Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece.
Zoro was sitting on the edge of his bed, folding up a set of tiny t-shirts and shorts, when a phone started to ring in a different room. At first the man pretended not to hear it because he used all of his focus on folding the t-shirt semi-neat (he could only fold towels and socks perfectly). By the fifth ring, Zoro abandoned the rest of the laundry and headed to the dining room. He kicked the short stool to the side and reached over to get the phone off the wall.
He pressed the phone against his ear, "Hello? This is Zoro."
"Are you a guardian of Ace and Luffy?"
By the sound of the caller's voice, it wasn't good news. "Yeah, that would be me."
"Your children got into a fight this morning and-"
There was more? "Yes?"
"They drew the walls with crayon."
Zoro slapped a hand over his forehead. He had warned the kids to only use the brand new crayons on paper and nothing else.
"Are you still on the phone?"
"Yes I am. I'll be there in a half an hour." He hung up and pulled a frown. It was their first day of going to an actual school. Since Zoro had adopted them, he had home schooled them until he had enough money to afford school supplies. He knew they were going to get excited, so he had given them a set of strict rules. They apparently forgot them. Zoro grabbed his shoulder bag and stuffed a wallet down his back pocket and threw the door closed on the way out.
Zoro immediately found the teacher who had called him earlier. Her physique matched her voice. She had a cool and collected aura but also sharp. She had golden hair showering down her shoulders and had them perfectly controlled with a dark brown hair band. She pushed her square shaped blue glasses up on the bridge of her nose whenever she wanted to make her point. Her thin pink lips were squeezed into a taut frown. Immediately, Zoro felt a weight crushing against his ribcage.
The teacher was talking to another woman whom Zoro recognized immediately. She was taller than him even though she wasn't wearing any shoes with high heels. She had shiny black hair freely flowing on her shoulders. Her dark brown eyes were sharp and beautiful, and it had the look that she could read through everything. Both ladies felt a presence and turned to Zoro. One of them smiled, the other kept the frown. Zoro smiled at the black haired lady, but averted the other one's eyes.
"Mr. Roronoa?" The blonde teacher asked. She looked surprised. Zoro pretended to not see it.
"Zoro," The black haired woman moved her hand to signal the teacher, "This is Miss Kalifa, Ace's teacher." Zoro merely nodded in response.
Kalifa turned on her heels, "Please follow me"
Zoro approached to, not the teacher, but to the black haired lady and whispered in her ear, "How's the room Robin?"
She chuckled lightly, "They colored only one wall but they made it very colorful. It's like a mural."
"Uhh," Zoro groaned and peered wearily at the woman who was walking in quick strides, "Do I have to pay?"
"No, thankfully it was only crayon so it can be washed easily."
Zoro sighed in relief. Robin smiled again and the two fell silent.
He was lead to a long and narrow hallway with large windows on every three feet. Every window was decorated artwork made by young children. Some the teachers cut out birds, trees, and flowers in one tone colored construction paper along with the pictures. All of the windows were dark since it was closing time, except one window which Zoro was headed.
Kalifa stopped in front of a door and slowly slid open the door. She gestured a hand and Zoro peered inside. Robin went in next and Kalifa followed, closing the door behind her.
The carpet floor first caught his eyes because it was bright blue. There were tiny chairs and tables scattered around the room and large bean bag seats for leisure time. Sitting on the far end of the room on those tiny chairs were two shadows.
One of them piqued toward the entrance and greeted Zoro in a happy squeal, "Daddy!"
Zoro had plans to look mad, but it was obliterated thanks to Luffy's voice, "Hey guys." His two sons' faces were covered in bandages and bruises. Luffy looked cheerful despite his eyes were red and puffy. Ace on the other hand, had his arms crossed over his chest tightly and was sagging a deep frown. His cheeks were red from indignation, almost hiding his freckles.
The man approached the kids and knelt down so he had looking straight at his sons, "You guys got in a fight with your friends?"
"They're not friends." Ace snapped and glared at Zoro.
Zoro ignored Ace's comment and continued, "-and you drew on the walls?"
"Yeah!" Luffy chirped, "Me and Ace drew ships and the sky and the water! Oh oh, and seagulls!"
"Luffy, I'm not happy." The smile faded on Luffy's face, "You promised me that you were only going to use it on paper."
"B-But Daddy, the wall was white-"
"I don't care if the wall was white. You guys broke my promise." Zoro sighed and laid his hands on his knees, "You've been bad kids, and I was just about to take you guys out for dinner."
Suddenly the two children made a face that broke the ladies' heart at the sight. The bottled up anger Ace had quickly vanished because of Zoro's statement. Instead it was replaced with crushing regret. Luffy was already in the verge of tears.
"M-McBuggy's?" The two managed to whimper out. When Zoro nodded slowly, Luffy burst and tears were falling down his face like rain.
"I'm sorry Zoro! We won't do it again!"
"No is a no."
"McBuggy's!" Luffy sobbed, "I wanted to go!"
"Next time. Not today." Zoro stood up, "Come on, let's go home." He brought out his hand and waited. The two children wiped the tears off their wet faces. Ace reluctantly took the large hand. Zoro collected their backpacks and swung both of them on one shoulder and he hoisted the sniffling Luffy in the other. Robin smiled a small smile when Zoro met her eye contact.
"What happened to the kid whom they got in a fight with?"
"Ah, his parents arrived early to pick him up. Apparently, Luffy was teased so Ace came and-"
"-that's how the fight started?"
"Yes." Kalifa cut in, feeling left out, "Ace has quite a short temper." Zoro glanced down at Ace who was looking anywhere but Zoro. The young child's small hands gripped tightly against his. Zoro looked back at the time when he first brought Ace and Luffy home from the orphanage. The hands then were so frail and tiny, but it bloomed with life.
Zoro's shirt was getting wet from Luffy's tears, snot, and saliva and it was getting uncomfortable. He bowed down, and Ace and Luffy bowed down also to mimic him.
The walk home was a quiet one. The sun was setting so the sky melted in colors of red, orange, and purples. A few birds were flying overheard to their nests before the sky turned dark. Luffy buried his face in Zoro's shirt and pulled the fabric to wipe the snot. The two children hadn't spoken a word since they had left the school but they did let out a weak sigh when they took the route toward home and not the route to McBuggy's.
After they crossed a block, Ace finally spoke, "They teased us because we only had a dad."
Zoro stopped and peered down, "Why did they know that?"
Ace frowned, "Luffy told them."
He shot a glance at Luffy but the child had fallen asleep. He peered down at Ace again, "You were supposed to keep that a secret. No wonder you got teased."
"Why do we have to get teased just because we don't have a mom?" Ace gritted his teeth, "I don't get it."
Zoro turned toward the road. His gray eyes suddenly lost color and whispered, "That's what humans are." Ace peered up at his father. Sometimes Zoro fell into these phases and Ace had told Luffy it was his quiet time. Luffy was still five so he wouldn't understand what it was yet, so that was why Ace concluded it all in one sentence.
Zoro is sick.
Ace was sick also. Two years ago a memory that Luffy's mind wasn't developed enough to keep any, was burned into a six year old boy. The sky was covered in tiny black dots which Ace first thought they were just birds. Those birds became bombs and they collided down into the town, the whole island, his homeland. His home, covered in flames, was burned to the ground and dragged his parents with it. Everywhere he ran was destroyed by the bombs. His ears were temporarily deaf because of the screaming canons as they pierced the sky and the cries from the dying people. Carrying a small bundle in his tiny arms, Ace hid under concrete blocks of what used to be his school until help arrived.
He, Luffy, and the rest of the children who were alive, were sent to Shabondy Orphanage. The news were spread that the island was destroyed and they were the only survivors. The adults didn't tell them the reason why their homeland was bombed but Ace had a clue. He had heard of islands eradicated with one Den-Den Mushi called the Buster Call.
Once in the orphanage, the place was strange to the children and many became restless. Others cried for their parents and became recalcitrant. Ace was trying not to become one of them but the keepers of the orphanage prevented him doing so.
All of the adults muttered, but loud enough to hear: "How unfortunate..."
"The Buster Call? Isn't that for islands who did something bad?"
"Then aren't these kids going to grow up and become bad as their parents?"
"Why do we have to take care of these criminals?"
Then the conversation escalated in negativity and the orphanage keepers began mistreating the children. They sometimes neglected the children in both food and water so the children were left hungry and much more miserable than before. Ace had given most of his percentage of food to Luffy, so he grew frail and skinny as bone.
Then one day, officials of the town found out about the mistreatment of the orphanage and came to the rescue. They gathered up the children to a different area, but they weren't there to stay like the one before; they were sent there so that people visit and adopt them. The townspeople created many advertisements and fliers and sent them all over the world. They even transported some of the children to different places so the people could take a good look of them.
Ace had been a few of the children whom many parents wanted to adopt but the child was so unruly and wouldn't leave without Luffy. He had lost the trust of older people and closed his heart shut. A few tried to pry open his heart, but he retaliated with violence, so they have given up.
He and his younger brother traveled in many places and finally stationed at a child center in Shimotsuki Village. There, the two were supposed to stay there for a month, just like the rest of the islands, and if there weren't any offers, they were going to move out again.
But, within a week of staying there, a lone man wandered into the orphanage. All of the children were playing in the inner gates where a cluster of children were playing. Ace sat at the farthest corner with Luffy and was glaring at anybody who met his eyes. When the lonely man's eyes met Ace, he found them empty and dead, as if the man himself had seen the disasters he had seen. From that sudden intuition, Ace accepted the man. The man even obliged to Ace's selfish wish to also adopt Luffy.
From there, there were some complications but Zoro was able to take care of Ace and Luffy on his own.
Ace peered up at Zoro who was still staring off in the distance.
"Zoro, our home's that way."
"Huh?" Zoro snapped out and peered around his surroundings, "Wow, I guess you're right."
"What are we going to have for dinner?"
"I'll fix up fried rice and seaweed soup. You like that?"
Ace nodded with a smile, "Yeah! Luffy loves fried rice!"
"That's good." Zoro shuffled his arms so Luffy could lean closer to his chest. He settled his hand on Ace's shoulders. Upon the gentle touch, Ace looked back up to his foster father and beamed.
I will update this on a whim.