Categories > Anime/Manga > One Piece > What Could Never Be

What Could Never Be

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

Mira knew Law was no longer the nihilistic little boy who'd strapped himself with grenades the first time they'd met, but she was still the same weak, dependent, and obedient subordinate to the ver...

Category: One Piece - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2019-10-13 - Updated: 2019-10-13 - 11272 words - Complete

Mira had always known there was something…different, to Law. Something more than the Donquixote pirates could ever see or hope to take exploit. Something dangerous. Something…instinctual. Doflamingo may have lifted him from the rubbish to join the little group they called a 'family,' but she knew he was destined for other things, someday. Somewhere. Her Ōra Ōra No Mi made sure of that.

His eyes had been…steely. Cold. So very wise and cynical for someone so young. And despite only being 9 years old at the time, she remembered how they had scared her the moment she'd seen their dark gray hue from underneath the fur of his spotted hat. Of course, being tasked with making sure he was healthy and uninjured before he fully joined the crew meant she had to get up close and personal with him on his first day of being recruited. A task she hadn't been eager to fulfill at the time.

He'd remained silent the entire time her hands hovered over his person, his gaze off somewhere else while she used her ability to check his body. Despite some bruising and a few cuts here and there, he had been otherwise fine. Incidentally, despite being terrified of the solemn new boy, she couldn't help but be curious as to where he came from. What he'd been through. So, pushing a little deeper with her ability, hands glowing a faint white as she extended her reach past the physical plane, she'd touched the very edge of his psyche.

Blood. Darkness. Screaming and crying out from the ashes of burnt buildings. Terrified citizens, running in fear. Gunshots and the shouts of foreign men. Tears that fell and disappeared into the dirt beneath his feet as he carried a little girl to safety. His sister. She was sick. So was he. A fire. The air was so hot, too intense. White and black with the distinctly out of place splash of red mixed in. A rosary. And then the putrid smell of the dead.

Mira had recoiled in shock and disgust at the images that had flashed through her mind. She'd never experienced something so…horrific. Law had looked at her strangely afterwards, but of course he had no way of knowing what she'd even been doing in the first place. Her ability left no sensation to the person she used it on.

With a mumbled 'You're healthy' and downcast eyes, she'd run from the Donquixote's infirmary and hid in her room, curling up in bed with her arms wrapped around her knees. The images would linger clearly for days afterwards. Jora had asked after her to see if she would be joining them for dinner, but Mira had refused, not wanted to talk about it at the time. They chalked her sad mood up to Law being callous again, and gave it no further thought.

And yet despite his troubled and dark past, he didn't seem to let it take hold of him. Law had integrated well into the 'family's' dynamic in the days after. Lao G and Diamante took up the responsibility of conducting most of his training. Gladius had offered his services, but after one session he'd been too irritated with Law's snarky personality to bother continuing. Besides, most of the crew agreed that for the time being it would have been best to keep explosives away from the wicked child.

Her curiosity eventually won out over her fear, though. Buffalo and Baby 5 had no problems talking and making fun of Law as soon as he'd joined their 'family,' but Mira had always been shy. Doflamingo had urged her to talk more. To socialize, lest she lose her edge as their perfect infiltrator. But it was never easy and always the thing she disliked most about her duty.

So she'd done what she did best; blend in. Always following Law and the others at the edge of their vision, she watched. Watched and listened to everything they said and did. Baby 5 talked the most, normally about what she thought of places and people that came to her mind. More than once, Mira got to hear the young girl insult her and her 'unhelpful abilities.' In each instance, Buffalo had always agreed, usually following up with a laugh and another jab at her bland personality. It always made her sad, to know that she was so disliked by the children of the 'family.' The adults seemed to think that her devil fruit was a great thing, helpful and useful, but Mira knew in a fight it wasn't much use. Her strength lay in deception and infiltration.

Mira honestly couldn't tell if Law noticed her when she hid in the corners and behind walls to watch them, as he didn't acknowledge her presence at all. In fact, he tried his best to rid himself of Baby 5 and Buffalo as well, but always to no avail. They were attached to his hip, hell-bent on talking his ear off and driving him crazy. Mira supposed Doflamingo had ordered them to make sure he didn't try anything funny. It sounded like something he'd do.

She could tell that Doflamingo took a special interest in Law. At dinners he'd always keep one eye out for the boy, idly nodding in time to whatever conversation Jora and Gladius were having on his left side. No one ever really spoke to Mira. Perhaps they felt she had nothing helpful to add to a conversation. Or perhaps they simply didn't care for her opinion. By now, she was used to it, and almost enjoyed being able to simply remain in the background of the large gathering.

And then Corazon had returned. If there was someone even quieter than Mira, it was him. The mute younger brother of their fearless leader. She'd always liked him more than Doflamingo, a fact she knew never to admit aloud. He seemed…kinder than his older brother, though she'd witnessed several times when he'd tried throwing the other children out the window of their home. She'd nearly been the victim of one such instance, but Doflamingo had distracted him with something else before he could carry out his act of aggression.

Right away, she could see that Law hated the man. For what reason, she wasn't sure. Her timid nature and lack of reason to get in his close proximity made it difficult to use her Ōra Ōra No Mi again to know for sure. All she knew was that Law acted differently when the mute brother was in his vicinity.

And then it had happened. Mira had been wandering her way through the rubble around the base, trying to find treasure in the ruins as a means to pass the time. She supposed it had been an instance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but she'd witnessed it all. Law took a running go at Corazon from behind, penetrating his dagger straight into the man's back. Mira gasped, her hands flying up to her mouth to present any noise from escaping. At the distance she was to them, it was unclear if either party said anything, but the next thing she knew, Law was sprinting away off in the opposite direction.

Mira had returned to the base, unsure of what to do. Of course, assaulting a member of the executive 'family' was a capital offense, one punishable by death. As a member of the crew, Mira was expected to report what she'd seen, but…was she willing to sentence the young boy to death for his actions? She'd seen inside his mind. He was troubled and angry. Surely this was just a foolish way of him acting out? Before she could even act on whatever her decision would have been, Jora dragged the kicking and squirming Law back into the dining hall to present him to Doflamingo himself.

After his official-yet-unexpected acceptance into the 'family,' Law got a lot more involved with their activities. Doflamingo had decided that it was time to leave their current place of residence and find a new home. Of course, this meant Mira would play a large part in the coming days. She'd be forced to use her innocent appearance and powers to get them inside wherever it was they wanted to be.

A wealthy trade-master's mansion is where they stopped next. He was an honest man, gaining most of his wealth off of the textiles industry, and he paid his employees well. Doflamingo had heard word of a large and apparently very bountiful vault in the bowels of his mansion. The pirate side of him wanted the treasure that could be hiding within. The tyrant side just wanted to see him suffer.

Mira was dressed in rags, her face smeared unpleasantly with dirt and grease, and pushed towards the gates of the mansion without so much as a 'good luck.' Barefoot and crying real tears, small Mira did as was expected of her and met the guardsman at the wrought-iron gate. As had happened every other time she'd participated in this routine, he'd immediately let his guard down and allowed her inside.

She was then wrapped in a soft blanket and given plenty of delicious food to eat, but most often she rarely ever took what was offered. Because she knew what would happen to them later that night, and it sickened her. The people inside were so kind and nice, and when she touched them, their souls reflected the same sentiments. It hurt the worst when she was sent into the homes of good souls, because they were the least deserving of such predetermined fates.

Once settled, she would then tell them that she was lost, and looking for her family. Coincidentally, Doflamingo and his pack would then stroll in town, proclaiming to search for their lost little one. They'd be invited inside of the mansion to collect her once word spread that she was who they were after. And once the 'family' was in the building, there were rarely ever survivors to speak of the tragedies that occurred inside the walls.

Mira tried sanctioning herself away from the others after her task was completed, preferring to suffer in silence and by herself, but this time she was not alone. Law, of all others, had sought her out to ask about her powers. It was the first time he'd truly acknowledged her existence at all.

He'd asked questions. Pushy and tactless questions. Ones she had no desire to answer. But answer she did. Law was always intrigued by her response, and after that day he started to seek out her company more often. Though perhaps, looking back, she'd simply been the better alternative to Baby 5 and Buffalo who were always annoying him.

To say they'd grown to be friends would be lying. Law didn't seem to desire friendship or companionship of any kind. Rather, their relationship was purely business. Mira couldn't have cared less what it really was, she was simply glad for the company and conversation. It was hard to see just how lonely you were until you suddenly weren't.

As they spent more and more days together in the stolen mansion, exploring its halls and secret rooms within, Law too began to answer questions she had not even had to voice. Flevance and the Amber Lead sickness. The reason why his skin was discolored and continued to grow worse as the months went on. His shortened lifespan, and why he held only one desire; to take out as many people as he could in the world. It had horrified her, but she'd understood. After seeing his own past through her eyes, she couldn't blame him.

Several days had passed since then, and the townspeople had begun to grow in numbers in opposition. When word reached Doflamingo of an apparent uprising against him and his crew, he'd ordered Mira to go to the leader and do what she did best. Armed with a cover story and a few bruises to make it believable, courtesy of Trebol's hands, she'd run in the middle of the night to the city's governor. Through genuine tears and with thick emotion she'd proclaimed how she'd escaped and come to warn them of an attack on the town. They'd heralded her a hero as she relayed the meeting time and place to them, given more food and more warm blankets as reward for her bravery and courage to do the right thing. She refused the food.

When most of the uprisers had gone to sleep that night, she'd spirited away from them, returning to the mansion with their numbers and weaknesses as she'd been instructed. Doflamingo had welcomed her back with open arms and the praise that she'd done well. More food was offered. She refused that too.

In the words of Lao G and Trebol, the massacre had been glorious and…amusing. Caught by surprise with no way to defend against Doflamingo's executives, the civilians hadn't stood a chance against the perfect plan the pirate had set in motion. Mira felt sick to know she'd been a primary cause of so many deaths.

For the rest of the day, she'd stayed in her room, even refusing to talk to Law when he'd come to speak with her. She was in no mood to converse with her…friend. She enjoyed his company, but in the face of such a sin on her part, it would have simply made her cry.

Another month. Another location. But this time, she didn't feel as guilty for infiltrating the shipping merchant's lavish home. Her glowing touch had revealed that there were slave children in the basement. Toys and pets for his sick pleasure. A single tear hadn't fallen from her cheeks as his blood painted the foyer. Perhaps the maids and butlers' who accompanied him in death hadn't been justified, but at least she felt somewhat sated that a monster had been taken from the world.

She also had no qualms as to where the slave children would end up after Doflamingo 'rescued' them from below. Sent off on a merchant ship, no doubt to live under a new master. She hated it. Unfortunately, no one could go against Doflamingo's will.

There were boats aplenty to play in at this new place. Baby 5 and Buffalo always liked taking the small dinghy out on the shore. They never invited her. Perhaps Law, but if they did, he'd always refused. Instead, he'd asked if she wanted to go on a boat ride with him. At the time, she'd been slightly afraid of going out on a boat. With her devil fruit, she could not swim. If something were to happen, she doubted Law would be able to help her by himself.

He'd somehow convinced her that nothing would happen, and they'd spent an afternoon floating on the waves. Mira timidly dipped a finger into the water, feeling a slight numbing against her skin, but fascinating by the sensation all the same. While she was distracted, Law yelled and smacked the side of the boat beside her head, and she nearly fell in the water with a scream. He laughed and laughed while she cried from terror of almost having fallen in. Law didn't seem to care and simply rowed them back to shore. She hadn't been too happy about the events of the day, but couldn't find it in herself to stay mad at him.

It hadn't occurred to her that somewhere along the line, she began to see him as…more than a friend. Over the course of another year, they spent most of their free time together, talking or partaking in various activities. Law kept their conversations platonic and impersonal most of the time. Only Mira ever broached the subject of their pasts, and rarely did Law seem to care what she had to say about hers. That was fine. She was used to it. But a small portion of her inner thoughts could dream of what they might become in the future, once they were grown up.

They both grew stronger. Well, physically, Law's body became resilient. The color continued to drain from his body, but his muscles grew. While still thin, his body began to tone, filling out the empty space with strength. Mira, on her part, continued perfecting her devil fruit abilities until she could successfully read a person from a small distance. No longer did she need to have direct physical contact with someone to see their inner thoughts and feelings. Doflamingo had praised her for this feat, as well. It left a bad taste in her mouth.

And then, over time, Law began to weaken. Mira could see that he tried to hide it from the others, but the grimaces of occasional pain while out wandering their new home or the tiny coughs he kept in careful check were things she noticed immediately. The Amber Lead sickness was beginning to take it's toll, slowly eating away at his insides. Mira's ability helped her keep progress with just how bad his internal injuries began to get. Several of his organs were close to failing.

Just as suddenly as she'd noticed the drastic turn in his condition, he was gone. Corazon had apparently taken him in the dead of night without informing the rest of the 'family.' Originally, Doflamingo had been displeased—several crates of weapons and a few sake bottles broken in his rage were evidence of that—but he could see the use in keeping Law alive. He had potential, a phrase she'd heard multiple times in relation to the boy, and Doflamingo loved those with potential.

The days were long, and soon they turned into months. Mira yearned for her friend that was so far away and so out of reach. Her life returned to the very lonely existence it had been before, but it was nearly unbearable now. Baby 5 and Buffalo still thought she was weird and creepy and boring, and refused to associate with her. Jora was too busy attending to the infant Dellinger to care about a teenage Mira. She could deal with her own problems on her own, as she'd blatantly told the young girl.

However, with Law out of reach for him to focus on, Doflamingo seemed to redirect his attention onto the young girl. He'd approached her with questions about her progress on her devil fruit abilities, and how she expected them to continue to grow. Mira was still a little terrified of the man, but felt somewhat pleased to be the object of his attention. Suddenly she was special. Important. He cared enough to acknowledge that she was even a part of the 'family.'

He'd asked her to train, hard and long days, to increase the distance at which she could use her ability. It was a request from Doflamingo, so how could she have refused? It took several months of exhausting days and nights spent trying to extend the reach of her powers, but by the end of it, she could extend her touch to nearly half a kilometer. She'd smiled in pride when Doflamingo had praised her progress.

As she'd suspected, Doflamingo had had a mission in mind for her once she'd reached this benchmark to her devil fruit. With a backpack of food and supplies, she'd been instructed to spend a few days in a merchant and shipping port and learn whatever she could from the ship captains there.

So she travelled to where he'd told her, rented out a room at the tavern, and spent most of her days sitting alone in the corner of the bar to observe and prod those who walked inside. Many were disgusting, greasy older men who she would have rather not intruded into. Their minds were filled with images of naked women and brutal murders, piles of gold and a crowd of equally filthy crewmen singing pirate songs until the break of dawn.

Some were simple traders. She much preferred their minds over the rest, as most focused on their work trading fish and wheat and sugar, or missing their wives and children back home. It could be dangerous work, a merchant's trade line was an open avenue for attack or plunder, so they lived each day as if it were their last. She hoped they would all return home to see their families again, despite knowing the odds.

One man in particular had caught her interest. Not simply because of the valuable treasure he was thinking non-stop about—a peculiar-shaped devil fruit—but because he brought with him a young boy with vibrant red hair, about her age. He looked just as shy as her, and kept quiet as his captain—or father, as she quickly discovered—drank his alcohol at the bar. She wrote down what information she could about what she learned from his thoughts, before drifting off to another pirate or two. Just because one man had interesting things to divulge to her didn't mean there weren't others.

After her mission, she'd returned to Doflamingo with her findings. He'd seemed pleased with her report, and offered her a feast at the end of the night. It had been a long few days, so she accepted the reward happily.

In a gathering over dinner, Doflamingo had proclaimed wonderful news. The treasure that the captain had thought about? It had been the Ope Ope No Mi. One of the world's most powerful devil fruits and supposedly the one and only thing that could cure Law of his sickness. Mira had been thrilled. She'd been dreading the time when Law's lifespan would end, so soon, so young. But this could save her friend. It could bring him new life. Perhaps give him a sense of hope and happiness he'd lacked over the few years of them being in the crew.

The family had gathered up their best equipment and set sail for Minion Island to retrieve the fruit. Doflamingo had presented the pirates holding the fruit with an irrefutable offer, though Mira had a feeling he had no intention of keeping it. Her thoughts had been correct, but the turn of events had still surprised her.

When the shooting began, and the birdcage was put up, she'd been instructed by Gladius to find a place to hide until she was retrieved. Useless in a fight, her best action now would be to simply get out of the way of the rest of the 'family.' She did as instructed, but searched out with her devil fruit to see what was going on.

Betrayal. Pain. Anger. Loathing. And strangely enough…hope. And even stranger…that hope was coming from Law. For the time being, it was easy to ignore the confusion as to how they had gotten to the island in the first place. She could distinctly recognize what his mind felt like in comparison to others, as she'd spent a large amount of time in it during his stay with the 'family.' He was feeling hope, of all things. Now, of all times.

And then so much pain. Physical pain. His body was beaten and bloodied. She could feel the damage even from this distance. Her eyes stung with tears as she sat behind a crate and a stone wall, trying to keep her emotions in check while she continued monitoring what was going on.

Following the physical pain was a heartbreak and sorrow she had trouble comprehending. She pushed further, trying to see what had caused such suffering in her friend. Pure darkness. Snippets of conversation she didn't understand. Then a gunshot. And more gunshots. And when they stopped, the click of an empty gun. Corazon. Corazon. Corazon, over and over in his mind. Law was wailing and crying, somewhere in darkness, but nobody appeared to hear him or care.

She snapped back to her own head and sobbed uncontrollably. His emotions had been so strong, so intense, she had trouble distinguishing them from her own. This night had gone so terribly wrong. This was supposed to be the way to save her friend's life. To stop the sickness in him and to continue living with him and Doflamingo. What had happened for it to end this way?

Eventually, the birdcage had disappeared, and Gladius rounded the corner to retrieve her. She was still sobbing, but he didn't care enough to ask why. Perhaps he simply figured she was terrified of being found. Or that she was simply a weak little girl. And she didn't know whether he was correct or not.

Doflamingo had ordered them all back to their ship with a solemn and dark expression. Corazon and Law were nowhere to be seen, and no one mentioned either of their names as they boarded the ship. Mira was too scared to ask, and she doubted any of them would bother answering. Somewhere, cannon fire could still be heard, and Mira feared that somewhere, Law was still in danger. She tried reaching out with her ability, but could not find him at all.

In the days after Minion Island's disastrous events, Mira had come to learn that Corazon was dead, and Law was lost to the marines. Talk over dinner was that Corazon and Law had both betrayed the 'family,' and that his death was simply a punishment for turning traitor. Plans would change, things would have to be worked around, now that they had one less executive to their name. But life would go on.

For Mira, however, it was not easy. She'd lost a dear friend that day. Her only friend, realistically. The only person who'd acknowledged her existence on a continuous basis. Someone to talk to and to enjoy company with. Gone with the marines to supposedly never return. Several nights afterwards, it was difficult for her to find sleep, preoccupied with wondering what Law was up to and if he was alright. She'd tried in vain to extend her ability's field of effect to try to reach him, but of course he was nowhere nearby and she could not search around the world. It was a futile gesture.

Days turned into months. Her sleepless nights were more infrequent now, but still predictable. Naturally no one seemed to notice her silent suffering. Or if they did, they figured it wasn't their problem. Mira had always been a weakling, they must have thought, some sniveling brat who needed a teddy and a blanket to comfort her. She'd have to deal with her sorrow on her own, and so she did. After all, she'd come to depend on only herself for a long time now.

Months turned into years. The Donquixote 'Family' had increased in number. Vergo had returned to the group briefly to accept the new position of Corazon within the group, before being deployed again as a spy for the marines. Monet had also joined their operation. Mira wasn't sure what to make of Monet, as she seemed far too aloof and smart for her liking. The feeling was mutual, it seemed, as their first time face to face, Monet gave her a brief once-over before turning away without a word. Another person who would not acknowledge her.

No longer the 9 year old girl Law had first met, now 15 and growing into a young woman, Mira had successfully helped to infiltrate the ranks of the Dressrosa royal family. After years of keeping up her job of getting them into their new homes, it had becoming easier to put distance between herself and their targets. However, something about the King and his family made her sad. They were so happy. So joyful and close. It was a shame that Mira would be instrumental in tearing them down to the most basic pieces.

Unusually, Doflamingo himself wanted to carry out the main assault this time. His brief conversation with the King had gone as expected, but no one had lived after telling the fearsome pirate 'no.' That night marked a brutal and bloody day in the history of Dressrosa, but thanks to perfect manipulation and timing by Doflamingo's group, they'd swiftly and easily taken control of the country in a matter of hours. Cold. Professional…Sickeningly simple.

Mira felt another little piece of herself die as they walked into their new home. A large, luxurious castle. The stone walls made her feel so small and meek. Just another stolen home for a group of thieves.

The 'family' settled into their new home quickly and comfortably. This time around, it seemed that Doflamingo planned to make this the final location of their base of operations. Why wouldn't he, given it was the lifestyle of a king? He too made himself comfortable in the palace, something he'd never before done at their previous locations.

Mira was given a small room all her own. Simple and basically furnished. Nothing special. She supposed she was expected to decorate and make it her own, but she could think of nothing to bring in to change how it looked now. And so the walls remained unpainted. The shelves empty of trinkets and shiny things. No banners or pictures hung on the walls. Baby 5 and Buffalo had both mentioned once more how bland she was. Mira supposed they were right.

When Mira had turned the age of 20, Monet left the group to work with a man named Caeser. And once again, Doflamingo had a mission for her as well. However, this time, she was expected to be away a lot longer than the first. Tasked with procuring information and data on the various goings-on in several key locations around the world, Mira would be away from home for long periods of time. Alone and with no one to depend on.

She'd packed a bag and, without so much as a goodbye from any of the 'family,' Mira started towards the nearest dock to find a ship to ferry her to the first island.

It was a strange mix of terrifying and liberating to be on her own, away from the 'family.' Her life was suddenly measured by a weekly report to Doflamingo, or Diamante if their leader was otherwise preoccupied. Goings-on, the movements of important people, current events that happened that could be of some importance. She relayed everything she thought was relevant to them until the time when he requested she move to the next island and start over.

For 3 years, she did as told, ferrying information to the Donquixote pirates from around the world. Her innate ability to blend in gave her a great advantage over other information gatherers, and she was able to get close enough to many influential people in both the marines and the government. Secrets became her currency, and all of it was sent to Doflamingo.

Sabaody Archipelago was her next target, and news had been abuzz about the supernovas currently sailing the seas. Mira was well informed. She knew that Law was indeed one of the up-in-coming rookies gathering a crew of men to find the One Piece. She'd kept up with his progress up to that point, tracking his movements and bounty through the newspapers. He was rising up through the ranks of pirates quickly, and she couldn't help but smile every time she saw his wanted poster plastered across city notice boards and newspapers. She always knew there was more that he could do, given the chance to.

Mira felt…torn. Her assignment was indeed on Sabaody, but she was unsure whether Doflamingo expected Law to be in her report. He hadn't even mentioned his name since the fateful night on Minion Island, and a part of her feared punishment if she brought it up to him. However, if she left him out entirely but he was expecting some sort of mention, perhaps he would think she was trying to hide him from the 'family.' The young woman wasn't sure what to do.

She had almost tried avoiding areas where she expected him to be most, aimlessly wandering the best parts of the city in an effort to steer clear of the lawless zone where most pirates ended up going. She was fearful of seeing him again after so much time had passed. Would he even recognize her, should they meet face to face?

Despite her best effort, if was difficult to keep him out of her thoughts. Half-heartedly wandering the streets of the various Groves on the Archipelago, most people didn't even give her a passing glance. Mira knew she should be focusing. Doflamingo wouldn't be pleased with a spotty report, and if it happened here of all places, perhaps he might get suspicious.

It was in Grove 2 that Mira felt herself stop walking, standing in place. She normally walked with her ability stretched ahead, probing for information in the minds of those who wouldn't even know she was there. It touched a very familiar mind, a familiar feel, and she was brought up short at the sudden realization that he was there. Law was here.

Her eyes drifted up, and he was in sight. A few hundred feet ahead, wearing a bright yellow shirt with his jolly roger on it. The corners of her mouth tugged upwards just a smidge when she saw he still wore his spotted hat. Much taller than she'd expect of him, lean and fit, he wore a relaxed grin as he walked with a small group of people. His crew. She'd seen news reports and photographs of them. The bear had always struck her as odd, but nonetheless cute.

The pirate group walked out of her line of sight. Panicked that she may lose him in the crowd, her feet uprooted themselves from the ground where she stood and hurried after them. Something about seeing him in person made the nerves return tenfold, but there was a deeply buried part of herself that pushed past them enough to keep going forward. Hope. Relief. And the thought that she'd have her friend back in her life again.

This time, she dared moving a bit closer, to get a better look at him. He carried a cursed blade. Now that she saw him closer, her eyes skated along the tattoos adorning his arms and hands. Fascinating. Again, she moved closer, until she was right behind them, following silently. Her head tilted to the side, trying to keep Law within her view, but several of his crew walking behind him blocked her sight.

And for the first time since Minion Island, she reached her ability forward to try digging a bit deeper to see what he'd been through all these years they'd been apart.

Law stopped walking and, in a panic, Mira stepped off to the side behind a group of people talking. Eyes wide, she watched as Law looked around the area searching for…something. This was unexpected. Had he felt her attempt at intrusion? No one had before…Mira wasn't sure what to think about this.

The bear leaned in and spoke to Law, who was peering around him with suspicion. She felt his eyes skate across her without stopping, and she felt a sigh of relief. With a shake of his head and a quick word to his companion, the group began walking again, towards Grove 1.

Mira's heart thundered a fearful beat in her chest, the shot of adrenaline it had caused still coursing through her now. Her breaths came out fast and shallow. She'd been so close to being discovered. There was no doubt in her mind that Doflamingo had not intended for her to ever approach Law, seeing as he was marked a traitor to the 'family.'

She waited several seconds before following after them, her curiosity too strong, and her rising happiness fueling the desire to see what he was like and where he was going. She didn't try digging into his mind again, as she knew he would probably feel it a second time. The first could be brushed off as a fluke. The second would definitely arouse a defensive reaction.

Law lead his crew to Grove 1, and surprisingly, the Human Auction House. Mira felt herself frowning, wondering why he had an interest in going there. Perhaps…he had changed over the years…Even still, she continued to follow. If Law had turned into something she could no longer recognize as the boy from when she was 9 years old, then at least she could confirm it for herself.

Strangely, Law stopped right in front of the auction house steps and directed his crew inside. He himself, however, stayed behind and wandered off in another direction. Odd. Where was he going now? Mira picked herself up from the bench she'd settled on to watch them separate and followed after the direction Law had gone. He'd disappeared behind the wall of a building, and she was intent not to lose track of him.

A small distance away, the pirate rounded another corner and was lost to sight again. She hurried to catch up, jogging a bit in order not to take too long. The moment she was close to the corner he'd turned down, Mira felt strong hands grab her shoulders and drag her down the small alley. She opened her mouth to yell, but one of the hands clamped down on her mouth. With a start, she felt the hard impact of the building's bricks at her back.

Her eyes flashed open and she stared into the dark gray of the person she thought she knew. They searched her face critically, confused. And then the confusion cleared and he released the hand on her mouth. "Mira."

The young woman nodded, at a loss for words, now that she was face to face with the pirate himself. He'd grown so handsome in their time apart. Perhaps that was part of her apprehension. His good looks were intimidating, especially considering that she'd always held him as more than just a simple friend. Her heart pounded steadily against her ribcage, terrified and elated at being so close to him now.

"Why are you here?" He demanded in a smooth voice, tinged with suspicion.

"It's my mission." She said simply, and Law frowned deeper.

"He sent you to follow me?"

Mira's head shook rapidly. "No. I was told to gather information in key places around the world. This was my next location."

Law searched her eyes, not believing her. Mira raised a hand and grabbed onto the hand still holding her against the wall. She stared up at him and transmitted her own thoughts to him, proving that what she said was true. It was still a new ability she'd been working to perfect, but she could see through his eyes that it had worked. And in establishing a connection between them, she also took the opportunity to intrude on his thoughts.

A long journey. Hard times. Unexpected friends and comrades. Pride of forming his own crew, and many late nights enjoying their company. A sense of freedom. The sight of the sun dipping below an expanse of ocean. A yellow vessels all his own. Deep, buried pain still carving away at his heart. Long, sleepless nights. Corazon. Sorrow. Medical reports and studying. Hatred. Doflamingo. Vengeance.

Law narrowed his eyes, then wrenched his arm away from her. "Stop."

She did. Her ability ceased, her hands stopped glowing a faint white, and she looked at him with sadness. He was still hurting from what happened all those years ago, but he was still much of the same person he had been. This vendetta against Doflamingo, however…this plan of his, barely even more than an idea…

"You can't." She whispered, her head slowly shaking. "He's stronger than you."

"I have to. For him." He said without hesitation. Without fear. The young woman knew he meant Corazon. Whatever had happened between them during their time away from the 'family' had certainly strengthened their bond.

Mira looked away, unsure of what to say. She knew nothing she said would convince him otherwise, and he was aware that she was much too weak and dependent on them to betray Doflamingo. She'd never had anywhere else to go. Nowhere where she'd be accepted or taken care of. Obedience to them was ingrained in her very DNA now. However, they'd been close. They'd acknowledged each other as children. Kept each other company. That meant a lot to her. She wasn't sure what it meant to him.

"You should leave them. Run somewhere." He eventually stated, grabbing the sword from where it leaned against the bricks and hoisted it to his shoulder. "Because I plan to crush them into ruin. One day. And if you're still with them the next time we meet…"

Mira watched as he turned his back to her, already walking away. "…I'll be forced to kill you too."

She had said nothing more, watching him leave the alleyway and heading back towards the auction house. Law's plan, his desire to destroy the Donquixote pirates was…a fantasy. A dream. Impossible. No matter how much she'd wished for the very same thing growing up, after the results of her infiltration and the punishment and murders of good people, Mira knew that it was something that would never come to fruition. Doflamingo was too powerful. He was too smart and cunning. And he was expecting Law to do such a thing.

She'd retreated to her room at the inn and shut her mind to everything. He'd been so…resolute and certain that he could pull off his eventual plan, whatever the final product happened to be, that she so desperately wanted to believe him. But she couldn't. She'd seen Doflamingo's strength. Seen his wrath. And she was afraid of being on the receiving end of it.

The disastrous events at the auction house that day, the assault of a Celestial Dragon, the scattering of the Straw Hat Pirates, the escape of the rest of the supernovas, and the panic of the citizens, had all been included in her report to Doflamingo that day. Of course, she'd decided to mention seeing Law, but omitted their conversation in the alley way. He would have no way of finding out, and Mira felt safe enough to keep this one small moment private. It felt more intimate that way.

Doflamingo had determined that there was nothing more to be learned here, now that the marines were trying to make sense of what had happened. Mira was sent to the next island, somewhere in the New World, and start again gathering information. But now, instead of murders and treasures and lost loved ones that occupied her mind during her dreams—leftover images from those she intruded upon during the day—it was Law.

Frail, meek Mira couldn't help but fantasize about him. He was so strong and confident now. The nihilistic child she'd first met was now free to exercise his wishes as he saw fit. And for whatever reason, he'd decided that it was his mission in life to destroy everything Doflamingo had worked to create. She wasn't sure whether he had a death wish or not.

That strength…appealed to her. She was weak. In a fight, she'd be a goner. But Law was…tough. Handsome and a bit mysterious. For someone desperately trying to find something to believe in other than her sadistic 'family,' Law was an easy and familiar choice. He was comforting to her. And in that sense, she began to believe in herself just a bit more too. Enough to rebel in the smallest ways she could.

If Law's plan was to work, he would need information. Accurate information. Something Mira dealt with first-hand. A person's subconscious couldn't lie, and he was in a unique position of being unsupervised while she worked. Doflamingo would still receive his reports, but now, in addition, she'd send a little tidbit out on the grapevine. A touch here, or a prod there, planting the seeds of information to those who would use it best. Spread it secretly, and perhaps it would reach Law in his travels.

It was a long-shot, of course. She highly doubted it would be of any help. Law could be anywhere in the world, and these people she was feeding information through may never cross paths with him. They may never talk about what they suddenly know. But she could at least try. Her small way of rebelling.

Each day, she'd do her job for the 'family.' She'd take down information to pass along to Doflamingo. Each day, she'd plant information about the Donquixote pirates and their activities, sending it along to hopefully help Law with his mission. Each day, she couldn't help but fall even more deeply fascinating with him. As someone who had never experienced love at its best, Mira did not know for sure if that is what she felt for him. There was no reference for her to compare to. Perhaps this was simply an unhealthy obsession for a childhood friend. Or perhaps it was love. She did not know.

More time passed. Doflamingo was always very thankful for her reports, and praised her loyalty and dedication to her work. Mira was torn between feeling pride and feeling shame, and decided that she'd simply push them both down below her subconscious to deal with later. So she nodded and accepted his words without any feeling at all.

Now 25, it was more difficult to blend in with crowds, especially from men. More than once, she was interrupted in her task by a man wanting to talk to her. Lacking social skills of any kind, most often she made her escape with wide eyes and a confused man left behind. Her life was a lonely one, and she was afraid of actually changing that. To her, Law was the only man she could comfortably let into her heart. Whether with love or friendship. She was still unsure as to the definition of love, and if it even applied to him.

Years of leaked information had taken its toll. Doflamingo's 'family' had to field more attacks than ever before, but they were strong enough to not care that this was the case. Their leader, of course, was observant and took note of most things. The rise in assaults against his crew was something he needed to be aware of. When he'd asked Mira if she knew anything about it, she of course denied him. And because of her dedication and loyalty over nearly two decades, he believed her immediately. She felt sick to her stomach when he'd hung up the Den-Den mushi.

Out of the blue, Doflamingo had told her to return to Dressrosa. Her mission was complete, after 5 years of travel, and she was welcome to come back home to see the 'family.' A sense of dread, but familiarity washed over her, thankfully hidden from view on the Den-Den mushi device, when he'd told her this. After 5 years of a sort of freedom, she'd be back in the stone walls of her old home. She didn't know how to feel about that.

With the original backpack she'd been given when she'd first set out on this journey—now worn and frayed after years of use—Mira took the first ship she could find to begin her trip home.

Dressrosa was much the same but very different since the last time she'd set eyes on it. Now living alongside the people of the country were a motley mix of toys. Living, walking, talking toys. She wasn't sure what to make of them, or where they'd come from, but she supposed Doflamingo would explain once she reached the palace.

Violet was the one to let her inside of the palace, a relative of the previous royal family. Mira had never known how to act around the black-haired woman. Unsure if she was hated or embraced as 'family.' Without much of a welcome home, Mira stepped inside and sought out Doflamingo's throne room.

The thrones of Diamond, Spade, and Club were all occupied by their representing executive, with Doflamingo facing the windows overlooking the country below. Mira waited for him to finish whatever it was he was doing, and before long he'd turned to look at her with a wide smile. Again, he thanked her for her duty and attention to detail while she'd been away. Her reward was to remain home and recover from her time away. She'd accepted this with a nod, and retreated back to her own room.

It was dusty and several pieces of furniture were skirted with old cobwebs. It would take time to clean it all out. There was nothing else to do at the time, so she'd set to work immediately. It was exhausting work, and after traveling for several days to arrive here, it was not something she enjoyed having to do. But it prevented her mind from wandering too far, into dangerous territory.

Law. How was he? Where was he? What was he up to? Since that day at Sabaody, he had managed to stay off of even her radar. Even the newspapers and marines were sending less and less reports of his whereabouts. He'd effective gone to ground, though she was certain that he was still out there, gathering strength and information, planning his next move.

Mira found herself with a lot of time to herself. A lot of lonely time. She'd already wandered the country several times, familiarizing herself with the layout once more. A lot could change in 5 years. New buildings built, old buildings demolished and replaced with new things.

The people seemed different. There was still some distrust among some of those who walked the streets back then, but everyone was happy and smiling and completely comfortable. Doflamingo had apparently earned the trust of an entire country, and they were ready and willing to place the decisions in his hands. Strange, if only they knew what he'd done to get there.

This country felt so…off. Like the pieces of the puzzle just wouldn't fit properly together. Despite residing in the castle, she still saw herself as an outsider looking in. People just didn't act like they would under normal circumstances. They were too…happy.

The streets were filled with wonderful song and dance, and toys told jokes to a crowd of giggling children. The sun shone most days, with only lights showers in between to water the vibrantly beautiful flora decorating the streets and gardens. It was a true paradise, in every sense of the word. Mira had never felt more out of place.

Baby 5 and Buffalo, all grown up and still as close together as they had been as children, barely gave her a passing glance in the hallways when they happened to pass by. She didn't blame them. After all this time spent away from the 'family' she was essentially a stranger.

Dellinger was also much older. He had begun really displaying his fighting fisherman heritage, with horns and anatomically longer legs than the average human. They bowed out at the knees, giving him a strange, always-ready-to-attack stance. Mira tried to steer clear of him, but often times he liked to make fun of her and belittle her, knowing full well that she wouldn't do a damn thing to stop it.

The castle was better, she supposed, than Spider Miles had been. They weren't surrounded by mountains of rubble and garbage, and they had a palace all to themselves. A whole country who practically worshipped the ground the 'family' walked on. Of course, no one remembered who Mira was, so she was able to blend in with the crowd as usual, flit between streets without so much as a passing glance from anyone.

Of course, her thoughts were always with Law. After so much time passing, and no sign of the man for some time, she was naturally a little worried about if something was wrong. But, quite unexpectedly, he suddenly came back to the forefront of everyone's mind.

Doflamingo was angrily pacing the throne room, all of the occupied seats of the executives there as well. Mira hid behind the door frame, curious as to what was going on. She knew better than to use her ability on anyone in the 'family.' She'd have to just listen to what she could.

They kept bringing up Law's name. As well as Kaido and Caeser Clown. What had happened? She felt her heart grow light at his mention. He was alive, wherever he was. Though it seemed he hadn't made Doflamingo very happy. Was he finally enacting his plan? If he was…Mira hoped he would survive, whatever the outcome. But if Doflamingo was angry, there was minimal chance of living through a defeat.

After learning all she could, Mira returned to her room and tried her best to sleep. However, thoughts of Law and what he might do next prevented her from resting. She'd seen what he'd hoped to do, a few years ago, but it could be wildly different to what his final process was now. She had no idea what his next step was, or if he'd directly attack Doflamingo.

Mira hoped Law was smart enough to stay out of Dressrosa, that of course the warlord would be leading him directly into a trap. He was smart. Cunning. He'd planned a dozen steps ahead just to get to this point. So it was nearly disappointing to sense his presence when she was taking a walk through the city streets on that tragic day.

As she'd done before, her feet rooted in place, and she closed her eyes, sighing to herself. So. This is how it would come to a head. On a bright, sunny day when the flowers were at their most beautiful. In the very kingdom of the man they both wished dead. This was pure madness…

Surely, he'd notice if she tried delving into his mind again. She could sense what direction he was in, but nothing more than that. If she looked a little deeper, perhaps she could see if he had allies helping him. How many there were…

Or perhaps it would be better not to know. Ignorant bliss. Perhaps she could go through the day without seeing him at all. Perhaps it was better that she never saw him again the tiny, beaten down and broken part of her said. But the part that had maintained that hope since their chance meeting in Sabaody felt like she could be of help.

Help…right. How was she supposed to help? Her abilities may be strong but they were in no way combat effective. In a fight, she was useless. And against Doflamingo of all people…the moment he heard of a betrayal, you were nothing to him. Law was playing with terrible odds, and should he fail…Mira would be next on the chopping block.

No. She was too afraid. She couldn't do it. All of her little breadcrumbs of information over the years had been all she could manage. The rest would have to be up to him. And if he did end up succeeding, then…perhaps she could be free of his wicked influence as well…

Sad, then, how it terrified her to live in a world without the strength of a leader like him. For as much as she hated the man, her weakness and insecurity had forced her to depend on him and his 'family' for everything; food, clothing, shelter and warmth, and above all, the infrequent acknowledgement of her very existence. The smallest glance in her direction over the years, even if it was months in between each one, had been enough to keep her going.

In a world without that to fall back on? Mira didn't know what she'd do. She didn't know how to function in a world without that guaranteed presence. No one besides Doflamingo had ever been there to keep her standing when she was on her knees, and she wasn't certain there would be anyone else like that after him. Had she fallen so far, as to be nothing at all without Doflamingo? And the worst part was she couldn't have recognized the point of no return. The process had been so slow and gradual that…was it as a 9 year old girl with no family to go home to? Or when she'd first doomed a home of rich merchants to death by infiltrating their home? At this point Mira would never know the answer.

Instead of seeking Law out, she turned away and went the opposite direction, hoping to put distance between them. His promise to kill her if she was still aligned with Doflamingo the next time they met was prevalent in her mind. She had no doubt Law would follow through. Perhaps it was a sense of self-preservation that kept her away, but some part of her doubted this.

It was easy for Mira to blend in with the crowds as the colosseum filled and began their gladiator games—another new addition to the city since she'd been away—pretending as if nothing was wrong. And when the rumbling explosions began and meteors were falling from the sky at Green Bit and the Heavenly Demon was enraged at such a betrayal, Mira turned her head and kept walking.

When those around her muttered at seeing Green Bit's forrest sliced and destroyed before their eyes, she kept her eyes away. When people screamed around her as Law was sent rocketing into the ground in front of the colosseum grounds, she ignored the sound. When Doflamingo dragged him back to the palace and chained him to the heart seat in some sick poetic irony, Mira avoided the place at all costs, but it seemed she could only flee from her awful reality for so long. Doflamingo called on the Den-Den mushi, requesting her presence in the throne room for a very important task.

Her feet seemed to drag on the stone floors, one slow step at a time. What would she see reflected back at her when they faced again? Contempt, hatred? Perhaps something worse, if it were possible…Keeping Doflamingo waiting was the last thing she'd ever do, and so she arrived with as much prompt as her dragging feet would allow.

He was beaten and bloodied. A cut on his forehead bled down past his eye. When his gaze swept to her, she nearly shook with shame. Not only was he angry—furious, she should clarify—but disappointed. That much was obvious. Perhaps he had not wanted to have to include her in his plans. Maybe he'd thought she was better than this. Mira wasn't sure. Either way, he was not thrilled to see her.

The young woman had to keep her heart in check. So happy to see him alive. In pain from seeing him like this…She stepped past Doflamingo and looked down at him. Doflamingo laughed, watching their useless little reunion, and remarked that they had been the closest of friends as kids. Law said not a word, as Mira would have expected.

Then, he'd given the order. Search Law's mind for the truth, to see if this was truly the Straw Hats following Law's orders or if they were completely unallied. Doflamingo had been suspicious of the connections between them targeting Sugar and the dwarves' from Green Bit. Mira took another step forward, despite needing to be no closer in order to get what she was looking for from him.

Ignoring the small crowd of people surrounding them both, Mira gently pressed forward against his mind. Normally, her target wouldn't feel a single thing, but somehow Law had come to recognize the sensation of her ability. He narrowed his eyes as she intruded, upset that she was listening to her orders. Obeying the man they both hated. A flood of things came through, flashes and sounds.

Punk Hazard. Giant children. Caeser Clown and Monet. And after that, Vergo. The Straw Hats. An alliance. An unfamiliar ship, with a lion's head crest at the front. Law spent much time on this ship. His plan. Kaido. Dressrosa's shoreline. And now here.

Strangely, however, she also caught a glimpse of herself. Their meeting back on Sabaody. His threat. Her terrified stare. And his…sympathy. He'd been thinking about that moment recently.

Doflamingo prodded her for an answer, as it was taking longer than he'd like. She wasn't sure what to do. What to say. Law's memories and thoughts all pointed to the alliance being over, but she wasn't sure what Law wanted from her. What Doflamingo would rather hear. Neither pirate's silent stare gave any indication as to what was the safest thing to say.

"They are not allied." She eventually said, stepping back from him. She remained within his head, though, just long enough to feel his relief and resignation at whatever happened next. She didn't like that part very much, but there was nothing she could do. They were on opposite sides of the conflict, and she was too weak to join his side. She doubted he would trust her even if she did.

Mira was sent away. They didn't want her in the way of their plans. Their discussions. Only called upon when needed, and ignored when useless. As it had always been. As it would always be. Law had watched her go with a strange expression she couldn't identify. And when she eventually retreated from his head, her heart was washed with a feeling of loss.

When Law was rescued by Straw Hat Luffy and his friends, Mira kept hidden in the castle. This was not her fight to participate in. She had done all she could these past few years. Law and Luffy would have to do the rest.

And when the birdcage went up. When it expanded over the entire country, trapping everyone inside, Mira knew there was no hope left. No one survived the birdcage, and now she too feared that she would become one of the casualties. Her loyalty meant nothing to Doflamingo if she couldn't even stop a rebellion like this.

But Mira was no fighter. She hid on the roof of one of the buildings near the palace, huddled against one of the broken walls beside a fallen Doflamingo grunt. Knees to her chest, she cried. She wailed. She even prayed, something the young woman had never once done. But now, with the fear of Law's defeat so close at hand, and Doflamingo prepared to wipe out the entire country to bring his former subordinate down, the future was uncertain.

Everything was rumbling, shaking and shifting, and the strings of the birdcage were visible no matter where you looked. So to rid it from her mind, she closed them entirely and didn't dare open them once.

People screamed. Children cried. Mira's tears joined the many that fell that day. So many terrible sounds were coming from the palace above. Fighting and clashing and shouting. Everything was awful.

She felt a strangely numbing film pass her by, but even that did not make her open her eyes. If she refused to believe this was all happening, refused to acknowledge the sights before her, perhaps they would simply go away. Hadn't it worked for everyone else, when they didn't care to recognize she was in the room? Why didn't it work for her now?

Mira startled in place when she heard the painful intakes of breath beside her. Her eyes flew open and the man who'd been dead just minutes before was now propping himself up on his—

"Law." Mira breathed, seeing her childhood friend again. Pushing past the fear and terror of the situation they found themselves in, Mira pushed away from the way and sat by his side.

He didn't say anything at first, just struggled to gain his breath back. Whatever was going on up above them, it was taking its toll on him. She placed a hand against his chest and felt the damage to his body. Unfortunately, she could do nothing to help ease the pain or repair the damage. Only monitor it.

One moment she was checking his body for injuries, and the next she was thrown against the damaged stone wall with a knife to her throat. Law's cold and pained eyes stared back at her. Not unlike the first time she'd seen them.

"I told you before…" He whispered, pressing the blade a bit closer to her skin. She felt the trickle of blood down her throat. "You didn't listen."

"I couldn't leave." She admitted in a rushed breath, unable to look away from his face. "You knew that."

He nodded, and they were at a standstill. She swallowed and felt courageous enough to lift a small hand to his wrist. Her fingers slowly wrapped around it, and she smiled.

"But I did what I could." She transferred the memories of laying small tidbits of information through the years, slowly but surely sabotaging his organization from the inside. The years of patience and always keeping one eye open. Her betrayal could have been found out at any time, but Mira had still done it, fully aware of what the consequences would have been.

Law's eyes widened for just a moment, but he eventually shook his head, moving the knife to hover above her heart. "It's not enough. I can't trust you. Not after years of service to him."

Strangely, despite knowing her death was imminent, Mira could only smile. "I know. I'm sorry for being too weak. Just-Ahh!"

The knife burned with an intensity she would have never imagined as it plunged into her chest. Law's mouth was a thin line of discontent as he pushed the blade in deeper. Mira could feel the tips of her fingers and toes going cold. Fascinating, how quickly death could overtake a person. Her mouth was open in a silent moan of pain, the contrast of her hot blood coating her front in comparison to her frozen limbs. When she lost the strength to keep herself standing, only Law's arm around her waist prevented her from outright collapsing. He gently lowered her to the roof of the building.

In that moment, she knew that whatever the outcome of today's battle, this was a mercy. And in that moment, she was certain that what she felt for Law was love. She'd never loved someone as she did Law. And despite knowing that their separate paths meant he could never return the sentiment, she was comforted to know that before she died, just once, she'd experienced such a beautiful thing.

"Pro…promise me…" She whispered, hand clutching his shirt as tightly as her rapidly fading strength would allow. "That…you'll end…this."

The edges of her vision were beginning to fade, and everything was going fuzzy. Before long she could see nothing out of her open eyes and her fingers lost all strength to grip him with. "Please…"

"I promise." Was the last thing she ever heard.

Her lips twitched upwards in the barest hint of a smile. She didn't need to be intruding upon his mind to know that he meant what he said. Because Mira had always known there was something…different, to Law. Something more than the Donquixote pirates could ever see or hope to take exploit. Something dangerous. Something…instinctual.

Something worth dying for.
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