“I never agreed to this,” Nami insisted, hands on her hips as she stood her ground.
“You agreed the moment you signed onto my crew.”
“I agreed to work with you, not take off my clothes so you could ogle me like a pervert!”
It hadn’t even been a day, and the fiery thief was already regretting her decision. After finalizing plans with Haredas, ensuring the old man knew where and when to retrieve her in a year, Law briefly showed her around the Polar Tang before ushering her into the infirmary. It was nothing like Chopper’s sickbay; steel, sterile equipment gleamed ominously under the bright lights. The aroma of antiseptic and other cleaning materials hung heavily in the air, stinging her nose. Nothing looked warm or comfortable or pleasant, and she suddenly missed her reindeer friend. It was hard to feel nervous when a cute little guy like him was your doctor.
Unfortunately, instead of sweet, caring Chopper, she was under the penetrating scrutiny of the Surgeon of Death.
Slipping on a crisp, white lab coat and placing his hat on the counter, Law looked unimpressed at her defiance. “I’m both your doctor and captain now, Nami-ya; I have to ensure my newest subordinate is healthy, especially since we spend so much time underwater. For that, I need to give you a full examination, and for that, I need you to strip.”
Nami sniffed in disdain, then wrinkled her nose at the overpowering scent of latex and chemicals. Briefly, she wondered if Luffy had been just as disgusted by the smell. “A likely excuse. You just want to see me naked!”
Annoyance crept into his voice at the accusation. “I’m perfectly capable of keeping things professional. Surely this wasn’t a problem with your old doctor?”
“My old doctor was a talking reindeer!”
“…Maybe I should give you a psychological examination instead.”
Pink dusted her cheeks at his comment. It had been a long time since she’d considered just how unusual her crewmates were, but Law’s tone certainly made her feel like an idiot. “Oh, shut up. I’m still not stripping; you can easily check me over fully-dressed.”
Blue, latex surgical gloves encased his tattooed hands with a resounding snap. “I can also easily use my powers to remove your clothes without your consent.”
She blanched at the threat. Maybe he was bluffing, but she didn’t trust Law enough to believe he couldn’t and wouldn’t do it. Most of what she knew about him was through rumors and news articles, and none of them painted a pretty picture. Pirates—with the notable exception of her crew—were unscrupulous bastards, and the ones with Devil Fruits especially so. Besides that, men always seemed to find a way to use those weird powers for perverted purposes, so with how little she knew of Law’s particular abilities, it was better to err on the side of caution.
Teeth sinking into her lip, she hesitantly peeled off her shorts and top before kicking off her sandals, leaving her in nothing but her lacy white bra and panties. The infirmary’s cold air made goosebumps raise across her exposed flesh, or maybe it was the way the Dark Doctor studied her. It was at least comforting that his expression was serious and clinical; had there been even a hint of lust in his gold eyes, she would have slapped him, Supernova or not. “Try to cop a feel and I’ll not only bash your head in, but charge you 1 million belli,” she warned.
“Violent tendencies and delusions. Perhaps I’ve made a mistake recruiting you,” he said blandly, picking up a clipboard and beginning to fill in a chart.
Crossing her arms over her chest, she replied, “Then how about we consider the debt squared and you let me go?”
Lips curling upwards, he stalked forward, long legs invading her personal space in only a few strides. Brown eyes widening, Nami instinctively backed away, but soon found herself trapped against the wall with no choice but to look up at the imposing man before her. This close, there was no escaping his scrutiny, and she held her breath, waiting for him to attack.
“Unlucky for you, your pros far outweigh your cons. Now stand up straight; I’m trying to check your height.”
She blinked, then glanced to her left to find she was indeed next to a height chart. “Oh.”
With an amused chuckle, he backed off, jotting her measurements in his notebook. “You have nothing to fear in my infirmary, Nami-ya; in here, you’re my patient first and foremost. The Pirate Empress herself could be standing naked in front of me and I’d see her as nothing more than a body to examine.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” she challenged, even as she released the air from her strained lungs.
Bruskly and efficiently, the tattooed doctor proceeded to check her vitals, peering into her ears and mouth, observing the dilation of her eyes, and pressing along her throat in search of any irregularities or swelling. Though she tensed every time his hands touched her, they never lingered or strayed anywhere they shouldn’t. It helped that, while she could feel body heat through the material, the latex gloves provided a thin barrier between his fingers and her skin, making everything more impersonal. His expression, too, never changed, remaining stoic and professional. There was no evidence of his hungry stare from earlier, and though trust was still a long way off, Nami slowly started to give him the benefit of the doubt. That didn’t mean she wasn’t on her guard, though; the first inappropriate touch or innuendo, and she’d teach the man why even the Straw Hats’ Monster Trio feared her.
Wrapping the strap of a blood pressure gauge around her bicep, Law asked, “What’s your blood type?”
“Good. Mugiwara-ya and Jinbei used up most of my type-F reserves, so if you got injured and needed a transfusion, you’d be shit out of luck until I can restock. Type-X is far more common, but I’ll still ask you to donate a pint of blood as a precaution.”
Orange eyebrows furrowed suspiciously. “You’re not going to do anything weird with it, right?”
“Damn, you’ve caught on to my plan to use your blood to ritualistically summon a hell-beast to help me take over the Grand Line,” he replied sarcastically, not looking up from the little pressure gauge as he steadily pumped.
Her cheeks puffed in indignation. “Hey, I travel with a talking skeleton, room with a woman who can sprout body parts anywhere, and regularly watch my captain’s body defy the laws of physics thanks to Devil Fruit. I may not believe in any of that superstitious crap, but that doesn’t mean your abilities couldn’t somehow use my blood against me.”
Removing the gauge and writing on her chart, he snorted. “I assure you, the Ope-Ope Fruit can’t use your blood like that. At least, not in any way I’ve tried, and I’ve experimented extensively.” Taking out a thermometer, he motioned for her to open her mouth. “Its powers revolve around space manipulation. Once I activate my Room, everything inside it is in my control. For example, say you were pointing a gun at me; I could switch the gun with whatever I had in my hand and shoot you instead. That’s not really my style, though; so anti-climactic. I’d rather remove your organs and replace them with bombs. Or perhaps rearrange your limbs so your legs are on your shoulders and your arms backwards on your hips. And of course, there’s always the old standby; ripping out your still-beating heart.”
She let out a squeak of fear around the thermometer, which coaxed a chuckle from the doctor. A glint of his old sadism had returned to his eyes, though it quickly vanished as he resumed his work. “Lucky for you, I save such things for my enemies, not my crew or patients.” His brow furrowed as her studied her temperature. “You run a little hot, Nami-ya, but you don’t seem to have a fever, so I’ll assume this is your norm.”
Jerking her head back, she mumbled, “You do that.”
Moving the stethoscope to her chest, he sighed. “Your heart’s pounding. I’d hoped you would have calmed down by this point so I could check it properly.”
“Well, maybe you shouldn’t have told me about all the horrible ways you could kill me with your powers!” she snapped. She was seriously second-guessing the doctor’s sanity; of course her heart was racing like a cornered rabbit’s, especially considering she now had terrifying confirmation that those horror stories about gruesome deaths weren’t just hearsay. The images he’d conjured sent a shiver down her spine. She’d always rivaled Usopp in terms of coming up with horrible scenarios, but Law’s sick creativity put even her worst nightmares to shame. She really hoped he was serious about not seeing her as an enemy.
“Please, that’s not even the worst of what I can do. But I suppose you have a point; I’ll endeavor to avoid such topics next time I give you a check-up.” Backing off a few paces, he made another note on his chart. “And now for the personal questions; any hereditary diseases or illness-related deaths in your family history?”
Nami grimaced, rubbing her arms. She really didn’t want to discuss her past with the likes of Trafalgar Law, but she understood the necessity of the question. “I wouldn’t know; I was found as a baby by a Marine in a ruined village. I have no clue who my birth parents are, and I’ve never really cared to find out. My adopted mother and sister were enough.”
That seemed to catch his interest, as amber eyes studied her closely. “Do you at least know what island you were found on?” When she shook her head, he made another note. “I’ll have to take a blood sample to run some tests on, then. It’s possible everyone was wiped out in a war or some natural disaster, I’ve also known of a city or two that the World Government that razed to the ground under the claim that the people carried infectious diseases,” he said, surprising her with the bitterness in his voice.
“You think I might be carrying something?”
“No, I’m just curious if you’re from one of them. If your village had succumbed to plague, I doubt any Marine would have risked relocating you and spreading it, baby or not.”
The scratch of his pen was the only sound between them for a few moments, the air tense—Nami could tell she’d stumbled onto a sensitive topic, and though she was curious, she knew better than to pry. Finally, the deep furrow on his brow smoothed out, professionalism resuming. “Your weather attacks—are those the result of eating a Devil Fruit?”
“No, I’m a normal human. If you don’t believe me, I’m happy to swim a few laps outside.”
“That won’t be necessary. Any notable past illnesses?”
“Nearly died from a Kestia bite.”
He actually paused, looking up from his clipboard. “Those went extinct over a hundred years ago.”
“Not on Little Garden they didn’t. Luckily Dr. Kureha still had some antibiotics for it.”
“Dr. Kureha? From Drum Island?” He sounded genuinely impressed, and Nami had to chuckle at how pleased Chopper would be to know that even the Surgeon of Death admired his old mentor.
“Yeah, she treated me and was the one who trained our ship’s doctor.”
“Well, you’re just getting more intriguing by the minute, Nami-ya,” he said with a small, sly grin, posture relaxing as he crossed his long legs. “A mysterious past, the ability to manipulate the weather in battle without a Devil Fruit, surviving prehistoric diseases, treatment from one of the most acclaimed and infamous doctors on the Grand Line—you’re definitely more than a pretty face.”
Unbidden, a proud smirk lifted the corner of her pink lips. “And don’t you forget it.”
“Oh, trust me, I won’t.” The amusement on his face vanished as he looked at the next page of his chart, his mouth twisting into a grimace. “In the interest of you not slapping me, you should know I’m about to ask some rather…delicate questions.”
“Taking the warnings of asking a lady’s weight seriously?” she joked weakly, rubbing her arms. For the most part, she’d gotten used to the infirmary’s chill, but Law’s gaze somehow continued to raise goosebumps along her arms.
“More like a rundown of your sexual history.” At her aghast expression, he held up his hands placatingly. “I need to know if I should check you for sexually transmitted diseases and what kind of birth control you take. Believe me, I’ve had to have this conversation with everyone on my crew, male and female. Now—and I’m going to need you to be honest—how sexually active are you?”
He raised a disbelieving eyebrow at that, making her blush. “I know I flirt and tease, but I’ve never let a guy get past third base!” Somehow, she found herself embarrassed and feeling defensive; there was nothing wrong with being a virgin, and she had plenty of reasons for it, and what right did Law have to judge her? Before she could stop herself, nerves took over, and she continued, “When you’re as good as I am, you don’t need to do more than bat your eyelashes to con a guy, so sex has never been necessary. It’s not exactly easy to have a relationship while travelling the Grand Line, either, and I’m not the kind of girl who likes one-night stands. Most of the guys that come onto me are gross, anyway. You ever have a creep with a lion’s muzzle sewed on his face try to force you to marry him? Stuff like that makes abstinence real appealing.”
“I’m not judging, Nami-ya; just surprised,” he said, interrupting her tirade. A severe frown darkened his face. “Though I now have to ask—”
Her fury cooled at his implication. “Sanji-kun saved me before anything could happen. I even had Chopper do an examination to make sure I wasn’t assaulted while unconscious.” She shuddered at the memory. Absalom might have been soundly trounced by the amorous cook, but that near-miss had been a stark reminder of how dangerous it was being a beautiful woman on the high seas. Not all her admirers were going to be good-natured, relatively harmless perverts like Sanji and Brook. Nor would she always find herself at the mercy of creatures who would never be physically attracted to her, like the Fishman Pirates.
So as proud as she was of her body, and as much as she loved using her looks to her advantage, the danger of attracting the wrong kind of attention was never far from her mind.
Nodding in confirmation, Law scribbled another note on her chart. “Are you on any form of birth control?”
“Chopper always made me some, but I couldn’t tell you exactly what he gave me. I haven’t been able to take it since Sabaody, anyway.”
“I’ve got a few options we can work with but notify me if you find yourself having any side effects or unusual symptoms. Once we know exactly what your body can handle, I can give you an injection that’ll last you at least a year; that way, you won’t have to worry about taking a pill every day or missing doses. You might not be sexually active, but a woman can never be too careful.”
Pleasantly surprised at how professional and forward-thinking he was being, Nami allowed herself to relax just the slightest bit. With his thinly veiled request for sexual favors up on the deck, she’d written him off as another creep, but maybe he’d just been testing her resolve? The Law she was dealing with now was far less intimidating, and while he was certainly cold and sarcastic, if he kept treating her like this, perhaps working for him for the next year wouldn’t be so bad after all.
The Surgeon of Death was dangerous, not just because of his abilities and status as a Supernova, but because he was, in his own way, quite attractive. Questionable fashion choices aside, he was the epitome of tall, dark, and sexy. His irises glittered like treasure, his voice was smooth and deep, and his perfectly groomed sideburns and goatee showed he took pride in his appearance. He was long and lean and walked with a sure, predatory grace. It was his confidence that pulled her in like a magnet, though; it was quiet assurance of his own ability, that easy smirk proclaiming he knew he was far above everyone else’s level as loudly as Luffy would scream about becoming the Pirate King.
Despite his appeal, Nami refused to let herself give in to physical desire. For her, rule number one was not to mix business with pleasure. Thus, she hoped his earlier flirting had just been a test, because spending a year under his command could end up being a test to her iron-clad control. If he managed to get under her skin, earn even a fraction of her trust, it would be so much harder to resist.
Another note was made on her chart before Law ushered her towards the center of the room. “Now that we’ve got that unpleasantness out of the way, turn around and touch your toes; I want to check your back for scoliosis and spinal irregularities.”
Instinct told her he just wanted to check out her ass, but she found it was easier for her rational mind to calm her nerves. Not that she wasn’t immediately put on edge when she felt his gloved fingers run down her spine, though it felt different from her usual fight-or-flight reaction. The shiver that rocked through her she desperately wanted to say was due to the cold, but the heat that lingered on her skin said otherwise.
“Spine looks good, Nami-ya, and I’m impressed at how flexible you are. I’m sure it’s advantageous in a fight or sneaking around.” The muscles of her back jumped as the icy head of the stethoscope pressed against them. “Take a deep breath.”
She did so, forcing her heart to remain steady. If she panicked again they’d be at this all day, and even if she no longer believed Law was looking to jump her the second she gave him an opening, she still had better things to do than stand around in her underwear.
“Glad to hear your heart isn’t about to beat out of your chest anymore. Good lung capacity, too.” Coaxing her to straighten up, she could feel his calculating gaze on her arm. “Who did your tattoo?”
“Dr. Nako of Cocoyashi Village, about a year ago.”
“Was he also the one who sewed up these cuts?” he asked, thumb trailing over one of the pale scars on her shoulder. The heat of his touch was instantly snuffed out as his fingers inadvertently traced the invisible pattern of Arlong’s Jolly Roger, and the Fishman’s cruel laugh echoed in her mind.
Flinching away, Nami grabbed her arm instinctively. “H-he did.”
Sensing they were straying from the comfortable bubble they’d built, Law simply nodded, again going back to his chart. She suspected he wanted to ask how she got such an injury; any decent doctor could tell it was self-inflicted just from the angle, but instead he stated, “I’ll assume the tattoo was done with sterile equipment, then, and I won’t have to check you for tetanus and the like. I’ve seen more than a few back-alley tattoos turn septic. I commend his work; very neat, and you could almost miss the scars if you’re not looking for them.”
“Who does yours?” she asked, eager to change the subject. Thoughts of her past were floating far too close to the surface for her taste. Hoping to banish her former captain’s ghost, cocoa eyes focused on Law’s fingers, easily imagining the bold, black letters beneath the blue latex. “Considering how a surgeon’s hands are his most valuable tool, I’m surprised you even took the risk. Was looking edgy really worth it?”
Leading her over to the table, he helped her hop up, smirking at the verbal jab. “Oh, it was absolutely worth it; the look on people’s faces when they see a doctor with DEATH on his hands is priceless. Ikkaku does all my tattoos. You’ll meet her soon; she’ll be your roommate during your stay. I think she’ll be happy to have another woman aboard.”
Nami sighed in relief. She hadn’t sailed with an all-male crew since entering the Grand Line, and she hadn’t been really looking forward to doing it again. Perhaps this Ikkaku woman would make her miss Robin a little less. “I certainly will be.”
“And here I assumed you’d want a ship full of men you could easily manipulate,” he said, grin widening.
Winking, she replied, “Oh, I do, but that gets boring after a while. I need someone who can talk to me without staring at my breasts.”
“What makes you think she won’t?”
That actually coaxed a small laugh out of her. “Then at least it’s someone I can hopefully borrow clothes from. I’m not looking forward to wearing the same outfit every day, and before you say it—no, I’m not wearing your crew’s uniform. They’re not cute, and bulky jumpsuits like that are terrible for sneaking around.” Secretly, it wasn’t even the ugliness of the suits that repelled her—it was the Heart Pirate’s Jolly Roger she’d seen emblazoned across the front and back. She may have agreed to a partnership, but she refused to wear another crew’s insignia. It made her think too much of Arlong, and how he’d forced her to walk around with that horrible tattoo. He might as well have branded her like cattle, showing how little he thought of humans.
It was one of the reasons she respected Luffy as her captain—he’d never even considered placing such a mark of ownership on his crew.
Nami had expected a fight, but the doctor merely thought it over before nodding. “I suppose I can give you that freedom; with your high internal body temp, I’d be concerned about you overheating. The sub gets pretty hot when we’ve been underwater too long, and Bepo certainly suffers for it. I’ll supply you a uniform for when we’re on islands with colder climates, but otherwise, I won’t hold you to the normal dress code.”
Pleasantly surprised at his leniency, she allowed him to gently push her back so she lay on the table, arms positioned above her head. Again, she blanched at how provocative the position was, but Law completely ignored the way her chest was thrust out, his hands instead poking and prodding at her stomach, carefully checking for any unusual lumps or organ placement. The muscles twitched slightly at his ministrations, and Law gave her a considering look. “Sensitive, Nami-ya?”
“Maybe a little ticklish,” she said, eyebrow raised, daring him to make an off-color comment.
A non-committal hum was her only response. Part of the fiery cartographer wanted to be insulted at how unaffected he seemed to be at having a beautiful woman like herself sprawled out before him clad only in her underwear. He hadn’t even given her a breast exam! She swiftly shoved that feeling down, though. How irrational could she get? Just ten minutes ago she saw him as a threat, and now she actually wanted him to lust after her? Clearly, the stress of the day was getting to her.
Upon finishing his inspection, Law held out a hand, helping her off the table. “Seems I can give you a clean bill of health,” he said, scratching a few more notes on her chart before handing over her clothes.
As she quickly dressed, the Supernova busied himself with filing her information away, giving her a small semblance of privacy.
“Just so you know, the majority of the crew knows basic first aid, but I’ll still expect you to report any injuries or illness to me. We’re in close quarters and sickness spreads quickly, so if you get so much as a cold, you’re quarantined until I give the all-clear. I take my crew’s well-being very seriously, so this is non-negotiable. In fact, most of my rules are. Uniform aside, I’m not in the habit of giving out special privileges without good reason. I want you to be aware that I won’t tolerate reckless defiance or ignoring my orders. As your doctor and captain, it’s in your best interest to do as I say without question. Do you understand?” he asked, turning to frown at her sternly.
“Absolutely,” she agreed, holding up her hands in surrender. She couldn’t guarantee she wouldn’t argue if she found a rule stupid, or try to get around them, but she understood there were limits, and it was best to pick her battles. Once she had a better understanding of the captain and crew, she’d have more wiggle-room and loopholes to work with.
She was momentarily distracted by the sight of the Dark Doctor’s white teeth gripping the edge of one of his surgical gloves, carefully pulling the tight latex off his hand. It was surprisingly arousing, seeing the tattooed, olive skin slowly emerge back into the light, his lips lightly brushing the newly-exposed flesh.
An image of him taking her clothes off like that popped into her mind, and she nearly slapped herself. Keep it together, girl! Nami scolded herself. Remember rule number one!
Not noticing her staring, or possibly just ignoring it, he tossed the gloves into the trash. “Good. I watched Mugiwara-ya nearly undo all my hard work, running around like a madman after I’d spent hours saving his life. I’d like to think you’re a bit more sensible.”
“A rock is more sensible than Luffy,” she said dryly, which earned her a slight smirk. Shrugging off his lab coat, he led her out of the infirmary, chuckling when she took a deep breath of the antiseptic-free air in the hallway.
A large, warm hand rested on the small of her back, and Nami jumped at the contact, turning to look up at the Heart Captain. His grin was lazy but confident, gold eyes once more regarding her with interest. No longer contained by the latex gloves, the heat of his palm radiated through the thin cotton of her shirt, seeping into her flesh.
“Shall I introduce you to the rest of the crew, Nami-ya?” he asked, long fingers curling around her waist when she instinctively attempted to step away. As if she were no more than a misbehaving kitten, he pulled her close, leaving little more than an inch of space between them. “They’d be heartbroken if they thought I was keeping you all to myself.”
Nami swallowed, pulse quickening as she realized something; Law had promised she had nothing to fear while in his infirmary.
He’d never said anything about outside it.