Sorry this took so long! I don't know what you guys'll think of this ending, whether it's too cliche, or too sentimental. I don't know. But I'm sure as hell glad I didn't end the actual story like this.
Alone Alternate Ending : Follows on from when Luffy fell off the edge of the building.
Ace's heart stopped… and then began beating again when he heard a weak groan. A hand was slowly creeping over the ledge. Black hair was being ruffled by a soft breeze as Luffy's head peeked up slowly over the edge. His eyes were drooping wearily and he spotted Ace.
"Hey… help?" Luffy asked. Ace ran over and skidded down onto the ground on his knees, grabbing Luffy's arms and hauling him upwards again. Luffy groaned as he rolled onto the hard surface again. Ace took one look at his heavily panting brother, and then grabbed him in a hug that made Luffy wince in pain.
"Ow… come on Ace." Luffy murmured into his shoulder but made no move to get his brother to release him. Finally Ace did so, and looked Luffy up and down. He was dirty, he looked as though he was in a lot of pain, and he looked ready for a nice long sleep. Ace was about to say something when he was shoved to the side and Nami latched onto him, hugging him twice as tightly as what Ace had.
"Luffy! You're alright! I thought you were dead!" she cried into his shoulder. Luffy rolled his eyes a little but patted her on the back.
"I'm fine Nami." he said. Nami sat back from him and wiped the tears from her eyes, smudging the grime that had settled on her face. Luffy looked up at Ace.
"Zoro…?" he asked. Ace didn't smile… didn't nod, didn't do anything other than move back to Zoro and bow his head over the man before him. Luffy felt his heart drop into his stomach. If Zoro was dead… Slowly, he moved over to where Ace was sitting with the leader of Pearl.
"I… don't know Luffy, he's weak, very weak." Ace replied, "I… don't think he's going to live." Luffy shook his head softly and frowned.
"No, he'll live. He always has, he always will! He'll be the first leader of an organization to live and retire normally!" Luffy growled, practically storming over and dropping to his knees beside Zoro. With a sharp jerk, he pulled the older man away from his brother and laid him in his own lap.
"Wake. Up." Luffy demanded and Ace bit his lip a little before looking up at Nami, who had very overbright eyes.
"Luffy-" Robin began from nearby, but Luffy shook his head wildly.
"Shut up! I don't wanna hear it! He's going to live!" he growled once again, "Wake up Zoro! You can't give up!" Zoro was still, and silent, the colour drained from his face. Blood spatters covered his body and he was dirty and smudged. It was a horrible sight really. Ace moved to listen at Zoro's chest, to see if he was alive… but Luffy jerked the man away from him.
"He's alive, you don't need to check…" He said softly, "I can feel his pulse…"
"Zoro…" Nami and Chopper whispered together, bowing their heads in respect. Ace copied them before frowning a little.
"If he's going to be saved, we're going to have to get him back to the ship so we can treat him." he said quietly and Luffy looked up a little, his eyes overbright, but not so bad that he was crying… yet. Chopper shook his head though.
"If he's moved, he could die anyway. What if he has broken bones around his heart, or a ruptured spleen or something like that? He'll die if they're jostled too much!" the reindeer protested, raising a hoof to his aching head. Nami put a hand over her mouth and turned away, heading over to where Sanji and Usopp were still unconscious by the door. As much as Zoro was a bastard, as much as he was rude and lazy, he was a good leader to Pearl… and if he died…
"Then go and get something for HIM!" Luffy barked, his eyes dark and Chopper fell backwards a step, blinking with large eyes.
"I can barely walk, Luffy…" he replied in a soft tone and Luffy growled slightly before letting out a loud sigh.
"Right… I know… Can you do anything, Ace?"
"Maybe… I'll do my best." his brother responded and then ran to the opening in the side of the building. Jumping out, he flamed up and leapt to a nearby building on the wind, much as flames did. Bouncing from steel rooftop to rooftop, he moved as fast as he could to try and get to the ship.
"Wake up, Zoro…" Luffy said softly, "Come on… You're the first friend I ever really had… I don't wanna be alone anymore, I like having friends!" But Zoro didn't respond, his lips getting paler with every passing second. Basically… he was dying. There was a soft groan and Luffy looked up to see Sanji stand, and put a hand to his aching head.
"Where the fuck…?" the man noised before looking over and seeing Luffy, "Ah, Marimo got himself in shit again eh?" Nami sobbed a little and turned her face away, a hand over her mouth. Sanji was confused and he staggered his way over to Luffy, dropping to his knees beside them and peering at Zoro's face. His eyes widened slightly.
"He's not…?" he asked, but Luffy didn't reply. He was hanging onto the hope that Zoro would fight to grab at that last string of life within him, that last little bit, just so he could survive until Ace got back with stuff that could help him. Sanji leaned forward a little further over Zoro's face, peering down at him with wide eyes.
"He's… dead…" Sanji whispered before groaning a little and pulling away, raising a hand to his forehead and gritting his teeth, "Fuck!" And this time… Luffy knew it was true. He couldn't feel the soft thump of Zoro's pulse in his wrist anymore… or hear any breathing. His chest was no longer moving and his hands were still. Slowly, he was getting cold and Luffy's face became hard, and emotionless. A mask. He wasn't going to cry, not here, not now.
Nami had retreated to sobbing against a wall, one hand curled into a fist as she pressed against it. Chopper had turned his face away, and limped to the edge of the building, staring out and over the edge. Robin was as silent as ever, but she was shaking very, very faintly. Sanji was breathing in deep gasps, trying to stop himself from crying, or screaming out in rage. He was sore, tired, and their leader had just died on them. Fan-fucking-tastic! Silently, Luffy drew Zoro closer to him and hugged him softly.
"M'sorry Zoro… this shouldn't have happened to you… And... thankyou." he whispered, his voice dead. By the time Ace returned, Usopp had re-awoken and had grit his teeth at Zoro's death, swearing to tell a fantastic story about their leader… Sanji was mentally beating himself for all the names he had called Zoro during their time living together in Pearl, Nami had snuck over to sit beside him and Robin was beside Luffy as the boy just stared at Zoro's lifeless form.
A week or so had passed since Zoro's death, and the government had deemed it necessary that someone be picked to be the new leader of Pearl. Sanji had even yelled at them over the phone to give them another week to at least get over their loss, but the government was cold and cruel as ever. So, because of Luffy's prowess in fighting, and his defeat of Crocodile, the group had nominated him. He hadn't wanted it… Attempted to walk away from the entire group even, but that had been before the will had been found in the mail. There was a letter from Zoro, basically saying in his blunt manner, that when he died, Luffy was to take over.
It also stated that he had originally intended putting Robin in charge, but then Luffy had come along and he had changed it. An individual note was written out for Luffy, outlining what he had to do, and that he had to keep everything in that note private from the rest of the group. It had also said that Luffy was the first person to just like him for him, and not think that he was anything other than a friend, or a leader. He had liked that. And he had liked Luffy, a lot. The rest of that day, Luffy had locked himself in his room, lying on his bed and idly ripping bits of random paper into shreds.
He was pretty sure he had loved Zoro, but the opportunity to tell him had just never presented itself, and he hadn't been sure if Zoro had felt the same way. But still… he couldn't cry. There was the pain in his throat, the watering in his eyes, but no tears would come free… It wasn't until Zoro's funeral that he finally did cry… and he had waited until everyone else was gone before doing so. He was alone, leaning against the tree that shadowed the grave… and he was crying. Gasping even. He just couldn't breathe through his own tears and he had stayed there until the sun had well and truly set and Nami came out to find him. When she had found him, he was sitting at the base of the tree, knees drawn up to his chest and his arms wrapped around his head as he pressed it against his legs.
"Hey…" she said softly, moving to lean against the tree over him, "How are you?" That was a stupid question… Luffy raised his head slightly, a small smile on his face.
"All flowers and roses…" he replied, repeating a quote that Zoro had often used when he wasn't feeling okay at all. Wiping a hand over his face to get rid of the last of the tears, he sniffed and sighed as Nami watched him.
"You know, if it helps… you can talk to me about it…" She said softly, crouching down beside him. Luffy shook his head.
"No… I'm okay… After all, I can always come here and talk to him… even if he doesn't respond now…" and Luffy gulped a little, forcing back the tears that he'd been holding in for the past week or so. Now that he had begun crying, he didn't seem to be able to stop the tears anymore. Nami smiled a little.
"Yeah, Zoro was actually a pretty good guy to talk to… not that I did very often…" and she sighed again, "I guess… I actually came here to say, that when I met Zoro, he was pretty sour and grumpy."
"What ended up being different?" and Luffy grinned a little and Nami snorted softly.
"And then you came along… He was happy, or at least, he was a bit more social with you than he was with the rest of us… and I thought that was nice." and she shrugged, "Doesn't sound like me to really care about this stuff, does it?"
"Not really… Thanks, Nami… I'm gonna just stay here for a little while longer, then I'll probably come home." and Luffy smiled a little at her. Nami nodded in reply and stood.
"Sanji also told me to tell you, that, if you don't come home before midnight, he's going to kick your ass from here to New York…" and she smiled as Luffy chuckled to himself.
"Thanks… tell him he couldn't if he tried…" he replied softly and Nami winked.
"Damn straight…" and she paused a second to look at the headstone on Zoro's grave, "See ya Zoro…" And with that, she moved out of the cemetery and down the road, following the lights on the sidewalk. Luffy looked after her for a while, then turned his attention to the grave again before he sighed softly.
"I guess I should go too… I'll miss ya, Zoro…" and Luffy stood and stuck his hands in his pockets, his old straw hat resting against his back and on a string around his neck. He paused for a moment and then smiled, "I'll tell Sanji he's a princess for you… and don't worry, I'll look after Pearl…" and with that he chuckled and then walked towards the gates of the cemetery, not looking back once.
Sorry it's kinda short, and for making you wait so long, but I really do like the real ending better than this one. I had the idea from the beginning of doing this, but, it's not my idea of an ending. I can't stand sad endings. I'll love a story, but if someone dies at the end... I won't read or watch the ending EVER again. Anyway, there's one more chapter to go on the end of this, but that one may take a lot longer. Hopefully I'll get it done soon though. -crosses fingers- Thanks again to everyone for reading! And thankyou SO much to everyone who found this story after it was finished, and STILL reviewed every chapter. That's truly an accomplishment! I'll get replies out VERY soon!!