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The Butcher Bird (One Piece SI)

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Lauren was pissed. For one, keeping her footing on the crenellations and assorted fancy bits of the rooftop, icy as they were, was a pain.

For another...well…

“Ma’am, if you would be so kind as to leave cover, we could conclude our business quite swiftly.”

Apparently the Black Beards had someone who was nearly as good with a gun as she was. Cold-blooded prick had nearly taken her head off with a shotgun blast- a couple pellets had grazed her face, and she knew her cheek would scar- before she’d managed to find some cover and hunker down.

She could hear the rest of the Black Beards clambering about on the roof, and the little cracking noises as they began to break through the glass, but it didn’t matter. Kaneki and the Oni would take care of that. Her problem was the asshole who she had to get a bead on before he found her hiding spot…

Wait, what was she thinking?

She had grenades.

Moving as quietly as she could manage, she reached into the pockets of her coat, pulling free a smooth cylinder with an orange band wrapped around it. Flashbangs. Couldn’t use the gas, the others below hadn’t brought masks- well, save for the Oni, but what they were huffing was far worse than the gas anyway - so that meant misdirection. And/or blinding the bastard.

“Ma’am? This sort of silence is most impolite.”

She pulled the pin and tossed the grenade over the piece of masonry that was serving as cover- some rich asshole’s statue or something.

The instant it cleared the side of the statue, a hammer of sound and air smashed her down, her ears ringing as she gasped for air. Fuck, he’d been faster than she thought...

She got to her feet just as the bastard rounded the statue. Fancy dress, round little spectacles, bored expression, shotgun in his hands. She Shaved to the side, barely avoiding the spread of buckshot, and yanked out her lever-action carbines, firing both. Fancy Pants went down on his ass as two .50 caliber slugs slammed into his chest, and she paused, watching him.

That was when a second bullet nearly took her head off, only another Shave saving her.

She looked down. And then at the roof she’d just Shaved off of by accident.

Ohshitohshit MoonWalkMoonWalk!

She grabbed hold of a gargoyle as her hasty technique barely kept her from dropping, and clung to the lower jaw with both hands as she tried to catch her breath and let the ringing in her ears fade enough to hear.

“Oh, dear, that must have hurt,” a female voice said from above.

“Nowhere near as much as the thought of being without you, my love,” Fancy Pants’s voice answered.

She would have gagged if it didn’t risk loosening her grip on the gargoyle.

“Besides, her bullets could not penetrate this suit. Spider-woven silk is a wonderful choice of garment.”

Motherfucker, was everyone she fought going to be bullet-proof?

And now there were two gun-wielding assholes up there, both of them good at their job, and she couldn’t guarantee a headshot on one or both without being filled full of lead herself.

Fuck.

Okay, this was going to suck.

She pulled herself up slowly, until she was at a point where she could swing a leg over the gargoyle’s neck and actually sit. She needed hands free for this.

She took out a small syringe, wrapped up in a bright red tin case. Inside the syringe itself, blue light flickered and sparked.

“Sorry captain,” she murmured. “Really hate to use this now, but don’t have a choice.”

 

----

 

C did not like this person.

For one, he had weird powers, which he’d used to throw C into a building and was now using to annoy him with debris. He liked this suit, and now it was being ruined. There was also the small matter of his kneecaps being missing, carried away by a chunk of flying debris, but those would grow back soon enough. Clothing wouldn’t grow back.

Second thing about this person that annoyed him: the guy’s nose. It looked like someone had stuck a needle on his face. Seriously, what kind of human being had that kind of facial deformity?

 

----

 

Elsewhere in Paradise, two pirates and a CP9 agent sneezed simultaneously.

 

----

 

Lastly…

“Come on. Is that all you have?”

This person would not shut up.

C got back to his feet as his kneecaps reknit, and pulled hard at the few pieces of metal that hadn’t been buried into the ground by the asshole already, sending them hurtling at the needle-nosed dick.

“Graviton.”

And just like everything else, the dick and his weird powers shoved them straight down into the ground.

“Do you at least understand the gravity of the situation? You dare face me, Arnyek Rantas, third mate of the Black Beard Pirates, wielder of the Pull-Pull Fruit? I am-”

“Annoying? Stupid? Possessed of a very strange nose?”

The annoying man’s eye twitched and several veins bulged. “ Coup. De. Grace.”

C’s feet left the ground as the man’s power yanked him forwards, right onto the man’s sword.

Which snapped off at the hilt as it came into contact with C’s skin.

C’s hands snapped out, grabbing the man’s shoulders in a crushing grip.

He grinned, bit, and tore .

The man’s struggles ceased by the third bite.

Once he was done, C got to his feet. A great number of pirates had made it through.

He still had hunting to do.

 

----

 

Oni, Gin was realizing, were very different people once they started actually fighting people who weren’t officers or other Oni.

Against officers or each other, weapons came out, matching blade against club against spear against brass knuckles. It looked almost normal, even if it was sped up and the clashes of weapon against weapon rattled his bones.

Against enemy pirates...they didn’t even bother.

All of them had simply Shaved into the mass of Black Beards, grabbed someone by the ankles or arm or head, and started beating motherfuckers with other motherfuckers. Kaneki and the guy who was ninety percent beard were off somewhere else, far enough they weren’t his concern.

He barely deflected another pair of thrown knives, and angrily reminded himself to focus on the person who was.

Hellion!” he shouted as he rushed forwards and slammed one of his tonfas into the man who bore an astonishing resemblance to Kaneki. The bastard caught it on crossed knife blades, even as the strike itself made him stagger. Gin almost pressed the attack again, but another thrown knife that passed millimeters in front of his eyes made him step back, giving the black-clad pirate a chance to recover again. Gin steadied himself, keeping his tonfa spinning.

“You are a formidable opponent,” emo-Kaneki said slowly.

“I take my vitamins.”

“Hmmm. Nobody has ever managed to deflect my blades like that. Yes, I think this will be-”

Gin blinked as a flying body slammed the man away mid-sentence, sending him into a wall, which cracked slightly. Eka walked over, the heavyset Oni cracking his knuckles. “Sorry, mate, couldn’t resist,” he said with a sheepish smile.

“You notice how he looks a lot like our first mate?” Gin asked.

“The one that’s been running us till we drop as training and looking happy about it? Oh, yes,” Eka said with a sharp smile.

Gin smiled back. “Want to get some catharsis?”

“Oh, yes.

The poor bastard who had no idea what was coming struggled back to his feet, knives in hand. “Two of you now? No matter. I am Grackle, first mate of the Black Beard Pirates, worth sixteen million. I will not fall to two no-name rookies.”

Gin didn’t answer. He just Shaved forwards, tonfa swinging, as Eka did the same with his dao.

 

----

 

“Okay, seriously,” I say as I Shave to the side to dodge another punch from the beard-man’s hamhock-sized fist. “How the hell does that thing not catch everything? Crumbs, drinks, random objects, small children? For god’s sake, how do you avoid tripping on the damn thing?”

“YOU UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE BEARD,”- oh shit it’s another Maurice, god damn it why did I provoke him into opening his mouth- “YOU FOOLISH WHELP! YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF FACING THE MIGHT OF MY FOLLICLES! I, VILLOS, CAPTAIN OF THE BLACK BEARD PIRATES, SHALL CRUSH YOU WITH BUT THE SLIGHTEST EXERTION OF MY POWER!”

Okay, now he just sounds like a hairier Terry Crews. I dodge another blow, still grinning as I slip on my mask. I dropped the tails after shattering the glass panes, and I don’t think he’s realized who he’s fighting. If he did, he certainly wouldn’t be throwing his meat at- okay no, no, purge that mental image immediately.

“TAKE THIS! ANDROGEN RUSH!”

Wait, why the fuck would he name an attack after a hormone- ShaveShave Shave!

The flurry of punches is much faster than his previous attacks, and only getting faster even as I frantically dodge what’s being thrown at me, backpedaling all the while. Finally one moves just a hair too quickly for me to handle, catching me in the chest. I feel ribs crack as I’m hurled backwards, slamming into a stone wall, and I spit blood as I fall to the floor in a crouch.

I hear a hissing noise and realize it’s me. I cough up a bit more blood before looking up at Villos and grinning.

“You’re fun ,” I say, pushing a levity into my voice I don’t feel. “Not worthy, you’re saying? Kyakahahahahahaha…. one tail, two tail, three tail, four.”

My tails lash at the air, and Villos takes a step back before smiling widely. “So it is true…” he says, mercifully quietly. “Well, then...THIS SHALL BE A BATTLE FOR THE AGES!”

What the hell is he- is his beard moving?

“WITNESS MY TRUE POWER! THE BEARD-BEARD FRUIT!”

Bwuh?

The entire room freezes. I see Gin and Eka actually stumble mid-stride, and the guy who looks oddly similar to me stop as well, before facepalming.

That’s when the lightning hits.