*The Next Day*
"I can't believe you convinced me to do this." Lexi muttered, trying to ignore Shachi and Penguin ooh-ing and ahh-ing at every new and little thing they saw. It was like they'd never even been out in the world at all. Did they live under a rock? Law, who sat in the passenger seat, simply smirked. Again. Much to her irritation.
"Understanding the world we're in will make things much easier for you, I'd imagine."
"Still not all the way convinced you're not aliens." She responded, driving down the main street of the city. The pirates, minus Bepo since a walking and talking polar bear would obviously bring unwanted attention, demanded to see what her world was really like. Lexi's suspicions that Law was only butt-hurt about not being able to go to the grocery store with her were growing.
"Lexi-chan, what's that?" The two in the back were pointing towards a building on the right side of the road. Glancing out the window, she saw the black and white vehicles with the lights on top in the parking lot. There was a large badge on the side of the building. Lexi grinned.
"That would be the police station. They're the 'cops' I mentioned before."
"So, they're like the Marines?" Shachi questioned, and she shrugged.
"Sure. If you break the law, they arrest you."
"I doubt we would be arrested for any sort of law-breaking that may occur during our time here." Law retorted, looking rather smug. Rolling her eyes, she bit the inside of her cheek.
"And why is that?" The thought of the pirates creating legal trouble was rather concerning. As far as money went, no part of her grandmother's assets was going to be spent bailing strangers out of jail. She didn't need the cops being brought into her life, especially since getting into med school was such a high priority. Having a criminal record probably wasn't a good thing to bring up in an interview.
In answer to her question. "Part of being a pirate is getting away with doing illegal things."
"There's no way we'd be caught!" Penguin boasted, high-fiving Shachi. Lexi continued driving, deciding to focus on the road instead of the possible future-convicts in the vehicle with her.
'Why am I still ok with having them around? I could've called the cops last night with my cell phone.'
In truth, she really had thought about it. Several times, in fact. But something had stopped her every time. The image of the four pirates being dragged away in handcuffs, Bepo caged and probably brought to a zoo, it was heartbreaking. They hadn't-technically-done anything wrong. Besides threatening her with Law's giant and heavy-ass sword. Did people even use swords anymore? And…were they really from another world? Talking polar bears didn't exist. She was still trying to wrap her head around the fact that he could talk.
Maybe her morals weren't as pure as she'd thought they were? Hell, she didn't even know what she herself believed half the time.
Shaking her head, she sighed out loud. Thinking about the whole situation was just frustrating. Law seemed to notice her facial expressions.
"I would hate to think we're annoying you, Lexi-ya." He said sarcastically. One eyebrow raised, her doubt plainly obvious.
The one building that had them the most curious happened to be the large shopping mall. They had marveled at its size, and the number of cars parked in front of it. They'd begged her to stop, and she reluctantly agreed, if only for the sake of keeping her eardrums intact.
"What's in there?" Shachi pointed as they exited the vehicle. "It's huge!"
"Is it some kind of arena?" Penguin guessed, closing the door. The four walked out towards the building, Lexi keeping an eye out for any passing cars. The building had a large red sign that said 'JCPenny.'
"No, it's just a huge place to shop. There's a ton of stores inside and-"
"Shachi! I bet there's more of those pay stations inside, like the grocery store!" His friend fist pumped the air, and the two hurried towards the double doors leading inside. Several people gave them strange looks, but they were otherwise ignored.
"I didn't say that…" She muttered, holding out a hand as if to stop them. "Ah well." Lowering it, she figured they'd find out for themselves that the mall and the grocery store were much different.
Law chuckled, walking past her and inside. "They're rather…rambunctious, when it comes to new things." He explained. Lexi had to laugh at that.
"That's an understatement, at least from what I've seen." He held the door open for her, and the two went inside after the other men.
Unfortunately, the doors led inside to the food court.
"Lexi-chan!" She heard, and she sighed deeply.
"I can't believe you were able to eat all of that." Lexi eyed the six trays of now-eaten food from the various vendors in the mall. One order from each of the Mexican, Chinese, Greek, Burger, Ice Cream, and Fried Chicken places. The thought of all that mixing together in a person was a little bit sickening.
Shachi and Penguin looked thoroughly stuffed, picking their teeth with the complimentary toothpicks that came with the Mexican cuisine. In all honesty, she wasn't sure how on earth it was possible for one human to eat so much food. The stomach only stretched so much, maybe they had insanely fast metabolisms…
"What, this? Ah, this is nothing compared to parties and feasts!" Penguin proclaimed, patting his belly in appreciation.
"Uh huh…" She muttered, and Law only leaned back in his chair.
"I've seen entire sea kings eaten in less than two days by my men. You'd be surprised what they're capable of when hungry." He closed his eyes, unaware of Lexi's confusion as to the meaning of the word 'sea kings.'
"Where to now?" Shachi asked, standing from his seat. This prompted the rest to do the same, and they deposited the garbage into the trashcan a few feet away. Lexi stretched out her arms and legs. It was good for her to do all this walking. She'd slept wrong the night before and now her joints were protesting every time she sat for too long. In answer to their question, she pointed towards the exit.
"Well, we could head home and-"
"We could see what kind of stores are around here. I want to see what people wear in your world!" Penguin started walking away, Lexi's half suggestion completely ignored and quickly forgotten.
"Yeah! And do they sell engine parts?" Shachi asked, following after his friend towards the first store. Lexi closed her eyes and rubbed at the bridge of her nose.
"...Or we could do that…" She muttered, hearing Law chuckle in amusement. The two followed behind the two excited engineers.
"There's no stopping them, is there?" She asked. Law shook his head.
"Even in our world they are a force to be reckoned with." She tilted her head, deciding to entertain her curious thoughts.
"So," She glanced at the 'Captain,' "What's your world like?" He raised an eyebrow, seemingly surprised by her sudden curiosity towards their origins. It wasn't like she'd tried to understand where they were from, as she still believed them to be escaped convicts or crazy people.
"Our world is…dangerous. Constantly in a state of war or unbalanced power. You're either a pirate, a Marine, or a regular citizen. Out of those three choices, none of them are exactly pleasant."
Lexi frowned. The way he made it sound, it was as if it were real. Maybe they were telling the truth…"What do you mean?"
He narrowed his eyes, looking far away as if remembering a memory. "Pirates are hated by the world and hunted down by Marines."
"Well, I would think so." She snarked, and he glared at the interruption. She raised her hands in apology. "Right, sorry. You were saying?"
He paused a moment, as if debating whether to continue. "The Marines are the 'savior of the people.' They supposedly embody everything that is just and right in the world, though more often than not the World Government, which controls the Marines, are as, if not more, corrupt as the pirates they fight."
"Hmm…A single governing body for the entire world?" He nodded, and she raised her eyebrows in wonder. They passed by a couple with several large shopping bags, the girl pointing to another store as the guy sighed heavily. She grinned; he was having the time of his life, it seemed.
"The citizens are taught to believe that the World Government is good. Any act against them is a crime and must be punished. As a result, those that defy the World Government usually become pirates or are executed."
She frowned. "That sounds…pretty harsh." A world where death was so common? Sure, her world had death everywhere but it always seemed…somewhere else. As if it didn't exist. She hadn't felt massive amounts of death personally. Besides her parents, she'd never been around it. "Why would you want to live in a world like that?"
He shrugged, as if it didn't matter to him, and gestured to the people around him. "A life like this, where people simply enjoy what they have," He shook his head, "I don't trust it."
"Why would you not trust it?" They'd reached the store where the two engineers had gone. Law looked her directly in the eye, and she felt a little afraid.
"None of these people fear that they'll one day lose everything. No one fears the possibility of dying at any moment. I don't trust it."
The implications, and the intensity with which he looked at her…He had experienced whatever loss he was referring to, and he'd felt it in full. There was some sort of event that had left him scarred for the rest of his life, she knew.
Because she had a similar scar.
"I know what you mean." She mumbled, passing by him to go deeper into the store in search of the two idiots.ns 22.214.171.124da2