The idea for this came when I was very depressed but I thought I'd give it a try to see how I managed it. There's going to be character death at the end (I was VERY depressed).
Summary: After winning the Battle Royale survival programme Ace is back at a new school and repeating the tenth grade. He's finding it difficult to put his life back together when he suspects people in his class know he's a survivor. But with the friends Luffy makes at their new school always around somehow things don't seem as bad as they really are. AceSan and ZoLu pairings.
It is sort of a Battle Royale crossover in the sense that I'm using the concept of Battle Royale's taking place. But no characters from Battle Royale will be appearing in this fic, so don't worry if you've not read the book/seen the film.
Betaed by crusedlonewolf, many thanks to her for her work.
Ages in this fic in case anyone is curious are as follows:
Ace – 18
Marshall D. Teach and Tashigi – 17
Luffy, Zoro, Sanji, Usopp, Nami and Vivi – 16
Just one more thing, the title means 'Climb the Stairs of Quiet Days'. It's the name of the song by Dragon Ash that was the end credit song from the Battle Royale movie.
Shizunkana Hibi no Kaidan wo
The constant beeping of the alarm woke Ace from his nightmare. His final moments on that hellish island had been filled with a sound all too similar to his alarm clock, until he had pulled the trigger one last time. The entire experience had been hell, but those final moments, when he thought his neck was about to be blown open, were the worst. Those moments were all he seemed to dream about recently. The thought of never seeing his younger brother and leaving him practically alone in the world was what had given him the strength to make that final kill.
Ace was by no means proud of what he'd done. He'd just done what he had to survive. He was the only family member Luffy had that was always there for him. Their parents had died when they were both children; they had no grandparents, and their only uncle was always away working.
Their uncle Shanks had put some effort in taking care of them since the death of their parents. Shanks had hired Makino to take care of them while they were still young and had seen to it that they never wanted for anything financially. He would stay with them whenever he wasn't on a trip for work, which, seeing as he was a travelling writer, was quite often, and he and Luffy always loved the holidays that their uncle have with them during summer and Christmas. They both loved their uncle, but that didn't change the fact that he was hardly there.
When Ace had woken in a long-abandoned school building after falling asleep on the coach that was taking his class to Kyoto for a school trip, he had known something was wrong. The fact that he had fallen asleep wasn't unusual, but the fact that everyone else had was worrying. The heavy metal collar round his neck hadn't done much to alleviate any of his concerns.
When the door to the classroom opened and five men walked in, two in the front and back wearing military uniforms and carrying machine guns and the last in the middle in jeans and a shirt, he had known instinctively what was going on.
Battle Royale. The Programme.
Whatever you chose to call it, it meant only one thing. Death. Almost an entire class, sometimes the entire class, all killed by each other's hands in three days or less.
He had paid no attention as the instructional video was played. There had been no need; every ninth grade student instinctively knew the rules except the odd few who thought if they ignored it there was a chance their class wouldn't be picked. Ace had never been that naïve. Burying your head in the sand never solved any problems. He had been facing the biggest problem of his life and the last thing he intended to do was bury his head in the sand like some of his classmates no doubt had done.
Despite that, when he'd left the classroom with his school bag and the supply bag that one of the military men had just thrown at him, Ace still didn't know what he was going to do. He didn't want to kill any of his friends – not even the people in his class he barely knew. But he didn't want to die either; he didn't want to leave Luffy alone.
He had racked his brains for a way out of it but nothing had come; the only way out was to win. But he still didn't want to take part in this game. It was only after he had his first run-in with one of his classmates that he had realised there was no choice. Ogura Shin had clearly gone mad and clearly had intended to repeatedly stab Ace till he'd bled to death. He'd used the small flame thrower he'd been issued as his weapon to get Shin writhing on the ground and had taken the kodachi that Shin had been issued and used it to finish him.
There was no longer any doubt in his mind. If he didn't play he was going to die.
Ace rolled over in his bed, his sheets still sticking to him even though his sweat was now cooling. The digital red numbers from his alarm clock told him twenty minutes had passed since the alarm had gone off.
"Shit," Ace cursed as he threw back the sheets and rolled from his bed. "I've got to stop spacing out like that."
He quickly pulled on a pair of boxers. It was his and Luffy's first day of new school, and the last thing he needed to do was waste twenty minutes in bed. Getting Luffy up wasn't a problem; the problem was getting Luffy into his uniform, which, as a rule, his younger brother always hated. It could sometimes take him ten minutes to make Luffy button his shirt properly and put on a tie.
They both hated suffocating clothing and if he had a choice, Ace would go to school in just trousers and Luffy in a loose vest rather then a shirt. But with uniforms, choice was never an option, and Ace had accepted that. Luffy, on the other hand, didn't, and he still tried to get out of wearing ties and buttoning his shirts all the way.
"Luffy, get up!" Ace shouted as he scanned his floor for the towel he'd used last night after his shower and thrown on the floor. There was no sign of it anywhere so he quickly gave up the search and just grabbed his uniform from his wardrobe and headed to the bathroom.
Ace showered quickly, not even taking time to enjoy the warm spray of water like he usually did. He was out in less than five minutes and quickly threw on his uniform, leaving the shirt half unbuttoned and the tie slung loosely round his neck. He exited the bathroom to find Luffy stand, glaring at the tie and clutching his uniform which was now half-hanging off its coat hanger.
"Do I really have to wear this?" Luffy asked like he did every morning.
"You really have to wear it."
"You're not wearing yours properly."
"I will be by the time we get to school. Just shower and sling it around your neck for now. But you'll have to wear it properly when we get to school."
Luffy pouted and turned his puppy dog look to Ace. Lesser men would have caved in, but Ace had gotten used to that look over the years and was immune to its charms. When Ace stared back at him with a deadpan expression, Luffy knew he wasn't winning this time and sulkily headed to the bathroom.
Ace went into the kitchen and looked at the clock. There wasn't enough time for him to put together bento – not even enough time to make Luffy a proper breakfast. He rummaged through the cupboards and the fridge and grabbed an assortment of snack foods; if Luffy couldn't have meat, then junk food was the next best thing. He had no intention of arguing with Luffy over breakfast. Getting the boy into a tie was one thing; getting him to eat a few slices of toast instead of a large breakfast was another. When it came to food, Luffy had his way no matter what.
Ace filled the kettle and set it to boil as he decided that, tonight, he was going to be prepared. Tonight, he was going to make most of the food for their bento for the next day so he'd only have to make rice in the morning. He would have last night, but after he had gotten out of the shower and gone to his room for clothes, he had fallen asleep and stayed asleep till the infuriating alarm woke him. It unfortunately meant that there would no doubt be someone at school that had to go hungry, as Luffy would eat several portions and deprive someone else. But there wasn't exactly much he could do about it now.
Luffy appeared from the bathroom, still towelling his hair, with his tie hanging out his back pocket. As he walked over to the kitchen counter, Ace grabbed it and draped it round Luffy's neck. The younger boy pouted as he realised his plan hadn't worked and that he was going to have to wear the tie. The pout changed to a smile when Ace pushed the array of food before him.
"Where's the meat?" Luffy asked hopefully.
"Sorry, no time. Make do with chocolate. You want tea?"
Ace heard a mumbled response and turned to see that Luffy had already attacked the food. Currently he had three chocolate bars hanging out of his mouth as he tried to cram the rest of them in. He still couldn't make out what his brother was saying but the nodding head at least told him it was a 'yes' to the tea. He grabbed two mugs and put a teaspoon of coffee in one and some tea leaves in the other. The kettle finally finished boiling and he emptied hot water into the mugs, adding a little milk and sugar to his own.
He set the tea down in front of his brother, and found that in the time it had taken him to make two drinks, Luffy had gotten rid of half the food he'd set-aside for their breakfast. He grabbed several bars for himself and began to eat in a manner similar to his younger brother's but somehow more refined.
With a sizeable dent in their supply of snack food for the week and two mugs abandoned in the sink, the two were ready to leave. Ace contemplated for a moment whether he should make Luffy wear his tie properly now but decided against it since he could keep his own undone till they arrived at school.
Sanji stood on one of the side streets near his school, a cigarette between his lips as he enjoyed his morning fix of nicotine before he'd have to go without for a couple of hours. Sometimes, being a smoker was an annoyance, but he enjoyed the way it helped him relax. With the friends he had, he really needed to relax.
He wasn't entirely sure he could call them friends – at least, not all of them. They were more like acquaintances that he couldn't seem to get rid of. He was friends with Nami, Vivi, and Usopp, but Zoro was someone he didn't need to spend time with. The school's kendo champion was grating on the nerves, to say the least.
As if on cue, the green haired boy stalked down the alley.
"They'll kill you one day," Zoro stated as he walked past, his boken visible behind his back.
This was why Sanji found him grating. It was none of that swordsman's business if he chose to smoke, and yet Zoro seemed to feel the need to tell him he was going to die because of it on a regular basis. It wasn't as if Zoro cared; he just wanted to annoy Sanji.
"Shitty swordsman," he retorted to the retreating form.
"You got a problem?"
"Yeah, it's blond, got curly eyebrows, and unfortunately right in front of me," Zoro said after closing the distance he'd put between the two of them.
"This looks interesting," an unfamiliar voice beside them said.
They both slowly turned to find themselves almost face to face with a teen neither of them had ever met. His chocolate eyes stared at them from under a straw hat, eagerly waiting for them to continue their argument.
They were both somewhat shocked that this strange boy should appear seemingly from nowhere just to watch them fight. His uniform told them he attended their school yet neither of them recognised him. They had heard rumours that two new students would be starting so it was possible he was one of them. That didn't explain his fascination with two strangers about to start a fight with each other.
"Stop bothering people, Luffy," another unfamiliar voice admonished as its owner jogged up to them. "I'm sorry if he bothered you. He's easily fascinated and just can't seem to stop himself from staring."
The older teen bowed his head to show them how sorry he was. It was obvious by looking at them that they were related; the colour of their eyes was almost identical. The way he behaved towards the younger one made it seem as if they were brothers, though, for all either Sanji or Zoro knew, they could just be very close cousins.
The older one began to walk away, expecting the other to follow. However, the kid was still standing in front of them, waiting to see what they would do. He was suddenly dragged away, and they both looked over to see that the older one had closed his hand round his wrist and was bodily removing him. They could hear the teen complaining as he was pulled towards the school building.
"Oh, but Ace! That looked really interesting."
"We've still got to register, so get a move on."
Somehow, they both got the feeling that it wasn't the first time the one called Ace had had to drag the one called Luffy away from something 'interesting' that morning.
"So, where were we, Curly Brows?" Zoro questioned, pulling Sanji's gaze from the retreating figures.
He could see Zoro's hand reaching over his shoulder, his fingers barely an inch from closing round the hilt of his boken. Before either of them could act, the school bell rang.
Zoro's hand immediately dropped to his side, and Sanji took one last drag from his cigarette before tossing it aside. They both jogged towards the school, their argument forgotten for the moment.
Registering had been fairly easy; Ace had taken care of most of it before they'd started, so all Luffy had to do was pick up his class schedule and sign something. He wasn't sure what he was signing, but he had done it anyway since Ace had signed his. Now he was wandering the halls trying to find his classroom.
The woman that had given him the schedule had said left, right, then second left. Though now, Luffy couldn't remember if those were the directions she'd given to Ace. He looked around the corridor to see that he was alone and therefore the directions must have been intended for him, which meant that all he had to do was turn at the second left and he'd be at the classroom.
Luffy rounded the corner to see a set of stairs leading down. He hadn't been told anything about stairs but followed them down anyway. A sign at the top of the door told him it was the classroom for 2-A, the class he'd been assigned to.
His hand closed on the door handle, and without a thought of knocking he pushed open the door and walked in as if he'd been doing the same thing for years. All eyes in the classroom turned to him and Luffy grinned when he recognised two faces amongst them.
"Hi," he said cheerfully as he waved to the two boys he'd briefly met earlier.
"You must be my new student," began a smooth voice that clearly belonged to his teacher. He turned to see the dark haired woman now gazing down at the register on her desk. "Monkey D. Luffy. I'm Nico Robin. your form and history teacher. Why don't you introduce yourself to the class?"
Luffy stared blankly at the class for a moment. He supposed he should tell them all why he had moved here. But he wasn't allowed to; Ace had made it clear he didn't want anyone to know that he was a winner of Battle Royale. He had to come up with a lie, but nothing sprang to mind. A grin spread over his face as the simple explanation came to him.
"I'm Luffy, and I moved here with my brother Ace because he said we had to," he paused for a moment as he thought about anything else to say to the class. "We live in an apartment that our uncle pays for, but he doesn't live with us. And…that's it."
Luffy grinned broadly to the blank faces before him. They stared back perplexed at him, considering he hadn't really explained anything about himself to them.
"Thank you, why don't you take a seat next to Zoro-kun?"
"He's sitting in the back with green hair."
"Oh, I know Zoro-kun." Luffy grinned as he realised it was one of the boys he'd seen earlier.
"Well, that should make things easier. You can move your desk closer to his so you can share his books till you get your own. Now turn to page ninety seven in your books."
Luffy bounded to the back of the classroom and pulled the empty desk and chair next to the ones occupied by the green haired teen. He sat down and turned to face the other teen. When his eyes met a perplexed face, his smile faltered and he tilted his head in confusion.
"What's wrong Zoro-kun?"
"Why did you say you know me? You saw me only this morning. That's not the same as knowing me."
"You and the blond guy are the only people I know."
"You just proved my point. If you knew us, you'd know what his name is."
"But I do know his name. It's Dartboard Brow."
Luffy registered the glare he was now receiving from the blond teen. Apparently he didn't like that name, which was unfortunate for him since it seemed to be his name. The three people sitting in front of him were all snickering; he supposed they thought the name Dartboard Brow was funny, which it was. The orange haired girl turned to face him.
"His name's not 'Dartboard Brow' – its Sanji. Zoro only calls him names like that when they're about to fight."
"Oh, sorry Sanji."
"I'm Nami, and this is Vivi-chan, and Usopp-kun." Nami pointed out the people she was sitting with, who all turned to face him when they were introduced.
"Nami-chan, what did I just say?" Robin asked.
"Sorry Nico-sensei, I wasn't really paying attention."
"Well then, I suggest you stop talking so you can start paying attention."
It had been a hell of a morning for Ace. His class and maths teacher Smoker-sensei was nothing if not a bastard. Ace's file had clearly stated that he was narcoleptic and therefore prone to falling asleep at any given moment. The one time he did fall asleep in his maths class, he had a huge textbook dropped mere millimetres from his head to wake him up. Not to mention a lecture about the importance of paying attention in class. Ace had come to the conclusion that Smoker had taken an instant dislike to him for a reason he had yet to figure out.
That hadn't been the end of his trouble though. In P.E. another student, Marshall D. Teach, had decided that he also didn't like Ace. He had wondered whether Marshall had seen his scars whilst getting changed and put two and two together. If anyone stopped to think about it, it would seem fairly obvious that he was a survivor of Battle Royale.
The multitude of scars that no normal kid his age would get, the fact that he was having to repeat tenth grade; the grade where classes were chosen to compete from, and the fact that 'I fell asleep in class too much so couldn't pass the grade' was a pathetic excuse.
He had intended to think of a better excuse – one that didn't involve hospitals because that was too close to the truth for his comfort. Though it probably would have been better than his 'falling asleep' excuse. When he was presented in front of the class without a rehearsed excuse in his head, he had panicked a little and blurted out the first thing that had come to his head.
Considering all that, it wouldn't have surprised him if Marshall had figured it out. Even if he had, that didn't give him any right to trip him as they ran laps round the track. Ace had earned his right to be there running pointless laps, and Marshall had no right to judge him because he had no idea what Ace had been through.
It hadn't been all that bad though. One person had taken pity on him as he pulled himself off the ground. It was Tashigi Hirono, whom he had first dismissed as a teacher's pet to Smoker-sensei, but in actuality was a sweet, if somewhat clumsy, girl.
She reminded him a little of himself. She seemed to have no control over her body, just like he had no control over his sleeping habits. Ace had been shocked when she had told him that she was one of the best on the kendo team. He had thought people who were good at kendo needed to have good balance and not be so clumsy. But if he had learned one thing, it was to never judge a book by its cover.
After all, who would have thought a narcoleptic could have survived Battle Royale?
Now he was waiting outside the canteen for Luffy so that he could buy his brother some lunch and try to restrict the amount the boy ate, even though he probably wouldn't get far in that task.
Luffy bounded around the corner with five people in tow. He recognised two of them as the boys that were about to fight earlier that morning. It seemed Luffy had latched onto them and their friends because they were people he recognised.
"Ace, these are my friends," Luffy declared as he came to an abrupt stop and proceeded to introduce all of them, pointing to each one in turn. "Where are your friends, Ace?"
"Tashigi-kun practices kendo at lunch whether there's a training session or not," Ace explained.
"How come you don't practice every lunch time, Zoro-kun?"
"I'm not as clumsy as Tashigi. Besides, I train every evening instead."
"Oh, ok. Let's go get lunch," Luffy declared as he made a dash for the canteen doors.
Ace grabbed the back of Luffy's jacket and brought the younger teen to a stop before he could really get going. There was no way Luffy would be left unattended in a canteen. He also didn't have any money, and Ace was sure his pouting face wouldn't convince the diner lady to let him have a mountain of food for free.
Still restraining Luffy, Ace led the way into the canteen and grabbed three trays. Luffy naturally tried to take three more but Ace couldn't afford to buy that much lunch, and he was sure this place didn't have that much to spare.
With the three trays full and his wallet feeling considerably lighter, Ace found an empty table in the corner of the canteen and lead Luffy to it. He didn't fail to notice the glare Marshall sent him as they walked past his table. Apparently, Luffy noticed it too, which was unusual because the boy tended to only notice food when it was in front of him. When Ace took his seat, he could see Luffy had stopped and was returning the glare.
The last thing he needed was for Luffy to cause any trouble. He called his brother over and Luffy complied by coming to join him.
"What's his problem?" Luffy asked. "Does he know that you won—"
"Dig in," Ace said as he thrust chopsticks towards Luffy, hoping that food would keep him quiet as the others came to join them.
Happily, Luffy took the chopsticks and began to dig in to the nearest plate that held katsu curry and a pile of rice.
"I can't believe I'm reduced to eating this slop," Sanji complained as he took a seat next to Ace.
"It's good," Luffy said between mouthfuls.
"This stuff tastes terrible."
"Why didn't you bring your bento then, love cook?" Zoro questioned.
"I was busy making soup this morning; I didn't have time to make bento. Some of us work, unlike you."
"I don't have time to work since I spend all my time training."
"My job is my training, it's teaching me to be a better cook."
"Well train harder 'cos your cooking tastes like crap. I'd rather eat this 'slop' than anything made by you."
"For once could you two let the rest of us have our lunch in peace?" Nami complained.
"Of course, Nami-swan," Sanji crowed.
"Why was that guy mad at you?" Luffy asked as he finished his last meal.
Ace had hoped Luffy would forget about Marshall while he ate. The younger teen remembered and was frowning at the memory of it. Ace thought it was one of Luffy's most endearing qualities that he cared so much about the people around him that the slightest thing done against them made him angry. Though right now, he wished his brother would just forget about it.
He also wished he'd stop trying to be so devious and use his question as a distraction so he could try and steal more food. Luffy's hand snuck closer to his meal while he clearly thought Ace was distracted by trying to think of an answer. Just as Luffy was about to help himself to some of the meat Ace had been saving, he slapped his younger brother's hands away. Luffy pouted but looked expectantly at Ace for the answer to his question.
"I fell out my chair when I fell asleep in class and hit him with my head. I guess he's angry about that," Ace said as he wondered why his lies always seemed to be connected with his narcolepsy.
"I wasn't mad when Zoro leaned on me when he fell asleep."
"Are you narcoleptic too?"
"Zoro's just lazy," Sanji quickly explained
"Why should he be mad at you for that?" Luffy questioned before Zoro had a chance to respond to Sanji.
"I did a little more then just lean on him, I hit him pretty hard."
"Still, it's not your fault. You can't help it when you fall asleep. Does he know that? Maybe if we explained it to him he'd be nicer."
"I think he knows, I'm not sure. I'll explain it to him later. Just leave it to me to handle, okay?"
Luffy nodded, allowing Ace to feel relieved. If his brother had decided to march over to Marshall and demand an apology for something that hadn't happened, he didn't want to think about what could have happened. If Marshall had worked it out, he probably would have taken the opportunity to inform everyone in the canteen of his suspicions. Though it was possible he didn't have any suspicions, Ace couldn't take that chance.
He wanted to start over and try to forget the fact that he was a survivor. He had burned the card he'd received from the Great Dictator congratulating him on his win and planned to donate all the money he'd gotten from his pension to charity; once he was old enough to receive his pension. He didn't want to live off money that congratulated him for being a murderer; Ace would sooner live on the streets then accept any handouts from the government that had turned him into a killer.
Lunch had turned out to be more of a disaster than usual, despite the fact that Nami had whined at Zoro and Sanji less then usual. Everything had been fine while Luffy had food on his plate or was busy listening to his brother, but if those two conditions weren't met Luffy would be trying to steal food. At first, he went only for Ace's plate but when that was empty, Luffy wasn't fussy about who he tried to steal from. They all learned to eat quickly after they watched Usopp lose some of his food.
Eating at a speed that was likely to cause anyone to choke whilst holding a plate away from Luffy's prying hands was definitely not Zoro's idea of an enjoyable lunch. Normally, Zoro wouldn't hesitate to beat someone like Luffy on the head till they learned not to bother him again. He knew Sanji was the same as well; anyone who tried to steal food from a lady was asking to be kicked by the cook.
Yet Luffy hadn't been hit across the head with a boken or kicked too much. Naturally he and Sanji had beaten him to some extent, but considering that others would never get away with half of what Luffy had done the new boy had gotten off lightly. It seemed that somehow the new student had managed to endear himself to them in just one morning.
Considering that they were a close-knit group, with the exception of him and Sanji and him and Nami whenever the girl was nagging too much, it was unusual for someone to get as close to them as Luffy had. There was something about his easygoing attitude that made him easy to get along with. After lunch it was clear that his laid back manner hid a very caring teen.
They were now sitting in the last lesson of the day, English. Zoro hated English; it was quite obvious to him that he had no talent for learning a second language and he could see no reason why he should have to be here. He just couldn't understand any of the grammatical concepts; and whoever thought of the subject-verb-object sentence order needed to be shot in his opinion. It didn't make any sense to him.
Apparently, he wasn't alone either. Luffy had been looking at their shared textbook in a perplexed manner for the entire lesson. Occasionally, he had turned it upside down in hopes that it might start to make sense if he read it differently. Zoro knew from personal experience that it didn't work and had told Luffy as much, but the teen nonetheless continued to do it occasionally.
He settled back in his chair and let his eyes slowly drift shut. Hopefully he wouldn't get caught this time and could spend the rest of the lesson sleeping.
There was someone poking his side that wouldn't stop no matter how much he swatted their hands away. Reluctantly he opened his eyes to come face to face with Luffy, who looked suspiciously like he was about to start poking him in the face or something equally annoying.
"Lesson's over," Luffy said with a smile.
People were already beginning to file out of the classroom as Zoro pushed Luffy away from him so he could pack his belongings away. With his bag slung over his shoulder, he followed the others out of the classroom. He could see Ace waiting for Luffy in front of some lockers near the room. Clearly he didn't trust his younger brother to meet him at a designated place and felt obliged to collect him. From the day that he'd spent with Luffy, Zoro couldn't blame Ace.
Luffy burst into an even wider grin upon seeing his brother. He charged at his brother and came to a stop right before him.
"I was thinking we should have everyone back to our apartment for tea," Luffy suddenly declared.
"We have next to no food. We can't feed them, Luffy," Ace explained.
"Ah, but I want my new friends to see our flat!" Luffy pouted.
"Some other time. Besides, they might be busy."
"You guys wouldn't be too busy to come around tonight, right?"
"I've got to work tonight," Sanji said.
"You don't work all night though, do you?"
"By the time the kitchen's been cleaned down, it feels like I have. I'll be too tired tonight, but I'm not working tomorrow, so I can come around then. I'll fix dinner if you guys buy some food."
"The rest of you could all come round for a little bit tonight, even if you don't stay for food."
For a moment they all looked thoughtful and nodded except Zoro.
"I can't. I train in the evening, remember?" he explained as Luffy fixed his gaze on him and making him feel guilty for not agreeing as the others had.
"You can't train all night."
"Well…no I don't."
"Then you can come round after you train," Luffy decided as he rummaged through his back and got out his notebook and a pen.
Luffy handed Zoro a sheet of paper to after he'd finished writing on it. Zoro looked down to see an address for an area he was barely familiar with. He looked back up to see Luffy smiling at him almost as brightly as he smiled for his brother.
"Come there when you finish training. It doesn't matter what time, as long as it's not really late," Luffy said.
"What time is really late?" Zoro asked without realising he'd given in to Luffy's request without even trying to argue against going.
"Umm, midnight would be too late, right Ace?"
"Let's make it eleven. Zoro-kun would need time to get back to his house," Ace decided.
"Ok, I'll see you later this evening," Zoro agreed as he stuffed the paper in his back pocket.
Behind him he heard a scoff come from Sanji and turned to glare at the cook.
"What the hell's so funny, love cook?"
"You won't be able to find their apartment – your sense of direction is useless. A lobotomised homing pigeon has a better sense of direction than you."
"What the hell would you know about it, curly brows?"
"Plenty considering I've seen you wander the school halls looking lost, even after you've been here for a year, Marimo."
"They changed the layout, asshole. It's normal to get lost when things change."
"I don't have time for you; I'll be late for work. Nami-swan, Vivi-chwan, I'll see you both tomorrow and will bring delicious bento for both of you."
"Thank you Sanji-kun," Nami sweetly replied as Sanji walked away.
"Bastard," Zoro growled before turning to Luffy. "Don't worry, I'll find your place. See you later Luffy, Ace."
He turned to take a different exit from Sanji, not wanting to see any more of the cook for one day. He was determined to prove the love cook wrong. It wasn't just that that fuelled his determination to find Luffy and Ace's flat. For some reason, he didn't understand that he was looking forward to spending the evening with the brothers, even though he barely knew them.
There was something about both of them that he found himself liking, especially Luffy, but he didn't know why.
So ends chapter 1. I don't know why I'm starting another multi-chapter fic when I have enough to be working on, but these ideas just come to me and don't go away unless I start working on them.
Please leave a review to let me know what you thought. I always appreciate constructive comments.