Monkey D. Luffy was going to be the Demon King. For as long as he could remember, that had been his goal – to gather a crew of powerful demons like himself and reach the top of the ladder.
Not for power, of course. Who cares about that? He’s got plenty already. No, Luffy wanted to be free. Free to do as he pleased. Free to explore the human world as much as he wanted, without making deals.
Demons weren’t usually allowed to visit the human world without a human tethering them down. But there were a few who did it anyways. Whitebeard, Big Mom, Kaido, and Shanks – otherwise known as the four demon emperors. They roamed the other world freely, interacting with humans as often as they wanted.
Luffy wanted that. He wanted to explore the human’s world more than anything.
But to do that, he had to make contracts. The contracts themselves weren’t so bad, but it always felt like he had been chained to the human who made the contract with him. Like he was some sort of dog doing its master’s bidding.
Luffy hated that more than anything. He didn’t care about the payment at the end.
So he was a bit unconventional. That wasn’t his fault.
Aside from being commanded around like a dog, making deals was fun . Seeing what people wanted was interesting, and humans never stopped wanting things. Plus, making deals with them was like going on an adventure.
Sometimes he was summoned by people who wanted boring things, like money or power or whatever, and those people he refused to deal with. They usually weren’t smart enough to trap him during the summoning.
But there were times that he got summoned by people who had dreams.
Trafalgar Law had dreams. He had summoned Luffy into maybe one of the shittiest human homes the demon had ever seen, but his gaze was sharp, and his words were fierce. Luffy immediately had found himself drawn to this human, despite being trapped like a bug within the summoning circle.
“I’m going to take down Donquixote Doflamingo,” the human had said, as if he expected Luffy to know who that was.
So maybe Luffy thought it was a little funny when the human had to backtrack and explain who, exactly, that was. Some underground crime lord? Whatever. He was just a human.
Luffy didn’t care too much about the why, just that it had a lot of adventure potential. And he was going to get a good meal out of it, too. Law had promised a full meal once the contract was fulfilled, and also everything in his fridge.
The human had definitely done his research, much to Luffy’s disappointment, but at least he had an interesting dream. Luffy didn’t mind helping him reach it. Even if he was going to be held on a leash the whole time.
There was something about Law that Luffy immediately liked. Maybe it was his weird sad scowl, or the way it looked like he hadn’t slept in three weeks.
Whatever it was, Luffy was pretty glad he’d made a deal with this human.
“Your fridge sucks,” he said through a mouth full of baloney. “What’s up with that?”
“I spent most of my money on getting the necessary items to summon you,” Law said drily, “Apologies for not stocking my fridge to your needs.”
“Apology accepted.” Luffy cleaned out the rest of the fridge and began to wander the small apartment. “So, you want me to find this Mingo guy and kick his ass?”
“What?” Torao looked genuinely perplexed, “No, I have a plan.”
“What do you need a plan for?” Luffy frowned. “If you know where he is, just tell me. I’ll go beat him up.”
“Beating him up won’t stop him.” Torao said sharply.
“Okay,” Luffy shrugged, “Then I’ll kill him.” He didn’t really see the big deal. “Whatever you want, I’ll do it.”
Law pinched his brow. “No, no – you can’t just kill him. That won’t fix it.” He shook his head. “He’s the most dangerous man in the city , at the least , and he’s got failsafe upon failsafe to make sure no punk kid can take him out. We need a plan.”
“Fine, fine, we’ll do it your way.” Luffy eyed Law’s ratty couch. Oh, he liked the look of that. He stretched himself over to the couch and splayed out across it. Yeah, that couch was lived-in. Definitely a good place for a nap. He closed his eyes and waited for Law to keep talking.
… When Law did not keep talking, Luffy opened up one eye to give him a look.
Law had his mouth hanging open in shock. “What?”
The human quickly shook himself and cleared his throat. “I was… not expecting to see you move like that.”
“Oh, like this?” Luffy intertwined his fingers and stretched, making a criss-crossed net. “I’m a rubber demon. I stretch.” He unlaced his fingers and rested back on the couch.
Torao pursed his lips. “What else can you do?”
Luffy shrugged. “I can fight.”
“What else is there?” Really, this Law guy thought too much. “If you need to beat someone up, that’s what I do.”
That wasn’t what he wanted to hear. The human let out a sharp bark of a laugh. “Great. So you’re not much help, then.”
Ouch. “I have friends who do the other stuff. We work together.” After all, he couldn’t be the demon king without his own entourage.
“But I only have you.” Law shot him a withering look. “Or are you going to call up your friends, too?”
“Duh.” Luffy rolled his eyes. “I can’t leave them out of a job like this.”
“What about your brothers?” The human perked up. “You mentioned them when I first summoned you. What can they do?”
Luffy laughed. “Ace and Sabo are super strong, and super smart! But they make their own contracts.” They’d be jealous that he got such a fun deal, though. Ace worked for Whitebeard, one of the demon emperors, and Sabo… well, Luffy didn’t really know what Sabo did. But he definitely made deals once in a while. “I should probably call my friends now. It’s almost time for lunch.”
“You just ate everything in my fridge.” Law sounded as if that was some sort of ridiculous concept.
“You had like three packs of sandwich meat and a bottle of ranch. Sanji’s gonna bring lunch boxes .” Luffy’s mouth watered at the concept. “He’ll probably freak out when he sees your kitchen.”
“What kind of friends are these people, anyways?”
Luffy smiled. “They’re the best! You’ll like them.” He pulled out his den-den mushi and dialed Zoro’s number.
Law looked on in fascination. Had he never seen a den-den mushi before? Well, Luffy had no time to wonder. Zoro’s voice crackled on the other end – reception wasn’t so great up in the human world. “How’d it go?” He asked gruffly.
“Great! He wants to plan something though.” Luffy scratched his head under his hat, right at the base of his small horns. “So I guess he wants to meet you guys now.”
“Sounds smart.” Zoro didn’t say it in a way that sounded like a compliment. “Smart humans are dangerous.”
Luffy snorted. “If he tries anything, I’ll just eat him. Now come on, I’m hungry!”
“Tell Sanji that, idiot!” Zoro snapped. “We’ll be right there.” He hung up with a sharp click.
Luffy smiled back at Law. “That was Zoro. You’ll like him.”
Law was already regretting this contract and it hadn’t even been in effect for longer than an hour. Luffy was a whirlwind of dumb questions and even dumber comments, and when he had decided to drink the bottle of ranch instead of – oh, any kind of actual liquid – he didn’t even bother setting a coaster on the coffee table before setting it down and propping his legs up on it.
Oh, yeah, and he put his feet on Law’s coffee table. Disgusting.
Luffy looked at him curiously. “Don’t worry, Torao,” he smiled the too-wide smile again, “Zoro and everyone else should be here soon.”
“My name is Trafalgar Law,” Law corrected stiffly, “not Torao.”
Luffy shrugged. “I’m calling you Torao.”
The demon chuckled. “Shoulda said so when we made the contract!”
Was that a migraine on the horizon? It certainly felt like one.
Before Law could say anything else, there was a knock at the door.
Before Law could go answer it, it was kicked open by a mean-looking demon with funky eyebrows. Well. A funky eyebrow. He could really only see the one – the other was covered by his bangs. What really took Law by surprise were the sharp black horns that sprouted just a little higher than that. They curled up over his head and pointed up at the ends. Other than that, his skin was a strange golden color – and for a moment, as he stepped over the threshold, it looked like he was covered in scales. Behind him entered a man who was relatively plain-looking… aside from the red eyes. And… was his skin actually a dark green color? The more Law looked at the second entrant, the less he was sure of his initial description.
“Sanji! Usopp!” Luffy exclaimed as he leapt off the couch. “Did’ya bring food?”
“Shut up!” The demon with weird eyebrows – Sanji, presumably – snapped. When he did, a puff of smoke slipped out alongside his words. “Did you thank your host for letting you eat his entire fridge?”
Luffy paused, then looked back at Law.
Law waved a tired hand. “Yeah. Don’t worry about it.”
Luffy looked back to Sanji with stars in his eyes. “Done.”
Sanji handed him a large box of… something… that looked filled to bursting. “Don’t make a mess.”
“You know better than to tell me that!” Luffy laughed as he opened the box and sloppily yanked out a giant hunk of meat. He had barely taken a single bite before Law felt the itch to rub everything in his home down with wet wipes.
Only after that disgusting display did Sanji bother to look at Law. “Hey,” he said, “I’m Sanji. Nice to meet you.” He stuck out a hand in greeting.
Law inspected the hand casually as he reached his own out to shake. This new demon’s hands were more… normal, he guessed? At least, they didn’t have the same rubbery feeling that Luffy’s did. He did have slick black claws though, which Law was careful to avoid. Sanji grinned, showing off razor-sharp teeth.
“I’m Usopp!” The dark green man behind Sanji stepped between them and stuck out his hand. “I guess you could call me the brains of this operation.”
Law grabbed his hand firmly, but quickly had to steel his expression into something neutral, because Usopp’s hand had a bizarre texture. On the spot, it made him think of some kind of leaf-like texture. Usopp saw his expression and grinned sheepishly. Despite being a slightly lighter shade of green than his skin, his teeth were just as sharp as Sanji’s. “I’m smarter than your average potted plant, that’s for sure.”
“It’s… nice to meet you.” Law said stiffly. “So, you’re Luffy’s friends?”
Sanji shrugged. “Two of them.”
Law felt his heart sink. There were more?
“Zoro, that’s the wrong door!” A woman’s voice shouted out from down the hall. “Come here, you idiot!”
Upon meeting Sanji, Law had thought the demon was the opposite of Luffy – cool, calm, suave. He quickly learned that wasn’t the case, though.
“ Nami, dear!” Sanji went heart-eyed (not literally, thank god) and darted out of the room. “Is that moss-head bothering you?”
“Her directions are too confusing.” Law recognized that voice from the snail-phone conversation – Zoro?
“I’m literally just pointing down the hallway!” The woman’s voice rose shrilly. “It’s not my fault you can’t walk in a straight line!”
Law didn’t have time to find that exchange funny, because another person appeared in the doorway, and there was no doubt that this one was a demon. It seemed to be made entirely of… rocks? But had a slight dusting of moss at the top, where its head was. The face looked like it had been chiseled by some sort of expert, because it held an annoyed expression perfectly – but there was a gash through half of its face, leaving it with only one rocky eye. The moss on top of its head seemed to dry out and turn brown when it saw Sanji.
“How did you get here first?” It growled – ah, so this was Zoro.
“Easily.” Sanji said simply. “We don’t get lost like you do.” He elbowed Usopp. “Moss-head’s looking a little dry, don’t you think?”
Usopp sighed and waved his hand towards the rock monster’s head. Within seconds, the dying foliage started to regrow.
Zoro shot a glare at Usopp, and the green demon put his hand down. “You know I hate when you do that.”
Usopp shrugged, but when he spoke his voice was shrill. “Just thought I’d do you a little favor! I hate seeing them die, you know that!”
“If you grow flowers on my head again, I will cut you in half.”
The plant demon nodded very quickly. “Got it!”
“I don’t know, I think he looks cute with daisies for hair.” Another demon spoke as she entered the room. Law realized he was going to need a bigger apartment if Luffy had invited any more friends to the party.
This demon looked… the most like a human. She had bright orange hair and a smile with two small fangs, but other than that, she looked pretty normal.
Well, she seemed to flicker a bit as she entered the room. So maybe not. Law really needed to stop making snap judgements on these guys. She walked up to Sanji and glared at him. The air around her seemed to pick up just a little bit, despite there being no windows open or any breeze to speak of. “You left me with Zoro duty.”
“I know, and I am so sorry.” Sanji sounded genuinely apologetic, which kind of surprised Law. “Luffy was hungry, and I couldn’t risk him making a scene. You know how he gets.”
Uh, no, Law didn’t know how it got. And now he was worried. If other demons didn’t want to risk Luffy “making a scene” when he got hungry…
Sanji turned to Law and smiled disarmingly. “Oh, you don’t have to be worried. I’m here now.”
That did absolutely nothing to stop Law from feeling worried. In fact, it somehow made him feel much worse.
She turned to Usopp. “What do you have to say?”
He shook his head with a nervous smile. “I am not getting involved in this!”
She glared at him, but not as hotly as Zoro had. She sighed and smiled just a little. “Because I like you so much, you only have to pay half as much as Sanji.”
Usopp laughed, the nervousness suddenly gone. “Yeah, sounds good to me.”
The girl demon stopped her conversation with Usopp and eyed Law over. “Hm. Not much to write home about.” She flipped her hair and walked over to him. As she got closer, he got a better look at her, and realized that it almost looked like she was… some sort of image projected onto a cloud. Or something. It looked like the next gust of air might blow her away – except that somehow, she seemed to be in control of the air itself. She stuck her hand out to shake. “I’m Nami. The only sane one in this group.” She flipped her hair back over her shoulder again. “I take it you’re the Law I’ve heard so much about?”
Law reached out to shake her hand, not sure if he would go right through her. To his surprise, he touched a solid hand – but upon touching said hand, he felt a shock of electricity zap through his body. He quickly let go of her hand, and she grinned. “Nice to meet you.”
“Uh.” Was all he could say in response. “Is this all of you?”
Sanji laughed. “Oh, no, there’s a few more of us. But we figured you could only handle so many demons at once.”
Zoro raised a rocky brow. “I bet he could handle it.”
Nami swatted him on the top of the head. “You’re a freak of nature. He needs to adjust.”
“So, Torao here wants to take down some crime lord or something.” Luffy started talking. “What’s his name again? Mingo?”
It took Law a moment to find his words. “Yes. Donquixote Doflamingo.”
“Yeah, that guy.”
“A crime lord? Dangerous.” Usopp rubbed at his chin. “But nothing I couldn’t handle by myself.” He grins at Law. “I’ve got my own army, you know. Eight thousand and counting.”
The other demons snickered at this. Law couldn’t really tell if Usopp was joking or not. “Well… I don’t need an army. I just need someone competent to help me take this guy down.”
Sanji nodded thoughtfully. “Doflamingo… I haven’t heard much about him. Why do you want to take him out?”
Law found he could only stare blankly at Sanji for a moment. “Because… he’s… a crime lord.”
The demon just shrugged, apparently not satisfied with that answer. “Eh, I guess it’s not my job to question these things. What’s your plan?”
“I said I’d kill him, but Torao doesn’t want me to.” Luffy crossed his arms over his chest. “Apparently we have to do this the human way.”
“So then why did you summon a demon to do a human’s work?” Zoro rolled his eye. “And I thought you were smart.”
“I need all the help I can get.” Law said stiffly.
“So then why not call up your friends?” Nami suggested. “Surely you have those?”
Law glared at her. “I don’t want to involve my friends in something as dangerous as this.” Plus… sure, he had friends: people he’d met in college, coworkers, stuff like that. But He’d lived his whole life trying to keep from making any strong attachments to other people. He’d go out for drinks with some friendly students after school, but he wouldn’t invite them over to his shitty apartment and share his tragic backstory.
So… maybe he didn’t have friends. At least, not ones that would help him take down a crime lord. Certainly not ones that would summon demons with him. If he’d mentioned that to Shachi or Penguin, they’d probably just take him to the hospital for a broken brain.
“Okay, okay, can you just tell us the plan now?” Luffy cut right through Law’s internal tangent. “I’m kinda bored with all this meet and greet stuff.”
Law resisted the urge to run his hand down his face. Maybe this had been more trouble than it was worth.
“Doflamingo runs a crime syndicate based on trafficking various items. He sells weapons, drugs, even people. He supplies some of the worst criminals known to man.” Law plants his fist in his palm. “I want to cut off his trafficking supplies. His employers will castrate him and we won’t take any of the blame.”
“Seems like it would be easier for me to just kick his ass.” Luffy huffed.
Law grit his teeth. “The goal here is to stay as far away from Doflamingo as possible. He’s insanely powerful.”
Zoro snorted. “Sure. But he’s only human.”
“I wouldn’t underestimate him. He’s been the undefeated king of the underworld for as long as anyone can remember. He practically owns the city.” Law faced Zoro with a steely gaze. “He’s dangerous .”
Nami cleared her throat. “What supply are you planning on cutting off?”
“Preferably the humans. That’s his biggest business, and his employer is even more dangerous than him. We’d be taking out two birds with one stone.” Law felt himself slipping into planning mode – meeting all these people who were very much not human had definitely taken a toll on his mental facilities, and retreating into a cold, calculating mindset would help him relax. “As long as we can take out his human trafficking route, we’ll be set.”
Usopp snorted. “Do you have any idea how to do that?”
Law nodded. “I know where Doflamingo finds his stock. He’s a scientist named Caesar Clown. Caesar keeps to himself a lot, but has a huge compound far away from the city. I know he and Doflamingo are working together, and I recently learned that that’s where Doflamingo gets his human supply from.”
“So we kill Caesar?” Luffy asked hopefully.
“… No. We kidnap him.” Law narrowed his eyes. “What is with you and killing?”
“We’re demons. It’s in our nature.” Zoro answered for him.
“Not true! I have no interest in killing people!” Nami reprimanded the stone man. “I’ve got more important things to do.”
“Yeah, stealing from them,” Zoro raised a brow as he turned back to Law. “Point is, we like the simplest solution.” He grinned. “And usually the solution with the most danger.”
“Well, the simplest solution here will get me killed.” Law responded irritably. “I have a plan. Just follow it.”
“I like the least dangerous solutions.” Usopp pointed out unhelpfully. “You got one of those?”
“I already made the deal with him, so let’s just do what he says.” Luffy shrugged, interrupting the argument. “Means we get to spend more time up here anyways!”
Zoro nodded silently, conceding to Luffy’s opinion.
For just a moment, Law wondered why that was. Zoro was such a larger demon, and probably much more powerful. If all Luffy could do was stretch, it didn’t seem like he could beat this rock monster in a fight. But Zoro listened to his word as if it were gospel.
“How do you plan on getting close enough to this Clown guy to kidnap him?” Sanji asked, packing up the empty lunchbox Luffy left on the coffee table. “Seems he’s pretty hard to get to.”
“Not for me.” Law smiled smugly. Finally, something was going the right way. “I managed to squeeze my way into his workplace as a medical assistant. For all intents and purposes, he’s a great doctor. But he doesn’t have time to do every procedure with his own hands.”
“Meaning…” Luffy tilted his head, a little confused-looking. Law avoided thinking about how it almost made him look like some kind of puppy.
“Meaning that five nights of the week, I have access to Caesar’s labs, where I’m supposed to be operating on people.”
Law didn’t actually have a medical license. If anyone found out about their arrangement, Caesar would be arrested, and Law would be blacklisted. While it was one way of solving the problem… it would be too easy for Doflamingo to access Caesar even in prison, while Law would never be able to become a doctor.
But he was a brilliant surgeon, and Caesar knew that.
He had sought Caesar out himself and demonstrated his skill. Within the week, he was helping the scientist with his research by sitting in on procedures and learning what Caesar wanted him to do. He was soon promoted to the status of “lead researcher”, which basically meant that he was allowed to do the procedures while Caesar watched and took his own notes. What he was researching, Law wasn’t entirely sure. He didn’t think it had anything to do with Doflamingo though, so he didn’t mind the unethical consequences of these procedures too much. They weren’t very invasive, usually just a peek into the chest cavity, but Law never noticed anything wrong or out of the ordinary. Caesar was the one who knew what he was looking for.
But he was sometimes asked to do other things. Give test subjects certain drugs and watch how they react. Study different blood samples. Check genealogy reports. Some of these duties he was tasked with seemed relatively normal for a human trafficking business, but some parts of it were… odd.
Unfortunately, Law didn’t have much room to question. He needed to be able to access the facility. If he stained his soul black while doing it, well. Maybe it’d be a nice garnish for the demon that was going to eat it.
If Luffy was going to eat his soul, anyways. The demon had just said “You owe me a meal,” but did he mean some sort of dinner date or did he mean Law’s soul served up on a platter?
“So are the rest of us just allowed to waltz right on in, or…” Nami waved her hand in front of Law’s face, breaking his spell. “ You have a way in. The rest of us might get noticed.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll be able to sneak you in.” Law said, trying to sound as confident as possible. He hadn’t thought out that part of it, but he’d come up with something.
Luffy nodded excitedly. “Okay, when are we doing this?”
Law bit his lip. This was really happening. “Tomorrow night. I need to get everything ready.”
He was really going to do this. Finally, after so many years, he was going to get his revenge. And his chances of success rested entirely on the shoulders of this cute, cheeky rubber demon.
… Let’s face it. He was going to die.