He stands there on the docks staring at where Croco had been a moment before. He doesn’t understand?
Everything had been fine a little while ago.
It had been better than fine.
He'd thought that...
That maybe now.
Just a little while ago they’d been smiling and laughing and planning, they'd been making so many plans together.
He doesn’t know when he’d been so happy.
He...he didn't even look at him, why wouldn't he look at him?
What did he do wrong?
He doesn’t move for a while when he finally does turn, Croco’s ship is sailing away in to the distance and all he can do is stare after it…
He remembers standing on the shoreline watching another ship sail away his hand still touching his cheek trying to burn the kiss into his memory.
Why…does he always seem to just watch him leave…
When he first meets him he got punched in the face.
He’d been cocky and taunting, he was the head of the Donquixote family, he had conquerors Haki he was a celestial dragon the blood of gods he was the most powerful person there was...
He can’t remember what he said.
What he does remember is being on his back glasses askew as he stares up at the glaring gorgeous face.
“Listen up you little brat! I’m not that old man’s kid in fact I’m nothing to that asshole and my name is Crocodile and I'm going to be king of the pirates!”
He just sits there stunned as he watches the other turn on his heel and storm off.
That’s the first time he meets him and the first time he thinks ‘I want to marry him’
The second time they meet he get's again.
Same for the third.
The forth time he says something he doesn't think he's ever said before
He still get's punched.
"come on brat"
He looks up at the outstretched hand and smirking face.
'I definitely want to marry him'
He remembers watching whitebeards crew, hearing them calling Corco another name, the wrong name, a name that makes him flinch and cringe every time they call him it.
When he corrects the man he keeps being told he doesn't know what he's talking about...that he's wrong...that he's not him.
He sees the tears of frustration and anger in the other’s eyes and feels pure hate for the yonko.
“I can kill him” he offers “Me and my crew we’ll kill him if you want”
The other looks at him with red eyes but his offer makes a small smile tugging at his lips “thanks for offer but” his eyes turn dangerous and dark and even more beautiful “If he’s going to die I’ll be killing him myself”
That’s the first time he thinks that the feeling in his chest may be love.
He remembers watching the whitebeard pirates fighting some Marines, he slips away leaving Trebol and the others commenting on how to defeat the pirates what their weaknesses may be.
The only person in that crew he was interested in wasn’t there, and there’s no point figuring out how to kill the old man after all he’s not going to be the one to kill him.
He finds Croco in a small hidden cove on the island.
He sees the low ranking marine near him and…
He watches the two of them laughing and Corco smiling…
Everything seems to go green and red at the same time.
All he remembers is anger and jealously and trying to punch the jackass in the face.
“Dragon’s not the at bad he doesn’t even want to be a marine”
He doesn’t care.
He remembers the way Croco looked at that jackass…
Even now he really wishes that he’d punched him.
He remembers asking time again for him to join his crew.
Every time he get's a smile and ruffled hair but the other never says yes.
“If you want her to join our crew Doffy we can make her” He remembers Trebol saying.
That was first time he probably used his conquers haki on the man.
Trebol didn’t mention it again.
He still hovers when Doffy runs off to see Corco hints that they should leave the Island they've been here long enough they have plans.
He won't though not while Croco's still here.
The sea's large...he may not see Croco for a long time when they finally...he wants as much time as he can get.
They will see each other again, he's sure of it.
He can't imagine never seeing him again after this.
He just can't.
He remembers sitting on the beach Croco sitting next to him smiling and laughing and….oh.
This is love then.
He remembers a kiss on his cheek a small smile and he can barely hear what’s said next from the sound of his heart beating double time in his ears.
“Guess you’ll just have to grow up and prove it then”
He will he promises himself he will
All he can do it watch the person he loves walk away…while promising himself he won’t let it happen again.
Next time they'll be standing side by side.
Guess he was wrong about that….
But he doesn’t know why.
What did he do?
He can’t think about anything else as he leaves, he’s stuck in a circle of questions and memories.
He’s drowning in them and can’t pull himself out.
In another world, Dofalmingo wouldn’t be thinking about this, in another world Crocodile doesn’t become a Shichibukai until years later and he doesn’t have these thoughts.
In another world when he arrives on Minion Island less than a week later he shoots without a second thought.
In this world as he points a gun at his brothers chest a thought slips through the clouds of rage and betrayal and he remembers.
"One of my brothers” Crocodile says when they’re sitting in the forest staring up at the night sky through the canopy of trees “he’s called me my name before not what everyone else calls me…but he keeps stopping whenever…whenever the old mans around” he curls his arms around his legs “I think if it was just him…if it was just them that they…they might let me be me”
Doflamingo frowns at that “but…would you let them?” Croco blinks up at him eyebrow raised “I mean they’ve none of them have stood up for you they’ve sided with that old jerk so would…would you really let them…why would you after that? Don’t you want them to pay like that man?”
Crocodile looks thoughtful before giving a hollow laugh “well they’d have to have a damn good reason and…your right” he sighed leaning back against the tree “I don’t know if I would forgive them…I don’t know if I could…maybe not even if they have a good explanation but” he paused seeming deep in thought before nodding “yeah…I don’t want them to…I mean if I had the chance to really hurt the old man I would but…I wouldn’t do it to them” Crocodile stared back up at the sky seemingly mulling over the revelation he’d just had.
“Even after everything?” Doflamingo asked, he didn’t know why he wouldn’t just kill them, make them pay for what they did.
Crocodile just nodded not looking at him “yeah…they’re my brothers” he paused eyes getting a wet tinge “I just…I wish they saw me as their brother to”
The conversation ended there, only the sound of wind brushing through the trees permeated the silence between them, he leaned against the others lightly shaking shoulders…his hand resting on top the others and fingers curled together.
The hand on the gun moves the aim shifts just slightly…
The bullet hits the throat.
Not the chest.
He leaves him bleeding out in the snow; he’s as good as dead already.
His head is to full thoughts and memories and questions.
He doesn’t need to memory of his brothers dying moments in there to.
He doesn’t see Law climb out of the chest and sob holding Rosinate’s hand.
Doesn’t see his bother pass out due to blood loss.
Doesn’t see Law sob even harder thinking the man his father in all but blood is dead, his second family lost.
No one see’s Law run off before the marines arrive.
He doesn’t see Rosinate being attended by the marines medics who rush him back to the ships.
He’s long gone before all that back on his ship, lost in his thoughts.
In the years that come whenever he see's Crocodile he feels his heart swell every time without fail, it only gets worse when their eyes lock or their hands brush.
And it breaks every time without fail when the other turns away and moves away.
Always walking away.
He still doesn’t know why?