As with most things, it started out fairly innocently: Marco, struck down with a nasty stomach bug that had swept through a great deal of the crew, found himself unable to command his division. Ace fed him soup until the nurses kicked him out on day two and, bored out of his head, decided that some silliness was in order.
So Commander Pineapple appeared to stand in for Marco. Commander Pineapple was, in fact, an actual pineapple with blue ‘wings’ (supplied by Thatch) and with a face constructed by Vista. Everyone found the whole thing hilarious bar Marco who swore revenged. Said revenge came in the form of stealing Ace’s beloved hat and Ace had responded by going off to sulk with his ex-Spades who made consoling noises until they ended up sneaking off to steal it back. Somehow, Jozu became tangled up in all of it and ended up dying Vista’s moustache a vivid pink and, in turn, Thatch found all his clothes replaced with some of the more revealing items worn by the nurses.
He ended up wearing them until Whitebeard ordered them to stop before the Marines (or, even worse, Shanks and his crew of idiots) found out. Shanks found out anyway, thanks to Mihawk of all the people, and spent a great deal of time laughing raucously and composing embarrassing ditties with Yasopp.
Now, six months on, Ace, Marco, Jozu, Thatch and Vista are gathered in Ace and Marco’s cabin. No one mentions how the blankets on the bed look rather like a nest; Thatch made a joke once and received a kick up the backside, discovering just how sharp Marco’s talons really were.
“Okay, here’s the plan,” Ace begins, unfurling several sheets of paper showing near incomprehensible handwriting.
“No wonder the tattoo on his arm was spelled wrong,” Jozu mutters to Vista in a low voice, the swordsman nodding sagely.
“Is this your plan?” Thatch asks and Ace beams. Thatch goes pale and gives Marco a pleading look. “You let him be in charge?”
Marco shrugs, saying nothing.
“I’m very persuasive,” Ace replies. “A master seductor.”
“I could live without knowing that.” Jozu reaches forward to read over the plans and makes a face. “What the hell is this part?”
“The part involving the fish.” Vista leans over Jozu’s shoulder and even Marco’s curiosity is piqued.
“Oh, that. It’s for Thatch,” Ace takes the sheet back. “Now, Jozu, you and Vista will be raiding their booze stores because you’re both able to carry more.”
Everyone is remembering the time Ace went to steal alcohol and shifted to his logia form. It had amused no one.
“Moving on,” Ace clears his throat, cheeks faintly red, “Marco and I will be stealing food.”
“Meaning Ace will busy himself eating till he bursts and I’ll go grab the maps and any easy to carry treasure.” Marco clarifies.
“What about me?” Thatch asks, eyes narrowing with suspicions when Jozu and Vista both start sniggering. Ace grins the D grin – unholy and terrifying and nothing good ever comes when it appears – and Marco raises his eyebrows.
“You,” Ace says, grabbing Thatch, “will be distracting Shanks.”
“And how, pray tell, will I be doing that?”
“You will perform a seductive dance.”
Jozu and Vista howl with laughter. Marco snorts. Ace stares at Thatch who stares back, wholly unimpressed. “A seductive dance.”
“Yes. Like you did in the clothes we ‘borrowed’ from the nurses. Shanks had loads of songs about that.”
“I hate you.”
“Wait, there’s more.”
“You’ll put fish in your pants.”
The room falls silent for a whole ten seconds before Division Commanders one, three and five all start laughing.
“It’s a genius plan,” Ace comments.
“What part makes you disagree?”
“Oh I don’t know, how about I disagree with the fish in my pants!”
Ace’s face screws up in thought. “I guess we can scratch that part if you wear the nurse’s clothes again.”
It’s Thatch’s turn to think and, giving Ace a murderous look, he sighs in resignation. “I’ll choose the fish.”
They set the plan in motion the next time they come across Shanks and it goes off without a hitch, Whitebeard laughing hard enough to make the Moby Dick vibrate. Thatch though, is less than impressed a week later when news reaches them about Shanks telling everyone he meets about Fourth Division Commander Thatch and his...hobbies.
Thatch tosses Ace overboard and sulks for a week. The ex-Spades form an honour guard around their old captain.
Whitebeard merely rolls his eyes and carries on drinking. Boys will be boys after all.