Actions

Work Header

Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash

Chapter Text

"Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash."
—Winston Churchill


 

Heavy panting filled the small cabin reeking with the musk of sweat and sex. Outside, seagulls gathered to listen, and a dolphin paused to hear their grunts and trembling shouts before moving on, inspired to find a mate of its own.

"Zoro!" someone called out, followed by a throaty moan.

"Luffy … fuck!"

No one else was in the calm bay where they had docked far away from the main town so the Marines would not recognize their sail and give chase. All was quiet here except the two of them.

Zoro grabbed Luffy's hips as the smaller man sat on top of his lap. He thrust harder, and Luffy shuddered. Zoro pumped his captain's cock faster. His single eye narrowed as he stared with reserve at the gasps and groans coming from his captain.

"You … you always stare at me like that now," Luffy said with a flush.

Zoro smirked slightly. "I like to watch how cute you look when you lose control."

The small entrance got tighter. Luffy's face took on an expression the swordsman knew well.

"Zoro, I … I can't hold back. I'm gonna…"

The rubberman stiffened and threw his head back to scream in ecstasy just before splattering all over Zoro's scarred chest. Feeling Luffy clench on him, Zoro leaned his head back against the cabin wall and surrendered control. He had honed his body to perfection and could hold back as long as Luffy needed, but when it was time to end their lovemaking, he voluntarily loosened that control. Only then did he give his body over to the sensations. Only with his captain could he allow such complete surrender. With only a groan and a huff, he released, and Luffy quivered to feel the hot fluid fill him inside.

After a quick cleanup and opening a window to air out the steaminess, the two were spooned together in the sleeping quarters. Zoro shielded Luffy with his larger body and stroked through the soft, black hair. It was quiet, only a low moan of wooden boards as the ship rocked them, and occasionally the raucous cry of a seagull who had grown bored now that the show was over.

"We should go into town while we can," Zoro mentioned casually. Luffy hummed and did not move. "At the least, we should get dressed. That pervy-cook will be back soon." Another moaning hum. "Really, if he finds us like this…"

"Go ahead," Luffy muttered. "Find a place with good meat. Need sleep."

Zoro teasingly pulled Luffy's ear until it stretched out far, but he let his captain take a nap. "In that case, I'm off to get drunk at the pub. There's only one in the port, so I'm heading there. Meet me whenever you wake up. If the meat's no good, we'll go somewhere else. Sleep as long as you need." He kissed Luffy's forehead, got up, dressed in his long green coat, attached his three swords, and prepared to go.

"Zoro," Luffy called out. He rolled over, and Zoro saw the X slashed over his naked chest. "Do you even enjoy this anymore?"

The swordsman jolted in concern at the question and the pout on Luffy's face. "What are you talking about? Of course I do!"

"Why do you never come first? It always looks like you're bored and only coming because I am. You never lose control anymore. I really tried to hold out today, too."

Zoro had a cocky smile. "No good crewman should fire before the captain gives the order, right?" Luffy only pouted deeper at that excuse. Zoro knelt down beside him, stroked back the lanky black hair, and gave Luffy another gentle kiss. "Maybe I trained to hold out this long purely to please you."

Luffy's eyes narrowed. "Trained? Trained with who? Who dared to touch you?" he asked jealously.

Zoro just laughed and ruffled his hair. "Who else on this ship do I love but you, silly? Now, you rest. Sorry if I was too aggressive."

"No, just tired from trying to hold out for you." Luffy happily wrapped himself in his blanket and curled into a ball like a kitten. "Pub. We get meat. Sleep now." With that, he was out and snoring.

Half an hour later, Zoro somehow managed to find the pub after taking "the scenic route" into town. He had a large mug of beer in front of him and a pensive expression on his face. He stared at a long mirror across the way which reflected all that was happening behind him. Such a mirror was good for outlaws so people could not sneak up and capture them while they were drinking with their back to the door. However, Zoro was not worried about enemies. Two pirates were brawling. He knew from experience, they would be taken away and no one else would be bothered. Thanks to them, the Marines would assume all was peaceful once more and let down their guard.

Instead, he stared at himself in the mirror. His good eye saw the scar running down his face. He saw how he had grown, his hair longer, his muscles bigger … hopefully strong enough to survive this New World.

But other thoughts troubled him. Luffy's questions kept repeating in his head.

Why do you never come first? It always looks like you're bored and only coming because I am. You never lose control anymore.

"Lose control, huh?" he muttered to himself, but his words were drowned out by the argument behind him. "I wonder if I even can lose control anymore."

Trained? Trained with who? Who dared to touch you?

He looked down with old memories. His eye landed on the hilt of Shusui and the white cross embedded into it.

Odd, wasn't it? He had known the Straw Hat Pirates for less than a year before they were separated. Less than a year! Yet he spent two years training to help Luffy reach his goal. For a crazy, carefree teen he knew for less than a year…

Really, he hardly knew Luffy.

He knew him longer. He knew him better. After all, for two years, he had trained Zoro in much more than just swordsmanship.

End of Chapter 1

Chapter Text

Year 1522, Kuraigana Island

Roronoa Zoro fell to his knees in exhaustion. He panted hard, feeling almost at the point of passing out, yet his opponent had not even broken a sweat, nor had he moved a step from where he first took his stand.

"This exhaustion," Dracule Mihawk said in a sibilant voice. "It is a weakness. You shouldn't allow your body to feel such exhaustion."

"Easy for you to say," Zoro panted, slowly raising back to his feet. "You haven't moved your ass one step."

Mihawk arched an eyebrow. "You've yet to make me move."

That pissed Zoro off. He raised his swords, roared a battle cry and began to run at him.

Mihawk raised a hand. "Stop," he said softly.

Zoro was stunned that his whole body froze at the command. He had not been stopped by magic; he consciously stopped. A form of Haki? It pissed him off even more to think this idol-rival had that much control over him.

"Why did you scream like a barbarian?" Mihawk questioned coolly. "How much of your dwindling energy did you waste in that scream?"

"It was...you know, when you shout to pull up energy you didn't think you had."

"Didn't think?" he asked with a raised brow. "Shouldn't you be fully aware of all your energy, totally conscious and in control of your full power from the very beginning of the fight? Would it not have been better to internalize that energy, sink it down like a lure into a river to cull forth any reserved energy, transform it into strength, and then silently meet me in battle?"

Zoro lowered his swords. The bastard was right!

Mihawk sheathed his blade with a disappointed sigh. "Enough swordplay. Follow me. It seems you need more basic training first."

He turned his back on Zoro. Whenever the swordmaster flaunted his confidence by doing this, Zoro was tempted to run him through, yet that would never work, not with a man like Dracule Mihawk. Reluctantly, Zoro followed him out of the corridor they used for training and toward the castle's living quarters. Before he realized it, they were standing in front of Mihawk's private chamber. Zoro hummed in a query. He had never been allowed inside this room before. It was forbidden even to Perona on punishment of a very slow, very painful death. Such a threat from a man like the shichibukai was enough to curb their curiosity.

Mihawk pulled out a heavy key and unlocked the bedroom door. When Zoro stepped in, he realized why Mihawk would hide it.

"The...fuck..." Zoro gasped.

The four-post coffin bed with restraints hanging from each post was creepy enough. The sex swing with heavy metal chains suspending it from a blackened metal frame was no less disturbing. A hanging cage in the corner, stocks, Berkley Horse, and Saint Andrew's Cross beside a long peg-rack displaying whips, paddles, and other instruments of pleasant pain gave Zoro chills. When he heard the door behind him shut and the lock clicked, even the fearless green-haired pirate hunter jumped a little.

"Roronoa," Mihawk intoned.

The way he said his name so quietly made Zoro's skin crawl and his cheeks flush. He sounded absolutely serious, which in its own way was seductive. Zoro shook the offending thought out of his head. This was his enemy! His rival! He wanted to kill Mihawk one day!

"Your body has not learned control. Breathing, muscle movement, conservation of energy, forcefully blocking sensations from reaching the brain: such control over the body is not easy to learn. Before you can raise a sword against me, you first have to be not quite so eager to raise this sword against me."

The swordmaster's hand slithered down and felt the eager crotch. Zoro leaped back with a jolt of shock and disgust. However, there was nowhere to run. Every corner of the room had some device that looked like it was meant for torture.

"Am I not your enemy, Roronoa?" Mihawk questioned smoothly. "Does seeing my hobby excite you that much? Could it be you want to join me?"

"Like hell!" Zoro sneered. The leather and chain swing looked least threatening, so he retreated that way. "My cock simply has a mind of its own. I can't control what it does."

"Precisely. You allow it to control you. That is one flaw which is found in many things you do. You lack control. You are young, impulsive, easy to anger, easy to forget where you are or where you're heading. Control over the body, control over emotions, control over the environment immediately around you. Those things I must teach you before I can hope to find you as a worthy rival. For now, you're nothing but a weak virgin."

Zoro jolted at that. "V-virgin?" he shouted and began to blush brighter. "What the...? Why would you say that? How could you know if I am or not? For your information..."

"Whether you have inserted your penis into a woman or a man means nothing to me," Mihawk cut off, truly not wanting to hear him brag. "You know nothing of sexual control. Merely seeing this room overwhelms you. I can tell three things about you simply by observing your reactions. One, you ejaculate prematurely with a new lover."

That made Zoro flare in anger. "What the...!"

"Two, you've had less than five partners in your life."

"Just means I'm not a slut like you," Zoro shot back with a chuckle of victory. Take that, you damn perverted old man!

"Three," Mihawk said with a sly gleam in his eyes, "you have never been entered."

"Entered?" It took Zoro a while to understand what he meant. "Sorry buddy, but I top. Always!"

"And that is surely your problem."

Mihawk's attack came too fast. Zoro was thrust back. Just as he thought he would fall to the floor, something supported his hips. He was sitting on the swing, and it rocked gently under him. Lightning fast movements forced his arms into cuffs. Zoro tried to break free, but Mihawk had the honed skill to move his arms and wrists subtly and deftly. With a tug, the haramaki fell to the floor. Mihawk took up the three swords and gently laid them on a table by the window.

With Mihawk a few paces away, Zoro thought he now had a chance. He tried to stand back up, but he was shoved down hard with a force that knocked the air out of his lungs. Zoro realized, not only was Mihawk's sword powerful, but if he was ever forced into hand-to-hand combat, he could probably withstand even Luffy's power. He felt his ankles being grabbed, lifted, and clasped. Soon he was chained to the sex swing by all four limbs. Now that he was fully restrained, Mihawk took his time undoing Zoro's boots and slipping them off. He pulled out the small dagger from his pendant cross and sliced Zoro's pants apart.

"Hey!" Zoro yelled furiously.

"I will buy you new clothes," Mihawk said softly, concentrating as he ripped apart the fabric.

He then sliced Zoro's shirt so that it could be yanked off his body without the need to get up. In just a few minutes, he was stripped completely naked. Zoro blushed as he realized his horribly exposed position. He squirmed against the cuffs, but there was no escaping.

"Perverted bastard!" he screamed. "I wanted to learn swordsmanship, not be your bitch."

Mihawk stepped up in front of Zoro and stared at him from between his spread and folded knees. "Until you learn domination over your own body, you may not touch your swords. Nor may you touch this sword." He grabbed Zoro's shaft and squeezed it as he slid from the base up to the tip.

"Damn bastard, stop it!" Zoro squirmed on the swing. "Don't you fucking touch me, you pervert!"

"You act like you hate this, yet you're so hard. I've barely touched you."

"I can't help something like that," he muttered in shame.

"Precisely!"

Mihawk backed off. Zoro watched in growing terror as Mihawk set his hat aside and yanked off his coat.

"Fucker, let me go!" He thrashed until the chains on the swing rattled and clanked against the metal frame. "If you dare rape me, I will fucking kill you."

"You wish to kill me anyway," Mihawk reasoned unemotionally, removing his boots. "However, whether or not I have sex with you will be decided by you. I'm not interested in pleasing myself in such a deprived manner."

"Then why the hell are you stripping?" Zoro shouted, and his voice cracked.

"Simple. I don't wish to dirty my clothes. Unlike your pirating rags, this fabric is the highest quality found on Grand Line. You see, Roronoa," he said as he began undoing his belt buckle, "I am here purely to train your body."

Mihawk was now naked. Zoro saw the scars that covered his body, too many slash wounds to count, most of them old and faded, some of them severe. However, when Mihawk turned around to put his clothes on a desk, there was not a single scratch on his back. Despite himself, Zoro could not look away at this fleshly testament of courage and dignity. It made him wonder in awe at how many battles Mihawk must have fought before he could claim the title of being the best swordsman in the world.

"You have no self-control," the swordmaster chided. "It's like looking at a naïve child. Until I deem you a true man, you are—as you so eloquently put it—my bitch." He leaned over and smothered Zoro with his taut, scarred body. With cold eyes that could stab steel, he whispered, "I will make you into a man, Roronoa Zoro."

Quietly, the young swordsman threatened, "Kiss me and I'll gnaw your tongue out." He was taking the lesson to heart, ceasing his shouting, conserving his strength, searching for a weakness...anything!

"For now, kissing is unnecessary for my lesson."

Zoro gritted his teeth and pulled away as well as he could. There had to be a weakness, an opening, some way to escape the shackles. If he could just think calmly enough...

Yet when Mihawk took hold of his shaft, Zoro could not help but moan loudly at the hot touches. Mihawk pumped him in a fast, steady rhythm and watched his straining face with cool detachment.

"When you can see the most erotic sight without giving a rise; when you can experience the most intense sensations without uttering a sound; when you have utter control over how your body reacts; when you can make love for hours without giving in to your partner until you sense it is time; when you can go without food for days, withstand heat or cold, dryness and moisture, brightness and darkness, noise and silence, pain and pleasure...then you may resume your swordplay."

Two fingers tweaked Zoro's nipple and rolled it around while his other hand continued to stroke the leaking shaft. Zoro's head shook as he fought the unconscious reactions. He wanted to moan at how those nimble fingers found every sensitive zone. How could a man who held a sword so fiercely be able to hold him so tenderly?

"This is only one facet of the training I have in store for you, yet it may be the most difficult. You've faced many trials on your road to challenge me. You are adept at blocking discomfort and pain. Pleasure, though, is something we swordsmen don't experience frequently enough. When we do, we wantonly indulge in it without realizing how this too can be a weakness we must overcome."

One hand slithered up Zoro's chest and glided across the diagonal scar.

"I marked you once. I wanted to teach you pain and pride as a swordsman. Now I will scar you again...down here." A finger teased his anus. "I will teach you pleasure and humility."

"I said stop!" Zoro yelled, trembling at the gentle touches. "If you don't stop, I...I'm gonna... Bastard, stop!" he begged, straining but knowing he was about to lose this battle.

"Shouting at me again? It's the same as your battle cry, a waste. When you learn not to waste your energy, to control your body's reactions, breathe properly, control blood flow, heart rate, emotions, passions..."

Zoro cried out as his whole body arched and shivered. Too much! He burst out and felt shame as his cum splattered across his chest. Mihawk looked down, honestly surprised it happened so quickly. He looked at the green-haired nineteen-year-old again in just a little concern. Zoro's face was red all the way to his ears. His mouth hung open in heavy panting. He looked like he wanted more, and because he did, Mihawk moved back to deny him that pleasure.

"See, you do ejaculate prematurely with a new lover."

"You are not my lover, jackass," Zoro sneered, thrashing against the restraints.

"Perhaps it has simply been too long since your last release. I'll clean you, let you rest half an hour, then we shall try again. When you can last six hours under my very worst, I will deem you ready."

"Six hours?" Zoro shivered. "Impossible. I don't know of any man who can have sex for six hours."

"There is one man," Mihawk said quietly as he walked away to fetch a towel. Under his breath, the emotionless swordsman allowed a small sneer. "Damn redheaded slut!"

End of Chapter Two

Chapter Text

Same Day, Year 1522, Kuraigana Island

Zoro laid on Mihawk's bed, his hands cuffed to his ankles, forcing him into a fetal position from which he could not escape. He whimpered and writhed on the red satin sheets. Sweat drenched his green hair. He had gone from flushed to looking sickly pale.

"Please, stop it," he rasped out.

Mihawk wore an opened silk housecoat, a bejeweled wine goblet resting in his hand, sitting on a high-backed chair and watching his young student with a furrowed brow. "Learn to fight through it, Roronoa," he schooled. "Don't allow physical sensations to dominate you. Consciously choose how your body will react to stimuli."

"I...I can't," he panted heavily.

Sweat dripped down his forehead. His body twitched and his face drew up in agony. He began to look truly sick. Mihawk turned his eyes away in frustration. He needed to be harsh for this lesson to work. He could not let his admiration for this upstart pirate or any minuscule sense of pity enter his mind.

"Tell me," Zoro hissed determinedly. He glared back over to the master swordsman. "Tell me how to stop it. How can I keep my body from reacting to...to this?"

"The same way you tell yourself to ignore the pain when you're injured in a fight. The same way you tell yourself not to feel hunger when you've battled through an entire day. Take a deep breath. Forcefully cease the sensations."

Zoro did as he was told. He went through breathing meditations he had learned as a child in Isshin Dojo. Master Koshiro had schooled him for many years in breathing techniques. Still, it was a challenge in this situation.

"Pain, pleasure: there is no difference." Mihawk took a delicate sip from his wine goblet. "When you discover this truth, then you can tune out the pleasure just as you've learned how to tune out the pain. You can transmute both into energy and manipulate that energy to your bidding."

Slowly, Zoro calmed down. He still twitched occasionally, but Mihawk saw that he had taken the first steps to overcoming physical responses. His breathing regulated. His face relaxed. In less than a minute, Zoro had placed himself into a deep meditative state. Mihawk raised an eyebrow at how fast he had learned control and so utterly disconnected to the sensations around him. He reached to the bucket of ice his wine bottle sat in, took one ice cube, leaned over to the bed, and pressed the cube into Zoro's belly button. He did not even flinch.

"Impressive. You were trained well after all."

He finished his wine, rose gracefully, and slid onto the bed. He reached down to Zoro's buttocks where a cord stuck out, flipped a switch, and a low vibrating hum stopped. Zoro sighed at the relief.

"You're freezing," Mihawk realized softly. He slid his warm hands up and down Zoro's muscled arms.

"Please take it out first," Zoro begged weakly.

"Very well. That's enough for today."

Zoro's face gritted as Mihawk pulled out the vibrating anal beads. He cried out at the first bulbous bead, but since each following bead was smaller, they hurt less, until the smallest ones actually felt good. He sighed when he felt the last one pull out, letting his anus relax.

Mihawk unlocked the cuffs and gently massaged Zoro's wrists and ankles. Zoro watched warily as Mihawk kissed his sore, reddened ankles, then kissed along the top of his foot, down to his toes, and kissed each toe with a slight sucking feeling. The pleasure made Zoro tremble. Mihawk felt the shiver and misunderstood it to mean Zoro was cold. He stopped, crawled back up, and laid beside Zoro's body. He pulled the blankets up over both of them and embraced Zoro in a soothing hug, rubbing warmth into the clammy skin.

"You'll stay in my bed tonight so I can watch over you, make sure you're not injured," he said softly, breathing against Zoro's ear. He traced the dangling earrings with his lips. "I warned you before, my training will never be easy. It will wear you out. It will be painful. You might be injured: physically, mentally, and emotionally. You knew this when you bowed your head to me and begged to get stronger. Still, no matter how I may hurt you, I will always heal you and tend to your wounds. You are my special pupil, Roronoa." Mihawk curled around the muscular young man and kissed the back of Zoro's neck. "I will never apologize for the pain I give you, but I will help to take it away."

Zoro could no longer put up a brave front. His chest jolted as tears burned his eyes. All pride he might have had in himself had been broken through humiliation. He wept, and he no longer cared that it was in front of his enemy.

Mihawk pulled back, truly stunned. Crying? Had he truly hurt Zoro? Had he broken him that completely? Why would a man like this be brought to tears?

"Luffy," Zoro called out quietly. "I'm trying, Luffy. I'm trying." He sobbed and shivered as he curled into a ball. He wanted to pass out so the humiliation would stop.

"Luffy? Straw Hat?" Mihawk questioned, but it dawned on him. "He was your lover."

Zoro hesitated in uncertainty. No one knew, not even on the ship. He guessed a few might have figured it out—Robin and Franky were mature enough to understand such things and catch the subtle glances—but if they did, no one talked about it. He swallowed his sobs and nodded to Mihawk's question, hoping Luffy did not mind if the truth got revealed to such an enemy.

"You're doing all this for him. You are indeed loyal," Mihawk said with thinly veiled admiration. "How about I phrase this training in a slightly different way? I believe your problem is that you can't see how all physical sensations, be they pleasurable or painful, are connected to swordsmanship, so let us for the moment take this approach. No good crewman should fire before the captain gives the order, right?"

"I guess so," Zoro said with a dry throat.

Mihawk reached over to his wine bottle and poured some crimson liquid into his own goblet. He held the cup up to Zoro's lips and urged him to drink. Zoro gladly gulped it down. A little red liquid dribbled out and snaked down Zoro's chin and throat.

"The same could be true in matters of love. A man should not come before his lover is ready for him. He should have the skill and knowledge of his own body to prevent finishing prematurely. This training..." He licked up the dribbled wine, letting his tongue glide across Zoro's adam's apple. "...shall turn you into the sort of lover the future Pirate King deserves. How long were you with Luffy?"

"We've known each other for less than a year. We were lovers for only a couple months before the separation on Sabaody Archipelago."

"And you'll be with me for two years," he reasoned. "Until then, I will train you to be, not only the best swordsman in Grand Line, but the best lover. You will return to Straw Hat Luffy ready to deepen your bond. I guarantee you, this training will immensely improve your ability to fight."

Zoro looked up into those golden eyes with boyish eagerness. "Yeah?" he asked hopefully.

Mihawk saw that same excited, smiling face Zoro had given him the day he bowed before him, a childlike joy and glowing excitement. A spitting cobra one minute, a happy puppy the next, lazy as a cat, nimble as a bird! This man never ceased to amuse him. He afforded a rare smile for such an eager face, leaned forward, and kissed Zoro's forehead.

"Yes, my young pupil. You were Straw Hat's lover for two months, you say. Give me two months as well, and I will train you to have the ultimate bodily control. If you wish, the rest of your time here may be focused upon the sword, but...perhaps you'll want a little extra bedroom training on the side."

Zoro regained his cocky attitude. "Don't push your luck, bastard!"

Mihawk let out a laugh. Yes, that was the haughty brat who had intrigued him since that day at Baratie! He had not broken him completely.

"Hey, um," Zoro muttered awkwardly and looked aside with a flushed face. "If you wanna kiss me, then...I won't really gnaw your tongue out." He scowled and kept his eyes averted.

Mihawk smiled at such reluctance. It really was too cute! He took Zoro's cheek and tugged his face over. Zoro met his eyes worriedly.

"You're a fine man, Roronoa Zoro," he said softly. "If I had met you twenty years ago..."

He left it at that. Still, it shocked Zoro. Just as his face stopped looking so petulant, Mihawk dived like a peregrine falcon and captured a kiss. It was fast and brief, like the lightning reflexes of a snake handler grabbing a rattler out of a tank of vipers. Zoro sensed it was precisely because Mihawk was unsure how to handle this newly caged beast. He told Mihawk without words, he would not bite angily; instead, Zoro kissed him back.

Wait for me, Luffy. I'll learn all I can from this arrogant bastard. Just wait for me!

End of Chapter 3

Chapter Text

Present Day, a Pub in the New World

Zoro guzzled his beer and watched in the mirror ahead of him as Marines arrived and took away the fighting pirates. He had pulled on his bandanna to hide his telltale green hair. As the Marines began questioning witnesses, Zoro tugged the cloth a little lower down his eyes.

"You!" A burly Marine tapped his shoulder. "Did you see who started it?"

"Sorry, buddy, I was sitting like this the whole time. Right, bartender?"

The portly man trembled a little from the glint in that single eye. "Aye, he never even looked back to see who they were. Been facing me the whole time, yep."

"Very well." The Marine moved on to another witness.

The idiot didn't even realize he was facing a mirror and could have seen the entire brawl. Zoro smiled into his mug, slipped the bartender a five-thousand Beli note, and let his memories carry him away again.

Those two months as Mihawk's bitch had been infuriating and pleasurable at the same time. There were days when Mihawk was brutal and truly tried to torment Zoro to get a response, and there were days when he was satisfied that Zoro held out an extra five minutes and rewarded him in his own special way. And then there were days...


A Month Into Training, Kuraigana Island

Simply hearing the crack of the whip sent instinctual emotions through Zoro. Even if he wanted to run, he was restrained against the Saint Andrew's Cross and could not escape. His heart wanted to race, but he calmed it the same way he calmed himself before battle. His blood wanted to rush, but he controlled its flow. He had even learned how to control where it flowed to, the dilation of capillaries, the hormonal releases such thrills would normally elicit. He no longer blushed. He remained flaccid, even as the whip crept up his thighs, flickering over his skin like the tongue of a snake.

Not only was Mihawk's sword skills the best in the world, but his use of the whip was superior. Never did he draw blood. Only once did Zoro sneak that bullwhip out, tried to get it to crack, and nearly took his eye out when the lash did not go where he thought it would. Mihawk had been furious, but the mistake only left a welt that was gone by the next day.

The whip reached his groin. This always privately terrified Zoro. The smallest mistake, the slightest miscalculation, and he'd be singing castrato for the rest of his life! Instead of letting himself think about that fear, Zoro focused on Mihawk's face. Those golden eyes could focus like the point of an epee. In that stony face, Zoro could see the concentration such whip work took.

The lash crept steadily upward, over his stomach, flickering across his chest. It hit the scar only once and made Zoro moan in pain.

"Sorry," Mihawk whispered. "I was clumsy."

He came forward and kissed the welt the lash left behind. This act of tenderness was far more effective than Mihawk's other hobbies. Zoro knew he had blushed, but luckily Mihawk was too focused on licking the red marks he left behind...every mark. He worked his way down, kissing, licking, sucking on flesh. Zoro regained his focus before his master noticed. He had to struggle against instinct as Mihawk took extra attention on a ticklish spot on his thigh.

"This used to be sensitive," Mihawk noted. "You've done well. Shall we move on?"

"You tell me what you want to do," Zoro muttered. "What say do I have in this?"

Mihawk smirked at him. "Is this sort of thing really so repulsive to you? You no longer even give a rise." He leaned heavily against Zoro and grabbed between his leg. His nose was almost right against Zoro's. "Still soft. I think the lash no longer works."

He continued to play with him, rolling his balls in his fingers. Zoro still stared impassively, not letting the erotic touches affect his equanimity. Mihawk pulled back in surprise.

"Impressive. You've gained that much control in such a short time. But is it just me, or could it be with anyone? Perhaps it's time. Perona!"

Zoro's brow tightened. "Why the fuck do you want that creepy brat?"

"You hate me. You can focus upon that hatred and tone out all other sensations. You don't hate Perona."

"I don't like her, either," he glared.

The girl walked into the room. "The feeling is mutual." Perona came forward with a disgusted look on her prissy face. "Since we've got that out of the way, this is purely business, got it?"

Mihawk wrapped an arm around her shoulder. "Act that way and I'll set you adrift in the middle of sea-king-infested waters."

She paled at the threat. "S-sorry."

"Very well, I'll leave you in Perona's hands. I promised not to have sex with you, but perhaps you wouldn't mind as much if it was a woman. Perona, left side where his thigh meets his hip. The slightest touch will always get at least a little reaction."

"Fun!" she grinned broadly.

Zoro panicked as Mihawk began to leave. "Bastard, where are you going? You're leaving me with this...this...thing."

"How rude!" Perona pouted. "I'll make you suffer for that. And why are you so limp? Is Hawky no fun? He lacks a woman's touch." She knelt down eye-level to his groin and gave him a lick.

"Mihawk!" Zoro shouted urgently as terror came into his eyes. "I don't want her! I want..." He stopped and choked on his words.

The master swordsman stopped by the door without turning around. "You want?" he asked with the faintest bit of amusement.

Zoro looked aside in debate. How could he dare say it aloud?

"Perona?"

"A lovely shade of fuchsia, I'd say," she decided. "Also his thing is up to about horizontal, but otherwise in good control. Should I stop?"

Zoro cursed under his breath as he realized he had loosened his control. He felt the heat in his cheeks now, but regaining control over his body was hard.

Mihawk turned around to face Zoro, folded his arms over his chest, and leaned back against the door with an intrigued look on his chiseled face. "I'll let you do as you please, Perona."

"You're gonna stand there and watch?" she screamed.

"Is that a problem? You were the one who offered—almost begged—to be put into service."

"What?" shouted Zoro.

Perona looked aside with a scowl. "I'm a woman, I have needs, y'know. All I've got around here is a stone-cold old man and a muscle-head."

Mihawk arched an eyebrow that she considered him old. "Go ahead and please yourself as you wish."

"It'd be easier if he was on the bed."

"No, like this for now."

Perona shrugged and, still kneeling, she began to suck on Zoro's cock.

Zoro gave her a vicious sneer. "Fucking bitch, I swear I'll piss in your mouth."

"I really hope you do," she smirked naughtily up at him.

Zoro cringed that his threat backfired. Perona laughed, then slid him back into her mouth, humming with delight. Zoro felt acid burning his stomach. He glared at Mihawk, but the master swordsman coldly stared back at him. Why did his heart hurt so badly? Why did seeing Mihawk watching so dispassionately pain him?

"Mihawk, why?" he whispered.

"It's simply part of your training, Roronoa."

Zoro looked aside. "I don't want training like this."

He shut his eyes and closed his body off to everything. He could not feel Perona's touches or even hear her slurps. He focused everything inward.

"Haaawky, he's gone limp again. I'm trying and it just won't work."

"Even more fascinating," Mihawk mused. "Sorry, Perona, but it seems your needs will have to wait."

"No way!"

"Until tonight."

"Huh? Oh!" She began to blush fiery red.

Zoro glared over at him. Mihawk smirked as he dismissed Perona. Once she was gone, he sauntered up to Zoro. His hands roved over the teen's body until he gripped Zoro's pectorals.

"Jealousy makes your eyes shine quite beautifully," he said softly. "I'll test you at a higher level now. Simply blocking all stimuli isn't advisable in certain situations. Often in battle, we need to react to our opponent but continue keeping control over how much we react. For this exercise, give into me just a little. Stay hard as long as you are capable, yet do not cross the border and ejaculate. This is the hardest part of this particular lesson. It takes immense discipline of the mind and body."

Mihawk grabbed at him. Zoro fought all sensations for a while, but slowly he released just a little of that solid disconnection. He let himself feel Mihawk's touches. He moaned at just how good it felt too.

"That's right. Let yourself feel the sensations. Open your nervous system to what your body is feeling. Maintain control while giving in," Mihawk instructed as he knelt down. "Let's see how long you last."

As soon as Mihawk's mouth took him in fully, Zoro knew he would not last long. This was indeed going to be a hard lesson to learn, and he privately hoped it took a lot of practice!


Present Day, a Pub in the New World

Zoro sighed as he watched the Marines finally leave. Perhaps it was a good thing Luffy had stayed on the ship. That kid never knew when to keep his mouth shut, and his hat and huge smile would have given him away in an instant.

Now that the authorities were gone, the tavern began to get lively again. A game of cards resumed. Music started up. A scantly dressed woman sauntered up to Zoro. She slithered her fingers up his arm, across his shoulders, and down the other arm.

"Hey there, tall dark and handsome," she purred. "Drinking alone is never fun."

"I'm used to being alone," he said gruffly, hoping she would go away. Her perfume made his nose twitch.

"My, you have such tense muscles," she admired as her hands ran back up his arm and across his taut back. "Want a massage? I'm quite skilled."

"Lady," he said, and his eye glared at her. "Flirt up someone who can afford you. All of my money is going into booze tonight."

She huffed and went away. Zoro sighed and slouched back over his mug.

"Massage!" he muttered. "Those delicate hands couldn't even loosen up the muscles on my little finger." He guzzled down the rest of his beer. "Another!" he barked, pounding the empty mug onto the bar counter. The bartender was extra fast to obey, carefully refilling to the brim without spilling a drip.

His mind drifted again. When Zoro did well, Mihawk praised him in different ways. Once, he gave Zoro a foot rub that he would never forget. Another time was a simple picnic, all three of them going to the lake near the castle. It was still gloomy, yet not quite as bad as the rest of the island, and Perona made a surprisingly good bento.

But the best reward was The Delight of the Blade.

This involved skill on both the giver and the receiver. Where Mihawk learned such a terrifying and amazing technique, he would not say. He had a special blade, honed sharp enough to split a hair. The receiver laid in whatever position was the most comfortable, usually starting on their stomach and eventually flipping over once they truly mastered the relaxation. As the blade was rubbed over the body, the receiver had to remain perfectly still. The body fought the tension and fear of that blade. A jolt, a sneeze, a faint muscle twitch, could result in drawing blood. Zoro made such a mistake the first time, but once was all it took for him to realize that when Mihawk warned him not to tense up, he really meant it.

Meanwhile, the giver had to be a master of the blade. As Mihawk schooled, cutting with a blade is something any child could do on accident, but not cutting took true skill. Thus this was a meditation and exercise in control for the giver, while utter relaxation was literally forced upon the receiver. Complete trust was built between the giver and receiver. The result was a massage that surpassed Zoro's wildest dreams.

He regretted that someone like Luffy would never be delicate enough to give him a massage like that. Sanji might have the skill, considering his cooking techniques and delicate handling of a chopping knife. But like hell he'd let that pervy-cook put a knife against his skin!

Zoro pouted as he realized...he missed Mihawk.

End of Chapter 4

Chapter Text

Present Day, a Pub in the New World

Zoro shook his head. Missing Hawk Eyes? Was he really insane? Those memories must be affecting his ability to reason logically. There was one sure cure for such problems.

"Hey, bartender! More beer," he demanded.

"Again?" the portly man exclaimed in astonishment.

"Don't 'again' me. You just keep it coming until I stumble out the door, got it?"

The bartender muttered, "I usually cut people off at this point."

Zoro grasped the hilt of one of his swords just hard enough for the man to hear it. "Do, and I'll cut you off."

The bartender paled. "Y-y-yes, sir!"

"Good to have a smart bartender," Zoro smiled wryly, relaxing his hand again. "Ya know what? Screw the beer. Make it sake. Good sake! Not some cheap-ass swirl." He saw the paunchy man grabbing a bottle of what was a very strong brand of sake. "That's what I'm talkin' about! Hey, let me try a chicken leg or something. I should probably test out the meat before my captain arrives."

He wondered when Luffy would show up. Not that Zoro was all that hungry, but having Luffy around suppressed these troublesome memories. When he was alone, especially when drinking, they came back to haunt him, rising from the depths of his mind like the ghosts that haunted around Perona.

Perona... God, he hated that woman! Yet after two years of living in the same house with her, he also came to respect her. At least, a little. Perhaps "tolerate" was a better word.

Two years! He had gone from a naïve teenager into a wiser adult during that brief time.

Despite himself, those memories brought smiles. During those two hellish months of bedroom training, Zoro had spent many nights sleeping beside Mihawk, often too weary to go to his own bed. As the days passed, he began to enjoy Mihawk's company. The smell of his expensive cologne was comforting. The warmth of his body gave a sense of protectiveness. Zoro felt happy and safe in the man's arms, despite their rivalry. There were times when he was pained by a sense of guilt, worried that he was betraying Luffy's feelings, but never once did Zoro question whether or not he would return to the Straw Hats at the end of the two years. After all, this was training to get strong enough to sail into the New World with his nakama.

Although he never once forgot about Luffy, he began to take a liking to Mihawk. He was older, wiser, someone Zoro had admired since the first day he read about this master swordsman, the best in the world. Zoro spent those two years studying how the swordsman moved, his gait, his carriage, how he reached for his goblet, and what position he slept in. Due to their play and the delicate techniques used in the Delight of the Blade, he knew every inch of Mihawk's body, every scar, every mole. He even heard stories of how the swordmaster got some of those scars, battles he fought, enemies he defeated, wars Zoro had only read about in history books. Mihawk had truly lived. He won some, he lost some, he clashed with Marines in his youth, then with pirates later on as a shichibukai. The more stories Zoro heard, the more he admired the man and wanted to follow in his footsteps.

No, not follow. Surpass!

Yet as he heard the tales this older man had to relate, Zoro sensed more and more that the distance between them truly was great. Simply learning techniques was not enough to be the best swordsman in the world. Zoro still needed experience. That would come later, when he rejoined Luffy and continued onward through Grand Line.

Training, then experience. That was the way to becoming the greatest.

At least Mihawk was true to his word. He was a pervert who forced Zoro into situations he did not like: cruel one minute, gentle the next; brutally abusing his body in the day, holding him closely throughout the night. Yet not once did he penetrate Zoro. Mihawk always used toys or his own hands.

During the second month, Zoro had questioned this. Mihawk simply explained that Zoro was another man's lover. He was not going to, as he put it, "cuckold the man who thinks he can be the Pirate King." It was surprisingly thoughtful and noble, yet also a little frustrating. Zoro despised the feeling of wanting to be taken by force. He thrust that thought out of his mind, blocking it just as he was learning to block his physical responses.

After the two months, Mihawk was satisfied with Zoro's level of focus, meditation, and control over physical and emotional stimuli. Finally, he allowed the young student to pick up his swords again. Zoro had rarely gone so long without a fight, and it took a while for his muscles to remember some of the subtleties. Mihawk took that opportunity to train him on fine points. He admitted, getting Zoro away from the swords for so long was part of his plan, so he could get those basic lessons in from the beginning rather than force them upon a stubborn teen who thought he knew everything.

Just because they were back to sword training did not mean the bedroom was off-limits. It was not every day anymore, yet there were occasions when fights disintegrated into kissing and groping. A few times, Mihawk stumbled upon Zoro out on the island, shirtless as he trained his muscles, and he could hardly help himself. The youth was enticing and stirred emotions the master swordsman did not often allow himself to feel.

Still, he kept true to one rule: no penile penetration.

That was...until the day of the injury.


The Day of the Injury, Kuraigana Island

Zoro woke up in his own bed and instantly felt burning pain. The earlier part of that day was a blur now. He only remembered the slice to his face, gushing pain through his eye, Perona's screams mixed with Mihawk's worried voice shouting for him. He eventually fell asleep, although he could not recall when. Had he passed out?

He felt bandages, smelled medications, felt a stinging sensation and tightness of stitches, and heard a low chant in the background. One eye was bandaged, but he opened his other one. He recognized the green hue his bedroom curtains gave to the stormy light outside. Against one wall, Zoro had set up a shrine to meditate. It was not meant for religious prayers or supplications—Zoro did not believe in a god—but the shrine was dedicated to a memory, a certain girl who set him on his path. Wado Ichimonji sat in a prominent spot, with Shusui and Sandai Kitetsu standing upright on the sides like two sentinels overlooking a pure white bride.

Mihawk knelt by the shrine with his crucifix in his hand. "I feel you by his side," Zoro overheard the shichibukai saying in a low, solemn mutter. It seemed he was in the middle of his prayer, so Zoro kept respectfully silent. "I feel your presence every time I cross swords with him. Whatever you may be, your spirit is strong. Rarely have I felt a sword love its owner, yet I feel that with you. Angel or demon or spirit unknown: guard him once more, and...and forgive me for allowing such an injury to befall your master." Mihawk dropped his head until it leaned against the top of the crucifix. "Forgive me," he whispered.

"God won't forgive you," Zoro said, yanking Mihawk out of his prayer. "Even if he did, I don't think I'd let it go that easily. I once met a guy who said he was God. I've met angels too. They probably don't give a shit if I get hurt."

Mihawk strung the crucifix back around his neck. "Perhaps, but these swords care. I feel them even now," he said, looking at the trio. "They are worried if you'll be able to fight with only one eye. They tremble at the thought of losing you as a master. These swords...admire you." His hand caressed Wado Ichimonji. "Especially this one. The spirit in this sword is powerful. It holds no malice like I feel with the others: one brutal, one cursed. This sword..." For a moment, he lost himself in reverie at the spirit he felt so clearly. "Swords can be like lovers or like children. Some we raise and train to obey us. Others come to us filled with passion to serve us and make us happy."

He turned his eyes off the swords and back to Zoro lying on the bed. Deep emotions stirred in the shichibukai's heart, and despite his attempts to suppress it, Zoro saw those feelings in Mihawk's face.

"Sometimes, a sword comes into our hands," the shichibukai said gently, staring with a piercing golden gaze at the shirtless, enticing youth lying amidst disturbed satin sheets. "We train them hard to obey our every command. Through such harsh domination, that sword comes to love the wielder. As swordsmen, we all realize that our blade may betray us one day, but when there is that union of desire—when the blade is one with our body, an extension of our very soul—those moments are more fulfilling than the pleasures of some random man or woman. We know the blade may be taken away and strike against us, but...we still love that blade," he said quietly. "We hope its new master will treat it well, grow stronger because of it, become one with the blade...honor it, use it to its fullest potential, cherish what a finely-wrought thing it is. We...I..."

Mihawk turned his face away and suddenly strode to the window to look out at the moonlight. The pain in his chest troubled the master swordsman. Of all the pains he had known in his life, this sort was the hardest to ignore. It could gnaw at him without end. It could cloud his thoughts and slow his actions. This was a danger to which even the shichibukai could fall prey.

Zoro stared in surprise. Mihawk never spoke like that. The tenderness in his voice made the young man tremble. Slowly, he sat up. He felt lightheaded from blood loss, but he still rose to his feet.

Mihawk heard the bare toes approaching and looked over in shock. "What do you think you're doing, Roronoa! You shouldn't even sit up, let alone be out of bed. Are you truly that eager to die?"

Zoro had a grim face as he came over with plodding, slightly unsteady steps. Over the past few months, Mihawk often saw that demon's glare, a flame of determination no one could extinguish, not without snuffing out Zoro's very life. Few men looked at Mihawk this way. Each time the young man did, it thrilled him. It reminded him that, if any man in this world was going to succeed him, he wanted this green-haired enigma to be the one.

Finally, Zoro stood in front of Mihawk and stared firmly into his golden eyes. "You're right," he said lowly. "You are my goal, Dracule Mihawk. I'm training to one day turn on you, betray you, hopefully defeat you. That day may happen at the end of these two years, or it may happen two decades from now. One day our swords will cross, and we'll see once and for all who is stronger. I honestly don't know why you'd train the man who wants to defeat you, but...I'm thankful," he said humbly.

Zoro bowed his head and leaned it against the master's chest. Mihawk felt he was also using this to ease his weakness, leaning on his teacher, showing that he as a student still needed support. Mihawk felt touched by the trust Zoro was showing, and he wrapped an arm gently around the young man's muscular shoulders.

"I'm thankful for the opportunity to study under the man I admire most," Zoro went on. "I'm thankful for the chance to get to know you so personally. Until our training is done, I am your blade. Yet we've never once had that union you spoke of." He raised his head to stare into those golden eyes, and the forbidden desire he had often felt yet never acted upon now shined clearly in his remaining eye. "Never once have I been an extension of your body."

Mihawk's brow tightened and he gazed silently at the youth's anguished face.

"Maybe it's the pain killers talking," Zoro sighed, feeling a wave of dizziness but fighting it with the training Mihawk had instilled to ignore physical sensations. He forced himself to keep looking straight into the shichibukai's golden eyes. "I want to feel what it's like to be your blade, Mihawk. I want to feel...us being one."

Mihawk's mouth tweaked into a tiny smirk. "I told you on our first day of training, whether or not we have sex will be decided by you. I will not forcefully steal a blade from another man, but if the owner requests I use his blade for some purpose, I will treat that blade with utmost care until I can return it. If that blade submits into my hands willingly, I will use it with honor. That is my pride as a swordsman."

Zoro gazed at him with his good eye and said with determination, "This blade submits to you."


That night, Mihawk was the most gentle Zoro had ever experienced. He knew it likely had more to do with the injury and fearing that too much strenuous activity would reopen the wound. Still a part of him imagined that this was similar to how a man treated a virgin. It made Zoro a little nervous but even more eager.

It was his first time being entered like this. Not even with Luffy had he been on bottom. However, he knew that in the presence of such a man, he as a student had no right to be on top. He had to earn that spot. As they kissed one another and groped muscular flesh, Zoro often looked up at the moon's argent reflection in Mihawk's predatory golden eyes, seeking reassurance and always finding it.

When Mihawk kissed him, it was tender and filled with passion. His facial hair tickled Zoro's lips until he wanted to moan. Mihawk's hands were everywhere. He was like an adventurer forging through an untamed forest, although he and Zoro had been in this situation numerous times already. Mihawk realized he had to win the trust of this 'problem child' blade.

Zoro felt Mihawk rub two fingers over his lips. He looked up at that piercing gaze again. Zoro knew what those fingers meant, and a slight flutter of uncertainly buzzed through his stomach again. Mihawk's eyes shined as if to silently say, "Trust me." Zoro did, and he opened his mouth.

The fingers slid in, and Zoro closed his eyes as he enjoyed the rough feel of that hardened skin. He hungrily licked at them, rubbing his tongue and his lips all around the fingers until they dripped with saliva. While he did that, Mihawk took a small bottle of lube and put a few drops onto Zoro's entrance. Then the older man reached between their bodies and carefully rubbed around that taut pucker of muscles. Zoro moaned at the teasing touches. Slowly, watching his partner's face for the slightest pain, the master swordsman slid one finger inside.

Zoro was used to this much. He had come to enjoy Mihawk's thrusting fingers. Even as a second finger pressed in, he groaned heavily, bucking his hips up into the hand, relaxing and letting himself be opened. Up to this point, this was all Mihawk had allowed, but this time...

"Is it okay if I slip it in?" the swordmaster asked, already drizzling the bottle of lube onto his arousal as if the question was merely a formality.

Zoro looked up to him, panting hard already and beginning to sweat. His injured eye burned, but his desire was stronger. "Yeah, it's okay. I...I want you in me."

He felt ashamed for saying it like some cheap slut, but that feeling was thrust away when Mihawk began to press at his entrance. Zoro shouted in shock at his size. It was nothing at all like those two thin fingers, nor like the anal beads they had used up to that time. It tore at him and made him cry out from a pain edged with ecstasy. And this was only his tip!

"No good," Mihawk muttered, and he suddenly withdrew.

"What the fuck?" Zoro shouted. "Bastard, you break into me and then suddenly say you're going to stop?"

Mihawk laid on top of him and smothered Zoro with his body. He was warm, sweaty, and breathing heavily. "You're injured and still bleeding. If I did this..."

Zoro's eye went wide with shock as he realized the master swordsman was trembling. "Wha-...?" His brain could not even comprehend what this was. Mihawk...scared? Was that even possible? No! No, it couldn't be! This must be a delusion, a result of blood loss, or maybe delayed shock.

"Forgive me, Roronoa," he whispered.

The bewildered marimo had a thoroughly confused expression tweaking his eyebrows.

"I thought I had enough control so I could make love to you while still being gentle, but I don't think that's possible," Mihawk confessed in shame. "If I start up now, I won't be able to hold back. I'll hurt you more, and right now," he said, caressing the skin around the bandage that marred Zoro's face, "right now...the last thing I can do is hurt you. I feel too guilty already."

"Mihawk," Zoro whispered in surprise, yet he had no clue what he could say in reply.

"Please forgive me if this is a disappointment, but I can't do that to you. You're...too special to me," he admitted, and he hugged Zoro closer. "Just for tonight and until you heal, let me be the one to receive. At least that way I won't hurt you as badly."

The thought of entering Mihawk, of piercing into him in a way his blades had not the skill to do, was intensely arousing to Zoro. He was shocked that such a man would submit like this, and the tenderness in his words touched Zoro's heart deeply. Still, he felt he had to put up a front to this man. He could not allow Mihawk to see his true emotions.

"Bastard," Zoro grumbled. "When I'm better, you better fuck me hard."

Mihawk chuckled mirthfully as he reached for more lube. "If that is what my special pupil needs, then I shall certainly provide it!"

The shichibukai drizzled copious lube onto Zoro shaft, then positioned himself to sit on top. He reached between them, holding that thick cock still, and slowly aligned himself.

"Hey," Zoro muttered, watching all this with a dry throat. "Don't you need prepped?"

Mihawk's determined expression was unmoved. "I deserve the pain for allowing you to get injured today."

Then suddenly Zoro felt himself entering something tight...very tight! And warm. He moaned, but the blood pressure building up caused white pain to shoot through his mauled eye. He had to relax himself. This was when Mihawk's training truly came in handy.

"Good," the swordmaster praised, seeing his student at work as he gritted through the pain of relaxing his own muscles. "Stay in control. Keep focused despite instinctive reflexes. Allow yourself to feel the pleasure, but don't let it consume you." Finally he settled fully onto Zoro's cock. "Impressive, I must say," he said in admiration.

The slight blush on Zoro's cheeks at the compliment to his manhood was almost adorable and nearly made the swordmaster crack a smile.

"How about a little wager? Whoever comes first polishes the other's swords for a week."

Zoro scoffed out a laugh at that. "Against you, that's not really fair."

"Do you lack that much confidence, Roronoa?"

"No, I'm that fucking horny."

Mihawk actually chuckled. "Well then, this should be a challenge for me as well: to keep my student from firing before I give the order."

Zoro hissed at the idea of Mihawk taking such control despite being the one taken. However, as the older man moved on top, thrusting down, then sliding up, working his way deeper, slowly loosening up, Zoro realized that if someone else did not take the reins, he would have lost all control in mere minutes.

For the first time, but definitely not the last, Zoro hated that he could only see out of one eye. He watched Mihawk riding on top of him, those golden eyes gleaming in the low light of candles with the occasional flash of lightning from a storm outside. Zoro wished he could watch this glorious sight fully. Instead, other senses became more sensitive, already trying to compensate. He smelled the muskiness of sweat and dripping precum from his master. He listened to the schlop-schlop of his cock moving in and out of the shichibukai's body. He felt every touch as Mihawk ran his hands up along the massive scar, then parted to the sides to tweak Zoro's nipples, rolling them, teasing him just enough to get a guttural moan.

"Use my sword, Roronoa," Mihawk ordered.

Zoro complied, held his teacher's cock, and massaged it with a firm yet gentle grip, finding the right tension, the right angle, watching that hawk-like face for cues. The shichibukai did not hide it from him this time. As he felt the fluid motion of Zoro's fingers stroking him, those golden eyes tensed and his teeth gritted.

Zoro had a conceded smile. "You look like you really enjoy being the receiver, like this is normal to you," he observed, and the flash in those searching eyes told the young swordsman that he was right. "Another lover? To top you, he must be damn strong. Or damn good."

"Or both," Mihawk admitted.

Zoro laughed softly. "Well shit, now I have some fucking competition."

The shichibukai shook his head. "You're many decades away from reaching his level, little frog."

Zoro knew he was probably right. His sexual experience was minimal, so he had to make up for it in other ways. Mihawk had seemed impressed by his size, at least. It was a slight advantage, and the young man used it, bucking his hips up, using his leg muscles and stomach muscles, thrusting up as Mihawk forced his way down. The low hiss from his teacher told him that this was definitely a vantage for him.

Still, Zoro could not keep it up for long. Despite his struggle to maintain control, the pain in his eye threw off his concentration. He felt himself losing focus as pain interrupted his meditation.

"Enough," Mihawk whispered, aware of his student's struggle. "Let yourself go, Roronoa. I shall do the same. No competition this time. Just pleasure. Release your control. Enjoy it purely."

That order from his master could not be disobeyed. At his gentle words, Zoro came instantly, shouting in ecstasy at being allowed to release. A moment later, Mihawk also relaxed from his constrained equipoise. With a surge of sensations that had been dammed up, his chiseled face flinched, his back arched, his mouth opened in a brief cry of immense pleasure, and white semen painted the scar he had placed on this cocky young swordman's chest.

They both paused to catch their breath. The air was thick with heat, musk, sweat, and the smoke of candles. Zoro's eye opened slowly, blurred with weariness, but he saw the silhouette in the semi-darkness. He could not speak, unsure what could possibly be said now that they had tipped the scale on their student/teacher relationship. This moment had nothing to do with training. It was plain sex, a desire for one another, carnal...nothing more.

Slowly, Mihawk rose up, sliding off the deflated cock, trying to be careful not to drip semen onto his student nor the bed sheets. He rested on his elbow beside Zoro for a moment, gazing over the glistening skin and the shadows of thick muscles.

"Are you all right, Zoro?"

Hearing the swordmaster use his given name like that brought a deep heat up into Zoro's chest. "I'm good," he replied curtly, too flustered to say more.

"I shall clean you, then you should rest. Take it easy for a couple of weeks until you properly heal."

Zoro stared at the ceiling, but he felt the heat of Mihawk's sinewy body move away. His eye turned as he watched the man walk to a water basin and splash a towel into it. When the shichibukai returned, the wet towel was warm, soaking Zoro's chest as his teacher gently wiped up the mess. With utmost delicacy, Mihawk wiped clean the soft flaccid member, as well as Zoro's inner thighs where some lube had dripped. The young swordsman merely watched all this silently, admiring the tender attention. Then Mihawk placed the used towel aside, reached to a nearby table, and held a goblet up to Zoro's lips.

"Drink," he ordered.

Zoro did not question the contents. It tasted like medicine mixed with wine, but he swallowed it down with only a slight grimace.

"You should rest now," Mihawk whispered, setting the goblet back on the table. "I shall stay with you tonight, and as long as you need."

Zoro felt oddly happy to hear him promise this, and the medicine kicked in fast. His eyes felt heavy, his head swam, and he barely noticed the swordmaster covering his naked body with blankets.

"Thanks...Mihawk," he mumbled as sleep took control.

In a haze of dreams that rushed forward eagerly, he heard a faint voice. "You're a good blade, Roronoa Zoro. To have you come into my hands makes me...happy."

Zoro smiled weakly as the blackness took over, gently sweeping him away.

End of Chapter 5

Chapter Text

Present Day, a Pub in the New World

Zoro let out a long sigh and chased away the memories of that day before they haunted him. He might have blamed it on the pain killers that day but...it didn't stay to just that day. That was what troubled him now and sometimes made him feel a twinge of guilt.

The pub doors banged open. Zoro's shoulders sagged, and he wondered when they had tensed up so much. His plate of chicken had gotten cold as he drifted on a turbulent sea of memories. Now Luffy was here, and he could not give an accurate report on the food in this tavern.

"MEAT!"

Zoro opened his eye. Right demand, wrong voice.

He looked in the massive mirror across the way and saw a boorish man with a week's worth of stubble darkening his jowls. The salty pirate limped forward with the unsteady gait of a sailor newly landed on shore. He took a seat beside Zoro, looked over at him with a rotten-teeth smile, and nodded in approval. Dark gaze, scars, three swords...wait, three? Hell, all the better!

"A pirate after me own 'eart," he guffawed. Zoro drew back at the smell of rot in the man's mouth. "Ye ain't lookin' fer a crew, is ya?"

"No," Zoro said in a thudding tone.

The man laughed boisterously. "A man of yer stature, not surprisin' you's taken up. So, is you a cap'n or is you a crew?"

"First mate," he said taciturnly.

"Zat so? If yer cap'n ever pisses in yer beer, ye can come join Cap'n Smoky Sanno and me crew, aye? Lots o' beer, babes, an' Belis to be had, as we say on me ship. Oi," he shouted, and pounded the wooden bar in front of him. "I said meat!" Sanno reached into his coat and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. "Nice to 'ave these back. Missed me smokes out on the ocean, I did. Lit me last one three weeks ago jist 'fore gettin' caught in a gale. Winds blew me last cig overboard." He pulled out some matches, lit the cigarette, and took a long, relaxing drag.

"Can you not smoke here?" Zoro requested, turning his nose away from the reek wafting through the entire tavern.

"Eh? Is yer little nose sensitive?"

Zoro warned, "The smell of cigarettes reminds me of a man I don't like. You don't want me angry."

Sanno laughed again, but it was obvious he was getting annoyed. "I finally get me a smoke after weeks at sea, an' some cocky-arsed first mate tells me to put it out? Really, yer cap'n must be a pussy."

A flash of silver, the singing chime of steel, and the cigarette was slice in half with Shusui's black blade stopped short, resting between the man's lips.

"Listen once and listen hard, you piss-slugging sheep-fucker," Zoro warned with a voice like a demon. "Don't ever smoke around me, got it?"

Belatedly, Sanno fell off the stool and scrambled backwards across the floor. There was not even a drop of blood on his mouth, although he wiped his lips furiously in terror. "Meat smells rotten around 'ere anyway." He fled, and a few other pirates in the tavern laughed after he was gone.

"It's your own decaying mouth that's rotten, bastard," Zoro grumbled as he sheathed his sword. "You don't have to worry about losing his business," he told the proprietor, who was glaring at the swordsman but too worried to say anything. "When my captain arrives, he'll eat you out of meat, don't worry."

Zoro knew he had to keep a cap on his temper. He could have put up with the smoke—he sailed with Sanji, after all—but no one, no one, insulted Luffy like that.

He sighed and ate some more chicken. He wished Luffy would hurry and wake up from his nap. Getting drunk alone was no fun. He might not join in with the frivolities around the ship, but Zoro realized how much he missed them. Just watching Luffy play and laugh with Chopper, Usopp, and Brook made him relaxed and happy. He had not realized how much he missed such simple things until they were stripped from him.

That went for Mihawk as well. He hated the man, and he loved him. He tolerated bowing his head for Luffy's sake, and he hoped their paths met again...for his own sake.


Year 1524, Shortly After the Injury, Kuraigana Island

After Zoro healed from his injury, he trained every day. With so much to learn and teach, he and Mihawk rarely had spare time to make love. When they did, it was spontaneous, rough, a fight for domination. Usually the Shichibukai managed to get on top, but there were a few times when Zoro won the upper hand in a rare mistake by the master swordsman and celebrated the small victory with a wild display of thrusting, withholding his own release until Mihawk was forced to come first. He suspected Mihawk might have left himself open on purpose, but Zoro still took those rare opportunities with a sense of satisfaction.

Mihawk had to completely readjust Zoro's fighting stances to overcome the slashed eye. The lack of depth perception frustrated Zoro. Try as he might, fighting just wasn't the same.

"Raaargh!" he bellowed, and slammed two of his swords into the ground, slicing through the stone and embedding them. He held onto the hilts, leaned over at the waist, and panted between the sword in his mouth.

"You're doing it again," Mihawk said without sympathy. "You're expending too much energy into emotions."

Zoro yanked Wado Ichimonji out of his mouth and sheathed her. "What does it matter? I can't fucking fight anymore!"

"I have known one-eyed swordsmen."

"And did any ever beat you?" he screamed.

Mihawk stared at him silently.

"See! I've fucking lost it. Any chance I had of being the greatest swordsman in the world, I lost when I lost my eye. Goddamned motherfucking son of a crab-infested piss-cocked bitch-whoring..."

A long string of profanities, the likes of which only sailors and pirates know, streamed out while Mihawk listened with a sigh of annoyance. Once every colorful combination had been used up, there was nothing left to say but a long, lingering roar of frustration. Totally expended by the verbal onslaught, Zoro slumped against a stone wall.

Mihawk adjusted the pleat on his collar. "Are you quite done?"

Such nonchalance irked Zoro, but now he had lost the will even to be annoyed. "It fucking doesn't matter anymore," he mumbled in defeat.

Mihawk eyed him skeptically, but Zoro did not pull out of his slump. Finally, he sheathed Yoru's massive blade and stood up straight. "If you have given up, leave my island immediately. Your captain may still achieve his dream with only the second best swordsman in the world."

"You old bastard," he grumbled. He still looked aside in frustration. Some days, the fear that he had lost his greatest dream pained him almost to the point of tears. "I promised Luffy..."

That day on Baratie came back to him. He felt the pain of the slash to his chest.

L-Luffy...c-can you hear me? Sorry for worrying you. I know...that if I don't become...the world's strongest swordsman...it would only embarrass you. I swear...that I'm never going to lose again! Until the day that I fight him and win...I swear! To never lose again! Any problems...Pirate King?

That vow! Only two vows in his life were etched into his soul: that one and the one to Kuina, that he would become the strongest. He had sworn the same path to two people now, and he made the oath in front of Mihawk, with the Shichibukai grinning on in eagerness.

But he had lost. They all did on Sabaody. It was a harsh lesson for the entire crew.

"Luffy will be the Pirate King," Zoro said with no doubt in his heart. "He doesn't deserve second best. Brook is the best musician out there. No one can beat Nami in navigation. Usopp's aim can hit anything. Even Sanji, he's a pain in the ass but he's the best damn cook I've ever tasted. Robin, Franky, Chopper: they're all striving forward to be the best at what they do. That's what the future Pirate King deserves. The best! I won't let Luffy have a second-best swordsman."

"Then you have two choices, Roronoa," Mihawk pronounced. "Walk away, never face your captain again, and let him find another swordsman who wishes to climb to the top; or get on your feet and follow me." Without waiting, he turned and began a fast march out of the practice hall.

Zoro sighed and reached up to feel the scar over his eye. Sometimes he wanted to blame Mihawk for the wound, but it was his own weakness that led to it. He could either sink into that weakness or keep climbing. He was already here, face-to-face with his goal, yet the distance between them was too immense. He was still in Yoru's shadow.

Did he walk away from his friends, from Luffy and Kuina and all his oaths? Or did he dare to follow that shadow into sunlight?

He shook his head, got to his feet, yanked his swords out of the floor, and sheathed them. Then he hurried to catch up to his teacher. They passed through the halls, racing by Perona as she floated through with her ghosts. They said nothing to her, she said nothing to them. It was usually that way.

They went outside, and Mihawk set on a path heading to the nearby lake. The placid waters looked like steel as they reflected the gray sky overhead. It was a comforting color, not annoyingly bright, and the deep greens of the surrounding forest insulated the lake.

"Sit."

Zoro moved over to where the grass was thicker and dropped down heavily. Mihawk came up behind him, got on his knees, and put his hands on Zoro's shoulders. With deep pressure from his thumbs, he began to kneed out the knots in Zoro's muscles. The young swordsman could not help but moan at the massage.

"Roronoa Zoro," he whispered. Just hearing the man breathe his name made Zoro shiver. "I heard the oath you gave your captain that day. If you recall, I too gave you an oath: to wait for you. I still feel you will be the man to surpass me one day. You have the youth, drive, and stubborn will to surmount this disability and rise even greater because of it." He leaned over with his lips brushing against Zoro's earlobe. "I am not about to give up on you," he whispered, and his teeth nipped the top of the lobe, giving Zoro a shudder. "So please, don't give up on me yet. Stay here; complete your training. I will keep teaching you for as long as the fire of determination burns."

That confidence made Zoro cheer up and become eager to work harder. However, one look at Mihawk's lowered lids told him that work was not on the swordmaster's mind.

"Stay with me," he whispered intimately as he caressed the young face. "Roronoa Zoro. I will teach you that even a blind man can become a great swordsman."

He tugged off a scarf tied around his neck. Then he reached around and tied the scarf around Zoro's eyes.

"We swordsmen, better than most people, know and can anticipate the movements of other men. Whereas we often rely upon our eyes to see the obvious movements—a dip of the elbow which whispers of an impending thrust, the turn of an ankle betraying our opponent's inevitable sidestep—often our eyes can be deceived. A superb swordsman knows what our opponent will interpret, thereby making a movement upon that anticipation and turning it into an advantage. The superb swordsman does not look. They feel. They sense beyond the visual cues. Have you ever crossed swords with a person and knew their inner heart?"

"Of course," Zoro replied.

"Use more than your eyes now, Roronoa. You lament that you have no depth perception. Then hear how far away your opponent is. Smell how close he is. Feel the angle of his sword to determine his reach. Taste when he is so close his sweat drips upon you."

Zoro felt the heat leave his back. He heard steps, felt wind moving around him, and continued to sit blindfolded.

"How far away am I?" asked Mihawk.

Zoro focused on the soft voice. "Five paces, seven o'clock."

A small noise. "Now how far?"

"Thirteen paces, three o'clock."

He heard the footsteps approach. "Now?" asked a close, quiet voice.

Zoro swallowed. "About...twenty centimeters?"

"Eighteen. When you don't have to guess, when you know to the millimeter how close I am, you'll discover you don't need eyes to fight." Now Zoro felt a pressure on his chest, two legs straddling him, and slowly the master swordsman dominated him. "You must learn to anticipate your opponent's actions."

Zoro scoffed softly, but he did not protest. "Sounds like you just want more bedroom time, you horny bast-..."

Lips covered his, muting him. Zoro moaned in protest, but slowly he listened to the movements. A scrape of metal, a shift in weight, a change in the fragrance, a whiff of cleaning oil. His hand shot up, catching Mihawk's wrist just as the small knife pendant was making a downswing. He could not see it, but he could smell the blade close to his nose.

"Three and a half centimeters," Zoro smirked.

"See," Mihawk smiled proudly, putting the tiny blade way. "You can do it if you try."

Without even realizing it, Mihawk had begun to breathe hard. He pulled back and studied the youth under him. What was with this man? Almost two years, and he was still an enigma. Few men in Mihawk's lifetime had intrigued him like Roronoa Zoro. An impetuous youth, charging at him with a ridiculous overcompensation of three swords, bombastic in his movements, a boy of the weakest East Blue. Why had such an audacious guttersnipe gripped his interest?

"Anticipate my moves," Mihawk instructed calmly.

And this! Taking a student! Not only that, but a student who only wanted to learn so he could one day defeat him. Why had he accepted? Why had he invested so much time and indulged such levels of interest into this young man? Two years! No man in history had ever had the honor of being instructed by the great "Hawk Eyes" Mihawk, let alone private tutoring for two years.

Zoro held still and listened to the sliding of fabric. He felt the slight waves of heat radiating from fingers, piercing the frigid air. Blindly, he saw beyond sight. He smelled, listened, felt...the world opened before him in a new way.

"Your right hand to my left hip, ten centimeters up."

Mihawk glared at him. Before their time was up, he wanted to unravel this mystery. What precisely had interested him? He had seen more handsome men, experienced more skilled lovers, fought men with better sword skills, so what was it?

"You're removing your shirt."

Zoro's words made him stop. Mihawk realized he had begun undressing without conscious thought.

"You can hear my clothes. It's to your advantage."

An excuse! Since when had Dracule Mihawk needed excuses for any of his actions? Now he had to commit. He removed his clothes and looked back down to the youth. Unable to see, Zoro's face had become relaxed.

"Anticipate my actions. Match them. Fight me without sight. Learn to react on instinct more than your eyes."

Zoro felt his hands slide up his torso, gliding up and down the hills and vales of muscles. He knew two seconds before he felt the touch that Mihawk was about to tweak his...

"Left nipple."

Mihawk smirked that he had called it so easily. Although both hands had been in motion, the young man had guessed which was closer.

Unable to see, unwilling to move, Zoro felt himself being even more sensitive to Mihawk's touches. Without sight, all other senses surged to compensate. The taste of the man's mouth enveloped his tongue as if he was guzzling a goblet full of sweet Mihawk Wine. His racing heart pounded in his ears as he judged movement by sound. The smell of the grass under him, the staleness of the nearby lake, dustiness of a storm moving in, and Mihawk's naked body radiating a rising muskiness: it all accosted his nostrils, drifting and shifting in smells until he could visualize the movement by the changing aromas.

And feel! He felt it all, every butterfly kiss, every ghosted touch. Even when Mihawk's hand slid just above his skin, he felt the shiver of connecting auras. In his mind's eye, Mihawk was there, a force, a glowing figure of energy.

"You're smiling."

The master swordsman jolted. How? How could he sense even that movement that made no sound? Had he already perfected this technique? So fast? Could this be Haki that the youth possessed?

Zoro reached up and lightly rubbed his finger around the shell of Mihawk's ear. "I see it. I see all of you. Even better than with two eyes, I see you there."

Mihawk held still. He even stopped his breath so Zoro could not feel the air. Still, the young man knew where to reach. Zoro'd hand went down, and lightly he tapped the wet tip of Mihawk's erection. Even this! It was not a blind groping, but a precise swipe of the finger. He even knew how large Mihawk had gotten.

"I know your smell," Zoro explained as he took that dewy pearl of precum and placed it into his mouth. "And I know your taste."

Desire surged in Mihawk harder than he had felt in a very, very long time. Like a predatory bird, he dived down into Zoro's mouth, and at the same time, he thrust a finger inside of the young man. He felt the grimace in Zoro's kiss, yet Mihawk did not give him time to utter a cry. He twisted his finger around, loosening the ring of muscles. Then another, widening him fast, driven on by that intense desire. He needed this man, this enigma that had fascinated him for so long.

"I shall mark you as mine!" he growled. Without a single warning, Mihawk withdrew the fingers and thrust his erection in fast, hard, tearing, ripping, scarring Zoro in a way no other man could duplicate. Only one person in the world could take this from him.

"Goddamn...motherfucking...bastard...fucking hell, at least you were gentle the first time!" he screamed in agony.

"First time?" Mihawk mused. "I barely did anything that night. It doesn't count. This time, I'll take away any lingering innocence. Today, I make you a man. Today, I claim you...as mine!"

As Zoro strained with the pain and Mihawk waited for him to relax, a memory flashed into the swordmaster's mind.


Year 1522, Baratie, East Blue (Yes, a flashback-within-a-flashback)

"I've never seen such graceful movements."

Those words of admiration from the green-haired youth were not new. Many men had said the same. But there was a slightly different tone. It was not said in trembling fear. It was true awe. Without needing to look his way, Mihawk understood immediately that this man was a swordsman.

"A sword without grace is no strong sword." Mihawk had learned that lesson, and as a thanks for the compliment, he would give this young fighter that one pearl of wisdom.

"Did you cut this ship as well with your sword?"

"Yes, indeed."

"No wonder...you really are the strongest. I set sail to meet you."

Surprise briefly visited the bored Shichibukai. Not many men so eagerly sought him out. Even seasoned pirates under the banner of the strongest fleets in the world still cowered before his golden gaze. Yet this youth, this mere teenager, had a grin that could barely be suppressed.

"What do you aim for?"

Even as the teen made a vain move, tying on a bandanna, perhaps some tradition he had to get into a serious mood, the youth's eyes gleamed with eagerness, and his smile grew. "To be the strongest!" he answered with determination.

Mihawk had heard others say that. Too many others. The few who sought him all wanted the same thing. A duel. A chance. Pitting their blade against one of legend.

"You said you're free, right?" Then the green-haired teen had the audacity to point a sword at him, Shichibukai Dracule "Hawk-Eyes" Mihawk. Truly, youths were foolish things. "So let's have a duel."

Yes, the same request, over and over. Too many fools! And here was another. It frustrated Mihawk's already ill-tempered mood.

"Pitiful, weakling." He proceeded to give him a standard warning. "If you're a competent swordsman by any means, then I can demonstrate the clear difference in strength between you and I without needing to cross blades at all. But still, you dare to challenge me." Then one question he asked each opponent: "Does your bravery come from your conviction, or from ignorance?"

As the wannabe swordsman prepared, he said what Mihawk had heard before. "It comes from my ambition..." Yet something he had not heard before. "...and a promise to a friend."

A promise? Different, but just as pitiful. Breaking a promise would likely crush his spirit. Doing so early on would free this adventurer from many hardships to come, possibly even save his life.

"To be honest, I never thought I'd be able to meet you so early on," the youth said with a gleeful glint in his eyes.

Mihawk folded his arms with a dour gaze. "A waste, if you ask me."

This poor child was meeting fate far too early. Mihawk decided to go easy on the little frog stuck in his well, staring up and only seeing the apex of the sky. Mihawk pulled off his cross necklace and unsheathed a blade that would humiliate any swordsman. Sure enough, the teen sneered between the hilt in his mouth. Three swords versus a tiny toy of a dagger!

"Just what're you planning to do with that?" he growled.

"I'm different from those stupid brutes who'd go all out just to hunt a mere rabbit. Though you may be a swordsman of some renown, this is East Blue, the weakest of the four seas that are separated by the Red Line and Grand Line. Unfortunately," Mihawk lamented, "I do not have a blade smaller than this at the moment."

The youth glowered in fiery anger. "There's a limit to just how much you can underestimate me. You better not regret it when you die!"

He watched the man make his first move, charging foolishly. Mihawk immediately knew this fight would be over in only a few blows. "Hear me, little frog in his well. It's time for you to realize that the world is bigger than what it seems from your well."

Still the three-sword user shouted, "Oni giri!"

As Mihawk easily stopped all three blades with the point of his dagger, the Shichibukai saw the truth dawn in this little frog's bulging eyes. The path to the top of his well was indeed a long, long ways to go. Yet this boy did not drop to his knees. He fought, and with each clash, putting his whole soul into each swing of his blades, the truth sank deeper. Mihawk watched this epiphany unfold in the man's face, yet not once did the youth's spirit waver. The truth of his eminent defeat mattered not to him!

"Such ferocity!"

Mihawk had seen fierce fighters before. Still, the first spark of interest was in that moment. Normal men did not face an impossible battle and still glare like that. Always, there was a drive behind that spirit. Something more existed within this youth. It made the master swordsman—dare he admit it—curious.

"What burdens you so? What do you still desire at the extent of your strength, weakling?"

Defiance! Despite being sent rolling backwards, still the youth charged. All it took was a single pierce. Mihawk had aimed it well, just shy of his heart. Barely shy. Yet the man did not pull back. He stood his ground, even leaned into the pain. Mihawk knew that a centimeter more and his heart would be cut, yet the man did not draw back. Why?

He asked this crazed, suicidal youth, "Why do you refuse to step back?"

The answer was as astonishing as the ridiculous three swords. "Beats me...not really sure myself." Truly, this man was in the idiocy of youth! "But I get the feeling that if I were to step back right now, I'd lose something very important to me...a promise or oath or whatever it is..." There it was again. A promise! "...would be irreversibly broken, and that I'd never be able to return back to where I am standing now."

"Yes," Mihawk replied solemnly. "Such is defeat." A hard lesson for youths to learn.

The young man laughed as he looked down at the tiny knife that had defeated three swords. Mihawk knew it must pain him with the tip of the blade resting against his frantically beating heart, yet still he laughed. "Then that's why I can't step back."

Death before defeat! Mihawk had planned to shatter this weakling's will by forcing him to break his promise, yet even in the face of death, he refused to yield. Such an oath was the sort etched into a man's very soul. Few men in the world knew the feeling, but Mihawk did. It impressed him. Such conviction was rare, even on Grand Line, and he had discovered it, like an untapped spring of water in this useless desert of weakness called East Blue. So Mihawk granted this teen life and pulled back his dagger.

"Kid, tell me your name."

"Roronoa Zoro." He said it clearly and with pride as he prepared his three swords for the final blow.

"I shall remember it, for your strength is not oft seen in this world, and to pay my respect to you as a fellow swordsman, I shall end this duel with my black sword, the world's strongest sword."

He honored Zoro with one true taste of strength. How many men of this young age were honored a true duel with Kokuto Yoru? A glimpse was all he would get, for it was all he could see without becoming blinded by the truth of his own weakness. Mihawk shattered two of the swords, but he left one to him. After all, a swordsman without a sword was too pitiful, and he sensed something about the spirit of that white sword, something that resonated with his own black sword, like the equal balance of yin and yang. That sword was special, so he spared it with the hope that the owner would grow into the sword.

The youth sheathed his remaining blade. He realized it was over, and his arms stretched like an eager lover to his destined mate.

"What...?" Mihawk began to ask.

The youth grinned with acceptance of his fate, the inevitable outcome of every swordsman of any worth, one few could face and still smile like that. "A wound on one's back is the shame of a swordsman."

Mihawk saw it then. Not merely a fierce power, not just determination. This man had...

Pride!

Mihawk had not smiled in a long time, yet now he did. As he looked into the fearless, proud eyes, he saw a reflection of himself many decades ago. This guttersnipe from East Blue was a man worth waiting for. Finally, the loneliness of being on the top was relieved, because he knew there was such a man clambering to face him.

"Splendid!"

He wanted this man! He would give him a reminder, a scar he could show proudly, proof that he had crossed swords with Dracule Mihawk and lived. A deep scar, one that would not fade, no matter how many years it took for him to keep climbing out of his well. For years it would take! And he would wait.

He aimed the slash well. Although the man fell into the ocean, his friends came for him. Although his captain tried to retaliate, Mihawk calmed the hothead with a word. He knew this Roronoa Zoro would not die from that wound. If he was of the caliber he sensed in their brief clashing, he would recover fast, then work harder as the scar and lingering pain reminded him of how far he had yet to go.

"I am Dracule Mihawk! It is much too early for you to die. Know thyself! Know thy world! And become strong, Roronoa!" Yes, that name was now etched in his mind. He would not forget this man. "No matter how many months or years pass by, I shall stand here at the top of the world and wait for you. So forge on ahead with that fierce conviction and try to surpass my sword." With a single demand upon their maiden battle, he claimed this man's destiny like a bridegroom claiming his mate's virginity on the wedding night. "Surpass me, Roronoa!"


Back on Kuraigana Island, Year 1524

That day was etched in Mihawk's memory as few other encounters were. He even forgot the name of the pirate he had initially been tracking. But this man, this triple-bladed impetuous youth with the ferocity, defiance, and pride to fight without retreat, was never forgotten in the following months.

Then he arrived at his doorstep like a gust of fate. He was not there to fight. He had sworn never to be defeated until he could face Mihawk again, yet it had happened. Crushed, he was tossed like a rag doll to the feet of his enemy. And Mihawk took him in. This youth had at least tasted what more was out there. The little frog was one hop closer to the top of the well, but he still had a long way to go. Mihawk was determined to keep waiting until the day came.

Nearly two years had passed. The mystery of this man was not ever forgotten. No, it built up, it surged, it became an entire mythos that he was eager to study. If he could have had a successor, an apprentice, or even a son to pass on his legacy, he would have wanted Roronoa Zoro. It meant his eventual death, but that was fine. This man had seen grace with a single sword swing. He had shouted his challenge without hesitation. He gave his entire body and soul for one aim: "To be the strongest!"

Zoro's blindfolded face turned to him. "Huh?"

Mihawk had not realized he said those four words aloud. How could this youth distract him so? He had been mindlessly gliding back and forth as the moans under him blended with the battle cries of that first encounter. Mihawk now paused in his thrusting and looked down at the supine body.

"To be the strongest. Do you still desire that?"

"Of course."

"You only want to defeat whoever stands at the top?"

"No!" Mihawk jolted at the answer. "I want to defeat you standing at the top. You alone are my aim, Dracule Mihawk. I won't give up. I swore to my captain never to lose until I beat you. Not beat whatever chump stands at the top, but to defeat you! You are my aim. Not just to be the strongest, but to be stronger than you."

"Even if that means killing me?"

Zoro hesitated for just a moment. Mihawk saw it right then. This teacher/student relationship—no, a relationship between lovers—had gone too far. It distracted the man he wanted to face, the successor he had declared before witnesses, the soul he had claimed and marked.

"Death is not necessary for defeat," Zoro said quietly. "I've defeated many opponents without sending them to hell. To be the strongest: that's all I want. To give you the same scar you gave me, to have you on your knees and say 'I quit'...if I can do that without killing you..."

"Shut up!"

Mihawk slapped Zoro's face so hard, the blindfold flew off. The young swordsman jolted and looked up to him in surprise. Anger? Why? Mihawk grabbed Zoro's wrists and pinned him down. He thrust in hard and fast, making Zoro cry out in renewed pain.

"Finish that sentence and I will kill you here without the dignity of using my sword. I will rape you into a bloody pile and then strangle you with my bare hands. If you do not swear to face me with every intent of surpassing my sword, then I will not let you live to grow strong enough. I refuse to wait for you only to have you betray my conviction in your strength over some petty thing like emotions."

"I got it, I got it!"

"No, you don't." He pulled all the way back. "On your hands and knees, weakling."

"Bastard," Zoro grumbled, but he obeyed. Mihawk did not even wait. He spread the butt cheeks roughly and slammed in, thrusting Zoro forward with his bare knees scraping across grass and dirt. Zoro let out a roaring "FUCK!"

Mihawk grabbed a handful of green hair and yanked it up so he could look down into Zoro's straining face. "You will not give up just because you lost an eye. You will not stop moving forward, even if that means you leave my side for years. When we cross blades in battle, you will fight me as your enemy, your goal, your single-minded aim. These two years will not enter your mind," he shouted, straining as he listened to Zoro's choking moans at such brutal thrusts. Tears streamed down Zoro's cheeks at the unforgiving assault on his ass and the yank of his head that threatened to snap his neck. "This day, the day I grant your wish for me to fuck you senseless, will not enter into your thoughts. Your mind will be solely on your goal. To be the strongest! To surpass my blade! That is all you need to think about when that day comes, or any extraneous thoughts will be punished with your death. Fight me wholly or walk away now."

He threw away the green hair like trash, and Zoro could finally cry out without gurgling. Mihawk yanked on Zoro's hips to hold him up as he thrust faster, harder, giving him a scar he would never forget, not even if it took months or years for this little frog to leap the last few steps to the top of his well. Even after he surpassed and became the strongest—yes, Mihawk wanted to believe this unique student of his could do it—still he would not forget this day. Its pain would make him flinch. Its pleasure would make him blush. For as long as Roronoa Zoro lived, he would never wipe away such a scar.

Zoro kept his eyes closed. Vision distracted the sensations. He knew what Mihawk was doing. He knew he was once again being marked. And true, whereas the night of the injury had been a tiny taste, this was a binge. He cummed onto the grass, and still the man did not give up. Zoro collapsed with his belly against the cold ground, and still Mihawk laid on top, humping into him. The lithe hands then rolled him over, pushed his legs up and over Mihawk's shoulders, and he took him again.

Now Zoro looked. He watched the emotions on his master's face. Movements he could sense with other sensory, but emotions were silent, especially on such a taciturn man. He saw the lust, the obsession, and a hidden pain. Mihawk had not planned on being this rough for Zoro's first time, but something drove him to do it. Zoro gave him the same fierce grin.

"Give me your worst, Hawk Eyes!" he challenged.

Mihawk saw his face. This was it! This was the same face as back then. Ferocity, defiance, and pride! It was precisely this which had sparked his interest.

"You are not ready to be on top yet, Roronoa."

"For now," Zoro smirked, "I'm fine with that. But I don't plan on being under you forever."

"Indeed," Mihawk chuckled.

Now the brutality changed. It was just as impassioned, but Mihawk aimed to please Zoro as well as himself. He stroked the youth's veined cock in tempo to his thrusts. He leaned over and kissed Zoro. The young man grabbed his black hair and roughly kissed back.

"I may be marked by you, Hawk Eyes," he chuckled with a gritted smirk, "but I've also marked you. You will live with the stigma of being the sensei of Pirate Hunter Roronoa Zoro. Trust me, I do not plan on staining your reputation nor mine. Fate has linked us hand in hand. The only thing to stop this dance of destiny is when you finally wear out and retire from your position on top. I think you're close to coming to that inevitability. Yes, you're very close."

Mihawk realized the innuendo in his words too late. Despite trying to put a frantic break to his headlong plunge, he was too far gone to stop it. He burst inside Zoro, and the man shouted at the added pressure. His voice filled Mihawk's mind, shoving out all other things, leaving behind euphoria and the sound of his rival, his student...his lover!

Mihawk panted hard, withdrew, and rolled to his back to look up at the stormy sky just as he felt the first drops of rain plink on his cheeks. Then a shadow went above him and legs straddled his chest. Zoro's single eye looked down at him.

"I will defeat you, Mihawk," he swore. "I will claim the top position with my own power. After that, who knows what might happen. Maybe I'll kill you. Maybe we'll continue to struggle in endless challenges. Maybe we'll work side by side at the top. You'd make a good sidekick for the future Pirate King, after all."

"Like hell!" Mihawk sneered.

Zoro smiled haughtily down at him as the rain fell harder and dripped onto his back. He moved to shield the rain from Mihawk's face. "So fierce! So defiant! So proud!"

Mihawk's eyes widened. How had he known that those three traits were what he admired in Zoro? Could both student and master truly be such perfect mirrors of one another?

"But I'm warning you now, old man...I'll surpass you. So keep waiting. Keep being on top for now." He laid his head down on Mihawk's chest and curled into him. "Wait for me. I will continue to aim for you...and without hesitation, I will defeat you."

Mihawk smiled and stroked down his pupil's wet green hair. "Splendid!"

End of Chapter 6

Chapter Text

Present Day, a Pub in the New World

Zoro shivered as he heard the heated moans in his head, and he twitched uncomfortably on his bar stool. Some days, his ass still felt the burning, tearing pain. It was something he would never forget. Yet another permanent scar! That had been the first time. Well, technically the second, but the day of the injury barely counted. It had not been the last either. Zoro moaned into his beer mug as the sense of guilt stabbed at him sharper than any sword.

He knew Luffy had been faithful to him. Even when Hancock tried her best to win him over, Luffy did nothing. Zoro knew because he had heard rumors and grew jealous, but Luffy laughed it off. Then he showed Zoro just how much he loved him. That night, shortly after leaving Fishman Island, for the first time in their relationship, Luffy topped.

Maybe he sensed what Zoro had been through and wanted to show him that his ass did not belong solely to the Shichibukai. Or maybe those two years made Luffy bolder. Not like he was ever timid! Hell no! And really, that guy could do some amazing things with that rubber cock! If Zoro had known that was humanly possible—well, it wasn't humanly possible, it was Luffy-ly possible—he would have urged Luffy to top a long time ago.

He was glad to be back with Luffy, but the guilt did not go away easily. He had eventually confessed the events on Kuraigana Island to Luffy. Zoro remembered the face the young captain gave, a fleeting look of disappointment before Luffy shrugged it off and decided it was unimportant. Zoro only wished he felt the same. But he couldn't dismiss the past.

Because it was important.

Until the end.

A dark memory returned to him. His parting with Mihawk had not been favorable. If he met that bastard again...just what would he do?


At the End of the Two Years, Kuraigana Island

The two years passed quickly. Zoro's hair grew out a little, and whenever he looked in a mirror, he saw how much muscle he had built up. He had grown comfortable in the castle. He had not lived this long in a single place since his years in the dojo. As the months passed, even the Going Merry and Thousand Sunny were drifting into a mere memory.

He had made acquaintances in the past. Johnny and Yosaku...how long had he worked with them? Yet eventually they split ways. They did not make some crazy promise of meeting together again after two years.

Nine people who met randomly and sailed together for only a few months! How was it that they meant so much to him? He could barely remember Franky's face now. (Nope, there's that damn pose of his. Shake out that haunting memory!) He tried to remember any of Brook's songs. He struggled to recall the taste of Sanji's food. He tried to recollect Robin's reticent smile and Chopper's childish laugh. He could not remember even one of Usopp's epic lies.

Memories faded with time.

Except one memory. One smile. One boy in a silly straw hat who appeared before him one day. One act of kindness that left him indebted. One crazy idea: let's go to Grand Line together! One dream for both of them: to be the greatest! Greatest swordsman or greatest pirate, it didn't matter. One goal: the top of the world.

One Piece!

That goofy smile, that distinctive laugh, that voice that could be childishly naïve one minute, empowered with justice the next. Luffy was someone he could never forget.

So as the time to leave Kuraigana drew near, Zoro spent more hours thinking, trying to remember every adventure. As he sipped a soup Mihawk made for them, he thought about how it compared to Sanji's cooking. When Perona began shrieking because he broke her parasol, he thought of how Nami could get way scarier. When he got injured in practice and Perona tended his wounds, he recalled how Chopper's touch was so much more gentle. Mihawk played a record by Soul King, something he picked up on one of his food runs, and Zoro immediately recognized Brook's unique vocals.

Memories returned...


Shells Town, East Blue, Year 1522

He remembered the first words Luffy spoke to him. Not to others, but directly to him. As he laid there baking in the sun, bloody, beaten, tied up, tortured for nine days, some kid in a straw hat bravely hopped the wall into the Marine's fort and strode fearlessly up to him.

"I'm looking for someone to join my pirate fleet."

Zoro had scoffed at him. "Pirate? Heh! So you just gave up on life and became a crook, huh."

"It's my dream! There's nothing wrong with being a pirate!"

Dream, huh...? Zoro knew about dreams. He had his own. And Zoro always chuckled when he remembered what his answer was.

"I'll never join you because I have something that I need to take care of! I could survive even if you don't help me. I just need to stay alive for one month. That bastard kid promised to let me go afterwards. I'm gonna do everything I can to stay alive...and fulfill my dreams!"

Then he remembered their second meeting in that same cursed spot.

"Yo!"

"It's you again? I told you I don't wanna be a pirate!"

"I'm Luffy. If I loosen up the ropes, then you're gonna join me, okay?"

Such idiotic confidence! When Luffy used his own body to bounce the Marines' bullets back at them, laughing so carefree, no worries about dying at all, Zoro could only scream, "What sort of human are you?"

Then that determined grin and fearless laugh as he looked him straight in the eye and declared the wildest, maddest dream of all. "I am the one who will become the Pirate King!" Truly insane, yet he spoke it with no doubts.

Son of a demon or devil fruit user, Zoro had to respect his dream, his ambition, and his persistence. "Rather than die here...why don't I just accede to your request...and become a pirate!"

Join or be executed! In reality, those were his choices. Practically conscripted! What an audacious captain! But he did give in, and never once did he regret it.

"I'm going to become the world's greatest swordsman! I no longer care if my name is clean or not. Bad guy, good guy, it no longer matters. As long as my name is known worldwide! If you do something that gets in the way of my goal, I will cut your stomach open to say sorry."

Yes, he had threatened Luffy's life that fateful day. Looking back, he could hardly believe he said such a thing, but he wanted this kid to know how serious he was. And Zoro would never forget his answer that sealed the deal.

"Good! To be the world's number one swordsman! Since you wanna be the Pirate King's crew member, if you can't accomplish something that small, then I would be very embarrassed as well!"


Back on Kuraigana Island

"Something that small," Zoro repeated, laughing at the memory as he trained by himself. "Crazy kid."

He knew he would give up everything to reach his goal: family, comforts, his reputation, his dignity...none of it mattered. He once swore he would even give up Luffy and the crew if they held him back.

Except Luffy never slow down his march to the top. No, the crazed captain pushed him onward as no other person in his life had ever done, one adventure after another, surviving Grand Line, fighting the top pirates in the world, building a notorious name. Yes, his name was known worldwide now. A hundred and twenty million Beli bounty and the prestige of being one of the Eleven Supernovas...and now this, training under Mihawk! If not for Luffy, he might still be puttering around East Blue chasing petty criminals.

As the time of the Straw Hat Pirates' reunion drew nearer, Zoro began taking more interest in newspapers, searching for any hints about his comrades. Surely, if they were off getting stronger, they must be causing havoc somewhere. Yet never a word, no whispers, no rumors. People said Monkey D. Luffy had died. Zoro seriously doubted that! Maybe they were using aliases, like "Soul King" Brook. Still, it worried him. Were they really training? Would they truly return to Sabaody? Where the hell was Luffy hiding to remain off the radar for such a long time?

One day, he was so engrossed in the newspaper, reading the latest gossip on "Soul King," that he picked up a crocodile instead of his one ton weight. Not that it mattered whether he was lifting a giant lizard or a lump of iron.

When night came and Mihawk ordered him to come to his bedroom, Zoro hesitated. Guilt stalled him. More memories! He recalled the tender feel of his captain's worried touch when Zoro suffered wounds that would kill most men. He heard a carefree laugh from one moonlit night up in the crow's nest, naked under the stars, when Luffy told him not to worry about hurting him because he was rubber. Then he saw the look on that young face as Luffy moaned in ecstasy.

He would have to return and face Luffy with this latest sin heavy in his heart.

"I'm going to become the world's greatest swordsman! I no longer care if my name is clean or not. Bad guy, good guy, it no longer matters."

Yes, he said that. Pirate hunter or pirate. Honorable or despised. Honest or cheating. To get stronger, he would throw away all other bonds and focus only on his goal. Even when that meant sharing the night with his enemy.

Eventually, Zoro would follow Mihawk to the bedroom. He would kiss him, touch him, lay back submissively, accept him into his body, but his mind would drift. The hawk-eyed man on top of him would change into the rubberman with wide, innocent, eager eyes.

The master swordsman was keenly aware of the youth's conflicted emotions. He would flinch when he saw Zoro's attention drift away from the moment. Suspicion and jealousy began to brew like dark storm clouds on the horizon. As the end of their agreed time drew near, Mihawk called for Zoro more and more. He felt a sort of desperation as their time began to run out.

Then it happened one night. He had been rougher than usual, using Zoro for his pleasure, whipping him, tormenting him, watching him strain against the pain and pleasure he doled out. He drew blood this time. He normally refrained from going that far, but a small cut, an M carved into his thigh, a vain move at marking him, perhaps. Then Mihawk licked up the blood from the wound before licking the rest of the youth's body.

Zoro eventually passed out. As Mihawk sat in bed reading and listening to Zoro breathe loudly, two syllables broke the monotonous tapping of rain on the window.

"Lu-...ffy..."

A mere mutter. Mihawk looked over only to hear a snort, incomprehensible mumbling, then heavy breathing again. Well, he was leaving in a month. Surely he thought about the friends he left behind. Such were the bonds of youth!

"L-...ove you..."

Mihawk now jolted and looked down. His face tensed. His breath hitched slightly. He heard Zoro moan again. No words, but he saw his nighttime erection press up on the blankets.

"Luff-..." Then he demeanor changed. "Mmm...hawk. Mmn...love...oo..."

Jealousy froze into icy caution.

Love!

One emotion that could be fatal to a swordsman. Sex and infatuation were one thing, but love...Mihawk had cautiously refrained from it.

Until now.

"My little frog," he whispered, and stroked back the green hair. "Perhaps it's time for you to continue leaping up the well."


A few days later, Mihawk received a letter. An "old friend" was coming to visit. Zoro felt a little suspicious and even a bit jealous from how Mihawk reacted to the contents of the letter. As they ate a quiet dinner in the massive dining hall, the master swordsman was obviously lost in memories of this old friend. Zoro watched him quietly, squinting out of his good eye.

"Your time with me is finished," Mihawk suddenly announced. Zoro nearly choked on the filet mignon he was eating. "Tomorrow I will procure a ship and send you to Sabaody Archipelago. You'll be early, but you should prepare supplies for your captain's arrival."

"Wait a damn minute here," Zoro shouted. "I wanted to train for two years. That was our agreement. Why would you short-change me like this?"

"Any more training is moot. Experience is what you need now. Experience and maturity: two things I cannot teach. Perona, you will go with him."

The ghost princess shrieked. "I will not!"

"If not for you, the young fool would get lost the minute he stepped onto a dock. Stay on Sabaody until Zoro leaves with his crew. Keep him out of trouble. I shall provide you with a stipend of shopping money."

"Shopping?" she asked, cheering up fast. "I can buy anything?"

"Anything within the allowance I shall give you for accompanying him. Pick up more food, too. Good wine, this time."

Zoro glared at him. "Getting rid of both of us? Why? What was in that letter? Who sent it?"

Mihawk stared at him coldly for ten awkward seconds before replying, "Perona, do not return for at least two weeks. The longer, the better."

"Dammit!" Zoro bellowed.

He stabbing his steak knife straight through the table. It split in half, and all the food slid to the collapsed crack. Perona shrieked as she lost her steak. Mihawk deftly snatched up his wine goblet and bottle. He coldly watched the jealousy in his apprentice's face. Zoro looked ready to murder.

"Perona," the Shichibukai said calmly. "Also buy a new table."

She glowered at Zoro. "You're cutting into my shopping money, idiot!"

Zoro ignored her. "Is it this old friend who's coming? Is it some relative you don't want us to meet?" His eye narrowed. "Is it a lover? Is that why you're sending both of us away?"

Mihawk looked at him firmly for a solid minute, then he lifted his goblet to his lips and took a long drink. "I can't have you meet him yet. Pack your things tonight. You leave in the morning."


That was how they parted, coldly, no embraces, few words, no hopes that they could meet again on good terms.

"When you are stronger, seek me out again." That was all Mihawk told him before ordering the ship to sail.

As he stood on the deck of the ship, Zoro felt he was being shoved aside. After enduring the humiliation, after falling for his gentle touches, after he betrayed Luffy and fucked that bastard...to be shoved away for someone else! It made him furious and bitter. It made him hate Mihawk with more passion than he had felt before arriving on the island.

"I'll kill you one day, Dracule Mihawk," he screamed at the man standing on the shore. "Don't you dare croak on me, you old bastard, because I want to be the one to gut you. I'll become the greatest swordsman in the world and show you...no one fucks with Roronoa Zoro!"

Zoro looked away fighting the salty sting of tears, but his eye caught sight of Shusui's hilt. His brows tightened in shock. He knew these three swords better than he knew his own body, but something was different. He picked up the black sword and looked at a white cross that had been added to it. His thumb ran over the holy symbol. He looked back fast to Kuraigana Island, but he could no longer make out Mihawk's shape.

That simple parting gift made Zoro smile just a little.

"You mark not only my body, but my blades too?" He sneered a grin and had to laugh at such blatant audacity. "You really are an arrogant bastard. I'll pay you back for daring to touch my swords! You just wait for me, you geezer. I'll give you a mark the whole world will know about."

On the shore, Mihawk heard the enraged challenge.

...no one fucks with Roronoa Zoro!

"Yes," he whispered. "Hate me. Forget all attachments. Grow stronger. When we meet, you must feel no love for me. You must not hesitate. You must come at me with the same ferocity you had on Baratie. I hope you forgive me later, but for now...hate me."

"That's haaaaarsh, man, harsh," a playful voice said behind him. "Really, Hawky, you have a helluva way of showing love."

Mihawk's eyes narrowed venomously. "You could have waited a few more weeks. Then he would have been gone," he hissed.

"Yeah, I could've," the other conceded lightly. "But I knew you'd never be able to send him away otherwise. See, it was a calculated maneuver. Either me showing up would give you the perfect excuse to kick him out and make him jealous so that you remain his rival, or you'd hold onto him stubbornly and perhaps I could've had a bit of fun with the lad."

Shanks stepped forward onto the docks wearing a cocky grin. He draped his arm around Mihawk, and the swordsman stiffened at the casual show of closeness.

"He's a handsome one. I hope you let him be on top once in a while."

Mihawk looked aside. "I allowed it for his own ego."

"You're blushing," Shanks teased. "Did you forget everything I taught you about controlling your body? I wonder if that kid got the best teacher for this. Maybe I'll seek him out one day and augment his training."

Mihawk turned sharply on him. "Stay away from Zoro!"

Shanks pulled back with his hand raised up in surrender. "Wooo, jealous! Your eyes really shine when you're like this. It's scary," he laughed, looking anything but worried. Shanks gave him a mirthful smile. "He's that special to ya, huh? Young guy, too! A boy half your age."

"He's an adult, although not experienced enough in this cruel world we live in."

"You ever wonder if maybe he's got a girl waiting back home?"

Mihawk looked back out to the ocean and the speck on the horizon where the ship was pulling away. "His lover...is Monkey D. Luffy."

Shanks blinked in shock. It took him a while to wrap such a concept around his memory of the cute rubber boy. Then he laughed and rubbed the back of his neck. "No shit! That's awesome, isn't it? The two kids who idolize us and want to surpass us, and they're in the same boat as we are."

"Did you ever...train Luffy?"

"Hey now, he was a kid back when I first met him. Do I look like a pedophile?"

"Yes," Mihawk answered flatly.

Shanks pouted playfully. "Hawky is so mean!" A mischievous and dangerous gleam graced his eyes. "Do I have to beat that out of you?"

A piercing yellow gaze shot back at him. "Do you really think you can best me with one arm?"

"Yes," Shanks said in the same monotone voice Mihawk had used for that single-word answer.

An amused eyebrow briefly rose, but then lowered with a sigh. "I'm not in the mood today."

"Fine, I get it," Shanks said, backing off with his hand raised. "You just broke up with your boyfriend. I'll back off...for today."

"I have never had a boyfriend in my life," Mihawk replied scathingly.

"Okay, fine. Fuck-buddy, or whatever you wanna call it. I'll give you space. I'll be in your wine cellar." He turned and began to head toward the castle. "You'll thank me for this some day, Hawky."

Mihawk stared at the horizon and the disappearing boat. "Not aloud, I won't!" he mumbled defiantly.

End of Chapter 7


A/N: I love Shanks. I should write about him more. He's so FUN!

Chapter Text

Present Day, a Pub in the New World

Zoro gulped down the last of his beer. The past was the past. He looked down at Shusui and fingered that white cross. The scars on his body, he could forget. Even his eye was becoming something that rarely bothered him. However, that mark on his sword would always trouble him. It showed that, with each enemy he fought, a part of Dracule Mihawk would go into every thrust and parry.

Every pirate had some scars, some worse than others. Rarely did a pirate question how another pirate got a scar. However, that mark on his sword showed to those experienced enough that this man had been marked by Hawk Eyes Mihawk. After that, the eye and the slashed chest would make sense. What Mihawk had really done was put a signature onto the "artwork" carved into Zoro's body.

That bastard really was cocky!

The bartender suddenly set down a bottle of rum in front of him. Zoro stared at it, then looked up with a menacing glare.

"I didn't say I wanted more. I ain't paying for that."

"The gentleman over there paid for it, sir."

Zoro looked to the corner and a dark stranger wrapped in a black cloak with a wide-brimmed hat pulled down low. He would recognize that hat from anywhere. Zoro grabbed the bottle of rum and sauntered over to the stranger's table. He stood in front, staring down hard at the cloaked newcomer. For a solid minute, neither spoke. The stranger reached out a gloved hand, picked up a wine goblet, and took a silent sip. Zoro realized this man was not going to be the one to speak first.

"Are we enemies?" he asked quietly.

The goblet returned to its spot on the table, and golden eyes flashed up from the shadowy hat brim. "Not today," Mihawk said softly. "I was here on business and recognized you, that's all. I don't want to be late for my appointment, but when fate tosses two people together, it's unlucky not to take advantage of the meeting."

Zoro took that as an invitation to sit. Keeping his gaze on the master swordsman, he opened the rum bottle and drank it straight. He hissed at the strength of the liquor. "Ohoy-Ohoy Rum, most expensive rum on Grand Line. Always the best for you, eh?" He handed the bottle over.

A lithe hand stretched out and took the bottle. "Price is not always indicative of quality. Whether it be rare and costly like this rum, or whether it be a diamond in the rough that others severely under-appreciate, I accept only that which I consider to be of the highest quality. My tastes as such will never degrade no matter the price." Then his lips went over the bottle, and he daintily tipped back the rum.

Zoro blushed at hearing that familiar, low, velvety voice. "You abandoned me," he seethed softly. "After two years, you kicked me aside."

"I saved us from an inevitably awkward farewell."

"Why are you here?" he sneered.

Mihawk paused and his golden eyes shined narrowly. "I'm meeting a lover. He's already waiting in my hotel. I only came out for a small repose whilst he rested."

That stung Zoro's heart until he could barely breathe. Only his total control over his body kept him from bursting into tears. He grabbed the bottle away and drank two mouthfuls to drown the pain.

"Tell me, how's Luffy?"

Zoro jolted at the question and coughed as he choked on the rum. "He...he's fine. Insanely stronger."

"Are you together?"

Zoro suddenly felt guilty for being jealous of Mihawk. "Yeah, we're...we're back together," he muttered.

"Did you mention me?"

Zoro looked around the bar. It was noisy enough for no one to hear their whispers. "Yeah," he breathed quietly. "I couldn't hide something like that from Luffy. I didn't get into the details but...he knows enough."

Mihawk's golden gaze dropped. "I see. And he still took you back. He must truly love you."

He wondered if Mihawk had felt hurt or jealous knowing that Zoro would return to his old lover. Zoro slouched onto the table, truly feeling horrible and confused with his emotions.

"Does he appreciate your training?"

"I suppose so," he grumbled.

"Well, does he or doesn't he?" Mihawk asked in that snappish tone he had always used in their training sessions. "If he has said nothing on the matter, either he is too shy—which is not like Straw Hat at all—or you're not putting your best into it. If you're not doing your best, perhaps you don't really love him."

"I do!" Zoro snapped angrily. "He can't keep up with me. He tries, I see him straining, but... Damn you, but maybe you trained me too good."

Mihawk chuckled softly at that. "Are you no longer satisfied with your little rubber boy?"

"I definitely wouldn't say that!" Zoro blushed as he thought about some of the things no one in the world but Luffy could do.

"Really," he purred lowly. "Perhaps I should train Luffy..."

"No!" Zoro yelled so loudly, everyone in the pub looked over in worry that there might be another brawl.

"Emotional as always. Really, you've not matured enough." Mihawk sighed in disappointment. "I'm heading to meet the person who trained me in those lessons." He reached to a napkin and scrawled down an address. "This is where I'll be staying. He can teach you how to train Luffy. Since you don't want me to lay my hands on him, you should learn how to train him yourself. Come alone and tell no one I'm here." Then Mihawk gracefully rose.

Zoro looked down at the scrap of paper. Part of him was curious. He loved Luffy, but the boy had always been naïve and inexperienced. If he could train Luffy how to also last for hours...the thought made Zoro feel hot.

Then Mihawk's fingers brushed across his neck and sent shivers through him. Those fingers felt the same as he remembered, the same fingers that had caressed his body, stroked him into ecstasy, and had thrust within him to stretch him open for his first time being entered. The memories clambered, and flashes of erotic scenes blinded him to everything else. For a moment, he yearned for the rough domination that could melt into soft passion.

"Perhaps I'll see you tonight," Mihawk said in a seductive tone.

For a moment, Zoro was ready to follow him right then. A hotel, an alleyway, it didn't matter. He wanted to be fucked by this man once again. Except...he was here waiting for Luffy.

Luffy!

Zoro's teeth gritted. "No." He tore the napkin in half. "Thanks for the offer, but I'm with Luffy now. I don't want some other guy touching me. I don't want to train Luffy into anything. I love him just the way he is. Maybe the problem is that you taught me how to close off my body too well. If I opened up to him properly, he'll never claim that it seems like I don't enjoy him. The problem isn't how Luffy makes love to me; it's how I'm making love to Luffy."

Mihawk smirked just a little, and his golden eyes gleamed under the brim of his hat. "Well, it's your relationship, you know it best. I really am jealous of him, though. He has the best man to support him on his rise to the top. I hope to meet both of you there. Perhaps our next meeting will likewise be under favorable circumstances. Fair sailing to you until then, Roronoa Zoro." He turned and swept through the smoky pub.

Just then, someone banged open the tavern doors. "MEAT! Lots of it!" Luffy accidentally bumped into Mihawk. "Ah, very sorry. Are you okay, sir?"

"I'll get by," he smiled and walked out the doors.

Luffy watched him. "Hmm, familiar... Oh! Zoro! Yay, you're here," he cried out and ran over to the booth where Zoro sat. "So, how's the meat here?"

"Chicken is dry, the fish smells like they use too much lemon, but the lamb looked good. I didn't try it, but it smelled..."

"Good, good!" he interrupted. "Waitress! Fourteen lamb chops, three whole chickens, ten fish, and a glass of orange juice."

"Seriously, you'd eat anything," Zoro sighed. "Makes me wonder why I bother testing the food out."

Luffy grinned massively to Zoro. "It's because I know I can rely on you. You always know what I need and how to satisfy me." Then he reached across the table, gently touched Zoro's arm, and said soft enough so no others could hear, "I hope that one day I can satisfy you as much. I'll work hard and try, although...sometimes it seems like I'll never be that skilled."

Zoro's eyes softened at his quiet wish. "Luffy," he whispered. "Simply being able to please you and support you is enough to satisfy me. I'm sorry if I've been cold. Something from the past has been haunting me, but I think I'm ready to move on."

"Oh, is that so? There was a hotel on the way here. Maybe after I get my meat, we can stop in for a little while before heading back to the ship."

Zoro chuckled at his eagerness. "Maybe I didn't wear you out as much as I feared."

"Naw, I'm just out of practice," Luffy grinned and laughed softly. "After all, I went two years without you."

Zoro knew he made the right decision. Luffy was Luffy, and he did not need him any other way. All he wanted was to help Luffy take one more step toward his goal. If that meant giving in and letting his body be sensitive once in a while, he would do it with pleasure!

End of Chapter 8

Chapter Text

Zoro barely had time to yank Luffy through the doors of the hotel before the captain attacked his lips. Zoro moaned at the rough kiss and opened his mouth to be devoured. Luffy's tongue thrust in hard, tasting like a blend of various savory marinated meats still juicy in his mouth.

"Room, now!" Zoro barked at the clerk, and he threw a high enough Beli to assure no delays and no questions.

The clerk caught the money and chuckled to himself. Not the first couple to come in like that, and the hornier they were, the higher they paid, which pleased him just fine. At least these two were still dressed. The clerk placed a key on his desk. "Number 26, up the stairs and to your left."

Luffy's arm stretched out and grabbed the key. The clerk's eyes widened as such an inhuman ability.

Zoro groaned in frustration. Luffy did it again! The stupid kid didn't realize that his stretching ability was a dead giveaway to who he was. The straw hat did not exactly conceal his identity either. Now that the whole world knew the name "Straw Hat" Luffy, they had to pay off more and more people. Zoro tossed more Beli at the clerk and gave him his most demonic glare. That should shut him up.

The clerk accepted the money and winked. Sure, he recognized who they were, but his hotel got the business it did because people like those pirates knew they could go there and not be reported. It was not about reward money; it was about honest business. The occasional extra money was a nice perk. He laughed as the two young men raced one another to the stairway.

"Ah, to be young and adventurous!"

Zoro figured they could at least get into the hotel before things started up, yet as Luffy ate his meat-filled dinner, he appeared to be completely recovered from earlier and eager to show his resilience. They had been walking to the hotel, no more than a block away from the building, when his captain yanked him into an alley for a kiss and to grope Zoro's pants with maddening persistence. Zoro barely managed to stop him from taking it further. Right in front of the hotel, Luffy had tried the same, pinning Zoro against the hotel's front door. Now they were here, and the young captain was still too eager.

Halfway down the hall to their destined room, the rubberman grabbed Zoro and shoved him to the wall, then tried to stab him in place with a thrust from a cock already as hard as vulcanized rubber. Zoro could hardly help but moan as he felt Luffy rub against him, and the friction of his clothes inflamed his sensitive skin. Only the training from Mihawk let Zoro be able to take control of the situation.

"Room first, Luffy."

The young captain pouted cutely, looking upset yet blushing with embarrassment. He pushed himself off of Zoro, grabbed the sword-roughened hand, and yanked him down the hall. Zoro chuckled as Luffy ran ahead until even his arm began to stretch. He only stopped when they came to the designated room. By then, Zoro was still seven paces back, slowly catching up. As he drew nearer, he heard why Luffy had paused and turned red.

Two people were in the next room making a loud racket. One man kept bellowing "Oh yes, fuck me harder" over and over, while the other was silent except for deep, rhythmic grunts.

"God, that is just too hot!" Luffy exclaimed.

Zoro grumbled. "Now I know why this hotel was so cheap." He grabbed the key away, opened the door, and yanked Luffy inside. "Whaddaya say we give them something to listen to!"

This time it was Zoro who pinned Luffy against the wall, nearly knocking over a lamp. He palmed Luffy's hard cock with the strength his training had built up. He knew there was no such thing as grabbing Luffy too hard, not with that rubber body of his.

Luffy grunted and pressed against the kneading fingers. He drew Zoro in closer, arms grasping around his shoulders, placing kisses over his muscles as he fought away the green clothes to expose hard skin bronzed by the sun. Zoro easily pulled off Luffy's opened red shirt and yanked on the cut-off blue shorts. Then he grabbed the rubberman's freed shaft and yanked it so hard, it stretched nearly a meter.

"Ahh, Zoro! Yes, like that. I love it when you stretch it like that. Feels so good."

"Aye aye, captain," he grinned.

They stumbled blindly over to the bed and fell hard onto the mattress. They fought one another for a moment, each trying to claim dominance. Luffy tried to get on top, but Zoro used his larger size to force Luffy down. Just as he thought he had won, his captain's rubbery body stretched out of his hold and wrapped around him, twisting his way up until he straddled Zoro's back. He gave a carefree laugh, but Zoro reached around and grabbed him, wrestling him. The best Zoro could do was to end up on his back with Luffy always getting the upper hand.

"You definitely are a lot stronger," the swordsman had to admire.

Luffy gave him a massive, toothy grin. "Shishishi! If I wanna be the Pirate King, that means I get to be on top of the entire pirating world. What sort of Pirate King would so easily be dominated by his first mate?"

"Oh?" Zoro challenged. "So does that mean you want to be on top from now on?"

Luffy slowly leaned over and gave him an endearing kiss. He stroked Zoro's cheeks and smiled tenderly. "Being on top is only good if someone if there to support me, to hold me...to fill the emptiness." He sidled downward until Zoro's shaft felt the vale of his ass. "Even when I'm on top, I still want you with me, Zoro...my only lover, my first mate."

Zoro was stunned for a moment, but then he laughed with a cocky smirk. "Well hell, I guess I could be under a man like that...my captain."


In Another Hotel Room on the Island

"Aww, so the sexy moss-head didn't show up?" Shanks pouted and he laid back on some fluffy pillows.

Mihawk sat in the same bed, propped up by numerous soft pillows, the sheets tucked neatly around his naked waist as he read a newspaper. "He has his lover back. I watched them briefly. They looked happy together."

Shanks smiled to himself. "Good. That's really good. Luffy needs someone who can take care of him. Especially now that Ace is gone, he needs someone more than ever. And I gotta say, Luffy grew up nicely!"

"Pedophile!"

"Hey, he's legally an adult! He's the same age Zoro was when you went after his ass. Whatever. More wine?"

Shanks rose from the hotel bed and walked naked across the room to a carafe of blood red wine. Mihawk stayed where he was reading an article discussing rumors that the Shichibukai "Hawk Eyes" Mihawk was out chasing after "Red Hair" Shanks once again. Foolish reporters! But such lies and gossip kept the World Government off his back, so long as they thought he was doing something constructive.

Shanks came back with two goblets carefully held in his single hand. "A toast!" he called out. "To the upcoming generation of pirates. May they match the bar we set and succeed where we have failed."

"I have never failed," Mihawk said coldly as he accepted the goblet.

"We all fall short somewhere along the way, Hawky. Didn't you tell me that the first time you entered Zoro, you had to pull out and couldn't do it because you got overwhelmed, too afraid you'd hurt him? You took his friggin' ass-virginity and then couldn't do the deed properly."

Mihawk blushed and looked away. That was one moment of weakness he often regretted.

"Aww, you're so cute when you blush like that!" Shanks teased.

Mihawk glowered at him. "I am not...cute."

"Ohhh, Zoro!"

Both men looked in shock to the wall separating them from the next hotel room. Grunts came through the barrier, muffled sounds distorted by what little thickness the wall provided, but unmistakably the noise of heavy sexual tension.

Shanks quickly set his goblet down and ran on tip-toes to the wall with a mischievous grin. "Dahahaha!" he chuckled as he put his ear against the wall.

"Ugh! Lu-Luffy!"

"I want you in me. Now!"

"But I haven't..."

"I'm rubber, I can stretch. Hurry, Zoro!"

"F-f-fuck!"

"Nnngh! More! I want you in all the way."

"Fuck, you feel tight! Are you doing that on purpose?"

"Maaaaaybe!"

Shanks covered his mouth and laughed silently at their grunts. "By the devil's own luck!"

Mihawk rose quickly and threw the sheets aside in a flutter. "We're leaving this hotel."

"Oh hell no! I wanna listen."

"I do not!" Mihawk said firmly, snatching up his clothes.

Shanks grabbed him hard. For a one-armed man, he could really hold a person immobile. "Are you truly that jealous? Listen to him, Hawky."

They heard rhythmic thumping. The two sets of grunts were easily discernible through the thin hotel walls. Luffy's had a higher timbre, shouting at every single thump. Zoro's was low, husky, only groaning when Luffy apparently did something only a rubberman could do.

"Shit! Luffy!"

"Should I stop?"

"No, I just...ahhh! Oh fuck yes!"

Mihawk frowned tightly. "There is no way he could be losing his control so soon."

Shanks began to fondle Mihawk as they listened, stroking his cock and nipping the back of his neck. "Maybe Luffy can really give it to him good. Or maybe Zoro is purposely allowing himself to lose control. Either way, sure sounds like he's enjoying himself."

Mihawk hummed at that. "He did mention something about not liking the amount of control he had. Apparently it was too intimidating to Straw Hat."

Shanks now had Mihawk pressed back to the bed and slowly lowered him to the mattress. "I recall how you reacted our first time together. I was afraid I might have scarred your poor virgin mind."

Mihawk looked offended. "I was not a virgin."

"Whether you'd inserted your penis into a woman or a man meant nothing," Shanks chuckled. "Back then, you were a lonely swordsman who knew nothing of sexual control. You..." and with each syllable he bopped Mihawk on his sharp nose, "...were...a...vir-...-gin!"

Those golden eyes looked away in shame.

"Aww, you're too cute when you show me that face."

"Stop calling me cute!" Mihawk growled that this infuriating man always knew just how to irk him and shatter his equanimity.

Shanks slid his hand up Mihawk's bare chest, over a nerve in his neck that he knew always gave the stoic man chills, and gently tugged his face back around for a deep kiss. Mihawk hummed at the taste, always a little sweet with a mix of wine and savory marinated meat. It was a wild taste, a feral flavor. When Shanks pulled back, Mihawk knew he purposely left a string of saliva just to entice him more.

Damn this redheaded slut!

"Just as I taught you, Zoro will slowly teach Luffy. Maybe they'll never get to the point we are," he smirked, thinking about their years of practice, "but at least Zoro has the potential to please Luffy utterly. It's something Luffy needs, so I'm glad. And this is something that will keep Zoro encouraged to live long enough to get another chance to face you, so you should be glad, too. Besides, every time Zoro pleases his captain, you know he's going to think a little about you. Isn't that a good thing? It's a mark left on him far deeper than any blade can pierce, a mark you alone can recognize and say 'That man is mine.'" Shanks chuckled and stroked a finger across Mihawk's heart. Oh yes, he knew just what type of mark that was!

"Zoroooo!" the rubberman's voice howled. It was followed by a drawn out profanity from Zoro.

"God, that is just too hot!" Shanks exclaimed.

"Now I understand why this hotel was so cheap," Mihawk glowered. "Next time, I shall pick the hotel."

Shanks did not even listen. His entire attention—what little he had—was on the noises in the other room. "Sounds like they're about done. Damn, I wanna go over there and join them."

"No!" Mihawk said in a thudding tone.

"Hawky, you're no fun! Okay, how about this? Let's give them something to listen to. Timing Game. Limit: five minutes, not a second later."

"Ah, this game," Mihawk smirked, allowing himself to be taken submissively, complying to Shanks' caresses. "This is a game I didn't teach Zoro."

"Maybe you'll have the opportunity in the future. For now, you're mine! Five minutes, starting...now!"


Zoro grabbed Luffy's hips to yank him down harder. Letting go of his restraint like this was oddly refreshing. He felt his body reacting, and instead of suppressing, he indulged in it...a little too much.

"Fuck...oh fuck, I'm..." He didn't even have time to give a proper warning. It came at him too fast and utterly consumed him.

Luffy shouted in shock as he felt Zoro fill him. He looked down at the strained face as Zoro fought to at least not scream loud enough for the whole hotel to hear. Then Zoro jerked him hard and fast, yanking that rubber phallus until Luffy lost control and shot off over Zoro's chest. He watched his captain's elated face, slack and so honest in that moment of utter euphoria.

"Y-you came...first," Luffy panted hard.

"Maybe I like taking you while you're sitting on top," Zoro chuckled.

Luffy dived down and kissed Zoro hotly. Their foreheads rested together as both caught their breaths. "Do you really like it this way? I...I can please you like this?" He sounded so unsure of himself, it made Zoro pout, wondering if Luffy had really been doubting his own sex appeal so much.

"Luffy, you always please me," he assured. "I told you, I just had some issues I had to work out for myself. I'm sorry. It's going to be better from now on, I promise."

"I kinda like this position," Luffy confessed with a slightly naughty look.

"Well then, we'll have to try it again...and again," Zoro chuckled.

They heard noises start up in the room next door, low groans and muffled words of passion. Then they heard the springy squeak of a cheap bed and deep grunts of lust. Luffy looked up curiously.

"Wow, spry for a couple of old guys."

"Maybe we inspired them," Zoro joked as Luffy pulled off from him and rolled over to curl into his chest.

"When we're old, I hope we're still together and sneaking into hotels like this," Luffy yawned.

Zoro smiled down at his exhausted face and stroked back his messy raven hair. When we're old, huh? He could imagine the two of them still wrestling for top position twenty years from now.

"Oh God, Hawky! Yes, suck it harder."

"You fool! Keep your voice down, Shanks!"

Luffy and Zoro both sat up in bed at the same time and together shouted, "Shanks/Mihawk?" They looked at each other, then at the sounds in the other room.

Luffy suddenly jumped out of bed. "I wanna go see him!"

"No!" Zoro screamed, yet Luffy was laughing maniacally as he ran naked to the door. "Luffy! Stay away from him!"

"But Shanks said I could see him again when I'm a great pirate, and we've gotten this far."

"That isn't the man I'm worried about. Oi, Luffy!" Zoro barely had time to yank his clothes around him as he ran after his crazy naked captain. "Fuck, this is not going to end well."

End of Chapter 9