Growing Up @oceanshay
1

Bellemere was walking through the remnants of the village that had burned down during the battle, where ashes covered the ground and polluted the air. Here she had found two children a few days ago, separated from their parents who were probably dead anyway. She was looking for any human remains that might need to be identified and interred properly, and maybe she’d find the kids’ parents to give them some sort of a proper funeral.  

She didn’t expect to find anyone alive out there. 

There was a tall, blond man staggering through the ashes with a child in tow, not much older than five. The man didn’t look like he was in good shape, stumbling over everything around him, but as it was a village in shambles Bellemere didn’t think much of it. Most of the civilians were injured as it was. She ran over to try and help them get to the field hospital set up for survivors. 

There was a tall, blond man staggering through the ashes with a child in tow, not much older than five. The man didn’t look like he was in good shape, stumbling over everything around him, but as it was a village in shambles Bellemere didn’t think much of it. Most of the civilians were injured as it was. She ran over to try and help them get to the field hospital set up for survivors. 

“Are you okay?” She asked. 

The man fiddled with his hands, sign language she assumed, as the child translated for her. 

“We were running away from someone and had to stop here to get more food and water. We don’t know what happened to the city here but Corasan needs help!” he said, voice cracking as he finished. 

Bellemere lifted the child onto her back despite the pain screaming at her to keep him on the ground, and took the man, Corasan as the child had called him, and put his arm around her and the child to help balance him until they got to the hospital. 

“What are your names?” She asked through gritted teeth. The hospital would need to know anyway and she didn’t know how long they would be able to stay awake. 

“I’m Law, and that’s Corasan.” The child said, and the man nodded in agreement. 

“Okay. I’ll make sure you don’t get separated at the hospital. My name is Bellemere and I promise you’ll be okay.” 

But she couldn’t. There was no way she could predict the future and she knew that if something happened and made her words empty, she could never live with herself for lying to a child. Not when she had just saved two children a few days earlier who knew better than to believe that. 

The three of them made it to the tents set up at the edge of the rubble and Bellemere made sure that they would stay together through recovery help before she was ushered off to see another doctor who would scold her for overexerting herself after almost dying just a few days before. 

Bellemere didn’t expect to see them again. The doctors insisted that she remain in the hospital under supervision so she wouldn’t accidentally kill herself by trying to help others. The two girls that she had found were near her make-shift bed and she talked with an official to let her take them back to her own island of Cocoyashi. They already knew her, she said. They would trust her more than a stranger. 

So she took the little girls back to her island. While they were boarding her ship, someone bumped into her and she stumbled forward, almost dropping the orange-haired baby into the water. 

“What the hell was that?” She exclaimed, turning around to slap whoever had run into her. 

Unfortunately for the man behind her, Bellemere’s hand reacted quicker than her brain, and she slapped his face, causing him to stumble backwards. 

“Hey watch it!” Shouted a tiny voice from next to her. Bellemere’s eyes went wide as she realized who it was. 

“What are you two doing here?” She asked, looking down at the boy, getting a better look at him now. He had tan skin covered in pale blotches and looked almost sickly but fighting. His clothes were ragged and his hat looked like it should be white fur with brown spots, but it had been soiled on his journey, she assumed.  

“They asked us if we had anywhere to go and Corasan said we should go with you to wherever you’re going.” 

Bellemere stared at the child, processing what he had just said. She thought that she had seen the last of them after helping them to the tents set up in the field. 

She finally started nodding, saying “Okay, okay. I just want to know one thing, who, or what, are you two running from?” 

Law turned to look at Corasan, signing back and forth for a few seconds before turning back to her and saying “It’s a long story, we can tell you on the way. Where are you going anyway?” 

“I’m going home.” 

---

It took about a week for their ship to pull into port at Cocoyashi, and by that time Bellemere had learned of the threat following Law and Corazon, which she had finally realized was his name. Corasan was just how six-year-old Law pronounced it. 

The pair had hoped that by leaving North Blue they would have time to figure out what to do about the man that was chasing them. A small island in East Blue was the perfect hiding spot they said. 

During the journey, Bellemere also realized that the two girls she had saved from Oykot didn’t have anywhere to go, and she didn’t want to put them up for adoption. She didn’t want them to be separated from each other. 

However, the day before they docked it began storming, and bad. Nojiko and Nami had fallen ill and she needed to get them treated by the doctor in her village. 

As soon as she could, Bellemere sprinted through the pouring rain, using only her officer’s jacket as protection for the girls, and made her way into the village. 

Law and Corazon couldn’t keep up and waited on the ship for the weather to clear up. 

--- 

“I’m adopting them.” 

“Aren’t you too young to be a mother? And reckless too if I may add.” 

“I think I can be a good mom to these girls. I don’t want them to feel alone in the world.” 

“But the orphanage would take much better care of them, don’t you think?” 

“My mind’s made up. I want to adopt them as my own daughters and you won’t change my mind.” 

--- 

Bellemere had invited Corazon and Law to live with her and her daughters. 

Daughters, she thought. Mom would never believe that I have two girls of my own now

Corazon and Law signed for a minute before Law said they accepted. 

--- 

The house wasn’t big, but it felt like a home. They had to make another mattress and money was tight, but it was home. 

--- 

It went like that for a few years. Law had been about six years old when he had moved in, and now he was about 12. Nojiko was eight and loved to chase her older brother around the house while Nami, now six, threw overripe tangerines at them.

Just kids being kids. 

This was one of the few moments where Bellemere felt content with herself, watching the children she had worked so hard to raise run and play with each other without a care in the world. It had been hard trying to raise three kids with a clumsy deaf man. Although communicating with Corazon had become easier over the years, there were still a lot of miscommunication between them. 

Are you hungry? Bellemere had meant to ask one day. 

Corazon looked shocked as Bellemere asked if he was horny. 

Why are you asking in front of the children? 

What do you mean? 

Corazon signed horny again, then tried his best to mime what it meant to her. 

Bellemere went red realizing her mistake, both in embarrassment and at the implications it had about their relationship.

HORNY! Damn, guess I should watch my language huh

--- 

The week after that Law told Bellemere that he and Corasan had to leave. The man chasing them was sure to find them soon. It had been too long since they had seen anything from him and they didn’t want to risk dragging everyone else into it. 

He said to tell Nami and Nojiko that they were dead. 

--- 

After they had left that night, Bellemere broke the news to her daughters. She told them that Law had gone swimming with Corazon and a rip current had taken him too far out to sea. Corazon went out to try and bring him back, but he also got carried away. They both drowned. 

The whole village held a simple funeral service for them, using makeshift gravestones placed atop a cliff overlooking the sea, Law and Corazon’s favorite place to relax. 

--- 

It never felt the same in the house after that. Nami and Nojiko felt the emptiness in their home now, missing the two presences that they had grown up around. It took months for a feeling of normalcy to come back. 

Nojiko would chase a stray dog around the tangerine bushes while Nami tossed tangerine peels at her and ate the fruit. 

--- 

Four years later, Nami now 10 and Nojiko 12, there was a group of pirates that invaded the island. Nami had yelled at Bellemere over getting hand me downs from Nojiko, said that she didn’t think Nojiko was her real sister because they weren’t related by blood, even though she had never had an issue saying that before.  

She regretted saying that now. 

She had seen the pirates terrorizing the town around her, and she saw the smoke from Bellemere’s tangerine fields, where their house was, and she knew that they didn’t have the money the pirate captain was asking for to keep all three of them alive. 

Nami ran back to the house, screaming for her mom with Nojiko right behind her. They had to make it, they had to. She couldn’t lose her mom too. 

Nojiko pulled Nami behind one of the tangerine bushes as they watched Bellemere hold a gun to the captain’s mouth. 

And in the blink of an eye, the scene was reversed. Bellemere was standing with a gun aimed at her head. 

Time seemed to slow down as Nami watched the fish-like man pull the trigger. Bellemere fell to the ground with a thud as Nami and Nojiko ran out to try and save her. 

I’m sorry.

I love you

--- 

Although Law had gone through a lot to get rid of his disease, something he had barely thought of while he was on Cocoyashi, there was only so much he could do to keep the symptoms at bay. 

When he and Corazon left, he had guessed he had maybe a year left to live. If he was lucky. If he wasn’t he could be dead in a matter of days. 

He thought back to Nami and Nojiko, who he had considered sisters now, and he missed them greatly. He wondered what they thought of him now that he was “dead”. 

Dead. 

He didn’t want to think about it. Law would rather have them be angry at him for lying than to actually die and have them unaware of his real death. Dying at sea was the last way he wanted to go. 

He put his head in his hands and let out a sob. Then another, and another. And another. He cried until he felt like he couldn’t anymore.

---

Corazon had finally found the fruit that he had been researching for years. The Ope-Ope fruit would allow Law to remove the harmful Amber Lead from his body and keep it from shutting his organs down. He just had to pray that his brother didn’t find it first. 

--- 

Corazon barely made it back to the makeshift raft where Law was waiting. He had managed to get the fruit but at a huge cost to himself. He knew he probably wouldn’t make it another week with the wounds he had, unless Law learned quickly enough to get a grip on the powers he would get from the fruit. 

He just had to hope. 

Law woke up from his nap, one of the ways he tried to save energy now that his body was slowly shutting down, and hugged Corazon’s legs. He knew that it was only a matter of time before his body killed him if they didn’t find this fruit. 

Corazon bent down and held the fruit out for Law to take, which he did. He took a few bites, forcing the bitter fruit down his throat. 

When it was finished, he felt a difference in his body, but he couldn’t figure out how to control it. 

--- 

Corazon collapsed in front of him and asked Law to deliver a letter to a marine on the island. Tell them the mission was done and he wasn’t going to make it much longer. 

There was a second letter, addressed to Cocoyashi village.  

---

That same day, the man Law delivered the first letter to came to their raft. Corasan hid Law in a chest and used the last of his strength to hide the boy. 

The last thing Law saw of his father was a smile, and the last thing he heard was a gunshot. 

--- 

It would be eight years before Law and Nami would see each other again. Law was 24 now and Nami was 18. 

Nami had always kept Law at the back of her mind, wary of the sea that she believed had stolen his life away too early. Law thought of Nami and Nojiko often too, wondering how they would react to him still being alive. He kept a copy of Nami’s wanted poster in his personal room on his ship. He knew they would run into each other at some point, and he wanted it to be soon but also never. 

--- 

The Thousand Sunny pulled into port at the Sabaody Archipelago after a long year of travelling the Grand Line. They were almost halfway done with their journey now. They just had to get their ship coated with the tree resin and restock on provisions. 

Nami divided up the beli that they had earned amongst the crew. Sanji got more than the others to buy food, and someone had to make sure Luffy and Franky wouldn’t buy something absolutely idiotic like the last time, where they had gotten scammed out of thier beli for a piece of paper with their names on it. 

Nami walked around the archipelago, looking for anything that would catch her eye: clothes, jewelry, food, cartography supplies. And she saw something white with black spots float above the crowd. 

Could that be…. No. He died years ago, right?

--- 

Law was walking around the archipelago, looking for Nami. He knew she was here, he had seen her crew’s ship pull into port, and it was hard to miss the Thousand Sunny. He was looking for her bright orange hair, hoping she still smelled like the tangerines he had grown up around all those years ago. 

--- 

Nami saw the white and black spotted hat a few times before she decided to track it down. There was no way it could all be a coincidence. She hadn’t seen that hat in over ten years, but she would recognize it anywhere. 

--- 

Law caught a fleeting glance of Nami before she turned around and got lost in the crowd again. 

Dammit, he sighed. I might not get another chance if I miss it now

He followed where he thought she was going, watching her go from shop to shop, until she turned around and her eyes met his. 

--- 

Nami’s eyes locked onto Law’s, and she knew it was him. She pushed her way through the crowd, not caring who was in her way. 

--- 

Law stood still as he watched Nami run up to him through the crowd. 

---

“I thought you died!” 

“I….” 

Nami slapped him across the face before pulling him into a hug. 

“We missed you, a lot.” 

Law stood in shock for a second before wrapping his arms around Nami. 

“I’m sorry.” 

“Bellemere is dead.” 

“Corasan died.” 

They said it at the same time, pulling away from each other, watching tears form in their eyes before pulling back into an embrace they hadn’t felt in over 10 years. 

“I can’t believe you’re still alive.” 

“I’m sorry for lying to you. We didn’t have any other choice.” 

“I know, but it still hurt to think you were dead for over ten years, and then losing Bellemere too….” 

They stood in silence for a minute. Then two, three, four minutes. It wasn’t until they were forcibly ripped apart that they let go. Law’s crew dragged him away to go do something else, and Sanji had appeared out of nowhere to pull Nami away into his own antics. 

But they didn’t mind. Knowing each other was alive was all they needed.  

---

After Luffy had announced his change of plans for the crew, Nami, who had ended up on a sky island, couldn’t stop thinking of Law. 

She wanted so desperately to catch up with him on the last 10 years of their lives, to know what adventures he had gone on, what powers his devil fruit gave him, what happened to Corazon. 

The first few days afterwards were the hardest. Nami sat with her head in her hands for hours, crying and thinking about Law and Nojiko and Bellemere and Corazon and what could have been and what would happen now and and and. 

And what? She couldn’t get stuck in the past and she had to move forward. Maybe writing a letter or two that could get delivered to Nojiko and Cocoyashi would help her move on. 

--- 

Law flipped through the newspaper, thinking about Nami and how nice it was to see her again. She still smelled like tangerines and he loved how she had grown so much and wished that they could have been together for it. Maybe everything would be different if he hadn’t left Cocoyashi or if he didn’t have Bellemere lie that they were dead or if he had left a letter or something for Nami and Nojiko to find or or or. 

He too, was stuck in the past and needed to do something about it. Law put the newspaper down and grabbed some paper and a pen and started to write. 

--- 

Two years. 

Two whole years. 

That’s how long it was before they saw each other again. Law had moved to Punk Hazard during that time, after becoming a warlord and beginning a very long and tedious plan to take down not only Doflamingo, but also Kaido. 

He never forgot about Nami in those two years and he still didn’t know how much he wanted to let her back into his life. Would she still accept him after knowing his whole story? Did he even know hers? He left when she was still young, there’s no way he could know everything that had happened to her in the last 15 years. 

And then Ceaser talked about seeing her crew’s ship on the other side of the island and he knew that he had to make a decision soon. 

--- 

After Nami woke up from the gas attack, she had no idea where she was. The others were laying on the floor around her, except for Brook? She could figure that out later but she needed to find a way out and soon. There was no telling what could happen to them if they stayed. 

Nami started waking the others up and as soon as they were all awake, Franky blasted a hole through the door allowing them to escape. 

Five minutes later they ran into what looked like a daycare center full of giant children, regular sized children, and every size in between. What the hell was going on here

--- 

There was a commotion going on outside, the navy had arrived and wanted to ask some questions. Law knew that he had to lie to keep them from investigating any further. He didn’t really know what Caesar was doing but if he wanted to keep working on the island, the navy couldn’t find out about the experiments Caesar was conducting. Those were hidden even from Law. 

He had fought navy admirals and vice admirals before and survived, so he wasn’t too worried about that. His powers would distract most of the other soldiers and keep them from fighting at their best. 

While he was fighting after an interrogation gone wrong, there was a sudden loud noise behind him followed by shouts encouraging an escape. 

Her long, orange hair drew his attention for a brief second, wondering what she was doing here before he returned to the fight. 

Nami paused for a moment, taking in the scene around her.

“We need to talk later, Law!” She called out to him as she and the children ran back inside. 

“Shambles.” He said, switching all of her crew into different bodies, ensuring that they would have to speak later. 

--- 

Nami felt like she was a ghost for a second while they were running back into the lab, before she came back to her senses. But her body didn’t quite feel right, it was much bigger than she remembered and…. Metal?? 

“Fuck you, Law.” She whispered under her breath. 

---

A day passed before she saw him again and while she was no longer in Franky’s body, she still wasn’t in her own and that was an issue. Sanji’s body was better than Franky’s she supposed. 

“We need to talk.” 

“I know. It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other.” 

“I spent 12 years thinking you were dead and you show up one day and you suddenly aren’t? You better have a good explanation for that.” 

“I do,” He said, taking a deep breath before filling Nami in on the last decade of his life. 

---

Nami couldn’t stop her tears and Law looked like he was close to letting them fall too. 

“I would say it’s okay but it isn’t and you don’t need to hear that right now.” 

Law pulled Nami into a hug, much like the one they shared at the Sabaody Archipelago two years ago. 

“Bellemere died... while protecting me and Nojiko. We watched her get shot and….” She let the tears fall freely, sobbing into Law’s chest as he tried his best to comfort her. He’d never been good at that even when they were kids but it felt good to have someone to hold on to, even if it was while they were both crying and trying to talk but unable to form the right words. 

And it was nice. 

They stayed like that for a long time, rocking back and forth, not really talking. Just taking in each other’s presence. 

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