Author's notes: For naye's July '10 One Piece Chaos thread at Livejournal, story 2 of 3 for that thread, a one-shot for the prompt "Banned for Life". (Actual titled An Excellent Question, an Amazing Story, and a True Friend, which is too long, pooh-pooh...) Also found at Livejournal and Deviant Art; please see my profile for those links.

© 2010.

One Piece © Oda Eiichiro, etc.

There they were, on the beach. The waves slowly rolling further inshore as the night came on; the smell of summer flowers floating on the air. A huge contrast to four hours ago, when there was flashes of red and blue, occasional blond, lots of swearing, scuffling, pulling, punching, scratching, screaming, biting, and everything else under the sun that suggested... there was a really big fight! Another contrast to one hour ago, when a messenger boarded the Moby Dick informing Captain and Crew alike that two of their most prestigious members were arrested; and half an hour ago, when Marco was the one ordered to bail Thatch and Ace out of jail...

Thatch and Ace were now serenely sitting on the shore, looking out over a glorious sunset. They were beaten, bloody, their clothes were torn, and Thatch's hair was a mess (though Ace's hair always looked like that), but they were content. A whole lot more content than Marco, to whom the silence was getting.

"Okay. I'll bite." Marco started. "How is it that, on an island we protect, on an island where everybody practically worships us, and the two of you manage to get banned for life... from the zoo?"

Ace and Thatch just sat there, pondering off into the sunset, with the slightest of smiles creeping onto their faces.

"That, is an excellent question, my friend," Thatch nodded, "And an amazing story."

"That was fun," Ace chuckled, and they both sighed.

Neither of them gave any more indication that they were going to say anything else, and Marco resigned himself to the fact that he, and probably the rest of the Whitebeard Pirates, may never actually learn what happened...

A good friend will come and bail you out of jail when you've been arrested, but a true friend will be sitting right next to you saying, "Damn, that was fun!"