The couple walked down their street hand-in-hand under the starry sky. It was cold, but that didn't bother the raven-haired girl for she had his jacket over her shoulders. The streets were empty, and normally, no one should be out at this time of night, but she knew he was strong enough to fend off any perverts lurking around.

"Aren't you cold? Your jacket is very warm. You can have it back if you want."

"Then where would that leave you? You'll be freezing, specially with what you have on."

"The same thing applies to you."

Zoro shook his head. Then, he noticed something when she blew on her hands.

"You don't have your gloves either?"

"I didn't think I'd need them today."

Zoro let go of her hand to remove one of his gloves. Robin was surprised when he only offered one of them. "Just one?"

"So I could hold your other hand."

Robin smiled. Although Zoro may look tough and act tough, he has a soft side to him. His new scar over his eye had nothing to do with that. He was hers, and she felt so lucky to have him.

After putting on the glove, she intertwined her bare fingers through his. As she expected, he was warm, one reason why she loved him.

"While we were separated, have you ever set your eyes on any other girl while I wasn't looking?" asked Robin.

Zoro's silent response made her curious. Either he got mad for her even thinking that, or in fact, he did get attracted to another girl.

"I loved Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers could not, with all our quantity of love, make up my sum."

Robin was impressed. "I didn't know you knew Hamlet, let alone Shakespeare."

"You always quoted Shakespeare, so I thought I'd read some of his books to understand your language. Anyways, did I answer your question?"

Robin grinned. "You did."

Meanwhile, the rest of the crew were having a couple drinks at the bar. Its been a long day of exploring for one day, and everyone needed to rest. Thankfully, only a few photographers found them, which didn't affect their their day as they thought they would.

"Do you think we're celebrity level yet?" asked Franky.

"We could be idols!" said Chopper.

Sanji thought about it when Chopper mentioned 'idols.' "Idols, huh? Hmm... By the way, where did Robin-chan and that idiot marimo go?"

"They went for a walk before we came here," said Vivi.

Sanji leaned back on his seat. "Well, as long as she's with Zoro."

"My, Sanji-san, you actually have faith in Zoro-san protecting Robin-san?" Brook asked in surprise.

Sanji avoided his eyes while his face turned red. "Its not like I fully trust that idiot."

"It's getting pretty late. I wonder when they're coming back," said Nami.

At the same moment, Zoro and Robin walked in hand-in-hand. Robin had the brightest grin, and Zoro looked somewhat relieved for some reason. From Nami's view, she could tell they probably worked something out.

"Shall we go back home?" suggested Nami.

"I'll walk Nojiko home," said Ace.

"Well, then, I guess I can walk you guys to your place. I'd feel lonely here without Ace," said Sabo.

While everyone was exiting out the door, Nami stayed by the entrance until one specific person walked by. Thankfully, it was Sabo.

"Um, Sabo, can I talk to you for a second?" asked Nami.

"Sure, Nami! What's up?" With the others heading home, they can talk in privacy. Nami wouldn't want the others finding out about Sabo's 'secret.' The only problem was, she couldn't find the words to begin. Sabo noticed her insecurity, and took it as a chance for opportunity. "Huh? Should I walk you home alone? Without the rest of the crew?"

When Nami looked up to meet his eyes, Sabo felt like he just got punched again. He was clutching his chest and taking a step back due to the surprise. Nami noticed, and thought of it as another reaction to his 'sickness' like that time on the train.

"Sabo! I'm sorry!"

Sabo shifted his eyes. Now, he was confused. "Huh? What for?"

"I didn't understand your feelings, and I should've noticed earlier. Please, forgive me."

Sabo had no idea how to respond to that. Let alone, he had no idea what she was talking about either. "Uh, what are you going on about, Nami? What are you so worked up about-"

"But, I don't want you to die!"

"Eh? Sabo died?" Luffy exited the bar just in time to hear Nami's last words.

"I'M ALIVE!"

"But, Luffy, you said "Sabo's already...""

Luffy seemed confused. He turned to Sabo, and his conversation with Nami during lunch immediately came to his mind. "Ohhh! My eye was itchy, so I stopped halfway."

"But you seemed a bit down while we were out the whole day!"

Luffy blushed. "That's about a whole other matter."

"But, I heard Sabo's conversation with Ace when they were heading to the bathroom."

"Ace and I were playing video games last night, so I didn't get much sleep."

"So, I misunderstood?"

"Looks like it," Sabo and Luffy said in unison.

Nami felt like a huge weight was being lifted off her shoulders. She felt exhausted, causing her to faint. Luckily, Sabo and Luffy caught her arms before she hit the ground.

"Nami!"

"Are you okay?"

"I'm so glad," Nami murmured. "I'm so glad it was just a misunderstanding."

Sabo looked away. "You were that worried about me-EH?!"

When Sabo turned back around, Nami was back on her feet, having a conversation with Luffy.

"Are you sure you're okay?" asked Nami.

"I'll be fine if I get some rest."

"Now that I look at it, you're eyes a kinda pink." Nami didn't realize she had moved closer to Luffy just to get a closer look at his eyes, but Luffy surely did. Not only his eyes, but she got a closer of his cheeks which were stained with pink. She looked back at his eyes and just now noticed the gap difference. Nami shot herself back to give them some distance. "U-Um, I got a text for Marguerite. She said the school is strict, but she's gotten to know everyone in the crew and she loves it there."

"R-Really, that's good."

Off to the side, Sabo noticed the uneasy and tense atmosphere between the two. He's been noticing that a lot throughout the day, actually. He could tell there was something going on between them.

-x-x-

The class was silent. The morning bell rang ten minutes ago and Ace hasn't shown up yet. Sure there were times when he'd be a couple minutes late, then rant on about something annoying in his life, then make any announcements. But now, it was dead silent and nobody knew what to do.

"Luffy?" Bonnie turned to the Straw Hat captain for answers. He replied with a shrug. They were on the same level. He doubted he overslept because Sabo's there, so there must be another reason.

"Should one of us go to the office?" asked Nami.

"What does it matter?" said Kidd. "I like it better this way."

"Unlike some of us, there are people here who are serious about One Piece," Luffy said in Nami's defense.

"Did you text him?" asked Vivi.

"Yeah, he said something came up in the main office and Rayleigh needed him for something."

"That's strange." Suddenly, the entrance slid open, in walking Ace. But he wasn't alone. A red-haired man stepped in right after Ace.

Luffy stood up in surprise. "Tou-chan! You're back! What are you doing here?"

Shanks smiled. "Nice to see you too, son."

"Remember when I told you that each class has two homeroom teachers?" said Ace.

"What about it?"

"Well, I'd like to introduce you to my new partner. Dad-er, Shanks will be your second homeroom teacher."

Everyone, especially the Straw Hats, were astonished. Shanks, one of the members of Gold Roger's crew, a man who led his crew to one step behind One Piece was going to be their homeroom teacher. Not only him, but there was Ace as well. He hasn't been with the Whitebeard crew for long, but he's had a lot of experience, meaning he's watched his captain and learned a lot from him. Both Whitebeard's crew and Shanks' crew were the closest to reaching One Piece. So, having both Shanks and Ace as their homeroom teachers was a huge deal.

"I never understood why the media makes a big deal about it, but now I can see why Luffy's so famous," said a member of a crew. "Having Shanks as a father and Ace as a brother, seeing it up close, its amazing! It looks so much cooler up close than in the papers!"

"T-Tou-chan, you're really..."

"This will be my first year as a homeroom teacher, but don't worry. I'll make sure one of you reaches One Piece next year."

If only this was our senior year in college, was what everyone in the room was currently thinking. Its been decided, Shanks and Portgas D. Ace are officially partners. Once this school year ends, one, two, or maybe even three will be fortunate enough to have these two as their homeroom teachers next year.

-x-x-

"Wouldn't you call this cheating?" Shanks asked jokingly. It was the end of his first day as a homeroom teacher, and he was currently walking home with his two sons.

"Ace! Why didn't you tell me Tou-chan was our second homeroom teacher?!"

"Like I knew! I only found out this morning!"

"By the way, when did you get back from your honeymoon?" asked Luffy. "I thought you wouldn't be back for another couple days."

"We never planned on having a long honeymoon anyway. Besides, who knows what you three would've gotten yourselves into if we stayed longer."

"So, you know about Sabo being back?"

"'Know?'"

Ace chuckled. "While they've been gone, he's been sleeping on their bed. Mom was happy to see him, but Dad literally kicked him out of their bed last night."

"We come home at one in the morning and I find someone sleeping on my bed. I don't care if its my son or not, that's my bed."

"Your bed loves you too, Dad."

The trio walked into the bar to see Makino and Sabo working a full house. Every table was full and the two were being worked to the bone.

"Ah! Welcome home! We're a little busy, so you three go rest in the living room," said Makino.

"Don't overwork yourself, Kaa-chan." Luffy quickly hugged his mom from behind then led the way towards the back.

"It wasn't that busy when I was working there alone," said Ace.

"Probably because Kaa-chan's back now. She's prettier than you."

Luffy plopped down on the couch, bringing his legs up and taking the whole couch for himself. Ace and Shanks had to take the couch across from him.

"So, Luffy. How's things with you and Nami? Or are you going out with that blonde girl now?" asked Shanks.

"Jeez, why does everything think Marguerite's my girlfriend? She never was! I still love Nami!"

"'Still?' As in, you're not going out with Nami now?"

"Luffy got rejected," Ace said with a chuckle.

"Wha, Seriously?"

"What makes it even worse, my brother has a thing for her," Luffy murmured.

Shanks was taken back by surprise. He turned to Ace, who shot up in surprise by Shanks' assumption.

"It's not me!"

"Wait, Sabo? Really? He likes Nami?"

"I'm happy Sabo's back, but I didn't think this would happen. They've been getting really close lately."

"Yeah. He even has her number," Ace added.

"Since when?!"

"Since the day we went to Shibuya?"

"I didn't know about that!"

"Don't you want Nami back?" asked Shanks.

"Of course I do!"

"Then why are you letting Sabo trample over you like you're not even worth the competition. Have I not taught you anything since you joined the dojo?"

Luffy sat up, but his straw hat covered his expression. "...We're going to Dreamland soon. Sabo's coming too, but its the perfect opportunity to win Nami back."

"Just promise me something." Shanks leaned closer. "Don't get into a big fight with your brother. Consider his feelings as well."


03.01.13

Have you guys read the latest chapter? Omg! I was mind blown and fangirling at the same time. Its true, Ace will never die. There's so much build up, I wonder how Oda will portray them all.