[Week ~9] [P] Morrigan Rassallion <Chapter 3: Sleeplessness>

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[Week ~9] [P] Morrigan Rassallion <Chapter 3: Sleeplessness>

Post  Leviathan on Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:17 am

Chapter 3: Sleeplessness


The nights since the taking of their hotel room were nought but hell for the pirate Captain, as the wounds upon his back both limited his movement and restricted his capacity to train. It also left him with a staggeringly persistent inability to sleep as he was used to doing so upon his back and was since forced into sleeping on his front. What few hours he did manage were taken during the night as Yonyon stood guard over him; it wasn't an uncommon occurrence for Morrigan to awake for a moment or two to see the man in question staring out of the window, his expression solemn and his clothes torn. At first, this confused the Captain greatly, and it wasn't until Yonyon explained that his periods of nightmare-disturbed sleep often brought forth great tendrils of smoke that would attack the Okama that Morrigan agreed to take the night watch instead. Noise during the day was acceptable, on the night however... not so much. It was unavoidable and couldn't be helped, yet it made the man feel incredibly guilty. Yonyon never complained, and seemed to take it well within his stride.

Morrigan, from then on, took the night watch after reluctantly relinquishing the bed at the end of every day. Eight weeks passed at a sluggish pace, and as Morrigan's patience grew thinner and thinner, his desire to breathe fresh air and stretch his legs grew with every hour he paced up and down the hotel room he was to remain in. His wounds healed incredibly slowly, yet he bore the pain and discomfort well, provided Yonyon didn't attempt to interrupt his training, which was both limited and only partially effective. There wasn't enough room to swing a sword comfortably, so the young Captain spent his days performing sit ups, press ups and stretches. It wasn't enough; soon, the room brought about an unbridled sense of claustrophobia and Morrigan found himself sleeping even less than he had previously. As the days passed, a haze of exhaustion settled over his body; a shroud of unshakable weakness vexing his muscles until he could only exercise for brief periods of time without collapsing mid push up or mid sit up. He found his appetite shrinking away with his strength, yet no matter how tired he felt, sleep simply wouldn't come and eluded him as he eluded the man who had caused his insomnia.

Eventually, even the presence of natural light within the room was too much to bare, and shadow became commonplace amongst his brooding periods of shattered self reflection. Still the Okama refused to complain outwardly, yet the man couldn't stop his agitation from showing with his day to day actions, for even Yonyon was human. Frustration pulled at the strings of all on a long enough time-scale. Such things were as inevitable as the sun rising and setting with the passing of each and every day.

It took the reopening of one of Morrigan's wounds to make the exhausted man snap, and snap he did, with all the vicious base energy of a man trapped perpetually between sleep and non-sleep. Rejecting the few hours he usually sought during the day, the Captain kept himself awake for three days on end before his body crashed in on itself and he fell asleep face down on the floor, his cheek pressed roughly to the carpet as his arms gave out mid push up. With a sigh, the Okama had lifted him onto the bed, if only to stop him from waking up in an even worse state than before.

It happened anyway. Morrigan awoke after a mere 10 hours of sleep, the whites of his eyes streaked red with agitated veins, his body aching as though set alight, his gaze feral and unfocussed. Sweat that were days old ran down his arms as he struggled to free himself from the bedsheets that had wrapped around his limbs during his unrestful 'rest', until finally, with an audible grinding of teeth and several muttered expletives, the Okama ripped them from the Captain's body, picked him up over his shoulder despite the man's kicking and struggling, and dumped him in the bathtub. Not even bothering to remove the man's pants, he set the water as hot as it would go, then began to run him a bath, Morrigan hissing, biting and scratching all the while in a poor attempt to escape being clean.

Yonyon had none of it; no matter how hard the man fought, he held him under the water and bubbles and scrubbed at his hair, wrinkling his nose in disgust as the water quickly changed from being clear to being murky. In the end, more water had ended up on the floor and all over the Okama than anywhere else, and Yonyon had to borrow a mop and a bucket from the reception desk to avoid it soaking through the floorboards and damaging the rooms below. Meanwhile, Morrigan had abandoned his wet clothing as he fled the bathroom, leaving his pants and underwear wherever he dropped them in a puddle of soapy water. Yonyon returned to the room to find the man sat on the window ledge, fully naked and smoking three cigarettes at once, his back raw and bleeding slightly from being scrubbed, his expression one of feral distrust. He did nothing to cover himself, until Yonyon threw his father's coat over him, muttering something about preserving the man's modesty, and left him to his own devices. Still Morrigan couldn't sleep, nor would he be removed by bribe or threat from jealously staring out of the window at the townsfolk below.

Finally, as the month was about to come to an end and as the sun rose, Morrigan stretched gently, took one last look out of the window, then turned to wake Yonyon up. Light flooded the room for the first time in weeks, signalling that their wait was over. The Okama blinked stupidly as he woke up, and before he could stop himself, he asked a question that had been on his mind since they had first entered the hotel.

''Hey... Morrigan... Why do you think Jaxxon is still alive?'' He asked, stretching very much as his Captain had. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and shuffled to the bathroom, his pink slippers grating across the carpet where he couldn't be bothered lifting them properly. As the door closed and the sound of a lock echoed throughout the room, Morrigan lit a cigarette and inhaled a lungful of poison, sorely missing his lollipops. Sitting back carefully in a chair, he watched the way the steady stream of smoke rose into the air gracefully, unrestrained by the petty banality of what its owner's life had become. He didn't bother shouting through the door to give Yonyon an answer, he would wait until he returned for he didn't have the energy to raise his voice nor cared enough for the question in the first place.

The sound of their toilet flushing startled him, and soon, the Okama re-emerged to sit on the edge of the bed facing him. ''Seriously though... You've been pushing yourself to the limit here. You haven't let me treat your back properly so it won't leave any obvious signs of damage, you haven't been sleeping properly, hell, you've been doing nothing properly, yet you have no proof that the bastard even survived. What if he didn't? How do you know?''

Morrigan chuckled and flicked a stray bit of whitened ash onto the table next to him, long past caring for the state of the room. ''Before my mother went to the Grand Line, there was a young Marine that was hell-bent upon capturing her.''

''Yes, I've seen Jaxxon's kill record. She was the only one to ever escape from him.'' Yonyon said, lighting a cigarette of his own and crossing his legs. He reached under the mattress and produced the skin-covered book he had stolen from Jaxxon, if only to reassure himself that it was still there.

''Do you want to know how many times Jannine Rassallion escaped the clutches of Jaxxon D. Marko?'' Morrigan asked, eyeing the glowing red end of his cigarette before lighting up a second.

''Wait, it happened more than once!?'' Yonyon said, almost dropping his in shock.

''Oh yes. She escaped him no less than ten times across the course of what must have been... a year or two. Here's something else that should interest you. Those scars on his chest, the ones that bisect the right hand side of his Marine tattoo? She gave those to him. Those two scars across the right side of his face? She gave him those too. His missing right eye? She cut that out for him. And finally... the reason he no longer has a left forearm...''

''She cut it off.'' Yonyon said, grinning morbidly.

''Bingo. It may also interest you to know that your surprise attack, the one that almost cut him in half, was the first bit of major damage he has ever sustained that wasn't inflicted by my mother. If that scars... well. It speaks for itself. He may come after you too, and not for simply associating with me.''

''I already thought as much, but you still haven't answered my question. How do you-''

''-Know he survived? My mother sank his ships over and over and over again. Devil Fruit or not... that demon of a man won't be killed by something so simple. Jannine Rassallion may have been known as 'demon blades Rassallion', but she only became as such because the man who hunted her day and night was a demon himself.'' A heavy silence fell over the room, yet Morrigan couldn't bring himself to care. He hadn't been able to draw his swords in two whole months, much less do anything with them, and that fact made his fingers itch. ''Tonight, we steal ourselves a Marine ship and get out of here. I can't take it any more, this damned room will haunt me more than that bastard of a Marine if we stay any longer.''

Yonyon inhaled deeply; he had been waiting for his Captain to say those words, ever since he had realised the man's intentions. This was it. Up until that point, Yonyon had avoided referring to himself as a pirate, but now... now, there was no avoiding it. If he followed Morrigan and went along with his plans, there would be no turning back. A pirate he would be, and a pirate he would stay, no matter where he went or what he did. He would be hunted for the bounty upon his head. Life wouldn't be as simple, nor would it ever be so again. He stubbed out his cigarette against the bottom of the glass ashtray he kept next to the bed, and rose to his feet. ''If we're doing this, I need to go and get supplies. Once we're on board of whichever ship it is we're taking, we won't know when the next time we'll be able to get access to the basics.''

''...The basics being your pretty clothes and make up?'' Morrigan retorted, grinning. His eyes were still bloodshot, and blackened from sleeping so poorly for so long, but that didn't stop him from cracking jokes or generally making an ass of himself. Yonyon grinned back, appreciating the small level of normality that had returned. Jokes he could deal with. A restless, agitated pirate Captain? Well... that was another matter entirely.

''Precisely. I'll be out for the day, I expect you to rest up whilst I'm gone. I'll be back by nightfall.''

''What!?'' Morrigan exploded, his mouth dropping open. ''I'm not going with you? I have to stay here whilst you go shopping!?''

''Yes, you do have to stay here. I don't know if you've noticed, but there are plenty of Marines out today, it's almost like something finally happened. In fact... if I didn't know any better... I'd say you were waiting for this Marine activity to make a move.''

Morrigan remained oddly silent for a moment or two. He lent back in his chair and crossed his legs as he closed his eyes, a wide grin upon his face around the cigarette he still had in his mouth. Finally, he blew out a great lungful of smoke, then reopened his eyes, his expression unreadable. ''Who knows?'' he replied ominously.

Yonyon sighed; eight weeks with the man had made him get used to the strange dramatic theatrics of his Captain if nothing else. ''Well... Jaxxon's probably been looking for us, I can't go out looking as I usually do... ''

''Eh?'' Morrigan replied, his head lolling to one side in exhaustion, his cigarette held loosely between his left thumb and forefinger.

''I'm gonna have to dress up as a guy, since the Marines were probably warned that I'm an Okama...'' He replied, running his fingers through his hair, his face a picture of exasperation. He didn't give his Captain chance to respond; he turned on his heel, picked up his bag from underneath the bed, then stormed off to the bathroom. For the second time that day, the sound of a lock echoed throughout the room. It was though the thought of dressing as the correct gender embarrassed him.

Morrigan rose to his feet, swaying slightly as the room span unpleasantly. He edged over to the bed, stubbed out his cigarettes, then, using the bed-side table as an anchor, collapsed on top of the sheets. Blinking several times in a bid to make the room stay still, he heard Yonyon curse and he grinned, not being able to imagine the Okama dressed as a male at all.

[~]

Finally, the Okama re-emerged, his steps somewhat cautious. Morrigan's grin widened; it was obvious that he had been hoping to find him fast asleep. Not a chance in hell, the pirate snorted to himself, lifting his head slightly to get a better look. If it were possible for him to do a double-take, he wouldn't have been able to stop himself. He didn't understand why Yonyon looking like a normal, generic male had surprised him, but the absence of anything feminine threw him and for several moments, he could only blink stupidly and ask himself if he was looking at the same person.

Yonyon regarded him with an amused expression. Gone were his long, flowing locks of golden hair, for he had pulled them back into a loose ponytail at the back of his head. Some of the shorter strands remained loose, giving the illusion of short, blond cut where the rest of the bulk was concealed beneath a high-collared black shirt which had been tucked neatly into an equally commonplace set of black ironed pants. Although he couldn't hide the gentleness of his facial features, the absence of his make-up, lipstick and false eyelashes made all the difference to Morrigan, who barely recognised him.

''Not a word, Captain.'' Yonyon said. His tone may have been defiant, petulant even, but the way he stood, putting the vast majority of his weight onto his favoured right side and the way he didn't quite meet Morrigan's gaze betrayed his discomfort and nervousness.

''So far, so good. I think you could run headlong into any Marine, Jaxxon included, and they wouldn't recognise you.'' Morrigan said, sincerely. Yonyon shuffled from one foot to the other and chewed his lip. ''In fact...'' Morrigan continued, ''...hurry up with this whole shopping business. I much prefer you dressed normally.''

Normally? Yonyon thought, forgetting his discomfort for a moment or two. He sighed, relaxing slightly. He had gotten hell from many over the years for being an Okama, yet for some strange reason, Morrigan had accepted him straight away, enough to even consider his feminine side to be normal and his male side to be strange. That fact brought a rush of emotion to him, and for the first time since he had donned his make-up, he was thankful for the fact he wasn't currently wearing any, for his mascara would have surely run. He rubbed his eyes casually and nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Morrigan gave him a thumbs up. Yonyon smiled; he could do this. Nodding to himself, he grabbed his coin-purse and left his Captain to ponder the coming night.

[~]

The afternoon sun had long since given way to the night's sky by the time the Okama returned to the hotel room. His hands were shaking and his face had lost it's colour, yet over his shoulder he held a large rucksack filled with the spoils of his trip, including fresh clothes and plenty of food that would keep for a long time, just in case the ship they stole was poorly stocked. He fumbled with his room key, his mouth a thin line of worry as he quietly entered, not wanting to disturb his Captain, whom he sorely hoped was fast asleep.

Toeing his shoes off, he cautiously ventured further into the room, a frown appearing upon his face upon realising that not only was Morrigan not asleep, he also wasn't in the main section of their room. For one heart-stopping moment, he thought that the moron had abandoned the hotel entirely, but then he remembered that the door was locked when he returned and he had the only copy of the key for that exact reason. He couldn't imagine Morrigan fitting through the tiny gap that appeared whenever the window was opened, and he knew that there was no chance in hell that the man could turn himself into smoke and control it enough to escape. That left the...

...bathroom, Yonyon thought, turning on his heel. In his panic, he had totally neglected to notice that the door was ajar, and that the light was clearly turned on inside. He didn't bother knocking, instead, he pushed lightly at the wood with his fingertips, opening it noiselessly. His breath instantly caught in his throat; whatever he had been expecting to see, it certainly wasn't... that.

He shook his head silently and let loose a quiet breath. Morrigan had flipped himself upside down, using his fingers to balance upon the edge of the bathtub, his thumbs tucked into his palms to keep them out of the way. His eyes were closed; he hadn't yet noticed he was being watched. Steadily, Morrigan lifted his little fingers away from the rim of the bathtub and tucked them away with his thumb, leaving his six remaining fingers to support his full body weight. Granted, the scrawny man probably didn't weigh much and certainly didn't look as though he had any actual strength so to speak of, yet catching him training in such a way betrayed him, and that moment, Yonyon knew that at least a small fraction of the strength he boasted to have was true, especially considering the fact that the man barely had enough strength to support himself whilst performing push ups.

As the Okama contemplated this, Morrigan lifted the ring fingers of both hands and tucked them away, leaving himself only four fingers to balance upon. Four quickly became two as he reduced himself to supporting his body with his index fingers, and just as Yonyon was about to knock on the door to alert his Captain of his return, Morrigan, slowly and with a strange practised grace, lifted his right arm from the edge of the tub and moved it to his back, now supporting his full body weight with a single finger. A fine sheen of sweat developed upon his muscles, yet he didn't move an inch.

Yonyon knocked, and instantly, it was all over. Morrigan's eyes snapped open as he lost his balance, yanking the shower curtain comically as he fell down back first into the tub, where he quickly became tangled in the ruined curtain as he tried to free himself. It was too much for the Okama, who dropped his heavy rucksack to the floor and burst out laughing at the pissed off expression upon his Captain's face.

''How long were you stood there before you decided to interrupt me? Or were you just waiting until you knew I would have no choice but to fall?'' Morrigan growled, rubbing the back of his head. Yonyon couldn't answer; tears were running down his cheeks he were laughing that hard. Morrigan rolled his eyes, finally freeing himself. ''What's in the bag?'' he asked, his tone still a little harsh.

''E-essentials for the trip, Captain.'' Yonyon stuttered as he held his sides and tried to regulate his breathing. ''Damn my ribs hurt now... Are you okay?''

''You're only asking this now?'' Morrigan sighed, getting to his feet. One of the lashes upon his back had torn open slightly from taking the brunt of the impact, but he paid it no mind. Yonyon, on the other hand...

''You're bleeding, again! I told you not to strain yourself until you were fully healed!''

''You caused this, if you hadn't made me jump I never would have fallen!''

''Really. Looked to me as though you were about to keel over, Captain.''

''Living with somebody in a shitty hotel room for two months will do that to a guy. Shit, I haven't been laid since-''

''Yeah, well...'' Yonyon interrupted, not wanting to know, ''... turns our caution was well worth it. Marko did survive, I almost walked straight into the bastard. Turns out one of his ships is docked here, over at 3rd. It will be easier to avoid him now, at any rate.'' Yonyon said as he left the bathroom. Morrigan followed, blood dripping from his back onto the carpet. Yonyon raised an eyebrow at the man's blatant nonchalance.

''And why, in the name of all that's piratey, would we want to avoid 3rd? That man owes me a ship, and I intend to collect that debt. Tonight.''

''...Morrigan. I've known you for just over two months now. You're brash, crude, dramatic even. But if there's one thing I've learnt you're not, it's stupid. If Jaxxon gets his hands on you again, you will be killed, and not in the nice, quick clean way either. The ship I sank, the Delta Morina? That was his fourth ship. The one docked in 3rd? That's the Alpha Morina. It's his fucking flagship.

Morrigan grinned and wiped off a trickle of blood from his back with his fingers. Staring at the crimson that now stained his fingertips with strained eyes, his grin only widened morbidly. ''All the more reason to take it away from him.'' He hummed happily, wiping it on his pants.

Yonyon shook his head slowly and reached for his bag once again. ''And what if I can't save your ass this time? He'll be expecting me if he captures you again-''

''I don't expect you to do shit.'' Morrigan replied, his tone clipped. ''We need to leave soon. Go take off your disguise.''

''You aren't thinking clea-''

''Don't you think I know that already!? You're going to make a piss-poor pirate if you can't follow your Captain's orders, so go do as you're told!'' Morrigan snapped, baring his teeth in anger. As Yonyon stormed off to the bathroom, muttering under his breath, he collapsed to his knees and dragged his katanas out from where they were hidden underneath the bed. His muscles twitched in protest from the sudden rough movement, but the pain became a blanketed sensation; undoubtedly there yet too far away to be felt properly. He blinked in confused as Yonyon's voice floated out from the other room, his tone light and sing-song-like.

''Oh and before I forget, shitty Captain, look what I found whilst I was out.''

The sound of something light hitting the wall opposite the bathroom was enough to make the Captain poke his head around the corner of the bed, his eyes squinting in a feeble attempt to see what it was. His gaze finally landed upon a balled up piece of yellowed paper. He crawled over to it, not having the energy left to stand, ignoring the inevitable carpet burns upon his elbows until he finally had the offending object in his hands. He rolled over onto his back and un-crumpled it, his eyes lighting up childishly upon realising just what it was that he was holding in his shaking hands.

''Damn, I look sexy.''

Yonyon made a strange noise that sounded like a half laugh half snort. ''No wonder the Marines have such a hard-on for you.''

[~]

''If you don't keep quiet, we're going to get caught!'' Yonyon whispered angrily, peering around the corner of a brick building.

''Ah well there's something I've heard before... Though last time, I was wearing less damned clothing...'' Morrigan giggled into the side of his hood.

''Are you... giggling? At a time like this?'' The Okama scolded quietly, still peering out into the darkness. ''Wait, what!?''

''Never mind, what do you see? Come on, I'm bored shitless here!'' the Captain whined, trying to push Yonyon back so he could see for himself. Unfortunately for him, Yonyon was both taller and weighed more, so moving him became an impossible task and he was reduced to peering under the Okama's arm. At first, there was nothing to suggest hostility at the 3rd dock they were both looking at, yet as his eyes gradually adjusted to the light, details, such as the presence of several stationary Marines, caught his eye. Behind them, the Alpha Morina was docked; Morrigan licked his lips, his hands automatically going to the handles of his katana. He let loose a shaky breath, adrenaline spiking through his already-burnt out body, and, ignoring Yonyon completely, he emerged from behind the corner they were hiding behind and started to walk towards the docked ship at a leisurely pace.

Yonyon's eyes went wide with horror as his Captain walked out into the open. He desperately tried to grab onto his arm, the back of his pants, anything to stop the man from doing what he was about to do, but to no avail. Morrigan was well out of his reach, and the Okama found himself grasping at thin air, his knuckles white with terror, his mouth slack, his mind blank. He fought with himself, debating whether to call out to the idiot, until finally, he stuffed his knuckles between his teeth to stop the temptation and retreated further into the shadows. He cringed as a metallic 'shing' pierced the quietness of the night.

Morrigan unsheathed Cypher, it's familiar weight a sorely missed comfort. He gave it an experimental swing, savouring the way its blade split the air in front of him with a clean whistle. His left hand shook from exhaustion, yet his right held his blade with an unshakable iron grip, perfectly calm and precise. He closed his eyes, humming lightly. Each step he took drained something from him, yet the giant, gleaming moon high above restored something else, something indescribably vital, invigorating him, filling him with a strange not-quite burst of energy that set his nerves ablaze.

''Stop where you are, intruder, and drop your weapons!''

A sharp voice abruptly brought him from his hazed reverie; his bloodshot eyes cracked open slowly, the bright, silvery moonlight reflecting from his bright green irises, making them glow eerily. A Marine stood before him, rifle loaded and pointed directly between his eyes. Only an inch or two separated them, yet Morrigan knew his face was obscured by his hood and that the Marine threatening him didn't realise who he was yet. He sighed heavily, his breath frozen and whisp-like in the cold night air. ''Or what? Hm? What is it you plan to do, exactly? Shoot me? I think not. Your Captain wouldn't be very happy about that, would he, Marine?''

The Marine paled slightly, his rifle shaking slightly in his hands. A bead of sweat from from his temple, down the side of his face, and he swallowed silently, his expression a scowl of contempt. More Marines left the cover of their ship and quickly surrounded the pirate, each armed with either a rifle or a sword. The Marine facing him wiped away the bead of sweat and reset his aim. ''Our orders are to take any hostile who approaches this ship alive and throw him in the brig.'' The Marine felt Morrigan's heavy gaze drag across his body, analysing. If he felt uncomfortable before, it was nothing to the feeling of unease that settled over him as the pirate exhaled again, this time, smoke mixing unintentionally with his frozen breath.

Morrigan watched with interest as the rifle aimed at his face shook even more. His gaze finally settled upon the Marine's exposed arms, where his uniform didn't quite cover up the extensive network of knotted scar tissue that wound its way around his forearms. He looked to the other Marines surrounding him, his gaze darkening as he noticed that they too bore terrible wounds that had healed over badly. ''So that's why you fear him. When he hasn't got a pirate chained up in his brig, he takes it out on his men.''

''Who doesn't fear him!? What a ridiculous statement, kids like you should keep your mouth shut about things you don't understand! Who the hell are you, anyway? What the fuck do you know?'' the Marine snapped, jabbing the pirate's forehead. The pain wasn't enough to distract Morrigan from the fact that almost every single Marine that surrounded him had paled dramatically, and were shaking where they stood, their weapons unsteady and grasped in sweaty hands.

''Kid? Understand? Look at my back. Go on. I dare you. Let's see how little I understand.'' Morrigan giggled, sticking his katana into the ground in a mock show of surrender. The Marine didn't move. Instead, he stared at the pirate Captain with an incredulous expression. Morrigan grinned, then turned slowly on the spot, removing his hood and cloak as he came to a halt. ''I mean it. Take a look, Marko left me with a rather nice souvenir last time I was aboard his ship.''

The Marine inhaled sharply at the sight before him, not truly believing what he was seeing with his own eyes. Across the pirate's back lay four large, deep 'x' shaped lesions, barely healed over from where they hadn't had enough time to scar over. It was clear to him that they hadn't been stitched up at all; each wound was still split open, left to heal of its own accord. Some of them were still lightly oozing blood. ''Like what you see? Jaxxon really is an artist, you know. Four crosses, yet he hit me a total of thirty two times. Do you know what that means?'' Morrigan whispered, barely containing his own laughter. The Marine made a strange strangled sound in his throat and took a step back, his hand shooting up to his mouth in horror. ''Correct!'' Morrigan sang. ''He struck me thirty two times over four areas, each one after the eighth overlapping a previous one, and not a single strike missed its mark. Understand? Me? Hah. I'd say you were very lucky, friend.''

There was an orchestra of clicks and snaps as the Marines surrounding him loaded their rifles, realisation finally dawning on them. He turned to face the Marine again, a wide, slightly psychotic grin upon his face.

''Y-you're-'' the Marine stuttered, taking a few more steps back, his voice muffled from behind his hand.

''Go on. Say it. Who am I?'' Morrigan teased, removing his sword from where he had stuck it in the ground.

''Y-you're Morrigan Rassallion.''

''Damn right I am. Now back the fuck off before I dissect you.''

The sound of a Den Den Mushi ringing pierced the night before any of the Marines could respond to Morrigan's sudden violent change of attitude. Morrigan turned his head to glare at the source of the noise, to see a young Marine, barely the age of 16, shaking where he stood, a white and blue Den Den Mushi in his outstretched hand.

''Well now... It would be rude to ignore that, doncha think?'' Morrigan said, unable to stop humour from entering into his tone once more. The Marine stepped back, attempting to break out of the circle that surrounded the pirate, but his back merely collided against against the chest of yet another Marine, trapping him and stopping him from fleeing in cowardice. ''Well? Aren't ya going to answer it?''

The Marine stood next to the younger ones right elbowed him roughly in the side and finally, with a hands shaking so badly they almost dropped the Den Den Mushi, the young Marine answered the call. Immediately, a harsh, rough voice bellowed ''IT'S ABOUT FUCKING TIME. JUST YOU WAIT UNTIL I-''

''Until you what, Marko-chan'' Morrigan interrupted, his voice sing-song-like.

For the longest moment, not one person said a single world, or moved an inch. Each Marine's face was a frozen picture of incredulous shock; never had they heard anyone interrupt their Captain, much less insult the man. Hell, nobody ever did that, even behind his back, and there, stood before them, was a pirate that had suffered Jaxxon's cruelty in person, who made no attempt to cover up the wounds upon his back, and was now trying to provoke the man!

''So... My men managed to capture you...'' Jaxxon replied, his voice distorted slightly by the Den Den Mushi. His voice had dropped in volume; a clear indicator that Morrigan's taunting had hit home. His men bit their lips in worry; they could practically hear their Captain grinding his teeth down the line. It didn't matter who's side they were on; when Jaxxon was pissed off, all ran for the hills. Those who were too slow were quickly locked away to be tormented at their Captain's leisure.

''Not quite. I mean, they have me surrounded and all, but these beli-a-dozen Marines won't capture me. After all, I learnt from the best.''

''The best being your bitch of a mother? You little fuck, in all these years, do you not think I've progressed beyond her level!? She stopped her training to raise you, and fell behind! An old dog that couldn't learn any new fucking tricks! If I ever find her, I'll show you by slicing that fucking whore into tiny little fucking pieces, then I'll do the fucking same to you.'' Jaxxon spat, his Den Den Mushi doing the same in fury.

''That may be true indeed, old dogs can't learn new tricks. But they can certainly teach them.'' Morrigan continued, his muscles still twitching from lack of sleep. He wasn't stupid, he already knew he was physically at his limit, yet mentally, he refused to stop to even consider the repercussion of forcing himself to remain standing, for the repercussion of not would be infinitely worse. He hated the shuddering weakness that had set itself in his limbs, the way he almost had to consciously remind himself to breath and blink. No, his exhaustion had gone way beyond simple, automatic, human need and reflex, and as he stood, he trembled as the masses of Marines surrounding him did, albeit for a completely different reason; for that single moment, he felt as though he were truly alive and in control of himself completely. ''Jaxxon...'' He said, his voice now low and secretive. ''I'm sure you remember this trick...''

''What!?'' the Den Den Mushi spat, its eyes narrowed into a scowl and its blue lips pulled back into a glower. ''Somebody tell me what the fuck he's doing!''

''He's closed his eyes and drawn two katana! There's... smoke! What the fuck!'' one of the Marines closest to the receiver shouted, his eyes locked onto the pirate Captain.

Morrigan had indeed closed his eyes and drawn two of his katana, and as he stood, his body relaxing as he willed himself into stillness, thick, white smoke rose from the ground, covering the entire area up to everybody's shins in an almost mist-like atmosphere. He breathed out, his breath too morphing into pearly smoke as it exited from the corners of his mouth. ''To Jaxxon D. Marko, with love, Morrigan Rassallion.''

''MOVE YOUR ASSES YOU USELESS FUCKS! GET OUT OF THERE, NOW!'' The Den Den Mushi roared, its expression a warped combination of terror and fury. ''THAT MOVE IS-''

''Killing Field...'' Morrigan whispered, cutting the Marine Captain off with a single breathed phrase.

Rifle shots were fired in panic as their Captain's voice rang harshly in their ears, yet each missed its target magnificently, sailing past where Morrigan stood and into the ranks opposite them, felling their own men as Morrigan shot forwards towards the Marine directly in front of him. In a flurry of sword strikes, the Marines that surrounded him shrieked in horror as the Marine directly in front of Morrigan seemed to explode in a shower of blood, before the top half of his body fell backwards to the floor, his legs following soon after.

Instantly, the 3rd dock became a chaotic bloodbath. As Morrigan swayed to and fro, the tips of his katana dug slightly into the dirt as he moved. His eyes remained closed. He listened as more shots were fired, the sounds feeling as though they were echoing within the depths of his skull. He reacted automatically, his body beyond conscious control; two more Marines fell to his Killing Field.

Yonyon watched mid-climb up the anchor rope to the Alpha Morina, fascinated by the scene happening below. He held both of their supply bags over his shoulder as he climbed steadily, using the chaos and the shouts of Jaxxon to his advantage. When he finally managed to get to the top, he was greeted with the sight of a gun barrel pointed at his face. He quickly disarmed the stray Marine with a well-timed back-handed slap, which sent both the man and his gun sprawling across the deck.

He didn't stay there long. Yonyon dumped his baggage against the main mast, tossed the Marine overboard, stuck the pistol into his belt, then returned to the wooden railing to observe his Captain fighting bellow, just in time to see him narrowly dodge what would have been a fatal rifle shot. As the bullet shot past him, it grazed his shoulder, yet strangely, the Captain seemed to pay it no mind as he lifted his katana once again in what could only be described as a lazy flourish that sent the Marines before him tripping over themselves in terror.

''Yonyon... these Marines are so dull...'' Morrigan whined, his eyes still closed. Another shot was fired, yet he didn't even bother dodging this time. Instead, he lifted his newly acquired crimson katana, the one that belonged to Jaxxon's brother, and sliced the bullet straight in half. Yonyon blinked; Morrigan had vanished again, this time reappearing in the midst of a small group of terrified Marines.

''Killing Field...'' Morrigan muttered again as the Marine directly in front of him was cut in two. The other Marines around him shouted in panic and slashed at him, only for their target to half-spin on the spot and slice each and every one of them across the stomach before their ill-timed strikes could hit home. Morrigan breathed in heavily through his nose, then expelled his breath through his mouth, blasting the injured men with a torrent of harmless smoke. ''First Singing Wall.''

Oh? Yonyon thought, swinging his legs over the railing to perch on the edge. So far, Morrigan had only been using the one move, 'Killing Field', and that move seemed to be the extent of the techniques the Captain was capable of. Granted, it was very deadly, especially when confronted with inexperienced Marines, yet as Morrigan spoke to perform a new technique, Yonyon couldn't help but lean forwards slightly to get a closer look, intrigued by the young man's strength that had surely been passed to him by his mother.

The Marines surrounding Morrigan exploded in a dramatic shower of red; Yonyon's eyes went wide with surprise as he realised that the pirate below hadn't performed the attack once, but three times in quick succession. He couldn't quite follow Morrigan's movements with his eyes; as the younger man swayed on the spot below, yet more Marines rushing towards him, he couldn't help but start to drum his palms against the railing he was sat on, the beat a constant staccato that gave Morrigan's movements some semblance of order.

The Okama held his breath suddenly, watching as more Marines were cut down. It was almost as if the man were dancing with his blades, yet the brutality of each strike he bestowed upon those who came close, or those who tried to flee was nothing short of barbarism, no matter how elegant Morrigan's movements really were, and in just that moment, that precise split second, Yonyon thought to himself 'this man is dangerous', and he knew it to be the honest truth.

Morrigan's mind held no such complex thoughts. The area surrounding him had hazed over, and as he cut another few shots in half, he realised he wasn't reacting through his own will, but through his subconscious instincts. Everything was distorted; each object or life a clone of a mirror of a copy, distant yet undoubtedly right there in front of him, and he realised that he no longer cared for any of the Marines that he had cut down.

Yonyon glanced up as Jaxxon's enraged voice was silenced suddenly; the young Marine who held his Den Den Mushi had started to walk backwards away from the battle in disbelief and fallen over the body of one of his fallen comrades. The device attached to the back of the Den Den Mushi had been knocked, effectively hanging up on the Marine Captain, yet the young Marine could do nothing but stare unblinkingly at the carnage that surrounded him. The Okama sighed and rubbed the back of his neck, almost feeling sorry for him. Never would he had thought that Morrigan was capable of such violence, yet at the same time, he felt ridiculous for ever thinking otherwise for even a second. Morrigan was the son of a pirate renown for violence and mercilessness.

Finally, the last Marine capable of attacking was taken care of. Morrigan's back bled profusely, yet like his shoulder wound, he ignored it completely for he was unable to properly feel pain through his own exhaustion. He staggered, and for one dangerous second, Yonyon thought the man was about to keel over amidst the others he had felled, yet somehow he managed to stay on his feet, his eyes now open but not really seeing as they should. He swayed again and sheathed a sword, his eyes scanning the docks for any Marines he may have missed. As he was about to sheath his second, his gaze fell upon the young Marine, and Yonyon froze as an unmistakable leer spread across Morrigan's face as he made to approach the fallen youth.

''You... Little Marine... Are a Navigator, are you not?'' Morrigan drawled, coming to a halt at the Marine's feet. The young Marine stuttered a breath he had been holding in response and stared up at the pirate. Morrigan growled something intelligible and kicked out at the Marine's legs angrily. ''Answer me, or you'll find out there are people much more terrifying than your Captain, kid.''

''Y-yes... I'm Captain Jaxxon's new navigator...''

Morrigan barked a laugh at the youth's hesitation. ''Yes, yes, I can tell. You're much too... 'fresh' to have been serving under Marko for very long. Say...'' Morrigan said, scowling. ''What's that? An eye-patch? At your age?''

The Marine's hand shot up to cover the object of Morrigan's curiosity, his face flushing in anger. ''H-hey! I'm not much younger than you, is an eye-patch so strange? Aren't you going to kill me, pirate scum!?''

''Do you want me to kill you?'' Morrigan retorted, narrowing his eyes and glowering. He lifted the tip of his sword up to the youth's face. ''Like I did those Marines, back there? All around you?''

''B-bastard...!'' The Marine spat, glaring up at the reflective edge of the blade.

''People don't intentionally sign up for Jaxxon D. Marko's Marine squad. What does that tell you about yourself?'' Morrigan said, raising an eyebrow. ''Did he show you magical things, you sadistic little shit?''

''W-wait, what? I'm nothing like him!'' The youth stuttered, his mouth agape. ''I would never-''

''Never what?'' Morrigan replied, dropping to his knees where he stood. ''Would never what?''

''Never torture a man!'' The Marine said, baring his teeth.

''Aha! So you knew what you were signing up for!'' Morrigan sang, his left eye widening eerily. ''But that's for another time... now... your eye.'' Morrigan moved the tip of the blade across to the Marine's left eye and, taking care not to cut him, moved his dark hair out of the way. ''Explain.''

''...Why the fuck should I?''

''I haven't killed you yet, much less hurt you, and oh how I want to hurt you.''

''Now who's sadistic, you fucking pirate!'' The Marine said, freezing to the spot as the tip of Morrigan's katana scraped across the cloth of his eye-patch. ''I'm not telling you shit!''

''Was that supposed to be an insult? Well, if you're not going to cooperate...'' Morrigan said, lunging forwards until he was practically on top of the Marine. He grabbed at the Marine's shirt with his right hand and yanked him forwards until there was little more than eight inches between their faces. He snatched the eye-patch from the Marine's face with a snarl, tearing the material in the process, his face falling slightly at the sight that was revealed to him. The Marine's eye had been stitched shut, the top and bottom lids sewn together neatly with little back 'X'-shaped stitches. After a few moments of awed silence, Morrigan spoke. ''...I'm treated to more of Marko's handy-work?''

The Marine shook in anger, his teeth grinding together audibly over the sound of the wind and waves. ''I said I'm not telling you shit, scum.

''Oh you've got a mouth on you!'' Morrigan sang, gleefully. ''This is going to be fun! Stay still now, little Marine, or my hand may accidentally slip. Insomnia does things to you... well... to me... who will in turn do things to you... so I guess...''

''Wha-''

The young Marine never got to finish his sentence. Morrigan took his katana, flipped it over so that the spine of the blade faced the Marine's face, held it horizontally and slid it across the bridge of the Marine's nose. ''Be good and stay real still now...''

Using the bridge of the Marine's nose, he slid the sharpened tip of his katana across the black stitches that held his eye shut, cutting them away carefully.

''Stop! Stop, damn you!'' The Marine whispered, too scared to move should the pirate actually slip as he said he might. ''Don't open it-''

''Too late.'' Morrigan snapped, glaring.

The moment the eye sprang open, Morrigan reeled back in pain, feeling as though he had been hit in the gut by something several times larger than he was. The eye did more than stare at him, it stared into him, and for one sickening moment, Morrigan felt as though somebody or some thing were clumsily groping around in his skull. The Marine yelled and tried to cover the eye up, yet his hand didn't move far before he collapsed onto his back and passed out, the strange, lilac eye staring up to the sky.

Morrigan fell onto his back as the Marine had, the pain that shot through his temples subsiding the moment he broke eye contact with the youth. Gasping for air, he crawled onto his stomach, vaguely noticing that Yonyon was shouting at him from what felt like a mile away.

''Damn it, stop screaming woman, I'm fine...'' he said as Yonyon ran to him. ''For fucks sake, don't look at his face. He's a fucking Fruit user. His eye... don't look at it. He could see inside my fucking head.''

''What!?'' Yonyon shouted, covering his mouth as Morrigan winced in pain at the sharp sound.

''You heard me... He has a Devil Fruit like me, only... not like me. I'm not making any sense am I...'' Morrigan muttered, crawling over to the Marine. Despite knocking himself out, the strange eye remained open, and didn't blink as it should have. Taking care to stay out of its sight, Morrigan tapped the bill of the youth's Marine cap, blocking his left eye. ''We're taking him with us. He can navigate.''

''...A hostage? A prisoner? Already? You work fast, Captain.'' Yonyon said, lighting two cigarettes and offering Morrigan one.

''As a guest, my friend, as a guest. And yes...'' Morrigan said, finally sheathing his sword and taking the offered cigarette. ''I do.''

Yonyon grinned as he lifted the Marine over his left shoulder and supported his Captain with his right. Together, they awkwardly stumbled back to their new ship. ''Say, Captain... What are you gonna rename her?''

''I'm not.'' Morrigan said, grinning. ''She'll stay as the Alpha Morina... Just to piss that bastard off. We'd better hurry, if I wasn't in any state to fight before, we're screwed if he comes around the corner now...''

[8240] [Fin~]
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Leviathan
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