in on Crocodile amongst the revolutionaries.

“And WHO,” there was a venom in their voice that Crocodile had not assumed they could muster, “are VYOU” the Okama glared, a look that the caked-on make-up only made worse.

Crocodile didn’t outwardly show his embarrassment, nor did he allow his sudden feeling of dread to appear on his face.

“I am Crocodile.” He uttered, as stoic as ever, “Who the hell are you”

The collective intake of breath told Crocodile this was a bad move.

“WHO AM VI? VI AM EMPORIO IVANKOV, QUEEN OF KAMABAKKA KINGDOM”

Crocodile felt his stomach drop, but it did not show on his face.

“Dragon,” Ivankov said breathlessly, offended, “Why did Vyou bring this… this FIEND here?” a shiny gloved hand pointed viciously at Crocodile.

Equally as Stoic, Dragon shook his head at the situation and didn’t answer.

Ivankov started wobbling around the stage dramatically, “VI feel faint… VI… VI…” He started to fall…

“VI WON’T FAINT!” He announced dramatically, proceeded by the other okama in the room cheering, “We thought you were going to faint! You got us!”

Ivankov marched to the front of the stage and glared at crocodile again, “Vyou come here for VMY help, and Vyou insult Vme?” he crossed his arms and stamped his high-clad foot, “VI don’t give handouts to people, especially those VI don’t like. And VI don’t like Vyou”

At this Crocodile saw red, slamming his hand and hook on the table he stood up, knocking his chair back in the process. “I HAVE SEARCHED FOR YOU FOR TOO LONG TO BE TURNED AWAY NOW” he bellowed, shocking most of the people in the room,

“Who are Vyou to talk to Vme like that?!” shrieked Ivankov, almost goading him on.

Crocodile got up onto the table and threw his arms wide with annoyance, “I AM CROCODILE, AND YOU WILL GIVE ME WHAT I WANT”

“WHY SHOULD VI?”

More emotions broke through, causing his voice to almost crack “BECAUSE YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN CHANGE THIS… CURSED BODY I WAS BORN WITH”

Smirking, Iva crossed his arms with a look of superiority. “So, Vyou want that kind of miracle, hmmmm?” He started to walk victorious down the stairs, only stopping when he was nose to nose with Crocodile. “Vyou came to the right place, but VI don’t like Vyou, so beg Vmy forgiveness”

Growling in annoyance Crocodile realised this was the only way to get what he had wanted his whole life. It was only fitting that the last thing he would do in a woman’s body was throw away his pride to grovel at the feet of a man, regardless of how the man dressed or acted. Dropping to his knees, Crocodile bowed his head and growled out an apology.

“What’s that? VI can’t hear Vyou” Ivankov put his hand to his ear and bent closer, “Tell Vme Vyou’re sorry,” he chuckled darkly, “And tell Vme what Vyou want to me and what Vyou love too”

Crocodile glared daggers up and the queen, but knew that this was the only way. He muttered it again, not wanting the room to hear. But alas Ivankov had other ideas.

“SHOUT IT SO WE CAN ALL HEAR CROCO-BOY”

“I apologize,” he uttered through gritted teeth, “I am a man, and…” he stopped, unwilling to say any more.

“And? Croco-boy Vyou won’t get anything like that! Shout it to the room!”

“AND I LIKE MEN!” He eventually growled out.

The room was quiet except for Ivankov’s slow clapping.

“See, that wasn’t so bad for Vyou, was it?” needles popped out of his fingertips and had stabbed into Crocodile before he could react.

“EMPORIO DANSEI HORMONE~”

With a rush of something strange, Crocodile could feel his body changing shape. His shoulders grew broader, his chest became flatter, his body more muscled and defined. The stretch marks of his past disappeared, and for all intents and purposes erased their existence entirely.

 

***

Spider Miles, North Blue

Years had passed with no new news of the Pirate known as the Queen of the Desert. As far as anyone could tell, she was dead. Gone. How else could it be explained that another had her devil fruit power? A man. And not just any man, Doflamingo mused. But Crocodile. Could it be? The boy he’d met as a child? Curious, he pondered. How can he have a devil fruit different from the one he was force fed? He sat on his chaise lounge and compared the wanted posters of Croquette D. Elle and Crocodile side by side.

Unless… No, he thought to himself… it couldn’t be…

But all the evidence he needed was there.

Their very bone structure differed. But the similarities remained. Similar enough, Doffy smirked, for them to have been siblings if not the same person. Maybe he was mad. Maybe he was right. He needed to be sure, and to do that he needed to pull some strings. His favourite thing.

All it would take was a few calls on the den den mushi he was sure…

And then he’d have his answer.

 

***

 

Somewhere on the grandline…

Crocodile had gotten used to his new-found strength. The years of suffering had almost been worth it. He felt free. And most of all, he felt like he was finally himself. He mulled over his thoughts while he puffed on his cigar.

Now that he’d become the true man he had always desired to be, he found himself craving more. Power, wealth, infamy. Which was why, when he received the letter, he could have jumped at the chance if that were in his nature. The letter, of course, was from the government. A pardon of his crimes in return for his services…

Or, in Crocodile’s eyes, another chance to gain his power.

He was now a Warlord. And just in time, it seemed, for a meeting.

Chapter Text

Mariejois, Red line

There was a name that Doflamingo could put to the emotion he was feeling. If he thought it were in his nature, he could have called it nervousness. If he were a lesser man, he may have even called it fear. No. What he deigned to call the butterflies in his stomach and the chill down his spine was neither of these things. Thrill. Maybe. Excitement, more likely. But as he caught himself tapping his foot with impatience for the umpteenth time, he decided to call it glee.

Glee that at any moment the man he had been waiting years, over a decade even, to see would walk through the doors and into the meeting that he'd pulled countless strings to call it into play. He knew that this would be the day that he would have any of his doubts answered- that if Elle and Crocodile weren't the same person that he would at least have been reunited with that teenager he had left for dead all those years ago. The other warlords in the room were quiet. They were various levels of bored or impatient, after all the meeting had yet to start since the newest member of their odd little troupe hadn’t seen fit to arrive yet.

Thankfully though, it was not long before Crocodile was announced and bid entry.

The pictures on his wanted posters paled in comparison to the man himself, Doflamingo had to physically stop himself from gaping. Slicked back hair that seemed to give a purple shine, a strong jaw and a body that screamed masculinity. Doffy recognised the seemingly permanent look of disinterest, stolen from another face, from another time. And because he was looking so carefully, he was able to catch the barest flicker of recognition as it shone through the other man’s dark and brooding eyes.

He sat and the meeting began. Not that Doflamingo paid much attention to it. Behind his rose-tinted glasses, he was watching Crocodile.

**

Crocodile felt Doflamingo’s eyes on him all the way through the meeting. It was almost distracting. Why was he looking so intently? Had he figured it out? There was no way, it wasn’t possible. The woman he knew was long since gone, and it had been over 21 years since they’d first met as child and teen. He spared a glance towards him. He wasn’t even being subtle about staring. The only word that Crocodile could use to describe the look on the younger man’s face was curious. Somewhere between a smirk and a scowl, like he was struggling with whether he should be happy or angry about something.

It left crocodile with a strange feeling in his gut. One that he couldn’t name and one that wouldn’t seem to subside even as the meeting finished and the other warlords left the hall one by one. He left before Doflamingo, almost surprised that the feathered bastard didn’t follow him out. He walked down the tall, echoing corridors of Mariejois, his strange feeling never leaving. By the time he’d reached the door to his designated quarters that strange feeling became an almost forgotten feeling of nostalgia. There was a kind of begrudging acceptance as he pushed the door open, revealing that the feeling in his gut wasn’t misplaced. A breeze flowed through the rooms, bringing with it a few pink feathers that had fallen from the man sat on his windowsill. An old and familiar sight that he had hoped to avoid. He held back a sigh of resignation and scowled at his uninvited guest.

“What do you want” Crocodile muttered darkly, closing the door behind him.

“That’s not a way to start a conversation, Crocodile,” Doflamingo smirked, standing up from his place at the windowsill and sauntering towards him, “Start with something lighter, how about some good, old-fashioned, albeit cheesy, pick-up lines?”

“Spare me the misery, Doflamingo” he spat

**

Seeing that this was not going to be easy, Doflamingo decided to have some fun. It started innocent enough. Making comments, asking leading questions, trying to get the man before him to slip up and say something that would ease his doubts and prove his theories. His tactics were working, Crocodile was getting more and more riled up. He already knew that the man before him was Elle, but he had to have him say it. Doflamingo grinned as the perfect jab came to mind.

“Croco-chan, you’re so beautiful I could cry... Y’know, like you did when you were pregnant...”

There was a flame of uncontrolled annoyance in the older man’s eyes. His scowl deepened, a nerve having been hit. His reaction was enough to make Doflamingo grin before he let the words leave his mouth.

“I told you this then, and I’m telling you now, hormones are a... bitch”

The anger died almost as soon as the words left his mouth. He chastised himself as he realised that he’d let old wounds affect him. Forget hiding who he was, it was an impossible task when the man before him seemed to bring out the worst in him.

Doflamingo pinned him against the wall suddenly. Crocodile shivered, in revulsion or in memory of where this could lead, Doflamingo didn’t care. Doflamingo smirked his trademark grin, basking in the knowledge that he could do whatever he wanted at this moment. His prey was pinned beneath him, too riled up to make a rational decision, and too annoyed with himself to throw him off. There was a warmth in his chest as he decided what he was going to do.

The kiss was rough, demanding, and burned with over a decade of pent up desire. A dark chuckle resonated from Doflamingo as he felt Crocodile reluctantly return the kiss before he broke it off.

“That was for the memories,” Doflamingo chuckled, “And this,” he drew back his fist, holding Crocodile against the wall with his other hand. “Is for leaving” His fist came down hard, snapping crocodile’s face into the wall behind him.

Crocodile growled in annoyance, spitting out the blood that had welled in his mouth from the punch. “You think you are the only one with resentment?” Crocodile snapped, throwing his fist at Doflamingo’s face, causing him to fall on his rear. “This one’s for leaving me to die!”

“So, you ARE the same Crocodile I met back then,” he laughed, leaning back on his hands as he looked back up at him. “I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure it all out”

“Yes, it must have been so hard for your brain to comprehend” Crocodile muttered, “What gave it away”

“You mean other than the fact that both ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Elle’ had the same Devil fruit ability?” Doflamingo raised an eyebrow at him, “It was probably how the picture on your wanted poster looks remarkably like Tesoro, our son”

“You named him Tesoro?” Crocodile cringed, “What possessed you to call him that?”

“He’s my treasure” Doflamingo grinned, reaching into his pocket. He took out what looked like a wallet and opened it. A stream of pictures erupted and Doflamingo shot up off the ground to shove the pictures under crocodile’s nose. Doflamingo started spurting stories and crocodile ignored him to look at the pictures he’d been presented. The pictures depicted a single boy throughout his childhood with dirty blond hair and an arrogance that he’d inherited from both his parents. Doflamingo was right, Tesoro did look a lot like him. Especially the more recent pictures. One image in particular had Tesoro scowling at his father, the teen staring daggers at him behind his back. Doflamingo appeared to be ignorant of the pure hate in the young boys' eyes. Crocodile pondered a moment before he remembered he was supposed to be annoyed.

“And?” Crocodile took his eyes off the pictures to glare at the man who had half pinned him against the wall yet again, “I’m not sure why you think I care.”

“You do somewhere deep down, I know you do” Doflamingo chuckled, “Afterall, you didn’t scowl while you looked at these pictures. I would say that’s a good bet”

Crocodile’s scowl returned with fervour, “I’ll ask again, what do you want Doflamingo?”

“Fufufu, What I want?” Doflamingo put the photos back in his pocket, but didn’t back away from pinning his prey against the wall, “I want you...” his lips ghosted close to Crocodile’s, “... To meet Tesoro”

“And if I refuse?” Crocodile’s face hardened, somewhere between stubbornness and resignation. It was harder than he would admit to himself not to close the small distance between them. It was all he could do not to lick his lips.

“Fufufu, I can be very persuasive” Doflamingo inched forward, capturing Crocodile’s lips with his own. There was a pause on Crocodile’s part, unsure what to do with himself, but that only lasted a second. Doflamingo was thrown off of him as the side of Crocodile’s hook connected with the side of his face.

“Playing hard to get, Croco-chan?” Doflamingo chuckled, gingerly touching his already bruising cheek, “And you have some nerve,” Doflamingo wiped the small amount of blood from his lip, “I’m a king you know, I could do whatever I want to you now”

Crocodile gave him a dark look. One reminiscent of the looks that Tesoro had been throwing his way recently. It almost made the taller man falter. But not quite. A grin formed across his face as he began to think of all the ways that this could be even more amusing. He stood in front of Crocodile so he was just shy of pinning him and leaned down until his lips were just a breath away from the shorter man’s ear.

“Come with me to my castle and have a taste at true power,” He whispered slyly, “And anything else that happens...” he grinned wider, “Well, fufufu, anything else is just a delicious treat”

Crocodile licked his suddenly dry lips, and then berated himself for even considering it “Castle? What, no more hideous pink boat to call home?”

“My boat is fabulous,” Doflamingo sounded mock-offended, grinning at the look on crocodile’s face when he realised that he still had his flamingo boat. “Fufufu, I just have other modes of transport too”

“I dread to think” Crocodile remarked, shoving Doflamingo away.

“You don’t have to decide right now, but I assure you, you’ll be coming home with me” Doflamingo was sure, he oozed confidence, “That is... you will if you want me to keep my mouth shut about a certain woman called Elle...”

Crocodile froze, his glare snapped back in all its fiery glory.

“It would be a shame if anyone else were to know about your past...” Doflamingo’s grin was wide, sadistic, “So you’ll come to Dressrosa with me, and no one else has to know” he reached up to put a stray stand of hair out of Crocodile’s face. His mouth opened and closed as he tried to think of something to say.

This was it. His reputation would be in ruin if he allowed Doflamingo to reveal this information... Maybe he could just kill him? Maybe...

“You Bastard” Crocodile finally spat, “Fine.”

“Good” Doflamingo almost sang, his head dipped until his lips found crocodile’s neck,

“Don’t even think about it, Doflamingo” Crocodile told him, but he didn’t move as Doflamingo’s hands roamed around his body.

“You have no choice Croco-chan" Doflamingo grinned into his neck before nipping with his teeth. The resulting flinch made him chuckle, “What’s the matter, you still like men, right?” Doflamingo joked

“I don’t like YOU” Crocodile muttered, “Damn Flamingo bastard” his attempt to turn away only opened his neck to doflamingo more, resulting in another nip with his teeth.

“Don’t say that Croco-chan,” Doflamingo grinned, “You think I’m great, you said so yourself”

“That should never have happened” Crocodile made a feeble attempt to wriggle away, the pincer grip of doflamingos roaming hands held him close. There was no escape.

“But it did, and now you’re stuck with me” Doflamingo was enjoying the involuntary noises that his attentions were causing. He heard the smaller man try to stifle a gasp as his hands remembered his most sensitive spots. It looked like becoming a man hadn't changed the parts that were important.

“You’re an idiot” He spat as Doflamingo’s hands roamed dangerously close to his ass.

“But I’m your idiot” Doflamingo grinned, giving crocodiles ass a quick squeeze and laughing at the smaller man's face, speckled pink now from his attentions.

“Stop trying to pretend that there’s anything between us”

“I don’t have to pretend,” Doflamingo smirked, “We have a kid together and everything”

“That doesn’t mean anything,” Crocodile spoke a little too quickly, “I want you to leave”

“If you really wanted me to leave, you’d have turned into sand and made it happen already”

Crocodile tensed

Doflamingo chuckled, “you know I’m right~” Doflamingo nuzzled at his neck again, inhaling deeply, “I bet you're even better as a man"

With gritted teeth crocodile glared at doflamingo. The larger man stopped chuckling when he felt sand begin to roughly push him away. With a click of his tongue Doflamingo turned on his heel and began to saunter towards the window,

“I'll see you on the way to Dressrosa" he smirked, before leaping from the window, leaving a trail of obnoxiously pink feathers in his wake.

That's it, Crocodile thought to himself, I'm gonna kill him.

**

The following morning Crocodile found himself on a very unwilling journey. Doflamingo was as giddy as a child in a sweet shop, and that made him all the more irritating. Every chance he could get the flamingo bastard would cop a feel or tell him some trivial piece of history from the past 14 years he was ridiculously proud of. Crocodile feared the annoyed tick that had begun in his eyebrow might never leave again. By the time Dressrosa was in sight Crocodile had already made at least a handful of attempts on Doflamingo’s life. The bastard would just laugh it off and make some joke about the line between love and hate. Like an attempt on his life was just another way to show affection. It made crocodile boil with anger.

When they docked up there was a giant welcome party from most of the Donquixote family. But no sign of Tesoro anywhere. The look on Doflamingo’s face told Crocodile this was not the first time Tesoro had not been here when it was expected of him. He became intrigued. Not that it was a mystery that anyone would hate Doflamingo, but his pirate family seemed to adore him. A mystery in of itself. Silently Crocodile followed after a suddenly brooding Doflamingo as he made his way to his castle. Crocodile couldn't lie, he was impressed. Not that it showed on his face, he was the picture of stoicness and looked perpetually bored. That was, until he watched Doflamingo storm through the halls of his castle and kick down Tesoro's door.

“FUCK OFF BASTARD" he heard the teen half scream.

He couldn't hear what Doflamingo said to him but it was probably along the lines of ‘I have someone for you to meet' since Tesoro shouted back “THEY CAN FUCK OFF TOO, THEY'RE PROBABLY AS FUCKED UP AS YOU"

At that Crocodile decided to step into the room. He was enjoying Doflamingo being berated, but he would not stand by and be likened to him.

“I'm as unwilling to be here as you, it seems" he growled as two sets of sunglasses turned in his direction. A shiver went down his spine at his likeness wearing a gaudy pink suit, at least his glasses were more or less of the fashionable sort.

“The fuck are you?” Tesoro shoved his hands in his pockets, pretending to be as nonchalant as possible, but the tick in his brow and distrust in his body language screamed to crocodile that the boy was not fond of meeting him. Tesoro's eyes darted between his face and the hook.

“Sir Crocodile.” He took a cigar out of his ornate cigar box and began to light it when Doflamingo chimed in

“Long story short, he's your mother"

Crocodile spluttered as he inhaled the too thick smoke, sand darting out in attack before he'd even turned glare at him. A blade of sand tore through the air, he had aimed to slice Doflamingo clean in two. Unfortunately, he dodged and it just sliced his arm a little, his strings already stitching the wound closed.

“Fufufu, it’s the truth though”

“I don't care. Why'd you need to tell him" if looks could kill Doflamingo would have died a slow and painful death. A quick death would be far too merciful, not nearly as satisfying...

The teen was looking at the scene before him thoroughly impressed. His bastard father had brought an interesting person that wasn't another of his flunkies. A rare occurrence. Even rarer that such obvious distain for the bastard radiated off the man in waves. Not usually something that Doflamingo let him see. He didn’t need extra reasons to hate him. The ones he already had were reason enough to want to kill him in the most painful way he knew how, he just wasn't strong enough.

“I don't know anything about a guy giving birth, but you seem cool" Tesoro muttered, “Now leave me alone, I don't wanna be in the Flamingo Bastards presence”

With that Tesoro left them, stomping into another room and slamming the door behind him.

Doflamingo glared after him.

“What happened to all the lovey dovey stuff you gushed about on the way here?” Crocodile smirked, on some level watching Doflamingo suffer teenage rebellion was amusing to him.

“Shit happens. It's a long story, one I don't know all of coz Tesoro isn't speaking to me"

“You did you" Crocodile puffed on his cigar, as if those words solved everything.

Doflamingo paused, almost thoughtfully before sighing deeply. “C'mon Croco-chan, I'll show you to our rooms" he began walking in the other direction

“I'm getting my own room you Flamingo Bastard!” Crocodile growled, stomping after him down the corridor.

“Fufufu, sure, it's just the next room over from mine"

Crocodile put his hand to his forehead in attempt to alleviate the budding headache that had begun at his temple. It was going to be a long visit ... He doubted he could slip away as easily this time.