"Smoke & Mirrors, Parts 9 & 10"
Alt. One Piece Elly x Smoker
Starting to get serious, PG-13
Starting to get serious, PG-13
One Piece based non-canon
"I need to talk with you about this." Elly was sober for once as she addressed Smoker one blustery afternoon. A few weeks had passed since he'd given her the gift of a white leather jacket and the promise to take her out when she earned her freedom. He noticed with appreciation that she had gone out of her way to make herself appealing, wearing a flowing silk dress instead of a plain cotton skirt and blouse. Her hair had a flower in it she'd managed to get from somewhere - something purple-colored that smelled soft and sleepy. She passed the sheet of paperwork across the desk to him and he raised both eyebrows when he saw it was the contract he'd given her the other day. Elly lifted her chin defiantly, daring him to say something.
"What?" Was all he asked.
"Can I change some things?"
"Depends on what, I guess." He glanced down and saw she had added lines of writing alongside, circling parts and crossing off others. "You didn't change much," he added, surprised.
"No. I didn't." She took a deep breath. "I decided to sign it if they accept."
He stopped in the middle of reading the extras she'd added, a strange look crossing his grizzled features. "You'll only fully use your powers with one person."
"You," she said quietly. "I hope you don't mind, and I hope you won't hate what I can do. But you're the only one I ever trusted enough to try going all the way with." She spoke this last without thinking, and his hand spasmed on the table at her choice of words. "Oops," she said faintly, blushing. "But still... well, it's a good description. For that."
"Yep." She watched him nod to himself.
"You're sure?" One hand resting on the papers, he reached out and held his other across to her.
He squeezed once and let go. "It'll be quick. They want you."
"I know," she murmured.
"Do you want to stay?" He waved at the phone on the corner of the desk. "I can prepare a new one. It could all be over in an hour."
"Even faster than I thought," she marvelled. "I thought the military was slow and pondering when it came to legal stuff."
"Sometimes," he grunted. "Not this."
"Do it," she said suddenly, dark eyes flashing.
The call was oddly brief. The voice coming from the transponder snail congratulated the Vice Admiral, told him to write up the new terms and have her sign it immediately. For such a momentous occasion in her life, she thought it happened far too quickly. There was no fanfare or rejoicing on their side - ah, but they were military, after all. And of course, this was only the written part. She had a long discussion coming up with the man she'd since fallen in love with. Watching him dig paper out of a troublesome desk drawer that got stuck several times and swear to himself as he couldn't find a pen, she smiled. She was certain she had made the right choice out of the options she had. The finished draft was an original copy with add-ons written this time by Smoker to ensure that they were legal. He signed his own name at the bottom and passed it shakily over to her for the last time.
"So quick," she sighed as she touched the pen tip to the paper. She scrawled her name and let the pen fall nervelessly from her fingers. The tension in the room was thick, and the part she dreaded was coming. "I don't know how you're going to react to ..." She never got to finish her sentence, for he had slid noiselessly out of his chair and was standing in front of her. She'd been too absorbed in the act of signing that she hadn't noticed. Strong hands gripped her shoulders and he leaned down and kissed her, hard. They'd kissed only once before and he'd apparently been holding back then. She felt the force of his presence so strongly she nearly wilted in the chair.
When the kiss broke he lifted his head, panting. "Now you're mine," he chuckled throatily.
"Ohmigod. Is that my 'welcome to the team' speech?" She was reeling from his passionate display and put up her hand to right the flower in her hair.
"No." She gasped as his hands slipped lower and he easily lifted her out of the chair to swing her around. She felt like she was seeing a new side of him that perhaps not a lot of folks did, and fell for him more in that moment. But she wasn't too fond of the motion and squeaked at him to put her down.
"Seriously, cut it out, I'm going to get sick!" But she started laughing anyway. "Put me down right now, you idiot!"
The door opened and the guard poked his head through. "Ah..." He began, then took a step back as he saw the scene before him.
"Good," Smoker said gruffly, though he was still smiling. "Help take her chain off right away."
"I signed that infernal thing," Elly said in an offhand manner. Her eyes were twinkling merrily. The guard had been acting strange for awhile around them, but now his eyes showed understanding. He was still shocked - he never thought she would sign -- but he knew an order when he heard one. He walked across the room and unlatched the clasp one last time. Smoker told him to give it to Tashigi with the command to lock it up. He left, still looking dazed.
"You're going to have to wear the other one," Smoker reminded her as she squealed with glee.
She flipped a hand at him, grinning foolishly. "Don't care. That one's just a pretty stone." She positively glowed, just like the last time. Then Smoker noticed with incredulity that she was glowing - at least shining a little. Really shining, like some female character in a manga. He stared harder. Yes. The day wasn't sunny out and yet Elly had a nimbus of gold about her like a summer sunbeam. She looked down at herself and grimaced lightly. "Whoopsie. Overdid it." The shine faded.
"We're going to have to talk about that."
The contract signed and her sea-stone chain removed, Elly was now facing the task of telling Smoker what her power was and how it would affect them both. They stared at each other. After a wildly uncharacteristic display of joy from the Vice Admiral, he seemed uncertain how to proceed.
"I promised you a ride," he suddenly remembered. A glance out the large window showed the weather was fair and held no hint of rain or disturbance. It would be a good time to get away, and maybe she would be able to talk to him off the ship.
Her eyes widened. "Where are we going?"
"Dunno." he was rummaging around in his desk, bent over and clearly looking for something. "Ah." The jewel case containing the smoky quartz necklace appeared.
"Put it on, put it on, I can't wait to go!" Elly was vibrating with energy. The idea of being away, the very concept, was almost too much to bear.
The big man laughed. "Soon enough. And quit squirming around," he complained gruffly as he tried to work the clasp. She huffed with impatience as he squinted with concentration. "...all right."
"Can I go without the guard now?" He nodded shortly and she pelted off at an unseemly rate of speed. "I'll just get my jacket... and pants, definitely pants."
Smoker watched her leave in a flurry of silk, the flower in her hair flickering to the ground. He scrubbed at the side of his face with one palm, slowly worrying his unshaven cheek until he thought of something important. One long stride brought him back to his desk. He grabbed the snail phone and barked some hasty commands.
Even though she knew she had promised to stay with the Marines, Elly felt free for the first time in a long, long while. The date had been a small taste; this was the real deal. She was brimming with happiness as she darted about her quarters, picking out clothing better suited for travel and slipping on her new leather jacket. She didn't wear much makeup since she didn't need it with her talent. All she needed was a single touch of gloss to ensure she didn't get chapped lips and she was ready. As she was about to step out the door, though, she stopped and walked back to the mirror. She reached out and tucked the small container of balm in a pocket of the jacket, zipping it shut. She left with a wicked smirk, almost certain she would need to reapply once, if not several times.
"Ready," she called out gleefully as she boldly stepped past the guard at the door. Smoker sighed to himself, busy with a large basket he'd had delivered to his office. She would have to be taught some semblance of military manners before all was done. Later, he told himself. Much later. First things fi-
He looked up and all thought came to a crashing stop. She was leaning over close by him, peering at what he held. He'd been attracted to her before, and with the removal of the chain he was nearly overpowered by various urges. He cleared his throat, trying to concentrate on something neutral to regain control. Once again he had the notion that her power was doing this to him, and rejected it - Hancock had that particular fruit, so she couldn't have it. He straightened up, holding the basket at his side as she asked what was in it.
"Are we going to be gone that long?"
"Probably." He stepped forward, moving quickly to cover his confusion. She had to jog slightly to keep up as he marched out the door and out to the open deck. His second-in-command had been commanded to take charge and he'd told her to inform the men about the situation. To firmly tell them that Elly was one of them now. Still, he'd speak to them after their trip - at some length. He wanted to make sure there would be no trouble. His command was the most raucous in the fleet, a fact he was painfully reminded of when they reached the open air. Cheers and catcalls punctuated the rowdy clapping, along with some low hoots he found most annoying. Elly didn't say a word, just linked her arm about his and walked demurely beside as if this was the most natural thing in the world for them to be doing. Smoker's face colored and he stopped before reaching out for his bike to face the crowd.
"Quiet!" He roared in his most commanding tone. His eyes stared down the Marines, who quickly choked back any further impertinences and snapped to attention. "You know better," he growled angrily, face still flaming. "I want the deck and kitchens cleaned before I - we -- get back. Spotless!"
The affirmative reply of so many men was deafening. Elly leaned against the rail as he turned away to grasp the back end of his bike. It was a wide bike with three wheels. Two large ones made up the rear, and a smaller one was in front. It looked odd to her because there wasn't any instrument panel on it like in a regular vehicle. He tied the basket to the large end and hopped on the well-worn seat, motioning for her to sit behind him. Breathing hard, she straddled the thing and wriggled around to get settled. When she would have put her hands on his shoulders, he shook his head, however.
"You'll have to hold me around the waist," he told her with some relish. Now it was his turn to tease her! "I need to steer."
"Ahh... kay." She slowly wrapped her arms about him and he snorted out a stream of smoke.
"Lower." He chuckled evilly when he felt her soft intake of breath. But she did slide her hands down his bare chest until they were mid-level. "All right. Let's go." He slipped on a pair of sunglasses and tensed himself. Elly was completely unprepared for what happened next. She assumed it would rev up like an engine, but she saw nothing that made sense. Her arms encircling him tightened as he flowed into the bike, using his power to animate it. When they reared up and off the deck, she squealed, unable to help herself.
She absolutely loved it!
They were able to move across water this way and she watched, amazed at being this close to the life-threatening substance she'd always feared. Water meant drowning for Devil Fruit users, but here she was speeding across an expanse of glittering blue sea. She relaxed as they sped on, and, finding she couldn't stare too long at the water decided to rest her head against his back. As she closed her eyes she felt the throbbing of the boiling smoke underneath her, speeding them on to what he told her was a small, uninhabited island.
"It'll be here soon." He put forth as much power as he could, and soon enough they arrived. Elly sat back on the seat as he dismounted. She was laughing, running her hands through her dark hair and kicking up her heels with delight. Smoker said nothing but lifted her off and onto the beach.
"That was great!" He glanced back at her, pleased that she'd liked the ride. "But owww-ww, my fanny feels like hamburger meat." She rubbed at her rear. He couldn't help himself. He looked. She saw him looking and raised an eyebrow, smiling questioningly, and he busied himself with the basket.
"Put this in the shade," he muttered.
"I'll take a second opinion on that, if you want."
"Damn it!" He almost dropped the basket. "Alright, that's it." He grabbed the wicker handle and stomped up the beach several feet in the shade of some palm trees, where he set it down and returned to where she stood expectantly.
"I've had just about enough of that, child." He dissolved his arm into smoke as she swiped at him and grasped it faster than she could react. "Cut that out!"
"Then stop calling me that!"
"Stop acting like it!"
She swore at him, and once again he was impressed by her vocabulary. "What should I do, then?!" Smoker's eyes narrowed, fine lines crinkling around the corners. He looked down as she stood there in front of him, hair in disarray from the windy ride and hands balled into fists. He grasped her other arm and pulled them up, placing her hands on his chest.
"Shut up," he said firmly, and kissed her before she could say another word.