Luffy groaned and rubbed at his itchy eyes. He yawned and wiped away the tears that formed on the edge of his eyes and then stretched his limbs, feeling strangely off balance from sleeping on something lumpy. He must've gotten tangled in the blankets again… But still, he felt so refreshed now. "Ah… what a nice nap." He smiled and was about to sit up straight and get ready for school when he finally noticed a pair of green eyes staring back down at him. The boy's eyes grew round and he blinked a few times. "Z-Zoro! What are you doing here?"
The green haired man chortled and then he mock glared at the black haired boy using his lap as a pillow. "What do you mean, 'What am I doing here'? Shouldn't I be asking why you've been using my lap as a pillow for the past two days?" Zoro raised an eyebrow at the boy and Luffy jumped up from his spot, feeling extremely flustered.
"Wha…? I've been…? It's been…?" Luffy glanced around the room in confusion and his eyes finally settled upon Zoro again. "I've been sleeping for… two days…?" He asked weakly, staring at the green haired man with large eyes. Zoro nodded his head, staring at Luffy through accusing eyes. The boy leapt to his feet and started gripping at his hair nervously. "Oh shit, I've missed two days of classes? And… and…" He spun on his foot and pointed his index finger shakily at Zoro who was still sitting on the ground. "Don't tell me you haven't moved from that spot or eaten for the past two days?" The two stared at each other silently, neither moving from their spot. Luffy watched the green haired man, waiting anxiously for his response, his lips set in a grim line. Zoro stared back at Luffy for a few seconds. Then, he averted his gaze quickly to the ground, smiling mysteriously in a 'heh' kind of fashion, trying to avoid the boy's question. Luffy's jaw nearly dropped to the ground at the man's reaction and he hastily sped towards the kitchen. "Sorry! I'll make you something right away…!"
Zoro smiled and watched as Luffy busied himself in the kitchen. He really didn't mind. The man was used to staying in one spot for longer than two days and he usually ate only three times per week. It was no problem for him to go hungry for two days… so why was Luffy making such a big deal of it? After all, he had been content to just watch the boy's slumbering face and the change of light from dawn to dusk. He had also realized what Luffy had meant by the words in his wish before he could see. Whenever night fell, Zoro couldn't see anything anymore… He went blind again. The green haired man had felt a little disappointed that he couldn't see the night scenery… but the images of the day and Luffy's face kept his mind busy enough. It was already amazing enough to be able to wake up and see light anyway. He didn't need to wish for more.
Zoro watched as Luffy moved around in the kitchen, stirring up another batch of eggs over a fire. He observed every movement the boy took, smiling at the boy's careless and exaggerated motions. It had already been incredible enough just to see what Luffy looked like in his sleep but now that the boy was in motion, Zoro found that he couldn't take his eyes away from the boy. In only a few minutes, which felt like only a few seconds in Zoro's opinion, Luffy came back with a steaming plate of eggs and a lump of cheese. The boy set the food on the table and grabbed the bag of bread that had been left out for two days. After examining a piece he sighed sadly and tossed it back into the bag. "It's stale…" The boy pouted and heard his own stomach gurgle angrily at him. Zoro smiled, staring at Luffy's pouting face. The dark haired boy noticed the green haired man's gaze upon him and he turned his pout towards Zoro. "What?" The man studied the boy's face a few times over and then shook his head.
"Nothing." Zoro chuckled and then reached for the fork on the table. Luffy stared at the green haired man and then narrowed his eyes.
"You can see now, can't you…?" He asked slowly, watching the man stab a piece of egg with the fork in his hands. Zoro answered by smirking and biting the egg off of the fork. Luffy jumped up onto his feet, smiling widely. "Then my magic worked!" He hopped around excitedly and then settled down again, leaning close to Zoro. The green haired man looked up curiously, wondering why the boy was suddenly paying such close attention to him. "Your eyes…" Zoro heard Luffy mutter, "One is still cloudy but the other looks really bright… it's staring right at me." The man watched as a small frown etched its way across the boy's face and the boy's eyebrows knit together. "Looks like I failed to cure both of your eyes from blindness…"
Zoro didn't say anything back. But that had been another thing he had noticed in the past two days Luffy had been sleeping. He realized that he couldn't see to the right side as clearly as to his left side. So, he had tried closing one eye and then the other and that was when he had noticed that his right eye still remained blind. His left eye was very clear though… he could see so far away into the snow covered mountains through the window… The green haired man stared serenely out the window and then turned his gaze upon Luffy to show that it was fine for him to be blind in one eye. The fact that he could see even with one eye was good enough. But there was a determined look in the boy's eyes and his jaw was clenched together stubbornly.
"I'll cast my magic again!" The boy plucked a strand of hair from his head, holding it up in front of him and Zoro's eyes widened in fear, hoping the boy would not collapse in exhaustion again. "I'll cure your other eye right now!" Luffy nodded and was about to blow on the strand of hair when Zoro quickly leapt to his feet and tackled the boy to the ground. Luffy felt the strand of hair slip from his grasp and he gasped as the air was knocked out of his chest from Zoro's lunging tackle. The two young men tumbled across the ground of the floor and Zoro ended up on top of the boy. He quickly pinned Luffy's arms down to the ground, so that he wouldn't do any more rash motions, and he sighed exasperatedly.
"Luffy…" Zoro growled and stared down at the boy, an annoyed scowl on his face. Luffy stared up at the green haired man with wide round eyes, surprised by his sudden aggressiveness. The man continued, staring straight into the boy's brown eyes. "Look, I don't mind being blind in one eye and being blind during the night. It's ok. Having this one eye is good enough...! Don't risk yourself like that for me, ok?" Zoro removed his hands from Luffy's arms and he sighed rubbing the back of his neck. "I… I like it better when you're moving… and not lying motionlessly in my lap…" He glanced away and flushed from his sudden confession. Luffy blinked at Zoro for a moment, but then a smile bloomed across his lips.
"Ok then. If you say so!" He grinned widely and then propped himself up on his elbows. A mischievous glint shone in his eyes, "But…" Zoro blinked and turned his gaze back upon Luffy. A bead of sweat ran down the back of his head. The boy looked like he was up to something… "But," Luffy continued, beaming at the green haired man, "You have to cast magic on yourself and cure your own blindness! I'm sure you can do it!"
Zoro blinked again and he stared at Luffy curiously. Use his own magic…? Could he do it…? Was he… allowed to…? Luffy smiled back at him reassuringly, as if telling him that he didn't need to worry because no one would hold him back if he were to use his magic. The green haired man pondered this option for a moment. According to Luffy, he had enough energy to supply an entire school with power for three or more years…? Then, he wouldn't fall asleep like Luffy did if he used his magic…? Zoro lifted a hand up to his hair and plucked a short stubby piece of green hair from his scalp. He showed it to Luffy questionably and the boy nodded excitedly, wanting to watch the power of Zoro's hair work again. The green haired man stared at the small piece of hair between his fingers. Could this tiny sliver of hair really do so much…? He narrowed his eyes and bellowed, "I want to see!" Zoro could feel the desperately yearning feelings that he had held back in his heart suddenly shoot out and fly into that tiny strand of hair. And then he gave the hair a short sharp blow, turning the hair into a puff of green dust.
Luffy watched in awe as he felt something powerful descend into the room and gather around the green haired man kneeling over him. The cloudiness in Zoro's right eye started to swirl and fade away as every second passed by and then the green haired man blinked a few times, staring back at Luffy with two clear green eyes, both focused upon Luffy's astonished face. Zoro took a few deep breaths, feeling slightly weaker and more exhausted than before. He could feel the sweat forming on his brow, as if he had went for a few quick jogs around the cottage. But he hadn't fallen asleep as Luffy had. Was this… his power…? The reason why that man had locked him up…?
"Wow… Zoro really is amazing…" Luffy whispered, staring into the shining green eyes of Zoro, who was looking right back down at him. The two stared at each other for a moment, entranced by the other's eyes. But then Luffy realized that it was still a school day…! He gulped and hastily pulled himself away from Zoro and fumbled around, searching for his book bag. The green haired man blinked, wondering why Luffy had suddenly run off. He watched the dark haired boy open cabinets and drawers, searching for something. Luffy crawled under the couch, twisting into the narrow space like a kitten, bottom stuck high in the air. Where the heck was his book bag? Could he have left it at school? Zoro watched Luffy's bottom wave around in the air as the boy struggled in his search for whatever elusive object he was looking for. The green haired man felt a bead of sweat roll down the back of his head and he sighed, shaking his head. Zoro walked towards Luffy, feeling much more balanced now that he could see with his right eye as well as his left, and he crouched down to peer under the couch curiously.
"What are you looking for…?" He asked in his low voice, glancing around the bottom warily. Luffy pouted and pulled his head out from under the couch.
"I can't find it! My book bag!" The boy scratched at his head, trying to remember the last place he had put it. He remembered... stuffing the bag into the compartment in one of the desks that he sat in… Zoro pulled his head from under the couch, blowing off a piece of dust that had decided to stick to his hair. Luffy bopped his fist against the palm of his hand. "It must still be in school…"
Zoro felt a twinge of annoyance pulse in his brain. "You idiot! Why did you have to go through that entire search then?"
"Ah! What time is it?" The dark haired boy cried, glancing towards the sun. His eyes bulged as the sun was passing high above the cottage. "Holy crap! I'm super late!" He jumped in place and glanced from the plates of food to Zoro nervously and then from Zoro to the plates of food again in a repetitive cycle. The green haired man sighed and waved his hand at the boy.
"Yes, yes. I'll take care of it… you go off to your school." Luffy beamed happily at him and raced towards the door.
"Thanks, Zorooo!" And then with that, he raced out the door hastily in a gust of snow. The green haired man stared at the entrance for a moment or two, wondering how the boy had so much excessive energy even though it was he who had the excessive life force to cast strong magic… The man shrugged his shoulders and settled down at the table, poking at the eggs with his fork. He took a bite into the forkful and then sighed, chewing on it idly. They had gone cold… Zoro glanced around the room and sighed. Really… even though it was Luffy's home, without Luffy… it just didn't seem normal… The green haired man glanced out the window and then frowned, realizing that the view didn't look as good as when Luffy's head had been lying comfortably in his lap. His eyes lowered to the table. Damn… did he really depend on Luffy so much now…? He was starting to feel lonely again… How stupid. After all, Luffy would come back to him. But something in his gut told him otherwise… Suddenly, the door burst open and Zoro lifted his gaze up in surprise. The black haired boy of his thoughts was crouched beside him, grinning cheekily. The boy hastily grabbed a piece of stale bread from the table. Then, after a quick "peace" sign, Luffy ran towards the door and slammed it shut, shouting, "I'll be back, Zorooo! Don't worry!" And then the green haired man heard the pattering of feet on the snow, crunching the sparkling white ice and fading off into the distance. A small smile spread across Zoro's lips and he sighed, trying to release the tight bubble in his chest. He was feeling all nervous for no reason… Luffy would definitely return to him. Definitely.
The green haired man forked another spoonful of the cold eggs and chewed on them, smiling slightly. Even though they were cold, the taste was still very flavorful…! He took a bite of stale bread and continued to shovel the egg down his mouth. Just as he was about to bite into the delicious lump of cheese Luffy had prepared for him, someone opened the door again. Zoro paused mid-bite into the cheese and snorted. Luffy was back for more food, huh? He really wanted to continue eating the cheese, but maybe the boy would want some cheese to go with his bread? "Oi, Luffy… how many times will you - ?" He turned to face the person he thought was Luffy but instead of finding the cheery and warm face of the black haired boy, he met face to face with a masked person wearing a white sheet over his head and body. The green haired man dropped the lump of cheese in his hand and quickly jumped behind the couch, keeping a safe distance away from whoever that person was. His heart pumped wildly in his chest and his eyes darted from the first person to the other two people, also wearing white sheets, standing stoically at the doorway of the cottage. All three of them held rope and wooden sticks in their hands and Zoro's eyes narrowed dangerously. He recognized the smell coming from those people… but… how did they know he was here…?
Luffy slammed open the door to his classroom, panting heavily from sprinting from his house to the school in less than thirty seconds. "I'm sorry I'm late!" He yelled out, bowing his head apologetically. When he heard no answer, he blinked and looked up curiously. The teacher with her floppy textbook pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose and continued teaching the class as if his shout had been as ignorable as the air that they breathed. And none of the students had turned their heads towards him. He frowned… Ok, he knew that none of the students really liked him that much, but ignoring him like this was taking it too far, wasn't it? And the teacher wasn't paying attention to him either? What the hell was going on? He stomped to the front of the room and waved a hand in front of the teacher's face but the woman merely flipped the page in the textbook and started speaking again. Luffy pouted and puffed out his cheeks in frustration. He flipped the page of the textbook back to the previous page and glared at the teacher angrily for ignoring him. It hurt. It hurt that even the teacher wouldn't acknowledge his existence… And the boy stared sadly at the teacher as she stared down at the textbook in confusion and flipped the page back to the next page.
Luffy sighed and walked towards the desk he normally sat in and found it vacant as usual with the seats surrounding it equally as vacant as the seat he sat in. The boy sat down and sighed tiredly. Then, he spotted the book bag he had been searching with Zoro this morning. He smiled and pulled the bag out, checking its contents to make sure no one had taken anything during the two days he had been absent. It was fine. Figured… who would want to touch the belongings of a nobody? What could a nobody possibly have as a possession? Luffy sighed and laid his head down on the desk, clutching the book bag close to his heart. He had searched so hard for this bag and he had left Zoro all alone at home just to come to school… yet why was he here…? To learn? He glanced away, narrowing his eyes in annoyance. Learning these things in this way was annoying… for him, everything was always best learned through experience… it was useless. Useless to come to school…
The black haired boy sighed and blew his dark bangs away from his eyes, glancing out the window dully. What was Zoro doing right at this moment…? Stuffing his face with egg, cheese, and bread? Luffy snickered to himself and smiled, feeling more at ease after thinking about the green haired man. The boy sighed contently and felt an overwhelming warmth spread through his body, stemming from his heart. He had been completely wrong about himself. He wasn't a nobody anymore…
As the class droned on and ended, Luffy stood from his seat and left the door, passing by the students and the teachers, smiling as they all ignored his presence. It didn't matter. His smile grew wider. Because he still had Zoro…! The lights of the halls hummed to him and he stared at them in wonder on his way towards the cafeteria. These were all powered by Zoro's magic… The boy closed his eyes, not caring whether or not he bumped into anyone or anything. He could feel Zoro's familiar energy pulsing through the school… Now that he was aware that the green haired man existed, he couldn't pretend that he didn't know and just walk through the halls calmly without paying attention to all the wonders Zoro's magic worked. The reason why that crystal lamp was shining for all the other students was because of Zoro. The reason why those students could eat a properly heated meal was because of Zoro. The reason why the cafeteria staff could easily clean up the trays was because Zoro's magic provided the energy to drive that washing machine…! Almost everything linked back to Zoro… Luffy stared at the walls of the school in amazement, watching everything in a new light. The green haired man truly was an amazing person, wasn't he…?
The boy walked down the hall, chewing at a loaf of melon bread that he had successfully taken from the cafeteria. No one had noticed, of course, since they were all ignoring his existence… He strolled down the halls, deciding to get to his last class as soon as possible. Although it was his favorite class—since the red haired professor taught it—he wished to return to Zoro as soon as possible and tell the man just how many things he did for the school. The boy laughed and bit into the melon bread, imagining the shocked look on Zoro's face the man would look back at him with. Luffy finished off the melon bread and licked his fingers clean before entering the classroom. He would probably be the first one there, but it didn't matter. That only meant he could speak to the red haired professor about his adventure last night…! The dark haired boy grinned and pulled open the doors of the classroom, expecting to see the regular red haired professor, making weird faces at him and poking his tongue out incessantly. But instead, his eyes widened as he saw the scarred face of the principal speaking calmly to the red haired professor. The red haired professor smiled and nodded along to the greasy haired man's words. Luffy felt a coldness creep over his body. The principal almost never left his office… What was he doing here…?
The greasy haired man smirked and then turned to smile at the dark haired boy. Luffy clenched his fists together and prepared himself for a battle, a low threatening growl in his throat. What was this guy's motive? The principal waved to the red professor and moved slowly towards Luffy, a smile upon his lips that grew more menacing and sly at every step he took towards the boy. Then, he stepped past the boy, standing very close to him. Luffy tensed and froze in his spot, not daring to turn around or jump away. His pupils dilated and he stared at the red haired professor humming to himself and writing something lazily across the board.
"Hello, Luffy…" The scarred man stopped right after moving past Luffy. He didn't look back to the boy and merely stood there, like a menacing force or wall that couldn't be moved. The principal snorted and walked off with a sweep of his robes. "You… are… expelled." His voice dripped sticky with honey, as if it were the sweetest thing to do. To expel a student from school. Luffy's eyes widened and when the principal had walked some distance away, the boy's limbs numbed enough for him to spin around and glare at the back of the principal. What did he mean? He was expelled…? His head snapped back to the red haired professor, humming happily, writing along the board with a black marker. Luffy gulped. By expelled… he didn't mean…? The boy slowly walked towards the red haired professor and tried to stay out of sight, hoping that was the reason why the man hadn't given him a word of greeting yet. Luffy felt his heart clench and dry as he approached the professor. Did… did he not see him…? The boy reached a hand out, wanting to tap the man's shoulder yet hesitating, not wanting to see himself touch the red haired professor and still gain no response. The boy dropped his hand to his side lifelessly, dangling for a while before slowing to a stop. Luffy lowered his head, staring at the floor with his hair covering his eyes, waiting for that familiar hand to ruffle his hair and laugh at him, telling him that everything was only a joke. And then the red haired professor turned around… flipped a page in the textbook… scratched his ear while staring out at the classroom… and then returned to the board, humming happily.
It wasn't long until the rest of the class entered the classroom. They settled in their seats and the red haired professor smiled at them. "Good afternoon, everyone! I'm going to start with roll call… although I'm sure all of you are here because you wouldn't even dream of missing my class, now would you?" He smiled and raised an eyebrow at the students. A few chuckles chimed from the students and he started calling out the first few names from the list. Luffy didn't move from his spot at the front of the room. He just stood there, going unnoticed by everyone… The boy waited and waited, waiting for his name to be called out. But when the names started going past 'M' and into the 'S's, a sinking feeling started growing in his head and stomach. This was what it meant to be expelled… he was now, to everyone… completely nonexistent… A small drop of salty tear fell from the boy's eyes but he swiftly wiped it away and clenched the handle of his bag tightly in his hand. Then, he sped out the door, away from the unconcerned mass of students and teachers. What had the principal done to them? How was it possible that they didn't even notice him…? Luffy sprinted down the hall, a determined look on his face. He skidded to a stop in front of the glass office of the principal and heaved heavily, not knowing whether it was from the sudden movement or from the anger welling up in his heart. The boy reached his hand to the glass door and shoved it open. The principal sat in his chair, shadowed out from the blinding light flooding in through the window. Luffy couldn't see the man properly but he was sure that the principal was smirking back at him slyly, as if he were being mocked and looked down upon.
Luffy scowled and stepped into the office, standing tall in the room. "Return them all to normal." The boy demanded, glaring at the principal. He must've cast some sort of spell upon all the students and teachers. There was no possible way everyone had decided to ignore them of their own will…
"Oh?" The principal snorted and leaned forward in his seat. "I've already expelled you and you still dare to stay in school and negotiate?" The low voiced man scowled, "Stop kidding with me, boy. I was thinking of giving you a few minutes to get yourself packed up and ready to leave, but instead you come to my office and demand that I change my decision?" The principal laughed loudly and Luffy's scowl grew even deeper. Really, he just wanted to punch that man in the face. The greasy haired man abruptly stopped laughing and slammed a fist on the table. "Stop dreaming, boy. You think you have more authority over me?"
Luffy stared defiantly at the principal. If the scarred man had cast a spell upon the students and the teachers, it didn't matter what happened to him, as long as he restored them back to normal… because forcing all of those people to forget him, against their own will… it was wrong! The dark haired boy stood in his place, unmoving. The scarred principal smirked and rose from his seat, opening a pouch hanging on the side of his waist.
"It seems like you won't be leaving without a punishment, eh…?" The man grinned and pulled out a strand of green hair, holding it delicately between his two fingers. "Why don't I let you have a taste of Zoro's power, huh? The power of his despair!" The principal nearly spit as he blew the strand of hair at Luffy forcefully, eyes boring down upon the boy in annoyance. Luffy's eyes widened as the green dust dissipated into the air. All of a sudden, his vision dimmed and the bright glass room was growing darker and darker. He blinked his eyes rapidly and rubbed at them, wondering why it was so dark although his eyes were still open. The principal's laughter came from nearby him and he put up his book bag to defend against any sneak attacks the man might make in the darkness. Something hard hit the back of his head and Luffy could feel his skull almost crunch under the impact. The boy gasped and then fell to the ground weakly, feeling all of his muscles relax and grow limp. The last thing he heard before losing conscious was the principals' sinister laughter ringing repeatedly over and over in his mind. He glanced up and could see nothing but darkness. The boy's eyelids drooped closed and he could feel unshed tears forming in his eyes.
I'm sorry… Zoro…
The green haired man struggled against the rope binding him, grunting from trying to escape from the hold of the three people wearing white. "Let go of me, you bastards…!" The three people gulped nervously, unused to this new and aggressive Zoro, but they held the man tightly in the ropes, not daring to let go, fearing the principal's wrath. The trio pulled at the green haired man, pulling him through the deep snow, towards the dark forest lying beside a large building with a large cross shape and lily insignia carved on the front. Suddenly, Zoro felt something change. He didn't know if it was the weather, if it was an extra gust of wind, or if it was his body, if his heart had quickened its pace, but he knew something had changed. Something had happened to Luffy. His eyes narrowed and he struggled even harder against the binds, chafing his arms raw. The people pulled desperately staring at each other and wondering where all of this strength had come from. The man had never shown such defiance before… Zoro twisted and turned in his spot, pulling away from the three people and messing up their balance. One of the captors tripped over a lump of snow and accidentally let go of their rope. The captor reached an arm out, shocked by his slip up. Zoro smirked and pulled away so that the man couldn't reach the rope. Then he twisted roughly again, sending the two other people thrashing around, trying to control the green haired beast bound in ropes. Before the person who had tripped could pick himself up, Zoro quickly started running through the snow, towards the building with the cross shaped insignia and blooming lily flower. He remembered seeing that on Luffy's uniform… perhaps this was the boy's school?
The people wearing white pulled back, digging their heels into the snow, trying to stop the green haired man, but Zoro merely smirked and ran forwards. The people leaned backwards, hoping their weight on the ropes would stay the fugitive but Zoro noticed his chance and stopped running forward, opting to move backwards. The sudden imbalance in tension sent the people falling backward onto their backs and they blinked in surprise. Zoro snorted and then started running towards the school building, bare foot, wearing only the dark blue shirt and sweatpants Luffy had given him. The ropes flapped behind him, dragging across the ground and occasionally jumping to the air as he sprinted as fast as he could towards the building. What had happened to Luffy? Did they know that Luffy was the one who freed him and that's why they were able to find him in Luffy's home…?
He raced towards the building, as if an avalanche were on his tail. He ran and ran as if his life depended on it. For right now, Luffy was his life. The only person he knew and trusted dearly. And if anything happened to the boy… because of him… he wouldn't be able to forgive himself. He could hear the people in white chasing after him hastily but he knew he was far ahead of them and that they would not catch up. His whole body was pumping… he had so much energy… the man started to wonder why he hadn't used it sooner. The wind whipped his face cold and his feet were numb and frozen from stepping in ice and snow for too long. But… no one could hold him back…! It was wonderful… and he could see everything… his feet moving beneath him in a blur, the black trees with peeling bark and bare branches, passing by second by second, the sun straying ever over his head, watching high over the entire world in its solitary throne. Suddenly, the doors of the school opened and out stepped a man with a scarred face and greasy hair. Zoro ran towards him, thinking that the man would let him pass, but the man stayed still, smiling at the green haired man. Zoro skidded to a halt in front of the man who wouldn't move from the doors. He narrowed his eyes at the smiling man, recognizing the cologne the man used on himself.
"Move aside." He grunted, standing straight, looking eye to eye with the principal. His eyes were cold and stoic, locked upon the other person. The principal merely smirked.
Zoro's eyebrows creased together in anger. "Where's Luffy?"
The principal shrugged. "In class, most likely."
"You lie." The green haired man's reply was a short staccato. There was no place to deny it. The principal snorted.
"Roronoa Zoro…" He shook his head sadly and reached a hand out to pat the green haired man's head. But Zoro pulled away, watching the man icily. The principal frowned. "What has that boy Monkey D. Luffy taught you on your trip outside? I'm not your enemy, Zoro…" He opened his arms wide and smiled kindly with a hint of pity upon his face. "I'm… your friend." Zoro scowled and glared at the man, furious that he dared call himself his friend. The principal continued and took a step closer towards the green haired man. "Can't you see? I've been helping you grow stronger and stronger over the years." The greasy haired man had a manic glint in his eyes. "I am helping you reach your potential…!" Zoro's hardened gaze started to dissolve as the principal stepped closer and closer. "Don't you understand? Whenever you despair, your power reaches the peak! I am only trying to help you reach there…" The principal stepped closer again and Zoro took a hesitant step backwards, feeling smaller and smaller as the scarred man before him seemed to tower over him. "You understand now? I am your true friend…"
The green haired man stepped backwards again and his back hit something solid. He glanced behind him shakily and noticed that the principal had guided him into the school wall. He could run no further. Zoro licked his lips and then tentatively opened his mouth. "But… but Luffy – "
The greasy haired man snorted and stared at Zoro in disbelief. "Luffy? Luffy?" He chortled and slapped his thigh a few times. Then he slammed his palm into the wall right beside Zoro's head with so much force that it stripped away all of Zoro's previous thoughts and focused solely upon the fear in his heart. The principal snarled, "Luffy isn't your friend. I offered him a deal he couldn't refuse and he played the role of 'good friend'." The principal smirked. "Not a bad actor, eh?"
Zoro's eyes widened fearfully. It couldn't be true… Luffy couldn't have been acting… it wasn't possible… was it?
The greasy haired man continued to speak with his acid words that burned holes through Zoro's reconstructed heart. "Luffy came to me today. He told me where he lived and that you were there. Alone. You see? He's betrayed you. You can't trust him at all. You are alone… no one cares for you." The principal gripped the green haired man by his new hair cut and smashed the man's head against the wall. "You are… a nobody."
His head throbbed in pain and his vision was blurring from the impact of his head against the wall. But, Zoro still had one question left before he was willing to let Luffy go… it was a dream too good to let go… too good to be true… "But… why…?"
The principal smiled, "Simple. He doesn't like you. And his sole purpose was to make you despair even more. To make you grow to your potential. You see how I am trying to help you? How I am your only friend you can trust…?"
Zoro sunk against the wall, feeling empty and limp. He could feel the principal lift him up in his arms and he saw him bring him into the school building and into the elevator, down and down, into the depths of the school basement. To his solid cage once again… But none of this mattered. Only one thought ran through his head.
Luffy… why didn't you like me…?
A humming noise was ringing in the air, buzzing along the walls, ever present. Luffy woke to darkness, blinking blindly. What? Where was he…? It was so dark… he didn't know if he were standing or lying down against something. He moved his body, wondering if he could move anywhere. The boy frowned as his hands were shackled high above his head against what felt like a wall. His legs could move though… The boy twisted and turned, grunting from the effort of trying to move his arms or release himself from the chains, but they were just too tight on him. The boy pouted in annoyance and lay against the wall, slightly exhausted. Why the heck was he here…? In all this darkness and shackled to the wall?
The boy suddenly heard the sound of something opening to his right. He looked up, wondering who it possibly could be and why they were entering such a dark place. Come to think of it… even the place where they entered in from was dark… How did these people move and work in all this blackness? As these thoughts ran through Luffy's head, the person who he heard walked towards him with slow footsteps. And then he felt something unexpectedly heavy land into his stomach. The impact sent the air gushing out through his lungs and the pain choked his throat so he couldn't breath. Luffy's head and legs lurched forward from the blow and when he fell back against the wall, he coughed and took a few deep breaths to regain his bearings. What the heck? Why was this person punching him? Who was this person? He glared into the darkness, head snapping from side to side, trying to figure out the position of the person now. "Where - ?" A punch to his cheek silenced him and caused him to bite the side of his tongue. As the taste of blood pooled in his mouth, Luffy stayed still and listened carefully for his attacker. The last thing he remembered before waking up here was fighting against the principal… and then… he'd been knocked out and brought here… Had the principal hired a person to come beat him up for ever time…? His eyes narrowed. The principal knew that he had been the one to free Zoro… and so now he was being beat up for it? The boy smirked and closed his eyes. That was fine… as long as Zoro was safe now… He could slowly work his way out of this torture prison. As long as they didn't find Zoro and take him back. As long as the green haired man was safe…
He felt something solid smash into his groin and the boy choked as he felt it grind and press down against his tender parts. A burning and wrenching pain twisted in his lower stomach and he bit his lip so as not to cry out in pain. And then, through the pain, a fearful thought occurred to him. What if Zoro wasn't safe…? His eyes widened in surprise and another fist slammed into his stomach mercilessly, sending his spittle and blood flying from his mouth. What if the principal knew where he lived and went to capture Zoro again…? The boy's eyes went round in fear. He had to get out of here as fast as possible…! He had to make sure Zoro was safe… and when he knew that Zoro was safe, he'd take the green haired man out of this country. They'd escape together and disappear from the principal… to a place where Zoro could learn to open up and trust others.
His torturer was sending a barrage of kicks and punches to his face and stomach now and the boy started to go numb under the quick succession of blows. He could barely catch his breath between each blow but he knew that his attacker would grow tired sooner or later. He could hold out until then… When the person had considerably slowed, Luffy grinned and waited for the next blow to come. They would go for his head because the person seemed to have a pattern in his delivery of punches and kicks. Punch the stomach, punch the face, kick the crotch, kick the stomach, punch the face and then punch the stomach again. What a simpleton… Luffy smirked and felt the leg retract from his stomach and he could hear the shooting sound of his attacker's fist coming for him. At the last minute, the boy drew his head back so that the man only managed to cut a few strands of his bangs. The dark haired boy grinned manically, which seemed to stop the attacker in his tracks. Luffy smiled knowingly and blew on the strand of hair that had been cut off. It floated in the air for a moment before disappearing in a puff of dust. And then Luffy grinned.
It was the attacker's turn to have wide eyes. He watched as the boy suddenly walked forward. And just as he thought the boy would be pulled back by the chains around his wrists, he witnessed the sight of the dark haired boy's arms stretch longer and grow thin like gum. The attacker tripped over himself and shuffled backwards, as far as possible from the monster who was constantly walking closer towards him. Luffy smirked and moved forward, advancing slowly upon the man he had heard fall onto his back. He was having quite some fun teasing his torturer. "Neehee." And his hands slipped out from the chains, snapping back to his sides like a tennis ball attached to a rubber string and paddle. He drew back his hand far behind him and then let it bounce forward, punching the spot where he thought he had heard the man fall and shuffle back to. His fist connected squarely with the face of the person, completely knocking the man out cold. Luffy smiled as his arm snapped back in place. Great! He was out! Now all he needed to do was check and see if Zoro was still safe at home. He stretched his arms out, searching for the door out of the prison, and then he pulled himself over, thanking his temporary rubber powers for being such a helpful asset. Now… where was he…?
The black haired boy stumbled through the dark, feeling along the solid walls, searching for a way out of the darkness. Why was it so dark down here…? Had the principal taken him back down to the crystal caves? He smiled. If he was down there, then since he was in the dark, the exit to the surface should be nearby…! As he felt along the walls and stumbled over a few stones, which he assumed were crystals, the boy frowned. Something seemed wrong… he never remembered stumbling over any crystals in the dark passage… and wait… if these were crystals, shouldn't they be glowing at least faintly in the dark…? His foot hit another stone and he peered down at it. Everything was dark. He couldn't see anything at all. Then, it occurred to him. Could the principal… have blinded him…? Using Zoro's magic? He gulped and then felt along the walls nervously. If that was so… then… how was he supposed to reach home again? If he cast magic on himself that allowed him to see in the dark… he would fall asleep again, wouldn't he? And then it might be too late… Luffy grit his teeth and hastily felt along the walls, moving through his darkness. Although he was blinded, he could still listen, touch, and smell. And as long as he had those senses left, he would not give up on returning to Zoro. Never give up! Never.
He had been moving for a long time now… it felt as if he had been circling around in the darkness for hours and hours on end. How many times could Zoro have been found by now? Luffy cursed and anxiously patted his hands against the walls, paying close attention to his fingers, searching and searching for the exit. His fingers curled around the wall and Luffy's heart beat quickly, excited by this new shift. The boy turned into the wall and expected a step to be there. But, instead he found more wall to follow along and no steps to climb. The boy sighed, turning with the wall. It was only another turn. Only another one. It wasn't the exit… Luffy carried on in his slow march, feeling along the walls with a concentration he never knew he had. He had tried many ways already. He had tried searching along the walls as he was doing now, he had tried walking across the room to see if he would bump into the steps. He had even tried running around in frustration, aimlessly bumping into everything and anything, trying to find the exit. But the black haired boy returned to the first way, feeling that this was probably the most efficient way…unless if he had been circling around this one wall for the entire time… Luffy yelled in annoyance and gripped at his hair. Being blind sure was tough! How did Zoro manage to live with it? Not knowing what were the things attacking him and where he was… The boy shook his head. That's why he had to reach Zoro as fast as possible! To prevent that from happening to Zoro ever again. Suddenly, he felt a gust of cold wind blowing from his left. Luffy blinked blindly and started moving towards the cold, arms extended out in front of him. If there was cold wind… there would be… His feet touched something cold and wet and the boy smiled. There would be snow and the surface!
Luffy moved forward hastily, following the cold wind and wet snow. As the boy walked, he could feel the floor sloping upwards. Up and up, as if to the sky and to the heavens. The wind was growing colder and the snow was getting thicker and harder to walk through as he climbed up the slope, panting slightly. When he reached the top of the slope, he could hear the wind whistling past his ears and the occasional small chirps from the outdoor birds. Luffy smiled and took a step forward. But there was no supporting ground for him to step on. And so, the dark haired boy tumbled down the snowy slope, feeling the snow fall into his uniform as he tumbled, freezing his entire body. Luffy felt his side hit hard into something solid and thin and he gasped from the impact of being stopped by such a stiff object. The boy grabbed the pole and pulled himself up slowly. He noticed how rough and coarse it felt. A tree…? Was he really outside? The birds chirped to him again and he leaned against the tree-like object, looking around him, wondering which forest he was in. Was it the one close to his house…? If so, then he could easily get back! But he needed some help… he didn't know where he was in the forest or which forest he was in. If only he could find someone… someone he could ask for directions…
Suddenly, an idea occurred to him. The boy smiled and plucked a strand of hair from his head and then whispered a few words to it before blowing it into the skies. He felt quite a large amount of energy sucked out of him, but he could still stand properly. The boy nodded to himself and then he glanced in the direction of the chirping birds.
"Excuse me! Do you know if I'm close to school?" Luffy asked as politely as possible and waited for the birds to answer. There was a cold silence for a moment and the black haired boy's expectant eyes lowered to the ground. So it wouldn't work, huh…
'Who are you…?' One bird chirped.
'He's a human who is speaking to us, you idiot.' Another chimed in from another tree.
'He looks lost. You think we should help him?' A low hoot came from the tree behind Luffy.
'Does he even understand us…?' The second bird chimed again, slightly irritated.
Luffy blinked a few times but then a wide grin spread across his lips. His magic was working! But he didn't know how long it would work… so he had to talk fast. "Yes, I do understand you… I need a little help, do you think you can help me find my way back home?"
'Aw, he's a little human who can't find his way back home.' The first bird chirped softly.
'Where must you go, boy?' The hooting voice echoed through the forest again. Luffy drew a small picture with his fingers in mid air.
"It's a small cottage made of wood just at the edge of the forest."
'Which forest…?' The low hoot spoke again, uncertainly. Luffy's eyebrows furrowed together in thought. Which forest…? There were two forests… one to the west of the school and one to the east… if he was right about it, then his house was probably made next to…
"I think it's the East Forest." The boy spoke, scratching his head.
'East forest, that's here…' The first bird spoke quietly.
'I don't remember seeing such a place…' The third bird spoke in a low tone.
As Luffy listened to each bird's comments, he slowly felt his hopes sinking to the pit of his stomach again. But then, he heard the chiming voice of the second bird very close to him all of a sudden.
'Oh, I know that place…'
Luffy's eyes widened in surprise, his stomach flopping around, sending the hope rising into his lungs again. "You do? Then, you'll help me?" He stared eagerly towards the direction of the second bird. And he heard the bird click his feet against a tree branch, as if considering the favor. Then, Luffy heard the bird continue.
'Sure, blinded one.' The dark haired boy blinked once, wondering how the bird had known he had been blinded. 'Follow my voice…' Luffy nodded obediently and moved towards the bird's voice. After a few times of bumping into trees and stumbling over piles of snow, he heard the little bird chirp to him from a place in the distance. It sounded like the bird was perched on top of something large and the area surrounding the bird was spacious. Luffy grinned and raced towards the voice of the bird, his face hitting the door of his cottage. The boy smiled happily, glad to be back to his home.
"Thank you!" Luffy looked up to the roof, knowing that the bird was probably perched up there, ruffling its feathers. The boy smiled as the bird chirped back in annoyance, slightly embarrassed by the praise. The bird stayed on its perch, glancing curiously down at the boy, waiting to see what the boy would do.
Luffy sighed and nodded to himself. This was it. He was finally here! He grabbed the handle of the door, hoping that Zoro was still inside. That he was still safe… When he opened the door, he heard no sounds of anyone inside. The terrible gnawing feeling of panic rose in Luffy's chest again and he stepped inside, listening for any sound of movement. "Zoroooo….?" He called out softly, hoping beyond hope that the green haired man was just sleeping and hadn't heard him. The black haired boy stepped forward, staring around the room blindly. If only he hadn't been blind, he would have seen the terrible mess his home was in now…
The raven haired boy took a few steps forward and then his foot hit something hard. He blinked and crouched down, extending a finger to poke the hard thing. But he accidentally poked something sharp and it stabbed into his finger painfully, drawing blood. "Itei." He withdrew his hand quickly and sucked on the blood, wondering why there was a sharp object in the middle of his room. Luffy stood up again, feeling the dread creeping up on him. How he wished he could see right now! How he wished he could see! What had happened in here? Where was Zoro? "Zoro!" The boy shuffled forward, calling the green haired man's name. "Zoroooooo!" His feet squashed into something and he crouched down again, trying to find out what it was. The boy sniffed at it and recognized the smell of the cheese he had given Zoro that morning… Luffy frowned. Zoro would've eaten everything… he said he would take care of it…! The dark haired boy narrowed his eyes. Zoro wasn't in here anymore… and whoever had taken him had dared to do so only mere seconds after he had left home…! Luffy's fist clenched tight and he stood up, a furious look on his face. The boy trudged out the door, a steely look in his eyes. He glanced up at the roof, sensing the bird perched there, ruffling its feathers.
"Take me back." Luffy spoke in a determined tone. He was going to get Zoro back.
The bird had led him back to the opening in the ground and Luffy thanked the bird politely before slipping down the shaft and back into the crystalline caves. The bird chimed and stood at the edge of the cave entrance. That blinded human… was he going in to rescue a friend…? The little bird stood on the edge and peered in curiously. He was blind, how would he find his way through that place…? Another bird came to sit next to the one already perched on the lip of the cave.
'You want to go after him…?'
The little bird gave no answer to the other bird who had arrived and merely continued to watch the darkness of the cave below. The second bird who had arrived sighed and ruffled her feathers before pumping her wings and taking off back into the trees. She landed on a bare branch and glanced back in concern, towards the bird who had helped the blinded boy find his way to his home and then back again. The bird was gone. She blinked once, tilting her head to the side in surprise. And then she smiled.
Luffy slid down the slope of snow and landed at the bottom, painfully. He rubbed his bottom and quickly got to his feet, patting off his pants and glancing from darkness to darkness, wondering which direction he should head in. Suddenly, he heard a chirping noise and his eyes grew round in surprise. He recognized the chiming sound of the bird who had helped him and he smiled when felt the bird perch comfortably on his shoulder. The bird ruffled his feathers in aggravation and folded his wings on his back, staring at Luffy, as if asking him what they would do now.
"I need to find a man with green hair. He should be in a place that's glowing with lots of big crystals… you think you can help me?" The bird chimed loudly and nodded its head, keeping a watchful eye open for anything. The dark haired boy smiled and started walking in one direction, trusting the bird to help him find his way. After many turns and twists, the bird found a source of light coming from large crystals. The bird chirped and then puffed its feathers up, trying to look brave against the strange scenery. Luffy heard the bird's chirp and could feel the little animal's heart beating quickly. Almost as quickly as his own. Would he have to battle it out against the principal to free Zoro…? Or was there a way he could sneak in and break the green haired man free again? The black haired boy moved forward slowly, moving his hands along the walls and feeling the pulsating energy of the crystals fade and grow stronger and fade again, like waves… The boy felt another corner in the wall and edged around it, turning around the wall. The bird on his shoulder glanced around and then spotted a green haired person slouched against the wall. He looked like he… was dead! Luffy heard the bird chirp erratically and it flew off of Luffy's shoulder and straight out in front of him. The boy quickly followed after, his gut lurching nervously in his stomach. What had the bird seen that made him have such a reaction? Had he found Zoro…? He ran forward blindly for a few seconds before slamming into a wall and bouncing off of it and onto the ground. The bird flapped its wings and landed on the ground, staring from the motionless green haired man inside the crystal wall to the black haired boy lying in a ground in a heap. Luffy picked himself up, rubbing his forehead, and he groaned. "Are you telling me that Zoro is in there…?" The bird chimed in assertion. That was all the boy needed. Luffy patted the wall with his palms. It seemed more thicker than the last one… he wouldn't be able to break through it with the power he had left in his body…
"Oi! Zoro!" He shouted desperately, pounding at the wall with his hands. The man wasn't answering… was the wall really that thick? He pounded harder against the wall. "Zoro!" The green haired man jolted from his sleep and lifted his head up from his chest, glancing towards the wall tiredly. He could see the familiar lanky figure of the black haired boy, pounding on the walls. Ah… he must've been dreaming again. It was impossible for Luffy to come and save him again… The man sighed and fell back against the wall again. Luffy frowned, eyebrows creasing together in worry. Why wasn't Zoro answering? Was he all right? If only he could see him…
The bird chirped and Luffy smiled sadly. "Is he ok…? I can't understand you right now, but… he's all right, right…?" The bird glanced towards the green haired man, shifting from awkward position to another awkward position, looking pitiful and completely shut off. The bird chirped quietly in answer to Luffy's question. The boy sighed. He wasn't sure if that was a yes or no… maybe it was a yes and a no…? But he wanted to save Zoro from this prison… so why wasn't the man answering him right now? Weren't they good friends? Why didn't Zoro cooperate with him? He slammed a hand against the wall again, trying to gain the man's attention. Answer me, you idiot! Answer me! He pounded at the walls, blindly peering in, hoping he was looking in the right direction.
Zoro woke from his sleep again. He was having too many dreams about Luffy. This time he had one where Luffy was pounding on the walls of his prison, desperately yelling his name. The man sighed and curled up, putting his head on his knees. He could never fall into a decent sleep anymore, could he? He should really just forget the boy… and accept his fate. At least he could see now… he even knew that he could leave his prison whenever he wanted because Luffy had taught him how much power he held. He could easily create a door in the crystal wall and find his way out. But… what did all that matter since the one who had saved him didn't care for him at all…? The man sighed and covered his head with his hands. His fingers touched his shortly cropped hair and he smiled sadly, remembering the memories of the boy's fingers raking through his hair gently, giving him a haircut. It had only been a little while... he had only spent a few days with the boy… but he would miss Luffy so much… even if it were only a dream.
The pounding on the walls shook Zoro from his thoughts and his head shot up in surprise, staring through the crystal wall and straight at a familiar black haired boy. The green haired man swallowed and froze in his seat, staring at Luffy with wide eyes. What was he doing down here again? He felt a tirade of anger rise in his chest as he watched the boy pounding desperately at the wall. What, was the boy going to save him again and then betray his trust once more? Was this all just a game for the boy? Did Luffy really hate him that much? The man rose to his feet slowly and patted off his pants. Then he crossed his hands over his chest and spoke in a low and icy voice that he didn't even know he was capable of speaking in. "What do you want with me?"
Luffy froze, staring at the wall of crystal, eyes clouded and blinking rapidly. "Zoro - ?"
"I said, what do you want with me?" The cold voice repeated. Luffy paused and shook his head. The bird must've been mistaken. The voice seemed like Zoro's but this was definitely not the Zoro he knew. The black haired boy set his jaw in a firm line, unsure of what to do at the moment. Zoro snorted and he walked closer towards Luffy. "Why are you here? You don't even like me, right?"
The black haired boy clutched the wall tightly with his hands, as if that could help him reach the other side. He could hear the hurt in Zoro's voice although the man tried to hide it with his cold tone and all he wanted to do now was hold the green haired man and tell him everything was ok. Zoro was hurting so much… and yet he had so little power left to protect him… What exactly had happened to the man while he was gone…? Why did Zoro think that he didn't like him? "Zoro, I do li – !"
"SHUT UP!" The man cut the boy off, growling angrily, fists clenching together. His heart ached with every word he spoke, but he didn't want to be repeatedly led on by the false illusion that someone cared for him. Zoro looked away from the wall, trying to avoid Luffy's gaze. "Don't you do that to me again…"
Luffy stared into the darkness, only hearing the loud words coming from Zoro's mouth, telling him to shut up. He froze on his legs, suddenly not really sure why he was here or what he was doing anymore. He felt numb. He was a nobody again… a nobody. His classmates didn't think he existed, the teachers didn't acknowledge his existence, and now Zoro… Zoro… he couldn't even see the man standing on the other side… Zoro… didn't want to be with him anymore…
The bird watched the two boys silently, large black eyes staring from one to the other in concern. He turned to look up at Luffy and nearly jumped back in surprise as he found tears, tears glowing from the crystal light, flowing softly and silently down the dark haired boy's cheeks. The bird chirped erratically and Zoro looked up, slightly surprised from hearing such a noise down in the dark caves under the school. But when he looked up, instead of finding the source of the sound of the bird like chirps, he found a shell of a boy standing beyond the crystal barrier, crying silently before him. His feet were glued to the floor, entranced by the tears running down from Luffy's eyes. And as Zoro watched the boy cry, the silver looking tears dripping down his chin and to the floor, he wondered, why was that boy shedding tears? Such a strong and confident person… who could have possibly made him cry? Who had made those tears run down those soft cheeks so freely…?
Something in Zoro's gut twisted. Something at the back of his mind told him that he was the one who was making the boy cry. The boy was crying… because of him…? The green haired man stood rooted to the spot, He wanted to rip away the wall between them and wipe away those tears from Luffy's child-like face. But, he didn't know if Luffy wouldn't turn around and stab him in the back. Some people could shed tears that were not genuine… but Luffy… would he do that…? He watched the boy carefully, wondering what he should do. The two were both frozen to their places. One fighting an internal struggle, the other waiting and sadly starting to accept that the man on the other side did not want to care for him. The bird stood in his spot on the ground, staring at Luffy in concern. And then Zoro noticed how the black haired boy wasn't looking completely straight at him. A rising panic rose in the green haired man's chest and his feet moved all on its own. In a split second, he was standing at the wall, hands pressed against the solid surface, staring deep into the boy's eyes, observing Luffy intensely. Luffy could feel a warmth on the other side of the wall and he hastily moved his hands around the wall, feeling for the spots of warmth. Zoro watched as Luffy fumbled around, trying to match both of his hands against his own. The boy's eyes weren't moving… and they were cloudy… The green haired man's eyes darted back and forth worriedly, observing the boy who smiled weakly as he finally managed to match both of their hands together, much like the first time they had met, through the wall. Why were Luffy's eyes covered in a layer of cloud…? Someone… had blinded him…?
"Luffy… what happened to you…?" Zoro whispered, leaning his forehead against the crystal wall, staring down into the boy's eyes and face. The boy hadn't been blind when he had left the house… so that must've meant that something had happened during school…! But… the scarred man had told him that Luffy was in class…? How would he get blinded in class? Zoro studied the boy's face a little longer, remembering every edge and line of his face. One side of his face seemed swollen… as if he had been punched repeatedly. Zoro's eyes widened as he stared at the boy who smiled into the distance, tears drying on his face. Here he was, doubting the trust he had in Luffy, while the boy had been blinded and been beaten by someone…? The green haired man's eyes hardened and he withdrew his hands from the wall, plucking a piece of short green hair from his head. He had doubted Luffy for far too long. Never again… never again would he doubt the boy… "Give me the power to protect Luffy…" He blew the strand of hair from his fingers and the little bird blinked in surprise as he felt something powerful spiral down and around the cave. It felt as if all the life energy in the cave had concentrated on this one point so that the green haired man, standing in the middle of it all, could use it at his dispense.
When the warmth on the other side of the wall had disappeared, Luffy had grown afraid again. But then, the man's determined yet gentle words afterwards completely soothed him. The black haired boy closed his eyes and smiled as he heard Zoro blow the air and when he felt that powerful feeling he had felt the first time Zoro used his magic on his own eyes, Luffy's smile grew wider. The Zoro he knew was back again…!
The green haired man stared at the crystal wall in front of him in annoyance and with a quick wave of his hand, the wall vanished. Not even a hint of the crystal wall had been left behind. The little bird's eyes widened and watched as the thick crystal disappeared, as if it had only been an illusion or hadn't existed at all. Zoro smirked and stepped towards the smiling black haired boy, the one who held so much significance in his heart. The green haired man lifted his fingers to wipe away the tears on Luffy's face and he smiled gently. Luffy gasped as Zoro's touch left his cheeks tingling. The boy smiled and closed his eyes, grinning widely. Then the boy opened his eyes again and moved timidly towards the green haired man. Zoro chuckled and waved a hand over Luffy's eyes and the cloudiness faded away, bringing the shine back into those bright brown eyes. Luffy blinked a few times, adjusting to his ability to see again. He felt slightly disoriented and almost fell forward. But when he fell, Zoro quickly caught him and held the boy close against him. Luffy felt the warm hands wrapped around him and the boy smiled happily, enclosing his own arms around Zoro's torso. The two held each other tightly, heart beating in time together, both silently knowing that the bond of trust that they shared today would last for an eternity.
The little bird chirped and flew towards the two young men, landing comfortably on Luffy's shoulder. Zoro released the boy and Luffy smiled, moving back from the man who had vowed to protect him. The raven haired boy grinned widely and then put his hands on his hips. "Right then. Now that I've been kicked out of school and it's not safe for Zoro or me to stay here, let's go on an adventure!"
Zoro blinked in surprise. What? An adventure…? Luffy merely smiled back at the green haired man, who watched the boy with a confused look.
"Right, let's head back home and pack up for our trip!"
Zoro's eyes almost turned into dots. "Pack up…?"
"Yep!" Luffy smiled happily, moving on with vigor and energy, as if he hadn't just suffered a great emotional trauma. Zoro watched in disbelief as the boy walked off into the caves, smiling and tickling the bird perched on his shoulder. But then the green haired man snorted and followed after, feeling completely at ease. Whatever, it didn't have to make sense. He'd just follow Luffy wherever he went. It was that simple. The man moved to follow the boy but then one of his knees buckled and he fell to the ground, blinking in surprise. Luffy heard the fall and quickly spun around on his feet. The boy hurried back to Zoro's side and helped the man stand back up. "Zoro…? Are you ok…?"
The green haired man smiled and managed to stop his leg from wobbling too much. "Yeah… yeah, I'm fine." He stilled the leg and stood up straight, giving Luffy a small reassuring smile. "I must've used too much magic for today…"
Luffy frowned, staring at Zoro in concern. Right, the man had cured his own eyesight, had removed a gigantic wall and made it vanish into thin air, and cured his eyes from blindness as well… That was way more than what a normal person should do for a day… The black haired boy sighed and didn't say anything, knowing that Zoro probably knew what he would say. Luffy merely offered an arm out and gave the man a smile. The green haired man glanced at the arm and smirked, nodding to the boy thankfully. And then the two hobbled their way out of the caves together, each leaning against the other.
Luffy and Zoro stood a few meters away from the school, staring at the silver cross and lily flower insignia, gleaming back at them. They both held a rucksack for each of them, one filled with food supplies, the other full of the little amount of possessions Luffy owned. Luffy tugged at Zoro's jacket and smiled, pointing towards the school and the green haired man nodded, smiling back. The man plucked a hair from his head and blew it in the direction of the school. At once the snowy earth seemed to pulsate with life and the trees all bent in one direction, following a gust of wind towards the school.
The red haired professor flipped through his textbook idly, feeling a little sad for no particular reason. And then suddenly, as if some gear had clicked itself back in place, he stopped mid flip and looked up from the book, feeling as if he had just fallen out from a dream.
"Luffy…?" He blinked a few times and then glanced out the window curiously. The red haired man noticed two figures standing in the snow, all by themselves… Then the professor smiled and returned to flipping his book.
Zoro glanced towards the black haired boy standing beside him. He smirked as he noticed the boy's far off gaze. He must've had a few good memories here… Luffy stared at the room where he had spoken to the red haired professor only a few days ago. He remembered falling asleep in that same room, dreaming of distant lands away from this country of snow. And then… he had met Zoro… this strange, yet wonderful green haired man who cared for him just as much as he cared for him. Luffy sent a grin towards Zoro, who blinked a little, wondering why the boy was suddenly looking at him. And then the dark haired boy took the man by his hands and pulled him towards the snowy path between the east forest and the west forest. Towards their new journey in an open world and ever winding path before them.