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Youthful Years

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In his first year at Hogwarts, when his turn finally came to be sorted, Law was a hatstall.

Suffice to say, he was rather embarrassed to be sitting there for an agonizing seven minutes that seemed to go on forever, during which the battered old Sorting Hat couldn't seem to decide whether to send him to Ravenclaw or to Slytherin.

'Pureblood, hmm?' it said. 'You are certainly ambitious, but your thirst for knowledge is equally impressive. I wonder... with your background, perhaps the eagle would serve you best, however...'

'I don't care which one you put me in,' he snapped at last, starting to grow impatient. He'd witnessed his fellow first years sorted in just a minute or two, sometimes even within seconds, like the green-haired boy before him who'd barely touched the hat before it had shouted “GRYFFINDOR”—there was no reason for this damned hat to be so difficult with him. 'Just decide already.'

'Oh? You seem have big plans for the future, lad. Don't you want to be sorted in the House that can take you where you want to go?'

'It doesn't matter,' Law insisted stubbornly. 'Whatever House you put me in, I'll find a way.'

There was a pause, his fingers clenching around the edges of his stool, before the Sorting Hat finally opened its mouth and bellowed:


“You're a bit of a loner, aren't you? Rosinante told me as much.”

Law tried edging away from his ridiculously tall Charms Professor when long fingers squeezed into his shoulder, keeping him put.

“If you want to call it that,” he replied, frowning at the hand on his person, and Doflamingo's grin only widened.

Law didn't understand what he'd done to deserve this creepy private talk, since his charmswork had been excellent during class—he wished Corazon hadn't mentioned him to his brother at all. What was the word he'd used to describe Donquixote Doflamingo, again?

Oh, right. Insane.

“Here's a heads up, kid,” the head of his House said, other students who were ambling out the classroom giving them curious glances as they passed by. “Slytherins don't like weak links, and right now, you're a weak link. If I were you, I'd change that before they swallow you whole.”

“A weak link?” Law repeated, narrowing his eyes in displeasure. “How am I a weak link?”

Doflamingo leaned back against his desk, crossing his arms with a mocking smile. “Well now, Trafalgar, if you can't even figure that out, then perhaps I overestimated your potential.”

The young student remained silent for a moment, lips pressing into a thin line, before he snatched his bag off the ground and walked out without another word, the Professor's laughter following him all the way out.

Law decided that he didn't like Doflamingo. At all.

 “Up.” The broom flew into his hand on his first try, which was fortunate for him considering Buggy was yelling at all the students that failed to do so, some of which were his Housemates. The girl next to him, for example—Nami—only managed to get her broom to roll around on the grass, the object refusing to lift into her hand.

Law wasn't sure whether it was because he had an innate talent for flying (that was doubtful since Quidditch didn't interest him in the least) or because he simply had more focus or control of his magic, but he didn't have the slightest intention of taking off into the air. As far as he was concerned, this class was a waste of time.

“Pathetic, the lot of you!” Coach Buggy shouted, giving off the strong impression that he either hated his job, liked to scream at nervous children, or perhaps both.

“Law,” Nami hissed, glancing at Buggy anxiously as the man paced around on the field, starting to holler at a long-nosed Gryffindor now who looked like he was about to pee his pants. So much for bravery. “How did you do it?”

He was about to reply that he really didn't know why it had worked for him but didn't for her, when a commotion in the row of students across from their own row distracted him.

“It's not Usopp's fault you're a terrible teacher,” another Gryffindor was snarling at Buggy—Roronoa. “Stop bullying him.”

“Ten points from Gryffindor!” Buggy howled, face turning almost as red as his nose.

Now a blond-haired Hufflepuff next to Roronoa became incensed, both of them flanking Usopp and glaring the flying coach down. “You can shove those ten points up your--”

“Watch it, Blackleg!”

Law heard Nami sigh. “Those idiots are going to get themselves into so much trouble.”

“Do you know them?” he inquired curiously, and she opened her mouth to reply, when a yell drowned it out.

“Stop messing with my friends, YOU BIG NOSE!”

Complete silence engulfed the field as all eyes fixated on the arguably suicidal Gryffindor boy next to Roronoa. Law didn't know his name, but figured it didn't matter—he was a dead man either way, if Buggy's murderous glare was anything to go by.

“You dare...” The man's voice was shaking from the rage clearly boiling underneath his skin. “YOU LITTLE—”

The boy, broom firmly in hand, dodged the grabby hands that had reached for his shoulders and started running across the field, his friends cheering and whooping, quickly joined in by all other students save for the Slytherins.

Law watched in fascination, wondering what the boy could possibly be up to and thinking it strange that he didn't know the name of such a colourful figure, when the boy mounted his broom and shot himself up into the air like an arrow. Buggy, who had been chasing the boy, started cussing up a storm as the boy flew.

Everyone was awed for the briefest moment before they exploded into applause—except for Law, who watched in silence, mesmerized. The boy's jubilant laughter cut through the noise of the clapping as he flew a wide circle around the field, hands letting go of his broom and arms spreading wide, looking as free as a bird, eyes shining with life in the sunlight.

Law looked at Nami, whose eyes were glued on the boy as well, and tapped her shoulder to get her attention. She barely managed to tear away her gaze from the skillfully flying Gryffindor, looking at her fellow Slytherin questioningly. He only had one thing to ask her, really.

“What's his name?”

His reputation as a loner continued well into his second year. The only real friend he had within his own House was Nami, who seemed entirely undeterred by his stoic personality—there were others, like Penguin, who was in Ravenclaw, and Shachi and Bepo, both Hufflepuffs, but aside from them, he never put forth a real effort to fit in with the other Slytherins and didn't care about his status as an outsider either.

He was in Hogwarts to study, not to make nice with the other students. If he needed a favour from someone, he'd just find a way to blackmail them or otherwise talk them into it. Friends were a triviality, and he had little interest in his fellow witches and wizards.

Though perhaps there was at least one person worth looking into; one particular Gryffindor who had him captivated whenever he kicked up a storm during classes, thundering through the corridors and quickly building up a reputation for himself, which differed greatly depending on who you asked.

If you asked Law, for instance, he would tell you that Luffy was the most interesting person in their year.

Asking his fellow Slytherins, however, would yield a much more negative result.

“Look at this punk,” Bellamy sneered in the middle of the hallway, him and his little lackeys having found the Gryffindor by himself on a rare occasion, cornering the boy. “What's wrong? No friends around to protect you?”

Law stood among the small crowd that had gathered around, watching, debating—should he interfere? It wasn't his fight, but Bellamy was one of his Housemates. As much as he couldn't care less about Slytherin itself, whenever a fellow acted like this, it reflected badly on him as well.

“Hey, move out of the way already!” Luffy replied, appearing entirely unconcerned with the group's threatening posture and instead nervous about something else. “If I'm late for Transfiguration again, I'll definitely get detention this time!”

“Tch, what, you think you can just order us around?” Bellamy retorted angrily, and turned to his friends. “This guy thinks he owns the school just because his brother is Mr. Big Shot over in Hufflepuff!”

Law didn't miss the tension that lined up in the Gryffindor's shoulders, taking note even of the most minute shift of expression.

“Don't badmouth Ace.”

This was the first time Law had seen him look so serious, and he found that he couldn't look away. Bellamy seemed to completely miss the underlying threat in Luffy's voice, and continued jeering.

“Ha, as if you could stop me. Everyone knows that guy is nothing but a faker who wishes he had pure blood like we do; he's a worthless, talentless, good-for-nothing mudbl

A fist crashed and cracked on bone, and a collective gasp went through the crowd. Law found himself moving in front of the Gryffindor before Bellamy's friends could draw their wands on Luffy, whose knuckles were now smeared in blood, an infuriated look colouring his face.

Expelliarmus,” Law casually disarmed all three other Slytherin students without hesitation, ignoring the shocked looks that followed.

The way he saw it, Slytherin House had a bad reputation amongst all the other Houses. Whether it was justified or not, the fact of the matter was that they were unpopular. Over the course of the months he spent in Hogwarts, he had finally discovered what Doflamingo had meant with that little talk they had near the start of his first year. The man had cautioned him to make allies and connections, which would be more than useful later in life—though he had been talking about his fellow Slytherins.

Law, however, had no interest in that. He had decided that the real connections worth making were in other Houses, who were moving forward while Slytherin was stuck in its old ways, obstinately traditional. Luffy, in particular, would become a force to be reckoned with in the wizarding world, he could tell that much already. If there was any side to take that would end up being most beneficial for him in the long run, it was certainly Luffy's side.

His personal interest in the charismatic whirlwind of a boy, of course, had no bearing on his decision. Or so he'd like to think.

“Trafalgar!” Bellamy cried as he was hoisted up by the arms by his friends, holding his nose. “The hell do you think you're doing?!”

“That's my line,” Law replied coolly, keeping his wand aimed on the group in front of him. “Bullying someone in broad daylight? You're a complete embarrassment to our House.”

“Why you—!”

Law ignored him and finally turned around to face the boy whom he'd just practically betrayed his own House for. He didn't know what he expected, but the bright grin he was given wasn't it.

“Thanks!” Luffy beamed at him, and he shrugged awkwardly, not knowing what to say in the face of that blindingly sunny look.

“I wasn't doing it for you,” he responded, putting his wand back in the pocket of his jeans and avoiding Luffy's eyes, instead watching Bellamy shoot him a venomous glare as his friends ushered him away, and the crowd slowly started breaking up around them.

“Still, that was really cool, you know! How you disarmed those guys and all.” Law shrugged again, and started walking towards his next lesson. Luffy followed him. “You're Law, right?”

The Slytherin almost stopped in his tracks at that, giving Luffy a long look. He hadn't much expected the boy to know his name either—sure, he was almost always among the top of his classes, but because of how laid-back he was during the lessons, he usually didn't receive much attention.

“How do you know my name?”

Luffy smiled and shrugged playfully, mimicking Law. “Do you know mine?”

“Luffy,” Law answered without thinking, feeling a bit embarrassed when Luffy chuckled. He'd been watching the Gryffindor during their shared classes a bit more than could be considered platonic; there was just something magnetic about Luffy, but he didn't need to know that.

“Yeah, it's Luffy,” the boy said cheerfully, and suddenly linked his arm around Law's. “Let's be friends, Law!”

Law suspected he didn't have a choice in the matter, and so he remained silent.

 It was discovered early on that Law wasn't the only friend Luffy had made this way. In fact, most of his current friends had bonded with him over similar situations, and none of them had been given a choice either. It made Law feel a bit better, but also a bit worse.

Luffy, in fact, attracted many people to him, and through him, Law got to meet those people as well. His ridiculously popular brother, Ace, was one of them.

“He's really taken a liking to you, huh?” the fifth year said, having taken a seat next to Law in the Quidditch stands, watching his brother practice with his team.

Luffy had quickly been selected as a new Seeker the moment his second year had started, wildly talented in flying as he was. Currently, he was taking a playful shot at Zoro with the Quaffle he'd snatched from another teammate, who smacked it away with his wooden club and hit it through the ring.

Law, who had a book on his lap, looked up, a bit startled. “Has he?” he responded vaguely, ignoring the stuttering of his heart beat.

Portgas gave him an incredulous look. “Are you kidding me? He won't shut up about you half the time. It's always Law this, Law that, Law is so smart, Law is so cool—you haven't noticed?”

“Oh,” Law blinked, looking over at Luffy, now flying around carelessly through the air, unbothered by the scolding he was receiving from his Captain, Eustass Kidd. “No, not really.”

Luffy flew passed the stands, and waved. Law assumed he was waving to his brother, so he didn't return the gesture. Luffy's grin disappeared and he shot a frown his way.

The Hufflepuff next to him elbowed him lightly in the side, making Law flinch. “Hey, he was waving at you just now, you know.”

“He was?” Law looked from Portgas, who was arching his eyebrows at him, to Luffy, who was circling around the field and doing all sorts of wild stunts and flips on his broom. Between every somersault or trick he'd glance in their direction. Law didn't understand it.

Why would Luffy be trying to impress him, instead of his brother?

“Sheesh,” Portgas sighed. “You two are hopeless!”

It was hard to disagree.

“I don't get it!”

It was late, and the Library was about to close, but Luffy still didn't understand the theory behind Transfiguring a snake into a purse, and Law was trying not to become distracted by the way Luffy's eyes gleamed in the candlelight.

“That's because you're not reading it properly,” The Slytherin patiently pointed to the textbook on the table in front of them. “Wand power multiplied by concentration, divided by bodyweight, which is—”

He heard a yawn from beside him, and a moment later a weight pressed down against his shoulder, a mop of black hair in his peripheral vision.

“Which is?” Luffy murmured when Law couldn't finish his sentence, having forgotten entirely what he'd been about to say. It was difficult to breathe when all he could smell was Luffy's hair.

“Which...” He smelled like grass from the Quidditch field. “Which is...” Law never realized how much he liked that scent.

Luffy lifted his head off his friend's shoulder, and gave him a curious look. “Hey, you're all red.”

The words were stuck in his throat. That seemed to happen a lot when Luffy was around lately.

“Let's... let's end this here for today,” he finally managed to mumble, suddenly finding the scratches on the edge of their table incredibly fascinating. “It's getting late.”

Later that night, when it was time to go to sleep, Law found that it was impossible.

The scent of freshly cut grass still lingered.

 In their third year, as strong as his disinterest for going outside was, somehow he always found himself dragged away to Hogsmeade for the weekends. He never had the heart to refuse—Luffy would smile in that way of his that was irresistible, and Law would find himself trudging even through the thickest layer of snow, just because Luffy wanted to refill his stash of candy for the week.

Usually they were accompanied either by Luffy's friends or Law's, but sometimes, it was just the two of them, and if Luffy wanted to share his Cauldron Cakes with him, then Law had no objections.

“You look cold,” the Gryffindor remarked on their way back to the castle as he munched on a Liquorice Wand.

“And whose fault is that?” Law replied wryly, trying to suppress his shivers. “You didn't let me go back to my dorm to get a thicker jacket.”

Luffy grabbed his wrist, making him stop, and took off his gold-and-red scarf, throwing it over Law's neck and wrapping it around him tightly. Law was speechless, touching on the scarf as if it was as fragile as porcelain, the warmth inexplicably returning to his body with the burning feeling on his cheeks.

“Better?” Luffy asked with a slight furrow between his brows.

The Slytherin was quiet for a moment, before pulling the scarf up over the lower half of his face. “I hope you know that this is mine now.”

Luffy laughed brightly, and resumed walking back towards the castle. He never got his scarf back after that—but he didn't seem to mind.

When even Corazon was starting to notice how much he was talking about Luffy in his letters during their fourth year, Law decided that he had a problem.

You sound like you have a bit of a crush on him, to be honest,” Nami read out loud, holding the latest letter he'd received from his mentor far out of reach. “Which is totally fine with me! I hope you know that no matter who you lo—“

Accio letter!” Law eventually snapped with a flick of his wand, and the paper was almost ripped out of Nami's hands, who nearly fell off the couch in the Slytherin common room trying to keep it in her grip.

“Hey, I was reading that!” she exclaimed indignantly, which Law met with a cold glare.

“You're too nosy.”

“Oh, please, as if you have anything to hide,” Nami huffed. “Everyone can see that you and Luffy are—”

“Friends!” Law snapped. “Just friends!”

She remained unconvinced.

 He vividly remembered the first time he managed to conjure up a solid Patronus successfully—it was an extra assignment he'd gotten from Shanks, seeing as how very little of the curriculum they were taught during Defense Against the Dark Arts that year was much of a challenge to him.

It was difficult to tell at first—the bird flew through his dorms in a large circle, impressing his fellows even in spite of their reluctance to give him any credit usually. They couldn't deny that he had a prodigious magical talent, after all.

Only upon close inspection did Law discover that his Patronus was, in fact, a crow. The same as someone else he knew.

Corazon was going to gloat about this for ages once he found out.

Crowds cheered in exuberance as the Gryffindor players stormed the field to embrace their Seeker, the Golden Snitch clasped firmly within his fist, his other hand holding the Quidditch Cup handed to him by Headmaster Newgate. Law simply watched and would've stayed in the stands at that had Nami not dragged him with her.

He felt like he had no real place by Luffy's side at that moment—why would the boy even look at him when he had his best friend carrying him on his shoulders, Zoro smirking up at Luffy and Luffy grinning back down at him?

Nami and he, as well as Portgas and a whole lot of Luffy's other friends whom he didn't care to look at, lingered at the side of the field as the Seeker was carried towards them.

Law was just one face among many waiting to congratulate him, and not the most important one either.

The thought stung, and while he should feel glad that Luffy was so happy with his victory, he couldn't enjoy the moment. Just as Luffy was put down and his friends and fans alike swarmed around him, Law couldn't bear sticking around for a moment longer, turning away when—

“Law!” A hand reached out to him, grabbing his—the Quidditch Cup was dropped, forgotten on the grass—and a moment later, he felt something round and hard pressed into his palm.

Luffy's smile was dazzling, but he was gone in a second, whisked away by more people trying to get his attention.

Law was left standing at the edge of the crowd, and looked down at the Snitch in his hand.

The same little ball Luffy had kissed upon capture.

 At the beginning of his fifth year, Shanks requested him to show his Patronus to the rest of his class as a preview of what would be part of their O.W.Ls. Law did as he was told, and was barraged by questions by his fellow students, asking him how he'd done it.

He replied with vague answers, repeating what Shanks had already explained, and said nothing further.

No one needed to know that the crow shone a little bit brighter at the memory of a gold-and-red scarf.

Sleeping became more difficult in his fifth year, all because of the dreams.

A breath on his lips, a soft chuckle in his ear, fingers trailing down his spine—he started putting up a Silencing Ward around his bed, after being teased with the noises he apparently made at night.

It didn't help with the dreams, though, which became progressively worse, or better, depending on how you looked at it.

Sometimes he'd wake up too early, and would shut the curtains around his four-poster bed with a flick of his wand, hand slipping into his shorts, too frustrated to wait it out.

During those moments, though, it was hard to pretend that the images floating in his head were just vague shapes and limbs not belonging to anyone in particular like in his dreams. It was hard to pretend that he wasn't fantasizing about a pair of warm brown eyes watching him while he touched himself, that the lean, naked body pressed to his didn't belong to a certain lionhearted boy with the most sunny smile.

It became a real issue when those dreams and images and fantasies bled into day-time; when Luffy was sitting next to him in the Library, head shifted just so, exposing the skin on his neck as he read a passage from a book.

Law's mind would deviate completely—what if he reached over and kissed him there, on the crook of his neck, just now? How would Luffy respond? What would he do? Push him away, become disgusted with him, and break their friendship? The possibility was there, as small as it seemed, as friendly as Luffy was, as much as they'd toed this line. Law didn't know. He had no understanding of things like these; he was more comfortable just to let it be.

But what if he did throw it all in the wind and kissed him, just now, for a small second? What if he gambled it on the smiles, the looks, the scarf and the Snitch? And what if that gamble was a winning bet?

What if Luffy kissed back?

 Somewhere near the end of his fifth year, his Patronus turned from a crow into a monkey.

 “Well then, describe it to us,” Caesar, the Potions Professor urged Luffy impatiently as the rest of the class watched, the Gryffindor standing over a cauldron which was sitting on a table in the front of the classroom, emitting a spiraling steam.

Luffy didn't seem in a hurry, having eagerly volunteered to take a whiff of the infamous Love Potion, a big subject in their sixth year. Law was utterly fixated.

“It smells like meat,” the Gryffindor started with a grin. “But also like the sea, and kind of like my broomstick, and...” he trailed off.


Luffy turned around, and he looked at Law, eyes wide like he hadn't even expected it himself.

“It smells like you.”

There was jeering in the class, exasperated groaning and cooing alike, and then there was the sound of a book dropping on the floor, slipped out of a tan hand, footsteps, Luffy calling out—

Law slammed the door of the classroom shut behind him.

“You can't keep avoiding him forever,” Penguin pointed out very reasonably, to which he was rewarded with a glare as the two wandered the grounds of Hogwarts, early spring and sunny outside on a Sunday afternoon.

“Want to make a bet?” Law replied sardonically, twisting the Golden Snitch around between his fingers.

“I don't get it,” the Ravenclaw continued, ignoring his friend's remark. “He likes you. He's crazy about you. He's in love with you. This should be like a dream come true.”

“I don't have time for things like dating,” Law muttered irritably. “I'm only here to study, nothing else matters. You know I promised—”

“Yes, I understand that!” Penguin frowned at him. “Really, I admire you for trying your best for them, but don't you think they'd want you to live your own life as well?”

“Don't act as if you know anything,” Law snarled at last, stopping in his tracks to face his friend with an intense glower. “I told my parents I'd make them proud, and that's what I intend to do. I swore to Lami that I...” The words were stuck in his throat, and he fell into silence.

Penguin merely sighed, shaking his head. “They're dead and gone, Law. You still have a life worth living. What are you so afraid of?”

He had no reply for that.

 “What the hell do you think you're doing here?”

Roronoa Zoro blocked the way to the portrait hole like an angry bodyguard. Law had been to the Gryffindor common room so many times in the past after Luffy always dragged him there that he almost knew it as well as his own.

“I'd like to talk to Luffy.”

Zoro, hair clashing so terribly with his House colours, glared at him with such ferocity Law was half-convinced it was a genuine attempt at boring a hole through his head. “Like hell you are.”

“This has nothing to do with you,” Law responded coldly to match the Gryffindor's hot anger, eyes narrowing sharply.

“You got any idea how hard you fucked him over?” the Beater snapped harshly, undeterred. “Beat it, asshole.”

“I don't know what your problem is, but you best move aside now, Roronoa.”

“Or what? You gonna try and make me?”

There was a brief pause.

Hands reached, wands pointing, two curses shouted—one hit Zoro in the chest and sent him flying against the wall, head smacking against brick. The other cut across Law's shoulder, leaving a deep gash. Within seconds several Gryffindors were pouring out of the common room, some that had been lingering on the stairs watching even drawing their wands on Law, who quickly realized how suicidal he'd been in coming here all by himself and try to force his way through.

He had to talk to Luffy, though—he couldn't take this distance anymore. No more outings to Hogsmeade, no more Luffy trying to impress him with his tricks during Quidditch practice, no late-hour studying sessions, no more smiles, no more looks, no more Luffy.

Law had made the decision to cut him out of his life, and now he found himself bleeding, feeling like he was missing a vital organ.

“The hell do you think you're doing, Trafalgar?!”

“Someone get Shanks!”

“I knew he was just like the rest of them.”

“Yeah, you really can't trust a Slytherin.”

Zoro scrambled up from the ground, holding the back of his head and appearing dazed. Law's wound was starting to stain red in his clothes. If they continued this fight, it was going to get potentially lethal. Roronoa had never liked him much, and the feeling had been mutual—this, however, was a whole new level of animosity.

As much as he wanted to talk to Luffy, though, and set this right, he recognized when he was fighting a losing battle. Being watched warily by Roronoa, Law put his wand back in his pocket in defeat.

“Fine,” Law ignored the searing pain in his shoulder. “I'll go.”


His eyes darted to the figure climbing out of the portrait hole, and his heart skipped a beat, his world spinning and revolving around that one person in an instant, as if he'd found his centre again.

“Luffy,” Law's voice almost cracked, and he was almost wondering if this was really happening. If he really was getting this second chance to get it right. “I—”

“You're hurt.”

Law blinked. “What?”

“Your shoulder,” Luffy said as he approached him with a slight frown, looking at the wound. He pulled his wand out and poked it, ignoring Law hissing in pain. The Gryffindor glanced over his shoulder, to where Roronoa was standing, watching cautiously. “You got him good, huh?”

Roronoa—the smug bastard—merely smirked.

“Luffy,” Law started, despite the light-headed feeling, despite the fluttering in his stomach, despite the smothering heat in his chest, “I have to—”

“Yeah, I know.” Luffy interrupted curtly as he grabbed Law's wrist and started tugging him to the stairs, much to Roronoa's dismay, though he didn't intervene. “You can apologize in the infirmary, okay?”

This... he didn't understand this.

Why was he acting so nonchalant about it? Law had practically ignored his existence for the past few months after literally walking out on him during what was something of a spontaneous love confession in front of an entire classroom, just because he'd been a coward. Now he showed up this one time to apologize and without even hearing him out, Luffy forgave him? Just like that?

Law let the boy drag him all the way down wordlessly, neither of them speaking; Law because he didn't know what to say, and Luffy because he probably didn't think it necessary.

Once they were in the infirmary, Kureha fixed him up in a flash while he sat down on one of the beds, the potion having kicked in and seeming to stitch his flesh back together. Truthfully, he could've healed it himself, but Luffy hadn't allowed him much of a chance.

“Does it hurt?”

Law looked up at Luffy, who was sitting on the edge of the bed opposite to him, watching the wound close up with some curiosity.

“A little,” the Slytherin admitted, the continuous stinging pain not the most pleasant feeling in the world. They fell into silence again. Law had to say he'd rather have the pain from his wound in tenfold than to endure this awkward tension between them (which seemed entirely one-sided on his part) any longer. He looked at the boy, who looked back, and took a deep breath. “Luffy, I'm sorry.”

“I know.” Luffy replied simply.

What... what was he supposed to say to that?

“So, what? Everything is fine now?” Law said with quite some sarcasm laced in his tone, which seemed to fly over Luffy's head.

“Yeah,” He smiled.

Law's head was spinning. “What is wrong with you?!” he exploded at last, frustrated beyond words. “I treated you like a piece of shit, I walked out on you and then pretended you didn't even exist for a while—how can you get over that so easily?!”

Luffy remained silent at first, standing up and walking over to hop onto the bed next to Law, who was watching him in a mixture of disbelief and anger, though that anger was entirely aimed at himself.

“Because,” Luffy said with a grin, “I figured you'd come to me eventually. Either to talk to me, or to return my scarf. And my Snitch.”

“You're unbelievable,” Law whispered, burying his face in his hands, feeling like he might actually drop dead from a stroke. This boy was unreal. He just-it wasn't-how could anyone like this exist?

Fingers wrapped around his wrists a few seconds later, pulling his palms away from his face, and Law had trouble remembering what function it was his lungs served again as Luffy leaned in close, and kissed him.

So simply, so easily, complete forgiveness. Just a kiss, a peck on the lips, as if it came naturally to him.

As if it was supposed to be like this.

Law gradually turned every shade of red known to mankind. Soft, chaste, like he'd imagined.

Yes, it was supposed to be like this, could've been like this much sooner if he hadn't been such a coward.

The Gryffindor looked at him expectantly, his huge grin accompanied by a slight flush on his cheeks that looked utterly endearing. Law sighed, as if he was breathing out all his doubts and anxiety, the tension seeping out of his bones, and pressed his lips against Luffy's forehead, maybe still a bit hesitant, still a bit shy, but Luffy merely chuckled, pleased even with that smallest of gestures.

Luffy, who seemed to have just known that Law needed time. Luffy, who forgave and embraced him so easily. Luffy, of whom he'd once wondered, what if he kissed back?

He never imagined that the real question should've been, what if he kissed first, all along.

 Seventh year was studying in the early mornings because they'd be too busy at night. Seventh year had kisses that tasted like fire and hands that burned even fiercer. Seventh year was names carved in the Whomping Willow that would remain there for decades after they'd left. Seventh year was sweeter than heaven, and far too short.

“What should we do, after graduation?” Law murmured, tracing an invisible pattern on Luffy's naked back, the boy lying on his stomach next to him, arms underneath his pillow. Being the Head Boy had its advantages—a private dorm, like this one, being one of them.

“Let's travel!” Luffy replied with a sleepy grin and squirmed slightly at the tip of Law's fingers ghosting over the curve of his lower back. “I always wanted to go to Egypt.”

“Just Egypt?”

“No, we'll start with Egypt, and then... then we'll... hey!” Law laughed as Luffy slapped his hand away when it wandered too low, a conflicted look on his face. He shifted to lie on his side, facing Law. “I'm trying to think, stop distracting me!”

“Are you sure you don't want to be distracted?” the Slytherin suggested as he wrapped an arm around the boy's waist, pulling him closer for a lazy kiss, Luffy humming in satisfaction before seeming to change his mind and parting slightly.

“But Egypt...” he protested half-heartedly against Law's lips.

“Egypt can wait,” Law replied with a smile. “And so can the rest of the world.”

Seventh year was the happiest year of all.