You know, sometimes Portugas D Ace would love to have a drink in Albarna without having to deal with anyone chasing him, but, apparently that was too much to ask for. So, when a group of marines burst into the bar waving their guns, Ace ruefully left his unfinished drink, picked up his hat, and escaped out the conveniently placed window. He didn't even linger long enough to hear the glass shards hit the packed down sand; he ran forward, the back alleyways of Albarna flowing past him like a cinema reel. He dipped out of the way of boxes and barrels, and when he heard the clamor of another marine squadron coming his way, he whipped around a corner and right smack into an agora. Roadside shops and vendors filled the air with a buzzing energy, and children scampered past him. Ace tried to blend into the crowds, eyes continuously scanning the area for Marines.
He hadn’t been expecting to see anyone friendly, let alone her. She was cloaked in a heavy looking shawl, letting only wisps of her icy blue hair peek out from under the cloth. Now, what was the princess of this land doing in a marketplace unguarded like this? He began to strut over to her, prepping exactly how he would start a conversation, when the booming voices of marines came from behind him.
"There he is! Fire Fist Ace!"
Ace gritted a curse under his breath, but the word died on his lips when the princess whirled around at the sound of his name with those /beautiful/, hopeful eyes. Her face broke into a smile when she saw him, and he couldn't help but smile back. Maybe it hadn't been coincidental that he had returned to Alabasta to look for clues of Blackbeard's whereabouts; maybe there had been another strong force drawing him to the desert, and there she stood, meters away from him like an oasis in the dull, hot sand.
Ace's trance was halted when the troops of Navymen entered the square. Ace sprinted towards her and grabbed her wrist, "Heya, Vivi, long time no see, I wish we could talk, but right now, we've gotta run."
Vivi made a small noise of surprise when Ace suddenly pulled her forward and into a sprint. She brought a hand up to hold her headscarf on, and she let her other hand entwine into Ace's like two perfectly fitting puzzle pieces. They were running as quickly as they could, but the group of Marines was gaining on them. Ace had absolutely no clue where to go. He started to glance behind him to get Vivi's advice on where they should go, when she yanked him backwards into a hidden alleyway. Before Ace could say anything, he found himself face to face with Vivi in a darkened, abandoned alleyway. She had let go of his hand to adjust her headwrap, but her smile still sparkled in the limited lighting.
"Ace! I thought you were islands away!" She kept swaying closer to Ace, and he couldn't help but grin; dang, that smile of Vivi's was infectious. “Why didn’t you write me you were coming to Alabasta?”
"Well, I just happened to be in the area, you know." Ace pocketed his hands, trying to act as smooth as he could despite his sweaty palms and the butterflies in his stomach. "Didn’t know if you’d be busy with Princess things to attend to or—“
"He went this way!!"
"But which way?”
Ace's eyes flick to the sound, his mind going a mile a minute to find a new escape route.
"Why are the Marines chasing you?" Vivi couldn't hide the concern in her voice.
Ace shrugs, "They have nothing better to do, I guess."
He knew she didn’t believe him, but right now, he had to figure out how to get Vivi out of here. There’s no way he’s letting his bounty-bearing existence sully her royal name. She didn’t deserve that; she deserved everything in the world except for a vengeful, washed up pirate like him.
They both jumped as they hear an overzealous Marine round the corner. Ace twisted and rolled his shoulders back. If he could cause a distraction, Vivi could escape and—
Before he can finish his thought, Vivi’s scarf wraps around him and he’s yanked back around, and her lips are on his. Ace blinks hazily, and he can’t quite figure out why or how this was happening, but he wasn’t going to take it for granted. He’s dreamed of kissing this perfect woman for way too long. She smelled like lotus petals and expensive perfume, and her lips slid against his in the most perfect synchronization. Ace let his hands drop down to her waist as he pulled her closer. He doesn't even notice when the Marine points a gun into the alleyway, and then awkwardly scuttles away, mumbling an apology for interrupting and shouting to his companions to check the other direction.
Vivi broke the kiss, peeking over Ace’s broad shoulder. "Oh, good, they're gone."
As if she just realized what exactly she had done, Vivi lurched back and her cheeks flushed a deep red, "Oh! Um... I'm sorry about that, I thought it would make us more inconspicuous." She attempted to hide how flustered she was by flattening nonexistent wrinkles in her dress. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have just kissed you, I should’ve made sure you were okay with...” She trailed off, glancing back up at Ace with an insecure expression, and he wanted nothing more than to show her how he was so much more than okay with kissing her, with holding her, with everything about her.
Ace hesitantly let his hand brush her cheek as he tucked a few strands of her wave-like hair behind her ear, “What if I was okay with it?”
Her eyes widened and her lips parted just barely. He continued, “What if I’m okay with it tomorrow, and the day after that, and after that?” Ace couldn’t help but nervously smile, “What would you say if I’m completely okay with… what this could be. With us kissing and… stuff like that.” Stuff like that? Seriously, he couldn’t have worded this more awkwardly. He’s hopeless.
Vivi glanced down at her shoes before looking back up at Ace with her big, bashful eyes, and she slowly, almost uncertainly, took Ace’s hands in hers. She stood on tiptoes and lightly brushed her lips against the corner of Ace’s mouth.
“I would have to say that I’m ready for ‘stuff like that’.” Vivi chuckled, her happy effervescence filling Ace with an overflow of passion and euphoria, and when he caught her lips in his again, he figured things would be much more than okay with her.