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Future in the name

Chapter Text

 All of the Strawhats had weird soulmarks. Well, maybe expect Usopp, Usopp’s was normal. His, not his soulmate’s though.

 Nami asked him, after the whole fiasco with Arlong, “So, your soulmate is Kaya?”

 カヤ先生. Kaya-sensei. Doctor Kaya.

 He shrugged. “She is and I’m hers.”

 Zoro raised an eyebrow at him. “Didn’t she say, when we were leaving, she will be waiting for you and for her soulmate in Syrup Village?”

 Usopp scratched his neck with his hand, laughing nervously.

 “I may have lied a bit,” he admitted. “To her.”

 Everyone in the room just looked at him, unimpressed.

 “You say?” Nami snorted.

 “Well, I have Doctor Kaya on my thigh,” he explained, patting his knee. “She has God on her stomach.”

 ゴッド. Goddo. God. 

 “Is that another lie?”

 Usopp rolled his eyes, putting his hand over his heart as if the accusation hurt.

 “Doesn’t matter. I didn’t tell her because I knew I’d leave, just like my dad left my mum," he said slowly. "And now I left to be a pirate so it was a good decision, not telling her.”

 

 

 Zoro, one day, waited for Sanji to be alone in the galley. Which was hard with they glutton of a captain on board.

 “So,” he started. “Is your surname Vinsmoke by any chance?”

 ヴィンスモーク・サンジ.  Vinsmoke Sanji.

 It was casual and not romantic at all and Zoro kind of didn’t really care about it but it was also really their kind of way to find out.

 “Nah.”

 If Sanji was shocked, he didn’t show it, smoking calmly another cigarette and writing down a new sauce recipe. He didn’t even glance at him.

 Zoro sighed, moving to leave the room.

 “But it was, once,” Sanji spoke up, not looking him in the eyes. “Will you become the Greatest Swordsman?”

 最強の剣士. Saikyou no Kenshi. The Greatest Swordsman.

 Zoro crossed his arms over his chest, over the scar Mihawk left him at the Bartie. It was a question not connected with anything, out of nowhere but the answer was one and the same.

 “I will,” he deadpanned.

 Sanji took a long smoke, humming, and stayed silent for a moment. He changed the page in his notebook and Zoro observed his slender fingers. He put down the pen. He raised his right hand, so precious, so cared and so trained, showing its inside to Zoro. At first, it looked as if he was waving him off but then Zoro noticed.

 “Well, hello, soulmate, I guess,” Sanji snorted. “I thought it would take you longer to realize, Moss Head.”

 Zoro narrowed his eyes.

 “The fuck was that supposed to mean, Shitty Cook?”

 Yes, the biggest surprise was that their soulmarks said Vinsmoke Sanji on Zoro’s back and The Greatest Swordsman on Sanji’s palm and not Moss Head and Shitty Cook.

 

 

 Nami wasn’t really better in the romance department. Vivi was cute, smart and funny, so she just asked, “Hey, aren’t you a princess of some small country by any chance?”

 王女. Ojou. Princess.

 Once again, Zoro, Usopp, and Luffy just raised an eyebrow each at that.

 Vivi blushed, sputtering.

 “And are you a cat burglar by any meaning?” she asked back.

 泥棒猫. Dorobou Neko. Cat Burglar.

 Name just giggled nervously.

 “Not at all,” she lied.

 “Yes, she is,” the rest of the crew echoed in the background.

 Vivi chuckled sweetly, blushing even more. She tucked a wayward strand of hair behind her ear and looked Nami deeply in the eyes, smiling fondly.

 That’s how they found out she was the Princess of Alabasta. But for the Starwhat crew, she was, first and foremost, Nami’s, their navigator’s soulmate.

 Nami had beautifully written Princess on her left hip and Vivi had inscribed, bare letters of Cat Burglar on her right hip. They were matching.

 

 Robin joined the crew and then, very fast, almost left it. Then Franky joined the crew.

 Franky, very tactfully, on the grassy deck of the brand new Thousand Sunny, asked her, “Nico Robin, huh? Didn’t they use to call you Devil Child?”

 悪魔の子.  Akuma no Ko.

 Robin, at peace with herself more than her whole life, smirked with mischief in her gaze. She regarded Franky’s body, looking at him meaningfully, and raised an eyebrow.

 “They did,” she answered simply.

 “Before I started modifying my body,” Franky continued with surprisingly quiet voice, “I had Devil Child on my biceps.”

 Robin reached for the hem of her shirt, pushing it up a bit and showing to the world the name that was just under her breasts.

 “Is that so?” she hummed, not caring that everyone could see her bra. “I suppose you’re Iron Man, then?”

 鉄人. Tetsujin. Iron Man.

 Franky, seeing strict, thin letters of his own handwriting, grinned.

 “Super!”

 Robin giggled.

 

 

 Brook, when still alive, had a simple and common name, Mary. He knew one lovely Mary but she had Soul King under her ear and he didn’t know until it was too late.

 Soul King was having a concert in Sabaody and Mary had been dead for the last fifty years, give or take.

 

 

 Chopper didn’t have a soulmark. He was, by Fate’s standards, still only an animal.

 

 

 

 

 The most complicated soulmark was Luffy’s.  When asked, he would furrow his eyebrows, thinking.

 “I don’t have a soulmark,” he would answer.

 Zoro kind of thought it suited him. Sanji, Nami, Usopp, and Vivi knew there was no way he didn’t have a soulmark – everyone has a soulmark.

 Which was confirmed after they defeated Crocodile and saved Alabasta. They were bathing and Luffy, like the rest of them, was completely naked. His back was naked.

 Usopp raised an eyebrow at the smudgy handwriting.

 “Oi, Luffy,” he yelled. “You lying liar, you have a soulmark on your back.”

 Zoro and Sanji looked away from each other and stared at Luffy’s back. The name gave them chills.

 “I do?” Luffy asked. “What does it say?”

 Usopp came closer to him, not seeing properly in the steamy bathroom. He paled, starting to tremble comically and Sanji snorted.

 “Su- Sur- Surgeon of Death,” Usopp finally read.

 “Surgeon of Death, huh?” Zoro hummed to himself, leaning on the tiled wall and putting an arm around Sanji’s shoulders.

 死の外科

 Shi no Gekai

 Surgeon of Death.

 Sanji had the biggest urge to smoke, feeling a headache coming. He snorted again. “I suppose crazy can get along only with crazy.”

 Zoro smirked at that.

 Usopp grimaced at them, disgusted. “You’re one to talk,” he remarked. “Monster and another monster.”

 Sanji shrugged.

 Luffy turned around to them, looking serious.

 “When’s dinner?”

 They all groaned. Crazy or not, Luffy’s soulmate deserved sympathy.

 

 

 

 Law loved the soulmate system. Mostly because the number of studies already made on the subject was huge but at the same time possibilities of further research concepts were countless.

 Law was, even as a kid, first and foremost, a doctor. A scientist.

 There was also the part where his parents, caring, generous, altruistic, open-minded and so in love with each other, were soulmates. Seeing that for the whole happy part of his childhood, he got the rather idealistic version of a soulmate life. Up until Cora-san died, it was his goal in life – find soulmate as perfect as his dad was to his mum and his mum was to his dad.

 Of course, Law was very little when everything went to hell.

 His parents never talked about his soulmate even though he was sure they had to have seen his soulmark. He wanted to know what the complicated kanjis on the small of his back meant. Other kids knew it as soon as they could understand which seemed even stranger to Law – his parents were doctors and never held back from explaining anything to him – they were people of science. His sister, younger, had a soulmate in the neighbors’ son and they didn’t hide it from her even though she couldn’t really understand it much. So he asked.

 His parents were very serious, their stern gazes searching for each other, for reassurance. They were smiling but it wasn’t the kind of smile Law was used to. It was the smile they used getting home from work, waiting for the announcement there was going to be another funeral.

 “Law,” his dad said. “It’s really a complex thing and I and your mum, we are not sure what to do with it.”

 “But what does it say?” he insisted. “I can’t read it.”

 “It says Kaizoku Ou, honey,” his mum whispered into the silence, giving him heartbroken look. “Pirate King.”

 At first, Law was kind of excited.

 Flevance was an isolated island, neutral one in a way, not really into politics. There was no pirates or marines, practically no news about the outside world. It may have been a side effect of keeping the epidemy secret.

 Adults knew who the Pirate King was. They knew about his execution, about the way he started the New Pirate Era with his last words. It all happened when Law was still a baby, too small to be aware.

 Kids on Flevance didn’t know anything about Pirate King. It was a secret kept away from their ears.

 Next thing he knew, he was on the run, the whole World Government was after him and his parents, his little sister and his whole island were dead. He was going to fuck up the Government and the marines and the Celestial Dragons, he just didn’t know how yet.

 Searching for the cure for Amber Lead Syndrome with Cora-san, he got to know the Pirate King for the first time. Cora-san was, to put it mildly, shocked seeing the name on Law’s back. It was disturbing.

 Pirate King was dead for almost all of Law’s life. He was also approximately fifty years older than Law. Either the soulmate system was wrong or there was something wrong with Law. Cora-san didn’t comment on his soulmark but Law commented on it in his head every time he remembered it was there.

 Sometimes he looked in the mirror just to loathe himself for having such a useless soulmark.

 The letters were messy and he kind of understood why he wasn’t able to read them when younger – the letters were practically chicken scratches, cramped together into resembling handwriting. Even as big as it was, the kanjis were touching each other, overlapping.

 The worst thing was, they were vivid against his pale, ashen skin and white scars from the Amber Lead Syndrome. Black ink was eye-catching, too distracting, too visible for Law’s liking.

 Just three kanjis but how much they meant.

 海賊王.

 Kaizoku Ou.

 Pirate King.

 Cora-san, as Law found much later, didn’t understand how it happened. He was a Marine and knew well enough Gold Roger didn’t have Law’s name on his chest but Rogue. He told that Law a few days before dying.

 Law, well, he didn’t understand too. He simply resigned. No use to cry over spilled milk. Pirate King for soulmate or not, it wasn’t gonna stop him from finding One Piece and becoming a well-known, influential, dangerous pirate. He would avenge Cora-san, his family, his island. Everyone.

 It took him years to understand. It was a stupid newspaper that explained it all to him. The Heart Pirates were island away from Sabaody Archipelago and Bepo brought him one of the papers he always bought whenever they were staying longer on an island. Law was calmly drinking his first or maybe second coffee and waiting for Penguin to finish making breakfast.

 “Look, Captain,” he said, excited. “There’s an article about you again.”

 There was. It wasn’t just about him, not like the rest of the articles Bepo had been showing him. Rest of the Super Rookies, as they called them, the most dangerous newbie pirates, was there too. Law could see all of their bounty posters, his own face smirking at him. It was a good picture.

 The title said it all.

 Who will be the second Pirate King?

 He dropped the mug with the coffee. It broke into small pieces when it bounced on the floor.

 It hit Law straight in the face and he almost screamed. Almost.

 He stared at the newspaper, not moving an inch, his mind hovering somewhere between being completely blank and going at lightspeed. A big hole in his chest closed a tiny little bit after years of only getting bigger. It was unnerving but also freeing.

 It was, also, a fucking spoiler for the book called life of Trafalgar D. Water Law.

 His soulmate wasn’t Gold Roger. It was the person who would become the next Pirate King, the second one. And that person apparently wasn't Law since he couldn’t be his own soulmate, he wasn’t narcissistic.

 “Captain? Law?” Bepo questioned, looking panicked. He glanced between Law and the pieces of glass lying in the wooden planks. “Are you alright?”

 Before Law could answer, even just with simple and untrue yes, Penguin came into view, fussing.

 “Did you have to break it?” he fumed. “The rest of the idiots breaks enough dishes as it is.”

 Law raised an eyebrow at that but couldn’t stop smiling. It probably looked creepy. Penguin rolled his eyes.

 “At least clean after yourself,” he scoffed.

 Law glared at him but it lacked his typical fire.

 “Room,” he spoke up, gathering all the needed places in his rooms. “Shambles.”

 The broken glass was left in the kitchen bin and the coffee landed in the sink. If Penguin was suddenly missing an arm, he didn’t notice. Bepo did.

 He should be disappointed, he supposed, but he wasn’t.

 Because his soulmark meant he wasn’t going to find One Piece and become the Pirate King but there was another person, another man (it was Pirate King, not Pirate Queen after all) who would be strong enough to find it. And it was his soulmate.

 To be honest, Law had never really wanted One Piece, not much. Having the money and the treasures would be appreciated but he didn’t have a desire to become Pirate King. His main goal was, first and foremost, to avenge Cora-san’s death, his family’s death, to piss off the World Government as much as he could and, finally, to destroy the World Government and Celestial Dragons.

 Didn’t his soulmate being Pirate King mean Law would be a Pirate King too, by association anyway? That’s how normal monarchy would work but pirate monarchy? He had no clue.

 It was a breather too, finding out what his soulmark had meant all those years. It wasn’t Gold Roger. It was Gold Roger's legacy.

 The only downside was, he couldn’t be sure up until the end – up until the guy would have already become Pirate King. If his soulmate had just a simple Law on his body, it could always be another Law.  Law had to wait with a patience of a saint.

 Spoiler, just like the one on the small of his back: he wasn't a saint.