Communication Break Dance

Shanks enjoyed his job. No – rather than that he enjoyed having keys and access codes into to almost every room in the building. He was the head of security in the Mariejois Museum of Art – and currently the redhead was in the process of 'borrowing' his friend's computer in said friend's office. It was time for a lunch break and Shanks had stopped by to see his friend. It was strange to find the office empty. For a while he just circled around in the room which was filled with strange artefacts and paintings, poking and prodding things he any other time would be told not to touch in a stern voice. Then he had noticed the computer – the laptop, which had been left on and unlocked.

Could this be really happening? Shanks's immense curiosity soon placed him in the chair in front of the laptop. This was really too good to be true. The instant messenger was on. At first his intention was just to change the nickname and user picture into something more 'appropriate', but it had been such a dull morning and he really wanted to do something fun. A mischievous grin lit up his face and the cursor on the screen moved onto a button which would connect him with a random chat partner.

The beep from the instant messaging program startled the green-haired young man who had been reading a comic online. Zoro frowned at the user name visible in the chatbox.. It didn't look familiar. He must have forgotten to block the random chat after he had updated the program. He choked a bit when the first actual message from this stranger called 'Hawky-Chan' came.

'Hey baby! Wanna see my boobs? ;D'

Zoro rolled his eyes and snorted. Random chat alright. What the hell was up with this person? He typed an answer.

'Um... thanks but no thanks.'

'Me so horny me love you long time! 33'

For a long while Zoro saw that the little icon which told that other user was typing a message blinking. To his surprise the next message was anything but dirty when it finally appeared;

'Dear Sir/Madam, regretfully my moronic associate has taken over my computer in my absence and made his business to harass people. I apologize for any inconvenience.'

The user's status turned to idle. Zoro stared at the chat window quizzically before his cell phone started ringing, demanding him to answer the call.

"What the hell do you think you were doing?" Shanks found himself cornered when his friend Mihawk pointed an ancient sword at him, with a very severe look in his eyes. The man's dark suit and sleeked black hair didn't make his sharp features appear any brighter.

"Oh come on I was bored... it's not like I was pointing lethal weapons at anyone like some people!" he squeaked with a nervous smile. Mihawk was not amused. The taller dark-haired man in front of him forced the blade to his throat.

"I get it, I get it! I'm sorry I swear I won't do it again." The rusty sword was lowered but an angry flare remained in the taller man's eyes.

"I suppose this is what I get for forgetting my laptop like that..." he grumbled.

"Yeah, it is all your own fault really. Let's go eat I'm starving!"

"I already ate."

"Then you can buy me lunch." Mihawk sighed but still went along with the red-head. It wasn't until evening that he had time to sit before his desk again.

He directed his attention to some urgent paperwork demanding his immadiate attention. It was close to midnight when he had everything sorted out and checked. As usual he was by now the only person in the museum, not counting the guards. He owned the museum and funded a great deal of researchers and projects. The beautiful old building had once been built by his ancestors as their family home. Now Mihawk was the only one left of his family. He had no need for a home which only offered him large empty halls echoing with sad memories – so he decided to transform it. He had always loved art and history - why not create a museum?

Starting up the collection hadn't been easy, despite all the pieces of art he already had among his inheritance. He became to be known as a ruthless and cunning businessman when he was acquiring new pieces one after another to fill up the empty walls. There were even rumours of blackmail. Mihawk woke the laptop on from it's stand by mode and leaned back in his old wooden chair, thinking how far he had made it. The museum was blooming with magnificent pieces of art and objects of intrigue, he had filled the emptiness, but what would he do with the empty rooms inside himself? He sighed and rocked the chair back and forth.

He had always been too busy for relationships. His beloved, sometimes infuriating, best friend Shanks had been the only close friend he had for a long time. Shanks and his boyfriend Ben had tried to arrange dates for him but all the attempts had been failures. He had his own ways and he understood that most people wouldn't understand him. He was 41 now... and life was good, he had money, he was doing something he enjoyed, but yes – he was lonely. A sound from the laptop yanked his thoughts back from the depths of his ponderings. He viewed the screen curiously. The chat window from earlier had been left open and he grimaced at the the things Shanks had written before he had caught him. He read the newest received message.

'Hey. Where'd you dump the body?' Wrote username 'Marimo'.

Mihawk wasn't sure why he didn't just close the window and be done with it. It felt somehow exciting to have a complete stranger talk to you.

'Body?' He inquired.

'Your friend. You must have been pretty pissed.'

'Actually I ended up buying him lunch.'

'Poisoned?'

'Sadly no.'

At this point Mihawk realized that he needed to change his nickname back from 'Hawky-chan'.

'Aww you changed your nickname.'

'No kidding. And Hawky-chan isn't making a comeback unless you pay me.'

'Student. No money.'

'I see. Shouldn't good little boys and girls be sleeping at this hour?'

'What makes you think I'm good?'

'Oh my, am I safe socializing with a bad boy like you?'

'You sure I'm a guy?'

'Of course not. You could be anyone. Your username and user picture merely give me a basis to form such hypothesis but there is no way for me to really know. I could also discuss the style of your writing to great lengths but that is also something a person can alter to hide their true identity.

'Heh. True. But suppose that I'm not pretending.'

'Then you would be a rarity. And an impossibility.'

'Eh? What do you mean?'

'Every person is unavoidably a 'pretender' to some extent. Most of us change our behaviour according to our surroundings. The manner of speech when you talk to different people, even clothing. It's all part of a big play.'

'So you're pretty philosophical. Or at least you pretend to be.'

'Exactly.'

Zoro quickly sneaked to get a can of soda out of the fridge. He had been thirsty for a while but he just couldn't tear himself away from the computer. He popped the can open and sat back down. Damn, this person was pretty interesting. 'Hawk-Eyes' didn't write like any of his friends. Obviously some care was put into it. It felt a bit weird but it wasn't too disturbing. He couldn't think of anyone else who would use such correct language while talking online – or maybe Robin would write in a similar way?

He knew from group conversations that Sanji would send all these ridiculous 'cute' emoticons to Nami who also used them, thankfully in a considerably smaller quantity. Luffy would rarely type a whole sentence without a typo. Zoro wanted to talk more with this person. There was mystery hanging in the air – naturally, after all he didn't have any idea who exactly he was talking with. He started to think about what he would say next. The green-haired young man grinned and sent a new message.

'You're safe.'

'Oh?'

'No offence, but I don't do 12-year-old girls. The Hello Kitty avatar is a bit of a give away.'

"Damn you, Shanks!" Mihawk groaned and quickly replaced the offensive pink picture with the familiar Egyptian god Horus. He was never letting the red-headed pest anywhere near his computer again.

'What do you reckon would be the best way to dispose of a roach?' he typed, desire to to strangle Shanks growing strong.

'Kill it with fire.'

'I like your style.'

They continued chatting. To Mihawk it felt liberating to talk to someone without having to keep up appearances or trying to analyse what the other was thinking and figure out their strategy. The mood was... relaxed and friendly. Talking to this person was easy, uncomplicated. Mihawk's eyes were suddenly fixed on the clock. It was already over 2 am.. How did it get so late? Thank god it was Saturday. There would be only one meeting at the evening. But he really needed to go to sleep. He'd stay the night at the office, he was well prepared for such occasions so it wouldn't be a problem.

'I really have to go, it's terribly late.'

'Shit, it is really late. Didn't even notice. Hey can we continue later?'

Mihawk didn't even realize what he was doing before his fingers had already sent his reply.

'Yes, of course.'