A/N: OK. WOW... there's so many ppl to thank here. Most important is ichigo_usagi , my beta. She's awesome. I love her to death. One of these days i'm gonna go kidnap her from that hellish job of hers and take her to lunch. Next is devlinnreiko . She's become such a good friend/confidant. Maybe if I can ever save up the money, I'll go visit her. I'd have to renew my passport first though. After that, i need to thank ginnyvos . She lets me bounce ideas off her and keeps me amused with little stories. If I ever get back to Holland I'm definately looking her up. And we can't forget ricca123 , better known to me as Big_Purple_Lizard. She kept my Japanese in check and helped me with the phrases I just couldn't get right. Then there's my entire f-list... horusguard76 , popkin16, mr_redrum , kala_aira ... just to name a few. There's so many of you who have given me hope and love. It's been rough over this past year for me, but with the support of friends like you, I've made it and I'll keep making it.
I love you guys so much... have I said that already?
A Lifetime to Remember
Sanji reached out to hit the snooze button on the alarm only to have another larger hand come down atop the offending noisemaker first. A slow smile crept across his face as a warm body snuggled into his back and a rough unshaven cheek rubbed against his neck. A muscular arm worked its way under his side and pulled him flush against the perfectly toned body of his lover. Sanji wiggled his ass slightly and chuckled at the appreciative moan he received in response. Hot lips trailed up his neck and over his jaw to abuse the sensitive lobes of his ears. He teasingly trailed his fingertips over the underside of the thigh that had just come over his hip. The mouth that had been sucking on his ear gave way to teeth that nipped at the pulse in his neck, the top of his shoulder, his bicep, his ribs, the top of his hip… just where was he going now?
Sanji was rolled over to his stomach and adjusted so that there was little pressure on his wound. Rough hands worked the pajama bottoms down, encouraging him to lift his hip a little to help remove the unwanted fabric from his growing arousal. Light feathery kisses tickled the back of his legs, and the cool air in the room was causing his skin to prickle with goose bumps at the loss of heat. He could feel the hot breath on his rear a second before he was sharply bitten.
"What the fuck!!"
Sanji tried to get up, but was shoved back down by the stronger man behind him. He was about to get back up again when a wet tongue slid between his ass cheeks as much as it could with his muscles clinched as they were. The cook's eyes went wide and he stilled immediately, waiting to see just what was going to happen next. The tongue swept over the still stinging bite, as if in apology, before returning to delve deeper between the taunt glutes. A little unsure, and a lot curious, Sanji forced himself to relax. His body shivered in anticipation and a blissful sigh escaped when the wet muscle passed over the sphincter with its next lick.
His lover edged his legs apart as he continued the unusual pleasure and settled more comfortably between them, lifting Sanji's hips slightly off the bed at the same time. Large hands spread his cheeks and the cook blushed as he realized the wanton and lusty sounds he had been hearing were actually coming from himself. A thumb began to caress the perineum as the tongue pressed deeper with each pass. Sanji could feel the impending orgasm building slowly, almost torturously so, and wanted nothing more than to have that skillful tongue replaced with something significantly larger.
"Ahhh, I… mmmm… Shit… Just fuck- Oh God… S-stop screwing around, jackass. Ohhh… Just FUCK!"
The hand containing the thumb that had, up 'till a short second ago, been teasing the small area between his scrotum and opening had moved to grab his heavy arousal firmly in its grasp.
"Tch. Impatient love-cook." The deep voice was laced with mirth as it spoke between nips and licks up his spine.
As soon as the green haired man was within reach, Sanji grabbed him by the soft tresses and yanked him into a hard kiss, growling in annoyance at the teasing. The blonde rose up onto his knees and elbows, rubbing his bare ass against the desired appendage, hoping to get his point across. He smirked as he watched his lover's eyes narrowed with desire and a predatory look settled on the darker man's face. There was no warning as Sanji's hips were grabbed roughly and the head of a large, engorged cock was pushing into him. Sanji whimpered as he tried to ignore the initial burn. His eyes shot back open when the pressure left and was about to violently protest when he felt an oil slicked hand back on his hip. The burn was less now as Zoro slid slowly in, both of them barely holding on to their control and wanting to make it last as long as possible.
Disgusting. That was the only thought that passed through the watchers' heads as they watched the erotic display through the night vision feed on the video camera. This is not what they had intended when they signed up for this. Watching two fags fuck each other was not listed in the job description.
"How much longer do we have to keep an eye on them?" The shorter one asked as he rubbed his eyes, trying to get rid of that horrible image.
"Hopefully not much longer. If I have to watch them do any more of this, I'll go kill them myself and say fuck the orders." The second man jumped as the phone in his pocket began to ring. "H-hello?"
"Have you found out anything yet?" The voice on the other end held a deadly edge that sent fear into the man.
"No. All they've done is sleep, eat and… well, fuck." The last part was spat out in disgust.
"No word on what happened in the warehouse?" When the man responded negative, there was a heavy frustrated sigh before the speaker continued. "Plans have changed. Get back here immediately and bring the video. We may need it for leverage."
Screaming could be heard in the background amidst curses and threats.
"Yes, ma'am. Right away, ma'am." He closed his phone slowly, when the connection had been abruptly cut, and closed his eyes. "As much as I don't want to be here watching this, I think I'd rather have to go through this torture than face what is going on back at HQ."
The short man swallowed loudly and nodded, but began to pick up their equipment.
Luffy stirred slightly under his blanket and poked his head out far enough to sniff for the smell of breakfast. Finding a familiar scent, but not the one he was looking for, he cracked open his eyes and looked down to see a disheveled redhead curled into his chest. She shifted in her sleep and a slender hand slid innocently down his chest to settle just above his naked groin. Knowing that she would probably be upset if he tried anything without her consent, Luffy moved to remove her hand before it had any serious effect on him. He almost leapt out of the bed when she not only refused to remove her hand but also wrapped it around his limp member and began stroking it with her thumb. Thinking that it was her way of giving him a green light, he proceeded to return the affection.
He unbuttoned her borrowed pajama shirt and exposed her ample breast to the cool air of the room, watching in fascination as her nipples hardened immediately. The hand on his swelling erection tightened slightly and the thumb stopped. Knowing that she wasn't known for her patience, Luffy bent down and took one of the pink nubs between his lips and sucked, tugging gently with his teeth as his tongue swept back and forth across the tip. One arm was trapped beneath her body while the other traveled up and down her side, teasing every sensitive spot as she slowly pulled herself out of dreamland.
Nami arched her back as the glorious pleasure continued to spread across her body. Hands trailed over her, stroking just the right spots to bring her closer to the peak of pleasure. Confident fingers caressed her dampening core through thin satin panties. A slight color dusted her cheeks when she realized what it was she had been holding in her hand. She loosened her grip slightly and began stroking in time with the teasing fingers rubbing her clit through wet cloth. She kept her eyes closed and feigned sleep when Luffy lifted his head from one breast to move to the other.
When she had first met the boy, she had thought him to be another idiot, not even worth the time it would take to tell him off. After dinner that evening, she was convinced that he was just an idiot. Still… she hadn't laughed that hard or that much in a very long time. When he invited her over to his place to watch a movie, she gave in rather easy. They sat side by side on the sofa laughing at the treasured Monty Python classics, and he never once made a move. Frustrated that he might not be sexually interested in her, she decided to test him. One kiss was all she had planned on giving, thinking that it would be clumsy and lacking. Instead, it was she that moaned and climbed into his lap. He held back, letting her set the pace, but helping when she couldn't get the knot of his belt undone. It had been the most passionate night of sex she had ever experienced… until the next time she slept over.
Luffy had slid off her soaked garment and was kissing his way up her neck to her jaw. She gave one final tug to his dick and decided playtime was over. In a tangle of limbs and blankets, she rolled them over so she was sitting just below the long cock and had his wrists pinned to the bed on each side of his head. She gave a devilish smirk in response to the shocked look on his face and rose up slightly on her knees. As soon as he opened his mouth, she shook her head no. She rolled her hips and teased the head of his erection with the slick juices from her womanhood. Leaning forward, her breasts hung heavy over his face and his long tongue shot out to flick a swollen nipple. In one swift motion, she slammed down hard, driving him deep within her and causing them to both cry out.
Luffy fought hard to stay still, though his body was screaming for him to move. He watched the fiery vixen above him toss off the bothersome shirt, then lift herself up and down on his shaft, rolling her hips perfectly every time. The next time her tit swung close enough he latched his mouth onto it and sucked hard. Nami's arm's buckled and she fell forward. He lost the hold he had on her breast but was now able to reach her lips and took advantage of it immediately. One hand wove into her bright hair as he plundered her mouth and the other settled on her thigh to help regain the much-needed motion of undulating hips.
"Oh God, Luffy… don't stop. YES! Just like that." Nami's cries of passion increased with each snap of her own hips, meeting Luffy's thrusts with equal passion.
"Nami… soft… sweet…" Luffy's voice dwindled into moans as she sat back up and continued to ride him relentlessly.
Nami's body began to shake as the orgasm washed over her. Luffy rolled her over and threw her legs up over his shoulders, pounding desperately into her convulsing body, trying to reach his own completion. With a victorious shout, he spilled into her, not giving any thought to the noise coming from just outside his door. Luffy let her legs fall to the mattress, and smiled lovingly at her, as he gently reclaimed her slightly swollen lips. The door slammed open and Nami screamed, grabbing futilely for something to cover her exposed body with as she tried to kick Luffy out of the way. Apparently the idiot didn't have the same sense of propriety as she did and was currently unaffected by the fact that there was a very scary looking man looming in the doorway with wild black hair and a bright red tattoo on his face.
Nami smacked him across the back of the head when he sat up further and waved. It took kicking him in the gut to get him to move far enough away from her so she could scramble off the bed onto the floor out of sight.
"My boy…" A smile spread across Dragon's face as he took in the situation. "Well, I guess you're not really a boy any longer, now are you? I couldn't be more proud."
"Thanks! But… what are you doing here?" Luffy, either unaware that he was still naked or completely lacking modesty, sat cross-legged in the center of the bed and stared curiously at his father.
"I'm looking for that no-good brother of yours. He's caused me much grief this past week. I don't think I've had this many calls from your grandfather since your mother and I ran away together." Dragon ran a large hand through his already messy hair and groaned. "At least back then we didn't have cell phones."
Luffy laughed and nodded, flopping back and looking over the side of the bed to his highly embarrassed and humiliated, not to mention livid, girlfriend.
"Why are you still on the floor?" He reached out to pull her up, his hand receiving a cruel slap when he got close.
"In case you haven't noticed… I'm naked, and so are you!" she whispered out harshly.
"Ohhh yahhhh…." Luffy sat back up and looked at the larger man. "I'll bring her over to dinner at Gramp's place this weekend so you can meet her properly."
Dragon chuckled and nodded, then narrowed his eyes in annoyance. "Where is Ace?"
Luffy rubbed his chin with his hand and looked deep in thought for a moment. "Probably still having sex with his boyfriend, Detective Smoker."
Dragon's eyes shot open in surprise, frozen in shock that the rumors about Ace were actually true. An odd sound began building up in the wild man's chest, soon bursting out in full-blown laughter. He bent over, clutching his stomach as tears began to leak down his cheeks. A few times he tried to speak, but just couldn't form the words around his joviality. The occasional 'Garp' or 'payback' could be heard, yet it didn't make any sense to those in the room. Giving up, Dragon just waved goodbye and left his son alone with the simmering witch. Johnny and Yosaku cringed in fear out in the living room when they heard her rant begin, peppered with apologies from Luffy and very solid objects hitting the walls.
Garp sat at the large, almost hidden by paperwork, desk in his office down at the precinct. The cleanup from the fiasco down at the docks was a lot messier than he had expected due to the ATF involvement. Had he known that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives would be involved, he might have handled it differently. Okay, maybe not but he did think that it was pretty shitty of them to not inform him that they were looking into Buggy's connection to Don Krieg. This was his turf, damn it, and he had control here!
The government officials were now setting up in an office down the hall and making a huge nuisance of themselves. They had asked several questions about any individuals that were involved, including Smoker, and had decided to shut them out of any forensic evidence that they had collected. Garp knew that Frank's DNA was probably listed on some site somewhere with the military, and that damned redhead had a record a mile long, as did his crew. His boys had their fingerprints on file so he could identify them if they ever managed to blow themselves up and that doctor and long nosed guy probably had theirs on file due to their work fields. If any reliable trace was found, there was nothing he could do to help them. Garp ran a hand over his already tired face and glanced at the clock on his desk, just after seven in the morning.
He looked up and saw the woman from the front desk walk in late again today. She looked troubled and that was highly unusual for the normally 'in control' temptress. Her sultry voice and revealing cleavage had been a welcome sight for every man in the force, and even the women seemed to find her alluring. Who wouldn't want to come in every day and see such a beautiful creature right as they came through the front doors? Ah, Alvida was truly a gift to his workday. Garp made a mental note to search her out later and make sure there was nothing wrong.
A young man with long blonde hair, pulled back into a low ponytail came storming through the office, carrying a small stack of folders. His narrow black sunglasses were perched atop his head, looking almost like a fashionable headband. The crisp white shirt, black ascot, and pea green vest was a sight that constantly made the Police Chief want to blow something up because the incessant whining that accompanied it was like nails on chalkboards.
"I don't see why I have to be reduced to a mere delivery boy. Bringing you your mail is not exactly the best use of my abilities." The blonde tossed the folders atop the precariously stacked piles already on the desk and flopped down in an empty chair beside the door.
"And just what exactly do you think your abilities are? You're an office clerk, rookie, nothing more." Garp scowled at the pouting intruder. He picked up the top folder and began to scan the contents. "So who decided to impose upon your good nature and send you up here with this trivial task?"
Helmeppo could tell the older man was making fun of him, but still, being acknowledged in any way was welcomed in his eyes. "It was sent up from the coroner's office. Something to do with that car explosion downtown the other night, I think."
Garp threw a stapler at the man's oddly shaped head, missing by centimeters and embedding it into the wall instead. "This is the file we've been waiting for and you just mosey in here like a damn cat on a stroll?!"
The Chief's face went red with fury as he reached for the next object on his desk to throw. Helmeppo screamed like a little bitch and ran, barely dodging the array of office equipment that flew in his wake. A few of the newer officers stood staring in awe at the sight, only to be patted on the shoulder by a senior patrolman, assuring them that it was normal behavior and there was nothing to worry about… as long as they were not on the receiving end.
Papers still in hand, Garp stood at the edge of the bullpen screaming death threats to the terrified blonde who had long sense left his sight. Taking several deep breaths, he calmed himself enough to return to his office and begin reading. The burned victim in Mr. Black's car had been identified finally through a missing persons report filed late last night. The man's neighbor called it in when he couldn't stand the sound of the cat crying next door any longer. A copy of the deceased's license was included along with his name and last known place of employment.
Duval Motobaro, thought to be a fairly high up leader in smuggling black-market traffic, especially illegal aliens. He was the owner of a shipping company called the Flying Fish Raiders, a name that had appeared frequently on the invoices Roronoa had retrieved from the warehouse. From a far distance, Garp could see how someone might mistake the man for the renowned cook, thought they'd have to be complete idiots to do so. Still, at least part of the mystery was solved, now he could get back to more important things. Garp picked up the phone and dialed quickly. It took seven rings before someone picked up.
"It's about time you woke your lazy ass up," he grumbled. "Where's my damn tea?"
Zoro pulled into the campus parking lot doing over 50mph and nearly running over several students who were unfortunate enough to have early classes. Curses and threats were thrown at both men as Sanji climbed off the now parked motorcycle. The blonde shook his head, trying to bring a little life back to his hair after having it stuffed in the helmet for the exceptionally long period of nearly fifteen minutes. He sat the less than fashionable helmet on the seat and straightened out his black suit as well as he could with one arm in a sling, making sure that his tie was knotted perfectly and hanging straight. A few people began to approach them as Sanji dug out his last cigarette before class, but all protests to the maniac driving died as the pilot of the machine pulled off his full faced helmet and glared threateningly at anyone near him.
The annoyed swordsman swung his leg over the seat and unbuckled the saddlebag on the side holding his books and Sanji's laptop. He'd left his in his room yet again and knew that there would be too much happening today to take notes by hand. He shifted everything to one arm and reached out to help Sanji adjust the uncomfortable strap on the sling so it wouldn't wrinkle his jacket any further than it already had. The blonde stood still, holding the unlit cigarette patiently as he waited for Zoro to finish and help him light up. A screeching noise caused them to both jump and look around for the source.
Bon Kurei came running at them, one hand covering his mouth and the other clutching the edge of his rose-colored velvet cape. His eyes were puffy and bloodshot, as if he had been crying recently and the lavish make-up was smeared horribly. As soon as he was within range, he practically threw himself at the green-haired man.
"Mon chérie! I've been so worried. When we heard that you-"
Zoro moved quicker than Sanji had ever seen and slipped from the strange professor's hold. Taking pity on the helpless man, Sanji spoke up and took control.
"Hands off, Kurei. This one is mine." Sanji stepped possessively in front of his concerned boyfriend and narrowed his eyes to convey his disproval.
"He wasn't the only one concerned." The second man placed his hand on Zoro's shoulder and patted him affectionately. "I have to say you sure know how to keep an old man on his toes. When we heard police scanner go off with those horrible reports of car explosions, my poor Terracotta nearly fainted. I had to give her some valium to settle her down."
Igaram gave everyone a warm smile and stuck his hand out to Sanji shaking hands with the gaping college reporter.
"Monsieur Igarappoi et moi have taken care of all your classes while you've been absent." The Theater Director clasped his hands together in joy when Zoro snaked his arm around Sanji's waist and pulled the blonde up against him. "Ah, amore. You two look incroyable together."
"Please, take care of him for us," Igaram asked of Sanji. "I don't know where we would be if he hadn't come here when he did." His gaze redirected to the possessive man behind the reporter. "If there is ever anything I can do, don't hesitate to ask."
About this time, Zoro picked up the sound of his name being shouted from a distance. He turned his head to see Chopper running across the lawn and nudged Sanji lightly to look in the same direction. Both men chuckled as the clumsy teen tripped and fell into a couple of girls. Chopper blushed furiously as he helped them up and apologized profusely. Zoro felt Sanji's hand trail lightly over his wounded forearm and an idea began to form in his mind.
"Oi, sensei, there is one thing you could do for me." Zoro never took his eyes off his little sidekick as he spoke. "See if you can pull some strings over at the hospital for him. He's already the best damn doctor I've seen; all he needs is a chance to prove himself."
"Consider it done." Igaram folded his arms over his chest and hummed softly as they waited for the little man to finally join them.
Ace felt himself wake on several levels before his body began to respond to his wishes for it to move. A groan escaped when he tried to sit up too fast and the events of the last few days came flooding back to him. He reached out to find his new master and came up empty-handed. A frown replaced the content smile as he opened his eyes and found himself alone. Light shone from under the bathroom door and he could hear the rustling of cloth coming from the other side. Ace sat up gingerly, wincing at the soreness in his ass and hoping that his detective would be returning to bed soon. The door finally opened to show a fully dressed Smoker; holster, gun and handcuffs already in place and ready to start the day.
"Hey, Detective, you know it's not my birthday, right?" At Smoker's confused, annoyed look he continued. "I was just assuming you got dressed so I could unwrap you."
"I have a meeting with the chief soon," Smoker sat down on the edge of the mattress to lace up his boots and was immediately wrapped in the naked man's arms. "Knock it off brat. Some of us actually work for a living."
"I guess that makes you my Sugar Daddy." Ace nibbled at the edge of a dark hickey on the detective's neck.
Smoker pried the lanky man off his back and stood from the bed. "There's a key hanging from a nail in the garage. Make sure you use it to lock up when you leave."
Ace's face lit up when he was told where the spare key was kept, completely ignoring the fact that he was also being thrown out. He limped down the hallway after the older man, grinning from ear to ear. Smoker stopped abruptly and Ace slammed into his back, grabbing onto strong arms to steady himself from falling.
"You're worse than some stray that followed me home." Though Smoker's voice was gruff, there wasn't a trace of anger in it.
Ace slid his hands up thick arms, across a broad chest and slowly down washboard abs, wishing that the fabric of the nicely pressed dress shirt wasn't in the way. "Hmm… maybe you should just adopt me. Buy me a leash, a collar, a box of treats… Who knows what tricks you might be able to train me to do."
"We'll start with stay." Smoker shook his new puppy off and proceeded towards the garage door again.
Ace let out a whoop and a groan as pain shot up his spine with the sudden movements. Suddenly his face dropped and he began cussing as he realized that his ride had just left. He searched through his tattered clothes that scattered the living room and kitchen for his phone, finally finding the stubborn item inside one of the inverted lampshades. He flipped it open and punched in Marco's number, wandering back to the garage to retrieve the key as he waited for his friend to pick up. If someone didn't come and get him, Jiji would probably skin him alive for missing another day of work, not that he planned on actually doing anything.
Makino sat at the small bistro table on her balcony looking through an old photo album. Two little girls in ballet costumes smiled back from a tattered black and white picture. A tear escaped down her cheek as she stared at the fond memory of her and her best friend. Haruka had always been so full of joy when she was little, and then she met Frank. At first, Haruka glowed with happiness, love practically written all over her face any time she was in her husband's presence. But after she found out the truth, the only smiles she gave were to her toddling baby boy. Another page was turned and gave way to images of the wedding, both looking gorgeous in their traditional kimonos. Makino wiped the moisture from her face and silently admonished herself for crying.
Haruka had sat her down one day, in fact the day she had been diagnosed with the tumor, and revealed her own secrets. Apparently, she had already known about Frank's preferences before they even were wed and had accepted that he might stray. What had hurt the Japanese woman wasn't the fact that her husband had committed adultery, but that he had lied repeatedly. Haruka said that she loved Frank just as much at that time as she had when they first met. Her last words in the hospital had been whispers of love to her missing husband. Makino gave in to the tears and cried openly for her lost 'sister'. Long fingers pulled her hands from her face and she looked up into the concerned eyes of her own secret.
Shanks opened his eyes to see the morning sun climbing into the sky, much lower than he was used to seeing. He sat up rubbing the remaining sleep from his eyes and let the bleached hotel sheets fall from his body as he stood to make his way to the bathroom. The sight of Frank sleeping in the messy bed caused his breath to hitch, and Shanks hurried to close the door before he made a fool of himself. The last two days had been full of tragedy and joy, along with stress and headaches. The two of them were trying to be as discrete as possible, but Makino informed them that she had already booked them a room at a modest place for the rest of the week.
Frank had been the one to finally give in to her generosity and even point out that it might be safer for everyone if they were out of sight for a while. It bothered him that they couldn't find Buggy before the explosion. Though Buggy had done much to hurt he and the ones he loved, Shanks couldn't help but remember the good times too. A long time ago, they had actually been friends.
The redhead stood there watching the running water, lost in thought, never sensing anyone behind him until a hand reached out and shut off the faucet.
"It's gonna be ok. There's no way he survived that blast." Frank pulled Shanks up against his chest and kissed his cheek softly. "And if he did, he still has to come through me before he can get to you."
"That's the problem," Shanks sighed heavily. "One of these times they're not going to miss and you'll be gone forever."
"How about I make you a promise?" Frank gently turned him around; leaving enough space between them so he could admire the redhead's well toned body. Shanks snapped his fingers and Frank grinned perversely at him for a second before continuing. "There's a small airfield just south of here that came up for sale a few months ago. I have an investor looking into it for me, but I was thinking of starting up a courier service and flight school when I retire. I have the credentials almost completed, and what I'm lacking I can take care of in the next two years.
"I lost my wife before I could make amends. I don't want that to happen with my son. I'm coming back as soon as I retire." Frank poured every ounce of honesty into his words as he held his lover's gaze. "I want a chance to do things right this time."
Shanks hooked a heel behind Frank's knees and brought the man towards him, crushing their mouths in a passionate kiss. "It's about time."
The day passed quickly for all, everyone trying to catch up on missed work from the past two days. In the end, they all found themselves scattered around the Red Force, piecing together bits of information they had gathered. Chopper and Luffy were playing a game of checkers with Usopp taking the part of devil's advocate. Yuu and Kureha sat at a table with Shanks, Makino and Zeff drinking tea and making small talk. Johnny, Yosaku, Zoro, and Sanji sat at a large table looking through one of Zoro's baby books while Frank stood behind his son asking more questions than any of the others. Smoker had arrived only a few minutes ago with Ace and they were currently in the kitchen grabbing something to eat. Garp was the last to show, bringing the most pertinent information of all.
"OK, so Duval was the guy in the truck, and this Inspector Akoji is in charge of the investigation behind Buggy's involvement with Don Krieg. At least so far, no incriminating evidence has been gathered, but I do suspect a leak in the department. I had a rumor spread that the Dark Knight and his members sustained major injuries, which resulted in several assault incidents in the local hospitals. Somehow they managed to escape before we could catch them, but a few sketches have been compiled." Garp handed over the artist renderings to Frank and Zoro.
"This one looks familiar, but the other I've never seen." Zoro shook his head as he passed the pages back.
Frank nodded in agreement, as he handed the picture over to Shanks who had walked up beside him. "I think that he was one of the men that Ben took for questioning."
Shanks frowned as he processed the sketch. "I'll ask him when we meet later tomorrow. Is it ok if I keep this?"
"Sure, I've got lots of them." Garp waved him off and signaled to Makino to bring him a drink. "I just wish I could figure out who it is that is leaking information. I screen all of my men regularly and each of them have been accounted for during any times in question."
Ace and Smoker finally emerged from the kitchen with several plates of snacks and everyone began pulling around tables so they could sit together. Jokes were made when both Ace and Sanji chose to sit in their lover's laps, Frank commenting on how Roronoa's knew how to keep their men in place. Ace grinned and said that any place was fine with him but he'd rather Smoker waited until the hood cooled off a little next time. Sanji and Shanks both gave their partners the evil eye and Zoro knew that he would have to do some major ass kissing tonight in order to even have sex. Frank's head snapped sideways when Zoro planted his fist in his father's face.
Everyone rolled in laughter and those close enough slapped Zoro on the back in congratulations for getting a hit on the fighter. Yuu began to rant in Japanese about how the man had let his skills become rusty and started planning out a strict workout regimen.
Suddenly the doors slammed open and an automatic weapon began firing wildly into the bar. Sanji dove at Zoro, knocking him to the floor and calling out to Zeff to move his crippled old ass when the chef was slow to react. Chopper screamed and tried to reach for his mother, receiving a blow to his head from an unknown flying object in turn. Luffy growled and tried to attack the intruder, only being held back by a panicking Usopp. Frank covered both Shanks and Makino as best he could with his own body, not wanting either of them to come to harm. Johnny and Yosaku scrambled over to their aniki, ready to assist wherever needed though both looked as if they might faint at any moment. Ace flattened himself to the floor and reached for his knife strapped to his leg, preparing himself to launch at a second's notice. Garp and Smoker quickly reached for their guns, freezing immediately when bullets barely missed their heads in warning.
"My, my… What would the precinct think if they knew their two most beloved men were involved with the city's terrorist vigilantes?" The sickeningly sweet voice preceded the physical body, giving time for the shock of recognition to set in for both Smoker and Garp.
"Alvida?" Garp's revelation sounded like a child who had just been told that Santa wasn't real. "But why?"
The beautiful woman strode into the room, anger clearly written on her face. She took a moment to look into each one of their faces, as if to imprint each one of them to memory before they disappeared. Her lip curled into an uncharacteristic snarl while her chin quivered from the effort to keep the tears from falling again. No matter how much makeup you apply, the telltale signs of crying can never be covered-up. Her hands shook as she raised the gun again and aimed it first at Zoro and then Frank, trying hard to decide which one she held more hatred for.
"I waited almost twenty years for him to be released. TWENTY YEARS! And when he came back to me, he was a changed man… all because of you." Her gun swept over the older generation. "Then when I almost have him back to his old self, you come along." The laser sight placed a red dot on Zoro's forehead. "Now prepare to join him in the afterlife."
Sanji lifted himself up and placed himself in the line of fire just as the gun went off. He froze, eyes wide open and stared into Zoro's anguished face, mouth opening and closing without any sound.
"Sanji!" Zoro screamed and reached up to check the back of the blonde's head.
A loud thud was heard in the vicinity of the shooter and gasps echoed in the now silent room. Sanji released the breath he was holding and smiled slightly at the panicking man under him.
"I'm ok… Zoro, it's all right… Look shitty-Marimo, I'm not shot!" Sanji grabbed Zoro's face and forced the green haired man to look him in the eye. "She missed."
"Nami?" Luffy's bewildered question brought the two men back to the situation at hand and they turned to see what had happened.
Alvida was laying in a heap on the floor, the gun next to her but no longer in her grasp. Above her, Nami stood panting and holding a wicked looking staff with large metal balls between each section. The fiery redhead looked as if she had just run a marathon, her hair plastered to her face and neck, the cute yellow skirt and jacket set soaked with sweat. One of the straps of her chunky sandals had broken and the shoe was barely attached to her foot.
"Fucking bitch." Nami spat out as she glared at the fallen woman. "I was trying to get some information on what had happened the other night when I overheard this whore giving out instructions to set explosives in certain vehicles. One of them happened to be that stupid Gremlin you call Merry."
"Wha- Not Merry!" Luffy wailed.
"So I followed her. It's a good thing I've been training for that damn city marathon. I would have lost her completely if it hadn't been for 5 o'clock traffic and the fact that you told me you'd be here tonight."
Luffy knocked Usopp off him as he jumped up and ran to her, pulling the exhausted woman into a crushing hug. "You're the best! That's why I love you."
A few of their friends chuckled at the embarrassed blush on Nami's face and everyone helped to pick each other up from the floor. Garp held his hand out to Zeff who took it reluctantly and mumbled his thanks. Yuu helped Kureha check her son over and let out a sigh of relief when the boy began to slowly open his eyes. An intact grenade was found next to him, most likely the object that he had been struck with. Frank hugged Makino tightly, whispering apologies to the sobbing bartender as he and Shanks shared a silent look of relief. Johnny and Yosaku gave each other an exasperated look and decided that maybe their boring life in Japan wasn't so bad. Ace was yanked up off the floor and kissed fiercely before being shoved to the side. He watched Smoker pull out a set of cuffs and secure Alvida's arms behind her back as he read her, her rights.
Zoro had been watching everyone from his place on the floor, one hand still tangled in silky blonde hair and the other supporting his weight as he propped himself up. His vision blurred and hot wet lips claimed his own. He eagerly responded and sat up further so he could pull the man into his lap. Parting for air, he tried to steady his still racing heart.
"You stupid fuck. Why did you do that?" Zoro's eyes were clenched shut as he fisted his hand in his lover's shirt, their foreheads resting together.
"You really need to ask?" Sanji half laughed as he shook his head. "You'd have done the same thing shitty-swordsman."
"Aa, but this was supposed to be my turn." Zoro gave him a lopsided grin and together they stood with the others.
"Next time I'll let you be the one to stand in front of the loaded gun." Sanji laughed and leaned into Zoro as the man embraced him from behind.
"Let's hope there's not a next time." Frank ran a hand over his face and sighed heavily. "I'm too old for this shit."
"Speak for yourself brat," Kureha argued a moment before her shoulders, too, slumped. "But a vacation sounds wonderful about now."
Yuu nodded and took her hand in his. "I was thinking maybe we would go to Acapulco, possibly for a honeymoon?"
Chopper began to squee with excitement and slapped both hands over his mouth to stifle the noise. He looked over to Zoro with happy tears in his eyes and was overjoyed to see the approving look on his hero's face.
"You think you can make me happy?" the withered old doctor teased.
"I'll spend the rest of my life trying." Yuu stood on his tiptoes and puckered his lips for a kiss. As soon as Kureha gave in to his silent request, the room erupted in cheers and shouts of congratulation.
Zoro looked in the mirror frowning, contemplating whether or not to attach the swords to his hip. If today was anything like the last one he had attended, he just might need them, especially since he had such a high profile role in this shenanigan. He sighed dramatically when he remembered his promise to his grandfather. No swords outside the dojo until further notice. It wasn't his fault that things kept coming up where the Dark Knight was needed. He tried to stop that part of his life, honestly, but even Sanji had to admit that people needed a 'hero' to look up to sometimes.
Frank had gone back to Okinawa, promising that he would return in plenty of time and he should not worry. However, the man was still MIA and even Shanks had no idea where he was. Sanji was with his own father this morning trying to get last minute preparations for the reception taken care of. He should be back in about twenty minutes, but if he didn't hurry, Zoro would take his favorite kitchen knife and use it to make confetti out of this blasted necktie. A knock sounded at the door and Zoro hurried to answer it. Luffy and Nami smiled brightly at him when he opened it, completely missing the irritated tic in his left eye.
"Hi Zoro!" Luffy bounced in wearing what looked like a brand new suit with a bright red silk shirt underneath.
"Luffy, remember no food yet, wait till after the ceremony. Hey why aren't you ready yet?" Nami chided him and reached out to help straighten the mess he had made of the fabric around his neck. "I thought that after living with Sanji all this time you'd be able to do this on your own."
Zoro frowned further at the playful lit to her voice. "Why learn when he always does for me? If I never have to wear one of these again it will be too soon."
"You'd better plan on wearing it at least once more, Marimo." Sanji walked in through the still open front door and took over for the lovely young woman. "Or have you changed your mind already?"
Zoro pulled him into a passionate kiss and growled possessively. "You're not getting away that easy, shitty-cook. I'll make you mine if I have to tattoo it across your forehead."
Sanji gave him another quick kiss before heading to the kitchen to stop Luffy from eating anything he had set aside specifically for tonight. His hand moved back the gold earring in his left ear and the smile that hadn't left him since he put it in this morning doubled in size. Zoro had taken his mother's wedding band and had it crafted into a tasteful hoop earring, presenting it to Sanji just this morning. The nervous man had even gotten down on his knee and asked the blonde to marry him. It was almost two years from the first time they had met. How fast time had gone by. It seemed like just last month he had been following Zoro around trying to prove he was the Dark Knight. Loud knocking at the door brought him out of his musings and he turned to see Frank and Shanks walk in.
"It's about time you got here," Zoro complained.
"What, you really think I'd miss seeing my son graduate from college at the top of his class?" Frank pulled his son in for a tight hug. "I'm so proud of you. I just wish your mother could be here to see this."
"Me too." Zoro nodded soberly and turned to look at everyone. "Let's get this over with."
Cheers erupted from the crowd as the graduates threw their caps into the air. Zoro allowed himself to be captured up in hugs from several of the students who he happened to recognize from his classes over the past two years. A few freshmen girls came running over with a magazine and pens, causing Zoro to groan loudly. The page presented to him was from one of the photo shoots he had done for the now famous designer Bon Kurei. He hurriedly grabbed them and scribbled his name in messy kanji before searching the sea of matching gowns for familiar blonde hair.
People parted on both sides as Sanji and Zoro made their way towards each other, most giving them little knowing grins, others gave looks of disgust, but no one tried to stop them. Zoro wrapped his arms around his fiancé and kissed him soundly. Before they could say anything, they were rushed by Chopper, Luffy, Johnny and Yosaku, all wrapping them in one giant hug. They were closely followed by Nami, Vivi, Robin and Conis who gave them each much gentler, individual hugs and kisses on the cheek.
Frank was decked out in his dress blues, which were technically black, so he was showing a little restraint in his affection towards his lover. They both shook Zoro's hand, an envelope being slipped into the boy's pocket with a wink. Sanji watched the exchange with interest, but didn't say a word. He would find out later… he always did. Garp stood off to the side with Kureha, watching as Zeff and Yuu went to congratulate their boys on finally making it through their studies. Sanji fought the tears when he heard his father tell him that he was proud of him.
A scream was heard and everyone jerked their heads towards the distressed woman. Makino had been standing back, watching from a short distance away when she was roughly shoved to the ground by a hideous looking man with blue hair sticking out from under a red tri-fold hat. He wore a vintage looking British soldier's uniform jacket about his shoulders like a cape, white gloves, green pants, and brown lace-up boots. His face was covered in white costume paint, with the exception of green around his eyes and mouth. The familiar haunting laugh rang out as the maniac pulled out the familiar four-bladed weapon and attacked.
More screams echoed throughout the crowd as Garp and Smoker reached for weapons that were not there due to them being off duty. Zoro grabbed Sanji, shoved him behind his larger frame to keep him safe, and stepped forward to intercept the threat. As the sharp edges closed in on him, Zoro searched for anything he could use to fight. One of these days, they would finally give in and let him carry at least one of his swords wherever he went.
Suddenly, Buggy stopped and looked down to see an uncommonly large blade sticking out from his chest, having pierced his heart from behind. The steel retracted and the painted man fell to the ground, revealing his assassin. An elegantly embellished black floor length coat fluttered in the slight breeze around the tall man, a white plume sticking proudly from his equally lavish hat. Blood dripped from the massive sword that resembled a cross, the same sword that had almost ended Zoro's life.
No words were said as Mihawk tipped his hat and slid his sword back into the loop on his back. He turned to Makino and held out his hand, smiling softly as she ran to him. Everyone's jaw dropped when he bent down and captured her lips with his. The formidable swordsman whispered something in her ear and she nodded eagerly before saying goodbye. Security finally showed up just as he seemingly disappeared into the crowd.
"So now what?" Usopp said as he walked up to the bewildered group.
"Advertise for a new villain?" Luffy shrugged his shoulders. His pleas for help went unanswered as he was chased around campus, a bonus promised if they could remove the straw hat from his head.
"I'd rather it be quiet for another twenty years. Long enough for it to be too much for me, and just right for you to have a second go," Frank said clapping a hand on Zoro's shoulder and walking with Shanks to the parking lot. Zeff had promised them a huge reception back at the Baratie and he sure wasn't going to miss it.
Zoro watched his father walk away with confusion on his mind. What was his father thinking? He did know that he and Sanji were –
"Oi, Marimo. No deep thinking right now… or ever." Sanji said, resting his chin on Zoro's shoulder for a moment before pulling the man with him towards their new car.
Maybe he could begin molding the Horsemen to take over for him. The gears in Zoro's mind began working overtime as he thought about the possibilities.