You're A Marine Now

By Tetsuhana

A/N: Thanks everyone who is still reading! I love you guys! Just a quick bit of self-promotion here. If you'd be interested in reading any of my original fiction it can be found on Deviantart under B-R-Benton.

Things settled down after a while on Smoker's ship. They were going to a neighboring island for Captain Smoker's promotion ceremony. Ace had heard about this promotion and was rather pissed about it. Smoker was getting promoted for what his brother had done. They couldn't let the credit for the fall of someone so notorious land on another "notorious" pirate, so instead Smoker managed to scoop it up. It wasn't that Ace thought that the Captain, soon to be Commodore, didn't deserve a promotion, he was just angry about how it had come about. Ace had the ship perfectly clean again and looked at the Captain who was smoking his cigars, looking out at the water.

"Neh, Smoker-taisa," Ace said, "I heard you're being promoted… for what my brother did…"

Ace's voice was bitter and Smoker almost flinched from the sound of it.

"I don't need to explain myself to you," the older man said firmly and calmly.

"No… I imagine not, now that I'm officially part of your crew and all," Ace said, his voice still bitter as he walked away. The captain glanced back at him. He understood why Ace was upset. Luffy had fought bravely and nobly against Crocodile and deserved the recognition, but letting a pirate take the credit for something like that would cause a public outcry and people might not even fully believe it. It would just end up a horrible mess that could easily be avoided by giving the credit to the marine officer who was present.

The ship was perfect when they docked. The whole crew had to attend the ceremony, including Ace. Which meant, to Ace's annoyance, that he had to pull on his uniform. When they were out on the seas the rest of the crew and even Smoker didn't especially care if Ace decided to walk around shirtless. They had all accepted that he was an ex-pirate and the tattoo on his back no longer caused gasps of shock or glares of anger. Still, if he walked into the ceremony, shirtless and with Whitebeard's mark on his back he was pretty sure he'd be shot.

Thankfully, the ceremony was brief. Smoker received his title and a fleet of five to command. Ace left as soon as the mandatory part was over. There was drinks and food all around afterwards, but he wasn't interested. Despite what his grandfather wanted he didn't fit in with these people. He went down to the dock and sat down, letting his feet dangle over the edge near the water. He heard footsteps on the boards of the dark and it was easy for him to figure who it was. He stood to his feet and saluted the newly promoted commodore.

"At ease Ace, I just want to talk," Smoker said to him.

"Yes sir, what do you want?" Ace asked.

"Listen Ace, it's not that I wanted to take the credit, it just worked out that way," the older man said.

"I'm not an imbecile sir," Ace said, "I know you can't go giving credit for something good to a pirate. It doesn't mean I have to be happy about it."

"I'm… glad you understand," Smoker said. There were several minutes of awkward silence before Ace spoke.

"Aren't you going back inside? That is your party after all," he said.

"I don't like social gatherings," Smoker responded.

"Whatever you say," Ace said, being a little too informal with his commanding officer. Again the awkward silence settled in. Ace had seated himself again and was staring out at the water. After what seemed like an eternity he asked a question, "Smoker… are you angry that I was placed in your crew?"

"No," Smoker said with finality, "You're a hard worker and good man."

Ace smiled a little bit. That made him feel a little better. He stood to his feet and leaned up, placing a kiss on Smoker's cheek.

"I love you," he whispered. The older man's face went red as he rubbed at his cheek.

"I'm not a woman, stop that," he grumbled. Ace chuckled.

"I know you're not a woman," he whispered, "If you were a woman I wouldn't be interested in you."

Smoker's blush only deepened as he looked away.

"I'm not interested in men Portgas," he said, "I've told you that."

"I'll teach you how," Ace breathed softly, giving Smoker a sexy look, "But not today. Some day."

"You cocky little brat," Smoker muttered, "What makes you think I'd want to learn?"

"You will." Ace assured him.

"Don't be so sure," the commodore muttered.

"I'll wait," Ace told him, "As long as it takes, I'll wait."

"I need some air…"

"We're already outside," Ace pointed out.

"I need some air over there," Smoker said, "The air here is messed up."