Among the bodies of his former neighbors Law learns to be dead. It’s hard at first. He wants to cry sandwiched there between a classmate and the old lady that sold flowers, but he can’t, the dead don’t cry.
He goes limp and tries not to breath as a marine tosses him and the classmate into a large hole. Law doesn’t move. He waits in the ever growing pile of bodies for hours for the marines to leave, and in that time the dead teach Law how to be like them. They whisper to him down there in the mud, and Law learns many things.
He learns to hold his breath. He learns to be cold and still. He learns how long he can go without eating. He learns to hear what the dead want.
By the time Law manages to get out of Flevance he has forgotten how to cry. He is a hollow instrument for the dead to work through, and the dead do not cry, they only hate.
But then that bastard Cora came along, and he saw Law not for the angry walking corpse that he was, but for the small child that he could be. He teaches Law how to be alive again. He teaches Law to sleep, and to laugh, and to hope, and worst of all, to love.
So in the snow of Minion Island Law does cry. Not just for Cora, but for everyone he has ever lost. He cries, and cries, and cries, until he needs to use his new powers to rip amber lead from his veins, and then he sleeps.
When Law wakes up his cloak has been tucked up to his chin like a blanket. He does not remember having done that before passing out.
The dead sometimes come to Law in his dreams. When they do they claw at him, and demand he do things for them.
bury me at sea find my daughter feed my dog tell my husband tell my wife
Law tries at first, but he can not do all the things the dead ask of him. So the dead start to tell him to do things he can do.
kill them kill them kill them kill them kill themkillthem killthemkillthemkillthemkillthem
Law never tells anyone this. He sees no point in giving others another reason to ostracize him.
During his time with Cora the dreams start to fade. They do not disappear completely, but they no longer haunt him nightly.
After Cora dies Law expects his voice to join the faceless masses, but something else happens instead.
It happens sometime after meeting Bepo, Penguin and Shachi, but before they become pirates. Like they sometimes do the dead are waiting for Law in his room. Law can not see them, but he knows they are there. They stand in the corners, and wait for him to sleep.
When he does sleep they tear into him. They scream and cry and gnaw at his skin. They demand to be heard.
why havent you killed them killed them killed them killedthem killedthemkilledthem
And then it stops.
Law dreams he is wrapped in a blanket, and sitting in front of a warm fire. He is pressed into someone’s side, their arm around him. The blanket obscures his vision, so he can not see who the person is, but they feel more real than anything Law has ever felt in a dream.
Despite the cold outside when Law wakes up he is warm.
The Polar Tang is a strange ship. It can go underwater for one thing, and it takes them weeks to figure how to properly maintain the engine.
And even after Bepo figures out how to make the engine run without causing a huge stink, and even after Penguin cleans and cleans, Law can still smell smoke every once and awhile.
The smoke smell would probably go away if they would just air out the ship more often, but the crew never complains, and Law almost likes the way it smells. It makes him feel at home for some reason.
Over time however the smell starts to morph. It’s subtle, but Law can tell. It goes from engine smoke to cigarette smoke.
No one on the crew smokes.
When Law first notices it he’s in the middle of one of his depressive episodes, and can’t bring himself to care. He waits for someone else on the crew to bring it up. No one ever does.
The smell gets worse and worse until one night when Law’s insomnia gets the better of him. He’s sitting in the kitchen when he swears he can smell the person smoking in the other room.
He gets up to follow it, but the smell moves away. Law aimlessly follows the person through the halls of the Polar Tang until he ends up outside his room.
The smell vanishes, and Law is suddenly overwhelmingly tired.
When he wakes up the next day, the smell is gone.
Law is haunted, he knows this. That doesn’t explain the rest of the crew though.
Penguin swears there’s a mouse aboard the ship eating scraps and making strange noises, but Ikkaku’s been wondering aloud about why the ship seems so clean lately. Uni claims to have seen a figure in the engine room, and Bepo quietly talks to someone when he thinks no one is around.
It’s all very strange.
Sometimes the dead reach out and touch Law in his waking hours. When he was young, it was always to hurt. They would leave scratches on him as a reminder of what needed to be done. As he aged something changed and the dead started to leave him alone. Until one day the last scratch wound faded away for good.
Now something new happens.
Law is not quite napping against Bepo the first time it happens. He is in that floaty place between sleeping and wakefulness when something dead touches him. Law knows it is dead because of how cold its long fingers feel.
He goes still, and waits for the pain to begin, but it never does. The dead do not scratch at him with sharp fingernails, it merely touches his shoulder, as if steadying itself.
Then the touch starts to move slowly around to his neck, up the side of his face, and into his hair where it stays. It does not move after that. It sits lightly as a strangely comforting presence until Law drifts off to sleep.
When the dead would come to Law it was always in groups. Now it’s only ever the one.
It speaks to him.
The dead would only speak to Law in his dreams but this ghost tries to speak to Law while he’s awake. The dead always make themselves heard loud and clear, but Law can never quite hear what this ghost tries to say.
Law makes no attempt to communicate with the ghost. No good has ever come from speaking with the dead.
In his dreams by the fire he hears it. The voice of the ghost whispering to him, quietly but clearly.
(law i love you)
He never remembers what is said in those dreams.