A/N: So maybe my feelings towards a certain pineapple-haired blond has skyrocketed. He's just become so. damn. AMAZING. in the past three weeks to me. (It's kind of scary, really.) And because of that, maybe my obsession of the Marco x Ace pairing has skyrocketed also. I mean, it has completely taken over my mind. It has pushed the Ace x Lu (yes, yes, I know, it's wrong, but guess what: I. Don't. Care.) pairing off to the side, which is a pretty high accomplishment, seeing it was the first yaoi pairing I ever came across and fell in love with.

Okay, back to the reason why you're here. So, seeing as my obsession for this pairings has exploded, I have decided to write a story of Marco x Ace. Now, before you skip the rest of this A/N, I just want to point something out. If you've ever read my other lame stories, you'd know I have never really attempted the Romance genre. Mainly because I have come to completely ignore the subject, not even bothering to watch Romance movies. (Unless they're Comedy Romance… Then my family/friend kind of drag me into watching them.) Plus I have never been asked out, so I have no idea how to even go ABOUT the romantic-ness of males. So this is really, really, really different/ ard for me. If anything is wrong/out of place/completely weird, forgive me. As you can see, I have a lack of experience with the subject. XD

Summary: Who ever could have guessed it would all begin when he ordered a banana-split? Ace certainly couldn't have, and neither could the beautiful blond who worked as a cashier behind the counter at Sugary Love. But when Cupid pulls back and aims his arrow, rarely does he miss. Marco x Ace.

Warnings: Male x Male. Language, failed attempts at flirting, some light sexual themes, ooc, AU, and horrible, horrible writing.

Disclaimer: Aw dammit, is this really necessary? I mean, is Echiiro Oda really gonna go around on this website and look for any story that might say 'I own One Piece'? I seriously doubt it. … … …I don't own One Piece, or its characters, or the made up company called Sugary Love, or Cupid. …Just to make sure, incase the lawyers find my story, you know? Yeah, just to make sure… *paranoid mumbling*

~ Sweeter ~ Than ~ Sugar ~

Chapter One: One Banana-Split, Please

Who ever would have guessed it all began when he ordered a banana-split?

In all truth, Ace never would have. If anything, he thought it would have started when he accidentally bumped into someone, or got stuck in an elevator with another person, or even when he would get hit in the head by a frisbee in the park and the person who owned it would come over to help him up. But no, his love life didn't start like that.

It started when he walked into the air-conditioned building known as Sugary Love.

Marco hated his job. He loathed it. Who wouldn't? Being a cashier wasn't all it was cracked up to be. First off, his job started at six in the morning– which completely made no sense to him, seeing as no one was idiotic enough to get ice-cream at fuckin' six in the morning. Second, he had to deal with many, many people, a lot of them being downright assholes. Was it too hard to not shove your life problems down a cashier's throat? Was it too hard to not shout your fuckin' heart out at the poor, innocent cashier who hadn't done shit to you except ask for your order? Three, his job– though, thankfully, only part-time– came in a ten hour shift. Six to four. And he had only one break which lasted for only ten minutes. It was murder on his feet and back sometimes. Four, his boss was a total dick. And every dicky boss had to have that one employee that they loved to pick. Any guesses on who that employee was? You guessed it. Marco. Five, the pay was shit. Just… shit. He would have quit five months ago if the economy hadn't been so bad and absolutely no one was hiring at the moment.

Still, he couldn't help but feel somewhat disgusted with himself.

Here he was, the Marco Phoenix, one of Whitebeard's eldest and exemplary sons…

…working as a fuckin' cashier.

"Excuse me? Are you even listening to me? Hellooo?" Marco gave a sigh, his shoulders somewhat slumping as he put on a fake but tired smile. It wasn't even nine o'clock yet and already it looked like his day was ready to go to hell.

"Yes, sorry; welcome to Sugary Love, order when ready, yoi."

Yeah, he really hated his job.

Ace was a fan of sweets, so long as they weren't too sweet. He couldn't stand overly-sweet candies, they made his teeth hurt. Not too mention he couldn't stand dark chocolate; even getting a small whiff of the food made his stomach all queasy. Ice-cream, though, was something he could eat any day. And right now, as the humid temperature of mid-summer began to grow, he couldn't help but stare at the frozen dessert company that stood before him. He didn't have that much money at the moment, only enough to get one snack and one bus ticket. He stared at the red wallet in his hand, looked back at the building before him, then back at the wallet.

"Well, so what if the desserts here are a little expensive? It's either melt under the hot sun, or cool yourself off with a frozen treat. Yeah, we don't want to do any melting today." Making his decision, the freckled male opened the glass doors that stood in his way of his frozen delight, the cool air-conditioning caressing his sun-warmed skin. Giving a quick, light shiver, he took in the building's decor.

The room wasn't too large, but it was big enough to seat at least twenty-five people. The seats and stools that lined the tables and counters were bubblegum-pink, and the tables/counters were a light melon-green. The off-white walls had multicolored sprinkles and swirls painted on them, with the floor tiles below his feet a deep cherry-red, and Ace almost felt as if he were in a child's preschool playroom. Whatever, it wasn't his fault their designers did a kind of crappy job at decorating the inside properly. Standing far from the register, he leaned against a thick, frosted glass window that was placed in the middle of the room and looked over the menu for the cheapest thing he could afford.

Ice cream: single – $4.81

Ice cream: double – $5.59

Ice cream: triple – $6.88

Ice cream float: small – $7.90

Ice cream float: medium – $8.43

Ice cream float: large – $9.66

Ace frowned. Yeah, he could only afford something that was under three dollars. He scanned the menu for anything that might fit his price range, and wasn't all too surprised when he found nothing in his preferences. 'Stupid big-time CEO money sharks…' He turned to leave when he noticed a large sign– okay, so maybe he felt stupid for not noticing it earlier– that held the picture of a delicious banana-split.

Limited time only! Banana-split, anyway you want it, for only $3.50!

Okay, now that was something he couldn't pass up. A toothy grin crossed his features and he happily opened his wallet, pulling out the five dollar bill that occupied the comfortable pouch. He started to head to one of the cashiers who said they were ready to take his order when a rather snotty and oblivious female cut in front of him, flipping her hair and strutting her fine ass to the counter. She turned to Ace and gave him a wink. "Thanks, cutie-pie," she spoke, her voice lust-laced. He simple rolled his eyes. He couldn't stand women like her.

"If you're ready, I'll take your order, yoi." The smooth voice had Ace looking to his left at the other open register and he blinked when his eyes landed on the cashier. The male had to be at least in his mid to late thirties, if not older, and had sun-kissed skin. His blond hair was oddly cut, he had to admit, and he found himself thinking of a pineapple when he stared at its form a second longer. The dark-blue and black uniform top clung nicely to the blond's body, and Ace could easily make the out toned muscles through the fabric.

But what really caught Ace's attention was the man's half-lidded eyes.

They were, to say the least, mesmerizing.

The orbs were crystal clear, the clearest light blue he had ever seen. More clearer– and beautiful– than Tahiti's shallow waters, and more reflective than an azurite's smooth surface. They had to be the most eye-catching thing Ace had ever seen. And he had seen a lot of eye-catching things in his twenty years.

Putting on a warm smile, the freckled male made his way to the register where he glanced at the sign to his side once more. "Yeah, I'll have a banana-split, please. With sprinkles, aaaaaaand that'll be it."

The man chuckled, "What flavor of ice-cream would you like?" Ace thought hard for a moment, scratching his chin in thought.

"I guess I didn't really think about that. Well… Hey, what would you recommend?"

The blond blinked, obviously surprised by the question, before pointing to himself. "Me?"

"Yeah," Ace smiled back. "What flavor would you recommend?"

"I-I guess it depends on what you have the taste for, yoi," the male replied, still surprised that someone was actually being somewhat courteous to him. Sure, a lot of people were kind and thankful and all that, but none of them actually asked for a recommendation from him. They usually did that when everyone else was working besides him. Was there something wrong with the way he looked to make them think, 'I don't know what flavor to get, but I don't want to ask this guy AT ALL. Maybe I'll just come back and ask the other cashier working.'? He didn't understand it, but, then again, he didn't really care. If they wanted to think that, then let them. Each to his own, right?

"How about… something sweet?"

'Sweet, sweet… Let's see… Most of the flavors we have are sweet, yoi. That doesn't exactly narrow it down at all.' He gave a quick look-over of the kid, taking in his appearance, posture, and character. 'Alright. Chocolate's definitely screaming at me, yoi. But so is strawberry. Wait, didn't we just get new flavors in last week? What were they again? August Delight, LionS'more, German Chocolate Cake, and Apple Cobbler Crunch. Oh! And THAT flavor!' The blond gave a smile and he punched in the order. "That'll be $3.62." Ace handed the cashier his five but raised an eyebrow as the male handed him his change without saying a word.

"So what flavor am I getting?"

"It's a surprise, yoi," the blond grinned, piquing Ace's curiosity. He waited anxiously at the counter, his mind going back to those all too crystal clear eyes the cashier had. They wouldn't leave his mind, and in all truth, he didn't want them to. They were perfect. In fact, they were too perfect, Ace found. The blond returned a minute later and Ace looked like he was about to drool a river. "One banana-split with Cupid's Love ice cream, nuts, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and a cherry. Enjoy, yoi." Taking the little dish as if were a delicate baby, Ace stared in awe at the ice cream that hid below the cream and other toppings.

Chocolate ice cream with cherry bits, pieces of strawberries, the tiniest strips of coconut– not too much, but too little–, a few pomegranate seeds, and just a tad bit of cinnamon. He lifted the plastic spoon buried in the ice cream and tried a taste of it.

He was pretty sure he was in heaven the moment his taste buds hit the frozen dessert.

It must have shown on his face because the cashier gave all too proud smirk. "Not bad?"

"Not bad?" Ace repeated, looking up. "It's like a piece of heaven fell from the sky and landed on my banana!" So maybe that wasn't exactly the right way to word it because the other customers around him were throwing him odd and disgusted looks. He didn't care. He gave the blond the biggest grin he could must and reached out his hand. "Thanks,…?"

"Marco," the blond answered, shaking the outstretched hand. "My name's Marco, yoi."

"Thanks, Marco," Ace finished. Looking down at the watch on his wrist, Ace gave a quiet curse. "Damn, I'm already late. Thanks again!" He turned and exited the building, leaving Marco behind to smile brightly to himself. He never did get the kid's name, but that didn't dampen his spirit at all. 'Nothing can ruin my day now,' he thought warmly.

Turning to the next customer with a friendly look, Marco decided that maybe, just maybe, his job wasn't all that bad.

Ace didn't know what compelled him to go back to the rip-off dairy company the following week, but he wasn't going to complain. The temperature was easily 93° and a cold frozen delight was just what the doctor ordered. He stepped through the glass doors once again, the cool air enveloping him gently, and he gave a sigh of relief. At least he wouldn't overheat in the building. Looking over to the side, he was disappointed to see that the sign that had been there last time wasn't there anymore, and he gave a light sigh. The banana-splits were back to their usual price of $5.50. 'Oh well. $5.50 ain't too bad.'

.50¢ for any extra topping

So he'd really be paying about $6, seeing as sprinkles were an extra topping. Actually, why couldn't they just automatically add sprinkles to the delicious dessert? If somebody didn't want them, they could just ask for no sprinkles. 'It's all part of their evil plan to gain more money,' Ace thought. 'In about three years, you're going to have to pay extra to have the whipped cream, nuts, and cherries on it too I bet. Greedy bastards.' He shook these thoughts away when he found himself next in line. He moved to the open register and looked up to see who his cashier was. He was surprised to see a pair of familiar half-lidded eyes staring at him. "Marco?"

"Oh, it's you again, yoi," the man smiled, his mood brightening considerably. Ace couldn't help but smile back. "So, may I take your order?"

"I'd like one banana-split please. With sprinkles."

"Same type of ice-cream as last time?"

The freckled male gave a grin. "Yes, please."

Ace blinked. This… This was too good to be happening. Had he heard the man wrong? He had to have. This kind of thing didn't just happen, especially to him, seeing as he had the worst luck in the world. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"I said it's on the house, yoi," the male repeated, staring into the young male's gray eyes. Marco never realized how easy it was to get lost in someone's eyes. It was… nice, calming. Ace continued to stand there, banana-split in hand, staring at the cashier like he had grown a second head. Realizing the boy needed an explanation, Marco continued. "It's for making my day last time. Think of it as a thank you gift, yoi."

Oh, and that giant, toothy grin was back on that perfect freckled face.

"Wow, Marco, thanks! I mean it!" Ace loved it when people gave him free food. It was like the ultimate gift. Free food, who wouldn't pass that up? "I-I don't know what to say!" The blond waved it off with a smirk. As long as the kid was happy, and from the looks of it, the kid wasn't happy; he was ecstatic. He looked like he might have just won the $250,000 lottery.

"No need to say anything, yoi. You just have yourself a good day."

"Heh, and you, good sir that is named Marco, have yourself a great day," the male pointed to him with his spoon before giving a quick wave and exiting the building. Oh, that was it. Ace just had to do something for the blond in return. The man just gave him the best frozen dairy treat he had ever tasted for free. Yeah, he totally had to repay the blond.

The question was: how?

A/N: I originally wanted to upload this as a one-shot, but then it'd be around 30,000 words, and that is a huge ass one-shot. So I've decided to update it weekly. Hope this first part was alright. The actual 'romance' won't be for at least four more chapters.

So, thank you for reading this! Now go and have yourself a yummy dessert! :D

Your rokudenashi ice elemental,
~roo the psycho