Title: The Six King Gun
Characters: Lucci, Kaku
Rating: Uh...nothing objectionable at all? Unless you are seriously squeamish about blood in which case...wtf are you doing reading One Piece?
Word Count: 1215
Summary: Mastering the Rokuougan was more difficult than Lucci was expecting.
He fell forward, clutching at his chest. He coughed up blood, splattering the grass in front of him with the crimson fluid. It was like a bomb had gone off in his chest, and he could very easily have simply lay down and died of internal injuries. Instead, he pressed his palms against the earth and pushed himself upwards, knowing that all the pain, all the agony, all of it would be worth it if he could just look up and see that the target dummy had burst from the inside...
But it hadn't. The stuffed dummy was still intact. Defeated, Rob Lucci staggered away, clutching his side. He was sixteen years old at the time.
He spent the next week in bed, recuperating from his failed attempt. Bengal, the current director of Cipher Pol 9, chastised him repeatedly for the foolhardy effort. "You are much too valuable a resource to waste like that," he said. "Forget about it. You don't need the Rokuougan to be the deadliest killer on the World Government's payroll."
And so, for a time, he left it. It was almost a year before he tried again. His body had been tempered and strengthened by a year's worth of dangerous assassinations. Surely by now he would be better able to sustain the Rokuougan's power.
He was: this time, he was only bedridden for three days.
As time passed, Lucci tried again and again, but he always met with failure. His body became stronger, better able to cope with the damage he wound up inflicting upon himself, but no matter what he did, the technique's destructive energy detonated inside of him instead of flowing through his fists to explode inside his target.
It was five years from his first disastrous attempt before he managed a successful Rokuougan. He was practicing at night, as was his habit.
(Some people would swear that Rob Lucci never sleeps, but this isn't true. He just always waits until nobody's watching)
He had the target dummy set up in Jyabura's garden, which he had chosen because he was unlikely to be interrupted, either by Jyabura, who could sleep through a bombardment, or anyone else, who generally feared Jyabura's temper and as such gave his room a wide berth. He held his fists inches away from the target, aligned his energy correctly, and struck.
As always, he stumbled back in pain. Then he spat out a mouthful of blood, reset his stance, and tried again. And again.
He might have kept trying until Jyabura woke up and started mocking him if Hattori hadn't cooed loudly, drawing his attention to the fact that he suddenly had an audience. He tilted his head, and saw that CP9's newest recruit was sitting on a nearby rock. He was grinning apologetically and holding up his hands in an appeasing manner.
"Sorry to intrude," Kaku said. "If it's a problem, I can leave."
Lucci considered that for a moment. "There is no problem," he said, turning back to the dummy. His voice was as emotionless as ever, so Kaku took it as leave to continue.
"I've been here for months, but I've never gotten to see you in action. I hear that you're incredible."
Lucci didn't respond to that at all. Instead, he held up his arms again, and attempted another Rokuougan. He got nothing out of it, excepting a small trickle of blood from his left nostril. He casually wiped it away with the back of his hand, and prepared to try again.
Kaku, who had hopped off his rock and circled around Lucci for a better look, stroking his chin thoughtfully as he observed the CP9's strongest agent at work. "You know," he said after a few minutes, "I'm not sure that this is going to help very much."
Lucci felt a small flash of annoyance. When he was this boy's age, he was a complete Rokushiki master, and making his first attempt at the Rokuougan. Kaku couldn't even reliably perform Tekkai yet. "You don't?" he asked, his voice as passive as ever.
Some of his irritation must have carried through his voice, as the long-nosed rookie began backpedaling, waving his hands in an appeasing manner. "It's not like I could do it or anything," Kaku said, "but I've read the Scrolls and from what I can see you have the technique perfect. And for someone like you, I don't think that would be much of an issue, anyway."
Lucci turned, giving Kaku his attention. It did not surprise him one bit that Kaku had read the Scrolls, which were the only remaining record of how to perform the Rokuougan. Nearly every new recruit to the CP9, upon hearing about the fabled technique, imagined themselves the one to revive it. And as the only living person capable of using the technique was trapped in a Seastone cell eight feet thick at the heart of Impel Down, the Scrolls were the only option for the hopeful students.
Of course, most of them see the absurd levels of power required, and give up. Some few attempt the technique and fail, like Lucci. Most of those die. If Kaku had read the Scrolls throughly enough to recognize the Rokuougan in action, his input might be worth listening to. Might.
"Go on," Lucci said, crossing his arms.
"Well," Kaku began, "I think the issue is your body. Not, of course, that there's anything wrong with your body, but the Scrolls say that-"
"-to wield the Rokuougan you must have all the power of the Grand Line's waves, and enough strength in just one tooth to chew your way to freedom if trapped beneath an enormous mountain," Lucci said, cutting him off with a word-for-word quotation from the Scrolls. "And you think I should just wait until my body is that powerful? Unacceptable."
"That is one way," Kaku admitted, "but not quite what I had in mind. I'm told that you ate a Zoan-type Devil Fruit. Is that right?" Lucci nodded wordlessly, and Kaku continued. "Your hybrid form should have more power in it. Maybe if you try it like that, you can get it to work. It's worth a try," he finished with a shrug.
Lucci considered that for a moment. Yes, that was certainly possible. He was more powerful in his half-leopard form, and at the very least it would shorten the gap that he needed to overcome. He was actually annoyed that he hadn't thought of it himself: for some reason, it had just never occurred to him.
Without a word, he turned his back to Kaku, facing the dummy again. His form distorted, expanding outwards until he strained at the seams of his suit. Then he pressed two fur-covered fists against the dummy, and performed the Rokuougan.
The backlash was even stronger this time. It was enough to drive him to his knees, wracked with pain and his mouth filling with blood, but when he looked up, the pain was worth it. The dummy had, at long last, exploded from within. The Six King Gun had fired for the first time in recent memory. Kaku was laughing and clapping, and although such a display of emotion was excessive, Lucci did agree that some celebration was in order, and so he allowed himself the smallest of smiles. If anyone had seen it, they would have trembled for the future.
Cross-posting to one_piece, onepiece_fics