Categories > Anime/Manga > One Piece > The Life I Live

I Heard It Down The Grapevine

by I-Dont-Like-I-Obsess 0 reviews

Learning of Summer's escape from her prison, enemies in the shadows begin to act.

Category: One Piece - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor,Romance - Published: 2019-10-13 - 3528 words - Complete

An island somewhere

The highly classified research lab on Aspis was in chaos. Scientists and researchers searched through thousands of project and subject files. Papers piled up around their feet as each paper was read and quickly discarded. Frenzied shouting filled the research hall of the laboratory. The noise was of great disturbance to the Research Team Leader, Doctor Mundy.

The uproar in the hall below his office somehow managed to invade his soundproofed room. He kept the lights off and the air conditioning on full blast despite the already below freezing temperatures outside. Slouching back in his comfy desk chair, the haggard man slowly sipped his lukewarm coffee. He held his head in one hand and drank with the other, rereading that day's newspaper for perhaps the hundredth time.

His headaches had disappeared as soon as they had heard the news. The release of the newspaper after the 'War of the Best', as they were now calling it, had set the small lab into action once again. Preparations for tests and experimentations were being made as he sat in his cold office.

'So, it begins again.' The doctor mused to himself. He allowed a ghost of a smile to grace his lips, gazing down at the paper. Several pictures were taken of the bloody conflict and littered the front page, mostly showing the marines' 'victory.' These he held no interest in. No, his attention was rapt on one face in particular, the picture several pages into the paper. He closed his eyes in thought as he drank more coffee.

The noise down below persisted still. Before any major plans could be made, they had to find it first. Somewhere it laid waiting in that godforsaken paper pile of fruitless endeavors. For years it lay untouched, awaiting the day its subject returned. He could almost feel its yearning to be filled with information and discoveries.

'Files are not humans, Max. Do not think of them as such.' Doctor Mundy reminded himself, forcing his brain to think rationally and objectively.

"I found it! It's right here! Look, its here!" Loud shouts strained to be heard over the deafening voice of the crowd. Shouts of delight arose and clapping started up from the scientists. Several minutes later, the doctor heard footsteps approaching his office door. He waited patiently for the impending knock, uttered a calm 'come in' when it came, and watched as the younger scientist breathlessly entered.

The woman immediately went over to his desk and placed the manila file folder on top. A blood-red stamp of CLASSIFIED decorated the cover, as well as a long code. 711-A549: the subject identification number. Glancing up at the woman, Doctor Mundy looked her over carefully as he placed the coffee mug down on the desk. She had short brown hair, glasses and a beautiful smile. She was quite short, no taller than five feet, but she held herself high as she stood in front of him. Her name tag identified her as Dr. Margaret Kemp. He directed his gaze to the file she had placed there, slowly reaching for it.

Opening it carefully in front of him, it revealed several photographs of the subject and detailed accounts of the experiments performed. The woman's smile had faded, waiting expectantly for the doctor to address her. Doctor Mundy scanned over the contents for several minutes, not even acknowledging the woman's presence. She began wringing her hands out of pure nervousness. Why wasn't he saying anything? That was the right file wasn't it? Maybe she should have…

"You may go now, Margaret." She looked up at his voice, but his gaze was still affixed to the file. She nodded her head.

"Oh. Yes, sir." Quickly taking her leave, she breathed a sigh of relief as the door closed behind her. She went off to celebrate with the other researchers in the break room.

Doctor Mundy read every word of the documents over lovingly, reveling in every detailed response made by the subject. Even as he reached the end of the reports, his hunger was not sated. Closing the folder again, he calmly stood from his chair and faced the back wall.

There, his medical awards and certificates surrounded one paper that looked oddly out of place on the official-looking wall.

A wanted poster, severely worn from previous handling, was pinned in the middle. Mundy walked over and gently stroked the face, truly smiling for the first time in a long time. Distantly, he could pick up the cheers of the other scientists as they celebrated. He ignored them. His coffee was left forgotten on the wood desk behind him. He had eyes only for one.

"Summer, my dear. I can't wait to have you back home."

Somewhere in the New World

"Captain! These are the only survivors. We couldn't find anyone else." A crewman hauled over the last two survivors of the small town to the group of pirates. Behind him, the former village lay in ruins; buildings sported dozens of holes from the ship's cannons. Bodies littered the road. The two people, a young couple, were thrown onto the ground, terrified expressions fixed on their faces. Both were bound and gagged, much to the captain's delight. It always made it more interesting that way.

The girl whimpered as he sauntered over, a sound he truly loved to hear. Holding onto her arm and taking the gag from her mouth, he watched as she tried to shake herself free from him.

"Let me go! Please!" Her voice was filled with fear, causing the pirates around them to laugh darkly. The captain joined in as well. His grip tightened and she gasped in pain.

"Well now, why would I do something like that? The fun has only just begun!" He placed a foot on her chest and kicked her away. She was sent sprawling over towards the man, who watched the scene in disgust and fear. He looked around at his crew expectantly; all eyes were on him.

Smiling, he grabbed a bag of loot from the stacked pile nearby and began walking towards the ship. He spoke to the men over his shoulder. "Alright, you've waited long enough. Have your fun. But leave the man to watch. His pain is half the entertainment." Snickers and the sound of zippers arose behind him. The girl's cries made it all the more enjoyable.

"Captain." A call from the ship turned his attention above him. Standing on the bow was his first mate, holding the newspaper in his hand. He wore a wide grin, clearly happy about something.

"What is it?" Viper asked indifferently, neither happy nor angry that the crewmate was calling for his attention.

"I think you should see this." He tossed the paper down at him. Viper caught it easily. The front page proclaimed the supposed marine victory at Marineford, to which Viper had to chuckle.

"Marine victory, huh? Sure, if they can call that slaughter-fest a victory." The first-mate laughed as well.

"That's not all, though. Turn to page six." The captain did so, scanning the page carefully. His eyes landed on a certain wanted poster. His eyes widened in delight and he laughed out loud.

"Well, what do you know! It's about time!" He turned around to the crew, watching as the men had their 'fun.' The woman was an emotional wreck at this point, sobbing and squirming uncontrollably. The man strained against his bonds and the hands of his captives, fury overtaking him as he watched his partner's treatment. Suddenly wanting to get into action, Viper spoke up. "Enough fun for one night, we have a new objective!"

Grumbles were heard as they reluctantly moved away from the distraught couple, zipping their pants back up and looking curiously at the captain. He held the paper up to them.

"Our little friend is back in the world! It's been too long, don't you think?" The crew roared in agreement. "We leave in an hour! Gather the loot and get aboard! We're backtracking a little!"

"I'm fine! Quit touching me!" Summer swatted the medic's hands away as she sat on the edge of the bed in an attempt to stand on her bad leg. Law had given her painkillers before their conversation so she hadn't considered her injury a major problem. Now that they had worn off, the pain was almost unbearable. Despite her condition, the last thing she wanted to do was have to be dependent on the sadistic bastard's mercy in order to live. In her effort, she was determined to speed her recovery along and be mobile sooner than he had estimated, even if it meant facing the pain.

"Please sit down! If you move around too much you'll..." He began, but Summer pushed him away again.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'll just end up making it worse. You've told me. To be honest, I don't really give a shit if it gets worse. I refuse to be confined in this damn room any longer." Even in her anger, she didn't raise her voice to the man nor was she genuinely angry at him. Summer recognized that he was only following his orders from Law to watch over her in case she needed anything. Or to stop her in an event that she try to move. Such as this one.

But she had to get out of that room. Her fear of hospitals and anything to do with doctors was starting to affect her. The smell alone was giving her horrible flashbacks. Even in her hurry to get out, she took care to remain quiet.

Luffy was still recovering. His condition hadn't changed at all in the day and a half Summer had been in the infirmary. Law had come in to check on him several times over the course of the day, but nothing ever changed. She wasn't sure if she could count that as a blessing or a curse. Nevertheless, she didn't want to disturb his much-needed rest. That didn't stop her from resisting her confinement though.

"I just want to exercise it a little. Isn't that good for recovery? It's not like I'm setting out to run a marathon any time soon!"

"I'm sorry, but the captain said you needed bed rest until it was fully healed." He sighed, obviously not happy with having to keep her in the infirmary. She could tell he was getting tired of her arguing over it. At any other time, she might've felt bad. Right now, she didn't care.

"Just a walk in the halls. You can even come with me if you have to." He was wavering, stuck between helping the pleading young woman in front of him and facing his captain's wrath. "Please?" She added.

He eventually agreed to it, on the condition he accompanied her and held onto her arm the entire way. She reluctantly agreed to the second part.

'As long as it gets me out of that damn room.'

Stepping into the hallway was a blessing, even as she gritted her teeth from the excrutiating pain in her leg. The stench of disinfectant and metal instruments was behind her, though the alternative of sweat and machinery wasn't much better. Though she would take anything over the hospital smell she had been forced to endure while she was confined. It was pretty difficult to walk on her leg. It was worse than she thought it had been, but she would never admit that. Silently, she thanked the medic's support on her left arm as they took the hallway one slow step at a time.

"I never caught your name." She said, slightly startling the man beside her. She usually wasn't the one to initiate conversations. He cleared his throat before answering.

"Liam, Miss." His cheeks had a tinge of red coloring, most likely from embarrassment. He spoke very quietly, too. It became very apparent that he was shy by nature and found it difficult to talk to people directly. He didn't look her in the eyes, instead stared straight at the hallway ahead of them. She gave a small smile.

"You don't have to call me Miss, you know. Just call me Summer." It felt a little weird giving her real name, but Law already knew who she was and no doubt would have informed the crew eventually. Lying wouldn't do her anything at this point.

"Sorry, Mi...I mean, Summer. I'll try." They fell silent for a few minutes, but Summer was thinking rapidly.

'How does someone as polite as you end up crewmates with a sadistic doctor?'

"How did you end up joining this crew, Liam?" She asked without really thinking. He glanced at her, quickly shifting his eyes away as they met. His nervousness was getting worse.

"Well, I lived on this small island. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to study medicine so I could help people." He paused and swallowed thickly. "We weren't very rich and my parents didn't have enough to buy me the books or supplies I needed to study, so I would always have one from the local library."

Summer listened patiently, becoming genuinely intrigued by his story. As he spoke, his confidence grew and he visibly relaxed. "To earn a little extra, I fixed and cleaned ships in the harbor. Well, I brought one of those books with me that day. I kept reading it while I worked; it was really interesting. I was cleaning captain's submarine when he came back and saw me reading the medicine book. He asked me if I was interested in becoming a medic onboard so I could continue studying. Needless to say, I accepted."

"Don't you miss your family?" He shrugged.

"I needed to pursue my dream."

They had arrived back at the infirmary doors and Liam pushed it open for her. Slowly, they walked back to the bed and she gratefully accepted his help getting back up. Once she was situated, she looked back at him.

"Now I see. At first I couldn't understand how someone as kind as you followed someone as sadistic as Law." He blushed a deep red at her compliment but met her eyes for the first time as he spoke.

"Captain is a very kind-hearted person, most people just don't see it because he doesn't let them. Yes, he can be brutal but that's not the only part of him. You'll see." It was a very inspiring speech, but she doubted it. She answered with silence.

Liam glanced at the clock on the wall and straightened up. "I'm going to go get some lunch. Someone should be bringing you something to eat in a little while, alright?" She nodded and gave a small smile.

"Thank you for the walk, by the way. You pirates aren't all that bad." He smiled a little in return and left for the mess deck. She sighed when he was out of sight.

'Don't be getting attached, idiot. You have to leave them soon.' She had found herself warming up to the little crew, or the three or four people she had met so far. But with a captain like Law, there was bound to be a few creeps rallied behind him.

Summer had started to doze off when she heard the doors open. Her first thought was that Liam had come back from lunch, but the person's footsteps were different, almost silent. She opened her eyes and was shocked by what she was.

Walking towards her, carrying a tray of food, was a polar bear. More surprising was the bright orange jumpsuit he was wearing that bore the Heart Pirates jolly roger. Summer was left speechless as the bear came to stand beside her bed. It stared down at her in equal surprise.

"I brought you your food." It said. She widened her eyes.


"You can talk?" She asked. The bear had placed the tray on the side table, but when she spoke he looked down in depression.

"I'm sorry." He said gloomily. Summer was horrified at what she had done to him.

"No, no! Don't apologize. I was just surprised is all." Her hands waved back and forth rapidly in apology.

"I'm sorry." He said again. She sighed.

'He's a little sensitive, it seems.'

"What's your name, then?" She asked. He looked reluctantly at her.


"Well, Bepo. My name is Summer. A pleasure to meet you." She reached out and scratched behind his ear. Instantly, his eyes closed and he leaned into her hand. She smiled brightly and continued the treatment.

'He's so...adorable.'

"I assume you are here to bring me my food, right?" She asked after pulling her hand away. He looked disappointed at the loss of contact, but nodded nonetheless.

"Captain said you needed the proper nutrition to speed up your recovery." He said, gesturing to the silver tray.

It held a glass of water, a simple sandwich, an orange, and a piece of cake. She raised an eyebrow.

"Cake?" She asked.

"Casper likes sweet things. Casper is our cook." He added the second part when he noticed her confused look. Her face cleared as she understood.

She hesitantly took a bite of the sandwich, unsure as to what to expect of a pirate cook's food. She found it to be ok. Bepo sat with her while she ate. They didn't speak, but it was a companionable silence. As she drank the entire glass of water, she noticed Bepo sniffing her.

"Umm...what are you doing?" He immediately straightened and looked away shyly.

"It's smell really nice." Her mouth opened in surprise. Bepo hung his head again. "I'm sorry."

She gently patted his head. "Hey, it's alright. Don't be so sad about everything. And thank you, I'll take that as a compliment." He smiled up at her and she found she couldn't help but smile back. Bepo was absolutely adorable.

'And so soft...'

Bepo stood up quickly when he glanced at the clock. "I have to take this back to the kitchen. Captain's waiting for me." He began walking away but looked back at her. "Bye Summer." She raised her hand in a small wave.

"See ya, Bepo." When Bepo left, she slouched back against the bed. Meeting Bepo was nice, but she reminded herself not to get attached to them.

'Attachments create nothing but pain. Just think about a way off the sub once we get to a highly populated island, how to find Viper, how to get stronger, and quit thinking about Bepo's soft fur!'

No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't help but think of how warm and soft Bepo was. A smile came unbidden to her lips. Even disregarding her year in Impel Down, she hadn't felt that warmth in a long time.

Law leaned against the outside of the infirmary doors, waiting for Bepo to return. The encounter with that woman, Boa Hancock, left him in a foul mood. He was left wondering why such a person was ever given the title of Shichibukai in the first place.

'The woman's an absolute idiot.'

The doors finally opened, and the polar bear entered carrying an empty tray.

"She ate everything?" He asked, focusing on his patients instead of the infuriating pirate empress. The bear nodded.

"Yes, actually she ate everything very quickly." He smirked. The two began to walk side by side towards the mess deck.

"Captain, is she going to be joining the crew?" Law glanced up at his friend.

"As soon as her leg heals." The bear beside him smiled in response.

"That's good. I like her, she's nice."

This didn't surprise him. Anyone Bepo didn't perceive as a threat he had a tendency to like. She probably scratched his fur, which would give her high standings in Bepo's eyes. Law thought the conversation would end there, but the bear continued.

"She smells nice too. Like strawberries and the woods."

Law wasn't sure how to respond so he stayed silent.

" was strange. The entire time I talked to her, she looked happy. When I smelled her though, she smelled afraid, but not of us. She's afraid of someone else."

The bear fell silent after that, deciding that the captain was deep in his thoughts, which he was. Law, meanwhile, was mulling over this new piece of information. From appearance, she was fearless and indifferent. Well, he supposed everyone had to fear something or someone.

"Is there anything else you could figure out, Bepo?" The bear tilted his head in thought, looking back at his observation.

"She didn't like being in the infirmary, I think some of the fear was from that too. I guess she doesn't like hospitals."

The two fell silent again, leaving Law to ponder and Bepo to mull over his own inner thoughts. The bear couldn't stop himself from asking them.

"Captain." Law looked up at him. "Do you think she knows any female bears?"

He couldn't help but grin at his friend. "Probably not, Bepo. But it wouldn't hurt to ask, now would it?"
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