Hello there and welcome to the show!

This is my first OP fic and I hope you guys will enjoy it!

Warnings: Massive amounts of OoC-ness, some mansex and boy-girl sex. This story takes place in an Alternate Universe, it contains Yaoi , unbearable amounts of fluff, romance, drama and tragedy and even violence, both the verbal and graphic kind.

Summary: Luffy returns to his home after 4 years of absence. Scars of the past and promises made still define his present, but in order to advance to his future he'll have to learn how to let go and make a choice before it's too late.

Relevant Tarot Cards -Excerpts taken from the Aeclectic Tarot Website-:

-Minor Arcana-

The Page of Wands: Relates to a time of new learning, new discoveries, new inventions. There is child-like excitement and energy to get things started.

-Major Arcana-

The Fool : Stands for Promise of a new beginning, renewal, movement, and the energy of a fresh start.

1. The page of Wands - The fool.

The rain had just washed the city clean and its fresh scent clung to the coats and jackets of the hungry customers in search of lunch at the Baratie Breakfast & Lunch eatery on 10th central street.

It'd been 4 years since he'd eaten here, back then a hopeful, would be freshman, right before he left for college.

He looked at his transparent reflection in the window next to his booth, flattening his unruly mass of hair more out of habit than because of a diluted hope that it would actually stay flat this time. It didn't.

"Hey, Luffy! Here are your subs and your drink."

Luffy looked up at her with a thankful grin and reached out to take the plate of food from her. "Thanks, Caimie. I'm famished!"

Caimie laughed and placed the can of iced tea on the table. "I'm sort of relieved that some things at least haven't changed."

"Well, I have a real job now," Luffy said before digging into his cheese steak sandwich. "I'm so nervous that I can't stop thinking about food, which in turn makes me so hungry...!" he whined before moaning at how delicious the sandwich was.

Caimie chuckled at that, shaking her head. "How is your sister?" She then asked, now leaning her hand on the table. "I bet she's happy to have her little brother back after 4 years."

Luffy smiled up at her and nodded. "She's been keeping busy though, Zoro and her business have taken up most of her attention. To be honest, it's made me feel less guilty for having to leave."

Caimie nodded in understanding and sat down on the seat across from him. "She comes in here every now and then. If Sanji is in, he cooks for her and they close up the place together. At least she has those two idiots to divert her attention away from what's happened."

"Sanji's venture seems to have been fruitful too, hasn't it?" Luffy asked, mouth full of the delectable Baratie sandwich. "I hear he's openening another restaurant?"

"Yeah, over on Ocean drive," Caimie replied, looking around the diner to see if anyone needed her. "A sushi-teppanyaki place."

Luffy gave her an impressed look. "I'll make sure to stop by one of these days. I have really missed his cooking."

"Then make sure to have reservations because that place is booked weeks in advance," she advised. "All the elite of Sabaody go there."

Luffy made a dissapointed face."Ocean drive usually attracks that kind."

"But you're about to become one of them, now that you have your Masters in Event Planning, right? So where do you work? What do you do?" Caime asked, excited to know.

Luffy grinned and scratched the back of his head. "Nothing remotely as glamorous as I think you're imagining, trust me." He took another bite of his sandwich and then went silent a moment to savour it. "It's an entry level job, as I have next to no professional experience in the field. I'm the assistant to the Marketing Communications Manager at Mugiwara."

"That's great! Congratulations!" Caimie said joyfully. "You could've been hired as a janitor for all I know. With this economy..."

Luffy chuckled. "True, that."

"So how's your superior like?" she continued, clearly more interested in his job than hers for the moment."Did you meet the Head of Marketing first? Have you seen the CEO?"

He laughed at that, "I've only met the members of the Communications team and my manager, a nice guy named Marco. Real cool guy." Luffy stuffed the rest of his sandwich inside his mouth. "Oh, before I forget, could you get me a big macchiato to go as well, Caimie? I'm supposed to get him one."

She moved to stand again and tousled his hair. "Little Luffy's all grown up! We're all so proud of you, Lou. Usopp and Franky will want to hear from you as well, so make sure to go see them at the center when you get a chance."

"Will do!" Luffy promised, reaching for the second sandwich on his plate.

"Welcome back again,"Caimie whispered, giving him a soft kiss on the crown of his head. "Let me get that macchiato for you."

"Thanks, Caimie," Luffy whispered back, watching her walk away with a caring smile.

He went back to staring at the rainy scenery outside, allowing himself to get lost in the many memories he left behind when he left for college all those years ago. He was eager to find them back again.

Four years had passed and gone since he'd been here, sitting in this eatery, in this booth. Only last time, it wasn't to eat alone. Like now.

Also, last time the reason for his sitting in this eatery and in this booth had been a far less joyeous one. It'd been a warm summer evening, too.

A tall, dark haired man suddenly appeared, sitting himself down on the seat Caimie occupied just moments before, his presence dragging Luffy out of his thoughts.

"I'm sorry, you don't mind, do you? I'm only getting my coffee to go"

Luffy caught himself staring at the man for a few moments before he finally shook his head as a reply. He then smiled friendly at him and looked back outside, absentmindedly bringing the sandwich he was still holding to his mouth.

"Dreadful isn't it?"

Luffy, who'd just been ready to take a gigantic bite out of his sub, quickly redirected the trajectory of the savory bread, resulting in an awkward mouth movement because of the lack of food that had been deposited in its depths.

"I'm sorry?" Luffy managed, blushing as he quickly reached for a napkin to wipe his mouth with and essentially, to hide his face.

The guy chuckled softly at the sight. "No, it's okay. I meant the rain. Let me apologise again. I'm the one trying to strike up a conversation while you're obviously trying to wolf down your second sandwich without appearing too uncivilised. Sorry. I understand what that feels like."

Luffy stilled for a moment, letting what the stranger just said sink in before chuckling in amusement. "You should be sorry, I'm on a limited time schedule here," he retorted, taking a hold of his sandwich to attempt a second entry.

The dark haired man laughed, his freckled cheeks standing out more as he did and his pearly white teeth only adding to his genuinely friendly smile. "Aren't we all?" he agreed, extending a hand but quickly retreating it with another bout of laughter when Luffy only stared at it pointedly, decidedly taking the first bite out of his second sandwich instead.

"I'm Ace," he introduced himself. "I haven't seen you around here before," he stated, sitting back in his seat, unbuttoning his black trench coat a little and smoothing out the dark business suit with the white crisp shirt he wore underneath.

Now that Luffy took a good look at the man he could appreciate his roguish handsomeness and the easiness of his generous, laid back smile.

"I'm Luffy," Luffy replied once his mouth was free to do so. "Nice to meet you."

Ace's smile grew wider and he gave him a small nod. "Nice to meet you too, Luffy. You look like you work around here," he said, refering to Luffy's business attire.

Luffy grinned back, taking his glass of iced tea in a hand. "Oh great, so I did get that memo right."

Ace laughed at that. "So where do you work?"

"At Mugiwara," Luffy answered with a small smile. "It's my second day."

"Oh really?" Ace said, looking surprised. "One of my friends work there. He's the Head of Marketing Communications and second in command of their Marketing department."

"His name doesn't happen to be Marco, does it?" Luffy asked, incredulous of the coincidence.

"Actually it is!" Ace exclaimed. "Oh man, what are the odds?"

Luffy took another bite of his sandwich, shaking his head at this strange turn of events. "I'm his assistant..."

"Then I feel it is my duty to warn you," Ace then ominously confessed, catching Luffy's attention again. "His last assistant lasted only 6weeks. He's quite the slave driver that one. Poor assistant number 5. The guy stopped eating near the end..." Ace had a regretful expresion on his face. "He just left the office one day an never showed up again. It didn't take long for his phonenumber to go out of service after that..."

Luffy scowled at him with an amused smirk. "Nice try," he chuckled as Ace burst out laughing again. He then took a look at his watch and began to prepare himself to leave since lunch was almost over. He saw Caimie walk up to him not even a moment later with his coffee.

"Here's your big macchiato and an extra décaf latté without sugar on the house," she announced as she placed the two first cups of coffee on the table.

"You remembered," Luffy whispered, touched.

"You've been coming here for how long now? Just because you were gone for four years doesn't mean we forget about your coffee habits," Caimie stated with a wink. "Besides, when it comes to food and coffee, most people never change. You least of all."

"Thanks, Caimie," Luffy said, bringing the last bit of his sub to his mouth.

Caimie then placed a third, smaller cup of coffee on the table. "Here's your double ristretto, sir. No milk, with sugar."

Ace took the coffee in a hand and thanked her. "I thought you said you were new here," he then asked Luffy as Caimie walked away again.

"I didn't, you're the one who assumed," Luffy retorted smugly. "I know the owner."

"Oh, smart AND well connected," Ace remarked with a seductive grin before getting distracted by something behind Luffy.

"Just the man I wanted to see."

Ace smiled up at the woman that appeared from behind Luffy. Her red, high heeled pumps click clacked over the stone floor as she approached, her long, flowing red hair swaying behind her as she went. "Hey, Nami," he greeted.

Luffy looked up at the woman, and was immediately caught off guard by her beauty and the sense of power she emited. Her soft lips curled into a small smile as she looked at Ace, her hands moving to rest on her hips under her white A-line coat that draped lightly over her knees and showed off her long and slender legs.

She greeted Luffy warmly and then focused her attention on the other man. "I've been trying to get an update on the upcoming V-project. How far along is it?" she sternly asked, hands still resting on her hips, and her warm expression now significantly cooler.

Ace continued to smile at her for a moment before shifting his attention to Luffy, who was starting to feel like he really needed to get going. He could tell that Ace had picked up on that. "Hey, Luffy, Marco'll be waiting on his macchiato."

Luffy frowned. "How did you know Marco asked me to-?"

But Ace's smile never wavered. "Also tell him that our beautiful, newly appointed junior finance executive friend and I are having an imprompty lunch meeting."

Luffy's frown only deepened, but he didn't ask, figuring that perhaps Marco and Ace were to meet later on or something seen as how they were friends.

"Okay," he said instead, producing a happy grin. He moved out of the booth and smiled warmly at Ace. "I hope we meet again sometime."

"I'm sure we will," Ace replied, still smiling. "Take good care of that macchiato, your job may depend on it."

Luffy laughed and waved at the both of them a last time before walking out of the eatery, finding the day to be far less gray then he originally thought.

"Oh, so you met Ace," Marco said, grinning over his warm cup of coffee. "He and I go a long way back; we went to high school, and subsequently, college together. Good guy, but you'll experience him again soon enough."

"What do you mean?" Luffy asked, placing his carrier bag on his desk.

Marco pursed his lips in an amused manner, "At the staff meeting." He watched the younger male's expression grow more confused. "At two, this afternoon."

"He works here?!" Luffy exclaimed, completely baffled.

The blond haired man chuckled. "He made you tell all about you, but he never told you what it is he actually does, did he?"

Suddenly feeling like a complete idiot, Luffy had to confess with a silent shake of his head.

"Well, you'll figure it out soon enough," Marco said with a smirk and a shrug, turning to enter his office.

And figuring it out, he did.

On his way to the Marketing Department staff meeting that was being held in the Micquot meeting room on the 16th floor, Luffy stepped into the elevator and watched the doors almost slide closed when a hand stopped their progress and made them part again.

"Oy, Luffy, right?"

Luffy couldn't hide the immediate smile that appeared on his face at the sight of the handsome guy from the eatery on 10th central.

"You work here," Luffy stated, a bit peeved as he watched Ace take place next to him in the elevator.

Ace pushed in the already lit up button for the 16th floor. "I work here," he confirmed.

Luffy raised an amused eyebrow, "As?" he inquired.

"As an employee of the glorious Mugiwara Group Company," he announced, rather bombastically.

Luffy's amused expression changed into a confused one and he kept looking at him, the unanswered questions concerning this character continuing to pile themselves up in his mind.

Visibly aware of Luffy's inquisitive gaze, Ace offered him an uneasy smile and a furtive glance. "You'll see soon enough," he whispered reassuringly.

They spent the next few moments in a weird silence, neither of them wanting to say anything after Ace's distancing words on the subject. Luffy could feel the other man's unease clearly and it made him wonder all the more why he felt this ill at ease when just a few hours ago, they'd had a very pleasant and open conversation.

The moment the doors slid open on the 16th floor, Ace stepped out with large strides. A big woman with curly orange hair stepped up to him, handing him different document folders and holders.

"These are the issues of discussion you requested, Ace," she informed him, following his hurried pace towards the large mat glass doors of the meeting room.

"Awesome, Dadan, thanks," Ace said, furtively looking into the first folder. "What would I do without you?"

The older woman grinned, "Stumble over your own shoelaces." She gave him a pad on his shoulder as he smiled warmly at her. "Most of them are already there, Chief," she said, her voice full of pride. "Go get them."

"I'll never get used to this," Ace admitted quietly, coming to a stop near the entrance of the Micquot meeting room.

Dadan shook her head and took him by his shoulders, turning him around to face her. She straightened his black vest and checked it for lint. "You don't have to," she told him, smiling when he obediently lifted his head so she could fix his open collar. "Just don't let the position get to your head. God knows you have enough to deal with already."

Ace grinned and whispered his thanks when she was done offering her words of comfort and began to walk away. He then looked at Luffy who'd unwillingly been following the exchange and had finally figured it out.

"You're my boss?" he whispered, disbelief written all over his face.

Ace scratched the back of his head. "More like the Director of Marketing, but yes, I guess so."

"I- you could've told me!" Luffy protested.

"Why?" Ace asked, still grinning. "Would knowing that have made you like me more?"

Luffy's face exploded with red at that statement and he looked away, not finding words to reply with. He quickly walked past him and into the meeting room, hiding the fact that for some stupid reason, he couldn't stop smiling.

Maybe coming back to Sabaody City hadn't been such a bad idea after all.

Maybe- He'd finally get the chance to start over.

And to keep his promise-

To be continued...

Up next : Queen of Swords - The High Priestess