Hot Shot's girl: Okay this'll explain some things, but not everything. Don't worry, all will be revealed in time, so just sit tight and enjoy! :D
"Now, now . . . shouting at children? I didn't think that was like you Dracule."
Everyone turned to see a man walking up to them and soon coming to stand in front of the boys, each of the boys' mouths were open in shock, surprise, and confusion.
"What . . . are you doing here? !" Mihawk gasped, his eyes wide seeing that familiar face he hadn't seen in ages—literally. "Shanks?"
"I could ask you the same thing—Mihawk," the red head grinned, lifting his head to gaze at his old friend who, for some strange reason that he was about to find out, was attacking his little precious ones.
There was a small moment of silence until Shanks' smile returned to him and he eased the tension of his shoulders, seeing it in his old friend that he wouldn't dare attack the boys now that he stood in their defense.
"So tell me, why the sudden interest in my boys?" Shanks asked, his smile never faltering to try and lighten up the mood, he knew Mihawk and that man always made the mood horrible, it wasn't good for the youngin's so he'd continue to smile for them—even if they shook behind him.
Mihawk's frown seemed to deepen as he raised his hand and pointed to the youngest out of three brothers, his gaze stern and focused.
"That da- - brat has marked my son," Mihawk replied with a deep boom in his voice, making it clear to the smiling redhead that he was upset and he wanted penance.
Shanks' smile faded as he opened his brown eyes to gaze at the golden-eyed man. If he could, he'd cross his arms, but he was missing an important component to do such a thing . . . his other arm, so he just placed his right hand on his hip and sighed out.
"Since when have you become a father Dracule?" Shanks asked in a teasing tone, but the question was serious, Mihawk had known this man long enough to know which questions were serious and which weren't.
"Since 19 years ago," Mihawk replied, placing his hand back at his side and balling both into fists. "But the details does not concern you. That prince has just marked my son. I know you know what that means."
"So," Shanks said, waving it off, again trying to make things seem lighter than they, in truth, were. "You should be proud of your child then. Getting marked by a Faerie, especially a Prince, why that's a high honor."
"You don't understand Red-Haired," Mihawk growled out, his gaze dark as he gazed at the ground before glancing up at the one-armed man. "He can't be marked! He's not supposed to be! Da- - it! Why couldn't you stupid Princes mark someone else!"
At that his accusing eyes fell on the three, mainly the youngest of the boys who was being sandwiched between his brothers in the most protective form they could provide him that night.
Shanks managed to glance behind him at the nervous boys, each gazing fearfully at the strange human. Shanks sighed out knowing they'd be wanting answers about this man. No human could shake a Faerie to the core like this, especially Faerie Princes, that's just unheard of. Turning his gaze back to Mihawk he sighed once more.
"You do understand that you can't erase what's happened," Shanks sighed out. "That mark's going to stay until the Faerie who marked him passes on, which, by the way—which one of you marked him?" Shanks turned around and smiled a fond smile at all three boys before Luffy raised his slightly shaking hand just a few inches upwards before daring to glance back at the pissed parent of the one he had marked, which quickly made Luffy freeze and his brothers' hold on him tighten. "Heh, I might have know," Shanks chuckled before ruffling the youngest Prince's unkempt locks and then turning back to the tall raven-haired man.
"Prince Monkey D. Luffy is the youngest son of the King of Faeries, Gol D. Roger himself. You cannot harm him," Shanks informed.
"I know that," Mihawk muttered out.
"Then why are you making such a fuss over this?" Shanks asked, scratching the side of his head, wishing to resolve this matter—he had never seen Dracule so uptight in his life so why all of the sudden now.
"Because of the boy's lineage!" Mihawk nearly shouted all his frustration at the redhead who seemed to be making things more and more difficult.
Mihawk growled to himself and inhaled deeply, coming to pinch the bridge of his nose before exhaling what he could. He could feel the redhead's eyes narrowing and that frown, which was rare to see on him, come once again upon his features.
Again there was a silence as Shanks intently stared at the man before him. Straightening his posture even more to make sure Mihawk knew he had his full serious attention he looked on, inhaled and then asked—
"So . . . this is where your journey has led you?"
Mihawk looked at the one-armed redhead. His face almost blank of emotions, but his eyes still shown intensity that could make the three princes cower under the mighty gaze.
"Why aren't you with the other two?" Shanks asked, his tone serious as he let his arm fall to his side stiffly. "Weren't you traveling in a trio?"
"We were," Mihawk nodded. "But we split to cover more ground."
This conversation was beginning to confuse the three Faerie princes even more. It was hard to tell what they were talking about. It seemed, almost, as if this was a matter as old as time itself. It could very well be, and they were nowhere near to understanding a single word of it.
"Then . . . you did find them," Shanks let out a sigh, casting his eyes down. "I thought this tension between the Faerie and Goblins were nothing but another one of their spurts, but it's more isn't it?"
"I could feel the tension the moment I stepped foot on this land," Mihawk replied, his face full of frown. "I thought this place would be safe to return to, but . . ."
"You know better Dracule," Shanks gave off a small sad smile. "I just didn't expect this burden to be placed upon you, but it is. Still . . . I could have sworn they made sure no child should be born from them again."
"I had thought the same," Mihawk nodded, the shade created by the moonlight darkening his eyes slightly. "That is why . . . we move so much."
"What the he- - are they talking about?" Ace whispered to his two brothers who were listening on in confusion as to what these two adults were speaking about.
"How are we supposed to know?" Sabo bit back. "But . . . it's something important, by the way Shanks is getting serious, I can tell. We should probably talk to father about this later."
"Yeah, whenever they let us get back to father," Ace scoffed, his dark gaze narrowing at the mysterious human standing before them and Shanks. "Is he even . . . human?"
"I don't know," Sabo shook his head. "What do you think Luffy?"
Luffy looked up at his two older brothers who were squishing him between their bodies in the most closest and protective way they could. His brown gaze then turned back towards the intimidating human standing before Shanks and them and after a moment of thought he shook his head, keeping his gaze on the golden-eyed human.
"I don't know, but what I want to know is why he's acting like this to us, to me. What did I do? What's so wrong with what I did?" Luffy asked, confusion sweeping over every feature on his face.
Ace and Sabo looked down at their baby brother. Both sighed before glancing at the other before nodding. Coming to the best decision they could as to why this, supposed, human acted the way he did.
"Luffy," Ace spoke up, his tone soft and facial features trying to comfort the younger. "You just involved his son with our world. He'll forever be involved until you or he passes away. Maybe . . . maybe that's the reason."
"But I've marked others," Luffy pouted, puffing his cheeks up in confusion like a normal little brother would. "Their relatives never had any complaints before. Even the ones you've guys marked. No complaints. So why . . . now?"
"We don't know Luffy," Sabo said, patting his little brother on the head before turning his gaze back towards Shanks and the human who were still conversing about a situation they didn't know was so serious—but it was. "I know father says there's no such thing as mistakenly marking someone, but . . . by the way Shanks sounds, and the human father reacted, I can't help but think . . . maybe it was a mistake to mark him Luffy."
"W-What?" Luffy gasped, his eyes wide as he looked up at his blonde brother. "B-But you gave me the 'go-ahead' to mark him. How can you say that?"
"I don't know," Sabo said, his features serious and Luffy could feel it in his gut that something was wrong, something was terribly wrong. "But I don't like the feel of things. I know you and Ace can feel that, that uneasiness settling. It's getting stronger."
Ace sighed out heatedly through his nostrils. Looking at his brother with serious eyes he glanced down slightly before placing his hand on his abdomen, where he would usually feel that tension.
"You're right," Ace nodded. "Do you remember when it first came?"
"Yeah," Sabo nodded, looking intently into his brother's eyes. "It was the day all of us had ran into Luffy's human friend, Zoro."
"What?" Luffy looked at his two older brothers quizzically. "It's not his fault we feel like this. I didn't feel it when you two did."
"No," Ace said, looking down at his little brother. "You're too innocent to feel such happens right off. You didn't start feeling it until father told us about the Goblins getting riled up."
Luffy glanced down and bit his bottom lip. They were right. Luffy remembered feeling something in the pit of his stomach when he first met the green-haired human, but he didn't think it was anything close to a bad feeling or this tension his older brothers were talking about. No, he thought it just meant he'd become close to this human and perhaps . . . mark him one day, which he did.
This tension between the Faerie Kingdom and the Goblin Kingdom can't have been caused by Zoro's arrival to Ireland right? That's just not right. What had the human ever done to them? Luffy was sure he wasn't too much aware of their existence—well—he might be now, but still!
Luffy looked up to glance at the man standing before Shanks some yards. They were still involved in their serious conversation, something Luffy never liked. Whenever the 'adults' talk about something serious then it's never good. His father would always talk to their army generals about the Goblins movements and it always meant Luffy couldn't go here or he had to keep out of this area. So restricting—like now, he felt restricted as his brothers held him close in their arms protectively, as Shanks stood before them guarding them, as the man standing before them all, gazing intently at Luffy making him freeze under that powerful golden-stare, a stare he's never seen before in his life . . . and he's had a good 1,700 years under his belt.
"I am sorry about this," Shanks spoke up, continuing on his talk with the tall pale human. "Luffy only meant good about this. Marking him meant he really likes him."
"I know the goings of Faerie Shanks!" Mihawk growled, his frustration continuing.
"Then stop fighting this," Shanks said with a roll of his shoulders. "Your boy's going to get involved whether you like it or not."
"But he is NOT ready to see this world!" Mihawk said, his arms outstretched, motioning to all around. "He is far too young Shanks! He- - in our years he's still just a newborn!"
"Our years?" Ace perked his head up and narrowed his eyes at the raven-haired man. "So are you saying . . . you're of the Faerie world?"
Mihawk looked at the older prince and just frowned, his own eyes narrowed before saying—
"I do not belong to the Faerie world."
"Then you're a Tuatha Dè Danann?" Sabo then spoke up, looking curiously at the human.
Mihawk only straightened and said nothing. He didn't need to to these small brats who knew nothing but their own peaceful little kingdom. He had thought their father wouldn't shelter them too much . . . but who was he kidding when he is doing the same to his foster son?
Shanks turned back to the three curious princes before sighing out lightly. Shaking his head he looked at them seriously saying—
"Aye, he is."
He noticed Ace and Sabo open their mouths for more questions, but he motioned with his hand to quiet as he turned back to speak to him more.
"What will you do now then, Dracule?"
"I suppose it isn't wise to stay here any longer," Mihawk let out a sigh as he crossed his arms and dug the toe of his boot into the soft earth. "When Zoro wakes up and is healed enough for the journey we're leaving this land."
"What? !" Luffy suddenly spoke up, nearly pushing out of his brothers' embrace. "No! Don't leave, please! I want Zoro to stay here, with me."
"I'm sure you do you insolent child," Mihawk spoke, looking at Luffy with a hard glare like some scolding parent—almost. "That's why you've marked him am I right?"
Luffy looked down, he didn't like it when people spoke to him with such harsh tones. He wasn't used to it and his old brothers didn't want him to be used to it and so they growled at the human—no, he was of the Tuatha Dè Danann, a people not human, nor Faerie.
"Hey!" Ace growled. "Who gives you the right to speak to our brother like that? ! He is the third prince of the Faerie Kingdom and, Tuatha or not, you need to show some respect!"
"Easy there," Shanks motioned to the boys to calm down. "He's just . . . he hasn't been in the land for many a year so take it easy on him."
"Don't do that to them Shanks," Mihawk spoke. "How long I have been away from my home has nothing to do with the way I act. I act this way towards their highnesses because they are insolent and know nothing of what is really going on."
"What the he- - is he talking about? !" Ace growled, his tone showing his frustration and want to know what was REALLY going on.
"Calm down," Shanks replied once more, turning to the boys, they were such a handful at times. "We'll talk about this with your father when we get home."
"Good," Mihawk said, turning from them, readying to leave. "Be sure you have the King tell them everything. Wouldn't want them to miss out on anything they should have already known."
"Don't say that Mihawk," Shanks said, reaching out his hand slightly. "They're just lads. You can't expect the young to grow up too fast."
"They need to," Mihawk said. "If they had then maybe this could have all been avoided."
"Even if you leave, Mihawk, the boy will still one day be drawn into the Faerie world," Shanks said, taking a step forward, knowing the raven-haired man was getting ready to leave them. "It's best you let him be drawn in here instead on another land. He'll be more vulnerable out there, here, the King can protect him better."
"Is that right?" Mihawk asked, turning back towards the redhead. "Will he really? Once the Faeries hear about him there'll certainly be an uproar. He- - even the Goblins would want his head."
"Heh, you think the king to be so stupid as to not know?" Shanks asked, tilting his head back slightly.
"No," Mihawk sighed out, his features this time softening if only slightly. "He's a good king, and I pray his sons become just as wise as him," At that he looked on at the three princes with a strange look in his eyes. "But Zoro is too young to be caught up with the Faeries right now. I'm sorry, Shanks. I've protected him this far in his life and I'll continue to do so."
With that Mihawk turned and left. The three princes watched as their good family friend Red-Haired Shanks bit his bottom lip in frustration and stamped his foot down on the green grass. He let out an irritated growl and then turned to them to notice their confused and questioning stares. He quickly deflated and nearly slumped over comically.
"Alright boys, let's get you back to your father—we've got a lot of things to discuss."
It had been another week before Zoro showed any signs of waking up and when he did he had to spend a maximum of two weeks in the hospital, enduring the crappy food, Brooke's get-well songs with bagpipes, ukuleles, violins, harps, banjos, etc, and Mihawk's constant surveillance and speeches of 'See-What-Happens-When-You-Run-Off-From-Home-Without-Me?'.
Zoro wouldn't admit it, but he secretly praised that stupid a- - cook for bringing him all those goodies from the bakery, those were the only food he'd ever digest. And Robin sitting by his bed and reading him those boring stories were better than having his foster father continue to scold him and burn invisible eye-beams into his skull. All-in-all, he was glad he had friends like these however new they were . . . he could tell they'd be lifelong friends if he was forced to live here a good number of years of his life.
"What do you mean we're moving? !" Zoro asked, quickly sitting up in his bed and looked at his foster father with wide eyes as the pale man sat in a chair near the hospital bed peeling an orange.
"It's what I said," Mihawk replied simply. "We're moving."
"But we haven't even settled in yet!" Zoro said, his tone rising subconsciously and as Mihawk looked at him with warning eyes Zoro then caught himself and quieted his tone.
"I already told you before we'd be moving any time. You shouldn't sound so surprised," Mihawk replied, popping an orange slice in his mouth and leaning back in his seat.
"I thought we'd at least live here a few years, not months!" Zoro replied, his tone once again rising—and here he was, beginning to get used to this place, even with the whole da- -ed strange creatures that he was pretty sure only existed in fairy-tales.
"Something's come up," Mihawk replied solemnly. "We simply cannot stay here any longer."
"Then where the he- - else will we move father?" Zoro growled out dangerously and in a threatening tone, one that Mihawk easily caught and simply would not have.
"You will not speak to me that way," Mihawk's tone was just as dangerous and stern, if not more than Zoro's and the boy knew better than to get dangerous with his foster father. "I have taken you in when your parents didn't want anything to do with you and I have raised you, kept you fed, warm, and safe. This is how you show your respect to me?"
"Kept me safe, tchyeah, from what? ! My friends? !" Zoro continued to growl out his disapproval. "Just when I start making them you take me away from them. When will this end? !"
Mihawk let out a sigh as he watched Zoro grab at his healthy leg and rest his forehead on it, baring his teeth in dislike. Mihawk knew this was a show of Zoro saying he had no choice but to accept it, but it was such a sad sight to see. Mihawk always wished Zoro to be like the other normal children and have countless friends like he deserved, but . . . he wasn't like normal children and so this is why things had to be the way they were.
Mihawk had to be the bad guy for now, to keep him safe until he was ready for the other world, the world he hadn't been born into but belonged to. Zoro might think the man to be pure evil, taking delight in letting him meet new friends only to pull him away from them just when attachments were getting maid. But it was all lies.
Mihawk took most delight in the lad's smiles; his laughs when he's with his friends and being just like any normal teenager, any young adult. The moving hadn't only gotten on Zoro's nerves, but Mihawk's as well though he couldn't let him see this because Mihawk had to be calm when he told Zoro they were moving to a new country, continent. That he had to say goodbye to his friends as quickly as possible because their flight was already booked and the movers were already on their way.
It was hard for a boy like Zoro, but just like Mihawk, he'd have to get used to it. For now. Whether he liked it or not. There was no other choice.
So you can expect Zoro's reaction once he was released from the hospital . . . completely silent.
"Come on," Mihawk bade, holding the wheelchair out for Zoro to sit in.
The teen did so without a word and as he slunk into the chair he just kept his thoughts to himself. Mihawk inwardly sighed as he took up their belongings and began to push the man out of the room and out of that dreaded hospital.
The trip to the car was a silent one, one that Mihawk was expecting, but it still hurt him to see his foster son like this. It was for his own good, but he wouldn't know if Zoro would think the same . . . if he knew.
Mihawk sighed out as he placed a comforting hand on the boy's broad shoulders. He expected Zoro to react by swishing his hand away, but he didn't move, didn't speak, nothing. Mihawk supposed it was to be expected from him.
When the boy was younger he had gotten used to staying in a country for about a year or so and then moving, but then when they had lived in Japan for 9 years it seems that's what got Zoro so riled up during their moves. It was Mihawk's fault for staying so long, but they had been untouched there, no one had dared approach them and so Mihawk thought they were safe. It wasn't until Zoro came home on his graduation day with the largest gash across his neck as if someone had tried to rip his head off, when Mihawk realized they had stayed too long.
Every place had their 'other' worlds, but Japan's seemed to have been forgotten and the inhabitants all chased off to the country sides, which was the reason why Mihawk picked a crowded town to live in. But still Zoro had been found out by one of the creatures and thank God that the thing decided to walk around in a human form 'less Zoro have thought something else than running into some weird samurai trying to take his head. It had been strange to Zoro, but the boy could luckily defend himself and managed to kill his attacker—still, that gash had horrified Mihawk and just thinking about the boy dead would not and could not sit right with him.
Zoro couldn't die, not yet at least. He had an important role to play and so did Mihawk, his right now was raising the lad to become stronger and fight off these creatures out to have his head because of the strong rare essence he unknowingly spilled everywhere, attracting who-knows-what to take his head. Of course Mihawk just wanted for the two to live in solitude without being bothered by anyone or anything. More than once in their moves Mihawk had no choice but to seek out these creatures and kill them.
It was his job to look after Zoro until he was strong enough to defend himself and, by the looks of it, he was far from it. Things would probably be so much easier if Zoro knew how to handle that essence of his, like Mihawk did, which was why this allowed him to come across, to even the Faeries, as a normal human.
It was different for Zoro though, being what he is. The more rare the being or creature, the more it attracts attackers. That's just the way it is.
Including Zoro there were only 5 left, and they attracted any kind of attacker because they were hated by all for what they had once wrought upon the world. Mihawk was once one of these attracted attackers, he and two other of his people decided to head out in search for each of their heads and they wouldn't stop searching for them until that is what they got . . . but things change and so do motives.
One might say 'how did I ever get into this?' but Mihawk knew exactly how, but that was for another time to reflect on. Right now, he had to look to find what other place they should live next, how many 'others' lived around the area, what kind of people they were, etc. Yeah, this is all he had to do before moving.
Even though, as of right now, there seemed to be no danger yet where they lived at now—besides the fact that that stupid Faerie Prince may show up and demanded for his marked—but, that aside, there had been no 'attackers' yet. Jack-In-Chains was just walked into, Mihawk knew that creature since early years, but Mihawk should have thought better about stepping back in Ireland of all places with someone like Zoro thinking this place would accept him and keep him safe for a little while.
No, he should have felt the immediate tension why they arrived here, among the Faeries and even Goblins. Mihawk knew there were still older folk like the Faerie King and Goblin King who still remembered what Zoro's kind had done to this land thousands of years ago, it was just the young ones like the princes and their other Faerie friends that didn't remember—but that doesn't mean they can't feel the tension. No, Mihawk was certain the two older of the princes did and it won't be long until the younger did and realizes his mistake in marking Zoro.
Still, like Mihawk would do, he'd wait until Zoro healed better for the journey. He'd hate to say goodbye to his homeland but he had no choice to. His stay was somewhat pleasant and he won't forget it.
With a sad smile Mihawk turned to watch Zoro continuing to lay on the couch and watch the fire roar. His arm and leg still in casts, crutches next to the armrest of the couch, of course next to his three katana as well.
"I'm heading out Zoro," Mihawk informed. "Be sure to try and not move around too much, I should be back tomorrow afternoon."
No reply came from the teen, but Mihawk didn't expect any. With that he took up his jacket and keys and left the home, making sure to lock the door as he left. He hated to leave the boy in such a state, not knowing what could happen when he was away, but he had no choice. So with a sigh he got in his car and drove off leaving Zoro home alone—like the other countless times.
Zoro only stared at the roaring fire for what seemed like hours, and once he was sure his foster father was far-gone he moved his eyes to look out the window. It was still noon and the sun was shining down through dull clouds baring the signs of winter. It was too cold in this house and it seemed like the fire was the only thing that could warm this old place.
Sitting up Zoro hissed slightly from the movement. His leg still hurt, not as bad as before, but still. He looked down at his casts and wondered for a minute that if he got them hurt again then he could stay here a little longer. He'd endure the pain if it meant he could stay here a little longer with his friends. Smiling softly Zoro let his head fall back with a sigh.
Mihawk would definitely know if Zoro suddenly got hurt again. He'd know what he was doing. They knew each other too well . . . or so Zoro thought. Thinking about it, Zoro knew that he actually didn't know too much about his foster father. He'd always leave the house going to his 'supposed job' but who the he- - knew what that was? . . . if he even had one. Well he had to have one because where else can they get the money to pay for their moving and belongings? Eh, who knows?
With a heavy sigh Zoro continued to sit there and wish he had another life. Before the move from Japan he hadn't ever thought about living some one else's life. Someone who doesn't move at all, someone who knew their friends since nursery, but no . . . this definitely wasn't him. He couldn't be common to save his life. That was the sad thing.
In his thoughts he hadn't heard the first few knocks coming from the front door, but after they began to grow louder Zoro jumped and so quickly grabbed at his crutches and hopped over to unlock the door, Mihawk always seemed to want the door locked—always.
Opening the door he blinked before an upturn in his lips was seen.
"Well, wasn't expecting you guys here," Zoro smiled as he looked at the bookshop owner, baker, and town musician standing at his front door.
"Me neither," Sanji muttered, acting as if he'd rather not be here as he crossed his arms, making Robin chuckle.
"We wanted to see you sooner Mr. Zoro, but your father wished you to rest awhile before we visited," Brooke said with a nod, clutching his violin in his hands.
"You aren't doing anything at the moment are you Mr. Roronoa?" Robin asked.
"Can't with these constricting things," Zoro groaned in distaste as he looked down at his casts. "Well, come in."
As everyone stepped in Zoro shut the door and hopped over towards the table where he took a seat with Brooke and Robin.
"Hhh, I guess I can make up some tea or somethin'," Sanji muttered. "Is it okay if I use your kitchen? I know it's supposed to be you serving the guests, but hey, look at yourself. I'd highly doubt you can fill any polite role with those things on."
"Go ahead," Zoro sighed with a wave of his hand, he didn't care.
"So how are you fairing Zoro?" Robin asked, leaning her chin on the backs of her hands.
"Fine I guess," Zoro muttered with a heavy sigh.
"Why so down?" Brooke asked, looking greatly concerned for him.
"I . . . have to move," Zoro muttered, almost barely audible but the others caught it, even Sanji.
"What? !" Sanji suddenly jerked his head around from the steaming kettle and the small dishes he was preparing from the leftover food he found everywhere. "Why?"
"Oh, you care if I leave," Zoro chuckled slightly in a teasing tone, but he really wasn't in the mood to tease at all. "Yeah, Mihawk told me it before we left the hospital. It's going to be like Japan; once I get better enough to fly we're out of here."
"You got hurt in Japan?" Robin asked, looking quite curious, but still sad to hear the boy is leaving after staying such a short amount of time here in Ireland. "Is that why you moved?"
"I guess," Zoro muttered. "It wasn't that bad—or at least I didn't think so."
"So tell us shi-head, what happened?" Sanji asked, coming up to the table with a tray of delectable goodies he created out of leftovers and then came to pour everyone tea.
"This lunatic dressed like an ancient samurai came out of nowhere come graduation day, trying to take my head off," Zoro muttered. "I defended myself, but he ended up dying. No charges were pressed because I was only defending myself, but Mihawk had flipped when I returned home with a cut on my neck."
"Cut?" Robin asked, her brow raising.
"Okay so it was more like a gash," Zoro groaned with a roll of his eyes. "But I slipped and he nicked me, big deal. I swore it wouldn't happen again."
"Like your chest?" Sanji asked, raising his curly brow.
"Hey! I was defending someone!" Zoro defended. "And I was stupid enough to forget my weapons alright."
"Human body shield, works like a charm eh?" Sanji chuckled as he finished pouring everyone tea and then coming down to sit next to Brooke and Robin. "So what, every time you get hurt you move or something?"
"No," Zoro sighed, letting his chin rest in his folded arms on the table. "When I was younger, before Japan, I was never attacked like 'that', so I dunno what's wrong with the old man."
"Well," Robin let out a sad sigh. "I wish you didn't have to go. We've been enjoying your company."
"And I you," Zoro smiled fondly at everyone.
"Daw, he has a heart," Sanji teased.
"What?" Zoro growled at him, narrowing his eyes even more at the blonde idiot.
"Sorry, just gotta tease ya one last time before you—you know—leave," Sanji said with a roll of his shoulders, trying to look passive about this, but he was beginning to fail, showing his sadness as well.
"Sniff! Sniff! I'll miss you just as much Zoro!" Brooke began to cry, rubbing at his round, dark, jazz glasses. "I'll play you songs everyday until you leave alright! So you won't forget!"
"Whoa, whoa," Zoro held up his hands as Brooke about struck his violin to make out some sappy melody, he wasn't in the mood to feel down and start missing them when he wasn't anywhere close to feeling up to flying and moving. "Easy there Brooke. I appreciate it and everything, but it's fine. Just . . . wait until I know I'm getting ready to move."
"If you want," Brooke said, bowing his head with a sniffle.
"Just . . . let me enjoy your company right now . . . as if I'm not going to move," Zoro placed a fond smile on his lips and was glad to be receiving them by three others.
"So . . . what are we going to do now?" Sabo asked as he leant against the couch that Ace and Luffy were sitting on.
"Yeah Lu," Ace said, nudging Luffy's head that laid on his lap.
"I . . . don't really know," Luffy said, gazing up at the ceiling before exhaling an angry pout. "I didn't know there were people you couldn't mark!"
"This is probably why father wanted us to mark mostly Faeries," Ace replied. "Humans can be a hassle."
"How do you know?" Luffy muttered, rolling onto his side, facing away from Ace. "You and Sabo were too lazy to mark humans."
"Were not dumbbutt!" Sabo growled, smacking Luffy's face with a throw pillow. "We just knew they were too much of a hassle. Father did tell us this when we were younger remember?"
"Sabo, what are you doing?" Ace asked. "You know Luffy didn't pay attention to anything father said when he was little."
"Heh, you're right," Sabo smirked, looking down at his pouting little brother. "He still doesn't, ha!"
"That's not true!" Luffy whined, jumping up and throwing the throw pillow back at Sabo who turned to take it on the back instead of face. "I heard what he said earlier clearly . . ."
"Father!" All three princes cried out in happy relief as they ran up to the king who stood up from his throne to wrap his arms around all his boys.
"Ah, my boys, my handsome boys," Faerie King Gol D. Roger smiled as he brought them all to his bosom. "I was wondering where the three of you ran off tonight."
"Sorry to worry you," Luffy sniffed, looking up at his father with watery eyes. "We didn't mean to be out so long."
"Hush, hush my boy," Roger smiled and patted his youngest son's head affectionately before giving them all one last good squeeze before letting them go and turning his attention to the redhead man before him. "So you're the one who found my boys huh Shanks?"
"King," Shanks knelt down in a bow, but Roger only scoffed, coming down to tap his shoulder.
"Up, up," Roger smiled. "I told you to call me Roger. I marked you after all and I agree with my boys—those that we mark have a right to call us whatever they see fit."
"Hm, same as usual Roger," Shanks smiled before standing up.
"So you're back from your mission?" Roger asked, turning around to pour himself and Shanks something to drink before giving it to him. "Then I assume you found the other Tuatha Dè Danann that had left this land thousands of years ago?"
"Other ones?" Ace whispered to Sabo and Luffy.
"So was that guy one of them?" Sabo asked, gazing at the redhead closely.
"I have," Shanks nodded, placing his drink down on a table before clearing his throat and looking down. "But . . . they're dead."
Roger stopped in his drink and frowned. His face became serious before placing his own cup down and coming to sit in his throne, knowing he'd probably want to sit down when hearing this.
"Alright . . . what happened? I knew those men, they were all well fighters even against the ones they so passionately hunted."
"They must have grown careless then," Shanks let out a sigh before taking a quick glance at the king's princes before giving them a slight smile before turning his attention back to their father. "All but one is dead."
"Who?" Roger sat up straighter, his eyes squinting in attention.
"Dracule Mihawk," Shanks replied.
"Is that right?" Roger leant back in his throne and nodded. "He was always the strongest out of them all, even among the other Tuatha Dè Danann, well—that is before you were born and he met his match, heh."
"You flatter me your majesty," Shanks chuckled.
"Roger, please," Roger let out a sigh before nodding for him to continue. "And where is Dracule these decades?"
"Preparing to leave Ireland," Shanks said, his brown eyes gazing at the king sadly.
"He was here and I didn't know it? !" Roger gasped. "Hm, must be getting old. He certainly wasn't the one causing the tension among everyone was he?"
"No," Shanks shook his head. "He has a young lad with him and—"
"Oh! That hard man finally settled down and had children?" Roger asked, his smile and eyes big, expectantly.
"Er, no," Shanks let out a small chuckle. "He's taking care of him, but I believe the young lad to have caused the sudden uproar."
"Really?" Roger asked, once again leaning back in his seat and then suddenly turned to his right to notice his three sons still standing there, listening to the conversation—something he thought they usually found boring and so leave. "Oh, boys, won't you leave and let Shanks and I talk?"
Ace was about to speak up for the three of them, but Shanks beat him first.
"I—promised they could learn a few things Roger."
"Why would it concern them? They're just boys," Roger waved the three off because he still wanted them to be continually young and innocent to such affairs.
"Well, Luffy," Shanks glanced at the youngest prince. "He happened to mark the young lad I was talking about, the one with Dracule."
"A human Luffy?" Roger turned to his youngest son with a playful smile. "What's been with you lately?"
Luffy only innocently rolled his shoulders and glanced up like he wasn't to blame. Roger smiled fondly at his childish antics before turning back to Shanks and motioning for him to continue.
"Alright then," Roger nodded. "Continue."
"I, myself, am too young to remember what they did so many millennia ago," Shanks began; knowing Roger knew who he was talking about. "But I know what their aura feels like. You do as well. Searching for the hunters who went after them after they left this land all those years ago I admit I've ran near some before—but I respectfully kept my distance knowing how strong they are and what chaos they can bring to any unfortunate soul."
"So I assume the hunters made no progress whatsoever," Roger let out a heavy sad sigh. "Such a shame . . . the world would be better off without having to worry about those 4 roaming the world."
"Well, I spoke with Dracule for a little while and he seemed to have known something about the 4," Shanks replied. "Something that has forced him to move from land to land for a long time. There may be more."
Roger's eyes narrowed before he glanced at his sons and sighed.
"I should like a meeting with him before he leaves," Roger replied. "Do you think you could get me one?"
"Well," Shanks chuckled, scratching the back of his head. "You know Mihawk . . . he's not so easy to get a meeting with. He'll probably decline."
"It's that serious is it?" Roger pondered, playing with his lips a little before sighing out. "And it happens to do with the lad he's raisin'?"
"I believe so," Shanks nodded. "I believe Luffy has actually marked the 'unmarkable'."
Again Roger's eyes narrowed before glancing at his youngest son who seemed to huff in confusion.
"What exactly does that mean?" Luffy asked, waving his arms around, nearly hitting his brothers who were standing at his side. "Does this mean when I marked him it didn't work?"
"No, no," Roger sighed out, shaking his head. "Your marks are fine Luffy, but . . . what Shanks is trying to say is that it wasn't such a good idea to mark that particular human."
"Is it 'cause of that guy that attacked us?" Luffy asked, looking down feeling as if he were in trouble.
"Yes and no I suppose," Roger replied, hating to see his youngest son like this and so got up and came to him before looping an arm around his shoulders. "Now, which human was this one huh Luffy? Was it that strong one you kept talking about?"
"Yeah," Luffy's smile suddenly returned to him, his eyes wide like his father's. "He's the one that took the blow for me from that troll."
"Yes, I didn't like that," Roger suddenly frowned. "This is why I tell you boys to stay away from humans because they're such fragile creatures."
"But he's not like most humans!" Luffy whined. "He's strong. He's okay now."
"Impressive," Roger nodded before glancing at Shanks. "That lad Shanks?"
"Aye," Shanks nodded.
"Well then," Roger sighed out before releasing the youngest prince. "Since you marked him I can't do anything about it, but there's a high tension in the air Luffy, meaning that even the Goblins feel it. They'll be out looking for its source so I want you and your brothers to stay here until the tension passes."
"Awww," Luffy moaned, bowing his head. "That's not fair."
"It is fair," Roger replied, placing his fists on his hips. "What if you boys were attacked by Goblins or Trolls?"
"But we weren't," Ace replied.
Roger looked at his oldest son before turning towards his second oldest, younger by only about three months mind you, and sighed.
"Sabo," Roger replied, placing his hand on the blonde's shoulder. "You're the responsible one here, why did you encourage your brothers to go out when I forbade it?"
"I'm sorry father," Sabo looked down. "I just . . . couldn't say no to Luffy. He wanted to find out if the human was well so badly that I . . ."
"I know," Roger let out a small groan. "Luffy can get to people, even me. From what I hear Dracule had attacked you after Luffy marked the human?"
"Yeah," Ace and Sabo said in unison.
"I know what it's like to anger that man, not a very wise decision," Roger shook his head.
"We didn't know he'd react like that," Luffy muttered.
"I know," Roger said, looking at the younger. "You three didn't know him so it's understandable, but knowing that man—if he attacks you because of some young lad he's taken in then he wants you to stay away from him. His reasons are his own, but I'll find out soon. Right now, you boys get to bed."
"But—" All three said in unison, still having so many unanswered questions.
"Listen to your father," Roger told his boys, waving them all.
All three grumbled with sighs before doing as they were told. Roger only turned back towards the Redhead and motioned him for a walk.
"Now . . . tell me all Dracule had said," Roger said, the look on his face was that of concern as he and Shanks started down one of the many halls in the palace.
"You know . . . somehow I doubt father will tell us what is really going on," Sabo said. "I know him. Matters of the 'outside' world shouldn't concern his little ones . . . that's what he'd say."
"Yeah," Ace let out a sigh and leant back in his seat, placing his arms behind his head.
"Father said the tension is going to make the Goblins go outside and search for the one causing it right?" Luffy asked, gazing at his brothers with perfectly round eyes.
"Yeah," Ace nodded.
"What . . . will they do with the cause?" Luffy asked, glancing down before quickly glancing back up at his brothers. "What if it is Zoro like you said? ! I know Goblins, they're mean. What if they hurt him? !"
Ace smiled before rubbing his brother's head.
"You said it yourself Luffy, he's strong. Don't you think he can take care of himself against a few Goblins?" Ace asked with a chuckle.
"Not when he's injured dumba- -," Sabo groaned from behind the two.
"Yeah . . . about that," Ace chuckled nervously before scratching the back of his head. "But . . . if the Goblins want that tension gone then is it bad? Should we let them?"
"Ace!" Luffy gasped, not believing his brother. "What if it is Zoro? ! I don't want him gone! I want him here, with me! That's why I marked him!"
"Easy there Luffy, I know alright," Ace held up his hands in defense. "But what else should we do? Father said to stay here while the Goblins go outside. We can't disobey him again."
There was silence now, among the brothers and both Ace and Sabo were glancing at Luffy, wondering what could come across his mischievous face. They knew their brother and no doubt that he'd try something. It was just . . . Luffy.
"I don't want the Goblins hurting what I marked," Luffy muttered out lowly, but his brothers caught it.
"Then what are you going to do?" Ace asked, looking at his younger brother with a curious gaze.
Luffy smiled at his brothers. That smile was purely Luffy and both sighed knowing the boy was going to get in trouble for this . . . heck they'd probably end up following him just to watch and then they'd get in trouble for not doing anything to stop Luffy. What can they say? They were Faeries.
"That's easy," Luffy giggled. "Get there first."
It was some time deep in the night and the whole town had gone to bed peacefully, well all but a certain musician. He just couldn't seem to find it in him to sleep and so he stayed up to write songs. Many of them for a certain new friend whom he had just recently found out would be leaving very soon. How sad.
With a sniff Brooke took up his violin and began hitting the strings for a melody, but nothing seemed to come to him. What a restless night indeed. With a sigh he slumped his shoulders and placed his violin down next to his bed.
He turned and looked up at his cuckoo clock and noticed it was way passed his bedtime. Nearing 1 in the morning. He decided it was best to try to sleep but just when his thoughts reflected on his bed he was interrupted by a sound coming from outside his window. He jumped up immediately and grabbed his violin like he was about ready to hit someone with it.
Looking into the night outside his window he saw nothing, but his nerves wouldn't stop making his body shake and so—he reluctantly made his way outside, looking around near the small garden lain under his bedroom window. Nothing there but roses and lilies and so as he turned and just about readied to head back inside something caught his attention out of the corner of his eyes.
Giving a slight squeak he turned and held up his violin, ready to bash the perpetrator's skull in if they dared show their face and scare the living daylights out of him.
"W-Who's out there? !" Brooke called out to the night, but again nothing and so he sighed and slumped his shoulders, nothing, he was worrying over nothing.
Once again he turned to head back inside, but before he could the noise grew louder and this time it wouldn't stop. Feeling his blood run cold Brooke turned around quickly, his eyes widening enough to pop out of his skull as he let his jaw drop and scream into the night.
Knock, knock, knock.
Zoro looked up from where he sat on the couch reading a book . . . it was all he could do at the moment. He placed the book down and grabbed his crutches.
"Can't be Mihawk," He muttered to himself. "He said this afternoon, and plus, he's got a key to the house so . . ."
Zoro opened the door to see Robin and Sanji standing at his doorstep, absent of a very tall and lengthy town musician. Blinking he looked at their faces, Sanji kept hopping around on one leg then the other nervously and inhaling deep breathes of smoke while Robin stood completely still, her eyes down before she looked at him with sad eyes.
"Hey guys, what's wrong?" Zoro asked, wondering why they had suddenly come by so early in the day. "Where's Brooke?"
"Mr. Brooke . . ." Robin went on, glancing down slightly before looking at Sanji as he closed his eyes, then she turned her eyes to Zoro and continued. "He's been found dead."