The sky was blue. It had always been blue and always will remain blue, at least to everyone else it would be. However, to Zoro the letter "K" was a light orange. So, even though the sky was blue, only "S" and "Y" were a shade of blue.
And the word "blue" only complicated things more…
He never really noticed that he viewed the world differently than others. In fact, it wasn't until his first year in high school, while having a conversation with Luffy and Usopp, did he realize there was something unusual about him. When he explained to Luffy that the only reason he knew what certain words meant was because he was able to memorize the patterns and colors each unique word had, and both Luffy and Usopp looked at him like he was insane…eventually one thing lead to another and he soon realized that he was very different from his friends.
And not just his friends. After talking with a few other friends, his parents, and eventually a doctor; Zoro soon discovered that he was born with a rare condition.
Synesthesia. Zoro saw words, numbers, and people in colors.
"Synesthesia?" Zoro had asked his physician. He had never heard of such a word. The word stuck in his mind and flowed with a mixture of colors, all of them becoming the pattern of a rainbow. It was pretty ironic.
"Yes." He had been told. "You're healthy."
There had been no tests during his trip. He had merely discussed what he had seen and felt. His doctor just stared for a few moments, nodding his head, left for a few moments, did the usual check-up, and then diagnosed Zoro with the condition, handing him a thin pamphlet consisting mostly of pictures and hardly any new information.
"What is it?" Zoro had asked soon after. What little he was given offered nothing new. You can taste words? See music? It sounded like a broken brain. He didn't understand how he could have a condition and still be considered healthy.
"Nothing to worry about," his doctor muttered while typing away at his computer. "Your senses merely function differently than other people. Other people have it. It doesn't negatively affect your way of life. Nothing else I can really say…there's still a lot we don't know about it."
"Absolutely nothing?" Zoro asked.
His doctor broke away from the computer screen and glanced over at Zoro.
"It's hereditary," he answered with a shrug.
It was actually quite an interesting experience to learn about the name he had been given. Zoro couldn't connect with it until looking it up, and learning what it meant. And suddenly, after finding out that it made real sense of his life, a little light bulb clicked in his head. He was, in fact, healthy and had Synesthesia.
It was a peculiar sensation to find out that he was different, and would experience things differently than other people. At first Zoro felt left out and almost alien compared to everyone else around him. He had spent years believing that touching a person and getting a vivid image of a particular color was something normal, that "A" was red and so was the number 8. But upon realizing that he did have this ability, Zoro understood that he could live a life with an amazing advantage to see beyond simple number and letters. Soon the confusion was eradicated from his mind and replaced with that calm knowledge that he was actually well off. He was better than well off. He would feel things that no one else could, experience sensations that no one could imagine. Nothing had changed since before learning about his condition, other than the fact that it had a name. Nobody considered his abilities to be a birth defect, and he would still live a very regular life. There was really no discovery in the end.
After this Zoro went on with his life, which was still regular as ever. When he wrote he saw an array of different colors, and when he read he could see the style of the author through a disorganized pattern of rainbows. He could solve math problems with the bright colors that directed him to the next step. This was nothing unusual. Luffy groaned watching him solve complicated matters in a short amount of time. Usopp would look deep into his etes and try to spot something different, always disappointed to see nothing past normal healthy irises.
And there were names to these abilities of his; Color and Number Form Synesthesia. His ability to connect words with colors was actually quite common amongst those who had Synesthesia. Number Form was less common, with maybe a dozen or so knowing of their unusual ability.
There was no name for the last one though. There were cases, and Zoro had looked them up, but there wasn't a clear name for the sense of touch and color…for people.
Luffy was a strong bold red. That's who Luffy was, and that's the color he had been when Zoro first met the boy. Even before Zoro knew Luffy he already knew his personality based upon that shade of red. With a simple touch Zoro knew who he was talking to, who he was surrounded by. Blindfolded, Zoro could recognize his friends simply by coming into contact with them. Everyone was a color, and the shade was the determining factor of who they were. He knew a person before they introduced themselves.
And there was no name for it.
"I wonder why?" Zoro had asked Luffy while on the way to class. Luffy, Nami and he were all in the crowded hallways when the discussion was brought up. It had been almost a month since Zoro learned about that colorful word called Synesthesia.
"Maybe because you're the only one with it?" Luffy explained.
"No, I know I'm not," Zoro said, shaking his head. He couldn't be the only person in the world with this. Someone else had to understand what this was, how everyone stood out. It must have raised questions. But then, he never really wondered why he could see the colors of a person before...
"Maybe it's because it creates a bias," Nami said cautiously.
"What are you talking about?" Luffy asked in disbelief. "Zoro isn't biased. Zoro's cool."
"How would you know?" Nami asked. He then turned to Zoro and faced him. "Tell me, Zoro, don't you have colors that you favor over others?"
"Everyone has a favorite color, Nami," Luffy butted in before giving Zoro a chance to speak.
"Yes and Zoro can see the colors of people," Nami said. "He says he knows who they are before they even talk about themselves. Basically, they don't even have to bother introducing themselves to him. All he has to do is bump into them and he can decide whether he wants to make friend or not."
"And your point?" Zoro then asked. He could hear the defensive, almost threatened tone coming from his own voice.
"Would you ever hang around a person who had a color you deemed unappealing?" she said.
Years later Zoro still couldn't come up with an answer. Luffy had backed him by saying that Zoro would never let something to small and insignificant affect his decision making skills, but Zoro knew better than that.
Because those colors were what he based his decisions around. It's what he based his life around. He learned how to add and subtract that way, had learned to read and write that way, and he learned how to make friends that way as well. Before it was a subconscious act: it was his way of being normal. But knowing it was something else, Zoro understood that he would have to be aware of himself whenever he did meet someone knew, otherwise he's be no better than the average bigot. It sounded awful, but Zoro wasn't sure whether he could be with someone if they had a "bad color".
Eventually the conversation was dropped, and life went on for Zoro.
It was normal as could be, but that question did pop up in his mind once in a while. Soon he moved up a grade and opportunities to make and lose friends came and went. Zoro never thought much of it while he acted, but after everything was said and done he would wonder if he did what he did based upon his abilities. Did he refuse to go out when someone asked him out on a date because their color was too obnoxious or dull? Did he considered Luffy someone to look up to because he was such a solid red?
Unsurprisingly; the answer came in the form of a yes. Y-E-S. A nasty looking pattern.
No color seemed good enough when it came to love. Not until the beginning of Zoro's senior year did he stumble upon someone that actually brought his heart to a standstill.
And that was a man who lacked a color.
White was the absence of color, and perhaps it was this that made Zoro so infatuated with Mihawk. He had read up on the man and already knew that he was a powerful swordsman. He didn't know much aside from that, though there were rumors that the man had some ties with the government, other rumors tying him to gangs, drugs, and what have you.
Zoro had made it to the final round of a tournament. Not yet seventeen, he couldn't face the man with real swords; but the honor of actually facing him was more than enough for Zoro. Or, it had been. That brief touch of skin and an empty image of blankness; pure white as freshly fallen snow, and Zoro had forgotten he was fighting and what he was fighting for. It was calming, fresh, new, clean, and beautiful.
Mihawk didn't bother saying a word, nor a glance, as he left him on the floor, nearly unconscious.
Zoro didn't care.
The two were ages apart, and they were just so different from one another, but Zoro wanted nothing more than to get closer to the anomaly. Even though he was under aged and aware of the risks Zoro did everything in his power to get closer to him; trying to get the older man to notice him. He keep an eye on the man, entering more tournaments and practicing harder so that he could make the ranks and hopefully rematch Mihawk, one day with real swords. He worried over whether the man would misread his signs, whether he would think Zoro was only trying to get money or trick him. He did everything he could to make a stranger become something more.
Several months of hard work did not go to waste.
Now seventeen, and still unsure about the reason behind what he was had just done, green and white mixed together in a beautiful swirl and Zoro was sure had to be love. Only when they were connected did things make sense to Zoro. He didn't see white when he clung to Mihawk; only two lovely golden eyes staring down at him. Gold like the letter "I". Suddenly he knew what it was like to lack that ability as his mind raced deeper into obscurity; his body heating up as pleasure and pain intermixed like the two colors they shared. A night full of powerful sex and Zoro knew he was in love. Sometime after everything Zoro realized that he had been somewhat biased when deciding that no one was good enough for him except for Mihawk. But then, at the very same time he believed that this bias had to be a good thing. Only certain personalities worked well together; the same could be said for colors. Zoro knew right away who he could get along with, and although some would call that an unfair advantage Zoro saw it as less pain for him to deal with. He could spend the rest of his night as ease with this wonderful epiphany.
And so three years came to pass with Zoro making decisions the way he had always; only with slightly more knowledge than before. But wasn't that the usual case anyways? He graduated from school, got a job, spent his days training in order to become stronger in an attempt to defeat that most powerful rival, and spent his night being beaten and loved by that rival. Everything was still full of color, and over time Zoro forgot that he was different and those colors become the usual sense that had guided him.
Life was decent. Life was hard. Life pulled him in to trouble.
But at least it didn't lie to him.
And there's your prolog. Like it or hate it? Anything needed to be added or taken away? Tell me in a review or PM and I'll be very grateful :)