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Grief

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“She wouldn’t have wanted you to be sad.”

Doflamingo turned just in time to see a woman saunter up to him, her long beautiful leg slipping out of the slit of her dress momentarily with every step. Up close as she stopped to the right of him at the bar, Doflamingo could see the sympathetic yet cocksure smile she had on her face.

Doflamingo raised an eyebrow at her, then realized a beat too later in his slow, drunken mind that there was no way she could see it with his sunglasses in the way. Regardless, she must have understood the question, since after receiving her ordered drink from the barkeeper, she gestured to the drinks scattered around him.

"This looks a little like drinking to get drunk," she said, confidence in her voice and in her eyes. "You must have lost a loved one. I know how you feel."

"And?" Doflamingo replied, prompting for her to go on. His voice was raspy. It had been hours since he said anything beyond the name of his next drink. 

She smiled again, pity in her eyes and mischief at her lips. Extending a single manicured finger, she leaned closer into his personal space and teasingly traced the digit against his chest. "I can help you forget," she offered lowly like a secret, peering up at him through thick eyelashes. "Distract you for a few hours, how about that?"

Doflamingo tipped his head down to gaze at her and got more than an eyeful of expertly revealed cleavage.

Hook.

"Yeah?" Doflamingo said, feeling amusement blooming in his chest. He leaned down closer to her until the wide grin he felt pulling at his lips was in her face. "And how do you propose to do that?" he asked huskily, a hand at her waist.

Line.

She fluttered her eyelashes and, breath against his lips, promised, "Anyway you want it, for as long as you want." A hand over his and sliding both up over her curve to just below her breast. She shifted and her ample breasts jiggled. "For a price, of course," she said, smiling prettily.  

Sinker.

"Anything," he said, curving a hand around one of her breast, "huh." He caressed for a moment, noting the softness of it, the ache in his chest, and the smug smile the woman did nothing to hid. He thought about his smug smile for ruining Doflamingo's plan even at the moment of death, and then a sickening feeling spread through him.

Doflamingo let out a curt laugh and let go. "Fuck off," he said to the woman, turning back to the bar to gesture the barkeeper for another drink.

The woman stood there for a moment, stunned, before straightening angrily with a huff. "What is wrong with you? Here I am thinking of giving you a discount for a quick fuck. You'll feel better as soon as you do that instead of wallowing in self-pity. Just forget about her! There's so much more ladies out there!" she exclaimed, gesturing at herself as a prime example. "In what way do I not compare?"

Doflamingo paused mid-drink to look at her, watching her straighten and pose in a way that flattered all physical aspects of her, before bursting out laughing. In the background, he dimly heard the woman spluttering indignantly at his reaction, but that only made him laugh more and more until his chest was so tight that he could feel himself burst.

In the aftermath, he could feel the sting of his finger where the String Bullet left and the silence in the background that followed.

Silence.

And suddenly it was all that much more hilarious. Silence, Silence, the fucking Calm-Calm Fruit, Silence, his fucking brother Rosinante, silent forever now, because -

Doflamingo abruptly stopped laughing, even though he could still feel giggles bubbling in the back of his throat and the beginning of tears in the corner of his eyes, and looked up to see the whole bar staring at him, frightened and stunned. The woman from before was still there, petrified but still alive, his String Bullet missing her by a few inches in his drunken state when he fired.

"Hey, you, what was it that you said to me before?" he called out, feeling a manic grin spread across his face from ear to ear. She jumped at the realization that he was addressing her and turned paled. She stammered, offering apologizes and excuses, the confidence she had before all but gone. In his drunkenness, Doflamingo didn't care about that. He didn't have patience for her answer, not when he was so giddy that he just had to share what he was so amused about before. If she wouldn't answer, he would just have to answer for him, he concluded.

“’She wouldn’t have wanted you to be sad,’ you said,” he recounted with a laugh. "But you were wrong, woman, you’re so wrong about everything and you don’t even know it that it’s laughable, but especially about this. You see, he would have wanted me to be sad, would have cursed me to suffer with his whole being if he could." Doflamingo blinked, and the edge of his face felt wet. "At least, he should. After all," he laughed, smiling so wide that it hurt, the taste of salt so strong that it was bitter, "I did kill him."

And that was when the rest of the bar's occupant ran out.

Doflamingo didn't know how long he sat on the grimy floor of the bar until at last a shadow fell upon him. He looked up to see Senor Pink peering down at him.

"I got a few men to watch over this place in case someone wants to draw on your face while you slept," Pink said around his cigar, walking by Doflamingo to behind the bar. "Hope you don't mind."

"What are you doing here, Pink?" Doflamingo asked, wobbling to a stand on unsteady feet. He didn't need to look into Pink's eyes to know that the sight of Doflamingo stumbling on his feet was reminiscence of Roscinate's clumsy ways.

Pink shrugged as Doflamingo flopped into a seat at the bar. "What do you do in a bar?"

"Get pissed drunk," Doflamingo replied.

"You're on well on your way there, then," Pink said, his tone the epitome of neutrality. "What's next?" he asked, rolling up his sleeves.

Doflamingo blinked at the reply, before a short laugh escaped his throat. "Since when do you make drinks, Pink?"

"Never. I was hoping you'll tell me to make something easy."

Doflamingo snorted, before randomly pointing at a bottle on the shelf. "Just hand that over."

Pink passed one over and got himself one as well. Doflamingo decided to stop getting surprise at every single one of Pink's action, accepted his presence instead, and mused aloud, "What should we drink to, Pink?"

"Whatever you want, Doffy," Pink replied.

Doffy, he said, and recalled the first person who had ever called him that because he couldn't pronounce the name Doflamingo.

"Doffy," Roci beamed at him, young, innocent and smiling like the sun, an untarnished thing now lying six feet under rotting in snow.

Doffy's throat tightened for a moment, before he finally said, raising his bottle, "To Roci, my traitorous, little brother."

"Your brother," Pink said, clinking his bottle against Doffy's, a silent acknowledgement of Doffy's attachment to family and acceptance of his grief over Roci's death, even after his betrayal.

They drank to it.

xxx

When Senor Pink began wearing infant clothes after his wife was reduced to a vegetative state due to an accident and the subsequent loss of their child, anyone who dared to laugh at him, Doffy shot.