Darkness on the Horizon
I: The Pirate King

Written by Takato Metallium
Plot: AU, dark, slash (Zoro/Luffy, Sanji/Usopp). A town eagerly awaits the execution of the Pirate King…
Disclaimer: I disclaim all rights to One Piece, as it belongs to Eiichiro Oda-san. I only own the fanfic, the idea and not much else.

Morning has come all too soon for some people. The dawn sun rises, and people all over the town begin to enter the execution grounds. Hidden amongst them is a boy looking to be no older than seven, a blue bandana covering his face from sight as blonde curls whip into his eyes and he escorts a younger girl with spiky green hair through the crowd.

Looking down at her while he fingers the slingshot in his hand, the boy mouths, "Senchou-san is waiting."

She nods wordlessly, gripping the handle of a white-hilted katana at her hip. She tugs the rimming of her straw hat lower, hiding her face all the more as she feels eyes at the back of her head, like the crowd is judging her for what she wears.

The two children wait anxiously, trying to see through the gathering as the Kaizoku no Ou is led to the stand and read his rights. The crowd also waits anxiously, but for different reasons. Some are beginning to chant, and the girl has to keep herself composed before she does something drastic.

Suddenly, as the noose is wrapped around the Ou's neck and they raise him off the ground, something flies through the air, and hits its target.

The shackles are broken and a wicked, wild grin splits across the Kaizoku's lips as he shakes his wrists free of the remaining iron. The crowd and the Marines look on in horror as he calmly lifts the noose from around his throat and looks pointedly towards the entryway to the grounds.

They follow his gaze to see a lithe, curly-haired man pulling back the rubber connected to his slingshot; they watch a blonde in a sleek black suit crack his knuckles and a redheaded lady assemble the parts to her bo staff calmly without a word. Next to the woman stands another with black hair, hands crossed over her chest in the sign of an X symbol and a small reindeer reverts to the size of a human, growling lowly under its breath.

At the front of the crew stands a man with green hair, two katana in hand. Whispers begin to float from the crowd, some in shock and others in panic. Nobody moves even as the Kaizoku no Ou hops off the stage like a leaf falling from its tree, hand holding his hat in place as the jacket he wears billows out behind him. His smile grows as he passes the two children, who follow behind him like shadows towards the crew at the entrance of the gallows.

"Kill them," he purrs, loud enough for everyone to hear. He turns on the spot, facing the villagers and Marines side on. "All of them. None must survive." The Straw Hat nakama smile almost the same as their Captain, their eyes narrowed as cold delight burns through their veins and they launch themselves towards the crowd with separate battle cries.

As Coby lays dying – drenched in his own and the blood of others, sight stained crimson – he manages to ask one question as the screaming stops and the death begins settling in.


Monkey D. Luffy appears in his line of vision, the same person yet so different from the one he met nine years ago. His grin simply widens as he crouches down to meet his level, reaching out with one hand to brush lavender hair away from broken glasses. "In the end, a pirate is no better than any other, my friend," he murmurs, watching the younger man's chest slow down, listening to the short gasps stop.

The Pirate King stands after closing Coby's eyes, turning away from him, meeting the gaze of each of his crew as they sheathe their weapons, dripping wet with blood. "One Piece made me realize that. Treasure is treasure; enemies are enemies…pirates are pirates. It's all the same." He reaches down to pat the green-haired girl on her head, his smile turning gentle. "Isn't that right, Kuina?"

His daughter smiles up at him radiantly from her other father's grip, nodding eagerly. "Hai, otousama!"

One by one, the Straw Hat crew leaves the grounds, their mission complete. Sanji and Usopp smile mysteriously at each other; taking the other's hand as their son Tony leads the way from the ocean of blood. Robin wraps a comforting arm around Nami, who once again cries for what she's done – the redhead still regrets every town they've ever slaughtered, still denying that she is, indeed, a pirate whether she likes it or not. Chopper takes his lady by the hand, leading innocent little Kuina away from her fathers, disturbed by the fact that even though the young girl has once again seen bloodshed she is still as bubbly as before.

Zoro waits for his husband to reach him, arm resting on the hilt of his two swords as he looks at him with uneasiness dancing in his eyes. He knows…he knows that slowly, little by little, the Luffy he loved and married is disappearing from the world, leaving this creature in his wake. His lover's eyes burn with an insane bloodlust far away at their back, he notices as he falls into step beside his Captain, and he dreads what will happen when the moon ascends to the skies tonight.

The Pirate King stretches his arms high over his head with a slight moan of pain at being held in the same place for too long, the sudden movement startling the first mate from his thoughts. Still, Zoro licks his lips, shifting his back muscles where Mihawk's Black Sword rests in the other swordsman's honor, strap wrapped around his shoulder. "Where to now, Senchou?"

The darker-haired man's smile returns, colder than the last, as he lowered his arms. There was no doubt – piracy had changed him for the worse. "Back to the Going Merry…and whatever town waits to shed its blood next."

And Roronoa Zoro prayed for the souls of that town, as he had for every one since the beginning.

Morning would break with darkness on the horizon and blood dripping from the sun.

And Luffy would laugh at anyone's defiance…just like always…

– Fin –