-I've been gone for months and my welcome-back gift is a ZoroxUsopp. Yeah... And the cries for more "Claimed" updates continue... I really need to write that next chapter... ANYWAY: This idea came from E-kun's challenge over at the Yaoi Supernova Author Guild. Drop by if it intrigues you!
(Kairi: I TOLD HER NOT TO... er...actually I told her that she HAD to write it... heh heh...)
-I want to apologize for a few things: any out of character actions/words, hopefully nothing obvious, though I'm sure some of the random side characters I threw in will be off. I also want to apologize that my characters got me side-tracked and the premise of the challenge doesn't happen right away like I thought it was going to...
-(Also! - the title is a pun off of the famous "This one time, at band camp" line, fyi)
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece blah blah blah. This work is on ffnet, it should be obvious...
Warning: Rated M. For obvious reasons.
Timeline: AU – Alternate Universe. They're modern day college students (like me :D)
E-kun's Challenge: Write a ZoroxUsopp. AU. Usopp is taking an art class where Zoro is the model is the basic premise. Again. Smut if you want it but doesn't matter who's on top...
Aaaaand here we go...
This One Time, For Art Class...
College life was both wonderful and terrifying.
Freedom to do as he pleased, to make his own choices, to choose to go to class, to choose to participate (or not participate) in extra activities, even the freedom to hide from the bigger fraternity groups wandering the campus. It wasn't like anyone would bully him into giving up lunch money. Those days were long gone. But the big group of muscled football players still deserved their space, their walk area, their special table. It was like half the campus followed the rules of high school and the other half had moved on with their life and just let them play.
As for Usopp, he was still the clumsy, nerdy, easily-targetable scaredy-cat that he'd always been. His free time was spent hanging out with other friends like him, and a small group of LARPers that enjoyed dressing up and enacting out scenes as if they were other people, heroes, villains, wandering adventurers, what-have-you. And that had been spawned from his first involvement in the single D&D group on the campus.
Yeah. Nerdy. Not to mention he was an art student, full out art major, at a cheap college where football was still the most important thing to the college Chancellor. He didn't even go to football games. Or any sporting event. And thankfully, he wasn't in band, so he didn't have to. Those kids were just weird for actually enjoying the suffering involved in participating in such things.
Shaking his head at such thoughts – he did tend to day dream quite often while eating his lunch, just usually not so realistic of thoughts – Usopp finished the last of his cheeseburger and crumpled all the trash into one bag, ready to throw away. Standing up, he pulled his shoulder bag on, checking to make sure his drawing pad and pack of pencils, pens, markers, and other useful materials were all inside. Then he grabbed his binder – a personal collection of his sketches made while bored – and trash and made a beeline for the nearest trash can.
Too late, he noticed the jock (marked clearly by the jacket he wore) standing up from a table. Right in his path. He tried to skid to a stop, but he had gathered too much momentum (seeing as his art class was scheduled to start soon and he would prefer to not be late). A loud crash filled the outside air, interrupting several nearby conversations, and Usopp winced, feeling his knees buckle when his stomach smacked into a cafeteria tray. He fell with the tray and the food, feeling it splatter all over his clothes and bag and ground as he went to his hands and knees amid a mess of juice, soaked meat and... noodles?
Shaking his head, Usopp tried to reorient himself, already mumbling a string of apologizes, speaking them so fast his brain could hardly comprehend what he was apologizing for. Sometimes jocks were nice; sometimes they would surprise him and be completely opposite the stereotype (kind, friendly, smart, successful...).
But, of course, not this time.
"Fucking jerk, that was my lunch!" The guy shouted.
And before Usopp could respond, there was a fisted hand in his shirt, pulling him up to face the wrath of the still-stuck-in-high-school "god." Sadly enough, he had no way to defend himself here. And it didn't appear like he would get any help from the watching crowd. That had happened often enough for him not to be surprised.
Welcome to college, after all.
It's just like high school. Did it ever end?
"You owe me. You better have the money to pay me back for that!" A thick forehead and lack of eyebrows glared at Usopp more than the narrowed eyes. Odd colored blue hair. Dark eyes. Not that it mattered, but he was close enough to notice the small things, even the piece of lettuce stuck in the guy's teeth.
"Uh. I c-can't." Which was true enough. He had just paid off his debts for the first semester. Not to mention the money he was going to have to find to pay for the up and coming one. Finals were close. A holiday was approaching. He was sure to get money during the break, but now?
Well, he was a college student making it by with his own hard-earned cash. And he was broke.
The jock just raged some more, and pulled his free fist back. Usopp squirmed a little, wishing he had carried his sling shot with him today, but it was back at the dorm so he was pretty much useless this time. Cringing, he moved his hands to cover his face – better chance to avoid a broken nose.
This was going to hurt.
"Oi," a voice intruded on the quiet, still air.
Seeing as nothing was happening to his face, Usopp moved his fingers slightly to peek out between them. A few short steps behind the bullying jock, a tall buffed – but still well proportioned – man stood with his arms crossed. He was wearing a black T-shirt that seemed like it had been stretched to fit him and a pair of pants instead of the more commonly worn jeans. There were two things that stood out, though: the short green hair (which, honestly, on a college campus wasn't too abnormal) and the wooden sword hanging at his waist.
Who is this guy? I haven't seen him before. Sure, the place is huge, but something that different would've caught my notice.
"Aren't you a bit old to be playing playground bully?" Green hair asked.
The jock froze, obviously shocked to be interrupted. (Still stuck in high school...) But he did manage some grace at least as he lowered Usopp's hanging skinny body – not letting go, but just holding him there. Turning his head, the jock glared over his shoulder at the green hair, glancing over the wooden sword and acting as if it was no threat. He kept his hand clenched, ready to punch, as he spat out a response.
"What's it to ya?" He growled. "You gonna pretend to be Mr. Miyagi? Asking me to stop beating up on weaklings all good Samaritan like?"
Usopp was at first a little shocked to find the jock well versed for such words and pop culture references, but then again, he had to remind himself. This was college. Even the football players had to have some sort of education.
The green haired man smirked in reply, moving his hand down to the wooden sword, his legs falling into a stance of some kind. "Nah. I won't ask. I'll just stab you until you let go."
At this statement, the football player laughed loudly, tossing Usopp to the ground as he turned to take on this strange green haired swordsman. Usopp landed on his ass, hands out to his side, back to the unoccupied chair behind him. Unable to focus on worrying about himself, he instead turned his eyes to his supposed hero. This stranger with the green hair.
There was a strange glint in the man's expression as he pulled the wooden sword out. A look Usopp had seen on his 'enemies' many times – and even more often on the crazy villains of a fantasy movie. The look that just loved the thrill of the fight, a look that said this guy lived for that thrill.
Usopp gulped as he watched the two square off, having a feeling it would be over quick.
A hand touched his arm, causing him to jump and squeal before he could control himself. Biting his lip, he glanced up to see one of the jock's friends trying not to laugh. "S-sorry?" The guy managed before taking a breath as if to better control his expression, immediately turning the upturned smile into a frown. "I just wanted to apologize for Don Krieg's behavior. He had one too many drinks earlier..." When Usopp didn't respond, the dark haired man continued. "I'm Gin by the way."
"U-Usopp," he managed to force out through his nerves, never being rude enough to ignore his courtesies.
"Ah. Who's your green haired friend?"
Turning back to the fight – which still had yet to actually begin – Usopp shook his head. "I don't know."
He watched as the football jock – Don Krieg – shot forward, running fast with a lot of muscle behind it, quickly closing the gap between him and his adversary. But then the green haired stranger – at just the last second, or so it seemed – stepped lightly to the side. The wooden sword came up and then smashed down.
Everyone heard the crack as the sword broke – hopefully it was just the sword. Krieg fell almost immediately after, no sign of blood or any other injury. When the raving jock didn't stand back up, Usopp turned his eyes to the green haired man, who had somewhat sad – more disappointed – eyes focused on the broken wooden stick now left in his hand. Eyebrows crinkled a bit, but he sighed and tossed it toward the trash before changing his view to the person he had just rescued.
Usopp stood up, feeling his legs still shaking in that cowardly way he couldn't control. He tried his best to ignore it, telling himself over and over there was no reason to fear someone who would step up to stop bullies. Except he didn't really believe that had been the reason this swordsman had stopped. It seemed almost like the fight had been more important than the rescue operation.
Or was he just reading too much into things again?
"Oi, you okay?"
Staring at his feet, feeling so much like the little nobody nerd, Usopp muttered a stuttering quick reply. "Y-Yeah."
"Keh. Your shirt's ruined. You should go back and change that."
Usopp winced at the reminder. Another check for the embarrassment factor. It is a mess though...I have...
"B-But I have to get to class!"
He jumped into action immediately after remembering – the whole reason he had been rushing in the first place. He reached for his binder, already feeling his heart beating faster. He was going to be late! For the first time! He hated the idea of being late. With the way the teacher and classmates would all stare...
"Oi," came that voice again, accompanied by a hand on top of his. "Skip it."
"What?" He exclaimed, feeling his terrified bubble burst as the very idea of skipping a class had him roaring. "I couldn't do that! I haven't missed a single class...ever..."
"Then it won't hurt you to miss one," Green Hair said, picking up the binder and holding out a free hand as if to help Usopp to his feet.
"But...it's my major!" Usopp complained, taking the hand and getting to his feet, feeling his face blush when he realized what had happened. He instantly pulled his hand back, letting his eyes stay focused on the ground. "Seriously, I can't miss a class from my major."
The stranger yawned. "Why not? I do it all the time."
"Because...wait what?" Usopp glanced up, meeting a grin.
"So, are you coming to my room or what?"
Spluttering over his own words, Usopp found himself blinking several times. "Wait...what?"
"Come on. Your dorm is probably with other freshman way in the back. Mine's right here. I'll find a new shirt for you and then you can go to class."
But there was no arguing with this strange green haired swordsman. Usopp found himself unable to give a suitable enough excuse not to follow him, but the jerk had his binder full of personal sketches. He still didn't like the idea of missing one class, but the guy did have a point. Going to class with a shirt covered in food would probably look just as bad to the teacher as if he had not come. Well, probably not, but...
There was just no arguing with this guy.
The dorm room probably had the most contrasting atmosphere Usopp had ever seen. One side was a complete mess, with a bed unmade, clothes on the floor, weights in random places, swords propped up seemingly randomly along different walls... And the other side was the exact opposite. Bed made perfectly, the hardwood floor swept and possibly even mopped or scrubbed or polished to give it that shine. There was a desk in the far corner with a large book open – and several other books set neatly in the shelves above it. A poster hung on the far wall of some famous actress or singer in a common anime-type school girl outfit.
What definitely set the dorm room apart from the others he had visited on campus, was the line of red duct tape straight down the center, separating the two distinctly different sides almost exactly down the middle.
Usopp stood near the doorway as he studied this room, feeling slightly overwhelmed to be alone with another guy in a room – even if there were other guys in the dorm. But thankfully, the green haired man didn't shut the door and lock him in. No, he had another purpose. Leaving Usopp to stand and wait, Green Hair walked over the other side of the room, mumbling something as he opened the closet and started grabbing shirts and throwing them over his shoulder after a quick inspection.
For some reason, Usopp had the impression that the neater side and the closet with the nice clothes did not belong to the green haired stranger. "Uhm," Usopp muttered, lifting his hand up as if to try to stop the guy from rummaging through his roommates stuff.
But, someone beat him to it. "What the fuck do you think you're doing on my side, stupid marimo?"
And so, in came the stranger's roommate. Usopp stepped to the side quickly as the blond haired guy stomped in, tossing an unlit cigarette into the mass of trash as he made his way to his side of the room. The blond haired roommate stopped just a few steps from where Green Hair was still rummaging around in the closet, and before Usopp could wonder what he would do, the man raised his leg and swiped at the other's head.
The swordsman ducked and missed the attack and stood away from the closet as if just now noticing his roommate. "Ah, Sanji, do you even have anything besides suits and dress shirts?"
The blond haired man, so named Sanji, seemed no less perturbed now that the green haired guy had stopped throwing things around, but he answered anyway. "I do, but not in there. Why?"
A finger simply pointed toward Usopp, who was still hanging around the doorway, wondering if he could sneak out and escape this crazy pair without being chased. Sanji took a look, raising his eyebrow as if having just now noticed the new person in his room. Then he frowned and rolled his eyes back to his roommate.
"Another one, Zoro?"
Zoro – finally, he had a name for his savior – seemed to think very little of the question, simply shrugging. "At least I'm not like you."
Teeth clenched. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Waving a hand over his shoulder, Zoro responded while fixing his attention back on his main goal: rummaging around Sanji's things for a decent shirt. "You have a new girl in here every week, and it's not like I'm promiscuous with the friends I make."
"I am not like that, but you are damn close to being that kind of asshole!" Sanji snapped, pausing when there was no response and focusing instead on what Zoro was doing. The green haired swordsman had returned to his invasion of privacy, pulling drawers out of the furniture and tossing things around, still looking for that promised shirt. "And I said get the fuck back on your side!"
Sanji kicked out again. Zoro dodged again. And Usopp just stood and watched it all. Again.
He was beginning to wonder what this green haired swordsman was intending to do. The thought made him uncomfortable, so much so that he ignored it entirely, pretending the two hadn't just mentioned the word 'promiscuous' – as in, sleeping around. Or 'another one' as in a common occurrence of Zoro bringing home unsuspecting "friends" like Usopp. Yeah, he would just ignore all that.
"Okay, seriously, get the fuck back on your side and let me get something for your new 'friend.'" The blond haired roommate had apparently given up on kicking Zoro to the other side of the room, resorting to simple words.
Zoro stopped what he was doing, putting fingers to his chin and glancing up at nothing in particular. "Yeah, I suppose you would be best at finding a shirt among your own clothes."
Surprisingly, the simple words worked better than the forced violence. Zoro got up from where he had been crouched over an open drawer and calmly walked to his side of the room, lounging back on his bed as soon as it was in range. The roommate, Sanji, glared at him the whole time before finally rolling his eyes and turning his attention to the new edition to the quite active dorm room.
"So, what kind of shirt am I looking for?"
Not understanding why the blond haired roommate would suddenly just go along with Zoro's plan, Usopp stuttered a bit before actually finding the words for a reply. "No, uh, I mean, uhm, I..." He cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and stared at the ground before starting over. "What I mean to say is that this is all quite unnecessary. I've already missed my class so I might as well -"
"You made him skip class, too, Zoro?"
"Keh, what's the big deal? I do it all the time," Zoro replied as if it really was no big deal, putting his hands behind his head and closing his eyes as if he were about to take a nap.
Sanji rolled his eyes. "You idiot. Not everyone has rich parents that can keep them in college even with terrible grades and no scholarship or financial aid. I mean, shit, have you even passed a class?"
Zoro shrugged but gave no other reply.
Which caused Sanji to sigh and throw his hands up in defeat. "You're hopeless." He then turned to Usopp, who was still standing alone wishing for a chance to escape these two weird guys. "Don't let him get you kicked out of here...What the hell is that on your shirt?"
Blinking at the change of subject, Usopp glanced down, taking note of the noodles and beef and slop of juices spread all over his latest anime shirt. It wasn't from his latest fandom – because to be honest, this anime had been around for quite a while. And it had gathered popularity in every country, making it mainstream, and yet surprisingly still loved among the vast majority of anime fans. An old time favorite that no one would forget, whether or not they had been obsessed with it.
But Sanji didn't seem the type to be into anime, even if he had a picture of a celebrity in a school-girl-outrageously-short-skirt. So, Usopp simply said. "Uh, looks like someone's ramen leftovers..."
"Not the food. The anime," Sanji muttered. "Of course it would be a Dragon Ball Z T-Shirt," he added with a roll of his eyes toward Zoro.
Usopp, baffled to hear the well dressed blond know of anime, followed the look toward the green haired swordsman, wondering what connection Zoro had to the anime world. Zoro, with hands behind his head, resting on his pillow, didn't even sit up to respond. "Yeah, I noticed."
"Ugh. Your obsession needs to die down already. I swear, every person you meet and 'befriend' has some obsession with DBZ. It's done. It's over. Move on in your anime already," Sanji said.
These statements made Usopp even more nervous. So, Zoro liked people who liked his anime obsession. Wait, Zoro had an anime obsession? He blinked and stared at this green haired swordsman as if looking at a new person entirely. That had not been something he had expected to learn. Neither one of these two had seemed the type...
"You don't," Zoro muttered after a while.
Sanji sat up, pulling a shirt out of a drawer. "I don't what?"
"Have an obsession with anime – any anime."
"Yeah, well, I don't count. You didn't meet me because you wanted to. You met me through Nami and Luffy, and Luffy makes friends the same way you do. In fact, I distinctly remember hating your guts until I found out you were -"
"Oi, did you find that shirt yet?" Zoro interrupted, sitting up off the bed, glancing over at Usopp and shrugging his shoulders as if to say it wasn't his fault this was taking so long.
Sighing at the perfectly timed interruption, Sanji took the shirt in his hands and tossed it over to the even more curious Usopp. "It's not anime, but it should fit."
Although he was dying to know what Zoro had so intentionally kept hidden with his interruption, Usopp allowed the subject to change back to him and his shirt. Holding up the piece of clothing, he could only stare and blink, feeling his jaw drop. It didn't make sense. It just...didn't.
It was a black T-shirt with the words: "I'm cosplaying as myself."
Although Usopp wouldn't mind wearing the shirt, he just could not imagine either guy in this room cosplaying at all, much less buying this shirt. "What...?"
"Huh, thought that would fit your personality, seeing as you don't seem to care about wearing an outdated anime shirt," Sanji started to say.
Of course, he got interrupted. By both Usopp and Zoro at the same time. "It's not outdated!"
Which of course made Sanji laugh, and had Usopp blushing to realize he had just been popped out of his protective shell, at least for a minute. Trying to ignore the redness he knew was on his face, Usopp proceeded to change shirts, trying hard to not feel awkward about doing it in another dorm room. It was only a shirt, nothing too big to worry about. And, to be honest, Sanji's shirt was much more comfortable than the one he had been wearing previously. It reminded him of those expensive shirts at anime conventions...the ones he rarely got to buy for himself.
"Anyway, if it makes you feel better, I bought the shirt before an anime convention. Luffy and Nami love to cosplay, usually as some couple from a show I haven't heard of, and last year they tried to force me and Zoro to join them. They got Zoro into a pretty funny costume, but of course he destroyed all the pictures we had – though I think Nami still has a stash somewhere. I, on the other hand, managed to get away with wearing that shirt. I prefer to stay as far from the nerd obsessions as possible, thank you very much." He paused. "You can have it, if you want. I don't wear it anymore."
"Oh really?" Usopp shouted before he could contain himself. Hands clapped in front of his mouth as soon as he realized the outburst. "Sorry, I just... I don't get the opportunity for...see I don't have much money and..."
He could see Zoro tilt his head out of the corner of his eye, and was that a grin? Sanji was rolling his eyes, something he seemed to do a lot around Zoro.
"Have you been off campus at all?" Zoro asked suddenly, interrupting Usopp's trailing excuses and rambles.
Usopp shook his head, knowing exactly what was coming up next. "But I-"
"I know exactly what to do now," Zoro said, ignoring Usopp's attempt to stop him. The green haired swordsman grabbed one of the wooden swords propped against the wall and then made his way out of the door, passing by Usopp on the way, giving him a little head nod of an indication to follow.
"But I have another class. You can't make me skip everything..."
"Why not?" Zoro pointedly asked. "You've already skipped one. And since you haven't missed the others before, one day of freedom should be perfectly fine."
Before Usopp could even word his next excuse, Zoro shook his head and started walking. "Just follow."
And he was left, standing there hanging out the doorway, watching Zoro walk away. "But...I..."
Behind him, Sanji put a hand on his shoulder and sighed. "You might as well just give in. He won't take 'no' for an answer when he's like this. Him and Luffy really are a lot alike. Oh yeah, that reminds me." Forcing Usopp out into the hallway, Sanji stepped out and cupped his hands around his mouth before shouting. "Don't forget tonight, Zoro! Dinner date with Luffy and Nami!"
Usopp blinked and felt his heart skip a beat at the words. Dinner date? With another couple? It couldn't mean...
The reminder made Zoro stop and turn around, scowling and crossing his arms. "I know," he growled, not shouting but loud enough to be heard. "You coming?"
This last question was obviously direction toward Usopp, who, deciding what-the-hell picked up his satchel bag and started making his way to meet up with the green haired friend he had just recently made. It certainly had been an odd day. And most definitely an odd way to make friends. But he couldn't just leave now. Not when he had been given more questions than answers.
His curiosity would eventually be the death of him. A part of him was excited to explore the town, or at least see whatever had Zoro interested enough to show him. Another part of his brain was absolutely terrified. He wanted to learn more about this green haired swordsman, but at the same time he didn't. He'd been hurt before, after all. Lied to. Tricked. One of the main reasons he hated high school and hated making friends outside of his nerdy circles.
But this was just a friendship, a friendship he was already skipping classes for, something he had never done before. It wasn't even a real friendship yet, seeing as they had just met. It should have been more awkward than this, but for whatever reason it wasn't.
Perhaps that's what scared him the most.
A/N: FINALLY! OMG! It's like 10 pages. Just. Wow. I did not expect to get that serious with a ZoroxUsopp. Guess I really did have a secret pairing-love hidden deep inside. Seeing as it's not a popular pairing, I don't expect many reviews out of this. Seeing as it's alternate universe, I expect even less. Seeing as I have other stories that need finishing, I expect more "wtf get back to your real shit" than any real love. BUT I'VE HAD DREAMS ABOUT THIS STORY! SERIOUSLY! It's. Going. To Be. Awesome.