Introspective, angst, romance Pairing:
Language, crude behaviour and, err, innuendo. Prompt:
Happy Valentine's gift for arcielfreeder
. Originally posted at the doflacroc
Crocodile is too much of a realist to indulge in denial. Doflamingo reminds him that being a pirate is all about indulgence. For them, it’s all about re-living the past glories and basking in the present age. Ironically enough, Doflamingo reminds Crocodile of dreams and beliefs. Acceptance
It has been a decade to forget in the Golden Age of Pirates. None but the big names are truly able to sail the seas to their heart’s content, pillaging, plundering and staking claim. The small fry are relegated to scraps and petty quarrels within their league, steering clear from danger.
There is little glory in piracy, but there is less still in cowering in the face of danger at sea.
Crocodile is above it all. Above all the reckless expeditions that would have had his blood racing in anticipation had he been a decade younger. A few years of rough voyage at sea have taught him much. Even if he is above it all, he regards the new names in the papers (‘Town Pillaged by...’; ‘World Government Evacuating Citizens of...’)
with disdain. There is nothing more despicable than taking to the wide open seas without first discarding control over one’s life.
Pirates have little say in what happens to the course of their fates as they chart the seas. With ambition and the winds of luck, you can go far. If without—
Crocodile looks at his left arm, trails the white cotton fabric snug around the crease of his elbow and stops as he reaches the curved beginnings of the gold hook.
Any pain now would be imaginary.Phantom.
He is past the age of looking back and grieving with the abundant passion which comes with youth. He has done his fair share and knows that it amounts to nothing but a dreaded reality upon every waking.
Acceptance is easier.
It lessens the haunting quality to his dreams (the screams)
and he can – almost
– stand by dispassionately in sleep and watch his past replay itself (Captain! Captain! Please, Captai—!)
. Watch it re-lived, and know that, on waking, it has passed.
He accepts that he will never hear those voices again. (Never again feel an impertinent subordinate – comrade’s - arm linking his left arm gaily.)
He accepts that the past always comes back to haunt everyone.
In his case, a figment of his past that he would much rather forget pays visits.
They are generally rare, far and in-between, but flamboyant and, as bitter as the thought of it often leaves him, memorable enough.
Crocodile accepts the fact that there is an inexplicable mutual physical
attraction that they share. He realises with reluctant resignation that he expects this much. There are only so many years two young apprentices on-board a pirate ship can stay in close quarters constantly at each other’s throats. The tension has to diffuse some way or another.
And they do it in the only way they know how.Against the galley wall on third-shift night watch.
Hands, fingers, teeth.
Both of their hands.
Crocodile acknowledges what has passed between both of them through a thin film of distaste. It is not so much a tryst as a business agreement born out of necessity and the reckless irrationality of youth. They have never been lovers, and never will be.
“Been waiting long?”
... Even if
the other man never seems to have accustomed himself to the idea.
Crocodile does not bother looking up from the blueprints he is tracing with one jewelled finger. It is a Sunday morning in Arabasta, and for all that she is worth, Miss All-Sunday has disappeared for the day, no more than a Den Den Mushi call away, but physically absent nonetheless. Crocodile exhales heavily around his cigar and deliberates his mental countdown to the day when he can finally dispose of Nico Robin.
For now, however.
Crocodile raises an eyebrow as he lifts his finger from the blueprint of the Alubarna palace, and holds his expression of impatient disinterest as his gold hook carefully scrapes at the piece of parchment and rolls it up. He rolls his cigar irritably to one corner of his mouth as he stands and shrugs his elaborate cloak off, letting it fall to the carpeted floor before walking around his desk to the figure lounging comfortably on the line of plush couches at the side of the room.
Crocodile comes to a stop in front of long fingers which are splayed in the air like a tensed claw, manipulator to the man’s own marionette show. There is an arm pulling him against a taut chest even as his own fingers loosen the cravat around his neck and his gold hook twists under his belt, yanking and severing the leather in half.
He regards the other man’s wide grin with little else but a keen sense of mounting annoyance. His office erupts into a small burst of colour and the texture of the air becomes tangible enough for him to see as he swirls into his element. The daring hand slipping its way up the hemline of his cotton shirt disappears, and he catches sight of the (his)
manipulator’s grin widening.
It has a nasty edge to it that he cares very little to decipher.
“You’re intruding, Doflamingo,” he says calmly as his materialises, walking across the length of his office back to the desk.
Low, soft familiar laughter echoes around the room as Doflamingo stands and saunters unrepentantly towards Crocodile, a whisper of feathers following in his wake. And Crocodile’s fingers are moving again, wordlessly pulling the remnants of his belt free and tossing them flippantly aside.
Another burst of colour like an odd kaleidoscope and Crocodile seats himself in his armchair. His hook catches the stray documents lying on his desk as the other man moves abruptly. The small breeze that passes them by rustles the papers against his hook, and Doflamingo is behind him, fingers poised.
carry on,” the other man says. Crocodile manages not to chew his cigar in two in his irritation by drawing a savage breath, inhaling as much tobacco as he can to sooth his temper.
A confrontation will, most unfortunately, be pointless. They are very much equals here. Bounties mean little in a place underwater like the Baroque Works’ headquarters. Here, their fights remain small and nondescript.
Most unfortunate, indeed.
His cigar is bitten in half as lips are placed against his ear and Doflamingo laughs, infuriatingly slow and deliberate, into his ear. He spits out the bitten half of his cigar impatiently, batting Doflamingo’s wandering hand away from his waist and slides his cigar drawer open. Cutting one with practiced ease, he brings it up to his lips, only to turn and have a warm mouth meet his. From the corner of his eye, he vaguely registers the way those damned fingers
are held up again.Fucking
Crocodile tries not to crush the tobacco in his hand as the glass of water on his desk is upended on him.
He wrenches away spluttering, indignant and furious. His string of curses are swallowed as he is manipulated deftly onto his own desk, hand pinned by an arm, hook held down by invisible strings and trapped by a frame larger than his.
Doflamingo hums something unintelligible against his lips as they pull apart. Crocodile has the sense to flick his eyes to the ceiling, asking for patience and composure, before bucking against the pressure that is pinning him against the mahogany wood while kicking viciously at his fellow Shichibukai.
Doflamingo glances at his leg and huffs in amusement, cocking his head to the side.
“A hard prize as always,” he drawls, unfazed as he takes a step away from the desk, staring thoughtfully down at Crocodile.
Crocodile stares back dismissively at the dark eyes boring into his from behind ridiculous-looking orange shades.
“You haven’t changed either,” he replies after a pause, ignoring the curl that Doflamingo’s lips have taken on, “You’re as incorrigible as always.”
Doflamingo does not deign to reply as he leans over, but the implications in his smile are clear. (Glad you noticed.)
The smile itself has never changed, and Crocodile doesn’t think it ever will, so he accepts the warmth that the lips on his and the dull weight against him brings.
It has been another decade in the Golden Age of Pirates. And Crocodile finds that he is still part of that age, part of the greed that bore this age full-sail into the horizon.
Still a pirate.
He no longer takes to the seas, but for what it is worth, the little control that he has gained from being on land and near his element is wrested from him every once in awhile (Faster. Harder. More, more, moremoremore.)
As a pirate, he risks both fate and chance (because there are those that make him believe that they exist)
So he believes.