Hello there! This took me longer than what I had expected, I was done with this chapter, re-read it, and deleted half of it. Now I'm really happy with how it turned out, so… I really don't have much to say, except that I really loved to mess with Ace in this chapter XD But oh well, I won't delay you any more with my ramblings, so on with the usual stuff!

Warnings: Dirty-minded Ace, cursing, writing errors… I really want to say Garp in the warnings but… haven't had a chance to write about him… *pouts*

Disclaimer: I find it really unnecessary to rub in my face the fact that I don't own One Piece, you know?

Encounters, Encounters

Luffy felt his heart skip a beat, the pouring rain fell down heavily, almost angrily, making the streets of the Grand Line pitch black save for the scarce light of the lampposts.

He had been so concentrated on finding the man that had been following him that Luffy failed to notice the man behind him, a hand was placed over his shoulder, and with a strong grip he pulled the smaller boy to the side. Luffy's face drained from all color, he turned his head to the side, trying to see that man's face but finding it hard to do when the man was positioned behind him. Luffy tried to move, struggling and trashing away from the man's grip before he was forcefully shoved inside a building.

"What were you doing outside in the rain, eh boy?"

Luffy blinked. He was inside Whitebeard's Co. building. He turned to the side and stared at the man that brought him in. He was blond, his hair sticking up in the front and was growing a black stubble. He passed his hand through his hair while staring at the window. "Seriously, if I hadn't gone out to see how badly was it pouring who knows how much longer you would've stayed out there." He then shifted his gaze to Luffy, finally taking in the boy's appearance. He was on his knees, a small puddle had formed around him, and he was staring at the blond man with wide, innocent surprised eyes. His wet school shirt was clinging on to his lithe body, accentuating the slight curves on his waist and his slightly muscular chest and arms. His hair stuck to his forehead messily, while droplets travelled from his head to his neck, and his lips were parted slightly; he was panting from the scare the man gave him.

The man gulped, and he felt a small twitch forming on his left eye. "Ah, how rude of me. My name's Thatch, nice to meet you." He said while offering a hand to Luffy, which he gladly accepted. "And you are…?"

"I'm Luffy," He said, offering the man his trademark grin. "Nice to meet you!"

The man stared at Luffy, pondering for a few seconds before nodding. "All right, dunno why you were outside Pop's company but, what about I give you a tour, eh?" Thatch said, raising his eyebrows and hugging Luffy by the neck. "If we're lucky, we may be able to steal some food from Vista."

All previous doubts seemed to dissipate at the mention of food. Luffy beamed, completely forgetting why was he in this place and staring at his new friend with stars in his eyes, have he had a tail, he would be wiggling furiously right now. "Really? We can get some food?" Luffy asked, exited beyond comprehension while bouncing on the balls of his feet.

"Yes, yes! And we can also grab some candies from Haruta, I swear that kid has a life-long stock of candies hidden somewhere…"

"Yay! Thatch is the best!" Luffy said, throwing his arms in the air happily, his grin never leaving his face.

"Don't get too close, Luffy, you might get pregnant."

Luffy turned around, unknowingly evading the hug Thatch was about to give him hence leaving the sulking man face first on the floor. "Marco?" Luffy asked.

"Oi Marco!" Thatch yelled, getting off the floor quickly and hugging Luffy from behind while pointing an accusing finger to the blond. "I found him first! So don't try to – eh? You know each other?"

"What are you doing here, Luffy?" Marco asked, bluntly ignoring Thatch.

"I got off work early, so I came to get Ace but…" He trailed off, his gaze unconsciously shifting to the window; the rain was pouring down hard, hitting the glass strongly and making it hard to see anything outside. He hadn't seen anything out there, but he was sure he had felt the presence of someone following him down the road…

"But the rain started to fall?"

Luffy was brought out of his musings at the sound of Marco's voice. He blinked a few times, shifting his gaze to the blond man before smiling. "Yeah…" It was probably just his imagination, he shouldn't make the older man worry. He turned his smile into a grin, and with a more enthusiastic voice he added, "I didn't think it would rain so suddenly, I didn't even bring an umbrella with me!"

Marco stared at the laughing boy, and Luffy settled for a sheepish smile. He could see that the older man was in deep concentration, apparently something about what Luffy said didn't convince him enough, and Luffy cursed on the inside. It was not that he didn't trust Marco, he trusted the man with his life, but he knew that if he told him what happened earlier tonight he would go and tell Ace, and worrying his older brother was something Luffy didn't want. At all. Marco looked at Luffy, a small frown could be seen in his face. "Luffy, you –"

"Oi! Marco!"

"It's Ace!" Luffy beamed, smiling widely while unconsciously turning to the source of his brother's voice.

"Why do you know Ace too?" Thatch walked over to the younger boy, placing his hand on his still wet hair and bringing Luffy close to him.

Marco stared at the sight for a moment. He smirked, it was time for payback. "Ace is Luffy's older brother, Thatch." He said, walking to where the blond man was. He was smirking in a way that made Thatch nervous. "And he's rather overprotective of Luffy, you know…"

Thatch gulped, he stared at Marco and then at the oblivious Luffy. So he was that little brother Ace always talked about… then he remembered how strong Ace was when mad. A shiver ran down his spine. Marco's smirk became wider, he patted Thatch on the shoulder before saying, "You've got ten seconds to run before I speak, so you better hurry."

Those were the only words Thatch needed before he turned Luffy around, a nervous smile was adorning his face while he stuttered. "H-Hey Luffy, what if we g-go and p-play hide and s-s-seek with Ace; we hide and he ch-chases, huh?"

"We're gonna play?" Luffy said excitedly, his eyes beaming and a slight flush was seen on his face; Thatch had to hold himself from squealing. "Alright! Marco! Tell Ace he has to count 'till ten!"

Marco dismissed the boy with a wave of his hand, barely noticing Luffy grabbing Thatch's hand and the older male complying happily.

Ah~ this should be fun.

"Yo, Ace," Marco said, waking up the freckled man that now stood in the middle of a hallway thanks to one of his narcoleptic episodes. Figures. "You were looking for me?"

"Huh?" Ace blinked, letting his eyes adjust to his surroundings while his mind processed what was going on. He then stared at the blond man for a few seconds with a dumbfounded expression until he remembered what was going on. "Oh yeah! The new equipment is here already, every division's head chief needs to go and get their share, and…. What's with that face?"

"Oh nothing, please finish whatever you have to say."

Ace stared at Marco wearily, he knew that look a little too well, and it never ended well for the freckled man. "I… uh…" He needed to be careful, so he took one step back, his eyes trained in the blonds' face and to his dismay, Marco's grin just became wider. "Th-The equipment is in the east of the building and… uh… if you see another division chief you should tell him and – oh for heaven's sake, what? You're really freaking me out, damn it!"

Marco's grin turned into a smirk. He took one step forward and Ace took one back unconsciously. "So I just need to go get my share, right?" Ace nodded. "Well thank you, Ace-kun." And with that said, Marco set off, leaving a stunned Ace behind. The raven haired male let out a breath he didn't know he was holding; he ran a hand through his hair while turning his head to the side so he could glare at Marco's back. What the hell was that? Ace thought, I was sure he was going to –

"Oh, and Ace?" The hairs at the back of Ace's neck stood while a chill ran down his spine; there was the voice he dreaded! He stared at Marco, waiting for the blond man to continue. Now that he thought about it, he was quite glad there were a few feet that separated him from the blond man, so in case he needed to run he would have one good head-start…. Of course Marco was fast too, but he could go through the hallways and avoid him; going to the center of the building, were everyone was working was out of the question, but maybe at the back were all those boxes were… it was a good place to hide, were no one could see you… "Your brother's here, he's playing with Thatch."


"I told him to be careful but, you know Luffy, he never listens; so he took off with him. I think they went to the back of the building…"


"Oh~ look, Thatch! Those wheels are really huge!" Luffy said, pointing at a stack of wheels of all sizes that were placed in one corner. They had crossed the center of the building – where everybody was working at and where all these cool artifacts were – with the promise of going back there once this 'game' of hide-and-seek was done. So now they were currently at the back, where hallways were stocked with every kind of equipment that Luffy just found fascinating. One would never guess that this place was so big, given that the appearance it gave was of just one old little building that could give off at any given time. Thatch and Luffy kept going through the hallways, until they found one pile of empty boxes behind one isle.

"Thatch! Where the hell are you?"

With a small 'eep!', Thatch pulled Luffy towards the boxes, "Come on Luffy, let's hide there." He said in a hushed voice, hoping that the boy would get his drift and go there in complete and utter silence.

Luffy, after hearing his older brother calling for his partner-in-crime, went behind the boxes with Thatch, trying his hardest to not laugh. Thatch went behind the boxes first, helping Luffy soon after and placing him in front of him as careful as he could be so that the boxes wouldn't fall down. He grabbed the boy by the waist and held him in place, stilling his breath when he heard some footsteps walking towards them.

Luffy was beyond excited, he was playing hide-and-seek with his new friend and Ace, and in a new place too! Thatch was standing behind him, so he couldn't see the nervous look the man was wearing, but at the moment, the only thing he knew was that he wasn't able to see anything with all those boxes in front of him. He tried getting on the tips of his toes with no avail, so after looking down an idea came across. With as much care as he could muster, he got one foot over the box nearest to him, then he placed his other foot on the box above the previous one, as if climbing a ladder. "What are you doing?" Thatch hissed, and his hold on Luffy's waist tightened as the boy climbed one more box. The footsteps were getting closer, and all of a sudden, the boxes fell down, Luffy going face first towards the floor and Thatch, since his hands never let go of the smaller boy, went down with him.

Thatch could hear a rushing of feet going to where he was, and as he turned his face upwards he saw Ace, his face red in anger and his hands were fisted so hard that the white of the knuckles could be seen. Thatch's face went pale, because from were Ace was standing, this could be such a funny sight…

"You…" Ace started, his whole body was shaking with anger as he saw the scene before him. Boxes were scattered all over the place, and in the middle of them there was a wet Luffy, whose face – which at the moment had a small flush and his eyes were screwed shut – was pressed sideways against the floor, and his upper body was flat against the ground. His butt was sticking in the air while Thatch, who still hadn't let go of Luffy's waist, was hovering over him, kneeling in the ground with his crotch firmly pressed against Luffy's butt.

A tic went off in Ace's right eyebrow before he exploded. "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING TO MY BROTHER, BASTARD!"

Funny, he always thought that phrase was stupid and useless, but how he hoped Ace would see that it really wasn't how it looked like. "Wait, Ace! This is not what it looks like!" Thatch said hurriedly, grabbing on to Luffy harder and unconsciously bringing him closer to his crotch.


"So you got off work early?"

"Yep! And I decided to come here and pick you up, but then it started to rain and I got all wet."

Ace nodded as he opened his locker and got a clean towel. Ace and Luffy were now in the locker rooms of the Whitebeard building; every worker got a locker of their own where they could place their schoolbag and clothes since they had to wear a uniform. Luffy was sitting in a bench while waiting for his brother; after finding him and Thatch on the back of the building, and hitting some sense into Thatch for a good measure, Ace realized that his brother was wet. His hair was dripping slightly and his white school shirt was a bit transparent. He grabbed Luffy by the hand and led him to the lockers so he could dry him up before the boy could catch a cold. Thatch was ordered to follow them and wait outside.

"Then why didn't you call me?" Ace asked as he dried off Luffy's hair, the boy beneath him closed his eyes in content while letting the older male massage his scalp.

"Because I wanted to surprise you." was Luffy's simple answer, and a small grunt left his lips when Ace stopped his ministrations.

Ace chuckled at the boy's antics, he was so easy to please. He placed the towel besides Luffy before he knelt down and started to unbutton Luffy's wet shirt. "Well you did surprise me…" Ace muttered before stopping short in his actions. A small blush crept into Ace's cheeks when his brain registered that he was undressing Luffy. He stopped at the fourth button, and in a rush he went over to his backpack and pulled a spare shirt and some sweatpants. "I-I have to ask something to Thatch, so take off your wet clothes and put this on, okay?" Ace said before going over to the door and disappearing behind it.

Luffy tilted his head to the side while staring at the spot where his brother just left, but shrugged afterwards. He started unbuttoning right were Ace had left him before a small thought crossed his mind; a few seconds ago, Ace had been undressing him. Luffy shook the small blush off of his face and took off his clothes, grabbing the sweatpants Ace gave him and pulling them up. He then grabbed the white shirt, pulling it over his head when something caught his eye. He blinked, going over to the small window that was at the back of the room. Luffy narrowed his eyes, trying to find the shadow he was sure he just saw passing by, but with all that rain crashing into the window his vision could not make out any shapes on the outside.

"Luffy! Are you done yet?"

"Yeah…" Luffy said before taking one last look through the window. "Yeah, just a second!" He grabbed Ace's schoolbag and his wet clothes before stepping outside, and he was greeted by a happy Thatch and a muttering Ace. "What's wrong?" Luffy asked, noticing how his brother's scowl deepened by the second.

"Well," Thatch started, grabbing Luffy's hand while ignoring the glare Ace was sending him. "New equipment came, and every division head was supposed to go get it and check that everything is fine with it." Thatch paused, making sure that the now dry boy was still with him. "Your brother is from the second division, but there is no boss as to right now, and he is the most capable one of his division, so he has to go and check the equipment himself right now."

Luffy nodded, signaling the older male that he had understood, "What division are you then?"

A smug smirk graced the older man's face before answering the boy. "I am the head of the fourth division." Thatch's smirk widened when he saw the face of admiration from the younger boy, and now he had a hard time trying to ignore the killer glare Ace sent him. "But since the one that received the equipment was from my division he checked it already and told me everything was fine, so I don't need to go through that trouble anymore."

Luffy nodded in understanding before turning to Ace, whose glare disappeared the moment Luffy grabbed his attention. "Then we're not going home yet?"

Ace sighed, he really wanted to get out of here and head home with Luffy, and they still had to finish arranging their rooms. "It will take me about fifteen minutes," Ace said, getting his schoolbag and Luffy's wet clothes from the younger boy's hands before placing them in the front bag, where no books or scattered papers would get wet. "I'm sorry, Lu, you can head out without me if you don't want to wait."

Thatch walked over to Ace and placed a hand on his shoulder, a stern and innocent façade adorned his features. "I can walk him home, it's dangerous out there y'know? And I can stay with him in your house until you get there…"

"Like hell I'm letting you stay alone with Luffy." Ace muttered, he could feel the twitch coming back full force.

"It's okay," Luffy said, impeding Ace from strangling Thatch and his attempted sad puppy look. "I can wait for you, besides Thatch said he would show me around."

Thatch smirked, Ace frowned.

"Fine," Ace finally said. "When I'm done I'll look for you, okay Luffy?"

Luffy nodded enthusiastically. "Okay! Then we'll head home together!"

Ace nodded, ruffling the younger boy's locks affectionately before turning his gaze to Thatch, a murderous aura surrounded him even though the forced smile Ace was giving him. Thatch sweat-dropped, but stayed in his place nonetheless, even after Ace flung one arm over his blond friend's neck before muttering dangerously in such a low voice that only Thatch was able to hear. "You better not try anything funny with Luffy, or I swear I'll slay your dick with a chainsaw and shove it down your ass, got it?"

The blond man shivered at the threat, because he could actually picture a mad looking Ace holding a chainsaw, flinging it over his head aggressively while blood dripped down the handle of the chainsaw and over to Ace's arm, stopping at the nape of his neck before going down to his bloodstained shirt. Thatch shook the thought aside, he really needed to stop watching all those horror movies. "Don't worry; I won't do anything to your beloved little brother." Thatch said while placing one hand over his chest and the older held high for Ace to see.

Ace sighed, waving the two stupidly grinning boys aside as he headed to the east of the building.

"So," Thatch started, grabbing the younger boy's attention. "Shall we go to the main entrance of the building?"

"Main entrance?" Luffy repeated. "There's another entrance?"

"Yeah, the one where I found you was the back entrance, almost everybody comes through there since it's easier to get there."

"Where's the main entrance then?"

Thatch smirked, motioning the boy to follow him as they walked to the opposite direction. "Do you know that white building with a huge logo of a skull with a beard?" Luffy nodded. "Well, that's the main entrance."

"You're kidding!" Luffy all but yelled, earning a few stares from some workers walking by. "But that's on the other side of the block!"

"Yeah well, all this block belongs to Whitebeard."

Luffy gaped, vaguely wondering why he hadn't asked Ace to bring him earlier. "That's so cool!"

"Oi, Thatch, who's that kid?"

Thatch and Luffy turned around, and stared unblinkingly at the man behind them; he was tall, with black curly hair covered in a black top hat. His broad muscular chest could be seen because of the open shirt he was wearing, and a black curly mustache rested on his calculating face. He was carrying what seemed to be a heavy box over his shoulder being supported only with his right hand, and he stared at Luffy for a while before turning his gaze to Thatch, silently asking him what was going on.

"Oh, hey Vista!" Thatch said, unnecessarily grabbing Luffy by the shoulders and bringing him close in a half hug. "This is Luffy, Ace's little brother."

"Hi!" Luffy greeted with his trademark grin.

Vista stared for a while with his eyebrows raised, he had heard so much about the little kid – not that he wanted to, but Ace mentioned him about every time he could – and smiled, greeting the kid back. "Well, you don't look like your brother at all!" Vista said cheerfully, placing the heavy box on the ground and placing his hands over his hips while inspecting Luffy. "What are you doing here, though? Ace brought you?"

"Nope, I came to pick up Ace from work, but then he had to check some stuff or something like that." Answered Luffy absentmindedly while he crouched down, curiosity taking the best of him as he looked at the contents of the box Vista was holding some seconds ago.

"Ah, yeah, Ace is in charge of his division… sort of…" Vista murmured before smiling at Luffy. "But don't worry, I just finished inspecting my share, I don't think Ace will take much longer." He saw Luffy beaming at him before bouncing gleefully on his spot on the ground. He heard Thatch chuckle, teasing Luffy about how he looked like a little monkey and Luffy retort with a pout. He cleared his throat loudly, gaining once again the kid's attention before speaking. "Well, it was nice to meet you, Ace's little brother, I have some stuff to do right now but," Luffy stared at the man rummaging through every single pocket he had before smiling, he took a bag of cookies from an inside pocket on his shirt and tossed it to Luffy. "Here, if you have the appetite of your brother I reckon you will like this."

Luffy stared at the bag in his hands before cheering, gladly taking a handful of cookies while thanking the big man with his mouth full.

Thatch stared at the cookies, then at Vista. "I believe you're a good man and will give me something too, right?" He said with a wriggle of his eyebrows.

"No way." was Vista's simple answer. He grabbed the box from the floor and placed it once more over his shoulders before staring at the gaping Thatch. "He's Ace's little brother, and he visiting us so – oh! Look at the time, I have to go. See ya!"

And Thatch was left rooted on the spot while watching a snickering Vista trot his way across the wide workplace. "Come back here you greedy bastard!" Thatch yelled, getting a few stares from some passerby's. "You don't even have a damned watch!"

But it was all useless, since Vista was long gone from his sight. Thatch sighed, glancing over to the munching Luffy before saying in a pitiable voice, "Ah well, there's no choice then. I'll have to steal a couple of cookies from – no way! You're done already?" Luffy stared at Thatch for a moment, wondering what was with him and his depressing sight. "Unbelievable, even though you're not real siblings you share the same appetite."

Luffy blinked at Thatch's walking figure before following him. Funny, there was not much people that knew about the fact that they weren't real brothers; in fact, if someone ever asked them about the case they would gladly explain, it was just not a common thing for them both to go around telling everybody that they weren't blood brothers, and the fact that they always referred to each other as such was bound to convince other people. It was just that he never thought someone that he barely knew would know such a thing… "How do you know that?" Luffy asked, innocent curiosity dripping from his voice.

Thatch led Luffy to a big, white door. He opened it and let the raven boy in before he jumped inside. Luffy recognized that place immediately, he had walked past it a couple of times, but he had never found it necessary to get inside. The black marble floor was sparkly clean; white walls didn't show a speck of dust while the front wall had been replaced by a large piece of glass, now dripping with pouring water, permitting every passer-by to admire the variety of cars displayed on the front. They were now standing at the back of the room, where a large skull with a beard was imprinted and several desks with pretty ladies attended some customers, and Luffy could see some other people walking around the cars, inspecting them with approving nods. "Hmm, gotta hurry up the girls," Thatch murmured, he was glancing at a clock placed to their left. "We have to close in an hour or so… Oh and about your question, I've been friends with Ace for a long time."

Luffy cocked his head to the side, confusion written all over his face. "Then why hadn't I met you before?"

Thatch smirked, a memory suddenly crossing his mind. "Your brother always told me stories about your grandpa, it scared the hell out of me to go to your house." Luffy nodded, considering the man to have a fair point there. "Besides, I always see him in school and whenever we hang out. You're in the high school division, so of course you would've never seen me before."

"But now Ace and I live alone, so you can come and play whenever you feel like it!" It was hard to stop the mental images that were threatening to surface on Thatch's mind after Luffy suggested for them to play, and he was doing a pretty good job at it, that is, until Luffy opened his mouth once more. "I would like to play with Thatch sometime!"

It was almost too painful how innocent that boy was, a small smile crept on the blond man's face, he just couldn't resist to say something, just for the sake of hearing Luffy's innocent answer… "Well of course, if Ace is not around and you feel lonely you can always call me so we can… play."


It was somehow amazing how the venomous way that someone said your name could freeze your body almost instantly.

Thatch turned around slowly, not bothering to hide the fear he was experiencing at the moment and was greeted with Ace's figure stalling behind him. He had a wicked smile on place, and even though his eyes were closed at the moment his entire figure screamed 'kill'. Well damn his luck. "Ah ha ha, Ace… I-It was not like that, I swear…"

"Ace! Are you done already?" Luffy suddenly said, completely oblivious of the killing aura around him while giving Thatch the chance to hide under the nearest desk. "We should hurry up if we want to finish with our rooms."

Ace glared at the shivering bundle under the desk before sighing, he turned his gaze at Luffy and nodded, "Sure, I'll just get my umbrella and we'll go."

"There's no need, I passed near the changing rooms and thought you would like it – oh, for heaven's sake, what did you do to Thatch this time?"

Ace turned around and saw a face-palming Marco, then he switched his gaze to the sheepishly smiling Thatch as Luffy crouched to be within his eye level, and he turned to Marco once more, grabbing his umbrella and calling Luffy over his shoulder as he exited the room they were at the moment. "He was asking for it…" murmured Ace, stepping into the working area with Marco.

"You do know that Thatch would never lay a finger on Luffy, do you?" Marco asked, lowering his voice enough so that neither Luffy nor Thatch, which were now chatting animatedly besides them, could hear them.

Ace sighed, but a smirk suddenly took possession on the man's lips. "I know, I just wanted to bully him."

"Well, aren't you a sadistic man?" Marco said with a serious expression, but the muscles on the left corner of his mouth gave out a small twitch.

"Oh shut up! I don't want to hear that from you, since you started this whole thing!" Ace snapped, pointing the tip of his umbrella to Marco in a menacing way, and which to his dismay, only received a small shrug from the blond.

"I don't know what you're talking about." Marco said before walking off, "You should hurry up, the sky doesn't seem as if it will clear up soon."

And Marco couldn't have been more right, because since the moment Ace and Luffy stepped out of the building it seemed as if the sky begun to fall in pieces over them. Ace hurried Luffy near him, grabbing the umbrella with enough force so that it wouldn't be swept away by the wind any moment soon as they made their way through small alleys they had come to know along the years. They went left and right through the small passages, creating a shortcut on their way, and after ten minutes they were in front of the gates that led to their home. Luffy grabbed the umbrella while Ace fumbled with the keys, finally managing to pass the metallic strip below the sensor of the gate and they both headed to the stairs, at last getting shelter from the pouring rain.

"I'm soaked," Luffy murmured once he was inside his and Ace's home. "Shouldn't have changed clothes, sorry Ace."

Ace shrugged off Luffy's apology with a wave of his hand. He took of his soaked shirt and headed upstairs before answering, "Don't be silly, if you hadn't taken off your clothes you would've caught a cold." He stepped over the edge of the staircase and turned to Luffy, a small smile on his lips. "Go and change to your pajamas, I'll make dinner meanwhile and then we'll finish our rooms, all right?"

Luffy grinned, now that he gave some thought about it, he hadn't eaten anything since Shakky's bar, so food sounded rather good at the moment. He followed Ace's lead and went over to his room, throwing his schoolbag in his bed before grabbing some red, dry boxers and a black night shirt. He hummed a pointless tune on his way downstairs, and heard the distant shuffling in the kitchen. Luffy wiped the drool that had slipped out of the corner of his mouth with the back of his hand, reminding himself that he was about to eat something and there was no need to fancy some food before it.

Luffy waltzed over to the kitchen and found Ace with his back at him over at the stove. He was wearing his orange boxers and no shirt, figures. Small chat emerged between the brothers, mostly about what were they going to eat while Luffy placed the plates, glasses and silverware on the breakfast bar before sitting down and waiting for Ace to finish.

"Say, Luffy," said Ace, his back still at his younger brother. "Thatch told me that when he found you… you were staring at the alley while on the pouring rain. He said you looked as if expecting something to jump out of nowhere and attack you, that's why he dragged you in…"

Luffy suddenly felt rather rigid. He did not want to tell Ace that he had felt as if someone was following him through the dark streets, least of all if it had all been his imagination. He knew how Ace was, and he would get in his mother-hen mode if he told him something like that, maybe it wasn't even that important, anything could've been there and Luffy was being just paranoid. He forced a smile on his face when Ace turned around and placed a fluffy omelette on both plates. "Ah, yeah, when I went to fetch you I heard something rustle behind me, but I think it was a cat." He stuffed his face with the food before Ace could pry any further.

"Luffy," Ace said in a low voice, "You know how dangerous those streets are, especially at night."

Luffy gulped and stared right at his brother's eyes. There was something in them, something that he could not quite put his finger to, but he knew. He knew Ace was referring to the day they met on the alleys, and how close they both had been to losing their lives that night. Luffy gave Ace a genuine smile, reassuring him that he would be okay. "I know," he said, placing his fork on the plate at the moment. "So don't worry, I won't do anything reckless."

Ace stared at the boy for a while and sighed, he knew Luffy was strong but… he couldn't help getting worried over the bundle of energy. "Very well," he said, resuming to his eating. "How was school, then?"

"It was great!" Luffy beamed, completely dissipating the gloomy atmosphere that had somehow settled on the kitchen. "We got Spanda as our homeroom teacher and –"

"Spandam?" Ace asked through a mouthful of omelette, "I thought he only taught on the college division."

"Yeah, he said something about getting promoted or something like that… Ah but he's really funny! He's a real klutz, and Buggy is funny too!"

"Buggy, eh… has someone been sent to the infirmary yet?" Ace asked, the traces of a smirk were showing on his face.

Luffy nodded enthusiastically, "Yep a boy who said something about apples."

"How lucky, it seems you got good teachers eh…" Ace said grumpily, munching the last of his omelette before continuing. "I got really lousy teachers, except for Jimbe, he's a nice guy, but that Enel dude really gets on my nerves! I'm surprised he won't ask us to kiss the floor he walked by."

Luffy laughed hearty at his brother's dismay, getting both his and Ace's empty plates before heading over to the sink.

"That reminds me," said Ace, who was now heading over to his brother with the dirty glasses. "Don't you have any homework?"

Luffy shook his head, passing the wet plate to his brother who proceeded to dry it with a clean towel. "I had science homework, but I did it at work since it wasn't that busy. We'll have a math quiz the day after tomorrow, so my friends are gonna come and study here."

"Oh, that's good." Ace said while drying the last of the dishes, he then turned around and faced Luffy, a dangerous smirk was adorning his face which made Luffy gulp. "Then let's go finish our rooms, shall we?"

But Luffy never had a chance to take a step forward, because soon after those words left Ace's mouth he had scooped Luffy upward and placed him over his shoulder, thus holding Luffy by the small of his back while his other hand supported the boy a little below his butt while Luffy's upper body was pressed to the older male's back, having an upside view of Ace's rear and inwardly wishing that his boxers hung a little lower than they were now… Heat rushed to the younger male's face after realizing where his train of thought was heading. He shook his head violently – soon wishing he hadn't when everything in the vicinity started to spin quite fast – and then he started to trash around, the small blush persistently staying on his cheeks.

"Let me go, Ace!" Luffy yelled, now glad that Ace couldn't see his flustered face.

"Never!" Ace shouted, his mirth could be easily distinguished on his voice, and then he started running upstairs with Luffy secure on his hold before dropping him down on his bed and attacking him with a tickling attack, loosing no time and striking the points he knew Luffy was weaker at.

"So you felt someone following you when you went to Ace's working place?" Nami asked. They were now in homeroom, and Luffy decided to tell his friends what had happened the night before now that the chattering was so loud that he was sure no one could eavesdrop. Spandam had said he needed to grade his college class, so that as long as them 'brats' stayed inside the classroom, he could not care less what they did.

Luffy was currently sitting in his chair while Nami decided to take a sit on the boy's desk. She was flinging her legs lightly, a confused look on her face but it had been Usopp the one that had spoken. "And did you manage to see who that person was?" He said, he was sitting across Luffy, his side facing his desk while Vivi, unlike Nami, had decided to just lean on Usopp's desk.

"Nope," said Luffy, shaking his head from side to side. "It was really dark and the rain wouldn't let me see a thing."

Sanji's right hand went over to his mouth, but after realizing he was in school and couldn't have a cigarette on his mouth let it slide down to his side once more. "Well, it could have been anything," he said, staring down at the boy from his position between the girls. "You said it was an alley, so it could've been a drunkard or an animal hiding from the rain."

"Maybe, but Luffy said he saw a shadow on the lockers' room window." Luffy turned his head around to see Zoro, he had his arms crossed and his penetrating gaze was staring down on Luffy, making him almost wish he hadn't told them anything at all.

Luffy smiled sheepishly, "Yeah, but nothing happened, right? And when we were heading back there was no one following us."

Zoro kept staring at Luffy but kept quiet. He had known the boy for long enough to understand him, and he knew he had this tendency to take it all on himself and prevent the others from worrying unless it was really necessary. He had told them what happened on that alley, which meant that if anything else happened he would tell them right away, and would not doubt to ask them for help, but as long as he wasn't sure of what was going on he would not drag his friends down with him. Zoro closed his eyes in an attempt to prevent the boy to see his worry, it was not that he didn't trust him, but if things got out of hand before he could tell them…

"But, you will tell your brother everything if things persist, right?" said Vivi, her worried gaze falling on Luffy's grinning face.

Luffy gave them all his trademark grin, assuring them that he would be fine. "Of course I will, I just don't want Ace to worry about me if there's nothing wrong."

The rest of the period went too fast for their liking. Spandam had finally snapped with all the noise going on and about in the classroom, he had made little progress in grading his college students and by the time Luffy had finished discussing the previous night's events with his friends Spandam rose to his feet and, not realizing just how close his cup of steaming hot coffee was to his stack of papers, and he slammed his fist on the mahogany desk, spilling the hot contents of his cup into the papers and himself. With a loud yelp he jumped out of his seat, running around in circles while yelling in pain, successfully making a fool of himself.

The bell that signaled the end of homeroom sounded throughout the whole school, and with some groans and a bit of reluctance the students left to their next class, quite disappointed on having to miss another of Spandam's mini-adventures.

"What's your next class, Luffy?" Nami asked, taking the crumpled paper from Luffy's hands while examining it carefully. Her eyes scanned the piece of paper carefully before answering, "History, huh? I don't reckon any of us having history next…" Her eyes traveled shortly through the rest of the group, and after glancing at their own schedule they shook their heads. "Seems you'll be alone in this one, well, see you in Math class!"

With a groan Luffy bid goodbye to his friends, going down the stairs and over to the furthest room to the left. He found himself inwardly wishing History would end quickly so he could go to Gym class with Sanji and Zoro. It was well known that the three of them were at the top in the sports department, and with their competitive nature Gym was bound to be a really interesting class, not to mention every time Sanji and Zoro would have a go at each other… So immersed on his thought Luffy didn't notice when he was standing in front of a door, he looked up and checked the room number with his schedule, this was the class he was looking for. After heaving a sigh, he opened the door to the classroom. It was almost full already, there was a group of girls chatting amongst themselves rather loudly on the back corner of the room, and a smaller group of guys, standing opposite to the girls, murmured between themselves something Luffy couldn't quite catch, some of the guys would steal some glances every now and then to the loud girls.

Luffy walked over to an empty seat in the middle of the room, after a quick glance he noticed that he didn't know anybody here, but that only thrilled the boy a little more at the prospect of making new friends here.

"Rather noisy, aren't they? They've been shrilling and squealing every chance they get. A bit annoying, if you ask me."

Luffy turned to his right to see the owner of that voice, a girl with short, messy blond hair was smiling at him. She was really pretty, and her light brown eyes held something akin to a mixture of curiosity and excitement. "My name's Margaret," she said.

Luffy sent her his infamous grin before answering, "I'm Luffy, nice to meet you!"

A really high-pitched shriek made him cringe unpleasantly, he gave the group of girls a reproachful glare before turning to Margaret once more. "You're right, they are really noisy."

"They've been like that since I entered the classroom." Margaret said with a sigh. "They're starting to get on my nerves… Anyway, do you know who our History teacher is? I heard he's new here."

Luffy shrugged, not really interested on who the new guy would be. "No idea, but I hope he's funny."

Luffy and Margaret spent the next five minutes talking about anything and everything, he found it really easy to talk with her, and just like Camie, he hoped he could introduce Margaret to the rest of his friends soon. Margaret was in the middle of explaining Luffy how to get to the 'Mero Mero Coffee' from the school, the place where she worked at, before the ringing of the bell signaled the start of class once again.

The room fell silent at once when the door burst open not a second after the ringing ceased. A tall, bulky man walked towards the front of the class. His half-buttoned white shirt showed a hairy board chest, he had curly black hair, long and unruly, and a messy black beard growing beneath his mouth. His crooked nose was held up in the air and his dark eyes scanned his desk before stopping. His whole demeanor demanded fear and respect. He turned around to face his students, and with a big smirk in place he introduced himself. "Good day, class. As you had already figured out, I'll be your new History teacher, Marshall D. Teach."

I swear I didn't intend to end this chapter like this… but I took longer than I expected on the first scene and after I realized it, I had more than ten Word pages written down…

On a brighter note, the plot will finally move!

So, on with the reviews and so,

crimeson-plasma I'm so glad you liked the chapter! And thanks for the compliment on the characters, I hope you liked this chapter too!

Voquo Hahaha I know, those birds will soon plot world domination. I actually wasn't sure on making Spandam their teacher, but then I found how easy it is to bully him, with him being so clumsy, so I kind of found myself plotting stuff on him… Shame on me… I'm glad that the Boa part made you laugh! And I understand, wouldn't mind either to see Luffy in that get-up. I hope you liked this chapter too!

Sachiel Angelo I'm glad you liked last chapter, and worry not! Nothing bad will happen to Luffy… in this chapter… XD Yeah, I plan on making Luffy strong in here, but I hadn't actually found the moment to make him show off his abilities… but yeah, I plan on making him strong.

Whiteinu1 Hahaha I do too, and I hope I can write a glaring contest between Ace and Boa soon! Thanks for reviewing! (:

hilian Thanks! I'm glad I made you smile in the Boa part! Haha I'm sorry, I kind of plan to go a bit slow-paced on the yaoi, as to keep a good pace with the plot of the story, but I plan to leave a hint here and there on their relationship meanwhile, there'll be something you'll like in a few chapter's time, though… *evil smile*

Jewels Rewls I'm honored! I really hope this story gets to be of your liking then (: Thanks for reviewing!

Shukura-san XD Don't worry, it has happened to me before, and I usually review on the last chapter before I know it. I'm glad you're liking this story, and well, I'm actually really excited with this story to let it behind so… XD

Tainted Ink And Paper Thank you so much! I'm really glad you liked this story, and I hope you enjoyed this chapter too!

And… that's it! I hope you all liked this chapter as well, and I hope I can update soon! See you next time!

~How to make an author happy~

1. 1 cup of chapter five (according to FF)

2. ½ a spoon of excitement

3. 1 click on the blue words below

Stir well and let it cool for 15 minutes. After it's done, you will be able to enjoy a nice serving of happy author!

Crack-ish moment, don't really know what got me there… XD