Edward Newgate has a beautiful woman hanging on his arm, cooing words and pressing soft, plush breasts against him. He laughs, hearty and full, leaning down to take a peek at the cleavage winking at him through the cut of her blouse when he see the tiniest child he's ever seen. Standing in the middle of the street, the child's head is tilted up to the side and facing the sky like they're listening to something. The child is skinny, too skinny, with a threadbare shirt hanging off their shoulder, cut off jean shorts riddled with holes, and a bandana, brown with patches, hiding their hair. As Edward and his lady drift closer, he notices that the child's feet are bare, black with dirt, and he notices the strange stares lingering on the child.
The woman on his arm notices his strayed attention, and she looks. Once she sees what has his attention, the woman makes a noise, too soft to be derisive but still unkind. A smile forms on her mouth that makes her rose tinted lips look bloody, and the woman speaks just as they pass the strange child.
"Noticed our little Karasu?" The name is a strange one, but the child's head straightens and turns towards it nonetheless. Their gazes lock, and he understands. Understands the name, understands the stares. The child is a little girl he realizes as he peeks escaping curls around her face and the fine rise of her beauty marked cheekbones.
She's a little girl, and her eyes are black. Deep, endless eyes of the darkest black, pools that draw your attention in order to suffocate you. They are the darkest things he's ever seen, and they're dead. Blank black jewels in the sockets of this starving child in the middle of the street in a thriving island. Something in Edward aches.
A tug on his arm makes Edward realize that he's stopped beside the child, trapped in her unblinking gaze.
"Whitebeard, leave the poor thing to her strangeness. She'll fly away soon enough." The woman simpers, and Edward shakes her off. She makes a noise of surprise, and Edward waves her off without taking his gaze off the little crow in front of him.
"I have some business to take care of." The woman scoffs loudly as she walks away, muttering underneath her breath. The child watches her go only for a moment before that dark gaze lands on him again. The child doesn't fidget under his gaze, but her head tilts back to the side like she's trying to hear something again.
"What are you listening to, child?" Edward asks, and the child blinks, languid and slow as if waking from a nap. For some reason, there's a charged silence between them with the question, and the child's presence pressing down on him makes Edward grin. Cracked lips open, revealing surprisingly white teeth, and the child speaks. The accent that dances in the air surprises Edward. It's the not the accent of this island, and the words that come out are a East Blue dialect he hasn't heard in the New World since the last time he's seen that Red-Haired menace.
"The wind." Edward makes sure not to visibly react, but thinks he failed somehow if the way the child's gaze suddenly sharpens says anything. He softens the grin on his face in response, and the child huffs.
"What is the wind saying to you?" He questions.
"I need to go home, my brother is crying." The child says, cadence slow as she lifts her gaze back up to the sky. "It says...I am lost."
A few silent breaths past after her words, the child says nothing else and Edward has a strange feeling in his chest that feels like excitement. He bends down, tries to ignore how much he still towers over her, and he reaches out a hand. The child flinches but covers it up with a snarl, brows furrowing in a way that reminds Edward of a feral cat.
"Can I help you find your way?"