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The accident happened out of nowhere. It was a hit and run. Luffy had been crossing the street when it occurred. Nothing was his fault; it was his turn to walk. So why was Luffy lying in the middle of the road, head bleeding and close to losing consciousness? His vision faded as a crowd of people rushed to him. The last thing he thought was: Is this it?

As Zoro entered the hospital room, he expected Luffy to be badly wounded, however, he didn't expect him to be smiling and giggling with the nurse. What the hell? Since when did Luffy smile so damn much?

"Zoro!" Luffy exclaimed in excitement. He waved at him, and then proceeded to eat the food that was supplied by the nurse. "Where are we? Where's the ship?"

The what?

Zoro blinked, not sure he heard right. He shook his head and sat down in the empty seat beside Luffy. He took note on his wounded head, bandaged with gauze rolls and a nasty cut under his right eye.

"What's wrong? Are you hungry?" Luffy offered a spoon of mashed potato to him. "You can have some!"

"No thanks..."

Luffy shrugged and continued eating. Zoro watched him with a frown. It was Luffy, yet it didn't seem like it. The boy in front of him was filled with glee, not a single trace of his stoic features.

Zoro started, "Luffy, are you—"

Ace rushed into the room, panting, then smiled as he saw his little brother. "Oh, thank god! You're okay!" He went up to him but froze when Luffy dropped the spoon on the tray, staring at Ace with watery eyes.

"A-Ace?" he stuttered. Zoro peered at Luffy, then at Ace, who was caught off guard by his sudden change of attitude. Zoro was relieved that he wasn't the only one noticing this.

Luffy reached forward—careful not to get up from the bed—and embraced him, gripping so tight that Ace seemed like he was being suffocated. "How are you here? You died! I held you... when you died," Luffy cried, sobbing on Ace's shirt. "I tried to save you—But I failed!" His fingers grasped his brother's shoulders.

Ace's eyes were widened, both in shock and fear; what was Luffy talking about? Nevertheless, he did the only thing he could do: he comforted his baby brother. "I'm okay, Lu. I'm not dead, okay? It was probably a bad dream." Ace hugged him.

Zoro wanted to say what the fuck just happened? He was more confused than ever. Ace glanced over his shoulder, mouthing something along the lines 'get the nurse.' He nodded and rose from his seat.

Ace talked to the doctor while Zoro occupied Luffy. He couldn't hear much other than Ace cussing and arguing with the poor man. Luffy kept moving his arm up and down, growling when his arm extended normally rather than yards.

Zoro's eyebrows furrowed, then without thinking he grabbed his wrist. "What are you doing?"

"Trying to stretch, duh." Luffy pouted. "Where are your swords?" He did a once-over at Zoro, which prompted him to blush.

"I don't have swords, and stop looking at me like that." Please, he thought.

Ace approached Luffy with a crestfallen expression. "What's the last thing you remember?" He clenched his fists, trying so hard not to cry at what the doctor had told him.

Luffy grinned. "I was fighting a bunch of pirates. Sanji and Zoro were by my side." What, pirates?

Zoro bit his lips, disappointed. The last thing Luffy was doing before his accident was hanging out with Zoro.

Ace gritted his teeth and shook his head harshly. "Whatever is in your head is not real, Luffy. You've been in an accident." That made Luffy's smile drop instantly. It almost made Zoro stop Ace from saying anything further.


"Yes. The doctor isn't sure what's happening but he said that your mind created another fantasy with us in it," Ace explained. "He said it had something to do with your head injury. They're going to run more tests on you. I'm just happy you still know who we are, I guess." 

Suddenly, Luffy moaned in pain, gently placing his hand on his head. "Ow. My head hurts a lot." He didn't believe Ace. Luffy was a pirate. "Can we talk about this later? My head feels like it's going to blow."

Ace couldn't help but frown.

"Besides, I don't care where I am," Luffy stated with a smile, "as longest you're here. Alive. That's more than enough for me." Both Zoro and Ace's mouth hung open, surprised upon seeing Luffy's new expression. It was rare for Luffy to make such a face.

His older brother blushed, then grumbled. "Well, whatever. I'm just happy that you're okay."

The next few days went slow for Luffy. The doctors refused to discharge him until they were certain that he was in good health, much to his annoyance. Luffy hated being cooped up in a room.

Luckily, his friends kept him busy whenever they had a chance to visit him.

Nami cried when she saw his wounds. The cut under his eye would likely leave a scar. The thing that freaked Nami the most was that Luffy seemed like he hadn't been in an accident as he smiled at her. She had wanted him to laugh more, but not like this.

Zoro explained to the others that Luffy's memories were a bit loopy. Sanji corrected him by saying don't you mean fucked up? They fought, and to Luffy it was a good sight to see as he clapped his hands.

"At least you guys are the same!"

Both boys scoffed, yet said nothing.

"Where's Chopper?" Luffy asked.

Usopp stared at the others. "Uh... Who's Chopper?"

Luffy gasped. "You know Chopper! He's our doctor from our—" Zoro covered his mouth before he could finish.

"He's just someone he read from a book. Guys, Luffy doesn't remember who he was, so why not remind him?" Zoro changed the subject. "Would you like that, Luffy?" The boy had been trying to pry the hand away, but then nodded when he heard his best friend.

Once his mouth was free, he exclaimed, "Yeah! Tell me who I was."

The others glanced at each other, as if they were debating if they should lie or tell the truth. They decided the latter.

"You were smart," Usopp started, scratching his neck. "Genius, even."

"No way!"

Nami agreed. "Top one in our class."

Luffy's lips turned downwards a bit. "That doesn't sound like me. I'm not gonna lie but I'm a dumbass. Ace is the smart one."

Everybody in the room let out a gasp.


"You just admitted that your brother is smarter than you, and that doesn't bother you?" Sanji questioned.

Luffy paused. "Why would it? Ace has always been the brains." His head started to ache slightly. Sometimes I wish you could be more like me, Ace. Where the fuck did that come from? Luffy had never once in his life said those words to his older brother.

Zoro caught the frown on him. "You okay, Luffy?"

"Yeah. Just... thinking," he lied, and everyone knew that. But didn't dare to call him out on it. Luffy pursed his lips, and asked, "Was I a jerk?"

"What—No!" All said similar words.

To Luffy, though, it sounded fake and forced. "Are you sure? I feel like I was cocky and a know-it-all. I sound like Law. I mean, the guy is my ally and all, but I don't want to be like that—Why are you all looking at me like that?" He saw Nami's mouth drop and Zoro looked pissed at the mention of Law.

"So you remember Law?" Sanji spoke up.

Luffy grinned as he said, "Of course I do! He's my friend."

"And?" Usopp moved his hand, gesturing go on.

"And what? That's it." Luffy was confused as Usopp face-palmed himself. Why do you guys hate, Law? Sure, he's older and a bit grumpy but he's special to me. Luffy's eyes narrowed, then he rubbed his temple with his fingers. Why was he hearing words he had never said before?

His head snapped up when he heard Ace coming into the room. "Hi, Ace," he said with a beaming smile. Luffy heard whispering from his friends, and when he gazed back at them, he saw that they were watching him the whole time. Why were they doing that? It was starting to get on his nerves. It's like they were hiding something.

"Look, Lu, I brought you food." Ace raised the takeout for Luffy to see. He perked up upon smelling meat.

"Gimme, gimme, gimme!" Whatever Luffy had been thinking was gone as Ace handed him his meal. He hadn't eaten any meat since he had been in the hospital.

"I see you still have your appetite," Ace commented, smirking.

Amen to that.

Luffy was released a week later. The doctors said everything was in order. His head healed smoothly but he had to take it easy for a while. They couldn't find anything wrong with Luffy's brain, other than being injured from the impact. He didn't have amnesia, at least, from what doctors were used to seeing.

Ace took it harder than anyone when they couldn't find an explanation on what was wrong with his little brother. He wanted an answer, anything to figure out what it was and if Luffy would ever get his memories back.

The doctor hadn't replied when he'd asked. Instead he came up with his own theory: Confabulation. Luffy's mind created fake memories that seemed vivid and real to him. Extremely rare to get, but possible to have with a head injury. But it was only a theory; the doctor would keep Ace posted if he found anything else.

"Ready to go home?" Ace asked him.

"Finally! I was so bored in there."

"Yeah, it was getting annoying being in the room day and night." Ace had stayed with him, never leaving Luffy's side. "Do you wanna do anything once we get home? Or do you prefer to study?"

Luffy made a disgusted expression. "Study? I hate studying. I want to run outside. I need to stretch my legs." He failed to notice Ace's lips turning into a thin line.

"Sure. Whatever you want..."

Ace made him go to school on Monday. Luffy begged him he didn't want to go—however as he stared into Ace's angry eyes—Luffy had no choice but to obey him. It's weird that even though Ace didn't have his flame-flame fruit powers anymore, there was still fire in his eyes.

The weekend had been strange for Luffy. He was in a home where he wasn't used to. He had slept in a room where Ace told him it belonged to him, except it wasn't. The bookcase, trophies, and desktop weren't his. Nothing really belonged to him. Luffy missed the Thousand Sunny, missed sleeping on his hammock, and more importantly, missed his real crew. Would he ever go back to them?

He was thinking in class. Luffy didn't know half the students in there. Usopp and Zoro were there beside him, so that's neat. He stared at his work in front of him. What the hell was geometry? His nose scrunched up as he concentrated, as if hoping an answer would pop up. It didn't.

Class finished faster than he thought, and all he did was doodled on his work. He drew his jolly roger—very shitty looking—on his assignment. His two best friends had caught a glimpse of the drawing and both grimaced.

As he walked in the hallway, Luffy was chatting about how school was so stupid and that he wanted to explore somewhere. Zoro walked beside him, not saying anything—What could he say anyway?

Ace told him just to follow along with Luffy's nonsense until the doctors find out what's really happening to him. However, Ace had ordered Zoro to make sure no one found out about his made-up pirate life.

"Zoro, looks silly." Luffy laughed at him. He pointed at his face, then at the creases on his forehead.

"Huh? Why?"

"You've been frowning ever since we got out of class! You should smile more. You're handsome when you smile."

Zoro halted. His heart skipped a beat. Luffy just gave him a compliment. He tried to recall the times when his former best friend told him such remarks, but nothing came to mind.

"Zoro?" Luffy called. "Hurry up! I'm hungry."

He snapped out of his thoughts and hurried to Luffy, apologizing. Deep down he was beginning to think he had a chance with him— No. This wasn't the Luffy he fell in love with. Zoro fell for the boy who had a passion for learning and would constantly tease him. The stranger in front of him was merely an illusion.

One that would go away soon.

Chapter Text

Luffy was kicking a rock as he walked home. Nami had given him instructions in where he lived; turned out he only lived six blocks away from school. School was still dumb, in his opinion. All he got was ton of homework and sympathy from his teachers.

"What a stupid day," Luffy said in a huff. He wanted to do something fun but everyone was busy.

Zoro had to stay after school for a club so he couldn't join Luffy. Sanji worked part-time in a fancy restaurant, and Usopp worked with his dad in a hunting store. Nami just didn't want to do anything. Lastly, Ace had told him in the morning—before he dropped off Luffy at school—that he would be working all day and probably come home late. He worked as a bartender.

"I feel so alone."

Luffy scowled and kicked the rock so hard that it skittered through the air.

I'm used to loneliness anyway. Luffy halted, then frowned. It was that voice again. His? Sure. But it wasn't him saying it. Never would. He rubbed the side of his head, like it would make everything go away.

There was no way Luffy would ever get used to loneliness. He hated it with passion. He preferred to be with his friends and family. Before Ace came along, growing up alone was the worst thing for him.

Suddenly, Luffy was startled when his cellphone rang. He pulled it out from his pocket and stared at it with a blank look. How did these things work again? Were they like den den mushi? Nami also gave him directions on how to use it, except he didn't listen—too distracted with the food from the cafeteria.

Shrugging his shoulders, he answered with a simple Hello.

"Hey, Luffy, how are you doing? Was school okay? Are you home yet?" Ace asked multiple questions from the other line.

It made Luffy grin that Ace was still a worrywart with him.

"Fine. I think I'm almost home." He glanced at the street sign up ahead. "Is the street named East Blue?" How ironic.

"That's the one—What, already? It's only been five minutes!" Ace's voice bellowed over the phone. "Damn it... I have to go, Lu. I'll try to get home early. There's frozen food in the freezer."

Luffy's nose scrunched up in disgust. Gross! He had that on Saturday when Ace was called to work on his day off. It tasted awful. The piece of meat was the size of his palm.

But he couldn't complain, he had to be grateful for what his brother was doing.

"Okay, thanks, Ace."

"And answer your damn texts!" he added before hanging up.

Luffy glared at his phone, slightly pouting. "I'm trying," he mused. His phone kept vibrating all day but he had no clue how to reply. Luffy scrolled down the apps, checking the messages; over twenty-two messages unread. Wow.

Most of them were from Ace, no shocker there. The other half was Nami. Zoro and Usopp texted him a couple of times, too, saying something along the lines: don't get lost. Luffy chuckled, then his eyes widened when he saw another familiar name.


"Torao!" He quickly clicked his name and read it.

Law: Haven't heard from you in a while? I called but you didn't answer, everything okay? I miss you.

Luffy blinked. Law sounded rather affectionate—not that he wasn't. He's friendly and easy-going with his crew, especially Bepo. But hardly with Luffy. Law easily got annoyed with him. Nevertheless, he answered him by typing extremely slow. I miss you too!

He sent the message and continued walking.

As he opened the door to his place, his phone chimed. Grinning, Luffy looked through it.

Law: :)

Was that a smiley face? Law using that was the most amusing thing to Luffy. He seemed fun in this world. Wonder why? he thought.

Ace came home late, around eleven, and he looked exhausted. His black hair was disheveled and the white dress shirt he was wearing was stained with beverages. Luffy greeted him from the couch, munching on cookies.

"What are you still doing up?" Ace barked.

Luffy's lips quirked down. "I couldn't sleep so I'm watching TV."

Ace scrubbed his tired eyes, then sighed. "It's late, Luffy," he said in stern tone. "Go to bed. It's a school night."

Narrowing his eyes at him, Luffy crossed his arms and said in a huff, "Why are you being so bossy? You were never like this." What the hell was up with his attitude? 

On any other day, Ace would've ignored it, but working on a fourteen hour shift made him snap. "What the fuck are you talking about? I've always been like this! We have bills to pay and I have to drop you off to school every day. So turn off the damn TV and go to your room!"

Luffy growled and climbed to his feet. "You can't force me to listen to you!" he shouted.

"You spoiled little brat!" They were now face to face, glaring at each other. "I'm taking care of you, so you have to obey me!"

"Says who?"

"Says the fucking law, dumbass! I'm your guardian. We're all we got, don't you understand? God, sometimes I wish I didn't have to deal with you!"

And that broke Luffy's heart, because Ace loved him to death, even died for him. Yet, this person who looked like him didn't even want to do anything with him.

With watery eyes, Luffy clenched his hands to stop them from trembling. "I hate you! I want my brother back!" Then he bolted out of the house, ignoring Ace's cries.

Zoro found him an hour later. He was in an unknown park, sitting on the swing, crying. Zoro sat on the free swing. Both didn't move. Luffy wiped away his tears and snot with his forearm.

"Ace called you, didn't he?" he asked as he peered at Zoro.

"Yeah. He was freaking out and wondered where you ran off to."

"Oh." Luffy gazed at the dark sky above, while his hands were clutching the chains from the swing. "How did you find me?"

Zoro paused. "You come here to think sometimes."

"I do?"

He nodded. "How did you know where this park was? You're blocks away from your house." How did Luffy know if he had no idea where anything was?

"I didn't. I just ran wherever my legs could take me," he admitted.

Zoro began to wonder if Luffy was remembering anything. It's strange that he unknowingly stopped here, Zoro mused.

"Ace is a jackass. A big one."

"Want to talk about it?" Zoro offered, somewhat awkwardly.

Luffy sniffled. "I miss my world. This isn't home. It's you guys, but it's not to me. Everything is so different. You're different. The Zoro I know, knows how to sword-fight and lift heavy weights."

"I sound like a badass."

"You are!" Luffy smiled. "You always saved me from drowning, too."

Zoro raised an eyebrow. "But you know how to swim."

"I don't. I sink like a hammer in the water—Well, since I don't have my devil fruit powers, maybe I don't anymore."

Zoro scratched his head, confused by everything coming out of Luffy's mouth. He was going to regret this. "Tell me about our pirate life."

Luffy's eyes widened as his head snapped towards him. "Y-You mean it?" Zoro had always changed the subject whenever he mentioned his 'made-up' life.

"Why not? We got time to kill."

And he paid attention to his best friend. He sighed in content when Luffy's tears vanished, instead laughed about everything they had done together in the other world. He would listen a thousand times if it meant having Luffy smile like that.

Ace found them, after Zoro secretly texted them their location, and he seemed remorseful.

Luffy scoffed and averted his gaze. He was still angry at him.

"Lu, I'm sorry for saying those things. I didn't mean them."

Luffy still said nothing. He stubbornly kept his eyes on the opposite side, and Zoro could see that Luffy was trying so hard to hold his tears. Whatever Ace told Luffy must've hit a nerve.

"I took out my anger on you, and it was the wrong thing to do." He padded towards him, and smiled in the inside when Luffy didn't push him away. Luffy's lips moved inwards when Ace stood in front of him, and then as he craned his head the other way, Ace jumped to block his view, teasing him.

Zoro made a small grin. Luffy desperately wanted to giggle but refused to. It seemed like everything would be okay for them.

Ace began to tickle his brother, prompting Luffy to burst into laughter.

Luffy stood up. "Stop! I give, I give!" He attempted to swat his hands away, but it was fruitless. Ace knew his sensitive spots. "Ace—" He was cut off when arms wrapped around his shoulders and pulled him forward. It made Luffy want to cry but for another reason.

"You're the greatest thing in my life, you know. I would do anything for you. Die for you—"

"No!" Luffy screamed, catching the two older boys off guard, as he embraced Ace. Luffy swallowed when images of Ace's death filtered through his mind. "D-Don't, Ace. Promise me that you'll never risk your life for me!" He couldn't live with himself if the Ace in front of him died as well. He couldn't go through that pain again. Wouldn't.

Ace's eyelids lowered, smiling fondly. "I promise," he lied. He had always kept his promises with him, no matter what. However, this one he wouldn't keep. He vowed himself to protect and be there for his little brother.

Luffy pulled away, relieved. "Does this mean I can miss school tomorrow?" He yelped as Ace smacked the back of his head.

"Keep dreaming! Now let's go." He turned to Zoro, who was beginning to walk away. "Zoro, thanks." It wasn't often he called him, unless it was an emergency. Ace knew all of Luffy's friends, but if he had to rely on someone, it would be Zoro.

"No big deal." He wore a solemn expression but Luffy wasn't fool. Zoro was secretly happy.

"Bye, Zoro! See you at school!" Luffy frantically waved at him, teeth shown as his lips stretched wide. "And don't get lost!"

Zoro flushed. He shouldn't have glanced over his shoulder. "Whatever. Night." He lazily waved back and then grumbled something Luffy couldn't hear.

Luffy bid Ace goodnight once they got home. He didn't realize it was late until he lay on the bed and closed his eyes. A chime startled him. Luffy peered at the nightstand and saw his cellphone flickering a light for a second before going dark. A message.

Opening the message, Luffy couldn't help but gasp. He eagerly replied, then put his cellphone back on the stand. He couldn't wait for Friday now. Only few more days. Luffy fell asleep with a pleased smile on his face.

Law: I'm not doing anything on Friday. Want to hang? I know a great place to get a bite. We can catch up on what we missed and do other stuff.

Luffy: That sounds fun! I haven't done anything exciting lately. Can't wait!

Chapter Text

Friday came faster than Luffy thought. Things had gone smoothly. Luffy tried to do assignments, he really did, but it was hard for him to understand it. He didn't know history or science. His friends had tutored him. But there was only so much Luffy could learn. It didn't help that he needed to use glasses to read books; turned out he's near-sighted.

Luffy had been proud that he received a D on his first test. Better than a failing a grade, right? Unfortunately, Nami didn't think so.

"If you keep getting these types of grades, you're academic reputation is going to plummet! You need to pass your junior year."

Luffy picked his nose. "So what? I don't need grades anyway—" Nami had given him a glare. "Or maybe I do..."

She sighed. "Just try a little harder, okay? I can help you with history, and Usopp can help you with science. I bet if I ask Sanji, he could help you with math." Nami opened her messenger bag and took a textbook out.

Luffy groaned when she handed him more homework.

"Here are very helpful notes. Some are even yours—"

"They're not mine," Luffy said sternly.

Nami frowned. "Right..."

Luffy put the book in his backpack, which was mostly empty. Just a pencil and a few blank pages. He had thrown out all the material that had been inside. Luffy was not going to be carrying heavy, useless items that he found unimportant.

"Is there a vending machine somewhere on campus? I'm getting kinda hungry." Ace gave him lunch money today.

Nami refrained from smacking him—due to his recent injury. "Yes. There's one at the end of the hallway." She gasped as Luffy ran off. "Where are you going? We're supposed to meet the others at lunch!"

"I'll see you there. I won't take long," Luffy shouted back before Nami could argue.

Shaking her head, Nami marched the opposite way. Luffy could be sometimes frustrating, now more than usual. She smiled at the sight of the others, waving at her. They had been waiting for Nami and Luffy outside of the cafeteria.

"Where's Luffy?" Usopp asked.

"Went to get a snack," she grumbled. "His appetite always amazes me. He'll meet us in there." Nami pointed to the cafeteria.

"Nami," Sanji called, "behind you!"

She turned around, then instantly stepped back. Her hands clutched onto her strap bag across her chest. "What do you want?" she demanded at the senior, Arlong, who was coming her way. And he wasn't alone.

Usopp trembled and hid behind Zoro, stammering and pointing to the other guys. "It's them again!" One of them had dumped Usopp into a trashcan last week, and his curls ended up with some gooey substance. It took forever to take it out!

"A real man doesn't pick on ladies!" Sanji roared.

"Don't, Sanji." Nami eyed him, practically pleading.

Zoro stopped Sanji by holding him back upon Nami's request. He knew she didn't want them to get involved in her mess. But still, it fucking sucked every time. No one liked how Arlong treated her. Nami once upon time said, as longest I do as I'm toldthey'd leave us alone. Yet, Arlong didn't leave her alone. Only came after her, or her friends for fun. Arlong's promising words about leaving them alone were nothing but lies.

"What now?" she demanded.

Arlong let out a deep laugh. And then tossed her an over-sized binder filled with work. There was no way she was doing everything. It's a whole semester's homework.

"I've been absent for so long that I missed a couple of assignments."

"A couple?" Nami said in disbelief. "This is more than that!" She growled when Arlong abruptly pulled her orange hair.

Zoro, Sanji, and Usopp watched in disdain, all wanted to intervene, but couldn't. Arlong had his own group that no one would dare mess with. They weren't cowards, but due to a past incident involving Nami's older sister, well, she couldn't risk her friends getting involved.

All the boys could do was look away and hope that Arlong wouldn't go to far.

"It'll take me forever to finish it!" she snapped.

Arlong cold-heartedly chuckled, and circled around her, loving the way she squirmed. "Then you better get started on it."

"Why? How long do I have to keep doing your homework?" When would it ever end? Nami let go of her backpack's strap. "I've been doing it since school started— Ah!" She screamed as Arlong fisted his hand at her hair.

"Until I say you can stop!" he roared.

Her friends snarled. And when they attempted to step forward—out of instinct—Nami gave them a warning glare. Stubborn girl.

"Maybe you can get help from that four eyes. I heard he's a genius. Maybe he can be useful." Arlong tugged harder, and Nami refrained from screaming by grinding her teeth. She wouldn't let him win.

"Leave Luffy out of this! I'll do whatever you want… Just don't hurt him," Nami begged.

She preferred taking the hit if it meant sparing Luffy. There was no way she was going to let Arlong lay a finger on him. It seemed Zoro felt the same way as his blood was boiling at the mention of his best friend. That bastard was going to get through him first if he wanted to hurt Luffy.

"Where's that nerd anyway?" He peered towards her friends, surprised that he wasn't there. Nami blew out a breath, relieved that Luffy was somewhere else—

"Nami!" Luffy's voice echoed through the hall. Zoro and Sanji both panicked, while Usopp wanted to rip his curly hair. Why was Luffy coming to them? Did he want to die young?

Arlong smirked and released Nami.

Luffy was smiling as he dashed to his friends, pushing Arlong aside and sending him falling to the floor. Everyone froze in fear. "There you guys are! I've been looking everywhere for you—What's with the horrified look? Did someone die?" Luffy turned around, glancing side to side before scratching his head. "No marines either?"

Nami was the first to respond. All the fear she had washed away. "Are you an idiot! Do you realize what you've just done?"

Luffy blinked, then tilted his head. "No," he admitted.

Sanji face-palmed himself. Zoro pulled Luffy towards him and said, "We have to get out of here!" Now was the perfect chance when the seniors were distracted.

"You…" Arlong rose from the floor—pushing away his friends that were trying to help him. He punched the locker as he growled, ready to kill someone.

Luffy stared at him. "Where did you come from?"

Arlong narrowed his eyes at the soon-to-be-dead junior.

Without thinking, Nami stood in front of Arlong and extended her arms, blocking his way. "Leave him alone! He's been hurt and—" She didn't finish as Arlong backhanded her, hard enough to send her crashing into the lockers.

Sanji cried out her name, and fuck what Nami said, he was about to interfere but one of Arlong's goons held him back. Usopp covered his eyes, tears threatening to fall. Things were going to get ugly.

Zoro gritted his teeth, then tugged Luffy so they could make a run for it—except Luffy didn't move. He forced his body to become heavy. Zoro was shocked when Luffy easily broke away from his grip.

"You hit Nami," his voice dangerously low, then he glared deadly at Arlong, "you're going to pay!"

He yelled, then bolted to Arlong, who seemed startled by the boy's determination. Luffy easily dodged one of the goons. Nami screamed. Then everybody watched in terror as Luffy jumped and raised his fist.

"No one messes with my friends!"

Everything went downhill from there.

"You're telling me… Luffy is suspended for a fight he didn't even start with?" Ace hissed. It was one thing to be called from work—on a busy day—for an emergency, but it was another thing to be called for a ridiculous reason. "Excuse my manners. But what the fuck? Luffy didn't do anything!"

Luffy was sitting down with his head bowed down. His right cheek was forming a perfectly good bruise and his knuckles were swollen and tender. Ace made a mental note to fix him up once they got home.

"Look," the principal, Smoker, said, "he got off with a warning due to his high markings in class. The others were expelled because they have had previous misbehavior in the past. Be grateful." Smoker wasn't offended by the young's man tongue; he was his previous student after all.

Luffy pouted.

Ace sighed. "Thank you. And I'm sorry for my little brother causing you trouble." He bowed to his former teacher.

Smoker glanced at Luffy before telling Ace, "He reminds me of you, you know."

Raising an eyebrow, Ace asked, "How?"

"From what I heard from the other students, he protected a friend. Something you used to do." It almost sounded like a fond memory. Then Smoker grumbled about troublesome brothers. "He's suspended for a week. Now get out of here. I have to talk to angry parents now."

Ace smiled. He didn't know why but he was happy. Hearing someone telling him that Luffy was similar to him. It was extremely rare to hear a comment like that, and Ace couldn't help but be proud of Luffy for protecting someone.

"Let's go, Luffy."

Luffy bit his lips and looked upwards. "You're not mad at me?"

"Hell no! C'mon, I'm starving," he said, smile still in place. Luffy grinned and left with Ace.

Smoker observed them with a small smile on his own, before shaking his head that his students were insane nowadays.

As they got out of the office, Luffy's eyes widened when he saw his friends. All cheering at him. "What's going—"

Nami took his breath away as she hugged them.

"You stupid idiot! Why would you do a stupid thing like that?" she cried.

Sanji's lips quirked up. He and Zoro had small bruises on their faces, not as bad as Luffy though. Usopp had a sprained hand from punching a goon that ended up hurting more himself than the other guy. When Luffy stepped in to fight, Zoro followed instantly, then Sanji—as payback because they hurt Nami. Usopp had to man up and help them, much to his fear.

"Because he hurt you," Luffy said, like it was obvious. "I'm not going to stand by and watch my friends get hurt! I don't ever want to lose anyone aga—" He stopped, remembering that Ace was alive and well. But just to make sure. He turned over to look at his older brother. Luffy sighed in relief.

Zoro frowned, wondering exactly what happened to the other Ace in Luffy's world. He'd remember to ask him later.

"Besides, I don't feel an ounce of guilt for punching that jackass." Luffy stuck out his tongue. It caused the others to burst into laughter. While it was strange to see Luffy doing silly faces, it was also refreshing to see the boy cheery. "I'm just glad nobody got hurt."

"Speak for yourself!" Usopp exclaimed. "My hand is killing me." He had dressings wrapped from his knuckles to below his right wrist.

Luffy chuckled. "But that was awesome. You sure know how to punch, Usopp!"

Usopp blushed in delight, then flexed his injured arm. "Well, I am strong! Never forget that, Luffy! I once fought a gang and they left running away." Luffy jumped up and down, pleading for Usopp to tell him the story.

"You shitty liar," Sanji scoffed. He pulled Luffy from the back of his red shirt and dragged him away from Usopp. Luffy let himself be led away, wondering what Sanji was doing. "Okay. You save my precious Nami, so for that I owe you. What do you want?"

Zoro was beside them with his arms crossed. This should be good.

Luffy didn't hesitate to answer, "Food!"

He nodded. Simple wish. "Alright. What do you want me to buy—"

"No!" Luffy shook his head, and frowned at the blond. "I want you to make it!"

Zoro muffled a laugh. Sanji cooking? Yeah, like that would ever happen—

"Deal. I know how to cook a few meals," Sanji replied, shrugging. Zoro gaped. He was hurt that he didn't know this about Sanji. They had been friends since middle school. Why was he now hearing about this?

"I know. You're a chef. Your meals are always amazing."

Oh no.

That was Zoro's cue to drag him out of the conversation. No one was supposed to know about Luffy's little fantasy, otherwise, they'd think he was going crazy. Sanji's eyebrows furrowed together, lips forming a straight line, pondering what Luffy meant.

"Ace, think you should take Luffy home," Zoro suggested. He gave Ace a pointed look and nudged his head towards Luffy.

"Right." He slung his arm around Luffy's shoulders. "Sorry, guys. Taking my little brother home." Then he ruffled his black hair, loving the way Luffy giggled every time.

"Yes, I can finally hang with Law!" He beamed. His hands up in the air.

Everyone shouted in unison: "What!"

Chapter Text

Ace had his jaw set as he drove home. Luffy, who was distracted by passing cars, didn't notice that Ace was upset. Before he left the school premises, his friends were also against him seeing Law and had tried to talk him out of it. Luckily, Luffy didn't take it seriously and assured them that everything would be fine.

"So you still remember Law?" Ace wondered.

Luffy blinked before turning to him. "That's funny. My friends said the same thing." He laughed. "We've been texting. Wait. You met him before?"

Huffing, Ace answered, "Yes," and then recalled his encounter. Catching him and Luffy making out on the couch was not a good first impression. He had wanted to murder Law when he found out that he was a college student. He was five years older than Luffy. He's too damn old.

Luffy paused, then briefly wondered if Ace and Law had met in the sea. He didn't think so. It's strange that they met in this world.

"He's grumpy but fun to know!"

Ace's knuckles turned white at the steering wheel. "You don't say," he said with a hint of sarcasm.

"Yeah. I wonder if he's still friends with the polar bear guy."

Ace said nothing.

They got home shortly. Luffy ran to the kitchen, opening the fridge and pulling out a saved plate from last night's dinner. "Are you going back to work?" he asked.

"Not at the moment. But I'll be working tonight," Ace grumbled. "My boss told me I had to make up for the hours I missed earlier."

"Sounds like a dick." Luffy slurped the spaghetti noodles.

"He is. Jeez, where did your manners go?" He grimaced at the mess Luffy was making.

Luffy shrugged. He offered some noodles to Ace but declined.

"I'm going to take a nap." He yawned. "Might as well since I'll be up all night."

"Can I go visit you?" Luffy gave him a hopeful smile.

"No," Ace said firmly, causing Luffy to pout. "Don't give me that look. That place is filled with drunks and perverts. You have no idea how many people hit on me. It's annoying. Besides, you're underage. You wouldn't be allowed inside."

He sighed. "You suck."

"I'm just watching out for you," Ace replied softly.

Suddenly, Luffy stopped eating as he felt an ache in his chest. He closed his eyes. Ace wasn't dead. He's safe and sound in front of him. So why did it feel like he was still gone? He hoped he got used to it soon.

"Luffy, you okay?"

"Yeah," and he shook his head as he lied, "just wondering what's for dinner."

Ace chuckled at that. "Always thinking about food." He stretched his arms and began to walk out of the kitchen. "I'll see you in a few hours. When are you leaving?"

"Probably in an hour."

Ace nodded. "Don't come back too late," he shouted without looking back.


Luffy was eagerly waiting for Law at a college called Flevance University. He took a bus to get there, and it wasn't as far as he thought. He was wearing an over-sized hoodie—that Ace lent him since Luffy hated the clothes in his closet―and jean shorts. It was weird wearing converse shoes; he preferred sandals still.

Perching on a bench, he eyed his surroundings. There were so many students. More than his school.

"What are you wearing?"

He snapped his head to the right. Luffy's eyes glinted with excitement. Without thinking, he jumped to embrace him. "Oh man, it's so good to see you!" He pulled away and stared at Law.

Law was the same. He even dressed similar to his counterpart. Yellow hoodie and light-blue pants, minus the black spots. His beanie reminded Luffy of Law's original hat. Only difference that he was free of tattoos. No death on his knuckles or any ink on the back of his hands.

"Where's Bepo?"

"Who's that?" Law frowned, and then checked his forehead. "You sick? Have you been getting enough sleep?"

"I'm not sick!" Luffy held his hand. "So where are we eating?" He was promised food, after all.

Law snorted. Why was he not surprised?

"Let me just put my backpack in my dorm." He led the way, never once letting go of Luffy's hand.

The younger boy gazed at their hands the whole time. He wanted to yank his hand back, but it seemed like it would be rude to do that to an ally. Therefore, he stayed put. Arriving at his dorm, a strange red-haired man flipped off Law, who in turn did the same. Why did this man look so familiar?

"Well, if it isn't nerd boy," the man said, crossing his arms.

Luffy pursed his lips, deep in thought, and bluntly said, "Do I know you?"

That seemed to crush the man's ego. "Are you fucking kidding me?" He scoffed, approaching Luffy. "You come here so many times to get fucking screw—"

"Shut the fuck up, Kid!" Law hissed, face deep red.

"Oh, I remember now! I met you at Sabaody Archipelago. You were the magnet guy," Luffy exclaimed. "Still think that's a strange power."

Kid stared at Luffy like he had grown two heads. "Are you on fucking drugs? Or did your brain get fried?"

"Leave him alone. He's probably tired from studying," Law defended. He placed his backpack on his twin bed. "Come here, Luffy." He patted the space next to him.

"Uh, sure." Luffy was beginning to feel uncomfortable. There was a weird atmosphere in the room. "I thought we were going to grab a bite?"

"In a minute," Law said, smiling so sweetly that it was a bit unnerving. Then he glared at his roommate. "Get the fuck out, Kid. Can't you see you're not welcome here." Kid stormed out, slamming the door shut. Law went back to smiling, in delight.

"What's going on here?"

"Whatever you want it to be." He patted again, never once changing his expression.

Okay, that didn't sound too bad. Luffy sank on the bed. "This is nice—"

"What happened to your face?" Law tilted his chin, examining his soft purple skin. As he got a closer look, he also spotted his cut-turned-scar from the accident. "Luffy, explain now." He softly touched his bruise.

"Oh, that. I got in a fight today," he said nonchalantly. He moved away from Law's touches—he wasn't used to the surgeon being this friendly. That was Luffy's job.

"What? You?" Law locked gaze with him, then proceeded to hold his face again.

"Yes, me. This asshole was picking on my friend, and I didn't like it. So I beat the crap out of him. I... ended up being suspended for a week." Luffy grimaced. He didn't know what that meant until Ace explained it to him. No school for a week? Luffy loved it!

"What about your classes?" Law argued. "This will affect your grades!" How was Luffy not panicking?

"I don't really care."

Law let go of him. The room went dead silent. He couldn't help but ask, "Are you doing drugs?" His boyfriend was acting unlike his usual self. He would have been conversing about studies and college plans—he wanted to get in the same college as Law—then be stripping off his clothes to get right into action. Although, the boy in front of him didn't show any indication that he wanted sex.

"I don't know what drugs are. Is that a type of food?" Luffy pondered if it tasted good. He should try some.

Suddenly Law laughed, like it was the funniest thing he had ever heard. Of course Luffy was fucking with Law. "That's a good one. You almost had me, Luffy."

Had him in what? Then Law leaned down to kiss Luffy—but a sudden hand pushed him from across his chest. "What are you doing?" Luffy asked, a mad blush forming on his cheeks.

"Kissing my boyfriend," Law said simply.

Luffy climbed to his feet. "You're not my boyfriend! Just because we're allies doesn't mean you can get away with this." He ducked away from him, only for a hand to grab his.

"What on earth are you talking about? Allies?" Law raised his eyebrow and pulled Luffy in front of him. "Did you hit your head or something?" He hovered over him, inspecting his head and eyes. "You're not acting like yourself."

He debated in telling Law the truth; he was warned by Ace not to speak about his fake life. Well, a bit of truth wouldn't hurt. "Yeah. I was in an accident." As longest he didn't go into detail, it was fine. At least try not to. "I don't remember how though."

Law scowled, rising up. "Why didn't anyone tell me?" That explained the scar under his eye. It's too fresh.

"How should I know?" He shrugged. "My mind is fuzzy. I know you're Law... but not the one I know. Do you do ROOM?"

"ROOM? What the fuck is that?"

Luffy sighed, exhausted. "I'm tired of everyone asking me questions but no one wants to hear anything." The only one who heard his story was Zoro, but even then he seemed skeptical. He stretched his limbs and sat on the floor so he could lean against the wall and the edge of the bed. "It gets annoying..."

"You can tell me," Law whispered as he crouched down right in front of Luffy. Sure, it may not be his boyfriend, yet it didn't deter Law from comforting him. Also, because his medical side was to help people.

"You'll think I'm crazy. Ace and Zoro think so." A frown made its way to his lips. "And I'm not. I'm scared, Law," Luffy confessed. He raised his knees to hug them, resting his head on his forearms. He didn't know why he was telling Law this but it felt good to let it out.

It ached Law to hear him in a voice of despair. He sounded like a scared child, lost from his family.

Zoro knows, Law thought bitterly. That bastard!

He knew Luffy's friends weren't fond of him, but he at least expected them to notify him about his accident. He loved Luffy. Now Law felt like shit for not being there for him. He should've been looking for him in those three weeks he hadn't heard from him. But Law assumed Luffy had been busy with school and gave him some space.

Calming down—right now wasn't the time to be fuming— Luffy needed him. Law flopped down next to him, shoulders bumping each other. Luffy craned his neck towards him, and Law nearly growled upon seeing Luffy close to tears.

"I won't," Law promised. "You can talk to me." He put his arm over his shoulder and tightened it. "I won't think any less of you."

And Luffy spilled everything: the made up world in his head. All the adventures that he had done. Law listened carefully. He wore a solemn expression the entire time. Although, as he heard his name fall out of Luffy's lips, well, his mouth turned into a tiny smile. Apparently, he was a strong pirate in his boyfriend's mind. He'd be lying if he said he wasn't impressed.

Luffy finished with a big, wide grin. "What do you think?" Then his grin slowly faded and said, "Still think I'm sane."

Law licked his lips, thinking long and hard. "I think... you're Luffy. The guy I still like." He had a million more questions to ask but decided now wasn't the time. Instead he kissed his forehead and ran his fingers through his hair.

"It's funny," Luffy started, "in the other world you didn't like me much." The other Law would roll his eyes and shake his head in disapproval in Luffy's shenanigans.

"Then, that me was a dumbass. Surgeon of death?" He clicked his tongue. "How shameful."

Luffy groaned. "Ace is going to be pissed I told you."

"Let him be." There wasn't a time when Ace was not angry at him. Law could deal with it.

"So... let me get this straight," Luffy started, "we're together in this world?"

Law intertwined their fingers together and raised their joined hands. "Yes. Have been for five months."

"Wow. I don't know what to say. Is it okay if I think this is weird? Because it is." His eyes wouldn't leave their hands. He was both astonished and in awe.

"It's only fair." Law kissed his knuckles, making Luffy let out a small gasp. Smirking, Law said, "It's going to be fun seeing you blush a lot." He caught sight of Luffy's red cheeks. It was a new reaction he had never seen before. An important one that Law would gladly take advantage of.

Chapter Text

He was with his friends at the mall. Apparently, they hung on Saturdays there; it was tradition, according to Nami. Luffy had just laughed and said okay. He'd never been to a mall. Turned out he liked it a lot. The smell of food hit his nostrils as soon as he entered the building.

"Law is pretty awesome!" Luffy said when Nami asked him about the older boy.

Nami seemed like she wanted to disagree. "Did he tell you anything?"

"He said he missed me. We spent the day in his dorm. He's funnier than the other Law," he murmured the last part. "I get along well with him. Have you met him?" Here, was in the tip of his tongue.

She hesitated, then answered, "Yes..."

Luffy stopped. "What's wrong? You don't like him?"

"No!" she uttered out. "He's just different."

"So am I," Luffy claimed. Then he smiled at her, "I think you should get to know him more," he said. Nami and Sanji glanced at each other. Usopp and his girlfriend, Kaya, were holding hands and chattering about the stores, yet, were still listening to Luffy's conversation as Usopp turned to him.

"Is that a good idea?" he inquired.

"Why not?"

"You've never offered before..." Usopp trailed off.

Luffy huffed, annoyed. "Let's get one thing straight here. I'm not the other—" Zoro came at the time to cover his mouth. Okay, that's seriously starting to get on his nerves, so he licked his hand.

"Gross! Luffy!" Zoro growled. He wiped his hand on Luffy's shirt.

"Well, stop doing that!" Luffy glared at him. Zoro had done that on multiple occasions. He still didn't understand why.

"Where have you been?" Nami hissed. "We've been waiting half an hour for you. Did you get lost again?"

"I didn't!" Zoro exclaimed. "It's just the damn streets look alike."

"Whatever. Now that we're all here… What do we do?" Sanji asked, changing the subject, otherwise they would be arguing nonstop.

They all decided to go watch a movie. Kaya picked a comedy movie, much to the boys' joy. As they were finding seats, something dawned to Zoro as he sat next to Luffy. He and Luffy were the only ones not together.

Usopp and Kaya were an item. He knew Sanji was close to getting Nami's heart. It just left him and Luffy, dateless. Zoro still had no clue if Luffy and Law were a thing. Well, now everything seemed awkward as fuck, even more that Luffy was probably with Law. Zoro was bitter throughout the movie.

"That movie was hilarious," Luffy said once they were out of the theaters.

"Right! Did you see the part where the guy disguised himself as a trash can? I'm actually a bin, sir," he mimicked the character. Luffy leaned down as a burst of giggles came out.

Sanji rolled his eyes. "Oh, you two. It wasn't that funny."

"I thought it was funny," Nami said.

"I completely agree with you, Nami dear!" His mouth curved up.

Zoro chuckled at that. Sanji would do anything for her. How stupid. He would never do such a thing like—

"Hey, Zoro, I dare to jump and touch the sign!" Luffy pointed to a hanging sign up ahead. It was rather high. But nothing Zoro couldn't handle.

"Okay," he easily answered. As he leaped and tapped the sign, he immediately groaned as he realized he did the same thing he was making fun of Sanji for. What a dumbass! Although, seeing Luffy's beaming smile made it all worth it.

They walked down the mall court, heading to taco restaurant. Luffy's mouth watered at the huge burritos. He could eat tons of those! His friends rolled their eyes as Luffy took a seat on a bench outside the place, under the umbrella.

"I'll order us some food," Usopp offered. It seemed like he already knew what the others wanted since he didn't ask.

Luffy's phone vibrated through his pocket. His eyes brightened when Law messaged him.

Law: Homework has me tired. And my fucking roommate won't shut the fuck up. I swear, I'm going to lock him out of the room.

He chuckled. Kid could be a bit irritating. Luffy had wanted to punch him when he called Luffy a baby.

Luffy: What's he talking about now?

Law: Some stupid party. Wants me to go. I told him that I have an upcoming test I need to focus on. He's being a bitch about it.

"Luffy!" Nami snapped him out of it. "I'm talking to you."

He blinked. "Sorry. I was texting Law," Luffy said, sheepishly.

"You can text him later. Right now you're here with us," she reminded him. Luffy nodded and put his phone away. He didn't know why but he got the feeling like they were trying to distract him. From what though?

Usopp came back with a tray of food. Luffy gasped and then made grabby hands at the burrito.

"Whoa, calm down," Sanji said, giving him his part. "It's like you've never eaten one of these."

He hadn't.

Everyone started chatting about what they had done on Friday. Simple conversation. It didn't take long for Luffy to talk about his time with Law. He didn't notice that Nami, Usopp, and Sanji flinched at the name, or saw the way Zoro stabbed his burrito with his fork, aggressively.

"Ace let you go?" Sanji asked.

"Yeah. I came back the time he wanted me back. He was impressed that I obeyed him easily," he replied, grinning. "Which is stupid. I always listen to my big brother—Well, unless he's in trouble then I don't."

Usopp muttered, "Isn't that a miracle—Ow!" Nami stepped on his foot from under the table.

"That reminds me. I want Ace to get to know Law too." It was only fair. "They might get along well!"

Sanji turned to Zoro, who was bending the metal fork with his thumb. He hadn't talked since they began eating. It's like he wasn't mentally there, at all. He knew the reason why Zoro was quiet, and it made him feel sympathy for him—not that he'd ever admit it.

"How about we talk about something else?" Nami's lips formed into a strained smile. She could practically feel Zoro's anger reaching a limit.

"Wait! I forgot to tell you guys that me and Law played this cool game and—"

Zoro abruptly slammed his hands on the table, making everybody freeze. "I'm leaving," he said in a huff. He left the group without even saying bye.

Luffy frowned. "Did I say something wrong?" His frown deepened when the others looked elsewhere but him, as if they knew why Zoro was upset. He clumsily got out of the bench and ran off to find Zoro.

"Zoro—Where did he go?" Crowds kept passing by Luffy, making it harder to find him. He grinned when he saw green hair not too far. As he rushed to catch up to him, a foot got in his way, prompting him to stumble down. "Hey!"

He narrowed his eyes at the culprit.

"Funny seeing you here," Arlong said, smirking.

Why now? Luffy didn't have time for this. He had to catch up to his best friend. "Can I kick your ass later? I'm kinda in a hurry." Luffy climbed to his feet. He peered in front of him, but to his horror, Zoro was nowhere to be seen. "No! He's gone!" Luffy ditched Arlong without caring.

"Get back here, you asshole!" Arlong chased after him. "You're going to pay for what you've done!"

"Why are you following me?" Luffy shouted, glancing over his shoulder. "Are you stalking me—Wait, are we racing?" He went to speed up faster. "I'm so beating you then!"

Arlong's eyes widened at the junior's words. Was he insane? He was beginning to regret approaching him.

Luffy took a sharp turn before a hand grabbed his elbow and pulled him against the wall. He smiled upon seeing Zoro. They hid behind a potted plant. Zoro made a gesture to be quiet with his fingers. They both watched Arlong swirling his head back and forth, then cussed, leaving to the opposite side.

Zoro sighed in relief. Then he released his hold on Luffy.

"Why do you go looking for trouble?" he grumbled.

"Hey, that's not true! Trouble finds me!" Luffy giggled, then frowned as Zoro walked away. "Hold on! Why are you mad? Did I do something to upset you?"

Zoro ignored him, but Luffy persisted.

"Is this about Law?" Contrary to belief, Luffy wasn't stupid. He was very observant when it came to his friends. "Every time I talk about him you make a sour face." He knew he had been right when Zoro halted.

"I don't like him," Zoro admitted.


"I just don't, okay?" His face turned mildly red, and it wasn't from embarrassment. Luffy decided to drop the topic in fear of pissing off Zoro more than he already was.

Strange, though. Law and Zoro got along in the other life. They drank booze together and teased the other when something bad happened involving their abilities. Luffy was disappointed that it wasn't the case here.

"It's fine. But you should've told me. I wouldn't be talking about him as much," Luffy stated, his index finger scratching his cheek, guilty.

Zoro shrugged. "Doesn't matter. He's your boyfriend anyway."

"I know... but I'm not used to it," he confessed. "If you, or the others, have a problem with Law, I can always tell him I don't want to be with him." It hurt the thought that his friends didn't like him. Law was a good guy. He welcomed Luffy with love and support from the very start.

God. Zoro wanted to agree so badly. Yet, that'd be a real shitty move. He didn't want to be those people that forced their friends to break up with someone—just because they didn't like the person. Fuck.

"No. Don't do that," he forced himself to say through gritted teeth. "He... makes you happy." That took a lot of effort on Zoro's part.

With widen eyes, Luffy gave a relieved smile.

"That's really good to hear. I never had time for relationships from where I'm from. Well, didn't really care for it." Luffy was glad he could be honest with Zoro. "Mainly focus on getting stronger to be a great pirate like Gold. D. Roger!"

Ace's father.

That brought Zoro's attention, then he remembered a question. "I wanted to ask you," Zoro started, heading towards him. "Why do you look at Ace like he came back from the dead?" It had been in his mind ever since the hospital, the way Luffy cried upon seeing Ace set foot in the room.

Something inside Luffy shattered. His eyes shut for a moment, then opened them. "Because he did to me," his voice cracked. "He died in front of me." Ace's last words still haunted Luffy in his mind: And you, Luffy... Even though... I'm so worthless... Even though... I carry the blood of a demon... Thank you... For loving me!

"And I couldn't do a thing about it! I was weak," Luffy cried. He locked gaze with Zoro. "I see Ace, and all I could think about is my other brother. Who's dead. How I failed him!" The younger boy wasn't aware he was crying until he wiped his face. "I know I should be happy that I have Ace, but it isn't him—" Luffy suddenly let out an empty laugh. "You probably think I'm stupid and—"

Zoro pushed him towards him in a strong embrace.

Luffy merely clutched onto his shoulders and sobbed. Finally letting out what he had been holding in; what was bothering him to his core. "I want to talk to Ace about it but he won't listen to me. He just pretends that my other life is my imagination that I created. It's not! It's real." His hands trembled. "It's real," he said, brokenly. A wave of drowsiness hit Luffy.

"Shhh," Zoro whispered. He ran his hand in Luffy's hair, calming him. "How long have you been feeling like this?" More importantly, why hadn't he noticed?

"A while." Luffy heard Zoro's voice, but he wasn't listening anymore. Instead he focused the fingers caressing his head. He was relieved that out of everybody to be the same, it's Zoro. "I'm scared that I'll wake up from this dream... and Ace is still gone. I don't want to go back knowing that I have him here. He was my only family."

Zoro didn't know how to help Luffy. He seriously needed to go to a therapist or counselor. Whatever was going on in his head was false, but Luffy had trouble knowing the difference.

He feared that sooner or later Luffy would only get worse.

Chapter Text

Luffy closed his locker, whistling a catchy tune he heard on the radio. He only managed to take a single step when he bumped into someone.

"Oh sorry—Smoky!" he exclaimed.

"Once again, it's Principal Smoker." He glared at the younger boy, something that should intimidate every student. Although, it didn't work on Luffy. When Smoker had heard about his condition from Ace, he couldn't believe it. The change within Luffy was so drastic that it made the principal feel like he was from another alternative universe.

Luffy gave him a small salute. "Okay, Smoky."

He missed the damn point.

Sighing, Smoker decided to let it go. "I need to speak with you. Come to my office."

"But it's almost lunch time—" Smoker's jaw clenched. "—I guess I can be late." Luffy chuckled nervously, following the older man.

He told Luffy to take a seat. Smoker opened a drawer and grabbed a handful of papers.

"Your teachers came forward to me, raising questions about your grades. They've been disappointed that their straight-A student is failing—"

"Hey, I'm not failing! I've been getting C's and D's!" Luffy argued, crossing his arms.

"Regardless, that's still a low grade." He dumped the papers on his desk. Luffy peered at the graded assignments. Some were his, and the other half was his other. "I'm not trying to put you down, Luffy, what I'm saying is that if you keep these grades up… you will repeat junior year."

Luffy gulped. He didn't want to repeat. He picked up a science test marked with a D.

"What should I do? I don't want to fail!" I won't be with my friends.

Smoker leaned against the desk, debating. "I suggest you get a tutor."

"But my friends tried that already," Luffy whined.

Smoker snorted. "Are you aware that you had tutored most of them? They wouldn't be able to teach you if they had trouble themselves." Tutoring a previous genius was rather difficult. "What you need is someone above. Maybe someone from college."

Luffy's eyes widened as he grinned. "I know who to ask! I can ask Law! He's real smart."

"There you go." Smoker went to sit down. He gathered the assignments and neatly fixed them. "You need to pass if you want to graduate this year. You still have a chance to improve," he added.

Luffy frowned. "What? I don't graduate until next year." He knew how the school system worked—thanks to Nami.

Smoker gazed at the junior. "Wow. You really did forget everything," he muttered. A part of him believed that Ace was being dramatic. "You applied to finish earlier than other students. Last year you requested permission to do so."

"Why would I do that?" Finish school earlier? And leave his friends behind? Luffy would never do such a thing.

"Well, if I distinctly remember correctly, you said you wanted to attend university. You've even applied and been accepted to a few of them. Good colleges."

Luffy's head was spinning. He still couldn't process that graduating early part. "I don't want to graduate!" he shouted, panicking. "Take me off the list!" What the hell was the other him thinking? He was stupid. Why would he leave caring friends?

Smoker seemed to be taken aback. "Why do you want to do that? You worked hard."

"I don't care," he said with a snarl. "I have so much going on here." His hands balled into fists. "Please take me off the list, or whatever it is."

Smoker paused, watching the way Luffy fidget on the seat. "How about you think on it? If you still want to attend the following year, you can." The reason Smoker was giving him more time was because he worked damn hard to be where he was. Sadly, his condition was affecting his decision.

Luffy nodded, then was dismissed.

In class, Luffy had been looking out the window. His conversation with Smoker lingered in his mind.

"What's wrong?" Sanji asked, turning around to face him. He sat in front of Luffy; something that made him happy. Sanji was the only one he knew in algebra class. "Something on your mind?"

Luffy tapped his fingers on the desk. "Have I ever talked about my future? What I want to do?"

"Sometimes. You wanted to be a lawyer. I think."

"Sounds boring."

Sanji shrugged. "Why are you asking?"

"The principal talked to me," Luffy said, lips shifting into a frown, "he said that I applied to graduate this year. Did you know anything about that?" He folded his arms and rested his chin on them.

Sanji was shocked by the sudden news. His eyebrows furrowed and he shook his head. "No. I didn't." He was feeling both hurt and disappointed. Weren't they close friends? It didn't seem like it.

"Doesn't matter because I'm not doing it." Luffy scoffed. "The other me was an idiot!"

"What other you?" He raised his blond eyebrow.

"Erm—I mean," Luffy stammered. "It's nothing! Forget I said anything." He let out awkward chuckles that made Sanji cringe. Luffy had always been a terrible liar. That had never changed.

"Does it happen to be because of your injury?" he wondered.

Luffy's lips curled, almost pursing them. "Maybe..." Then the school bang rang. Luffy grabbed his backpack and rushed out the door, shouting, "Later, Sanji!"

Sanji didn't have a chance to answer as Luffy was already gone. He knew Luffy couldn't remember anything, but it was like he was hiding something. Sanji didn't mind if Luffy was different―he actually liked his new attitude—but the things he said, well, it was weird.

"The other me?" Sanji mused. Either way, he was going to get to the bottom of this. But first thing first, he had to tell the others about the news Luffy had told him.

"Are you serious?" Nami gasped.

Sanji nodded. He was leaning against the brick wall. School had been over. Sanji usually rushed to his job but today was his day off, therefore he had stayed to wait for Nami and Zoro. They both were in after school activities. Nami was in art club, while Zoro was in weightlifting club.

"I didn't know..."

"Neither did I."

"What are you guys talking about?" Zoro questioned as he approached them. The upper part of his white shirt was covered with sweat and he had a towel around his neck. He rubbed his face with the towel.

"Did you know Luffy was going to graduate this year?" Nami faced him.

Zoro narrowed his eyes and said, "No. It's next year."

Sanji snorted. "Wrong. Luffy just found out that he applied to graduate this year." He told Zoro the rest of the conversation he had with Luffy. He actually wanted to mock him due to the various expressions he was making, but Sanji knew now wasn't the time.

"I can't believe it. He never told me anything," Zoro hissed. He felt betrayed that his best friend never told him about his future plans. They had promised to share everything—which was a lie. It was pointless to confront Luffy, he had no idea. It wasn't his fault.

"But hey, at least he's not going to do it anymore," Sanji added.

Zoro stared at him, trying to keep a straight face. "He's not?"

"No," then Sanji smirked, "so you can be happy again. Otherwise, your face will stay like that." They ended up arguing, prompting Nami to sigh.

Luffy had asked Law if he could tutor him. His boyfriend agreed. So every day after school, he headed to the university and listened to Law. It was hard for Luffy—Law was kind of boring to listen to. It was like when the heart captain talked to Luffy about his alliance and plans, which he had never paid attention.

It fucking sucked. But Luffy really needed to pass if he wanted to become a senior with his friends. Kid also began to make fun of Luffy for needing help with classes, and this time Law had locked him out of the room.

Usually, Law would see the new assignments and explain to Luffy how to work them out. Although, today he had homework on his own, so he briefly showed Luffy what to do, then went to his desk. Luffy tried not to disturb him. Besides, he could do it. As he stared at the problem, his mind went blank.

Law was studying, working on clinical medicine; it wasn't hard but a lot of information to memorize. Luffy had been on his usual spot, the bed, focusing on his algebra homework. He had his pencil in his mouth, biting the eraser in frustration.

Twenty minutes had passed and he was still at the first problem. "I don't get this!" Luffy huffed. He tossed the notebook to the side.

"Really? You're good at math." That was the wrong thing to say.

"Well, now I'm not!" He glared at his homework, as if it's public enemy number one. "I don't like homework." Luffy sighed and averted Law's swift gaze. "I bet you're disappointed that you're dating a dumbass."

Law frowned, then put his pen down. He swirled the chair around so he could get a good look at his pouting boyfriend. "Hey," he called, "enough talking like that. I don't care if you're smart or dumb."


"I'll admit. Yeah, I fell for your intelligence—"

Luffy closed his eyes, hating to hear what would follow.

"—but I'm also falling for your carefree attitude."

His breath hitched as he opened his eyes, shocked, and it shouldn't matter… It shouldn't. And yet to Luffy, it was the most truthful thing he had heard since waking up from the hospital.

Luffy grasped the sheet from below him. His heart, for the first time, hammering through his chest. He smiled, finally feeling like himself.

"I really like you, Law," Luffy expressed. "Better than the other one!" He shut his eyes and dropped back to the bed, head resting comfortably on pillow. He felt relieved that there was someone who could like him for how he was now.

Luffy hummed, content. There was a comfortable silence, and Luffy assumed Law went back to doing his homework. However, he snapped his eyes open when the bed dipped and saw that Law was hovering over him.

"L-Law?" He blushed. Law was extremely close to his face.

"You know, I try to be patient…" he trailed off, cupping Luffy's cheek, "but when you go on proclaiming you like me, well, it runs out." He leaned towards his lips, but forced himself to stop. He scowled before letting out a sigh, instead he rested his forehead on his boyfriend's chest. "Shit. I'm a bad person."

Luffy pursed his lips, feeling guilty for making Law feel awful. He didn't deserve it. He was the only one trying to understand him. Ace tried, but it wasn't enough. Luffy would notice his brother getting irritated whenever he brought up about piracy.

It wasn't fair to Law.

"No, I am." He shifted his body in order to sit upright, prompting Law to do the same. Taking a deep breath, Luffy uttered out, "I can do it." He hastily grabbed Law by his hoodie's collar and pulled him forward.

Law gasped on the sudden action, expecting Luffy to kiss him on his lips, but not on his cheek. He stilled. The gesture sweet and innocent. Different even.

Luffy let go and Law blinked as he saw his face bright, crimson red. It was as if this was his first kiss—if one would call it a real kiss.

"See! I did it," he said proudly, with a hint of nervousness in his tone.

Smirking, Law shook his head—because this Luffy was full of surprises, and he loved it— then he intertwined their hands together. Luffy didn't seem to mind, though. He was thrilled that he did something to make Law happy.

"I promise you. I'll always be by your side," Law vowed. He kissed his knuckles and squeezed his hand. "You can be whoever you are and I'll still love you."

Luffy's ears and neck were the same color like his cheeks now.

"Would you be jealous if I told you I had a mild crush on the other you?" He hadn't told anybody. Not even his first crewmate. Luffy kept it to himself in fear that someone would hurt the heart captain.

"Oh?" Law grinned in amusement. "Is that so?"

Luffy nodded. "You saved my life. I know it isn't real… but it feels real." He glanced at their locked hands. "The other world—My fantasy," he grumbled, still bitter about it being called such a word. "It happened and the memories are so vivid."

"How did I save you?" Law lay on his side, getting comfy while never once breaking his hold—or looking away—from Luffy. He was genuinely interested in hearing the story. It was not about indulging him but rather seeing from his perspective.

"You operated on me." He laughed. "You were a doctor, after all." He rested on the pillow and gazed at the ceiling.

"What was your wound?"

"Two slashes across my chest. Like the letter X. An admiral gave it to me—What's with that face? I survived!" Luffy caught a glimpse of Law gaping in horror.

"Shit. It must've hurt."

Shrugging, Luffy continued, "Don't know. I was unconscious the whole time. You said I was close to being in a comatose state and that's why I couldn't feel anything."

Now that piqued Law's interest. He couldn't comprehend how this was all made up, because some were accurate information. Law needed to do research. Maybe there was something else deep in Luffy's mind that's causing this. What if all the characters represented something or have a meaning?

Law hummed.

"Oh yeah. I wanted to ask you... did you by any chance know about me graduating this year."

"Yes. That has been your plan," Law said, "you also wanted to enroll into this college. You told me awhile back."

"And I didn't tell anyone? Ace? My friends?"

He paused. "You didn't want to tell them until the very end."

"Don't you mean when I've already packed my shit," Luffy retorted.

Law scowled at the comment. "Why are you asking this anyway?"

Luffy bit his lips. "Because I'm not doing that anymore," he confessed. Suddenly Law let go of his hand and glanced at him with a disbelief expression. Luffy tried to explain, "I don't want to graduate. I still want to be in school and enjoy my time with my friends—"

"You didn't want that before!"

That made Luffy's stomach drop.

Getting off the bed, Luffy snatched his belongings, stuffing everything in his backpack. "I wish you would stop comparing to the other me! I don't want anything he wanted! I'm not him!" Luffy fumed. While Law had accepted the new him, he didn't fail to see the little details Law would bring up.

"Luffy, wait." Law rose.

"I have to go." He darted out the room. Many thoughts ran through his head. He wants the other guy, not me. What if he accepted me because he believes the other Luffy would come back? What if he's just waiting for him? Does he even love me for me? Luffy didn't know what to think. He thought he finally found someone that didn't care about his past. Did Law even believe him about his other life? Or was everything just a lie?

Was his love confession even true?

Law was different, or so Luffy thought.

In the end, he was still alone.

Chapter Text

Luffy grinned nonstop while he walked down the mall. It was the one place he didn't mind being all day, but the only problem was that Ace didn't give him much money to spend. They were on budget and couldn't afford to waste on unnecessary items.

"You look happy," Zoro noted.

"I am! Thanks for coming with me. It's a shame Nami couldn't come."

Oh, Zoro knew why she didn't come. She planned this whole thing. She had made plans to meet them on the mall on Saturday so she could shop—her idea, except she bailed out on the last minute when he and Luffy were currently in the mall court.

"I bet she's sad about it too," he grumbled, "that witch."

"What do you want to do?"

"We can watch a movie. There's a new horror movie that came out today," Zoro suggested.

Zoro bought the tickets once they arrived at the theaters. Luffy gawked at the concession stand. They had a cotton candy and slush machine on the counter. He turned to Zoro, giving him a pleading smile. Zoro looked at him, then at the stand, then back at Luffy.

"Fine, fine. Stop giving me that look." He pulled his wallet from his back pocket. "What do you want?"

He shouldn't have asked. By the time they were getting in line for the movie, Luffy was holding a popcorn bucket and jumbo slush and two packs of candy. Zoro had also been holding his blue cotton candy and pretzel. Everything for Luffy.

"Thanks, Zoro!" Luffy's lips were bright red from the slush.

Zoro took that as a win. They sat in the high rows.

Ring! Ring!

"Whoops. I forgot to turn it off."

Luffy reached for his phone. He thought it was his brother, but no, it was Law. Again. It's been three days since he had seen the older man. Luffy didn't even text him. He only read the countless messages Law had sent.

As he rejected the call, a message appeared.

Law: Please talk to me. I want to fix this, give me a chance to.

All the previous messages were similar: about apologizing and explaining everything and that he loved him no matter what. Luffy's had heart ached when he remembered the first message Law sent that same day: I don't care if you never get your memories back. I just want you to be happy. Everything you ever told me, I believed you. I never once thought there was something wrong with you.

But now, Luffy felt like Law did want the other boy back. He implied it when he was against not graduating. So he hadn't contacted him.

"Here's your snacks," Zoro said, passing him the sweets.

Luffy smiled and put his phone away. He didn't want to think about Law at the moment.

After the movie finished, they started heading out. The sun was already going down; it felt like the days were going by faster.

"You want to spend the night in my place?" Zoro asked.

"That sounds fun! We can play games and even tell scary stories!"

"We're not ten-year-olds."

Luffy pouted. "I still want to do that."

"We can," he said, "I'm just giving you a hard time." Zoro snickered as Luffy glared at him, playfully. Truthfully, he'd been wanting to ask him for a long time. Luffy hadn't spent the night at his home in over a year.

"Zoroo," Luffy whined.

"Ask your brother so he doesn't kill me in the middle of the night."

Luffy nodded and then called Ace, while sitting on a stone bench outside the mall. "Hey, Ace! Can I spend the night with Zoro?" He frowned. "Why would I be lying to you?"

Zoro stood beside him, watching the pinkish sky. He didn't want to eavesdrop but it was hard when he knew why Ace was questioning Luffy.

"I'm not going to sneak out and meet Law!" Luffy snapped. "That wasn't me, okay—Ace, Ace! Stop yelling at me! Look, Zoro is right here. Honest. You want to ask him yourself? Zoro, talk to him!"

The phone was directly near his face.

Zoro cleared his throat and held the phone on his ear. "Yeah, I'm here. He's not lying... I'm not covering up for him, I swear. Uh-huh." He paused. "What time? Noon? No problem." He handed back the phone to him.

"See! Wasn't lying—Yes, I'll text you!" He hung up once he was done. "Why was he being so demanding?"

The old you made him have trust issues, Zoro thought. "He just cares a lot about you," he said instead, then added, "and he's picking you up at noon."

Luffy huffed but said nothing else.

Spending the night with Zoro was fun. They played video games and watched more movies. It was strange that Zoro had parents, though—then again, everything was altered. They instantly enjoyed Luffy's newfound attitude. Zoro had groaned when they began to talk about them as kids, causing him to push Luffy into his room.

Zoro lent him pajamas, then pulled out a sleeping bag from under his bed.

"You can take the bed. I'll sleep on the floor."


"Because you're the guest," Zoro said.

"No, I mean," Luffy started, "why not sleep on the bed with me? It's big enough." He shrugged. It wasn't a big deal to him.

Zoro didn't look at him, instead focusing on his task on fixing the sleeping bag. "Don't you think it's weird?" His eyes were narrowed.

"Why would it be? We slept on hammocks on the ship. Sometimes we would even sleep near or on each other!" Luffy laughed as he changed into Zoro's pajamas. They were a size bigger than him and the same color as his green hair.

Zoro finally spared him a glance, lips curling downwards. "That sounds..." So wrong.

"Awesome, right!"

Shaking his head, he snatched an extra pillow from his bed. "I'm good with the floor." He couldn't risk the chance of sleeping beside Luffy. Zoro was terrified of saying something stupid in his sleep—or even holding him. He was not risking in, not when Luffy was with Law.

"If you say so."

They talked for hours in the dim room. Luffy told him stories about fights and their bounties—which took Zoro a moment to realize he was talking about his other life. Zoro paid attention to every detail and asked questions whenever he was curious.

"Hey, Luffy," Zoro had called when he was finished.

"Hmm?" he mumbled, sleepily.

"Do you hate me?"

Luffy frowned. "Why would I hate you? You're my best friend."

Zoro didn't reply, and it made Luffy want to peer down, but stopped when he heard soft snores. Luffy shrugged and shut his eyes. Once he was asleep, Zoro sat up and stared at him. He scratched his nape, feeling a knot in his stomach. It was a stupid thing to ask. Luffy didn't remember anything.

Still, he had trouble sleeping that night.

The next day Luffy beamed as he read a text from Ace: I'll give you extra five hours. I'm too tired to get up and drive. Work must've taken a toll on him. He showed the message to Zoro, who looked just as excited as he did.

Sunday was a blast.

Ace had been on the phone for an hour. Luffy blinked as his brother went on and on about a confab-ation? or something like that. It was hard to pronounce the word.

He chewed on his cereals.

"Really! That's great. Thank you," Ace said, smiling. "I know this may be a strange case but I really need your help."

As Luffy dug deeper into his bowl with his spoon, he realized he was already out of cereals, only milk. He needed more. Reaching for fruit loops, Ace yanked the box from him with a glare. He covered the phone's speaker, then hissed, "You already had two bowls! No more."

Luffy pouted, yet it didn't work on him.

"This shit is sweet as it is. You can have more on another day— Yes, I'm still here!" Ace went back into his conversation. "When can we meet? I see... Yes. Uh-huh." He put the phone on his shirt to speak to Luffy, quickly, "Don't forget to drink your milk," before going back to the call.

Luffy was amazed Ace could multi-task.

Nevertheless, he gulped down the sugary milk. It was his favorite part.

He still avoided Law's calls and texts for a couple of days. Quite childish of him. So it was a surprise to find Law in front of the school waiting for him, with a scowl. Wasn't he supposed to be in class?

Usopp was with Luffy, babbling about his inventions, then he was gone when Law gave him a silent message that meant give us alone time.

"What are you doing here?" Luffy scoffed.

Law snorted. His hands were in his pocket as he raised an eyebrow. "You're hard to get in contact with," he replied coolly.

"It's the new me," he stated, growling. "If you don't like it, just say so. You can go back where you came from."

Law didn't answer, merely observing Luffy with an unreadable expression. Then he shocked Luffy by turning around. That was it? Luffy blinked, thinking that maybe both Laws weren't so different after all.

"Come with me and I'll buy you whatever you want to eat," Law said suddenly.

Luffy's jaw dropped. Whatever he wanted! He ran to follow Law.

Well, that was easy.

Law drove them to an empty parking lot. He turned off the ignition and then stared ahead, absentmindedly. Luffy remained quiet, wondering if he was thinking about plans or something, because he would do the same exact expression on Sunny.

He let out a sigh as he leaned back to his seat, head turned slightly towards Luffy.

"That was the first time I ever went to get you," Law said softly.

"Thank... you?" Luffy mused.

"No, you don't understand I promised myself that I wouldn't do that."

"How come?"

"I don't know. The old you didn't want to for some reason," Law closed his eyes so he wouldn't see Luffy frowning, "and I think you were right. A part of me did want you to have your memories back."


"But here's the thing about love. It doesn't matter." His eyes fluttered open as he lips turned into a small smile.

That made Luffy blushed. He swiftly stared ahead to the windshield. "You don't know what you're talking about," he murmured.

Law straightened himself. "Maybe, maybe not. But I've been going on about this the wrong way." He reached for his hand, and Luffy didn't hesitate to hold it. "Let's start over. Luffy, would you go out with me?"

"W-What?" He snapped his head towards him. "B-But... we've been dating for months now, haven't we?"

"Yes and no. Technically, I haven't been dating you. I want to change that."

Luffy's heart did a weird flip.

"I also want to meet your friends, even fucking Ace," Law added. "If they mean a lot to you, then they mean a lot to me too."

Luffy pulled him forward to embrace Law. He was filled with happiness. This made Luffy a hundred percent believe him. And while he felt bad for avoiding Law in the beginning, he was happy with the outcome. Law was trying so hard for him, therefore he was going to do the same.

"My friends will be so thrilled," Luffy exclaimed, glancing at him.

Law smiled, and surprised Luffy by giving him a quick peck on the lips. He watched in amusement as Luffy blinked owlishly. He didn't seem embarrassed by the bold movement, rather letting it process in his head.

"You just kissed me."

"I did."

"My first kiss."

"Figuratively, yes."

Luffy touched his lips with his fingertips. He had never thought about kissing someone—thought it was weird if he was telling the truth. But he didn't mind Law at all. He actually liked it. Slowly, he grinned.

Law cupped his cheek, tenderly. "This past week has been hell for me."

He paused. "'Cause of classes? You always study so hard."

Law chuckled. "Not because of my classes. Because I never saw you. Heard you. Talked with you. It's like you faded out of my life..." When he saw Luffy with a guilty expression, he uttered, "Don't blame yourself. I'm to blame. I made you think differently and for that I apologize."

"Still." He sighed. "It's hard getting used to this." Luffy referred to the way he was now, but Law took the words into another meaning.

"A bit," he admitted. He assumed their relationship.

Luffy pondered, then snapped his fingers as he remembered something. "I'm going shopping on Saturday with Nami and the others. You should come with us."

Law's lips shifted into a straight line. "I don't think that's a good idea."

"It'll be fun! Ace will be there since he has a day off but I think he's hanging with his best friend." He gave Law a pleading look, which was completely unfair to him. He could never say no to Luffy now.

"I'll go." Luffy didn't seem to realize that Law's smile was mildly strained. "Do you mind if I bring my roommate?" Under any normal circumstances, Law would never bring Kid anywhere with him. He's a fucking magnet for trouble-making, but he didn't want to be with people he didn't fully know. He preferred to know at least someone else that wasn't Luffy, especially since his boyfriend was going to be talking with them.

"Sure. The more the merrier."

Chapter Text

"Why do I have to talk to a theropist?" Luffy inquired.

"It's therapist," Ace corrected without looking away from the road.

"Yeah, that."

Ace huffed out a breath, as if he had explained a million times. "It's to help you get better." He glanced at his wrist watch to check the date. "I made an appointment three weeks from now. On November 13th."

Luffy frowned. "But what's wrong with me? I'm fine!" he insisted. "I'm not sick or anything."

"I know you're healthy and well, just not... in there." Ace tapped his own head to emphasize. "I thought maybe a therapist can help you."

His shoulders slumped and he stared at the window to his side, feeling empty and hurt. "If you say so..." The ride back home was filled with an unpleasant atmosphere.

Luffy wasted no time to run to his room.

School wasn't getting easier for Luffy. He was getting homework pile after pile. He never got good grades. It was hard to focus. In class, the teacher kept calling out his name to do the problem on the board. The result ended with him getting yelled at and the class laughing at him.

Luffy never felt so dumb in his life.

Usopp tried to cheer him up. "Don't worry, Luffy! You'll get the hang of it."

"I have to or else I won't become a senior," he said, sulking. He wasn't in the mood to eat—well, maybe two or three nuggets. "It's so hard. Even Law tried to tutor me." He sighed. "I guess I'm unteachable."

"No such thing as unteachable! Look, my dad knows a friend who could teach everything you need to know! He's super smart."


"Yeah. I gotta warn you though. He's a bit weird," Usopp said. "He also drinks a lot."

"Cool! When can I meet him?"

"Uh... I have to ask my dad first—But I'll let you know as soon as possible!"

Maybe Luffy wouldn't fail after all.

Luffy headed to the mall. He was starting to like it more than being home. Ace wasn't making it easy for him. If he thought Law was bad, Ace was worse. He deeply missed the other guy. Luffy wasn't stupid. He knew Ace wanted his real brother.

He could understand that. Luffy missed his own brother as well, but he knew it could never happen. Fire Fist Ace was gone forever. The difference was that Ace could get back the other him. Luffy didn't know whether to be happy or devastated.

A headache coursed through his head. Luffy scrunched his eyes from the sudden pain.

Stop pretending like you care! We're not real brothers anyway!

He heard Ace's voice this time. How can you say that? We grew up together! I practically raised you!

You don't have to worry about that anymore. I'm leaving soon. You're suffocating me. It has to stop. I'm going to go to college and live my life, something you didn't do.

When Luffy reopened his eyes, he realized that he made moon crescents on his palms. Any harder and he could've broken skin.

"They're his memories, aren't they," Luffy said to no one. How could he be so cruel to Ace? Yeah, Luffy remembered his Ace being a fucking asshole, but he changed for the better. The genius boy never changed.

Snarling, Luffy shook his head and then huffed, "I hope I never my get those memories back. He didn't know how good he had it." Now he didn't blame Ace for saying he wish he didn't have to deal with him—when they had argued the first time.

He ordered a triple chocolate milkshake in a shop called Sweet n Sweetners. It made his thoughts go away as he tasted the richness in his mouth. Luffy slurped while glancing around his surroundings. Although it was a bit boring to hang out by himself, he found it relaxing to just be simply, well, him. No one reminding him of all the things he was doing wrong or the differences.

A chime echoed from his pocket.

Putting the glass down, Luffy pulled his phone out, reading the message.

Nami: What r u doing?

Luffy: At the mall.

He sent a picture of his dessert.

Sanji: You're already hyper as it is!

Oh, it was a group chat. Neat.

Usopp: That's my favorite flavor too!

Sanji: Don't encourage him!

Zoro: I'm still amazed you don't get fat! You eat shitload of food smh

Nami: :)))

Luffy laughed.

Luffy: Oh I forgot to ask you guys! I talked with Law. He wants to hang with us! :D

Usopp: ...What? He really said that?

Luffy: Yes! Can he come with us this Saturday? Pleaseeeeee

Sanji: Nami?

Nami: He can hang with us :)

Luffy: You're the best Nami!

Zoro: I'm busy on Saturday. I won't make it.

Luffy: What? Nooo! You have to go Zoro :C It won't be fun without you there.

Sanji: You better fucking go you mosshead

Zoro: Fuck you swirly brow!

Usopp: Well, I'm sure everything will be fine.

Luffy: Forgot to tell you guys. He's inviting his roommate Kid

Usopp: His roommate is a kid? Lol

Luffy: No. His name is KID :D

Nami: This is why you should use punctuation on texts, Luffy!

Luffy: :P

Usopp: Oh god. I'm scared now!

Luffy: Don't be lol

Zoro: Another time. I'm busy with the club anyway.

Luffy frowned but didn't push. It's a shame that Zoro wasn't going to be there, at least Law would still meet the others.

As he looked away from the screen, Luffy dropped his phone on the table. No way. It couldn't be. Luffy's breath hitched as he saw Sabo. It was really him. He practically jumped out of the chair to follow him. The top hat was what brought Luffy's attention, because it was spot on similar. Luffy knew the only person to ever own one was his old friend and brother.

"Sabo, Sabo!" he shouted in excitement. "It's me!"

But Sabo didn't turn.

Luffy waved his arm around like a crazy person. Sabo finally glanced over his shoulder—and Luffy was pretty positive he saw him—but continued walking, faster. He made a turn and another. Luffy tried to keep up.

Sabo entered a boutique.

Luffy peered through the window. Sabo was speaking to the cashier, moving his arms a lot, then pointed at him. Oh no. He didn't know he had been gawking until a girl came his way and crossed her arms, glaring at him.

"Why are you following Sabo? Do you have something against him?" A girl with short, orange hair questioned.

"No! I know Sabo," Luffy uttered out. But wait? He didn't know Sabo here. The one he knew died when he was a kid. He swallowed, then stared through the window again. "Maybe you're right. I got the wrong person." He went past her before he looked like a bigger fool.

When he left the hall, Luffy stayed hidden behind the wall, waiting for a minute, then peeked at their direction. The girl went back inside the boutique, and Luffy caught sight of her with Sabo.

He was smiling and hugging her. Sabo seemed happy here.

Luffy's lips quirked down. It's not like he would know Luffy anyway.

Besides, it was probably better if he never met Sabo.

That night when Luffy tried to sleep he kept tossing and turning. Memories that weren't his own filtering through his mind.

"Why do you want to leave?" Ace asked, holding the acceptance letter in his hand. "Were you ever going to tell me about this?"

"Because I'm tired of your shit! And I'm not that cold hearted. I would've spoken to you the day after I was leaving." Luffy shrugged, with a cold smile. "I also don't appreciate you opening my stuff."

Luffy grunted in his sleep.

Nami grabbed his wrist. "Don't you think you're being a bit cruel to Zoro? I know you know the truth. You're not air-headed."

Luffy rolled his eyes. "Yes, I'm aware. He knows I have a boyfriend already. I can talk to him, but what good would that do? Honestly, I don't know why Zoro keeps trying. We're not compatible."

Nami slapped him. "How can you say that! If we weren't friends, I would've hated you!"

Soothing his cheek, Luffy glared at her, shouting, "Why is everyone giving me a hard time? I just wish everyone would leave me alone! I just want to do my life without everyone breathing down my neck. We're not always going to be friends forever, you know."

"Do we really mean that little to you?" she cried.

Luffy sighed. "You guys are important to me. But if there's one thing I learned in life is that 'every man for themselves.'"

Another memory hit him.

"Do you have a family?" Luffy asked Law. They were in his dorm, a blanket covering their naked bodies.

"No... They died in a tragic accident when I was young," Law confessed. "What about you?"

"My parents abandoned me. I just have Ace..." Luffy trailed off. "I recently found out that he isn't my real brother."


"I was looking for my birth certificate for a project... and I found his, with different names of our parents." He let out a tired sigh. "No wonder we're so different. I got angry that he never told me."

Law frowned. "Does it matter? He's always been there for you."

"It means that I have no real family," he scoffed. "I guess I learned that family comes and goes."

Law said nothing back.

Luffy gasped as he sat upright, trembling. Sweat dripping down his forehead. His head was pounding nonstop, painfully. Luffy gripped his hair and shouted, "Ace, Ace!"

Ace barged into the room, wearing no shirt and holding a bat, ready to fucking kill someone. "What—Who's here?" he said, feeling groggy himself. He blinked his eyes when he saw his little brother, appearing to be suffering. "Lu, what's wrong?"

"My head hurts! Make it stop," Luffy pleaded, looking at Ace with wide, watery eyes.

Ace dropped the bat, rushing to him. He touched his forehead and then panicked as his hand touched too warm flesh. "Shit! You have a fever. Hold on—" He raced out the room and came back with a handful of items.


"Gimme a second." He dropped a rag in a bowl of cold water, then wrung it. Next, he tore off Luffy's shirt and told him to lie down. "Damn it! I didn't even realize you were getting sick," he said, tone guilty. Ace saw that Luffy was shivering and sweating like he had run a marathon.

Luffy sighed in relief when a rag was placed on his forehead and on his chest. It didn't stop the throbbing coming from his head, however it did lower.

"Here. Take this pill." He put the pill in his mouth and gave him water through a straw.

"T-Thanks, Ace," Luffy mumbled. His eyes were half-lidded, smiling softly at him. Ace moved his sweaty bangs from his face and muttered it's nothing. Luffy shook his head and whispered, "I-I'm so-rry," his teeth chattered at every word.

Ace, who had turned to wet the rag, froze on the spot. For a moment it felt like the old Luffy was apologizing to him, and it made his heart ache, because that wasn't possible. His memories hadn't return. Luffy was probably apologizing due to getting sick.

"Don't worry about it," he said after a pause, then grinned at Luffy. "Let's just get you better again."

However, Luffy was actually apologizing for everything the other him had done to Ace. The harsh memory still lingered in his mind, taunting him.

Chapter Text

"Why the long faces, guys?" Luffy said, noticing that Sanji, Usopp, and Nami were all worrying.

"We're just so... excited to finally get to know Law," Usopp answered, which was a good excuse.

They were waiting at their usual spot in the mall. Law was around the corner, probably arguing with Kid.

"How's his roommate like anyway?" Usopp pictured a tall man with muscular arms.

Luffy scoffed. "An asshole. He's funny but in a mean way."

"Oh, great. Another person to pick a fight with," Sanji joked. He turned his head to mock Zoro—except he didn't come. It's no fun when you have no one to mess with.

Luffy laughed. "You'll like them." He hoped.

Right on cue, they heard two people bickering across them, cussing each other.

"Why the fuck did I have to come?" Kid glared at his roommate.

"Would you shut the fuck up!" Law snapped. "I gave you a fucking option! I didn't beg you to come." Even though he was happy Kid came, he was still annoyed that he had to deal with him. This was the reason why they never hung out together. Law could not stand him.

"Law," Luffy called, "over here!" He waved at them, smiling.

And just like that, Law's scowl was gone and replaced with a grin. Usopp made an awe expression. He didn't seem so bad if Law could be so happy around Luffy, but Kid looked like a fucking menace.

Kid rolled his eyes and walked towards the group. As soon as his eyes landed on Nami, well, his demeanor changed as well. "Hello, gorgeous!" He practically pushed Usopp out of the way. "Why is a beauty like you here?" He winked at her.

Nami would've blushed if it wasn't for the fact that she had no idea who this guy was. It only made her feel like she was being hit on by a creep.

"Don't you dare disrespect her!" Sanji growled. He stood in front of Nami while glaring at Kid.

"What? Are you her boyfriend?" Kid questioned.

Sanji deflated. "No. We're just friends—"

"Then stay out of it, weird brows."

Okay, Sanji had heard that before—Zoro had said it so many times but he was a friend. Kid wasn't. So he was going down. Usopp held Sanji back by his arms as Kid flirted shamelessly with his dear Nami.

Law greeted Luffy with a hug, then sighed when Kid was already making a scene. So much for telling him to behave. In one swift movement, Law yanked Kid by his hood, mildly choking him.

"W-What the big idea, Law?" He coughed and then faced him.

"Can't you see she's not interested in you? Take a fucking hint!" It was like Law had two personalities. He was nice and sweet to Luffy and his friends, but a jerk to Kid. Their friendship was way different. "Sorry about that," he told the others. "Kid can be an animal sometimes. No manners or consideration. I'm sorry for his behavior."

Usopp nodded. "No problem."

"Told you, guys," Luffy added.

Kid seemed offended. "What the hell did you say about me?"

Luffy giggled. "Like I'll ever tell you!" He ducked away from Kid's hands. Law swatted Kid away from trying to attack his boyfriend.

Law got to know Luffy's friends, and strangely, he got along with them. He had met them once but it was only for five minutes. A quick hello and bye—not to mention Law met them at the worst possible time: finals week.

Now though, he wanted to do a good impression but not make it too obvious. He really wanted Luffy to see that he was doing his part. The only person that wasn't around was Zoro, which Law didn't know that was good or bad thing. It didn't take a genius to find out why Zoro didn't show up. Too bad Luffy had no clue.

They all strolled around the mall court. Kid had calmed down and began to finally act like a decent guy. Him and Usopp talked about inventions for almost a whole hour. Usopp asked him questions about his major; Kid majored in engineering.

Sanji protected Nami like a knight. It still bothered him that Kid kept ogling at her from distance. Luckily, Law smacked Kid every time he was making them feel uncomfortable.

Nami warmed up to Law. It made Luffy happy that his friends were starting to like Law. If only his best friend was here...

"I thought Ace was going to be here." Law remembered Luffy mentioning that Ace didn't work.

Luffy grumbled, "His boss called him to work. On his day off! Can you believe that?"

"Oh man. Your brother is one serious hard worker," Usopp said.

"Yeah. I feel bad."

"Why don't you just visit him?" Kid spoke up.

"I'm not allowed to. He works in a bar."

"A bar," Kid said smirking. "We should totally go—"

"No!" Law hissed. Sanji was impressed that Law was against the idea. It meant that he didn't want Luffy to get into any sort of trouble.

Luffy frowned for moment, then he smiled. "We should! He won't get mad if I'm with all of you!"

"We're under age if you hadn't noticed." Thank god, Nami disagreed.

"I'm with Nami, Luffy," Usopp uttered out.

Pouting, Luffy stared at Law with pleading eyes that would make anyone feel bad. It sometimes worked on Law. Not today though. "The answer is no. In any other occasion, I would do it in a heartbeat. But not this." Ace would fucking murder me, he thought.

Law won Sanji and Nami's approval for being a good boyfriend.

"You're no fun…" Luffy mumbled.

They changed the topic and talked about something else. However, all Luffy could think about now was sneaking into the bar to see Ace.

When he was alone with Kid—they were sitting at the table—he saw that the older man made the gesture to come closer.

Luffy leaned towards him.

"You still want to go to the bar and visit your brother?" Kid asked, smirking.

Luffy gasped, then nodded. He closely listened to Kid's plan.

Nami's sister gave a ride to Luffy once their fun was over.

As he got off the car, Nami lowered her window and said, "I had fun today, Luffy."

He smiled. "Did you like Law?" This time when he asked her, Nami's lips curled up, making Luffy happy in the inside.

"He's a good guy," she said.

"I knew you guys would like him."

Then her smile faded when she added, "I don't like Kid though."

"Also understandable!"

Luffy waved her off as she left. He took off his shoes near the entrance and headed straight to his room. He messaged Zoro.

Luffy: Hey Zoro! You still alive?

Zoro: Yea. Tired.

Luffy: What did u do? :o

Zoro: Lifted weights all day

Luffy: wait… didn't you have to do club today?

It took ten minutes for Zoro to respond.

Zoro: It was cancelled

Luffy: oh okay :P

Luffy: You could've hung out with us then!

Zoro: Didn't feel like it, ok?

Luffy: a simple no would've been nice :T

Zoro: Sorry…

Zoro: How did it go with the new guy? Sanji bitched about it to me smh

Luffy: Usopp liked him for the first 10 minutes lol Others not much

Zoro: I probably would've kicked his ass then

Luffy: Most likely

Zoro: Anything new?

Luffy: …Well

Zoro: What did u do?

Luffy: Nothing yet! But will soon! Want to join me?

Zoro: Uh… Tell me first?

They texted for about an hour. Luffy explained about how he was going to sneak into a bar with Kid's help, and asked if Zoro was going to go with him.

Zoro: I'm not doing it

Luffy: The others said the same thing :((

Zoro: Ace would get pissed

Luffy: I just want to see what he does

Zoro: Work stupid

Luffy: I kno tat. And also want to say hi :)

Zoro: now you're just coming up with lame excuses

Luffy: which is why I want to do it so bad!

Zoro: And Law is okay with this?

Luffy: he… doesn't know about this D:

Zoro: oh god. Fine I'll join you. Don't want your ass in jail

Luffy: Thanks zoro <3

When Ace had a real day off on Sunday, the brothers decided to stay in and watch some movies and order Chinese take-out.

"God, finally… I can relax," Ace murmured.

"Have you tried looking for another job?"

"I tried but I have a criminal record…"

Luffy blinked. "What do you mean? Like a pirate?" They were criminals and wanted.

Ace frowned on the word. He hated hearing that. "No. Not pirate. I guess I should tell you since you don't remember," his tone was a tad uneven. "When I was about your age, I did something stupid. I robbed from a store and went to jail. I was a minor but it still stayed in my record, so yeah."

Luffy still had to figure out what was so bad about that. They robbed from restaurants when they were young, then again, this world was stricter with rules.

It still hurt Luffy to hear that Ace was miserable in his job. How he wished he could help him. But how?

He didn't expect to run into Sabo again in the mall. Luffy was waiting for Ace to pick him up but decided to grab a bite since he got hungry. He ordered a burger with fries, and when he raised his head he saw Sabo. Alone.

Thank goodness. The other girl was almost scary like Nami.

Luffy pursed his lips when Sabo padded towards him. He should run or hide, right? He probably thought Luffy was a stalker—Hey, wait a minute? Luffy was here first and he was not leaving.

He continued eating, making loud noises. Sabo made a gesture by pointing at the chair. Luffy swallowed down the food, then nodded once he got what he was trying to say. "Sure."

They stared at one another. It wasn't uncomfortable for Luffy because he already knew him. However, Sabo seemed to be inspecting him, as if trying to figure out Luffy.

"What happened to your face?" Luffy asked bluntly. The huge scar over Sabo's left side was hard to hide, even if his blond hair covered most of it.

Sabo raised his eyebrows, then blinked, like he couldn't believe that was the first thing he asked. He touched his burned scar feeling self-conscious about it. Luffy noticed.

"Hey! It's fine. Nothing is wrong with it. You're still the same Sabo," he said smiling. "I got mine by jabbing a knife in my skin—No, I'm not crazy!" Luffy laughed when Sabo seemed terrified of him. "When I was small I wanted to prove to someone that I'm not afraid of anything. Kinda worked."

Sabo snorted in disbelief. Then he spoke, slowly, "I got... in an accident... when I was ten." He struggled to say those words, but proud that he didn't stutter.

They were chatting for a bit, well, Luffy talked mostly as Sabo listened. Slowly he started to open up with Luffy by showing his emotions. Ace entered the restaurant looking for him. Luffy waved at him from afar.

"That's my big brother," Luffy introduced with a huge grin. "Ace, this is Sabo!" He told him once Ace was nearby.

Sabo held out his hand, politely. They shook hands and greeted each other. Sabo began to move his hands around, confusing Luffy, but not Ace.

"Oh my god. You're deaf," Ace stated.

"How can he be dead if he's right there?"

"Not death, stupid! Deaf. You can't hear, right?" He asked Sabo, who nodded.

"What, really? I didn't know. But it doesn't matter. He's still a cool guy." He took a sip from his soda.

Sabo read Luffy's lips. He seemed taken aback with his words. Nobody had ever called him cool before. It made Sabo feel warm inside. He didn't know Luffy at all, and yet he was already fond of him.

Ace dug into his pocket and pulled out a five-dollar bill. "Here. Go get more food." Luffy happily cheered and dashed to the line. Once he was out of earshot, Ace turned back to Sabo. "Did my brother say anything weird to you?"

Sabo tilted his head, not quite understanding.

He sighed. "Did he say something like he knew you?"

The blond nodded, confirming Ace's suspicious.

"Look, my brother got in a bad accident couple of months ago. He hasn't... been the same," it hurt Ace to say it. "Please don't listen to his nonsense. He doesn't know what he's talking about."

Sabo narrowed his eyes at him, seemingly annoyed. He shook his head, then said, "I think... you're wrong. I... feel like... I know him."

"Oh, shit. Are you crazy too?" Ace groaned.

"No. Luffy... saw right... through me. Something nobody has... ever done before," he explained, mouth turning into a smile. "There's nothing wrong with him." This time his words came out firm and steady.

Ace's mouth parted, then closed it. He scratched the back of his head, now feeling like the bad guy. "I know that—"

Luffy came back with three ice cream cones. "I got one for each of us!" He beamed.

Ace was beyond confused why Luffy was going all out for Sabo. He didn't even know the man. All Ace could do was put up with it for his sake.

Luffy stopped eating his ice cream as it dawned to him that he was with his brothers again. The one thing he had always wanted in the other world. Like old times. Now that it was happening right there and then, he started crying, scaring both the older men.

"Why are you crying?" Ace panicked.

"Because I'm with my brothers again," Luffy blurted out. He wiped his snot with his sleeve.

Sabo and Ace glanced at each other, then at Luffy, before back at them. The ice cream in their hands were forgotten, melting as they wondered what Luffy meant when he said brothers.

Chapter Text

"So Sabo is your brother in the pirate world?" Zoro said, grunting. Luffy had been telling him about his encounter with his supposed brother.

"Y-Yeah." Luffy pulled himself upwards, holding for about five seconds before dropping down. He wheezed. "Why am I so out of shape? I was never like this before..."

Zoro wiped the sweat from his forehead, then rose. He did twenty crunches. "You were never good at P.E."

"I can tell. I only did eight pull-ups." It was his turn to do crunches now.

Zoro snickered. "On the plus side, you have a better grade than what you had before." He got on the floor so he could hold Luffy's shoes.

"I don't know if I should be proud or mad," Luffy said. He pushed himself forward, struggling. "T-This sucks!" One. "I'll probably end up doing ten!"

He did only five.

Zoro helped him to his feet.

"What's next?" Luffy asked.

"Now we run around the track." They were the last ones but Zoro didn't care. He would gladly be last if meant helping Luffy. Zoro had been going slow on purpose.

"Yes! I love running."

They both ran side by side, grinning at each other. It reminded Luffy of the swordsman he had traveled with.

Ace had been scowling for that past ten minutes. Luffy pouted and bumped his shoulder. "You're not being nice, Ace."

"Well, excuse me for not smiling for a complete stranger in our house." He glared at Sabo, who was grinning. "Why the hell are you so fucking happy?" He didn't care if this guy was deaf, Ace didn't trust him. For all he knew, Sabo could kill them in their sleep.

"You're funny," Sabo noted.

Ace growled, then averted his gaze.

They were all in the couch. Luffy was in the middle while the others were in the opposite sides. It was his idea to invite Sabo to hang out. Ace worked at night, so it was perfect. Sabo had no plans either.

"You know when you said someone was coming over... I thought you meant Zoro, or heck, even Sanji. But not this guy."

"What's wrong with Sabo?"

Ace gave him are-you-an-idiot look. "We don't know him! How can you trust him so easily—"

"I know him," Luffy declared. "You may not believe me but I know him deep down. He's a good guy. Trust me, Ace. If you get to know him, you'll like him too." He was your best friend first, Luffy mused.

Ace turned to Sabo, watching the way he did a small, little wave at him. He stared back at Luffy with a blank expression, then accused, "He's onto something, I just know it."

Sabo chuckled, while Luffy sighed. It was going to take a while to bring the spark of them being brothers again.

Law: What did you do today?

Luffy: Hung with Ace and Sabo :D

Law: Who's Sabo?

Luffy: My brother!

Law: I thought Ace was your only brother?

Luffy: Damn it :c ok let me explain better. In my other life I had two brothers. But Sabo died when I was young :'( He's alive here though! I found him in the mall few days ago

Law: ...And you didn't tell me this

Luffy: Sorry Law :o I got so excited that i forgot. Forgive me <3

Law: Only because you sound sincere

Luffy: :DD

Law: Want to come to my place tomorrow?

Luffy: I can't :( I have plans with Zoro. Maybe on Friday!

Law: You hang out a lot with him.

Luffy: Well duh. He's my best friend silly

Law: Not what I meant.

Luffy: You don't hate him right?

It took a few minutes for Law to reply.

Law: No.

Luffy: U can be honest. Zoro told me he doesn't like you.

Law: The feeling is mutual then.

Luffy: But why D: You guys would get along so great!

Law: Did he tell you why he didn't like me?

Luffy: Not really. Do you know why?

Law: It's not my place to tell. I have nothing against him per se... but he wants something I have.

Luffy: A car?

Law: No dummy. Something else.

Luffy: Just tell me smh I'm not good at guessing

Law: Doesn't matter. He's not getting it anyway.

Luffy: You'd be surprised. Zoro has always been good at getting what he wants! He's kinda like me!

Law: I know you have no clue what I'm talking about but your words are scaring me. Anyways, we're on on Friday?

Luffy: Yea!

Dark orange leaves were falling from trees, landing on others from the ground. Luffy put his hands in his hoodie's pockets, trying to warm them. It's a chilly morning. November was around the corner.

He should be used to the cold—he'd played on snow with only a shirt. 

Luffy waved at Zoro as he approached the entrance.

"Nice jacket," Luffy said. Zoro wore a leather jacket with patches of skulls and old bands. He looks so cool, Luffy thought.

Zoro eyed Luffy's white and red striped hoodie. It looked silly on him if he was being honest, yet it suited the new him very well. "Where did you get this?" He tugged on Luffy's sleeve.

"I found it way back in Ace's closet!"

"I've never seen him wear this," Zoro said.

"Yeah, he told me that it was a gift from a friend. They bought it for him as a joke. Ace gave it to me this morning since it was kinda cold. Pretty cool, huh! It's nice and warm." He hugged himself to emphasize.

Zoro refrained from snickering. It made sense why Ace wouldn't wear it. It seemed like it came from a kids' aisle in a clothing store. "I didn't think it was going to be cold this morning," he added.

Luffy chuckled. "Me too! I wonder if it'll snow here."

"Doubt it. Last year was only small flakes," Zoro answered.


Zoro ruffled his hair, affectionately. "How are you doing in your classes? Any better?"

"Still working on it. Usopp is trying to help me find someone."

He scratched his head and then asked, "Any more weird dreams?"

Luffy had told him about the dreams he had last week, mentioning about his argument with Ace, but not about with Nami. He was still confused how the other him was cruel to Zoro. The dream didn't exactly make it clear, but Luffy knew they were flashbacks of the other's life.

"No..." Luffy said with a frown.

"You don't have to force it." He stared at the ground, like it was interesting. "Maybe it's better if you don't remember."

Luffy's lips curled down. He had thought Zoro wanted him to remember and be his old self. Why the sudden change?

"You're more fun to be around," Zoro confessed, giving him a shy smile.

Luffy laughed and smacked his back. "We better to get to class or we'll freeze outside!"

Ace slowly warmed up to Sabo. They had so much in common. Luffy knew sooner or later that Ace would like Sabo just like he did.

"You're alright," Ace said, clicking beer with him.

Luffy huffed. "Why can't I drink beer?" He used to do it on Sunny.

"You're way too young."

Sabo made a fist and rotated it against his chest. Sorry. He had been trying to teach Luffy and Ace sign language. While he was capable of talking, he preferred to sign since it was easier for him.

Luffy waved them off with a laugh. "It's okay! I'm just happy with can hang again." He raised his soda and clicked with them. It wasn't sake but this was the closest thing they had available, and he'd be damned if he didn't do it.

Law was excited that he could finally be with Luffy on Friday. Recently, it felt like he hadn't been with him... like Luffy was always with other people but him. Now, Law was never a jealous person, well, not by a lot, but he was mildly annoyed that Luffy wasn't spending time as he used to.

He knew Luffy was new to everything. But still, it made Law feel lonely in the inside.

"Aww, why the sad face, Law?" Kid mocked him from his bed. He was tossing a baseball up and down, then throwing to the wall and catching it back.

"Shut up."

"No comeback? Wow. You really are feeling shitty." Kid put the ball on his nightstand and then swung his legs to the side. "I'm not asking because I care. But do you want to talk about it?"

Law, who had been trying to read, put the book down. He was quiet, wondering if this was a scheme for Kid to make fun of him. It could be. Oh, what the hell. "It irritates me that Luffy would rather spend his time with a stranger and his best friend than me," Law said honestly. "I'm supposed to be his boyfriend..."

"Oh fuck. I didn't think you would really open up." He let out scornful laugh, prompting Law to frown. Kid shut his mouth quickly. He was being a jackass when his roommate only wanted to talk to someone. "Look, you said that Luffy had been in an accident, right?"

Law nodded.

"Obviously things will be different then."

"I'm just scared of losing him," Law admitted.

Kid grimaced. He hated talking about feelings and relationship shit. He didn't do relationships for a damn good reason: to avoid bullshit like Law was dealing with.

"What? You think he's going to hook up with the guy you hate?"

Law's face darkened. "That'll never happen."

"Whoa, look at you! Jealousy is written all over your face. Are you scared?" Kid taunted.

Glaring at Kid, he threw the book at him—and it missed by a foot. Kid's eyes widened as he jumped away from the bed. And away from Law. "What the fuck, dude! I was just kidding, Jesus Christ."

"Talking to you was a mistake," Law said with a growl. He rose from his chair and left the room. Kid flinched when the door slammed shut.

Law didn't know where he was going, but anywhere was fine as longest it wasn't in his dorm. He needed to breathe, needed fresh air. Something. Anything to get him off his gloomy thoughts.

He messaged Luffy.

Law: What time are you coming over?

Luffy: bad news... Ace isn't feeling well. I'm watching over him :c I can't come over

Oh. His thoughts grew stronger.

He typed 'can I come over' before he erased it and said something else.

Law: It's okay. I'm busy with homework anyway.

Luffy: I'll go see you tomorrow! I promise :D

Law clutched his cell phone. Luffy shouldn't make promises he might not keep.

Law: I'm going to be busy tomorrow. Sorry.

Why was he lying? Why was Law being like this? Just because Luffy wasn't coming to see him? He needed to fucking grow up. Luffy had other things to do now, and Law had to accept that.

Luffy: Awwwww I really wanted to see you :T

Law: Sorry. 

Luffy: Don't study too hard! You need to rest!!!

Law: I will.

Then he decided to go for it.

Law: I love you.

Even though he had said it a million times, it felt like it was his first time. He waited desperately for Luffy's reply. Every second was agonizing and his heart wouldn't stop beating fast. When his phone chimed, Law read the message:

Luffy: I love you too :D

Law let out a breath he didn't know he was holding in. He smiled, then shut his phone. He shouldn't be worrying too much. He trusted Luffy. That's not about to change, no matter what fucking Kid said.

Chapter Text

"Do you know why you're here?" the therapist asked.

Luffy tilted his head, humming. "Because my brother forced me to come here." He didn't know why, but he felt like he had known the lady in front of him. However, Luffy couldn't figure out who she was.

"So, you believe this is pointless?"

"I don't know..." Luffy admitted. "I just want to make Ace happy, and if this is what it will take, then so be it." There was no point in lying. It wasn't in his nature, especially since he's a shitty liar.

Dr. Tashigi wrote something on her notepad, prompting Luffy to lean a bit closer to see what it was—too bad he couldn't see shit with his eyesight. He should've worn his glasses for today.

"Your brother told me your situation regarding your accident." She glanced at him. "How did you feel after waking up in the hospital?"

Luffy shrugged. "Hungry."

She scribbled again in her notepad. "Did you remember everyone?"

Now that made Luffy happy. "Yeah! I saw my friends. Oh, and I saw Ace! He was the second person I saw there! I never thought I would see him again," he babbled.

"What do you mean by again?" Dr. Tashigi asked.

"Well, the Ace I know is dead."

Dr. Tashigi paused. She stared at the page on her lap, debating on her next words. "I was also told of your fantasy—"

"It's not a fantasy!" Luffy hissed.

"I'm sorry," she said softly. "What do you call it?"

Luffy's face changed into sorrow. His eyes were downcast and his lips were trembling as he whispered, "My home."

"Tell me more," she insisted.

"You're not going to make fun of me or think I'm crazy?"

"Not at all. This is a judge free zone," Dr. Tashigi stated, smiling. Where did Luffy know her from?

Nevertheless, he began to tell his tale of his old life and all the adventures he had. Every now and then, Dr. Tashigi would ask him questions and about details of the people Luffy had supposedly known there. She didn't fail to notice the way her patient shined every time she did.

The hour had finished, thus the session.

Ace had been waiting in the lobby, reading an old magazine. He grinned when he saw Luffy coming out.

"May I speak with you, Ace?" Dr. Tashigi said.

"Yeah. Luffy stay seated and don't go anywhere."

Luffy nodded and watched his brother enter the room. He played with his phone. First a game for a few minutes but when he lost he exited and decided to text Sabo. He enjoyed talking to him.

Luffy: hey Sabo! :D

Sabo: Hi. How was the session?

Sabo was one of the people who knew about Luffy's appointment. Ace told him once they got along very well.

Luffy: Great! She loved hearing my pirate stories!

Sabo: Oh she did?

Luffy: Yea! XD I was scared she was going to send me to the crazy house D: I heard my friend telling me that and i got scared

Sabo: Only if you're insane, which you are not.

Luffy: Aww thanks

Sabo: :)

Luffy: Are you coming to our house today?

Sabo: I might. I just have to finish school work.

Luffy: Why does everyone do school work? O.o

Sabo: Some of us need to get a job and make a living if we want to survive this world.

Luffy: I don't like this world...

Sabo: Same :/

Ace exited the room. Luffy frowned when he caught Ace's eyes brimming with tears. As Luffy strode to him, Ace wiped any of the tears that were threatening to fall. He gave a strained smile. "Ready to go? I did promise you pizza!" His voice sounded forced and tired. It made Luffy worried.

"Are you ok—"

"Let's go before traffic starts." Ace past by Luffy. He fished out his keys from his pocket. Luffy rushed to follow Ace, otherwise he might be left behind. He couldn't help but wonder what went on in the room between his brother and Dr. Tashigi. It must've been something quite serious if Ace wanted to get out of there.

It was quite clear that Luffy wasn't coming back to the therapist anymore. That sucked. He liked telling her his stories.

Luffy beamed upon seeing Law. He hadn't seen him in days. Once he was close to him, Luffy jumped, wrapping his arms around his shoulders. He nuzzled onto his chest.

Law's lips turned into a lopsided smile.

He kissed Luffy's hair.

"I missed you," Law breathed.

Luffy giggled. "I missed you too." He pulled away, hands still resting on his shoulders. "I'm glad I can spend time with you!" Luffy had gone braver with Law, as he kissed his lips. Law closed his eyes and deepened the kiss, enjoying the way Luffy's face turned bright red.

It was a different experience, one that Luffy still had clue what to do next. He pushed him away to breathe. "Are you trying to take my breath away?" Luffy huffed.

"Is it working?"

"Yes!" He blew out a breath, puffing his cheeks when Law chuckled. Law grabbed his cheek gently, giving him a small peck as an apology. That made Luffy forgive him instantly.

"What are we doing today?"

Law hummed, lacing their fingers together. "I was thinking we can go to the park and just watch the sunset together." He caught Luffy pouting, probably thinking that it sounded boring. "They have an amazing ice cream parlor around the corner," he added with a grin.

"Then what are we waiting for!" Bingo.

They held hands the whole time. Luffy rambled about his school and pirate life, then Law talked about his classes and an internship he might take. It was nice to do couple-y things. Luffy never thought he would like this. He recalled Hancock confessing his love to him—which confused Luffy a lot since he didn't like her like that. With Law though, he really, really liked.

They sat down in the park, both holding and licking ice cream cones. The sun was barely setting; almost giving it the color red-orange. Luffy wasn't aware he was smiling until Law pointed it out.

"What's with the huge smile?" Law wondered, lips also curled up.

"Just thinking about us," he said, no embarrassment whatsoever. "This was... romantic. I liked it a lot. Can we do it again?" Luffy gazed at Law with so much devotion that it put his old self to shame.

Law said nothing for a few seconds, just stared at him, not believing the words he just said. Then in one swift motion he dropped the ice cream to give Luffy an open mouth kiss.

Luffy ended up dropping his cone, too, but he didn't care at the moment. All he wanted to do was kiss Law like there was no tomorrow.

Unknown number: I got everything ready!

Luffy: Who's this? :O

Unknown number: Who do you fucking think it is?

Luffy: God???

Unknown number: why do i bother. its Kid!

Luffy: Oh hi Kid :D

Luffy: How did you get my number?!

Kid: Law left his phone on his desk n I decided to get your info

Luffy: Cool :) so what do you have ready

Kid: You'll see ;)

Luffy: oooo i like surprises! Is there food?

Kid: &%!@&*#!$!

Luffy: ?????

After school, Usopp rushed to Luffy, grinning. He almost bumped into a door.

"Whoa, Usopp! Calm down. Where's the fire?" Luffy quickly glanced around.

"Forget that! Remember the guy I told you that he might tutor you?" Luffy nodded. "Well, he agreed to teach you!" Usopp pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. "Here's his information. I met him a few times. Nice man, but my dad told me that he can be a bit silly, so watch out for that."

Luffy's eyebrows furrowed. "And you're a hundred percent sure that he's capable of teaching me?"

"On my soul." Usopp did a scout's honor gesture.

"Then I shall find him." Luffy read the address with a smile. He was determined to pass this year.

Tilting his head, Luffy eyed the note, then at the house across him. This was the place? It had to be a mistake. It seemed abandoned. The house had broken windows, the grass was dead, and plenty of empty bottles were scattered around the yard.

"Doesn't seem so bad," Luffy muttered. "I've seen worse." He kicked a bottle away as he marched forward. When he stepped on the wooden porch, it creaked so loud that Luffy thought he was going break it and fall in.

He banged the door.



He banged again.

"It's me! Usopp's friend. He told you I was going to come by," Luffy shouted.

Luffy waited. He scanned his surroundings carefully.

Then the door was swung open, revealing a scary looking clown with white make-up and yellow teeth. "What the fuck do you want?" His long, blue hair was in a tangled mess. He had grabbed Luffy by his shirt out of anger.

Luffy screamed. Not because of the action, he didn't give a shit when it came to fighting, but the man was terrifying to Luffy. His heart when through the roof. Out of reflex, he punched the clown in one go.

"Ow! Son of bitch—" He released his hold on Luffy and covered his face with his hands. "I wasn't going to do anything, brat!" he cried. "I love kids and they love me!"

Luffy cringed. Who would love a creepy clown like him?

A laugh caught Luffy's attention. He peeked behind the clown and saw another man emerging out of the house. Luffy gasped at the strawhat he was wearing. No way. The stranger didn't have to take off his hat for Luffy to know who he was. It was Shanks.

"He got you good, Buggy," Shanks remarked, then took a sip from his beer.

"Fuck you, and fuck him! Too early to deal with this bullshit." Buggy snatched the bottle from Shanks' hand. "Since he's looking for you, I'll be taking this as a payment."

"Hey!" Shanks narrowed his eyes at Buggy, who gave him the bird and went back into the house. Shanks sighed. "That was the last beer..."

Luffy never once took his eyes off the hat. He wanted the hat. He missed it so much. It was like everything didn't make sense without it and—

"You okay, kid?"

"Yeah. I just... your hat. Can I have it?"

Shanks laughed, prompting Luffy to frown. It brought back good memories when he was small and asked something dumb to Shanks, only to be laughed at. Now those were the real memories to him.

"Sorry, kid. No can't do. This hat is kind of important to me." He touched the brim of the hat before pulling it off. "It was given to me by an old friend. It's the only thing I have to remember him by."

"Oh." Luffy hung his head in disappointment. He was hoping that maybe, just maybe, he could keep something that reminded him of his pirate life. Alas, it was just a dream.

"But..." Shanks trailed off, smiling. "I can lend it to you, if you want." He twirled the hat with his finger.

Luffy snapped his head upwards, exclaiming, "You will?"

Shanks nodded. "Under one condition though," he said, raising one finger.


"You have to ace all your classes." This was the perfect opportunity to motivate Luffy, Shanks knew it.

All the excitement Luffy was feeling suddenly left his system. He could barely get any Bs, no less As. He was fucked. However, as he peered at the strawhat in front of him, he was dead set on getting it. It meant so much to him.

Luffy looked at Shanks with determination, then said, "Deal."

Chapter Text

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.

That's it.

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.

Chapter Text

"Ace?" Luffy lightly knocked on his bedroom's door. "Can we talk?" No response. Luffy bit his lips and knocked harder. "Don't shut me out, Ace. I want to say that I'm—"

"Just leave me alone, Luffy," Ace shouted, then whispered, "you've done more than enough. Just go."

Luffy backed away from the door, staring at it with horror. Ace wanted him to leave. His heart sank as old, bitter memories flashed through his mind, when Ace was a jerk and wanted him gone, or worse, dead. With watery eyes, Luffy left the house.

He really messed up this time. It was his fault Ace got fired. He should've never gone. What was he thinking? Why couldn't Luffy get that everything was different? Nothing was the fucking same.

After they got home last night, Ace said nothing to him, even as they entered into inside. Ace had just taken off his shoes and went straight to his room, without so much as saying a word to Luffy, who was left in darkness as Ace slammed the door shut.

He had gotten a tremendous amount of phone calls and texts from both Zoro and Kid, Luffy was too scared to answer any of them. He simply put his phone on silent and fell asleep, hoping that everything was a dream. But it wasn't. His alarm woke him up, then he recalled last night's incident. It was real. It really happened.

Luffy was miserable.

He didn't know how he was going to fix this. Or if he could.

As he showed up to the school's gates, Zoro stood there, looking pissed. Luffy gulped. He wasn't ready for this. Not yet.

"Zoro, I—"

"How can you just ditch me like that?" he hissed. "I went with you to help you but instead all you did was get in trouble like always. This is stupid." Zoro shook his head. "I've been trying so hard to understand the new you. But I can't anymore!"

Luffy whimpered.

"Kid had fucking forced me out of the bar once shit went down. He said you wanted me to leave, is that true?" Zoro demanded.

He nodded, mumbling, "Yes."

"Unbelievable." He ran a hand across his face, tired. "I... I don't know what else to do."

"What do you want me to do?" Luffy snapped. "To go back to the way things were! I know everyone wants to other guy back, I'm not stupid. Heck, I want to go back! I want my friends. I want the Zoro I know! You're different than him—"

"Newsflash, Luffy! He's not real!" Zoro growled.

Luffy gritted his teeth and out of anger he pushed Zoro back. "He is real!"

Zoro pushed him back. "He's not. Nothing in your head is real—" He stumbled down on his ass, holding his cheek. Luffy's fist tightened, chest heaving as he glared at Zoro. The one person who he thought believed him didn't all this time. It was all lie.

Familiar shouts came from behind them.

Nami rushed between them while Sanji and Usopp helped Zoro up. "Have you lost your mind? He's your best friend!"

No. He wasn't. None of them were.

Luffy glanced at his fist. His knuckles were bright red now—it had been bruised from the bar fight. He had never been disgusted with himself when it came to fighting, but now, he was... because he hit Zoro. Guilt washed over him as his friends stared at him with fear.

"I-I'm sorry," Luffy started. "I don't know—I didn't mean it—I'm sorry, Zoro," with that being said Luffy bolted, away from the school.

Law ignored Kid as he entered their dorm, going straight to his desk.

"How long are you planning to avoid me?" Kid asked, frowning. "I said I was sorry." He had to come clean with telling Law what happened last night.

"Until you're fucking not my roommate anymore!" Law countered. He was furious at him. "You got Luffy in trouble! You gave him a fake ID!" Okay, maybe Kid shouldn't have told him everything. "He's not answering my calls."

Kid grimaced. "Sorry..."

Law rolled his eyes. It was pointless talking to Kid. As he pulled a book from his backpack, his phone started ringing, and it made Law drop everything to answer it.

"Luffy?" he shouted, then his face shifted to shock. "Wait—Hold on, you're speaking too fast! Slow down. No, he's not with me."

Kid peered at him, very curious to know who he was talking to.

"Uh-huh. I'll help you," Law declared. He hung up before sprinting to the door.

"Where are you going?" Kid yelled but got no reply. Law was gone.

Luffy was at the park where Law had taken him. It was special to him. He was there for a few hours. Who cares if he missed school. It's not like he was good at it. Nami kept texting him, asking where he was? and if he's okay? Luffy ignored it.

He was not fine. His brother hated him, and probably Zoro too. All he was doing was disappointing people. He hated this world. Every time he shut his eyes, Luffy saw his old friends on Thousand Sunny, all smiling and calling his name.

Luffy started sobbing. Tears falling on his lap. He was never going to see any of them again, was he?

His phone kept chiming. Nami, Usopp, Sanji, and even Law. Grabbing his phone, Luffy swung as hard as he could towards the lake. A plop was heard from afar. That took care of that. Luffy could finally be left alone.

He didn't know how long he was there after that. Maybe an hour or two. Luffy had been watching the sky the whole time. That was the only thing that didn't change. Watching the soothing sky always calmed him down and made him feel better. It's the main reason he would sit on Sunny's head, stare at the endless sky.

Leaning back to the tree, Luffy could feel fresh tears forming again—He felt weak for crying. Felt like he was reverting back to a child who cried about everything.

Luffy wiped the snot on his sleeve and closed his eyes.

"Somehow, I knew you would be here," Law's voice was heard in front of him, before another voice spoke up behind Law, "You're a pain in the ass to find, you know that!" It wasn't Kid with him.

Luffy snapped his head upwards. His eyes widened as he saw Law and Ace standing a few feet away from him. Both were out of breath like they just ran in a marathon. Though Ace seemed more disheveled with his face being sweaty and red.

"What are you guys doing here?" Luffy sniffled.

"Your brother called me like a maniac. He got a call from school saying you weren't present in class," Law explained. "He was so convinced that you were with me."

"Can you blame me for thinking that?" Ace snapped. He refrained from saying he used to do that before.

Law shrugged and turned back to Luffy. "We have been looking for you everywhere."

"Why?" Luffy demanded. "I'm not the same person. You guys are just being nice to me. I only screw everything up..."

"Kid told me what happened," he said, displeased. "I nearly kicked his ass for it."

"He didn't do anything wrong," Luffy defended. "I'm the one who wanted to go. I just wanted to see what Ace does. I've admired everything he had been doing. But it was a mistake... Ace got fired."

Judging from Law's expression, he must've not known that part.

Ace took over. "Lu, it's fine. It's just a stupid job. I can always find another one."

Luffy snarled at him. "Stop lying to me! You told me it's hard getting a job because of your record." He stood up. "You've been doing nothing but trying your best to take care of me, and I fucked it up! You should be angry. Yell at me, punch me, do something!" Anything to make him believe that he wasn't the Ace he knew. Luffy had to let that idea go: that his brother was here alive and well.

But Ace didn't do any of those things. And that just made Luffy angrier.

"Why do you put up with me!" he roared.

"Because you're my brother," Ace said softly.

Luffy took a step backwards, back hitting the tree bark. He had his hands over his head. "No, you're not. Stop saying that! You're not my brother. My brother is... is..." Tears streamed down his face. Gone.

"Dead," Ace finished.

"H-How did you know?"

"Dr. Tashigi told me," he confessed. She also told him other important words but he wasn't going to voice it out anytime soon.

Law looked at Ace with disgust. "You took him to a therapist?" He knew who she was. She was a friend to one of his professors in college; while Dr. Tashigi was excellent in here job, she was rather a clumsy person with everyone around her.

How come Luffy didn't tell him about this?

"I needed to know what was wrong with him—"

"Nothing is wrong with me!" Luffy hissed, tired of hearing that over and over. "Everyone thinks I'm not okay. It's pissing me off! It's you people who are not. " He glared at Ace, eyes burning with fury. "And I'm going to prove it to you!" Luffy raised a fist and swung.

If Ace didn't have reflex he would've been hit, but he had ducked to the side.

Law tried to stop Luffy, he really did, but the boy had possessed strength he didn't know he had.

"Fight me!"

"I'm not fighting you!" Ace shouted.

"Then you're going to get hurt." Luffy kept attacking him, trying to get a good punch at him. Ace kept dodging, not once fighting back. He had never fought Luffy. Sure, he had fought with other guys back in the day, but never once his little brother who knew nothing about fighting. To his surprise, Luffy was actually a decent fighter.

"Would you stop it!" Luffy kept at it. Clenching his jaw, Ace finally swung, hitting Luffy at his lower jaw. That's all it took for Luffy to go down. "Shit! Luffy, are you okay?" He didn't mean to do it but he wanted Luffy to stop attacking.

Before he could check on him, Luffy suddenly burst into laughter, freaking out both Law and Ace.

"You really hit me," Luffy said between laughs. "I didn't think you would," he sat up, touching his jaw, "and you can still beat me." He sounded proud. It might not be his brother that he grew up with, but they were strangely similar that it made Luffy beyond happy. He was relieved that Ace was capable of putting him in his place than treating him differently like his friends.

Law knelt down to check his face. Luckily, Ace didn't hit too hard. The purple bruise on his nose was far worse than the reddened cheek. "You're an idiot." He grabbed Luffy's hand to haul him up.

"I know," Luffy agreed with a bright smile. He felt a lot better.

"What happened to your phone? I've been trying to call you." Law huffed.

"I threw it in the lake."

"What!" Ace exclaimed, turning around to face the water.

"I wanted everyone to leave me alone," Luffy whispered. "They keep asking what's wrong and giving me sad looks. And..." He rubbed his arms, guiltily, yet continued when Law placed his hand on his shoulder, encouraging. "I punched Zoro."

Ace grimaced. "I don't even want to ask what happened."

"He told me everything in my head was not real—He made me really mad." Luffy scowled, remembering his words. "I know you guys don't believe it... but it's important to me."

"I believe you, Luffy," Law promised.

"Law." Ace's voice lingered with mild annoyance. He wished people would stop believing in Luffy's crazy imagination.

Luffy's eyes widened at his boyfriend's words. "Thanks. That means a lot." He hugged him, enjoying the comfort he was getting. Unknown to him, Ace and Law were glaring at one another. A silent communication being said between them.

Well, there went Law's chances of getting along with Ace.