Zoro didn't like any of this. "Luffy, this is a bad idea. Let's just go back," he started, holding onto the edge of the door.
Luffy pursed his lips. "But we're already here! It'll be fun." He gave him puppy dog eyes, which okay, was so damn hard to resist. Zoro sighed, then got off the bus with Luffy.
"Ace is going to be mad me..."
"Don't you mean us," Luffy added, wiggling his eyebrows.
"You're not helping."
They walked down the sidewalk, and Zoro was real close to Luffy due to the fact that the alley seemed sketchy. Some guys were leaning against the wall, eyeing them; two other guys were smoking on the rails above the building; a tall man wore a leather jacket and had a scarf over his mouth, never once glancing away from them.
Yeah, Zoro wanted to leave.
Luffy stopped and pointed up at the sign that said Fire Shots. "This is where he works."
The first thing Zoro's eyes landed on was a rainbow flag that was hung by the side of the door. Oh. It was a gay bar. Someone got out, and he could hear the loud music they were playing before it was quiet again once the door closed. A bouncer was outside the bar.
"How are we getting in?" Zoro asked. He was hoping that this was the part where they would stop and go back.
"Kid's got it covered!"
Zoro frowned. "Wait—Do you even know what he's planning?" His steps had slowed down, and when Luffy shook his head, it made him rush in front of him. "He didn't tell you anything? Luffy, what if he pulls a stupid stunt or gets us in trouble!"
"He's not going to do that."
"How do you know?" Zoro panicked.
"I just do. Trust me. Geez, you really worry a lot." The Zoro he knew wasn't like that, perhaps protective, but never afraid of getting into trouble or causing it—unless Nami said otherwise.
Without responding, Zoro continued following Luffy. They saw Kid in his car—a black jeep—parked not too far from the bar. Luffy texted Kid and then waited. Zoro kept fidgeting, Luffy noted, by the way his hands were clenching on and off.
"If it bothers you, you can walk away, Zoro," Luffy suggested.
Zoro scoffed. "And leave you alone in this? No way."
Luffy's lips formed a straight line. Before he wouldn't have cared that Zoro joined him in his shenanigans, but now... he was hesitating. It was finally occurring to him that both Zoros were very different. While, yes, they both had a sense for lost of direction and easily fought with Sanji; both didn't have the same ambition and determination Luffy knew too well.
He didn't have a chance to voice out his protest as Kid shouted at him.
"Dude, what the fuck? I thought it was just us!" Kid glared at Zoro the whole time he approached them. "You could've given me the heads up." He huffed.
Zoro snarled, glaring right back at Kid.
"I wanted Zoro to come," Luffy stated. "Is that a problem?"
"Kinda, yeah." Kid reached into his blue jacket's pocket and gave Luffy a card.
Luffy inspected it, wondering what it was. "What's this?" It was a picture of him, yet it wasn't his expression. The boy in the picture had a neutral face. So unlike him.
"It's a fake ID," Zoro answered, eyeing it from over his shoulder, "and completely illegal."
Kid retorted, "Hey, it's the only way he could get in without getting in trouble. Do you see his face?" He pointed at Luffy's features. "He has a baby face. But you, on the other hand, look old enough to be in a bar. So you're good without a fake license."
Zoro seemed offended.
Luffy beamed. "What are we waiting for? Let's go! I can't wait to see Ace."
The three of them headed to the bouncer, and like Kid predicted him and Zoro were let in while Luffy was asked for an ID. Once inside, Luffy's eyes widened at everything. Half the side of the bar had strobe lights, people dancing underneath and grinding. Luffy was confused that some men, who were serving drinks, were shirtless. The other side had tables and stands, and there he saw a circular bar crowded with more people.
"I've... never been to a bar like this," Luffy confessed. The bars he had been to were rowdy, messy, and loud drunks singing pirate songs.
"Then you're missing out," Kid said loudly. The music wasn't helping.
"Where am I going to find Ace?" Luffy shouted. "There's too many people."
"Just walk around, duh. I know I'm doing that." Kid left them so he could get a drink.
Zoro was uncomfortable and wanted to go home. He didn't like bars or blaring music for that matter. He felt sorry for Ace that he worked here. "Luffy, I think we should—" He was gone as well. Zoro gasped and swiftly tried to look around him. But many older man kept blocking his view. Shit.
Luffy wormed his way into the crowd, head poking out trying to find Ace.
"Where is he?" he mused. A hand abruptly touched his back, and it made Luffy tense up. "Hey, don't touch me!" Luffy snapped, swatting the hand away as he turned around.
"You are aware where you are, right?" a pale man with long, dark hair said, smirking like a mad man. He was wearing an over-sized fur coat and yellow skinny jeans.
Luffy peered at him, then he scowled. "I know who you are! You're the crazy scientist who experimented on children!" he accidentally shouted, prompting the people nearby to eye the man with disgust.
"I-I have no idea what he's talking about!" the stranger exclaimed, getting a bit sweaty from all the looks on him. Although, it seemed like he was hiding something. Then he turned his head back to Luffy, growling, ready to choke him. "Watch with what you say, brat!"
"You're Caesar Clown!" Luffy was ready to punch this guy's teeth. He wouldn't forget all the bad things Caesar had done to him and his friends.
"Well, you certainly got my first name right, just not the last one," Caesar hissed. "How are you even in here? You look like a little—" Luffy ignored him and continued his search for Ace, leaving Caesar talking to himself.
Other men kept touching his arms and waist, which was starting to get annoying—at one point someone even groped his ass. Ace wasn't kidding when he said some people were perverts. How could Ace work in a place like this?
Someone grabbed him by the shoulder, and Luffy gritted his teeth, glaring daggers at the culprit.
"Relax, man," Kid said, raising a drink. "It's just me. You're really jumpy."
"Because some assholes keep touching me!" Luffy growled. No one had ever treated him with low regard. He had been treated with admiration by everyone—in his world. He felt like a piece of meat here. No pun intended.
"Have you seen yourself in a mirror?"
Luffy frowned. "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Jesus Christ. Still don't know what Law sees in you," Kid murmured, sipping some whiskey. Luffy waited for an answer. "Do I have to spell it out for you? You're fucking hot. H-O-T! That's why everyone wants a piece of you."
Luffy's face scrunched up as he glanced at Kid in distaste. He's just an average boy. He never thought he was good-looking or a catch to people. Looks didn't really matter to him—even when the snake princess was after him, Luffy refused.
"But I have a boyfriend," he said matter-of-factly, "they shouldn't be doing that."
"Yeah, well, the guys here don't know that. When did you become so naive? Thought you were a genius and shit."
His jaw clenched at the remark. Luffy past by him, ignoring his calls. Kid didn't know what he was going through or anything that had happened. He was grateful Law hadn't told Kid the truth.
He bumped into someone on his way. A server. Only he wasn't shirtless like the others. No. He was wearing the same thing Ace wore when he got ready to leave. Luffy gasped, lips curling up at the person.
"You're the pineapple pirate!" Luffy exclaimed in excitement. He could recognize those blond locks from anywhere. Marco.
Marco narrowed his eyes on him, seemingly offended by the nickname, but then his expression softened as he got a closer look on Luffy. "Well, well, well. If it isn't Ace's little brother." He chuckled. "What are you doing here? Aren't you a little too young to be in here?" Marco questioned. Ace often talked about him. Marco could almost say he knew Luffy even without meeting him.
Luffy puffed his cheeks. "I just wanted to see Ace—Wait, do you know where he is?"
"Yeah. He works in the bar over there," Marco pointed to the circular bar behind him, "but he probably won't be too happy to see you here."
"Thanks, pineapple man," Luffy said as he rushed to that direction Marco gave him.
That's where he saw Ace, passing and making drinks and pacing back and forth, one customer after another. He was so fast. Luffy beamed. He felt proud of Ace—working hard and still taking care of him. His brother was truly amazing.
He padded alongside the counter, secretly watching him. He wondered how long it'd take for him to notice?
Luffy's smile instantly dropped as he heard a rude customer. "How about after this we get out of here so we can have fun together?"
Ace forced a smile, Luffy knew it. "I can't. I'm busy working and have someone to go home to," he said, telling half the truth. "Can I get you anything else?" was the usual question he asked customers, even if they were being dicks.
"Your phone number," the older, drunk man said in a cocky attitude.
"Not going to happen," Ace assured, then went to attend to other customers.
Luffy's eyes never left the man who was disgustingly hitting on Ace. And as the man turned his way, Luffy knew who it was and it made his blood boil. The same man who defeated Ace and put him in jail: Blackbeard. Something inside Luffy snapped as he clawed on the wooden counter.
Blackbeard attempted to talk to Ace again. This time being vulgar.
Luffy stalked toward him. He listened to every word Blackbeard was saying; and it only made him make a fist, nails digging into his palm. He stood directly in front of him.
"What did you say to him?" Luffy demanded.
The people who were beside him stopped conversing to gawk at them. Ace, who was making a margarita, dropped the shaker as he spotted Luffy. What the fuck was he doing in here?
"Go away, kid," Blackbeard grumbled. "I'm doing something important here."
"What did you say to my brother!" His face was red when he screamed. He wasn't going to let this go. Luffy was taking it very personal due to the fact that it was the pirate's fault he lost his real brother.
Finally Blackbeard gazed at him for a few seconds before saying, "That your brother is a fucking piece—" He didn't finish as Luffy threw a punch at him, bony fingers making popping sounds. It hurt him a little.
"Luffy!" Ace shrieked.
Two things happened then: Luffy was attacked by Blackbeard—and another guy—and Ace jumped over the counter to help him. Everything happened so fast. Luffy got punched and tossed towards the chairs. It sucked not being made of rubber.
Marco came rushing to the scene, trying to hold the second man back, while Ace handled Blackbeard. Luffy wiped his bloody nose and cracked his knuckles. He caught a glimpse of Kid dashing to him. "Holy fucking shit! Are you fucking okay?" Kid helped him up. "Oh god—Law's going to kill me!" Luffy looked like a mess with the blood dripping down his chin.
Luffy glared at Kid. "Make sure Zoro stays out of this, got it," he ordered. Kid nodded, dumbfounded. Then Luffy went back into the fight to help Ace, who was not doing too good. Marco ended up getting elbowed by the second man when he saw Luffy tackling Blackbeard. Someone called 911.
Everything went to shit after that.
Luffy was sitting outside on the pavement, staring at the police cars' lights.
Blackbeard and the second man were being arrested for assault and battery. Marco and a few other customers were injured during the fight, which helped them. Ace gave his statements to the cops and even pleaded with them that he was just defending his little brother. Even though Luffy started the brawl, all the witnesses said Blackbeard started, so he wasn't in trouble much; the owner of the bar was though, for letting a minor inside.
Luffy hadn't seen Kid and Zoro after that, and it was for the best. It was his fault for how everything turned out. Luffy fucked up. Bad.
"Ace!" the owner of the place bellowed. He was angry that a scene was made in his bar and that he was losing money. "I never want to see you in the bar again. YOU'RE FIRED!" He told the other workers to get back to work.
Ace's world completely shattered. He just lost his job. How was he going to pay the bills now?
Luffy swallowed and then climbed to his feet. Ace seemed devastated. "A-Ace?" he called.
So many emotions passed through his mind: anger, hate, fear. He snapped his head towards him, lips twitching up and down—It terrified Luffy. Made him remember the Ace he first met as a kid, the one who despised him with passion.
Then Ace took a deep breath, then said calmly, "Get in the car so we can go home. Now."
Luffy's lips trembled, but did as he was told. They drove in complete silence on the way back. No yelling. No lectures. Nothing. Luffy hated that more than anything, and he's pretty sure Ace hated him at this very moment.