Hawk-Eyes had come to the conclusion that it was best to cave in and find a place where he could rest and see what would become of his head injury. Once he had been arrogant enough to ignore one. Needless to say the consequences had not been...nice. At all. It had involved involuntary close proximity co-existence with Shanks for an inhumane period of time, until he had recovered. He took a turn to a bigger street where he assumed he could find a decent inn.
Not long after he came to a place which had a pretty good air about it - for pirate standards that was. You could actually see the floor of the place instead of an indistinct plane of filth. Now to hope that he wouldn't have to endure any overly social drunken patrons. Mihawk was pleased to see that there weren't too many people present, there was a big event going on on the island after all. There were marines with a wanted poster discussing with a man who he presumed to be the owner though. He sat to a table at comfortable distance from the other present customers and waved at a barmaid.
"Hello sir! Welcome! What can I getcha?" The young woman smiled at him and walked away in a chipper manner after taking his order. Some young men were appreciating the view the barmaid's outfit with it's short skirt offered quite obviously. In a moment she returned with a pint.
"Here's your malt sir. Are you alright though if I may ask sir?" She asked, having noted the specks f blood on his hand he had gotten from feeling the injury.
"Just a knock on the head."
"Want sum ice for it?"
"Certainly if you have some to spare."
"I'll be back in a flash sir!" she disappeared to the back room.
A roar of laughter erupted from the bar soon after and Mihawk turned to see what the commotion was about.
"Well yer a perky lil' one aincha?" A big hog of a man was laughing, shaking like a jelly, while a rather dismayed looking barmaid stood in a robust stance in front of him arms crossed. The man tried to give a slap on her bottom but she evaded to offensive appendage in a surprisingly...martial manner and glared a thousand daggers at him. The woman who had served him emerged from the back room and pulled the other back. Shoving the bundle she was holding to the angry girl she pointed her at his direction.
"Sorry Desusa! She's new, it's her first day and she's nervous!" she said to the man and bowed.
"Oh doncha worry gal I like a real woman with guts like that! Guhaha!"
The woman seemed to choke for a bit, it almost looked like she was stifling a laughter.
"Ok, Mister D!"
The angry one was emitting a black hole like aura as she walked up to him and held the ice with a towel wrapped around it to him, all the while glaring at the laughing man. Mihawk helpfully took the bundle from the preoccupied girl and pressed it to his head on one hand and leaned on the table with the other, obscuring the view of his face from the barmaid. He sighed contently as the coolness eased the throbbing on his head. He sneaked a look at the barmaid who was probably trying to make looks that could kill into a reality. For some reason she seemed familiar to him. There was something off about her but he couldn't quite put his finger on what it was.
As he passed time just sitting and drinking peacefully Mihawk began to feel much better. The nauseous feeling disappeared. Thankfully there hadn't been a lot of bleeding but getting banged on the head with a door by Shanks wasn't fun. Ah, there the angry newbie barmaid was again... The strangest tingling started to take over him as his eyes travelled up the muscular legs. Her body was healthy and attractive, there was power in the muscles under the tanned skin and it intrigued him. She walked tall but kept her face down. He tried to discreetly catch a glimpse at her features when she walked past but her hair hid her from him. If he could only remember why the form radiated such a familiar and tempting aura!
The grandfather clock in the inn kept pushing it's hands forward. A bunch of marines emerged from a door, probably having just come down from the upper floors. Mihawk stared at the group and deduced that they were probably looking for some poor sod on the wrong side of the law. His intriguing little barmaid seemed to be slightly nervous when the group passed her by. She relaxed slightly when they headed out after talking with the innkeeper. She sighed and adjusted her wig which had moved back a bit and revealed a tiny tuft of green hair... A WIG!
Mihawk could only stare at her, paralysed by astonishment. It had been a long while since anything had come to him completely out of nowhere like this. It wasn't possible. He was suffering from a head injury so he was probably hallucinating... but... why would he hallucinate about Roronoa Zoro in a barmaid outfit! The more he looked at the person the clearer it became to him. By all things holy it indeed was Roronoa. Then those marines must have been looking for him. Had he hid here to escape his pursuers from before? Why as a barmaid?
This was the worst shit Zoro had ever let himself to be dragged into. Absolute worst. Being slashed by Hawk-Eyes Mihawk? Oh that was nothing! Next time Sanji would threaten to present him the true meaning of pain he'd make the idiot cook wear a corset. This was hell. Some of the patrons had even tried to come on to him! And he could swear that one sleaze bag had knocked his pint over on purpose to try making Zoro into a wet shirt show! There wouldn't have been much to show off besides the rags Trud had amplified his bosom with! Thank god the marines were leaving, maybe he could get out of this place and more importantly out of this outfit now. He met Trud in the back room.
"I thought they'd never leave! Bloody hell... Are they all gone for good?" he said
"I think so, I'm worried that they'll send patrols to the fair. You said your friends were going to be there right?
"Yeah. I should probably get changed and head out."
"Aw but you look cute in that!"
"The Hell I do!"
Zoro changed in Trud's room. Taking the corset off was surprisingly complicated and it took a while until Zoro was back in his own very comfortable and functional and manly clothes. He would appreciate them in a whole different level from now on. The whole time in the bar he had a feeling that he was being watched. He had dismissed it as paranoia of a man trying to pose as a woman. Trud accompanied him to the courtyard and hugged him before setting him on the right direction.
"Say hi to Johnny from me if you see him! I promise I won't tell anyone of your little experimentation here!" she shouted after him. Zoro smirked as he walked away. That had been a nice little adventure - ignoring the cross dressing issue. Now he would have to find the others and warn them about Smoker. Then again knowing his companions they were probably in trouble already. Zoro scratched his neck and grunted. He felt like there were tiny ants crawling on his skin. He couldn't shake off the feeling that he was being watched. It was kinda creepy because the whole damn place was like a ghost town since everyone has gone to see the ice cream competition or whatever.
The young swordsman didn't suspect that he was being followed. Hawk-Eyes was watching him from the rooftops. The boy seemed to be fine. There wasn't any noticeable difficulty in his movements which might have been caused by the wound on his chest. It must have healed by now. If he had judged anything right about the young mans character, Roronoa was probably training hard already. The shichibukai frowned. He wasn't sure if the boy could achieve the goal he had set for himself if he continued this way. He did have to admire his determination.
"Don't rush to you death, young man..." the swordman thought before disappearing into the labyrith of empty streets.
Zoro managed to follow his rescuer's direction right and soon he found himself at a square packed up with people. He noticed marines gathering around the place and searching the jolly crowd.
"Zoro!" a voice called to him. It was Usopp.
"Where are the others? Smoker is here, I ran into him."
"What? We're going to get in big trouble is he finds us! Nami and Sanji are waiting for the results of the competition and Luffy's probably somewhere where there is food or ice cream..."
"We have to find them now!" Zoro said and slipped into the crowd. They found Luffy soon enough at an ice cream buffet.
"Yo, Zoro! Where've you been?" The young captain said happily. "The ice cream is awesome! You gotta try some!"
"No time for that Luffy, Zoro said that the Smoker guy and the sword girl are here!" Usopp said worriedly.
"Eh? Uncle Smokey is here? Does he like ice cream too?" Luffy laughed "I knew that I liked the guy for a reason!"
"Stop joking around! We gotta get to Nami and Sanji. They know that Zoro is here so there are marines all over the place now." Usopp grabbed Luffy and started dragging him to the direction where he remembered seeing Nami and Sanji earlier.