AUTHOR: mrredrum

PAIRING: SmokerxAce, (and ZoroxSanji, FrankyxRobin from my old fic IN HEAVEN BEFORE WE DIED in the background as a cameo)


It's an AU. So, I really sorry for the ooc and inconveniently while reading it. All the part of the fic, is dedicated to youkohieifan, a very good KuroganexFye writer that I adore (june 17) and lilirum (june 17). Me and my wonderful beta-er kakairupowns-san, would like to say "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!" for you both…and I really sorry for the late gift…my day kinda hectic this week…but I hope you both have a great birthday, by the way …oh, and a great weekend too ……'Kay good peoples, see you guys next week!...have fun!... love you all and definitely going to miss you all… Thank you.

Brook, currently an old, homeless man, was just digging through a trash can in search of food in front of a huge house on Drum Kingdom St. when he saw a shadow jump from the high wall surrounding the house. He mostly ignored it, thinking it was a couple of street kids trying to steal something from the house, which looked empty for the moment, because the owner was still on vacation outside the country. Brook usually decides that it's none of his business if some street kid wants to steal something from a rich guy. Besides, Brook knows for a fact that the owner is a stingy person, who never gets along well with the other people who live in that neighborhood. A little burglary won't hurt him; it might teach him a lesson about karma, though.

So, Brook walked over to another trash can in front of the house next door, when out of the corner of his eye he saw a flame coming from the huge house's roof, and could smell smoke. Suddenly, he remembered a few cases of conflagration that had been cropping up in this city lately, all aiming toward big luxury houses or mansions. Just like that one.

Not long after that, his suspicions turned out to be true. The fire burned its way quickly down the big house in front of him, turning it into black ruins, all of is luxuriousness lost.

There's no one, including Brook and the few other witnesses on the scene, a team of firefighters, and all of the police who came later, who could stop the fire that night.

From somewhere vague and near by, Brook could here a song being played.

"…When the night closes in deep, when the earth falls asleep, the fire of hell flames, and the devil dances to blame, all the beautiful things, all the beautiful things…"

Watching the flame in the dark of night, the old man could feel his flesh suddenly creep.

Someone's devil was indeed awake tonight… he thought, wariness lingering in his mind.

Detective Captain Smoker from Grand Line City Police Department (GLCPD) was just barely able to close his eyes at three that morning, alone in bed, when the phone on his bedside table rang, forcing him to open his eyes. While one hand clicked on the light, grumbling he let his other hand grab the phone handle, answering to whoever was stupid enough to wake him up in the middle of the fucking night.

"Yeah!" he barked harshly into the receiver. This had better be good… he thought.

"Taisa! The Fire-Fist guy has made his move! He just attacked – " The familiar voice of a young woman came across the lines.

"Tashigi! Is that you? Do you know what time it is?!" he cut off his subordinate's words, and then thought of something. "Did you sleep in the office again?"

"…Well, yes… But that's not the problem here, Taisa! Look, please wake up and switch on your television. You'll know…" Tashigi's words finally woke him fully and he got up off his pillow and reached for the television remote, using it to switch on the television from his bed.

As soon as it was on, he could see a news reporter standing in front of a ruin which was, supposedly, formerly a beautiful mansion.

"It looks like the Fire-Fist is already one step ahead of the police here, because we as we can see, he has successfully burnt down another mansion, this time one belonging to one of this city's millionaires, Wapol. As we all know, Wapol is known for his donations to children welfare throughout the country. However, the GLCPD's spokesperson hasn't confirmed or denied anything to the press yet, and we can't know for sure if this assault came from the Fire-Fist or not…"

Smoker switched off the television, letting the information fly through his brain for a moment.

"…Uhm, sir?" Tashigi's voice filtered through the phone that he was still holding to his ear.

"Yeah, I'm still here. Tashigi, are our people sure that this was the Fire-Fist's job?" he asked, getting up from his bed and walking over to the bathroom to wash up. Cradling the phone on his shoulder and tilting his ear to it so that he could still hear her, he washed his face off in the sink.

"Yes, sir. Our forensics just found another note, similar to the three notes that we have from before, sir. There's the symbol of Fire-Fist's signature on it… you know, the one of a fist that's on fire, and it's surrounded by the cute little smiley face…"

"Yeah, I know what the symbol looks like, Tashigi. You don't need to explain it to me. Now, everyone's still at the crime scene, right? I'll be there in a half hour." He hung up the phone in its cradle and shrugged into his suit and coat.

Lighting up one of his favorite brand cigars, he snatched his car keys and left his apartment, ready to fight crimes through the cold morning mist.

The crime scene was a riot because of all of the people who had stopped to see what was going on, especially because it was the mansion of one of the city's millionaires.

...Hn, does anyone in this city actually sleep at night? It looks like half of the town is here, watching the goddamned show… Smoker thought, as he waded through the assembly of people before he could even get to the crime scene.

Just after he crossed the yellow taped police line, he saw his subordinate waving her arms at him. Coming closer to the young detective, while biting down on his cigars, he put on the rubber gloves that Tashigi offered him.

Inspecting the crime scene only in passing, because he knew full well that Tashigi must be already doing her job, and doing it well. She was always so enthusiastic about her work, despite being so young.

"This Fire-Fist has sure been making the news a lot lately… I mean, the last time this city was thrown in such a commotion, it was last year, when that rich bachelor died at his drug-dealer's place, right?" Smoker could hear one of the police talking to another one, as they stood guard on the crime scene.

"…Yeah, I know what you mean. That was some bad news for our corps, all right. Everyone blamed us because the NARC team accidentally killed that rich kid. And now this? Man, if we can't catch this Fire-Fist guy as soon as possible, my girlfriend is probably gonna break up with me, 'cause right now she's already saying that the entire police department is full of idiots, and she doesn't want to be associated with one. She said that it doesn't hold a future for anyone… but I know that she's actually just mad at us because that rich kid died. I think she was a fan of his or something…"

"Wow. That sucks, man…" the other cop answered.

Smoker couldn't hold it against himself for ignoring the conversation between the two because he knew for sure that the incident last year was actually the main reason that the head of his department was pushing him to catch the arsonist as fast as he was able. They didn't want to lose face to society again, especially after that last one. So that was why they picked Smoker for the job.

An old cop like him, who was just a few weeks away from being retired. It was an easy sacrifice, so the department wouldn't lose anything if he failed.

He couldn't really blame them, though. They all had their own families that need taking care of. At a time like this, Smoker could be really grateful for not choosing to get married or involved with someone. So, after he completely retired, he could use all of his savings to buy a little ranch near a village and spend his final years peacefully there.

But now, there were things that needed to be done.

"Hey, you two!" he shouted at the two young officers, who suddenly stopped talking and quickly made their way over to him, afraid that their captain might chew them out for not doing their jobs.

"…Uhm… yes, sir?"

Smoker only nodded at the crowd, which looked like it was getting even larger. "If you two don't have anything better to do, here; check out everyone who is watching. Search their belongings, take their picture…" While he was talking, he snatched a camera from one of the forensics near him, and handed it to one of the young officers, both of whom were looking at him with confused looks on their faces. Still rookies, no wonder…

"Tashigi! Tell them why we need to check out everyone who's just standing around the crime scene!" he shifted his attention to his subordinate as she stood nearby.

Tashigi stuttered a little before answering more assertively. "…Yes sir! We need to check them more thoroughly because most arsonists have a tendency to return to the scene of the crime. They like to watch the riot that they caused… But, excuse me, sir. If I may, I don't think that we have the right to search these people without a warrant, sir."

Smoker was silent for a moment, before deciding. "Let me handle that part later. For now, just help them do what I ordered them to do. If we want to make a move on this case and catch this son of a bitch, we're going to need to step forward, not back."

Tashigi could see the seriousness in her captain's eyes, and just nodded once before dragging the two young officers after her towards the still growing crowd.

After a few minutes of contemplation, Smoker walked towards the main gate of the burnt down mansion in front of him, all the while hoping that something will knock some sense into this Fire-Fist guy, and this will be his last crime.

That dawn, there was a slightly different commotion inside the GLCPD headquarters. There were a few detectives who didn't go to sleep in order to work. All of them knew that this arsonist case was something that would change their lives forever. For better, and for worse.

For better, because if they catch this guy, they could get promoted.

For worse because, well, what happened to the last head detective the year before might be an example. Because his team got the wrong information, the head detective had to quit his job. Someone needed to be sacrificed for that day.

Some of the detectives shifted their attention slightly to the newest head detective. Will Smoker also get sacrificed if they don't catch this guy? Or will he bring them all down with him?

"Here! Some donuts for you all! I'm treating this time." Tashigi suddenly appeared, slamming three boxes of donuts on the front desk. "But EVERYONE! I EXPECT YOU ALL TO GET BACK TO WORK, NOW!!" Her barks dispersed everyone's thoughts about Smoker.

Everyone quickly busied themselves on the work in front of them.

Tashigi nudged her sunglasses up further on her nose and sighed. She knew that everyone would get to work, and stop thinking about unnecessary things.

With a case report tucked under her arm, she walked towards her Taisa's office.