A long one shot. I am rather happy with how this turned out actually. It ended up being EXACTLY what I wanted it to be, which is unusual for me. Usually, I can't get anything to go the way I want it to.

Pairings: ZoLu. Mentions of SanNam and UsoKay, simply cos I can. lol. Won't be anything serious. The story is based around the ZoLu. -nods-

Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah. You know what goes here. I don't own One Piece, never did, and will never claim to.

Rating: It's a definite 'M'. lol. You'll see why later on. It could possibly be a T, but, I wanna be safe. After all, I don't want to be kicked off the site. lol. That would be devastating. XD

This one shot is so long, because at the bottom, there is a surprise! he he he! Best damn -deleted and you have to read to see- I ever wrote. LOL! I'm such a bitch...

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Pick up the pieces

By Plushie

Eight years. Eight goddamn years, and that bastard still hadn't come back to see him again. The only question running through his mind as he slid a bottle of milk past the scanner was 'how the hell could he do this to me?'. Yeah, he was pissed. Having been working at the supermarket for the past five years, not hearing hide or hair of his deserter, had made him a very sour person.

Sure, he was still happy. Yeah, maybe he had made a few new friends. Sanji, Nami and Usopp namely. But, what had happened between him, and that bastard… that was what pissed him off. Squeezing a bottle of dishwashing liquid with a little too much force, he was surprised and ashamed when it popped open and green, slimy liquid poured over the customer's shirt. The woman glared at him darkly.

"Never mind. I'll go somewhere else." She hissed and stalked away, heels clicking and bag swinging as she adjusted it on her shoulder. Sighing, he bent down and grabbed a paper towel, starting to wipe up the mess. Yeah… Luffy wasn't too happy that Zoro had left him without saying a word nor giving any indication that he had wanted to break off the relationship. It wasn't like they'd fought… at least not seriously.

They'd always had the odd skirmish, odd argument, but what couple didn't? It was typical that something one did, got on the other's nerves at times. Zoro slept too much, Luffy wanted to 'play' all the time. And not play in the sense that he wanted to have a good old fashioned game of hide and seek. Their games often led to things being broken, a slammed bedroom door and neighbours yelling at them over the fence.

For at least six of the last eight years, he had held the hope that Zoro would come back to him again... but those hopes were let down when days faded into weeks, weeks became months and finally the years slipped away until he was where he was now. Luffy let his head drop forward as he heard the soft clicking of the heels of his boss. Standing, he turned to see Makino standing there, a lightly concerned face peering at him from under a dark blue bandana.

"Luffy…" she sighed softly and the boy waved a hand at her.

"I know, I know. I'm sorry." and he smiled, "I won't do it again." Makino sighed as well, shaking her head and bowing it.

"I'm sorry Luffy, but, you've been doing this for the past five years. I've given you too many chances as it is, and the other checkout people aren't willing to put up with it anymore." and she looked up and smiled softly, "I know a place where you can work and get over this frustration you seemed to be going through." Luffy's eyes widened.

"You're… firing me?" he asked, a little hurt and angry, but not really shocked. He'd expected to be fired a long time ago, but Makino had always allowed him to stay after incidents like these. He'd gone too far… that was the answer. Sighing softly, Luffy bowed his head and grabbed his hat from under the counter. Placing it on his head, he smiled at Makino and shrugged. Makino smiled softly and nodded.

"I'm sorry Luffy…" she said, "Listen… it's not your fault you know." and she paused. Luffy shook his head, pulling off his name badge and placing it in her hand.

"Thanks Makino… I'll see ya." and he turned away, moving out of the supermarket and winding his way in amongst a large crowd that was heading for the exit out of the shopping centre. Makino watched him go, and then sighed again sadly.

"Bye…" and then she turned and made to go back to work again, but hurried footsteps made her turn. There stood the very person that she had just been talking about. The reason for Luffy's 'anger' as it were. He was panting heavily, a pair of sunglasses dangling from one ear as he looked around a little wildly.

"Hello." she said a little sourly, looking up at him with raised eyebrows. Zoro looked down at her and took a slight breath.

"Is Luffy here?" he asked. Makino frowned and in a movement even she hadn't predicted, she swung a hand up and slapped him across the face. Blinking, the green haired man put a hand to his cheek and looked down at her again before his eyes narrowed and he grabbed his sunglasses, placing them back over his eyes again.

"Thankyou." he muttered and he walked away. Makino frowned even harder and swung around.

"He went that way!" she said, pointing in the direction Luffy had gone. Zoro paused, inclined his head slightly towards her before running off that way. Heaving a soft sigh, Makino hoped Luffy would be able to handle this. She'd always expected Zoro to come back… she just didn't think it would take this long. Having known Luffy since he was little, she'd seen him develop and grow and knew how he was inside. He was strong. Maybe… maybe it wasn't Luffy she should be worried about.

---

Zoro shoved his way through the crowds, ignoring the scandalised shrieks of angry women as he pushed past. Sliding past an elderly couple, he dived around a corner and paused, looking around and panting, his damn glasses swinging from one ear again.

"Damn…" he muttered, looking around and letting his arms hang limply by his sides, "God I hate this place…" sticking his hands in his pockets, he began moving down another road. He wouldn't find Luffy now. The kid was probably long gone. Damn… he never should have left like he did, but he had had no choice. He honestly hadn't.

---

Flashback

It was midnight, and Luffy was lying on the bed while Zoro sat on the edge and peered at his mobile phone with narrowed and concerned eyes. A message was written on the screen… one he couldn't ignore. Glancing at Luffy, he got up from the bed and pulled on a shirt over his pants. Grimacing at the message, he thought he should perhaps write a note. But how could he tell Luffy that he was leaving? Frowning a little, he was tempted to fling the phone out the window and say 'to hell' with the consequences… but he knew better than that.

Grabbing his three swords from their place by the bed stand, he slung the belt they were on, around his waist and buckled it up. Shifting the belt until he was comfortable, Zoro moved back to the bed and brushed a hand through Luffy's hair quickly before grimacing and walking out the door, shutting it silently before he made his way down the corridor and out the front door. Pulling the phone from his pocket, he opened the new message and frowned at it.

Good boy…

end flashback

---

Sighing a little, Luffy frowned as he turned the corner and kicked an empty soft drink's can along in front of him. It clattered satisfyingly against the wall and Luffy caught up with it and kicked it again, making it hit the fire hydrant. Smirking a little at his newfound release of anger, he kicked it again and blinked as there was a yelp. Looking up, he spied Usopp with his hands over his face, the can rolling around his feet. Letting out a laugh, Luffy grabbed at the back of his head.

"Sorry Usopp." he apologised as the long nosed boy dropped his hands and glared accusingly at both Luffy and the can. His curly hair was tied back in a pony tail, and was wearing a loose shirt sleeved open shirt over a t-shirt and a pair of baggy pants. Blinking at him, Luffy noticed there was something weird, and almost bouncy about the way Usopp was walking.

"What's wrong with you?" Luffy asked curiously as he moved towards his friend. Usopp grinned widely and stuck his chest out a little proudly before jerking a thumb at himself.

"I just got myself a girlfriend." he bragged. Luffy raised an eyebrow.

"I've believed many of your lies Usopp… I don't believe that one." he commented. Usopp deflated.

"I was being serious." he muttered. Luffy blinked as he noticed Usopp was being serious.

"Oh! Sorry!" and he rubbed the back of his head, laughing a little, "So, what's she like?"

"Blonde, blue eyed. She's sweet. You know her."

"Eh?" Luffy asked, confused as he straightened his hat on his head. The straw rubbed against his fingers as he scratched slightly. Usopp grinned widely.

"Kaya!" he explained and Luffy's eyes widened before he slapped Usopp on the shoulder in a show of congratulations.

"That's awesome! Tell me what happened!" Luffy asked a little forcefully. Usopp grinned, happy to retell the tale of his bravery, and awesome awesomeness!

"Well…" and he leapt headfirst into the story of how he had been talking to her while walking down the street, and somehow, he'd just blurted it out and she'd accepted! But… he told it a little more glamorously, and it was stretched to the breaking point until Luffy crossed his arms and raised an eyebrow at the man in front of him.

"I'm 28 Usopp… not 8." Luffy commented and the other man blushed slightly before scratching at the end of his long nose.

"Well, if you don't enjoy a good story anymore…" Usopp sniffed, trailing off threateningly at the end. Luffy snorted, not believing the threat of 'no more stories for you' one bit.

"I also find it funny that it took you all of your life to ask her out." he said as he turned to walk beside Usopp down the road.

"Yeah, well, I'm not as confident as you are Luffy." Usopp replied. Luffy snorted.

"Yeah…" he sighed.

---

Zoro peered up at the house that he and Luffy had lived in before he'd left. From what he could see, Luffy still lived here. Digging into his pocket, he pulled out the set of keys he'd taken with him when he'd left. Pushing the key into the lock, he blinked when it didn't turn over and click. Pulling it back out, Zoro crouched and blinked at the lock. Ah… it'd been changed. Sighing a little miserably and seeing that he was no longer welcome here, he pushed the keys back into his pocket and turned down the path back to the sidewalk.

"Usopp… you know very well that you're my best friend!" a voice called and Zoro's eyes widened. Luffy… Turning, he saw Luffy moving down the sidewalk across the road from him, with another man he didn't know. A spike of jealousy and anger flared within him, combining with his panic to make his anxiety even worse. Looking around a little desperately, he spied a rather large, and spiky bush to his right. His lips twisted for a moment before he leapt right into it. Spikes stuck into every part of his body, but he kept quiet as Luffy crossed the road with the other man and headed towards the house.

"I've gotta meet Kaya tonight Luffy! Don't worry about your job, or anything else. If you need money, I can lend it to you. I'll see ya, okay?" the man Zoro didn't know said.

"Thanks Usopp. Say hi to Kaya for me. Nami and Sanji too." Luffy replied, clapping the one called 'Usopp' on the shoulder.

"Oh, didn't you hear?"

"Eh?"

"Nami and Sanji got together the other day. Umm… Sanji hasn't shut up about it for the past week or so." Usopp said with an exaggerated roll of his eyes. Luffy burst out laughing and Usopp joined in.

"Took them long enough. Anyway, I really have to get inside and get this detergent shit off of me. I'll see ya, 'kay?"

"Ok!" and Usopp waved as he walked away. Zoro watched as Luffy waved and then moved to the house. He was tempted to jump out and grab Luffy and kiss him then and there, but… that would be the wrong approach and he'd probably get his jaw broken. Luffy's punches hurt. So he waited until Luffy had gone inside and then followed, pulling a spike from his pants leg as he did so.

Pausing on the step in front of the door, he pushed it open and peeked in. No sign of Luffy anywhere. Moving inside, he closed the door softly behind him and then walked forward, peering into the door that led to the kitchen to spy Luffy bending over in front of the fridge. The room was sparkling clean, and Zoro had a suspicion that it hadn't been Luffy who had cleaned it either.

"Well… this is different." he said and Luffy shot up so fast that he whacked his head against the top shelf of the fridge and Zoro winced. Slowly turning as he rubbed his head, Luffy turned wide eyes on Zoro, who offered a half hearted, apologising smile and shrug. Wrong thing to do. Luffy's eyes darkened and Zoro raised an eyebrow.

"You BASTARD!" Luffy growled, walking straight over and punching him in the cheek. Zoro rolled with it, but it still hurt and he was definitely sure something had cracked.

"…Ow…" Zoro muttered. So… either way he hadn't avoided being punched. Great. Rubbing at the sore spot, he turned back to Luffy again.

"Luffy, I'm sorry." he said quickly. The other man raised a fist again, shook it a little in a threatening way before dropping it down again and shaking his head.

"You're a real bastard Zoro…" Luffy muttered, turning away and moving back to the fridge again. Zoro sighed and shook his head.

"I had to leave, and I just didn't know how to tell you."

"How about 'Hey Luffy, I'm leaving. Thanks for the hospitality, and sex! See ya!'" Luffy commented sarcastically, crouching down and searching futilely for a bag of oranges he was sure he had. Frowning, Luffy realised Nami must have taken them when her and Sanji came to clean the kitchen for him while he was at work. Muttering a little vehemently, Luffy stood up again. Zoro shrugged.

"I could have said that I guess." he offered with a smile, trying to lighten the situation up. Luffy turned to him with an unamused glare. Zoro's smile fell and he shrugged again.

"Listen, Luffy, there was something I didn't tell you back then."

"I don't care Zoro. I honestly, don't. Care." and Luffy shut the fridge and instead grabbed an apple from the counter, "All I want to know, is why."

"…I… can't tell you why." Zoro muttered, bowing his head. He hadn't realised this would be so hard. He'd sort of expected Luffy to be happy to see him again… but now he thought about it, that notion had been a little too romantic.

"Then… get out." Luffy said, biting into the apple as he dropped into a seat at the table and turned towards a magazine he'd left there, "I don't have time for excuses Zoro. Because of you, I've lost the job that supported me for five years. Now, I have to find a new one." and Luffy smiled sarcastically at him, "Thanks!"

"Hey!" Zoro growled, getting annoyed with Luffy's attitude, "What I did, was to protect you! I walked out of here so you wouldn't die." and he shut his mouth a moment too late. Luffy's eyes were wide as he turned towards Zoro.

"What do you mean by that?" Luffy asked, a little disbelieving but… he could tell that Zoro wasn't lying.

"Fuck…" Zoro swore, smacking a palm against his forehead before taking a deep breath, "I met you in an alleyway after you got out of school, correct? I wasn't there by accident." and he shook his head. Luffy frowned.

"What were you doing there then?" he asked softly. Something in the way Zoro was acting right now was making him a little worried.

"I was there… to kill you." and Zoro looked up at him, brows drawn into a frown. Luffy's eyes widened slightly as he stood up, feeling a little defensive.

"Why?" he asked in a shaking tone, "I was fourteen."

"Your… father wanted you dead. I was an assassin that worked in his company."

"And you decide to tell me this NOW!" Luffy shouted and Zoro made hushing motions with his hands, a slightly pleading expression on his face.

"You're not supposed to know. If I told you, they were going to kill you. I loved you too much to say anything. Damn it Luffy, for the first time in my miserable life I was happy." Zoro said in hushed tones, glancing around as he did so, "Did you seriously think I would walk out on you? You know what I'm like."

"Zoro… I didn't know what happened. So… if you were assigned to kill me, what happened? Why didn't you?"

"Because I didn't want to." Zoro said in a quick rush, his tone slightly snappish, "You were the first person not to look at me like I was a freak. I walked out, because they were threatening if I didn't leave you, they would kill both of us. If we were apart, and I worked for your father as a contract killer for the rest of my life… you would be okay."

"…But… I don't have a father Zoro." Luffy replied, narrowing his own eyes, "He died when I was little. Before I can remember actually." Zoro shook his head quickly, glancing at the door.

"No… he didn't die. He faked his death so he could go into the black market without any problems." Zoro explained. He was speaking in a rush, his voice getting lower and harsher with every passing minute that nothing happened. Worry was leaking into his face and his hand was constantly on his swords. Luffy was unsure as to what to make of all this. Zoro suddenly reappeared, and then told him that he had a father.

"So… where is he now?" Luffy asked, looking up at Zoro who stiffened and paled slightly.

"I… don't know." and his gaze hardened a little, "He could be in heaven, or hell. I'm predicting the latter." Luffy's own gaze drifted to the floor, where he peered at the line of the tiles.

"He's dead then… for real?"

"Yeah. He was shot. That's how I got away. His group was dispersed, and we're free. But… because I've killed so many people… I don't know if I'm going to be able to stay. I wanted to come back, to tell you… I'm sorry Luffy. I really am. But, I had a good reason for leaving." Luffy peered at him and for the first time, noticed how thin Zoro was. He was pale, drawn and his eyes were lightly bloodshot. Worry lines creased his forehead, while small wrinkles were beginning to appear at the outside corners of his eyes.

A large glowing, swelling was taking up residence where Luffy's punch had landed, and he winced slightly, feeling guilty for what he had done. Pursing his lips, Luffy also noticed that Zoro's general demeanour had changed. Instead of being upright and confident, he was slightly hunched and nervous. His gaze was flicking back and forth from Luffy, to the windows, to the door down the hall. Feeling sympathy rise in him, Luffy walked back over to Zoro, who watched him carefully.

"It's okay Zoro. I get it now." he smiled, "Thankyou for protecting me, but seriously, I'm fine. You know I can defend myself. My punch is like a pistol shot." and he winked. Zoro snorted softly and nodded, running a hand over the aching spot on his jaw.

"That's true." he admitted before Luffy tilted his head, peering up at Zoro and smiling a little.

"I really missed you Zoro…" he said. Zoro snorted and rolled his eyes.

"Now you're just getting mushy. You punch me, then tell me you missed me." Zoro teased. Grinning, Luffy reached up a hand and patted Zoro on the head heavily.

"You can take it!" he replied as Zoro batted the hand away. Leaning up quickly, Luffy took the opportunity to kiss Zoro sound and proper. Pulling back again, Luffy stuck his tongue out.

"Have you been drinking?" he asked, coughing slightly at the taste of alcohol. Though he wasn't adverse to the occasional drink, Luffy didn't like the overall taste of alcohol. Zoro's lips twisted.

"Maybe…" he responded, shrugging slightly as he fiddled with the zipper on the bottom of his coat. Smirking, Luffy shrugged. He would deal with it for now. He'd missed Zoro too much to be put off by the taste of alcohol. Kissing him again, Luffy placed his hands on Zoro's shoulders and pressed against him slightly, smirking against the chapped lips when he felt the older man respond to him quickly. So… after all this time, Zoro did still want him. He hadn't been sure.

---

flashback

Luffy was humming as he walked, all of fourteen and just out of the first day of school for the year. It had been a good day. He'd made friends with a younger boy named Koby and he'd gotten rid of a bully. Wow… Oh, and he'd learnt how to write funny symbols that he didn't understand, in a class named Mathematics. That had been… weird. But meh, he'd passed the quiz at the end of the lesson.

He wasn't sure how though… the teacher asked what 3.14 was, and he'd heard his stomach growl, so he'd said pie. Oh well. At least he'd gotten out of the classroom. Moving down the sidewalk, Luffy paused when he heard a slight crunch. Pausing, he looked around and saw two green eyes looming at him out of the darkness. He blinked, tilted his head a little and then turned to poke his head into the alley.

"Hello?" he asked. No response. The was another crunch, a curse and then Luffy spotted movement, "Hey! Random dude!" and he trotted in to find a boy of about sixteen crouching behind a dumpster. His head dropped forward against it, creating a loud clang to which he responded with a well fitting curse of 'fuck that hurt' before he stood up and brandished a white handled sword at Luffy, who blinked at it before his eyes widened and sparkled.

"So COOL! Are you a swordsman!?" he asked, blinking at the boy, who paused.

"Um… yeah?" he offered before letting the blade fall a little, "Why aren't you scared?"

"Should I be?"

"I… dunno. Maybe." and the boy shrugged as he held the blade with both hands, but it was limp, the point just touching the ground.

"Oh… well, I'm not." Luffy replied and grinned before blinking in awe at the boy before him. Narrowed green eyes, light, sea foam green hair and a slightly lanky body that would probably become much more muscular later in life. His voice was deep, but squeaked at times, indicating that he was still young and in his teens. There wasn't a blemish on his face, where as Luffy had a slight case of acne. But, the thing that caught Luffy's eye, was the three pendants hanging from the boy's ear.

"Whoa…" he muttered, leaning over to get a better look, to which the boy responded by raising the blade a little.

"What?" he asked and Luffy pointed at his ear. Blinking, the green haired teen smiled a little as he raised a hand to them.

"Did them myself." he slightly bragged, "I have three blades, three earrings." and he smirked a little as Luffy leant in close and inspected them.

"Coool. You're so cool." and Luffy leant away, smiling from ear to ear, "Wanna be my friend?"

"Huh?" the boy noised, not sure what he had heard. No one had asked to be his friend before. And every time he'd asked someone else, he'd been rebuffed. He'd learnt that friends weren't something he was ever going to have.

"Friends? Wanna be friends?" Luffy tilted his head a little, "By the way, what's your name? Mine's Monkey D Luffy! Nice to meet you!" and he offered a hand. Zoro blinked at it before hesitantly releasing a hand from the blade's handle, and shaking it.

"Roronoa Zoro." he replied, and smiled. A friend… at last...

2 years later

It had become apparent to the people around them, that Luffy and Zoro were nigh inseparable. Best of friends, always talking, always arguing… and always fighting. But they laughed it off in the end. It was taken as harmless flirtation, but Zoro and Luffy hadn't realised that, that was exactly what it was. They were happy in the belief that they were friends. Though… Zoro had to admit, being around Luffy made him happier than he'd ever been in his entire life.

And Luffy found that being around Zoro, made him absolutely ecstatic and the older man also made him feel safe. Over the past two years, both males had had a growth spurt, and now Zoro was eighteen and at least five, to ten centimetres taller than Luffy, who was thin, lanky and had messy dark hair. Unlike Luffy, Zoro had kept his hair nice and trimmed to a manageable, spiky style. And though he was constantly taunted because of the colour, he'd learned from Luffy not to let things like that bother him.

And Luffy had learnt from Zoro, that letting people boss him around, was not the way to go. And now they were perfectly happy in each other's company. Until… Zoro began to discover that he was being left out. Everywhere he looked, there were people with partners… and he had Luffy. Not that Luffy wasn't great! But… he wondered if perhaps there was something he was missing. All those guys were with girls…

"Hey… Luf," and he looked down to see Luffy blinking back at him, looking a little confused before the boy turned quickly away. Blinking as well, Zoro realized that Luffy had been so close to him, that their noses could have touched if he just moved his head a fraction of a centimetre forward. And for some reason… that made him blush like a wild thing. Turning his face away, he studied a billboard.

Neither boy talked as they walked back to their home.

It had been left to Luffy by his great friend, Shanks. Apparently, Shanks had left on an adventure around the world or something and was now currently happily residing in Ireland, where there was lots of beer to drink, and lots of things to do. Opening the door, Luffy hurried in and was quickly followed by Zoro, who immediately went to the couch in the lounge room. Luffy went to the fridge, seeking solace in food. It wasn't long before the smell of food attracted Zoro, and he couldn't resist any longer and he wandered in.

"Umm…" he noised upon entering the room. Luffy blinked up at him and felt that weird heat rising under his collar again. He took a bite of sandwich and then remembered the wet patch on the floor.

"Waf ou for at fet paf!" Luffy muffled, trying to chew, swallow and talk at the same time. This resulted in Zoro being confused, and Luffy choking. Stepping towards him, Zoro stepped on the wet patch Luffy had been attempting to warn him about, and he did a spectacular twist so he wouldn't perform the splits and possibly injure something for life. Grabbing a hold of whatever was closest, he fell to the floor.

Unfortunately, what was closest was Luffy's leg, and he was yanked off his chair to hit his head painfully on the table. Cringing and grabbing at his head, Luffy doubled over while Zoro groaned on his back, having hit his own head. Blinking his eyes open from the throbbing coursing through his head, Luffy's eyes trailed down a little to see that he was directly over a certain place, that he really didn't want to be near. Or at least... he didn't think he wanted to be near. ACK!!?? The hell had that thought come from!?

Scrambling backwards and blushing madly, Luffy felt something weird rise in him. He was burning hot! He needed to cool down! Bolting from the room, he raced into the bathroom, slammed the door and turned on the shower… to as cold as it would go. Zoro was dazed as he sat up and put a hand to his head. He barely saw Luffy fly from the room and he blinked when he heard the bathroom door slam. What the…?

"Luffy?" he called, getting up and avoiding the wet patch as he rubbed at his thigh (which had stretched painfully as his leg shot out from under him) and his head. There was no response except for the sound of the shower turning on. Blinking, and still a little dazed, Zoro moved to the bathroom door and knocked on it.

"You okay?" he asked.

"F-fine! J-just t-too h-hot!" Luffy replied, his teeth chattering under the cold water. Zoro raised an eyebrow and tried the door handle. It was unlocked, and he opened it slightly, poking his head in.

"Why is it cold in here?" he asked, looking around. Luffy squeaked loudly, slipped in the bathtub under the shower, and fell over backwards, barely grabbing the sides before he hit his head. He turned and blinked at Zoro, a hot flush on his cheeks.

"C-cos… I'm h-hot!" Luffy replied, trying to stop his teeth from chattering as he got back up and brushed a hand through his sopping wet hair. Zoro raised an eyebrow.

"Whatever." and he turned to move out, but not before Luffy turned and gave him a full view by accident. Snapping the door shut, Zoro blushed madly as he fairly ran into the lounge room to watch a show about cooking that he could calm down in.

---

It took another hour for Luffy to come out of the bathroom, although the shower turned off not long after Zoro had left. Once Luffy was out of the shower, Zoro decided… this needed to be sorted out. Over the last year, maybe two, they'd been having random moments like this here and there. Zoro would be sitting in the lounge chair, Luffy would fall asleep and end up on his lap… and he would blush madly, pushing Luffy off of him and trying to understand why that made him so uncomfortable.

He knew now… it wasn't coincidence that neither of them had ever had a girlfriend. And he had a feeling Luffy knew as well, but wasn't going to say anything. Well… This would be solved here and now. He made his way to Luffy's room, knocked on the door and heard a light squeak from inside before the boy opened the door and peeked out.

"What?" he asked softly. Zoro blinked down at him and then scratched at his chin as he felt his cheeks heat up.

"Umm… do you… I mean…" and Zoro trailed off before turning away a little and then looking back at Luffy again. In his most bluntest sentence ever, Zoro told Luffy exactly how he felt. Poor Luffy. He blushed so hard that Zoro was sure he was going to faint… and then he was jerked into the room by a long, thin arm and the door was slammed.

---

Now, another two years, too many sore asses to count, and a rather… 'playful' Luffy later, Zoro realised, Holy fuck… I love Luffy!

end flashback

---

Really, he shouldn't have been so stupid. To think that he would still be there the next morning. He wasn't surprised and as Luffy brushed a hand over the empty space on the bed beside him, he sighed. So… Zoro wasn't coming back this time. No note… nothing. Not even a goodbye. Closing his eyes, Luffy let his head fall to rest on the pillow.

"So stupid…" he whispered to thin air as he opened his eyes again. Zoro had stayed with him all those years ago. Ever since they had first met. It was idiotic to think that he would still be interested in him. Someone like Luffy… Getting out of bed and locating his pants (which were somewhere over the other side of the room), he pulled them on and moved down the hall towards the kitchen for something to eat, still thinking about how silly he had been, letting himself go like that last night. He'd missed Zoro for sooo long, it was hard not to. Yawning a little, Luffy paused as he heard something strange.

"And now today on the News, two men have been killed while trying to save a whale in the northern bay. They were trying to shift the whale, when it rolled on top of them. They were killed instantly…" and so the newsreader went on. Luffy blinked. Had he left the radio, or TV on? Poking his head into the lounge room, he blinked upon seeing green hair over the top of the lounge.

"Morning Luffy." Zoro said, turning and grinning at him. Luffy blinked before a wide smile spread across his face and he put a hand on his hip.

"Morning Zoro." he replied and Zoro snickered.

"Didn't think I'd leave, did you?" he asked and Luffy stuck his tongue out before moving into the room, dropping onto the sofa and resting his head on Zoro's shoulder.

"No. Of course not."

End

--------------------------------------------------------------------!!Alternate Ending!!------------------------------------------------------------------

(Really could have left a softy ending on it, but, why not make something totally different? -grin- Enjoy! )

Luffy was awoken the next morning by the loss of heat beside him. Slowly blinking his eyes open, he peered around to find that Zoro was long gone. He'd only just woken up to it. Letting his head drop back into the pillow, he let out a loud and aggravated growl. How could he have been so… DUMB! Getting up, Luffy intended upon going after him. Grabbing his pants and shirt, he quickly slipped them on and then hurried down the hall, grabbing his straw hat from it's place on the wall.

Pushing it onto his head, he ran out onto the path that led to the road. Looking around, his lips twisted. It didn't matter which way he went, because knowing Zoro, he would probably go right, and then end up going left somewhere down the track. And if he went left, it led straight to the docks at the edge of town, and the beach. So, either way, if he went left, he was bound to find Zoro somewhere.

Sprinting down the road, he bolted past Usopp, Sanji and Nami, who yelled at him to stop, but he didn't. He had to find Zoro. He wouldn't let him escape this time. A police car flashed past, sirens wailing and it was followed by a fire truck, and an ambulance. A crash somewhere then. Zoro wouldn't be there. Sprinting down to the docks, Luffy paused as he looked up and down the beach. No green hair… no black jacket… nothing. Frowning a little, he turned and bolted back the way he'd come.

"OI!" Sanji yelled at him as he flashed past again, but still Luffy ignored him. He heard a last cry of 'You little bastard!' before he was around the corner and skidding to a stop. Something had caught his eye. Bending down, he picked up what he knew was Zoro's mobile phone. The screen was cracked, but the last message it had displayed was burnt into it.

You failed…

Luffy looked up and around, fingering the soft buttons as he followed the sounds of the sirens. Zoro couldn't be there… but he had to check. Zoro had lied. And what made it worse... was he'd fell for it.

"He was shot…"

That's what Zoro had said. But, who would be messaging Zoro and telling him he had failed, if not for that person whom Zoro said was his father? And... Zoro had been there to kill him. He'd failed...

"…and we're free…"

He wasn't free. He'd been lying the whole damn time. Gritting his teeth, Luffy spotted the flashing lights around a corner and turned down it, dreading what he would find. He didn't expect what he did find. A police man moved over to him, as Luffy stared at the light fluttering of Zoro's green hair. The red streaks that ran through it in sticky rivulets. The scraped knuckles... and piece of metal running through one leg. But worst of all... was the slash, tracing the exact same line as the scar that Zoro had had since Luffy had met him. It was deep... so deep that this time, there would be no stitching it up.

Blood was pooling around Zoro, creating a red, almost velvet blanket as it dried in the morning sunlight. The white trainers Zoro had been wearing, were red... and the laces were slashed and ripped. His pants were tattered around the ankles, and the bottom of his shirt looked like it had been savaged by a shark or rabid dog. And his lips... redder than his own blood, and sliced in many places while the earrings were gone. Three large holes remained where they had been.

It was... a sickening sight...

"Did you know him, sir?" he asked. Luffy didn't answer. He was… stunned. Lost for words, "Sir? Did you know him? Because if you didn't, can you please lea-"

"I know him…" Luffy interrupted, annoyed that he was using 'did' instead of 'do' as he stared down at the man before him. Slowly, very slowly, green eyes blinked up at him and Luffy dropped to his knees beside Zoro's inert body.

"He's dead, sir." the policeman said softly. Luffy shook his head. Zoro's eyes were blinking, he could see it!

"Couldn't let em kill ya, Luf…" Zoro croaked.

"He's not dead!" Luffy pleaded with the policeman, but the tall, stiff backed man shook his head.

"He has no pulse. He's not breathing. He is dead. Has been for a while now." he replied sadly. Luffy shook his head again, more wildly this time. Zoro was speaking! He was opening and closing his eyes! Couldn't they see that!?

"What did you do, Zoro…?" Luffy whispered, placing both hands on either side of Zoro's head and cradling it slightly, ignoring the sticky blood that attached itself to his hands like glue.

"Saved us both…" Zoro replied and his eyes closed.

"Sir… please." the policeman said, tugging at Luffy's arm. No tears came to Luffy's eyes as he let himself be pulled up, and he surveyed the damage around him. Two cars were smashed together, a head on collision having taken place. Three bodies aside from Zoro's, were scattered around the area. Two of them were sliced in half, while the third was barely recognisable from the slashes lining his torso and face... and Luffy spotted Zoro's white handled blade. His favourite.

Wadau…

Moving towards it, Luffy reached out a hand to pull it from the place it had been stuck into the ground.

"Sir!" the same policeman barked, but Luffy ignored him in favour of crouching and peering at the note speared on the sword. Pulling the sword out easily, Luffy ignored the warnings of 'You're disturbing the evidence sir, please leave that there.' to which Luffy replied with a well fitting 'Fuck off'. He peered at the blood stained note and this time, his eyes did fill with tears. It was stained with blood... it was scrawled... but it was Zoro's handwriting.

Sorry…

"You bastard…" Luffy whispered as he crumpled the note in his hand and pressed the same fist against his forehead, "You fucking bastard!"

End

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The angst ending turned out a LOT better than I expected it to be, but I liked the other ending. Still... Anyway, how did you like it? Did it leave you staring at the screen in shock? Horror? Did it make you laugh? Cry? -grin- Hope it was well written though. I am looking forward to your reviews! -nods-

This story was inspired by the song 'Perfect World' by Simple Plan. I don't own them, but, they are freaking awesome and the song is great too! Go download it... or something! XD