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

Conflicts of the Heart

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

Summer and Law both try to deny the growing bond between them.

Category: One Piece - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Humor,Romance - Published: 2019-10-13 - 3460 words - Complete

The blizzard wouldn't let up. So far, it had been going for over an hour and it didn't look like it would anytime soon. Summer gazed out into the white tempest, willing it to stop long enough for them to get out of the little cave. A stinging pain brought attention to her hands, where the small cuts had stopped bleeding but still hurt when she moved around.

Her fall down the mountain had left scratches on the parts of her arm and hand that had been exposed. Everything left underneath her jacket sleeve was fine. Touching the injured limb gently, she hissed in pain when another stinging sensation went down her arm.

"Try not to do that." Law said lowly. She glanced up at the captain, who looked to be asleep on the opposite wall. His hat was low over his head, shielding his eyes from her view. He slowly sat up stretched his sore limbs.

"I don't exactly /like /the pain. I just hate not being able to do anything about." She muttered, resisting the urge to rub her arm again. The silence fell on them again, broken only by their quiet breathing and shuffled movements.

"Was this what it was like?" Law asked suddenly, watching the snow outside. She gave a him a questioning glance. He seemed to sense this, turning to her and clarifying. "In Impel Down. Was this what it felt like?"

It was her turn to gaze outside the cave, fully aware that Law was watching her curiously. The cave did feel similar to her cell in that hell hole.

"No." She finally answered, looking back to him. "Right now, I'm not starving. I have suitable clothes. I've taken a shower recently. I'm not alone. I'm not chained to a wall." She said, holding up her hands. "Imagine this without those things for over a year. That was Impel Down."

He didn't answer other than to continue staring at her. It wasn't annoyed or amused like his usual looks were. Nor did it hold pity; she /hated /pity. This one was almost...kind.

She looked away from him, her eyes finding the storm outside. The swirling motion could've been soothing, if it weren't for its freezing cold temperature. Summer's muscles refused to move more than absolutely necessary. A sigh escaped her; she was so tired. The frigid weather was physically exhausting, but she didn't dare close her eyes.

In this situation, who knew if she would ever open them again.

The cold was everything.

Her body shivered without her being able to do anything to stop it. Her new jacket had offered some protection early on, but nothing could really help against this intense cold. Across from her, Law sat huddled up as well, though he seemed to be faring much better than her.

"H-how long have...we been here?" She asked through chattering teeth. He shifted position before answering.

"Something close to two hours." He said, his voice muffled from underneath his jacket collar.

The storm outside continued to rage. It didn't even look weakened at all. If anything, it was stronger than before. She closed her eyes in frustration.

"God dammit…" She whispered. It felt much longer than what it really was, though she had no idea how Law was even able to keep track of time at this point.

Summer released a breath, harshly rubbing at her thighs, attempting to generate some warmth through the pants. It was pretty much an epic fail, because at this point she couldn't even feel her own touch from her stiff fingers through the rough material.

Unbidden, her eyes squeezed shut as if this whole thing was a dream and when she opened them she would wake up safe and warm in her room back on the sub. She would wake up in a cold sweat, just like every other time she had awoken from a nightmare. Then she would laugh at herself for even thinking up such a sucky dream in the first place and go back to sleep if possible.

She heard a rustle of clothing and knew it to be Law moving around. Probably trying to keep warm like her. She tried to focus on keeping her freezing frame warm as well, though she seemed to suck dismally at it.

Her focus broke when she felt a stiff body settle down next to her. Her eyes opened wide and took in Law sitting beside her. Somewhere in the back of her mind she registered the fact that her leg was touching his, but she didn't have enough time to really think on it. She sat frozen in place when he leaned closer to her, his shoulder pressing against her own.

"W-w-what are you doing?!" She asked in a panic, to which he glared at her in return.

"We have to huddle close together to preserve body heat. We'll die of hypothermia at this rate." He responded, scowling at her attempts to scoot away from him. He grabbed her arm and dragged her closer, before wrapping his own around her small frame. A look of disbelief settled on her face.

'Hell would freeze over before this bastard would ever...' /She glanced at the blizzard outside and sighed. '/Damn...Maybe I /have /died...'

It was extremely awkward in his embrace, but she could already feel a warmth spreading through her gut, as much as she hated to admit it. She then noticed he had unzipped his jacket and it now surrounded the both of them. Underneath, he was wearing a dark blue sweater with his jolly roger across it. The collar seemed to be made up of feathers, and she thought of how warm that must be. Through the shirt, she could feel his abs against her back, and her face flushed from the intimate position they were in. His long legs rested on either side of her own, shorter ones.

'Oh God...oh God...oh God!' What was she supposed to do? Die of hypothermia or die of embarrassment? At this point, she was really considering the first option…

"Quit moving around." He said huskily. Law's breath warmed the back of her neck and she froze in surprise. His hold tightened, just enough to stop her efforts of escape but not enough to crush her. Lacking the ability to speak, she nodded.

His strong arms pressed her against his chest, and her breath quickened of its own accord. She didn't dare turn to look at him; no doubt he would notice her flushed cheeks and tease her mercilessly for them. Knowing that he was known for his sadism and brutality, she didn't really want the renowned Surgeon of Death getting anything to blackmail her with.

She was conscious of where he had his hands; one rested on each side of her hips. They squeezed just slightly, as though he thought she would run away. True, that had been the first thought in her mind, but the spreading warmth from his body was too tempting to miss. Through the daze her mind seemed to be in, she unconsciously registered his scent; he smelled faintly of hospital and musk and something altogether male. And damn her all to hell, she didn't hate it.

He seemed to relax against her, and his breathing became more regular. This strange effect began to happen to her as well, and Summer found herself calming down. The close contact had stopped the memories of Impel Down from flooding her mind, despite her claim that it was nothing like it. It just helped to be reminded of the fact that she was, in fact, free from that living hell.

They said nothing as they held each other close, too intent on keeping warm to bother with any conversation. Besides, at this point any discussion would be extremely awkward in the first place. Not something Summer really wanted to take part of, and it seemed Law wasn't keen on saying anything either.

Summer realized that if she wanted to survive the freezing temperatures, she would have to put up with cuddling the Dark Doctor for just a little longer. And curse her inner feelings, she didn't know whether she liked that or not.

'God help me...'

It was obvious Summer was uncomfortable.

Her shoulder and back tensed under his arms, and her breathing quickened. The visible puffs of air were evidence of that. Her legs stiffened and she began to squirm. He tried getting a better hold on her, but she kept resisting.

"Quit moving around." Law said gruffly, trying to get her to understand that if they didn't do this they would both die from the cold. Something must have gotten through to her because she did stop. Her body was still stiff as a board but at least she wasn't making it harder than it needed to be.

Law wasn't comfortable either. It's not that he hated the position they were in; it was necessary after all. But he wasn't a man to force himself on a woman. He was pretty sure if this were any other situation, that's exactly how the girl would be taking it. Not that he blamed her. It was pretty damn well close to it. But doing something that made her uncomfortable just seemed...wrong.

She had lived in discomfort her entire life, and he didn't think she deserved any more unease than what life already produced. Not that he would tell her that. Sure, he teased her and let her get into uneasy situations with the crew, but this was something entirely different.

Law frowned, wondering where these thoughts were coming from.

'Why do I even care?'

Summer's tense body was making his back strain uncomfortably and he decided that unless she loosened up, he would be stuck in this hunched over position until the storm passed. And who knew how long that would last.

Knowing that she wouldn't relax until he did, he closed his eyes. Forcing his muscles to relax, his body pressed gently into her back. At first she simply froze up again, but slowly her own body lost its tense edge and she leaned against his chest. Her breathing was returning to normal, so Law didn't have to worry about her hyperventilating and passing out. Although, now he was considering if that was a terrible thing after all…It would certainly reduce the amount of tense awkwardness that had settled over them. He shook his head slightly. If she lost consciousness, she would most likely die.

He found himself hyper aware of how she fit into the shape of his chest. Her small frame made her appear fragile and weak, though he knew she was anything but. The small body that sat in front of him housed the spirit of a killer. The gleam of sadistic pleasure in her eyes during the battle on the beach had sent a curious thrill up his spine. Just thinking about it made him smirk.

As tempting as teasing her to no end might have been, he didn't say anything out of the severity of the situation they found themselves in. There was a distinct possibility that if the storm didn't ease up soon, they could die in this cave. Law had faced death before, but what irked him the most was the fact that this time it was not a battle that would kill him but the random event of a natural weather pattern.

How pathetic.

He hadn't found One Piece and claimed the title of Pirate King. He hadn't put his plans for Doflamingo into action yet. He hadn't even killed Eustace Kidd yet and God, did he want to do that. No, Law would not die from some damn storm in the mountains. He would die either at the hands of his enemies, or by the product of his own strategies. No, his time had not come.

Not until Kidd was dead, at least.

Hours. That's how long the storm lasted.

Several hours had passed before the wind even began to die down. It took another hour just for the snow to cease its pummeling of the earth. The absence of the relentless snowfall left the air strangely empty, as if a void had been created in the expanse of sky. She only realized the storm had passed when Law began to shift behind her, shaking her from her own deep thoughts.

"It looks safe enough to leave now." He said, slowly rising to his feet. She pushed herself up as well, brushing off some loose snow from her pants. Law shifted from foot to foot, testing his balance and muscles. Zipping up his jacket, he looked to her in expectation. She nodded her head, signalling she was ready to go.

They cautiously stalked out of the small cave and looked around them. Everything was flat and white. Not a disturbance in the snow to be found. The distance mountains looked like gentle hills with the blanket of snow on them.

A gentle flurry fell as they continued their journey. The snow was much thicker than it had been before, hindering their progress even more than before. Law led the way again, though at a much slower pace. Squeezing her arms around herself, she asked a question that had made its way into her mind.

"How are we even supposed to find this herb? From the looks of it, it's gonna be buried in snow. I don't know about you but I am /not /going digging through the snow just for some damn plant." She said, huffing in irritation. He gave her an annoyed look but didn't retort.

"This herb naturally grows in very cold environments at high altitudes, but it gives off a significant amount of heat. The temperatures surrounding it would melt any snow that came in contact. We should spot it immediately." He searched the surrounding area as he explained. She gave a doubtful look but shook her head and resumed looking.

They walked for another twenty minutes or so, though Summer didn't even know if it was still the same day they had set out to be honest. For all she knew, they could have been walking for hours. Law suddenly took a sharp turn right and headed in that direction.

"Over there." He said, pointing in front of them. Summer craned her neck and spotted a clear patch of grass farther ahead of them. It gave off a faint red glow.

"Wow…" She muttered upon reaching the spot. A plant with heart-shaped leaves and glowing red centers grew in large numbers. They were spread over a good sized area, probably ten feet in diameter. The grass flourished, a stark contrast to the pale white surroundings she had trekked through on their journey.

Law knelt and began gathering the herb. Summer picked a different spot and began taking the whole head of the plant, as Law was doing.

"So, what are these even supposed to do?" She asked, carefully plucking the tops of the plant off. She had noticed that the stems were laden with sharp thorns; if she wasn't careful, her thumb would be cut open.

"The enzymes in the leaves speed up the recovery process of wounds." He quickly explained. He had a cloth bag in his hands and she added her flower tops to the inside as well. She assumed he had filled the bag, as he quickly tied off the top and stuffed in back inside his jacket somewhere. In the process, he unzipped in slightly, giving Summer a quick glance at the dark blue sweater with his jolly roger underneath. The image gave her flashbacks of the cave and she blushed.

If Law noticed, he didn't give any sign of it, which was odd. Usually he jumped on every opportunity to heckle her, but he had remained strangely quiet since their refuge in the cave. She shook her head to herself, not wanting to think much about that.

Law glanced at the sky and frowned. "There should be a few more hours of daylight left. We should be able to make it back to the inn by tonight." She nodded and they began their trek back down the mountain.

The sun was beginning to set behind the distant mountains, and they still had several miles to walk. Law silently lead them down, with Summer behind and slightly to his right. Noticing the snow around them had changed to an orange-red color, she glanced at the sky and let out a faint gasp in surprise.

She had a perfect view of the sunset. Halfway down past the mountain, the rich colors painted the landscape in bright hues and created long shadows for the few trees they past. The valley below them was cast in an orange glow. It was breathtaking.

She marveled at the beauty of it all, how simple and normal it all was. Something so beautiful couldn't be so regular, could it? Thinking back on the last time she had taken the time to fully appreciate a sunset, she lowered her eyes to the snow at her feet.

'Through all this time, how many of these have I missed?'

'How many sunsets of my life have I lost?'

'Just another hour or so.' Law thought, gazing straight ahead as they trudged through the thick snow. The going was slow as they walked downhill on the side of the mountain. Glancing to his right, he spotted the place he was pretty sure Summer had almost taken a tumble down the mountain earlier that day. It was almost impossible to tell from the newly fallen snow, but instincts told him it was there.

Though why his instincts decided that was an important fact to remember, he wasn't entirely sure.

A tiny gasp behind him made him turn to Summer, and he raised an eyebrow.

Her eyes were rapt with wonder as she remained fixed on the setting sun in the west. A tiny, genuine smile touched her face and Law couldn't seem to look away. Her eyes shone with the same intensity as before, but this time they held nothing but fascination and adoration. The orange light made her pale skin glow and her fair hair shine. This happiness, the one that produced such an expression of joy upon her face, Law realized that these moments wouldn't happen often. Knowing it would probably be a long time before he saw that look again, he burned the image into his mind.

Not that he intended to. His brain just decided to do what it wanted.

Suddenly that wonderful happiness became tainted with a deep sorrow, one that Law knew came from deep within her being. Her eyes clouded, and her head lowered slowly. The dejection and pain etched across her features was the embodiment of the pain he saw in her eyes every time she went into deep thought. She probably thought no one could see it, but Law excelled at reading people. It wasn't that hard to notice, if one was intentionally looking for it.

Something in his chest began to ache, and he frowned down at his chest. What kind of pain was this? It wasn't something he was used to experiencing, but he had begun to notice that Summer seemed to instigate these strange feelings surfacing from inside.

Sometimes it was an ache, but other times it was a pleasant feeling. Such as the incident in the cave. The warm feeling didn't seem to just be the body heat they were getting from one another. At first, Law believed it to be lust. But he had experienced that feeling with other women on islands on the Grand Line, and none of them felt the way she made him feel.

And he hated it. To think she would so quickly worm her way under his skin and affect him in such a way that left him frustrated and confused. The closest he could come to an answer would be love, but that was ridiculous.

He was the Dark Doctor, the Surgeon of Death, one of the eleven Supernova of the Worst Generation known exclusively for his sadistic tendencies and brutality.

He was not c/apable /of love.

One glance in her direction confirmed that she was still deep in her thoughts, oblivious to Law's own inner turmoil. Good, he didn't want her thinking he had started going soft.

Angrily shaking his head with a scowl, he turned his attention back to the long walk ahead of them.

The cold and the prolonged storm had starting to affect him in more ways than he cared to admit.
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