Chapter 1: The Beginning of it All
There are other minor ships that happen in certain story paths. Collect them all! If I ever write them all...
"Please go out with me!"
"For the last time, I'm not interested!"
"I'm not going to be a replacement for my little brother. Just because he's gay that doesn't mean I am!"
"He's not your little brother, you're twins."
Smoker ground his teeth into his cigarette as he tried to out-walk the obnoxious bastard that insisted on following him. "He's still my younger brother. And being twins almost makes it worse. Just leave me alone!"
"But I was never interested in your brother! Smoker!" Ace frowned as he watched Smoker storm off ahead of him. What was he doing wrong? Was it something he'd said? Maybe he could try talking to Smoker's brother; get some advice. Ace whipped out his phone and scrolled to the very bottom of his contacts, pressing dial before bringing the phone to his ear, listening to it ring.
"H-Hello?" He sounded breathless, and there was rustling on the other end. Ace felt like he'd just intruded on something.
"Yeah, hey, Zoro, listen, I need to talk to you. Are you, uh, busy?"
There was grumbling on the other end of the line in a voice that was too smooth to be Zoro's. Oh yes, Ace had most definitely interrupted something.
"Err, do you think we could talk later? Hey, cut it out I'm on the phone! Sa—!" The line went dead, and Ace had his answer. He hung up his phone and put it away. Smoker was probably almost at his job by now. He hurried along, wanting to catch the man before the place got too busy.
Smoker, Zoro, Sanji, and one of Zoro's friends whose name escaped him for the moment, all worked part time at a local restaurant as waiters and kitchen assistants that catered to a mostly female clientele. Ace and the others had always teased them about working at what everyone secretly referred to as the "host club." But because it had recently become common knowledge that half the men working there were gay, the nickname was slowly changing to the "homo host club."
Ace requested a table that he knew was in Smoker's section, hiding behind his menu until Smoker came to take his order.
"Welcome to Alubarna, are you ready to place your order?"
Ace put down the menu, surprising the unsuspecting employee. "I would like 5 minutes with the waiter."
"Are you out of your mind? I could get fired!" Smoker brought his voice down to a deadly whisper. "If you're not going to order anything, then get out. I don't have the time or the patience right now."
"Then I'll have a coffee. Cream, no sugar."
Smoker grumpily took down the order, "You can add the cream yourself." He mumbled before going over to the complex, old-fashioned coffee machines. Ace watched as Smoker walked away, noticing how the short-sleeved button down showed off his strong arms and broad shoulders, how the belted pants showed off his narrow waist and hips and the curve of a muscular ass that led to strong legs. He wanted so badly to have Smoker on his back with his legs wrapped around his waist, panting and moaning his name as his face turned bright red. Suddenly, his view was cut off when Smoker went behind the counter; going to brew a mug of hot, pitch black, strong as hell coffee, the way he knew Ace liked it.
It was then that Smoker's brother, Zoro walked out from the kitchen. His face was still flushed from what Ace could only assume were kitchen shenanigans. Ace took a moment to watch Zoro as he carried a tray over to a table. He was most definitely quite a bit smaller than his brother; still strong and muscular, but more lean, a bit thinner with narrower shoulders. His hair was darker than Smoker's by quite a bit, and his face's default expression was much less scary and intimidating than Smoker. He watched as Zoro went over to the serving window to talk with Sanji for a second. His vision was blocked when an irritated waiter stepped in front of him.
"Your coffee." Smoker presented before stalking off, not giving Ace any time to say anything. The dejected youth looked back over at Zoro. He was cute, in all honesty, but he wasn't the one Ace wanted, not really. He'd completely blown his chance with the person he truly cared for. Ace poured a little cream in his coffee and stirred, thinking back to when it had all gone wrong. It had all started with one of Thatch's dumbass plans.
"Trust me, he won't know what hit him! He'll be all over you in no time." Those had been the reassuring words that had started the whole charade.
"You know, I'm gonna be the smart one here and tell you that this is just plain stupid. It doesn't work in the movies, why would it work now?" Marco interjected, somewhat cynically. He was the word of wisdom amongst the group, which meant his interjections oftentimes went unheeded.
"No, it only doesn't work in movies, because directors find it funnier when complicated plans like this don't work. However, we're not messing around. We're gonna get this to work no matter what, right Ace?"
Ace had been stupid enough to go along with his flamboyantly straight friend. "Alright, so you'll be my wingman, right?" He smirked, feeling just as confident as Thatch did.
"But of course!" Thatch gave him a manly thump on the back, something you wouldn't think a man who wore a silken neck scarf would do. "I have your back, man. Well, actually, with how the plan would have to work, Zoro'll have to be your wingman I suppose..."
"I'm telling you, you're gonna regret it." Marco said from where he was lounging against a tree. "You idiots are gonna mess this up. You can make someone believe you hate them for a hell of a lot longer than you can make them think you love them. It takes a lifetime to gain trust and only a second to lose it. How many more clichés am I gonna have to throw at you for it to sink in?"
"Ohh, quit being so damn negative. It's incredibly off putting." Thatch frowned and folded his arms.
"I'm not being negative, I'm being realistic. Jealousy will only breed contempt."
"Oh, shut up. You sound like an old man." Thatch dodged a well-aimed kick to his shins.
Ace watched as his friends went at it, still feeling remarkably confident despite Marco's warnings. "I'm gonna head over to Alubarna. I'll catch you guys later." The other two shouted their goodbyes as they continued their tussle. Ace just laughed before heading off towards the restaurant.
Once he got there, he was pleased to see that the twins were on duty. He took a seat in Zoro's section and waited for him to bring the menu.
"Oh, hey Ace! Been a while since I saw you here. What's up, man?" Zoro gave him one of his brightest smiles. The two were good friends, having met through Luffy and also having the misfortune of nearly failing chemistry together as lab partners.
"Not much. Just hangin in there." Ace flashed an equally broad grin, genuinely happy to see his friend again after having transferred schools. "Think you can si'down for a sec?"
Zoro looked around before taking a seat. "Something on your mind?"
"Ehh..." Ace looked around and had to hide a smirk when he saw Smoker looking at them out of the corner of his eye. "Your shift end soon? I kinda wanna talk about it elsewhere."
Zoro's brow furrowed with concern. "Yeah, dude. Sure. I get off in, like, an hour and a half, so you'll have to wai—"
"Zoro! Get your lazy ass back to work!"
Ace chuckled a bit at Zoro's horrified face. "I'll have a cheeseburger'n sweet potato fries."
"You can have a good kick in the ass if you don't get the hell out of here. You're gonna get me fired, you bastard." Ace let out a belt of laughter as Zoro scurried to the service window, dropping off Ace's order and picking up the two trays he had to deliver to his waiting customers.
"Try pulling your weight around here, dumbass! Don't keep the customers waiting!" Sanji scolded through the little window.
"Shut up and get back in the kitchen where you belong, curly cook!"
Ace watched as Zoro and Sanji argued for a moment before Zoro hurried off to deliver food. Ace quirked an inquisitive eyebrow when he noticed the way Sanji kept staring, even after Zoro had left. 'How very interesting...'
Once Zoro clocked out, he met up with Ace just outside. "Well, I got yelled at. No thanks to you." He smacked Ace upside the head and got a gentle punch in the arm in return. "So, what's up? What is this big mystery you couldn't tell me inside?" Zoro was overly dramatic as he asked, chuckling a bit until he saw Ace's expression. "Hey, dude, are you okay?"
Ace turned and pushed Zoro up against the wall, his forearms flat against it on either side if Zoro's face. They were incredibly close, kissing distance. That is, if they had been at all interested in kissing each other.
"Oi, you're really close."
"Any particular reason?"
"Oh." The silence wasn't awkward, but it was long. Ace was the one who eventually broke it, not feeling the need to remove himself from Zoro's bubble of personal space.
"You know I'm bi, right?"
"I had a hunch."
"And you're gay, right?"
"What're you trying to get at?"
Ace turned and saw Smoker leave the building. He had to act now. He pressed his and Zoro's foreheads together and closed his eyes. "I need you to do me a favor."
Smoker looked over and saw Ace pressed up against his brother in the adjacent alleyway, his leg snug between Zoro's and their faces so close together that with only the slightest nudge their lips would meet. He felt his cigarette slide from between his lips, dropping to the ground to join his broken heart. He turned away, hoping that they hadn't seen him, and hurried home.
Zoro heard the crunching of gravel and quickly turned to see who had caught them. "Hey...hey, wait that was my brother!" Zoro pushed Ace away. "Shit, what if he misunderstood?" Zoro frowned, "Did you plan that?"
Ace folded his arms and leaned back against the wall, not saying anything.
Zoro sighed, running a hand through his green hair. "I wish you wouldn't pull shit like that. I'm gonna get my ass beaten the second I get home."
"You can handle yourself in a fight just fine."
"That's not the problem." Zoro sighed, "You said you needed a favor from me?" Zoro was a bit reluctant to grant Ace a favor after the stun he just pulled.
"...There's this guy—"
"Oh, come on Zoro! I really need your help." He folded his hands and gave the marimo head his best puppy dog pout. "Pleeease?"
"No. Absolutely not." Zoro crossed his arms and closed his eyes. "I'm not going to help you make my brother jealous. I can't do that to him. Plus it'd just be weird. No offense, but you're not exactly my type."
"Oh come off it. Sanji and I are more similar than you'd think."
"What! No, I—I don't—"
"Yeah, yeah. All I'm saying is that it could help you out as well. That blondie's the jealous sort."
"How would you know?"
"Just trust me."
Zoro gave him a suspicious look, "You're not trying to set me up with your sloppy seconds are you?"
Ace blinked for a moment before he burst out laughing, startling an innocent passer-by. "Good god, no. I mean we get along fine, but we aren't really...compatible."
"We're both tops, Zoro." Ace smirked as Zoro's face lit up a brilliant shade of vermillion. "What, you didn't know that and you had your eyes on him?" Ace turned to start walking. "Sanji is many things, an insatiable pervert being one of them, but a docile bottom he is not."
Zoro followed Ace out of the alley, a frown setting in.
"What, are you disappointed?"
Zoro was silent for a while before he mumbled bashfully. "...I'm not getting topped by Sanji."
"You haven't gotten topped already?"
"What the hell are you talking about!"
"...I could've sworn you two were at least casual..."
"Of course not! He's an obnoxious, pompous bastard that flirts with anything beautiful and feminine. In case you haven't noticed, I'm neither."
"I wouldn't say that." Zoro was very beautiful, in a different way than women were, but he was.
"Screw you. Anyways, there's no way I'm letting that wimpy ass cook top me. Never."
"You say that now." Ace smirked, "Just you wait and see. That is, if you get together."
Zoro grumbled as he walked alongside Ace. The two of them soon got back to a more normal sort of conversation: the fight last night, dumbasses at school, college applications. Everything was all well and good until Ace kept following Zoro when he should've turned left to go home.
"Why're you following me?"
"Come on, I waited around till 9:30 on my Friday night for your shift to end. The least you can do is feed me."
"You only waited around for your own personal vendetta. Plus you got my bro all pissed at me. No way are you coming over."
"I can save you from your brother's wrath."
"You'll make it worse."
Ace frowned before he felt one of his narcoleptic fits hit him. He heard Zoro shout something and felt his body getting caught before he blacked out all together.
Zoro was now in a real conondrum. He didn't want to take Ace back to his house, but Ace's house was further away. What should he do?
A) Take Ace to Zoro's House (Next Chapter)
B) Take Ace Home (Chapter 7)
Chapter 2: It'll Be Fun
When Ace woke, he was inside Zoro's home. Zoro and his mother were looking over him with very different expressions on their faces. Zoro's was annoyed, while his mother smiled gently.
"Oh good, Luffy's brother is awake!" She brought her hands to her face. "If he'd been in trouble, Luffy would be upset."
"Mom, Ace has a name. Try to remember it...And quit creeping on my friend." Zoro cringed, "It weirds him out...and me too."
Hancock looked down at her son disapprovingly. "Why can't you be more like Luffy?" Her voice was taught as she spoke down at her son. She huffed and turned away, walking back into the kitchen.
Ace chuckled a bit before sitting up. "Sorry about that. I always seem to cause trouble for you."
"No doubt about that."
"Tch, you could've denied it." Ace pouted. He hadn't expected Zoro to agree so readily.
"A fib is one thing, a bold faced lie is another." Zoro folded his arms, frowning right back at Ace. "I bet you faked it just cause I said you couldn't come over."
"Bastard, you know those fits are real!"
"Yeah, sure. And you just 'happen' to faint whenever it's convenient for you. Like when you left me on my own for the chem exam."
"You're such a baby, get over it already! Why do you always blame this shit on me?"
"Because I wouldn't have to deal with this shit in the first place if you could go a day without your stupid ass fainting spells!"
"Screw you, ya bastard!" Ace tackled Zoro to the floor, the two of them wrestling around on the living room floor, hurling insults and rolling around, grappling at each other until Zoro finally had Ace pinned; an unusual outcome. He was straddling Ace's waist, legs clamped tight around Ace's hips. Ace's hands were pinned up by his head.
"Che, you're losing your touch, Ace." Zoro's cocky smirk grew wider as he loosened his grip on Ace's wrists, preparing to let go. Suddenly, Zoro was gone and a socked foot was in its place.
"I'm watching TV. You guys wanna fight, do it where I can't see you." Smoker had a fresh bag of popcorn in his hand and a can of soda in the other. He plopped down on the couch and flipped on the television.
Zoro sat up from where he was sprawled on the floor, clutching where his head had hit the leg of the coffee table. "Ow! Bastard, what the hell was that for! That fuckin hurt!"
"Watch your language, son." Mihawk scolded from the next room.
"Sorry Dad..." Zoro grumbled, glaring up at Smoker.
Smoker stared back, a look in his eyes that clearly expressed that they had serious business to discuss when they were alone. "I'm watching TV. Now, leave." Smoker glanced at Ace briefly before going back to the TV, frown deepening.
Ace felt the little light bulb go off above his head. "Why? Can't we watch TV too?" Ace got up and went to sit on the couch, his arms resting on the back of the couch, the fingertips of his left hand barely tickling the tips of Smoker's silvery hair. He had to keep from smirking when he saw Smoker twitch, shifting in his seat awkwardly. Ace noticed the look of 'what the hell do you think you're doing' Zoro shot at him, but he ignored it.
"I told you idiots to leave." Smoker remarked, a little less harsh than the last time. To Ace, it was obvious that he wanted them gone a little less than he had before.
"Aw, come on, when's the last time the three of us all raised hell together?" Ace scooted closer and wrapped a playful arm around Smoker, patting him on the chest. "Come oooon~ don't be such a grump!" He leaned in and whispered in Smoker's ear, "It'll be fun, yeah?"
"Let go of me!" Smoker threw Ace off of him and gathered up his stuff. He hurried out of the room and ran up the stairs, two at a time. His heavy boots could be heard as he stomped to his room and slammed his door.
Zoro looked back over at Ace, a harsh scowl setting in. "You can be a real asshole sometimes, you know that?" He stood up and hurried upstairs after his brother, calling out to him.
"What did I do!" Ace was left alone in the living room, having not expected either reaction from the twins. He'd expected Zoro to understand what he was trying to do, and he'd expected Smoker to come along with them. He'd clearly made Smoker jealous; why wasn't he trying to win Ace from his brother? It didn't make sense to the freckled teen.
A few minutes later, there was the slamming of a door, a loud thump and a bump and angry shouting coming from upstairs, and Ace immediately became worried. He shot up off the couch and ran up the creaky wooden steps. It took him a moment to remember which room was Smoker's, but when he heard another crash he hurried to the appropriate door, throwing it open.
Smoker was standing over his brother, shouting down at him, fists clenched and face red. Zoro was on the floor, hand over his left eye as he tried to scoot away. Ace was shocked to see his nose start bleeding.
Before he thought about what he was doing, Ace hurried forward and wrapped his arms under and around Smoker's, restraining him by the shoulders so he couldn't lunge at Zoro again. "Smoker, dude! Calm down, man!"
"Let go! Don't you fucking touch me!" Smoker knocked the back of his head into Ace's face. It hurt like hell and Ace instinctively let go, bringing a hand to this throbbing nose. He was amazed his didn't start bleeding as well.
"How could you do that to me, Zoro!" He shouted, advancing towards his brother. "You're my brother for gods sakes! My god damned twin!"
Ace moved to hold Smoker back again when Zoro glared at him from the floor. "Ace, it'd be better if you left."
"But, Zoro we—"
"Ace, now." Smoker lunged at him again, getting on the floor to wrestle with his brother. Their hands laced together and it became a battle of brute strength. "Dammit, GO!"
Ace furrowed his brow in confusion and a bit of hurt before turning and hurrying to leave. He called out to Zoro's parents, thanking him for letting him stay, even if only for a short while, and headed out, leaving the brothers to their own devices.
"There you are! We were wondering where you were. You shoulda called if you were going to stay out. Dadan was worried sick about you." Sabo was sitting on the living room couch next to Luffy, playing his newest game. They'd paused it when they heard Ace's key jiggle the lock.
"The old bag can take a chill pill. I'm not in the mood to get scolded right now."
"Yeah, well, it's not Dadan you should worry about. The old man dropped by, and he was pissed that you weren't there. Luffy got the brunt of it."
"Ace, you suck." Luffy whined from where he lay on the floor, pouting as he stared at the paused screen. He was sporting a bruise in the middle of his forehead where Garp had probably smacked him.
"I'm gonna call child services on that bastard, I swear." Ace got down in front of Luffy and checked him over. "Well, you seem alright. What'd you do to piss him off?"
"I didn't know it was his dinner...I thought it was yours..." Luffy was flicked on his bruise by his irritated older brother.
"Don't you touch my food!" Ace scolded, a tick on his brow as he got up and went to sit on the couch. "How're you feeling Sabo? Shouldn't you be sleeping?"
"Naw, I go in for treatment tomorrow. The meds'll knock me out all weekend. I wanna enjoy at least my Friday before I spend the next couple days in bed." He started up the game again, catching Luffy off guard.
"Hey, Sabo, you bastard! That's cheating!" Luffy quickly sat up and tried to fight back, but he was already beyond help.
"Haha! That's 3 out of 5. My win. I get all your deserts this weekend!" Sabo laughed victoriously as Luffy whined and moaned on the floor. Sometimes, it was hard to believe that he was a junior in high school.
Ace knew Sabo wouldn't really hold Luffy to it; he was far too nice. He got satisfaction out of just having won. Now against Ace, he would've definitely kept his promise.
Ace leaned over until he fell onto his side, head landing on his foster brother's lap. Sabo didn't even flinch when he felt the head hit his thigh.
"Something on your mind?" Ace didn't say anything but he heaved a huge sigh, closing his eyes when he felt Sabo massage his scalp. He smiled; Ace loved having his scalp massaged. "It'll be okay, Ace."
"I hope so."
o()o Earlier o()o
"Smoker! Come on, open up!"
Smoker was sitting against his door, arms resting on his bent knees as he glared straight ahead. He was trying to contain his anger towards his brother, but his patience was wearing thin.
"Smoker, it's not what you think!" Zoro insisted, "Open up, dammit!"
Smoker stood up and threw the door open, hitting Zoro square in the face.
"Ow! What the fu—" Smoker cut him off by dragging his brother into the room and closing the door again. He quickly turned back to Zoro and punched him in the face.
"How could you do that to me!" Smoker felt the prickle of angry tears in the corner of his eyes. "You know how I feel about him, dammit! After I finally fucking confided in you, you turn around and stab me in the fucking back!"
"I'm telling you it wasn't like that!"
"Oh bullshit!" Smoker shoved him, sending Zoro to the floor with a loud clatter. "That's the oldest excuse in the god damned books! Why are you doing this to me?"
It was then that Ace burst through the door and grabbed Smoker around his arms. At first, Smoker was embarrassed, thinking that Ace had maybe overheard, but then he remembered why he was angry in the first place.
"Let go! Don't you fucking touch me!" He reared back and hit Ace with the back of his head, and was instantly released.
"How could you do that to me, Zoro!" He refused to cry, he wasn't the type to cry anyhow. He wouldn't waste tears on these morons. "You're my brother, for gods sakes! My god. damned. twin!"
He was breaking; he absolutely couldn't break. When he heard Ace speak again, his vision went red. He dove at his brother, not even forming words and just shouting angrily as he wrestled with his brother.
Eventually, Zoro flipped them and pinned him down. "Would you just listen!"
Smoker's arms slowly relaxed and his face softened. He looked around and saw that Ace had left; he hadn't even noticed. He brought his hands up to his face, pressing his palms against his eyes as he tried to keep from crying.
Zoro sighed and climbed off his brother, sitting beside Smoker, watching his brother silently sob.
"It hurts, Zoro." Smoker mumbled in a warbled voice, "It really, really hurts."
"I'm sorry." Zoro really was. He hadn't meant for this to happen, and he was sure Ace hadn't either. He didn't want to see his brother suffer, but he also didn't want to break his promise to keep their plan a secret. He watched his brother with sad eyes as Smoker shook with the pain of a heartbreak.
A) Confess about the plan. (Next Chapter)
B) Keep it a secret.
Chapter 3: For Shit's and Giggles
Zoro looked at his brother, sighing before he began to speak. "...Ace was just trying to help me make someone jealous..." He figured it couldn't hurt to tell Smoker what was going on. Zoro smiled when Smoker snorted with what he could only assume was amusement. Or maybe it was disbelief. "I know, stupid right?"
"That kinda shit only happens in bad movies." Smoker wiped furiously at his eyes before letting out a huge sigh. "I know that that couldn't have been your crack-brained idea."
"That obvious?" Smoker gave him a look. "...Yeah, it was Ace's idea. We were...supposed to help each other make...other people jealous."
"You're a moron."
"It wasn't my idea."
"You went along with it." The brothers stared at each other a moment before heaving simultaneous sighs. "So, who was Ace trying to piss off?"
"I wouldn't say 'try.' He was pretty damn successful." Smoker looked at him, confused. Now it was Zoro's turn to give his brother an incredulous look. "You wanna be a detective so bad, you figure it out." He stood up and went over to the door. "Come on. We gotta get that soda out of the rug before Dad throws a fit."
Smoker looked over to where Zoro had pointed. There was a nasty brown splotch and crumbles of crushed popcorn everywhere. He'd forgotten that he'd brought those up here after his little temper tantrum. They must've gotten crushed during his fight with Zoro. Whoops.
"Yeah, sure." He mumbled, following behind Zoro. He thought back to earlier, seeing Ace pressed up against his brother in the alley, seeing Zoro walk through their door with an unconscious Ace on his back, watching the unconscious form like a creep from the next room while Zoro and his mother fussed over their guest. Then, Ace being so close to him, arm around him as he patted his chest and whispered in his ear, and the shocks his overactive hormones sent straight to his groin. He cursed his pale skin when he felt his face heat up.
"Hou," Smoker looked up at Zoro's smirking face, "looks like someone finally figured it out."
Smoker stared at his brother a moment longer than necessary, trying not to betray his inner emotions as he thought of a comeback. "At least I'm not trying to get topped a breast-obsessed sissy with curly eyebrows."
Smoker's jibe had the desired outcome: Zoro's face lit up and he spluttered with indignation. "I'm not getting topped by Sanji!"
"Don't yell unless you want them to find out you're gay. And a bottom no less."
"For the last time, I'm not. And besides, Mom might not care...maybe..." Zoro did lower his voice though. He was afraid of what his father would think if he found out both his sons were gay.
"I'm hooooome~ Smoker, Zoro! I need you to beat someone up for me!"
"What's she doing, coming home so late." Smoker frowned as he folded his arms. "Bet she was out with that Moria bastard and his gang of creeps."
Zoro was more forgiving, or tolerant rather, of their younger sister and her antics than Smoker was. He went to the top of the stairs so he could look down at the foyer. "Where've you been?"
"None of your business!" Perona pouted, "But I need you to beat someone up for me~"
Zoro sighed and was about to respond when Mihawk decided to make his appearance. "You're late." His tone was level, but it sent shivers down the three teenager's spines. Even though the twins weren't the ones in trouble, it was still scary as hell. Their father was not one to be disobeyed.
"I...I was just..." Perona looked around awkwardly, suddenly very meek while under the hard gaze of her father.
"This is the third time this week, Perona. You're grounded. No phone."
"Whaaat? That's not fair! I have plans!"
"Now you don't. And now you don't have Internet either." Perona had to bite her lips to keep from arguing back. "Up to your room. Go."
Perona gave one more hateful glare before tearing up the stairs, pushing past her brothers and marching straight to her room, slamming the gaudily decorated door.
Zoro and Smoker silently communicated with pointed looks and harsh gesticulations, neither one of them wanting to have to play big brother. Perona was often impossible to talk to, and even more impossible to console.
"Zoro, come down here. Your mother and I want to speak with you." Mihawk called from the bottom of the stairs.
Zoro threw up a victorious "peace" before running downstairs, leaving Smoker with their undoubtedly crying younger sister. The gray-haired boy let out an exasperated sigh. He'd just dealt with his own drama, he didn't need his sister's too. He went up to Perona's door and knocked gently, being careful not to hit any of the decorations.
"Go away! I wanna be left alone!" Her reaction was predictable, but it wasn't honest.
"Perona, open up." Smoker called quietly, but firmly.
"No! I wanna talk to Zoro!" She whined before flopping back down onto her bed, face first, wailing into one of her plush pillows.
Smoker gesticulated angrily, gripping his hair and trying not to scream with frustration. What was with this favoritism towards his brother? Before his sisters had left for college, they had been the favorites. He didn't get it, and it pissed him off. "You know what, forget it, I've got my own drama to deal with. I don't need yours too." Smoker turned away and headed back towards his room. He halted when he heard Perona's door squeak open.
"You-You have drama?" She sniffed, wiping her eyes and smearing her eye makeup. "You never have drama. I wanna hear about it."
Smoker grimaced a bit, not sure how to feel about his sister's morbid fascination with others' misfortune. However, something made him walk back over to Perona's room, going through her door and closing it, feeling like he'd condemned himself.
"You're gay?" Perona's mouth dropped open in disbelief. Apparently, nothing else from Smoker's story had seeped in. "I mean...I figured about Zoro when he came home with those piercings—"
"Piercings don't make you gay."
"—but I never thought you would be!" Perona crossed her arms and sat back down on her bed, red lip jutting out in a pout. "Just my luck, I got gay, twin brothers. How cliché."
"Not like I wanted to be...gay. Besides, I don't like putting a label on it. I'll like who I like. If I like a girl, I like a girl. This time, I just happen to like a guy."
"Apparently, you like assholes." She rested her chin on her knees. "But I always thought Ace was a good guy."
"He is a good guy. He's just a moron." Smoker was lying back on Perona's black with pink polka dots, silken comforter, his pale skin and white hair contrasting with her bedding spectacularly.
"So you like morons."
"No! I just, well, ye—no! I...arrrgh..." Smoker ran his hands over his face. "Let's just talk about your drama, alright?"
"No, this is much more interesting." Perona pressed, scooching closer to Smoker's side. "Come on, what else!"
"There really isn't anything left to say."
"Oh, come oooon~" Perona whined, "You gotta gimme the detaaails~" She poked Smoker in the cheek a couple times.
"Knock it off." He flinched away, but he couldn't really move anymore than that without rolling over or getting up all together.
"Come on, just like, like tell me about how you met." She continued her prodding, trying to get the words she wanted to hear out of her brother.
"I met him the same way you did, through Zoro."
"Then tell me what you find attractive about him." She was beginning to get annoyed with her brothers' seeming lack of interest in girly talk. She thought gay guys liked gossip. Just her luck, her brothers were the boring type.
"Then tell me what you find so attractive about that freak you hang out with."
Perona's face scrunched up with indignation. "I-I do NOT find Moria attractive! I just...appreciate his lifestyle." She crossed her arms and looked up and away, huffing a bit.
The door burst open and Zoro came in, slamming it behind him.
"Hey! Careful! You'll knock everything—" Perona stopped scolding once she noticed the look on Zoro's face. "Zoro, are you okay? What's with your face?"
Smoker sat up and looked over at his brother. "What's the matter with you?" As Zoro made his way over, Perona and Smoker made room for their brother. He flopped down on his stomach between his siblings, not moving and definitely not saying anything.
"What's gotten into him?" Perona frowned, wanting to understand what was going on. First Smoker and now Zoro? She'd always perceived her brothers as being the stoic type; she wasn't used to this much disturbance.
Zoro took a long sniff, the kind one took when they were recovering from a good cry. This sent off the warning bells between Smoker and Perona.
"Zoro, what's wrong!" Zoro felt his sister drape herself over him, trying to hug him while he was lying down. "What happened!"
"Did it have something to do with what Dad called you down for?"
Zoro was still for a moment before nodding as best he could while his face was buried in the bedspread. Smoker felt it was his duty as the big brother to try and help comfort his twin. He gently, and somewhat awkwardly—Smoker wasn't typically one for affectionate gestures—began to stroke Zoro's hair, looking away with embarrassment.
"We can talk when you're ready to. You don't have to say anything now."
"What? Yes he does!"
"Perona, shut up."
"Jerk! You shut up, stuuuupid!" She stuck out her tongue. "Since when do you care about feelings?"
"Zoro's my bother, of course I care. I'm human too, in case you forgot."
"Thank you for reminding me, it completely slipped my mind. You're always so grumpy and unemotional I forget there's a heart in there! However small and frozen it may be."
"Deep words. You get that from a cheesy, low-budget, daytime movie? Or did you manage to rub those few brain cells together and create that all on your own?"
There was a soft chuckle that rumbled beneath them. "God, you two never shut up." Zoro rolled over to reveal his reddened face and eyes. His eyes were a bit on the puffy side and the corners were damp. "I'm fine, it's nothing. Really."
Smoker brought a hand to Zoro's face and wiped away a forming tear. "That's not what these say."
"Are you really crying, Zoro?"
"No, he's faking it for shits and giggles."
"Shut up, bastard!"
"Don't use that kinda language, Perona." Zoro responded automatically. He wiped his eyes and smiled up at them weakly. "Well," he looked up at Smoker, "they know."
"Know what?" Perona asked, still not getting it.
"That I'm gay."
The three of them were silent for a minute, not quite sure what to do about the heavy, awkward atmosphere. "Er...did you tell them about me?" Perhaps it hadn't been the most sensitive thing Smoker could've managed, but he was curious regardless.
"No. You can take that shit storm on yourself, jackass." Zoro grumbled, frown setting in.
"I didn't mean it like that. Just...maybe if you told them about me...it'd..."
"No, it'd make it worse." Zoro let out a long sigh.
"So, what happened? When you told them?" Perona picked up where Smoker had left off and brought up a hand to start fiddling with Zoro's hair. She noticed that it'd gotten longer recently.
"Apparently the neighbors have been talking. They don't seem to appreciate having a faggot bringing his "friends" around and corrupting their kids. Mom doesn't want us hanging around Ace either. She blames him for the rumors. Her exact words were "how dare they accuse you of being gay. I raised you kids better than that.""
Smoker felt his heart sting at that. They didn't want them around Ace? The one who had taken the place in his heart reserved for his first serious infatuation with another person? It was unthinkable! Not that he'd say anything like that aloud.
"...And?" Perona pressed.
"...Then I told her it was true. I'm gay. Mom was close to fainting and had to sit down for a while. Dad..." He took a shaky sigh. "Dad said that...he was going to leave for a while, and when he came back, we'd talk. Mom eventually recovered from her spell before she started crying. I tried to talk to her, but she kicked me out of the kitchen. Said it pained her to be in the same room as me." Zoro felt fresh tears welling up again, and Smoker used the sleeve of his hoodie to try and wipe them as they fell, but there were too many of them, and his cuff was getting soaked.
"Waaahhh~" Perona cried along with her brother. "I'm sorry Zo~chan," she always used that old nickname when she was upset, "I'll still love you, though!" She clung to Zoro and wept, sniveling and sobbing more than Zoro was.
Smoker grit his teeth and furrowed his brow. "I'm going to go talk to them." He stood up off the bed and went to the door.
"Wait, no!" Zoro sat up and reached a hand out. "Don't...let me talk to them."
"Let me play big brother for a bit."
"You're not my big brother, you're my twin."
"Those 12 minutes say I'm older." Smoker smirked a bit, "I'm going and you can't stop me." Smoker turned and left, closing the door behind him. They could hear him tromp down about the first 5 steps, but after that they couldn't hear anything else.
Perona was still holding Zoro close as their last few tears stopped flowing. "You can let go now." He mumbled.
"A-Ah, yeah..." Perona responded awkwardly. When she was crying for selfish or childish reasons, she had no problem clinging to someone, usually Zoro, but when it came to deeper emotion, she was awkward about it, as their entire family seemed to be. She cleared her throat and tried to get over the awkwardness she felt by asking an even more awkward question. "So, are you a top or a bottom?"
Smoker hesitantly walked into the kitchen where his mom was still sitting. She had made herself a cup of tea and was slowly dipping the tea bag, clearly lost in thought.
Hancock jumped a little at the intrusion. She looked up and saw that her son was standing in the doorway. "You startled me."
Smoker stepped in and stood at the opposite side of the table. He didn't want to beat around the bush, so he got straight to the point. "Zoro's really upset."
"Oh, god, please don't talk to me about your brother right now."
"Because!" She glared up at her other son.
"Because why? You don't want to come to terms with your son being gay?"
"That's enough, Smoker."
"He's still your son. He was crying up there!"
"He's the good one! He's always done everything for you guys! How can you dismiss him like that at the drop of—"
"I said, that's enough!" Hancock stood from the table, eyes hard, but with tears in the corners. Her lip was trying not to tremble as she spoke. "That's enough."
Smoker frowned and went to his mom, putting a hand on her shoulder as she sat back down. "I know you don't want to hear this, but..." Smoker took a deep breath. "Zoro can't be the only one to—"
"Please, just...just don't." Hancock buried her face in her hands, crying quietly. "What did I do wrong...why did it turn out like this..."
"Mom, it's not your fault..." Smoker frowned, folding his arms in front of his chest. "Is it really so bad that we're gay?"
Hancock let out another sob, turning her body away from her son. She never saw the dejected look on his face as she muttered into her tear coated hands. "Please, just leave..."
A) Leave the house
B) Go back upstairs (Next Chapter)
Chapter 4: Semantics
Smoker glared at his mother before he turned around and hurried back upstairs to Perona's room. The door was open, but no one was in there. He went back to his and Zoro's room and saw the two of them playing video games on the little TV that sat on Smoker's dresser.
The pair paused when Smoker came in. "So," Zoro scooted over on his bed to make room, "what happened?"
"You were right. I think I made it worse." He sighed, "Hand me a controller."
Zoro quirked an eyebrow, "Are you sure you're okay?" He asked as he handed Smoker a controller.
Smoker snorted a slight laugh as he took the controller and sat down next to Zoro. "I'm fine. I'm not a wimpy crybaby like you are." The insult would've held more sting if he hadn't been halfway towards laughing while he said it.
Zoro chuckled some. "Shut up, you bastard. That's total bullshit."
"I wasn't the one who cried almost every time I fell off my bike."
"I was 4!"
"So was I."
"And you pushed me off."
Zoro punched Smoker in the arm and he was quickly rewarded with revenge two-fold.
"You guys~" Perona whined, "Quit fighting! I can't hear the game!"
"Hey, you started up again without me!" Zoro cried indignantly from where he was pinned under his brother's arm.
Perona dropped her voice low to mimic her brother's voice in the most stupid sounding way possible. "Well, duuuh. You guys wouldn't shut up."
"Hey, I wanna play! Smoker, let me up." Smoker gave one last noogie before letting Zoro up, watching as his brother quickly reclaimed his controller before picked up his own.
"You gonna play, Smoker?"
"Yeah I'm gonna play. It's my game, you morons." As the three of them played, they quickly became fully immersed in their battle. So much so, they almost didn't notice when Smoker's phone go off.
"Aren't you gonna get that?" Perona asked as the phone chirped away, slightly irritated by the distracting noise. It was pulling her out of her intense gaming zone.
"Naw, it's probably a robo-call. Been getting a lot of those cause of the elections coming up. Besides, I'd rather rot my brain with this nonsense than to talk to some obnoxious computer." Smoker seized the moment when Zoro got distracted by the phone, sending Zoro's character off the screen.
"Haha!" Perona cried triumphantly. "Now you have to go get snacks, Zoro!" She was more than thrilled to have lasted longer than her over competitive brothers for once, even if she did still have Smoker to beat.
"Hey, I was the one who defeated him. I should be the one to make the demands around here."
Zoro wasn't even paying attention as he looked for his brother's phone. He'd felt the vibrations when it went off, and he was curious about who it could be. Mostly because this was the third time they had tried to call. He already had a sneaking suspicion about who it was, but he just wanted to confirm.
"Zoro, just leave it."
"Ah, found it." Zoro picked up the phone just as the ringing stopped. "3 missed calls from Portgas Ace." He reported.
Smoker felt a tick form on his brow. "Then definitely leave it." The phone started buzzing again, but the battery died out on the second ring.
"Your battery died." Zoro sighed and looked over at Smoker who was now battling Perona alone. "You can't just ignore him like this."
"Yes I can."
"It's not fair to him."
"Hey, hey~ Are we gonna talk about Ace now?" All of Perona's interest transferred right over to her brothers, subsequently resulting in a win for Smoker. Not a very satisfying one, but a win nonetheless.
"No, we're not. There's nothing to talk about."
Perona cried in frustration as she flopped back onto the bed. "You're so boring I can hardly stand it!" She rolled onto her side and glared past Zoro at him. "You grumpy old man!"
"Shut up, I'm not grumpy!"
"You were born grumpy." Zoro teased.
"Grumpy geezer." Perona and Zoro smirked at each other as they pestered their brother. It was one of the few times they ever worked towards a common goal.
"I am not! Look, I don't see what would be so interesting about talking about Ace. Why not ask Zoro who he's interested in for a change." Smoker set up a new battle, this time with CPUs as well.
"Cause Zoro already told me about it. He's not an uptight old man like you."
"Che, whatever." Smoker frowned as they started playing again. Just as the battle was getting good, there was a knock at their door before Mihawk walked in.
"Smoker, Zoro, can I talk to you for a moment?" Mihawk beckoned his two sons before turning to leave when he spotted the stain on the carpet. He looked back up at his boys with a disapproving look before heading out the door.
"Shit, did we forget to clean that up?" Zoro whispered as he slid off the bed.
"Guess so." Smoker was right behind him, following Zoro out and down.
Mihawk sat down in his favorite armchair while the boys sat on the couch. Their mom was nowhere to be seen, so they could safely assume she'd gone to bed.
"So, er, Dad, What's going on?" Smoker asked, fingers fiddling with each other as he waited for what was to come.
"Boys, there's something that your Mother and I have decided to finally confess to."
Smoker and Zoro shared a confused look before turning back to their father.
"Before we knew your mother was pregnant with you two, we had a brief separation." This was news to both boys. Their eyes widened simultaneously, but they said nothing. "During that time, we entertained the idea of being with other people."
Smoker and Zoro looked at each other before looking back at their dad. They weren't sure about all this, and they didn't know whether or not they really wanted to hear about this.
"...To cut this story short and to quite possibly make it as awkward as possible, when your mother called me to tell me she was pregnant with you two, I was in someone else's bed."
The twin's mouths dropped open.
Their chins smashed through the floor. This didn't sound like their father in the slightest.
"It greatly upset your mother, not to mention all the slander she got for my mistake. We even had to move to a new town. She's had her suspicions about you two for a little while now, but it's bringing up old memories and is really upsetting her. She just doesn't want our family to go through that mess again." He looked both of his sons in the eye in turn. "Smoker, Zoro, I want you two to know that we aren't against you. It's our issue, and we're the ones who have to resolve it. But we would still like for you two to avoid drawing unnecessary attention."
Smoker and Zoro were still trying to wrap their heads around their father's earlier confession. However, they didn't have time to properly process the information before Mihawk stood up again. "Now, go clean up that splotch on the rug before it becomes an unsightly stain." And with that, he disappeared as if he hadn't just dropped the biggest bomb he could manage on his sons.
The two sat in silence a moment more before Smoker spoke up. "Damn...I wasn't expecting that at all..."
"I kinda didn't want to know that Dad shacked up with some guy."
"Yeah..." They turned to look at each other. "You know," Zoro continued, "we have one majorly fucked up family."
"Dammit!" Ace cried as he threw his phone down onto his bed. He'd tried calling Smoker at least 6-7 times, but not once did he pick up. The 4th time he tried to call, his call was disconnected almost instantly, which probably meant that Smoker had hung up on him. However, now none of his calls were even ringing, going straight to voicemail instead. Ace could only assume that Smoker had turned off his phone. He decided to call once more and simply listened to the sound of Smoker's voice as the voicemail message played. He must've seemed like a desperate stalker with how many times he'd called. He definitely felt like a desperate stalked, especially the desperate part. He couldn't get thoughts of Smoker out of his head and as his imagination spiraled, he felt himself get more and more desperate.
"Ace, seriously, it's late. He's not going to pick up any time soon. Just go to bed." Sabo complained from where he lay in bed across the room. Luffy was already asleep in the bunk above Ace, the beeping of Sabo's monitor the only other sound in the room besides Luffy's snoring.
"Sorry..." He mumbled before rolling over in bed with his phone clasped in his hands. He stared at it a moment before getting up and opening the window, climbing out onto the roof and closing the window back most of the way. He sat down and stared out over his tiny, mostly dirt back yard before calling Smoker one more time.
"Hey, you've reached my voicemail. Sorry I couldn't answer, but leave me a message and I'll call you back soon as I can...Uh, Bye." Ace always smiled when he heard Smoker's voicemail. Suddenly he realized that it had beeped and he was being recorded.
"Yeah, hey, Smoker..."
Ace climbed back in through the window as quietly as he could. Sabo and Luffy were both snoring away as he crawled into bed. He'd had to record his message many times over before he felt it was good enough to send. He just hoped Smoker would listen.
Smoker and Zoro were finally just climbing into bed when their father reappeared in their doorway. "Before you go to bed I want that popcorn and soda cleaned up. It's not sitting on the carpet all night."
"Really, Zoro. Now."
Zoro and Smoker let out grunts of annoyance as they picked themselves up and went to the hallway closet to get the little dust buster and the carpet cleaning solution.
"Oh, hey, Smoker, is that your charger?"
"Huh, yeah. I was lookin for it. The hell's it doin in here?" Smoker grabbed his charger along with the mini handheld vacuum. The twins went back to their room and Smoker plugged in his phone as they cleaned. When they were finished and starting to settle for bed, there was the ding of a voicemail alert.
"I'm not answering."
"Just listen to the damn voicemail and quit being such a fuckin pussy about it." Zoro hit the lights and went to bed, careful to avoid the wet spot on the freshly cleaned carpet.
Smoker sat by the outlet where his phone was stationed and turned it on. Sure enough, Ace had called an additional 2 times since his phone had shut off. He unlocked it and opened the voicemail, listening to Ace's voice.
"Smoker, hey, it's me. I know you probably don't want to be bothered with me right now, but I just really wanted to talk to you. I'm pretty sure Zoro's already told you all about what really happened in that alley by Alubarna. I didn't mean to upset you so much, and if it's alright with you, I'd like to apologize in person. Maybe I could stop by after your shift tomorrow? So, uh, if you get this message just call me back. I really want to see you."
The line suddenly went dead, leaving Smoker sitting there frozen stiff. He looked at his phone then over at his brother's already snoring form. He looked back to his phone's screen before pressing the replay button, listening to it again and again into the night.
The next morning, Ace looked, and felt, like crap, if one were to be perfectly frank. He'd had another night filled with terrifying sleep paralysis, and hardly got a wink. His eyes were baggy and his skin was paler than usual. He went over to the freezer and pulled out 4 blueberry waffles and put them in the toaster before going to the fridge and grabbing a couple eggs to scramble.
Luffy was sitting at the table eating a bowl of cereal listlessly; he was used to a much bigger breakfast, and 3 bowls of cereal would hardly do. Ace was usually the one to do breakfast on Saturdays, but he just didn't feel at all up to it that day.
"Mornin Luffy. Sabo at the hospital?"
"Yeah. He left with Dadan a little while ago." Luffy looked up at his foster brother with a quirked eyebrow. "You didn't sleep well."
"Not really." Ace said as he beat the eggs.
Luffy didn't say another word about it as he scooped more cereal in to his mouth. "But...are you gonna make me eggs too?"
Ace chuckled a bit before going to grab more eggs. "Sure, Luf." His waffles popped up and Ace grabbed one of the steaming hot waffles right out of the toaster, hissing a bit at how hot they still were. He looked at the clock and saw that it was already almost 10; Smoker's shift started at 11. He hurried his ass up, practically throwing the hot eggs at his brother and sprinting upstairs to get dressed as he scarfed down 3 other waffles and a serving of scrambled eggs with ketchup. He popped a piece of gum in his mouth just in case his breath offended.
"Hey, Ace, can you give me a ride to Usopp's later?"
"Yeah, sure Luffy, if I'm back in time. I'll have my phone on me." He slammed the door as he hurried down the stairs and towards where he was sure he'd be able to intercept Smoker on his way to work. He eventually got to the intersection and looked around until he saw Smoker walking about a block and a half ahead, and he sprinted to catch up. "OI! SMOKER! WAIT!" He called.
Smoker had his earbuds in, so he couldn't hear Ace calling out to him. So it was only natural that he'd have a moment of panic when he felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder.
"Oh, sorry, I didn't know you couldn't hear me."
"...Ace..." Smoker frowned, "What, are you stalking me now?" Smoker tried not to let his glare falter when he saw the little bit of hurt on Ace's face.
"Well, no, but I...did you get my message?"
Of course he'd gotten Ace's message. He must've listened to it 10 times over at least. "...My phone died last night." Excluding the whole truth wasn't technically a lie, he supposed.
"...Oh. Well, I was wondering if you might wanna...well, if you wanted to hang out after you got off work."
"Ace, I'm really not up to it right now."
"Come on, please? If you're still mad—"
"I'm not mad." He was hurt.
"Smoker," Ace reached out and grabbed Smoker's arm, "look, I'm trying to—"
"Just leave me alone!" He didn't want to see Ace right now, especially after the conversation between Zoro and his mother last night. Ace was just about the first and last person he wanted to be with at that moment.
"Smoker!" Ace grabbed Smoker's other arm and turned him to face him, stopping the young man in his tracks. Smoker grabbed at the lapels of Ace's coat, trying to push him off, but he only succeeded in drawing him closer. The two refused to give an inch, and they were incredibly close. Their frustrated struggling slowed down and they locked eyes, silver with ebony. Ace leaned in to press his lips to Smoker's but Smoker turned away.
"Get off me." He mumbled, a blush spreading across his cheeks.
"Don't want to." Ace leaned in and pressed his nose to Smoker's cheek, nuzzling it a bit.
Smoker squeezed his eyes shut when he felt Ace press against him and his warm breath against his cold cheek. "You're so childish..."
"I know." He pressed his lips against Smoker's cheek, pecking it gently. He pulled away and leaned in to peck his cheek again, slowly trailing soft, fluttery kisses towards his mouth, trying to get Smoker to kiss him.
Smoker's face kept getting redder and redder until he felt Ace's lips at the corner of his mouth. "Stop!" He finally succeeded in pushing Ace away. "Just, just stop! I'm going to be late for work." He turned and stormed ahead, ignoring Ace as he called out his name.
A) Pursue after Smoker
B) Give him his space...for now. (Next Chapter)
Chapter 5: Head Over Heels
Ace watched Smoker's retreating back with a complicated frown on his face. He started to go after Smoker, but he stopped, biting his lip and turning to go the other way. Little did the awkward pair know that there had been another set of eyes watching from the adjacent alley way.
In the kitchen of the Alubarna restaurant, Saga was washing dishes as Sanji helped prepare foods. Out of the corner of his eye, Saga watched Smoker and Zoro come and go, the twins both feverishly trying to keep up with the Saturday crowd. Saga thought back to yesterday, when he had seen Ace and Zoro leave together and he thought about just their general closeness. However, he had also caught Ace kissing Smoker just that morning. For Zoro's sake, and Smoker's as well he supposed, though he wasn't nearly as close to the older twin, he was worried that this Ace guy was two-timing the twins.
Saga quickly finished the dishes and went to help Sanji chop the seemingly never-ending supply of vegetables. "Hey, Sanji." He picked up a knife and got to work on the onions. "Who does that Ace guy like?"
Sanji quirked an eyebrow, "What, you interested in him, too?" He snorted scornfully, "Good luck, the bastard's taken."
'...But by who?' Saga quickly finished one onion and moved on to the next. "Oh, really?" He figured pretending to know nothing about it would be the easiest way to get information out of his fellow cook.
"Yeah, fucking Marimo bastard."
'He's with Zoro?' Saga's eyes widened, and he was about to say something when the aforementioned party spoke up.
"What'd you say about me, shitty cook?" Zoro shouted through the service window.
"None of your damn business, you useless waiter! Table 7's food has been ready for almost 5 minutes! It'll get cold, dammit!"
"That's in Smoker's section!"
"Just go, will you? Or are you too busy sitting on your ass to take food to a table?"
"Alright, Jesus, pull that cactus out of your ass, why don't you?" Zoro scooped up the tray and hurried off to deliver the food, having to force a smile onto his face as he dealt with the customers.
Saga waited until Zoro was good and gone before speaking up again. "So Zoro and that Ace guy are together?"
Sanji snorted scornfully, "Saw em in that Alley over there," Sanji gesticulated vaguely in the direction the presumed alley was, "they were fuckin all over each other."
Saga frowned. He'd known Zoro a while, and he'd never really been one for pda. Something didn't seem quite right with Sanji's story, but he didn't think Sanji would lie about that sort of thing.
"Why do you ask?" Saga looked over at a clearly ruffled Sanji, listening as the blonde spoke. "You got a thing for the moss head, or what?"
Saga figured it wouldn't hurt to be honest. "Yeah, I do." He smiled, somewhat bashfully. "He's cute, ain't he? If he wasn't with Ace, I was gonna ask him out."
Sanji crushed the bright red bell pepper in his hand, brow twitching. "Oh really." His voice was tight as he spoke, working to cut up the pepper around where it'd been brutally squashed.
"Hm? You don't mind, do you?" Saga didn't really feel he needed Sanji's blessing, but if Sanji was uncomfortable working around gay people—he highly doubted that this was the case—he didn't want to make the blonde uncomfortable.
"What? No! I don't give a flying fuck about that green-haired moron. He means nothing to me. I can't stand the stupid ba—" Sanji's eyes diverted to the service window and he saw Zoro leaning against it and staring straight at Sanji. Sanji's jaw snapped shut so tight and so quick he nearly bit off his tongue.
"Yeah, well, being forced to see your ugly face and that ridiculous eyebrow every day isn't a walk in the park either." His insult lacked its usual sting, sounding lackluster and forced, quite unlike usual. "Table 12 is wondering where in the hell their food is."
"Ask the chefs, not me. I'm just an assistant, remember?" Sanji frowned at Zoro and then at Saga before heading off to go do some other sort of menial task and to let the chefs know that the order for table 12 was overdue.
Saga watched as Zoro stuck his newest order up for the chefs to see, the young man wearing a frown as he turned to walk away from the service window, obviously upset.
"H-Hey, Zoro," Saga called, going over to the window, "wanna hang out after work today?"
Zoro stopped in his tracks and turned to face Saga, staring blankly at him a moment before he answered. "Yeah, sure, sounds cool." His mouth twitched up into a little smile before he hurried off to go take care of the customers.
Saga couldn't help but smile a little too. At this point, he didn't really care if Zoro saw him as a friend now. He was just hoping that after today he might be seen in a different light.
That evening, Perona was applying her favorite shade of red lipstick, preparing to go out for a night on the town with some of her friends. She applied her base and her eye shadow before she picked up her lash curler.
Perona jumped, almost clamping her lid in surprise. "Jeez! Smoker, you startled me! I almost pinched my eyelid!" She turned back to the mirror and continued her primping.
"I thought you were grounded."
"Dad and mom are at a business dinner. They won't be home till late, right~?" She smiled mischievously as she finished curling her lashes, putting down the curler and picking up her liner and mascara.
"...You look better without all that make up. You don't need it, you're only 15."
"I'll be 16 soon enough! Ugh, you sound just like Dad, you old geezer." Perona stared at herself in the mirror, smiling a little sadly. "Besides, I don't look cute without it..."
Smoker went up behind his sister and stated at her reflection in the vanity. "...You're always, er...cute." His face burned with the awkwardness he felt saying things like that. "And you usually act like you know that already. Besides, people are just gonna think you're trashy if you wear all that."
"Shut up! You're just my brother, what do you know? Besides, I'm doing this for me! I don't care about other people!" She frowned as she put down her make up and began to fix her hair.
"It's because I am your brother that I can say that sort of embarrassing shit. If I think you look like you're compensating with all that make up on, which I do, I'll tell it to your face." He shrugged and turned away. "Whatever. I'm going over to Law's. I'll see you later. Be safe."
Perona's scowl disappeared as soon as Smoker closed her door. She looked at herself in the mirror before grabbing a pad and her make-up remover. Smoker was right, she was cute as hell even without all the make-up. Plus now she wouldn't have to worry about smudging.
Smoker was just putting on his boots when Perona came down the stairs, stopping half way, wearing only her lipstick and bit of mascara. She would never give up her candy red lipstick. "Um...Can I...Can I come with you?"
Smoker smiled a small smile up at his sister. "Grab a coat. It's cold out."
"So where's Zoro?"
"I think he went to the movies or something." Smoker stopped at a corner, trying to remember exactly which street his friend lived on. "I dunno who with though, his voicemail was kinda muffled. Think it was Sa—Something."
"Do you think he finally got a date with Sanji?" She asked excitedly. Finally! She was getting a chance to gossip about her brother's love life! How exciting!
"...What do you mean?"
"Well, duhhh, he's had a crush on him for, like, a month now. Jeez, how could you not know?" Perona put her hands on her hips, pouting up at her brother.
"...Well...he never told me he had a crush on anyone, just that he had a thing for guys." Smoker felt a little left out, having to find out who Zoro liked through their sister. Though he had never really asked if Zoro had liked anyone, and Zoro was they type of person that wouldn't say anything unless asked directly.
"Well, it'd be nice if things worked out for him. Oh! By the way~"
"No, we're not talking about Ace. I don't even want to think about it."
"Gah, Smoker! Why do you have to be so difficult! Why don't you ever want to talk to me about him?"
"Look, Ace and I are completely incompatible. So just drop it already. It'll never happen. Not in this lifetime."
Perona looked up at her brother with concern. He didn't sound angry or aggravated like usual. If anything he sounded like he'd given up and was still trying to convince himself that this tree would never beat any fruit.
"Why wouldn't it work? You obviously like him." Smoker scoffed and was about to retort when Perona spoke up again. "And he's head over heels for you."
Smoker closed and opened his mouth, trying to find the right words. "You don't know that."
Perona stepped in front of him, stopping him in his tracks. She put her hands on her hips and got in his face as best as she could, as she was a good 6 inches shorter. "The reason he wanted to try and make you jealous was probably because he wasn't sure whether you liked him or not. You're damn near impossible to read you know? And it takes a whole lot of guts to try and break through that grumpy and not at all cute exterior of yours." Perona folded her arms and continued walking. "Seriously!"
Smoker followed after, hands shoved in his pockets meekly. His sister had shut him up pretty good, which was highly unusual. "...For someone who's usually so selfish, impulsive, and typically rather gullible and naive..."
"You do have a couple pearls of wisdom tucked up in there." He tapped her pink-haired head affectionately. "Thanks Perona." He wrapped an arm around her neck and brought her in for a side hug, smirking when she squawked in protest.
"Geeeh! Let me go! You're acting weird and nice and it's freaking me out~! Stoooop!"
Smoker couldn't help but laugh. "You little brat."
"Grumpy old man!"
By the time the siblings finally arrived at Law's house, it had started to snow.
"Oh, hey...Why'd you bring your sister?"
"Cause I felt like it." Smoker walked in past Law and into his extravagantly large house, Perona following behind him, staring at everything in awe. "Your Dad home?" He asked.
Law's face split into a shit-eating grin. "Outta town on one of his conferences."
Smoker's grin instantly mirrored Law's. "His stash is full right?"
"When isn't it?"
"Smoker, what are you two talking about?"
"I'm gonna be a bad example here, but we're gonna have ourselves a little party with the good doctor's booze and cigars."
"No way!" She had never seen Smoker's rebellious side before. It really surprised her, but she wasn't one to bring down a party. Not usually.
"She's not gonna squeal on us, is she?" Law glared over at Perona, who didn't buckle under his gaze like he'd expected.
"If I get completely wasted, it might convince me to keep my mouth shut~" She winked, sticking out her tongue, "Otherwise it might just slip out~"
"Or I could just tell Mom and Dad that you snuck out to see your friends."
Perona froze, "Alright, I'll keep quiet."
"Good." Law gave one last glare before turning back to Smoker. "Oh, by the way, I invited Sanji too. You know him, right?"
"Sanji's here?" Perona was shocked, she had thought that Zoro was out with Sanji. If he wasn't with Sanji...who was he with?"
"You know him?" Law turned his attention to the girl.
"Er...by name, but I've never seen him."
"Ah." Law turned back to Smoker, still waiting for his answer."
"Well, we work at the same place. Don't really talk to him much."
"He was in a piss poor mood when he called, figured he could use a little booze. He's up in my room right now." Law headed over to a huge, mahogany cupboard, throwing it open to reveal an array of liquor bottles and several boxes of cigars. "Pick your poison."
"Sweet." Smoker grinned, reaching for a box of Cuban cigars and taking two out.
"Smoker, can I have a cigar?"
"It'll make you sick. I don't really want you having one just for you to wind up puking the whole way home."
Perona grimaced and withdrew, simply grabbing a bottle of Bailey's instead. Law grabbed a bottle of wine and a bottle of Smirnoff. "Alright, this's more than enough. Let's head up."
Law lead the way upstairs to his room, and once they stepped inside, Perona was floored. The macabre decorations had her in awe. She suddenly had a new respect for Law and his creepy side.
"Oh, you're back." Sanji had been lounging on his bed, doing something on his phone. "Oh, hey Smoker." Sanji greeted with a bit of a wave. "Didn't know you knew Law."
"Yeah, hated each other in like 8th grade, but somehow we seemed to become friends." Smoker sat down against the dresser, pulling his lighter out of his pocket.
Sanji grinned broadly when he saw Perona step into the room. "Ahh, we meet again cutie~ Will you finally tell me your name?"
"GEH! You're Sanji?" Perona shrunk back behind the door. "Smoker~ That's the guy I was gonna have you beat up for me!" Perona was absolutely appalled by the recent turn of events. Why on earth would Zoro fall for this creepy pervert? It didn't make any sense to her.
"Huh? Him?" Smoker was surprised, to say the least.
"Wait, are you their sister?" Well that was awkward. Sanji knew that Zoro had a sister, but neither he nor Smoker had ever really talked about her at work.
Law just watched the moment with an indifferent expression as he brought out his secret shot glasses. "Guys, shut up. Let's just get drunk off our asses."
An hour later and already Sanji and Perona were piss drunk. Perona, being only 5'3" and rather skinny, got drunk after only one full glass of Bailey's, but that didn't stop her, and she was already pouring her third.
"Horo horo horo horo~ Smokerrrrr this stuff is soooo gooood~ Horo horo horo~"
Smoker was just finishing up his cigars, the nicotine putting a nice buzz around his head. "Hmm...you should probably stop soon, Perona. Don't wanna be too drunk when ya get home..."
"Ahhh, c'mooooon~ Zoro, you gotta drink more than thaaat~" Sanji threw an arm around Smoker's shoulders as he washed down his 4th, or was it his 5th glass of wine.
"Sanji, I told you, 'm Smoker, not Zoro."
"Nawwwww, don' lie to meee..." Sanji nosed Smoker in the cheek, and Smoker suddenly flashed back to earlier that day with Ace. He blushed, turning away and reaching for his abandoned, mostly empty bottle of Smirnoff.
"Get'off me..." He mumbled as he tilted the bottle back.
"Awwww...Zoro~ Don't be shyyy...jus' cause of earlier, don' be maad..." Sanji put his glass down before wrapping himself around Smoker, comfortably situating Smoker between his legs and letting the slightly larger man lay back against his chest.
Law watched with apparent disinterest, but he himself was too drunk to really do anything or have an opinion about what he was watching. He sat there, silently watching as the scene before him unfolded. He had enough presence of mind to know that something was gonna happen, but he didn't have any plans to interfere. He looked over at Perona, staring unabashedly through half lidded eyes. What a cool girl she was...that skull shirt rocked...yeeeeaaaah...his mind petered off into more abstract, drunken musings.
Perona took a moment to notice, but when she did, she got right in his face. "Whatchya lookin aaaat?"
Law reached up and grabbed hold of her hair. "It's like...a lot of cotton candy..."
Smoker watched Law and Perona with a careful, drunken eye, but when Sanji practically shoved the bottle down his throat, his attention on his sister quickly turned into attention towards Sanji, who, after Smoker'd finished off the bottle, was starting to look remarkably similar to a certain black-haired interest of his.
"Hey...Ace..." Smoker mumbled, face flushed with the heat of drunkenness as he tried to look back at Sanji from where he sat. "Did you...dye'yer hair...or somefin?"
Sanji couldn't even activate enough of his brain cells to form a coherent answer. He had Smoker sitting on his lap and he was fumbling with Smoker's left earlobe. There was something different about it, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. He leaned forward and gently bit it, tongue rolling over the soft skin and making Smoker squirm.
"...Ace..." Smoker groaned as he blindly reached for another drink, even though his head was already spinning, lolling as if his neck didn't feel like it was strong enough to support it. He could feel the pleasant, throbbing pressure move about in his head, his vision feeling like it was moving slower than his eyes were.
Sanji didn't know why Zoro kept calling him Ace...Oh, that's right: Zoro and Ace were dating. Well, if Zoro thought he was Ace, what harm could it be to play along? He took Smoker's chin and turned his head so he could press a gentle kiss to his lips. He missed, twice, getting his chin and then just to the right of his lips before connecting.
Smoker brought a hand up to Sanji's hair as he kissed back who he thought was Ace. Sanji's hands traveled across his chest, one hand slipping under his shirt, going up to molest his muscular chest.
Smoker groaned, his other hand going up to grip at Sanji's arm as his body arched into Sanji's touch. He shifted in Sanji's lap, trying to adjust himself so they were facing each other. As he shifted, he could feel a firm lump rub against his ass. His movements elicited a throaty moan from Sanji as he moved. He straddled Sanji's lap, wrapping his arms around him as he slipped his tongue inside the blonde's eager mouth, deepening their kiss. The two of them were slowly grinding their crotches together as they grabbed and groped at each other.
Sanji's hands traveled down Smoker's sides, down to his ass where he groped and kmeaded, panting and moaning as he rolled his hips up into Smoker's ass. One of his hands wandered to Smoker's fly, opening it and sliding his hand inside. Smoker mirrored the action, hand cupping Sanji's growing erection and palming it gently. Sanji's hand found its way into the back of Smoker's pants, running teasing fingers over the crack of his ass, thumb hooked inside the waistband of his boxerbriefs.
Law had had just about enough of this. He looked down at the mass of pink cotton candy on his lap. "Oi...Ain't your brother goin a bit far? They do know we're still 'er right?"
Perona had been fiddling with Smoker's belt chain, admiring all the charms he had hanging off of it, her favorite being a little karate bear. It took her a moment to realize she was being talked to. She sat up and stared at Smoker and Sanji. She watched her brother writhe and moan in Sanji's lap as clothing was slowly starting to come undone. She felt like there was something wrong, but it took her a moment to notice what it was. When it finally clicked what was going on, she sobered up a bit, feeling anger rise.
"Smoker!" She got up and stalked over to her brother, grabbing the back of his shirt and pulling him off Sanji. "What the hell are you doing!"
Smoker grabbed at Sanji, not wanting to be separated from the blonde However, his double vision making him miss his original target. Why was he being taken away from Ace? They were finally together, why was his sister pulling them apart? He looked at the man he'd been plastered to, furrowing his brow.
Smoker looked over Sanji with his disheveled hair and opened fly—shit when did that happen?—and the realization of the situation hit him like a ton of bricks. 'That's not Ace...' He staggered to his feet, stumbling into the wall. "Perona, we're-we're goin home..." He held onto the wall with one hand as he fixed his pants with the other, slowly making his way down the hall, face drawn tight into a focused frown as he demanded the hallway to stop wiggling around like that.
Perona looked down at Sanji as the blonde tilted his head, wondering where in the hell Zoro had gone. Perona went over to where Smoker had been sitting, picking up his forgotten phone. She looked over at Sanji, who looked genuinely upset that Zoro, or who he'd thought was Zoro, had gotten up and left so abruptly. He looked up from his still half hard erection into the inquisitive face of the younger sister.
"Whr's Zoro?" He asked, still terribly confused.
Perona stared a moment, brain slowly working around her buzz. "You like my brother? You like Zoro?"
Sanji started blankly before he chuckled a bit, remembering something Saga had said to him earlier that day. "S'cute, ain' 'e? Ah'like 'im..."
Perona smiled and patted Sanji on the head, as if praising a good dog. She stood up, a little wobbly on her feet, but nowhere near as bad as her brother, and set off after Smoker.
"Oi," Law called from where he was still sitting, "take care o' yerself...don't get killed or some'n on yer way back...num's 555-51...no...555...uh...555...5298 if y'get 'nto shit ya can' handle...call it...'n I might pick up..." He tipped his hat down over his eyes, preparing to pass out in his drunken stupor. "Later...cotton candy head..."
Perona smiled despite herself. "Take care of yourself, Mr. Bearsy~"
"Th' fuck's a bearsy?"
"Cause you got bears on your chain!" She explained, as if any moron could see her logic.
"...His name's Bepo..."
Perona rolled her eyes. "Whatever, I'm leaving." She turned around after Law had given her a little wave of farewell, hurrying to catch up to her brother. She was thankful that she'd stopped after only 3 drinks, as she was already about halfway to sober.
Smoker was presently trying to make his way down the stairs, but he couldn't quite tell where the edges of the stairs were, so progress was slow and a touch painful when his foot missed. Perona sighed at the pathetic display.
"Smoker, give me your arm."
"No. I got it..." He pouted, wrapping his arms around the banister. His front half was starting to slide down the banister while his feet tried to remain where they were. If he let go now, he'd surely fall face first down the stairs. His brow furrowed as he tried to solve this problem.
Perona frowned, "Just trust me!" She took his legs and brought them down to where he could stand. She pried one of his arms off the banister and threw it around her shoulders. It was a long, difficult process, but eventually they made it down. Once Smoker felt safe enough to let go of the banister, he wrapped both arms around his younger sister.
"I wanna go hooome...I wan' Zoro...I wan' Ace..." He whined, burying his face into her shoulder.
She huffed, "Why are you only cute when you're drunk! Seriously..." As Smoker slowly put more and more weight on her, she began to wobble. "Gyaaah! Stop, stop, stop! Not cute! Not cute! Too heavyyyy!" She crumpled beneath his weight, the two of them falling to the floor.
"...Peronaaaa...'m sleepy..." He groaned from where he lay somewhat on top of her.
Perona huffed. What a troublesome guy her brother was. She pulled his cell phone out of her pocket and opened it. Now, who would want to come out at midnight to help her with her drunk ass brother?
A) Call Zoro
B) Call Ace (Next Chapter)
Chapter 6: End 1: The Morning After's Always a Bitch
Perona had contemplated calling her brother, but he had been on a date earlier that evening, or what she had presumed to be a date, and he was now either 'preoccupied' or dead asleep. She thought for a moment. Her friends were out of the question, so that just left Smoker's friends. Aside from the drunkards upstairs, Perona only knew of one other friend she could call.
Ace's heart practically leapt out of his throat when he saw Smoker's name pop up on his phone's screen. "Hey! Smoker! I'm glad you called, I was afraid you'd still be mad about today."
Perona blinked, eyes going wide. Had something happened?
Ace took the silence as Smoker still being angry with him, so he felt obligated to continue. "Err...well, I mean, if my kissing you made you uncomfortable..."
Perona, despite her best efforts to keep quiet, blurted out, "You kissed him? When!"
Ace's heart just about stopped. That definitely wasn't Smoker on the other end of the line. "...P-Perona? Is that you?"
"Yup, sorry for the false hope," admittedly that hadn't been the most tactful thing to say, "but I had to use his phone. Smoker's drunk off his ass over here at Law's and I need help getting him home, but Zoro's probably asleep by now. Can you he—GYAAAH! Get away from me, you pervert!"
"Perona?" Ace felt his natural big brother instincts kick in. "Are you okay?" He could hear Sanji's slurred voice over the line and he let out a long sigh. "That moron..." Then, he heard something that spiked his irritation.
"Get off Smoker you creep!"
Ace slapped a hand over his face in annoyance. "I'll be right there, Perona." He hung up and hurried to grab his keys.
"Where you goin?" Sabo asked weakly from where he lay in his bed.
"Friends got drunk, I need to help get them back home. You go back to sleep." Ace, as silent and stealthy as a cat, slipped out the window and climbed down onto the tiny back porch. He hurried to the garage and started up the car as the door slowly raised. He tore out of there as fast as he could, getting to Law's in record time, probably breaking a few laws in the process.
When Perona opened the door, Ace hurried inside and over to the couch where Sanji was practically dry-humping Smoker. Feeling his jealous temper boil, he grabbed Sanji by the back of his shirt, pulling him up and off the unwilling party lying beneath him and onto his wobbly feet.
"Sanji, what the fuck do you think you're doing?" Ace bent down next Smoker and checked him over.
Sanji stared a moment before his volatile temper spiked. "Dammmnya Ace! Y'baat'rd tha's my fuggin mine!" Sanji leaned forward, trying to make a grab for Ace. He lost his balance and fell to the floor with a loud thunk. He let out an irritated cry. "Gnnghnhngh! Z'ro's miiine! God fuck damn cuffuckin it fuck! Bag'off my Zo ya fuckin fregeckles!"
Ace sighed, starting to finally realize what was going on. "Sanji, Zoro went home. This is his brother."
Sanji blinked a moment before he sat up. "Ohh..." Within his drunken logic, it all made sense somehow.
Smoker lifted his head off the pillow and looked up at the person who was standing next to him. He reached out a hand and pulled at Ace's belt. "Ace...?"
Ace turned around and smiled, leaning over Smoker. "Yo, how're you feeling?"
Smoker stared up at Ace a moment. It really was him, not some blonde impersonator. He reached up and wrapped his arms around Ace's neck and pulled him close. "Ace..." He nuzzled his face into Ace's warm neck and inhaled his scent. God, did he ever smell good...
"O-Oi, Smoker, c'mon now, you're just really drunk. Let's get you home." Ace brought his hands up to pull Smoker's arms away as he was awkwardly bent over the couch by Smoker's firm hold. He didn't even notice when Sanji tottered off.
"Don' wanna..." Smoker held tighter and rolled over, subsequently resulting in Ace falling on top of him.
"See?" Perona folded her arms over her chest, "He's a real handful ain't he?"
Ace had to struggle a bit before he could face Perona. "Hey, can you help Sanji into my car? I'm taking him home too."
"Do I have to?" She whined. She didn't see why they couldn't just leave the pervert here.
"It'd be great if you could." Ace's attention was quickly brought back to Smoker when he felt a warm pair of lips press against his neck. "Smoker! What're you doing!"
Smoker tightened his grip as he kept on kissing and suckling at Ace's neck. He whimpered a bit, confused as to why Ace wasn't responding.
Ace sighed and ruffled Smoker's hair. "C'mon. You're just drunk, Smokey."
Perona decided now would be a good time to vacate the scene and go search for Sanji. She gave Ace a sidelong glance, silently promising a world of hurt if he upset her brother again. She quickly went off to go find the blonde, planning to knock him out and then drag his unconscious body out to the car, believing a conscious Sanji would be much too much trouble.
Smoker moved his arms so they were wrapped around Ace's back, shifting so their chests were flush against each other and Ace was lying between his legs. Ace had his hands on either side of Smoker's head, trying to support himself as his neck was ruthlessly devoured. He shifted and used a hand to press Smoker back down onto the couch. "Please, stop, you're drunk. You don't know what you're doing."
"I do too!" Smoker argued, leaning up to kiss Ace. When he was pushed back down, his face fell into one of hurt. Ace had never seen Smoker have such an unguarded expression before. "Why won' ya kiss me?" He whispered.
Ace's hand slowly stroked through the gray spikes. "Because if you were sober, you wouldn't want me to."
"Yeah, yeah I would!" Smoker encouraged, "Please...I'll memember ever'thin'...please..."
Ace sighed, knowing that if Smoker didn't remember, things could all go downhill, but if he did remember...well, they might very well also wind up a mess. But something told him to lean forward and press their lips together. He pulled away after a moment and smiled. "There, I kissed you, now we should be getting you home. Storm's picking up."
"No...no...I wan' more..." Smoker brought a hand up to behind Ace's head and brought their lips back together, kissing him much more firmly this time.
Ace resisted for a moment, but he wanted this just as bad as Smoker did. He let his body lie flush against Smoker's as he kissed him back, tongue slipping out and tasting his lips with every kiss. Smoker's mouth opened and his tongue quickly intertwined with Ace's.
Smoker shivered and let out a gentle moan. This felt so incredibly right, completely unlike when he'd kissed Sanji. His hands traveled down Ace's back all the way down to his ass. He felt the muscles tense as Ace startled a little, but it soon relaxed as Smoker groped and kneaded at it. Ace ground down against Smoker, grinding their half-hard erections against one another. Smoker gasped, throwing his head back and leaving his neck exposed for Ace to bite and kiss.
The black-haired teen had briefly worried about going too far, but he was so driven by the physical need for the man beneath him that he disregarded his worry, continuing to roll his hips against Smoker's. One of his hands slid up under Smoker's shirt, hands tickling their way up to one, hardened nipple. He took it between his fingers, slowly and gently twisting it, giving it a slight tug every once in a while. He pulled his face away from Smoker's neck as he watched the reaction.
Smoker's face was beet red and he was biting on his hand, eyes clamped shut. When he felt Ace stop what he was doing, he cracked his eyes open and looked at the freckled man above him. "Why'd ya stop?"
Ace smiled, "Just wanted to look at you." He brought a hand up and pulled Smoker's hand away from his mouth so he could start kissing it again. He felt something moving down by their groins, and he broke the kiss to see what was going on. Smoker was fumbling with his belt, undoing it and pulling it away so he could work at the button and zipper.
"Hey, hey, hey, what're you doing?" He asked softly, worried about how far Smoker was going to want to go.
"Jus' wanna feel..." Smoker slipped his hand inside Ace's pants and gripped, maybe a touch too firmly at the erection Ace was sporting.
"Ow, ow! Ya gotta be gentle..." Ace winced, instinctively pulling away a little.
"S'ry..." Smoker loosened up and slowed his hand down as he massaged Ace's hardening member.
"Nn...yeah...that's better..." Ace reached down and undid Smoker's pants, tugging them open and down. He pulled the enthusiastic hand away and ground down against Smoker, the only thing between their leaking pricks were their underwear. Ace began to thrust in earnest, face buried in Smoker's neck as he kissed the hickeys he'd left.
Smoker gasped and panted as shocks of pleasure erupted from his groin. He wrapped his arms around Ace as his legs clamped around his hips.
Ace felt a smile creep up on his face. 'So this is what it feels like to have those legs around me...' His hips jerked and he could feel his boxers start to get wet from the precum that was leaking from his tip. A groping hand confirmed that Smoker was much in the same situation. Ace sat up, pulling away from a confused, and hurt looking Smoker. He grabbed the drunken teen beneath him and flipped him over, keeping his hips slightly elevated.
"Whater'ya doin?" Smoker slurred, feeling himself getting a little dizzy from being flipped so quickly.
Ace didn't respond as he tugged Smoker's pants down, admiring the dark gray boxer briefs against the pale skin a moment before sliding his own pants down a bit. He leaned forward and draped himself over Smoker, his groin lining up with Smoker's ass before he started humping him again, a hand reaching around and slipping inside Smoker's underwear, wrapping around the sensitive, uncut head and pumping quickly.
Smoker gripped onto one of the decorative pillows, almost tearing it apart as Ace stroked him. The feeling of Ace's hard cock against his ass feuling his fire of lust. He only wished that those damned underwear weren't in the way so he could feel the hot flesh against his own skin. His muscles tensed as he drew closer and closer to an orgasm. He could feel Ace's hot breath as it tickled across his ear, "Cum for me, Smokey babe..."
The pale, muscled back arched away from Ace's warm chest as Smoker came to an explosive orgasm, crying into the pillow as he soaked his underwear with cum. He moaned and whimpered as Ace milked every last drop out of him and gently crying Ace's name.
Ace let go of Smoker's softening cock and slipped his hand out, bringing it up to Smoker's hip and gripping harshly as he continued thrusting until he came, his fluids soaking through his boxers and starting to create a little moist spot on the back of Smoker's.
It took a moment for both boys to come down from their orgasm induced highs. When Smoker came down, he blissfully passed out. Ace took a minute more to catch his breath. When he did, he felt an instant feeling of doom come crashing down. He took his right hand off of Smoker's hip and examined it. Smoker's jizz was smeared between his fingers, and some of it was slowly trailing down the back of his hand. He looked down at Smoker's ass, and he could see the wet spot he'd left as well as the smudge of cum on Smoker's hip, where his hand had been.
"Shit..." There was the sound of a camera click and Ace's head snapped over to where he'd heard the sound. Perona was standing about 15 feet away with a phone in her hands as she snapped a picture of her brother lying unconscious, looking a bit like a drugged rape victim. Law was standing a couple feet behind her with Sanji hanging off his shoulders, one of his hands covering his face in either disgust or disbelief, or even simply just resignedly. Ace's hands quickly went to cover his cum soaked boxers, feeling like all his privacy had just been violated. "What're you—!"
"Evidence," She stated, eyes lowered and lips pursed in a very 'we are not amused' way, "for when he's gonna want to kick your ass later." Perona put her hands on her hips as she scolded Ace, "If my stupid brother didn't even want you to kiss him, how's he gonna react when he finds out about this! You're just another icky pervert~!"
"...Shit...I didn't mean..." For once, Ace was eternally grateful for his narcoleptic fits. He felt his eyes slip closed and his body go weak, falling into a stress induced sleep on top of Smoker in the least ceremonious way possible.
Perona huffed and folded her arms, going back to the pictures and deleting the photo. "He better appreciate me for this..."
"Should we get'em to the car?" Law asked, still slightly buzzed, but he was perfectly able to function as long as the tasks remained simple.
"I'm not touching them! They're all dirty~!" She cried, pulling away as soon as she deleted her picture. "I don't wanna see my brother's junk!" She cried indignantly.
"Alright, fine. You take this one and I'll handle those two perverts."
"My brother is not a perv! He's the most prudish guy I know!" Perona's defense was a little backhanded, but she meant well. Though her argument wasn't very sound considering the position her brother was in as they spoke.
"Yeah, I know. Let's just get these guys home. I'm tired and I wanna go to bed." Law grabbed Ace under the arms and hoisted him off the couch. "Let's get going, cotton-candy head."
"Don't call me that~!"
The second the two of them stepped outside, the storm was already getting pretty bad. The snow was coming down like crazy and the wind was shaking the trees, howling as it sped through the town. They managed to get Ace and Sanji in the car. Law had had the decency to at least pull Ace's pants up and fasten them before he closed the door and went to get Smoker, fixing his pants as well and being exceedingly careful not to touch the spooge on his hip.
"Hey...can you drive?" Law asked as he carried Smoker's upper half out to the car.
"Uhh...I have a learner's permit..." She mumbled as she carried Smoker's legs, utterly repulsed by the fact that he had come in his underwear. At least Law had been willing to fix it for her.
"Great...well...I'm still a bit too drunk otherwise I'd drive their useless asses home...You think you'll be okay?"
"Jeez, I'll be fine." Perona rolled her eyes as she hefted Smoker's legs into the front seat.
"I'm serious." Law stared straight into her big eyes with his piercing expression.
"You obviously don't know me, don't worry about me." She smiled a bit, "For such a creepy guy, you're a real worrywart."
"I'm not just worried about you. There're three other people at the mercy of your presumably shitty-ass driving."
"Shut up! Go away!" Perona cried childishly, clutching at her coat as she walked around to the other side of Ace's car. Law had fished the keys out of Ace's pocket earlier and had given them to her. She hopped in the driver's seat as Law finished buckling Smoker in.
"Don't kill yourself. And don't get caught by any cops."
"I won't! Jeez!" She started the car. Law shut the door and turned to leave when he heard the window roll down. Perona had to shout to be heard over the wind. "Good bye, Mr. Bearsy~!" And with that, she drove off, albeit somewhat jerkily.
Law shoved his hands in his pockets as he slowly walked back to his house, kicking the inches deep snow out of his way. "...Don't fuckin call me that...cotton-candy head..."
Perona drove off, quickly realizing that she had no idea where either Sanji or Ace lived. Oh well, guess that meant she'd have to take them home...
When Perona finally got back, she saw that Zoro's light was still on. Confused, she dialed Zoro on Smoker's phone and waited for him to pick up. It didn't take long.
"Where the FUCK are you guys!" Zoro shouted before Perona even got a chance to say hello. "Mom and Dad are going to be home in about 15 minutes, and you morons still aren't home!"
"It's not my fault!" Perona argued back, "Smoker's the one that got piss drunk!"
"Perona?" You were out with them?" Zoro had simply figured she'd snuck out to see her friends. He'd had no idea she had been with Smoker. That made him feel a little better, until what she'd said had really sunk in. "Wait, Smoker's drunk? He never gets drunk!" He sat down on his bed, running a worried hand through his hair. "Where are you now?"
"Outside. I can't carry them all in by myself."
'Them?' Zoro got up and grabbed his coat. "Hold on, I'll be right out." He hung up, and, after slipping into his boots, he headed outside into the storm. "Jesus, it was raining yesterday and now it's snowing..." He almost slipped on a patch of hidden ice as he headed towards the car. Perona hopped out and went over to the passenger's side, opening the door.
"Sanji and Ace are in the back." She informed as she unbuckled her brother.
"Sanji is?" Zoro's eyebrows rose. "Where the hell did you all come from?"
Zoro's face fell into a frown. "Oh..."
Perona didn't seem to notice Zoro's change of mood as she worked on swinging Smoker around so he could be more easily carted off. "Why didn't you tell me you guys had such an awesome friend!"
"Law isn't my friend, he's Smoker's. What, you got a crush on him now or something?"
"Same difference. And no, I don't...I just...appreciate his lifestyle~"
"Uh huh." Zoro went up to Smoker, but as he reached forward to grab him, that distinctive smells of alcohol, cigars, and sex drifted up his nose. "What the hell kind of party was this?"
"Oh it was just me, Sanji, Law, and Smoker getting drunk in Law's room. Smoker had some cigars, and I think maybe Sanji did too..."
Zoro quirked an eyebrow. If it had just been those four, why were they coming back in Ace's car? How'd Ace get thrown into the picture?
"But then we had to leave when they started..." Perona caught herself a moment too late. She hoped to god that Zoro wouldn't ask her.
Quick, Perona, think! "Uhh, well, Sanji started getting perverted is all. Come ooooon~ it's cold! Let's get inside before Mom and Dad get here!" Yes, she was the master of changing topics.
"Wait, did you drive drunk? You moron! What if you'd gotten hurt?"
Perona gave him an incredulous look. Now was not the time for this. "Just shut up and help me!" They moved quickly, getting all three inside well before their parents got home.
They had all three of them sprawled out on the floor, Sanji lying between Smoker and Ace.
"So...what do we do with them?"
"Muuu~ I have no idea! You have such useless friends!" She frowned, hands on her hips as she glared down at the three boys passed out on the floor.
"Like you're one to talk about useless friends. That Absalom asshole was spying on Nami again. She called me while I was out with Saga"
"It's not like I can control it!" Perona's annoyed expression turned into an eager one. "So tell me about this date~"
Zoro flushed a very interesting shade of red. "You—!"
"Nnn..." Sanji stirred, cracking his eyes open a bit before turning his head to see who was brushed up against him. 'Ahh~ there's Zoro~' He rolled over and threw an arm around Smoker. "Heyyy~ there you arrre, Zoroo...let's finish what we started...hnn?"
Zoro prickled as Perona dropped her face into her hands. "Is that what you were talking about?"
"Mrrmffmf." She didn't want this to be reality right now.
It was quiet enough for the sounds of a lock clicking and the door squeaking open to be heard even upstairs in the twin's bedroom. They both froze as they heard their parents walking about downstairs. Mihawk and Hancock had undoubtedly seen that Zoro's light was still on, and they were probably curious as to why there was an unfamiliar car parked out front.
Perona and Zoro shared a look of horror before they quickly, and as quietly as they could, went into action. Zoro dragged Sanji away from Smoker and threw him with unnecessary force on to his bed. Perona struggled to pull Smoker up onto his own bed.
It was then that Ace started to wake up. "Unn...dammit, I passed out again." He sat up, looking around the familiar room. "Shit, Perona, I'm sorry. I was supposed to help, but I got in the way."
"Just shut up and hide!" She hissed as she finished getting Smoker into bed. She knew her parents would be upstairs soon, so she had to hurry and get to her room. "I leave the rest to you!" She opened the door and, as quietly as she could, darted down the dark hallway and to her room, closing the squeaky door and launching herself into bed just as the bottom couple stairs started to creak.
Zoro panicked, "Quick, hide in Smoker's bed!" Zoro ran to the door and closed it as quietly as he could, shutting off the light as well. The footsteps were getting closer.
"W-What? Alright." Ace did as he was told and climbed into Smoker's bed, turning Smoker on his side and spooning up behind him, pulling the blanket up over his head.
Zoro dove into bed and lay on top of Sanji, pulling the blanket up so that the blonde was hidden as well.
"Heh, heh~ Zorooo~" Sanji's hands lifted and started groping at Zoro's body. "Gonna pick up where we left off now?" He said a little too loudly for Zoro's liking.
"Shut up, you moron! I'll kill you if we get caught!" Zoro hissed, hearing the footsteps reach the top of the stairs.
"Kiss me 'n I will~"
Even in the dark, Zoro could see the shine of Sanji's teeth as he gave a shit-eating grin. He quickly pressed his lips to Sanji's lower one, pulling away after a second. "There, now be quiet."
"Aye, aye, sir~"
Zoro lay his head back down, making sure Sanji's face was covered. He closed his eyes the second he heard the squeak of his door open. Zoro and Ace's heart rates sped up till they felt like they were beating as fast as a mice's. Zoro cracked an eye open the tinniest bit, and he could see that his father was standing in the doorway, checking in on his sons. It was dead silent for about a minute before the door closed again, and all seemed to be well.
Zoro picked himself up a bit when he heard his parent's room door open and close. "Oi, Ace." he whispered.
"That was way too fuckin close, man." Ace whispered back, still not daring to move even the slightest bit.
"Zoorooo~" Sanji whined from where he lay, "c'mooon, let's get back to it~"
"You're just drunk, you stupid asshole. Go to sleep." Zoro slid off Sanji and lay next to him, but the blonde was on him in a second. "Quit it!"
"Mmm...but you were so willing before..."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Zoro tried to push Sanji away. "Ace!" He hissed, "Do you know what's going on?"
"Not a clue. Let's worry about it in the morning."
"Yeah...alright." Zoro rolled over so his back was facing Sanji, but even then Sanji felt the need to cling. "Annoying bastard..."
Ace smiled a bit as he listened to the shenanigans that were happening just across the room. He wrapped a protective arm around Smoker and sniffed his hair, inhaling his scent as he fell asleep. 'If only you'd been sober...'
Needless to say, the next morning was one of chaos and confusion.
"Ow, God, where am I?"
"Aw, sick! Why am I—Why's my—it's all over! What the hell happened last night?"
"Don't yell so loud, dammit, I've got a splitting headache."
"What the hell are you doing in my bed! Zoro? What's he doing in yours!"
There was angered yelling and lots of loud thumps and bumps as the irritated twins kicked their unwanted guests out of the house. Thankfully, both parents were out of the house at work when the kids all woke up, unless they had truly wanted all hell to be loose. Ace and Sanji stood outside the door, having just recently been kicked out. Sanji had no idea as to why he had been so forcefully removed, and Ace was dreading having to explain what'd happened.
"Stupid Marimo bastard! I didn't even do anything to him, why's he got to get all pissy..." Sanji lit up a smoke. "I don't even know how I got there."
"Yeah...about that..." Ace went on to explain last night to the best of his capability: when he'd walked in and saw Sanji sprawled over Smoker, humping him and groping at him; the way he was hitting on Zoro while they were all trying to hide; and his drunken, doting phrases that he would whisper as they all tried to fall asleep.
Sanji was absolutely petrified.
"Y-You're shitting me..."
"I wish I was."
Sanji looked down at the cigarette in his hands. "Shit, no wonder he's pissed...I was an ass to him yesterday and then I go and hit on his brother...I did think it was Zoro though, right?"
"You seemed to."
Sanji sighed, "...You know, I had thought that you and him were dating."
Ace seemed genuinely surprised by that. "You did? Really?"
"It's the whole damn reason I didn't...I dunno...I don't know if I would've asked him out even if I had known you two weren't going out. Too much of a fucking coward. Now Saga's gonna snatch him before I even get the chance."
"Saga likes him?"
"They had a date last night."
"...Oh." The two friends sat in silence as they both mulled over everything that'd happened. "Well, after last night, I don't think Smoker's gonna wanna have anything to do with me."
"Oh? Why's that?"
Ace's face turned beet red and a sly smirk spread across his face as he remembered how Smoker writhed beneath him, panting and moaning and gasping out his name.
"Ohhh~ Something good, eh?" Sanji's classic shit-eating grin spread across his face as he read Ace like a book.
"Well," Ace's blush faded and his grin fell, "it was good then, but I'm worried what happens now."
"I'm sure he'll come around." Sanji stood up and pulled his phone out of his pocket. "Shit! I have work today! I completely forgot! I gotta be there in 45 minutes, I'm gonna be late!"
"Dude, I'll drive you, chill." Ace stood up and sighed, smiling a bit. Come on, let's get you home. I'm sure your old man's wondering where you are."
"That ain't funny."
Smoker and Zoro watched Ace and Sanji leave through the window, both of them wearing heavy scowls. Ace was laughing as Sanji gently punched him in the arm.
"So..." Smoker began awkwardly, "do you know what happened last night?"
Zoro just shook his head. "All I know is that Perona drove your drunk asses home. And that Sanji started dry humping you while you were passed out on the floor."
"...You've gotta be fuckin kidding."
"I wouldn't joke about something like that. It's not funny." Zoro sighed, lounging back on the bed.
"He was only doing that cause he thought it was you, dummy~!" Perona was standing in their doorway, wearing her short, pink nightgown and thigh-high stockings, hands on her hips as usual when she was displeased. "Zoro!"
"What?" He didn't understand why her sudden animosity was being turned towards him. If anything, she and Smoker should be the one in trouble.
"Why did you just let Sanji go! You've been pining over him for a month, then you finally had him in your bed! Why aren't you two togetherrrr~!" She wined, stomping her feet in frustration.
"Cause, he was drunk. He doesn't really like me."
"Yes he does!"
"He never said so."
"Well you never told him you liked him either! And he obviously likes you! He even called you cute!"
"Look! I'm getting over Sanji! He's a stupid prick that'll hump anything with a pulse, apparently. And besides..." He turned away, facing becoming unreadable. "Saga's not so bad..."
Perona cried out in annoyance, "Well, fine! See if I care, but you listen to me, Smoker!"
"Yes you! You better work it out with Ace, or else...or else I'm not speaking to you anymore!" She huffed, eyes brimming with tears for a reason that the twins couldn't possibly fathom before she turned around and stomped back to her room.
"What the hell's her problem?"
Smoker dropped his head into his hands. "I don't even want to know right now."
After dropping Sanji off at home, Ace hurried back to Zoro and Smoker's house. He got there just as Smoker and Zoro were leaving. He saw Zoro hop into Saga's car, smiling as the two of them drove off, leaving Smoker behind, though the elder twin hardly seemed to mind. He was wearing a turtleneck to help hide the copious amount of hickies.
Ace quickly ran up to greet him. "Hey—"
"Go away. I don't want to talk to you right now."
"Come on, Smoker! Just hear me out!"
"No! Leave me alone!"
"I said no!"
"PLEASE GO OUT WITH ME!"
The two of them froze, Smoker stared at him with a conflicted expression on his face. He looked around at the surrounding houses. He saw one of their neighbors watching carefully, shooting a scrutinizing glare down at the pair of men.
Smoker turned back to Ace. "I'm not gay, you dumbass!" He turned and started storming off, lighting up a cigarette as he went.
Ace was totally bewildered. So much so that he stood there, stunned for a moment. He thought he heard a condescending 'serves you right, faggot' and turned to look at the woman on the porch. He glared at her before running off after Smoker, calling his name.
"Smoker! Please, go out with me!"
"For the last time, I'm not interested!"
"I'm not going to be a replacement for my little brother. Just because he's gay that doesn't mean I am!" Smoker was throwing around whatever he could to just get Ace off his tail. He didn't want to bring any more trouble to his family. Why wouldn't Ace just leave him alone?
"He's not your little brother, you're twins." This wasn't making any sense to Ace. The things Smoker was spouting were completely unrelated to what was going on. He'd thought the jealousy thing was long over.
Smoker ground his teeth into his cigarette as he tried to out-walk the obnoxious bastard that insisted on following him. "He's still my younger brother. And being twins almost makes it worse. Just leave me alone!"
So now here he was, sitting in Alubarna with a mug of cooling coffee in his hands. He knew Smoker wasn't going to give him the time of day, so he asked a passing bus boy, Gin he believed his name was, and asked to borrow a pen. He took a paper napkin and began to feverishly scrawl on it, placing it under a $10 bill and walking out of the restaurant, shoulders slumped and heavy.
Smoker watched him leave, feeling a tingle of guilt creep up his spine. He went over to the table and picked up the bill and the mostly full mug when he noticed the note Ace had left. He picked it up, eyes glancing over the messy writing.
I know that things got off to a really
bad start, and I'm the only one to
blame for what happened. I feel like
if I'd just done something different,
this whole mess could've been avoided.
I'm sorry about what happened at Law's,
and if you wish, you'll never have to see
me again. But just know that I'll always
be thinking of you, and what I could've
done differently for you.
Smoker held the note tightly in his hand. "That idiot..." He shoved the napkin in his pocket and hurried to drop off the unwanted mug of cold coffee. He hurried into the back and burst into the boss's office.
"Sir!" He had a frantic look in his eye as he stared down upon his boss's face. "I—I'm sorry, but I need to..."
Cobra smiled, eyes sparkling, "Go on. I'm sure it's important."
Smoker's face broke out into a grin that Cobra had never seen before. "Thank you, Sir." He bowed a bit and shut the door. He hurried out the back way and ran off after Ace. He had faith that things weren't ruined just yet, and he wasn't going to be the one to let this final chance slip by him. Prejudice be damned; he wanted Ace!
He finally saw Ace off in the distance, walking slowly and sadly. He didn't even realize he was calling out to him until Ace stood up straight and turned back around, a broad smile spreading on his freckled face as he waited for Smoker to catch up.
In that moment, Smoker was sure, that no matter what forks fate put in your road, all of the twisted, winding paths would eventually join together, and you will get to where you need to be, in time.
Such is fate.
THE END #1
Chapter 7: Bonding Over Bloody Noses
"Shit, Ace, sometimes I get the feeling you're doing this in purpose." Zoro hefted the older boy up onto his back and turned to head towards Ace's house. Unfortunately, Ace's neighborhood was made up of lots curved roads and dead ends. Needless to say, Zoro quickly got lost.
He gently lowered Ace down and sat next to him, taking a moment to catch his breath. He took out his phone and scrolled down to the S's, pressing Smoker’s name and waiting for his brother to pick up.
"Well this is a surprise, Marimo. You never call me."
Zoro froze when he heard Sanji's voice. Shit, he'd pressed the wrong number.
"Dammit, Zoro, you better not have butt dialed me again."
'Again?' Zoro stuttered a moment before collecting his thoughts. "Ahh, no, sorry, I meant to call my brother. Ace passed out on me and I was gonna try and take him home, but I got kinda..."
"Lost?" Sanji couldn't resist laughing a little. "Where are you?"
Zoro got up and looked around for the street signs. "Uhh...corner of...Braid and Home."
Sanji felt his heart jump a little bit. "Oh, I'm about 3 blocks from there." Closer to 6, but Zoro didn't need to know that. "Here, I'll grab my dad’s van and come get you guys."
Zoro was surprised by Sanji's offer, but he'd have to be an idiot to refuse. "Uh, y-yeah! That'd be great. ...Is...that okay?"
"Yeah, yeah! I'll be over soon!" Sanji hung up and hurried to get out the door. His dad wouldn't be home for another hour yet, so he'd probably get away with stealing the car for a spell. Or at least he hoped so.
Zoro was sitting next to Ace's body when he arrived. He parked and got out the car as nonchalantly as he could manage, pretending like he hadn't just been in the greatest hurry to get there.
"Hey,” Zoro greeted with a half smile, “thanks for doing this."
"No problem. Help me get him into the car."
Sanji and Zoro took hold of their unconscious friend, Sanji holding him under the arms and Zoro taking his feet
“You know,” Zoro mused, “it probably looks like we’re trying to hide a dead body.”
Sanji laughed, “Only the best of friends will help you bury a dead body.”
Zoro’s head snapped up to look at Sanji, but the blonde was looking behind him as he stepped back up into the back half of the van. Zoro looked down, brow furrowing. ’Best of friends, huh...’ Zoro couldn’t help but think it was quite the jump from their usual relationship.
“Alright, set him down.” They lowered Ace onto the back seat, trying to get as much of his body onto the seat as they could manage.
“I’ll stay back here with him.” Zoro offered, missing the look Sanji gave him.
“Yeah, okay.” Sanji maneuvered into the front seat, slipping his belt on before throwing the van into drive and peeling away from the curb.
Zoro lurched and hit his face against the door with the force of his entire body behind it. “Ow, shit!” Blood slowly trickled down the inside of his nose. “Fuck, you shitty cook, your piss poor driving gave me a bloody nose.” As Sanji took another turn, Zoro had to brace himself, one hand shooting out to make sure Ace didn’t join him on the floor.
“No shit, really? Sorry, didn’t mean to.”
“Yeah, I can tell you mean it.”
“Is it really that bad?”
“Yeah, ‘m gonna get blood on my pants.”
“Damn, can’t let that happen.” He dreaded his father’s reaction to the blood on his cloth seats. The stain would never lift. Sanji pulled over again and threw the car into park, turning the car off all together this time. “Got napkins in the glove box, hold on...come up here. Don’t drip on anything though.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Zoro tried to stand up from where he was somewhat stuck. He couldn’t use his hands to stand up, as they were holding his nose as it bled, and he couldn’t get up without them. Well shit.
“Oi, Marimo, get up here.”
“I can’t. What are you, deaf?” Zoro struggled again, trying to stand without getting blood anywhere.
“Hey, hold on, I’ll come down.” Sanji slunk back into the back seat, a clump of napkins in his hand. “Lemme see.”
“I can wipe me own damn nose.” Ace started to slide off the seat and Zoro had to use his forearm to hold him up, the blood trickling down his face and through his fingers.
“Holy shit, that’s not normal.” Sanji brought a hand up and pinched Zoro’s nose. “Did you hit your face on an ice pick or something?”
“Shut up! I just fell face first into your jank door.” He tried his best to keep from moving as Sanji helped him clean off his face while he kept Ace from falling on top of them. He ripped off a piece of paper and single handedly rolled it up so he could plug his nose.
Sanji finished wiping the remaining smears off his face. “There. Well, at least your face is clean.”
“Yeah, thanks Mom.” Zoro snarked.
“Che, you’re welcome, ya bastard.” He sat back a bit, chuckling, “Now you definitely look like you tried to kill someone. You got blood on your shirt.”
“Yeah, well, now you’re my accomplice.”
Sanji snorted a laugh before got up and went back into the driver’s seat. “Alright, let’s get your dead body home.”
Zoro wiped off his hands as Sanji started the car, looking at the back of Sanji’s head with a bashful little smile. Little did he know that right behind him, Ace’s face had split into a wide, shit-eating grin.
“Yes, yes, I’m coming, I’m coming.” Dadan opened the door to see one young man with blood on his shirt, another blonde boy with blood smears on his hands, and her unconscious foster son’s unconscious body. She didn’t know what to think, so she settled for openly gaping.
“I, uh, I got a bloody nose.” Zoro explained awkwardly.
“Heyyy...Dadan...” Ace mumbled from where he was draped across Zoro’s back.
“Oh, finally awake?” Zoro turned to try and look at Ace. “Want me to put you down?”
“Well, I’m kinda cataplectic at the moment. So it’d be greatly appreciated if you’d set me down on the couch.” His speech was a bit slurred as he directed Zoro to the pull out couch. Sabo was lying on one side while Luffy sat on the end, the two of them playing a video game.
“Oh, Ace.” Sabo sat up a little more, but with difficulty. “You’re home.”
“Hey Ace! I’m kicking Sabo’s butt in this new game~”
“You are not!”
“Hey, Sabo.” Ace was gently laid next to his ailing foster brother. “How you feeling?
“Better than you probably are.”
Dadan sighed, “Ace, how long have you been out?”
Ace squirmed as he began to get the feeling back in his body. “Dunno...45 minutes, give or take.”
“That’s not normal!” She screeched, “You’re getting worse! You’re not taking your meds again!”
“I know, I know. Jeez, I can take care of myself, you old bag.”
“Obviously not, you ungrateful brat! Your friends just carried you through the door!”
Sanji and Zoro stood awkwardly in the doorway, not sure if they should go or not. Ace noticed their hesitance and made an effort to smile. “You guys can stay if you want. I don’t think I’d be much fun until I can move again though.”
Zoro tilted his head. “Why can’t you move, though?” He asked, “I thought if you had a fit you’d just pass out for a while.”
“Oh, narcolepsy is a barrel of fun. In addition to falling asleep uncontrollably, I get muscle weakness; sleep paralysis sometimes. Even worse is when my brain’s asleep but my body’s up and about. That’s why sometimes I do things and then don’t remember even doing them.”
“...Wow...that...really sucks.” Sanji offered weakly. He knew it was an understatement, but he didn’t know what else he could say.
“Haha, it’s not too bad. Could be worse.” He brought his arms to his sides and scooched himself up. “There we go... Hey, ya guys wanna play a game of—”
“Where’s my favorite grandson!?” Garp burst through the door, a wide grin on his face as he laughed boisterously.
“Shit! Grandpa!” Luffy winced instinctively, looking over at his grandpa.
“Garp! What are you doing here?” Dadan was just as surprised, if not more so, than Luffy was. She took a whiff of the air and could smell alcohol and cigar smoker on him. “You’ve been out drinking again!”
“Ahh, I was just out with an old friend of mine, Zeff.” The emphasis Garp put on the name sent shivers up Sanji’s spine. “You know, having just gone from seeing him, and then seeing his van out front, got me a little confused.”
Zoro looked over at Sanji, cocking a confused eyebrow. Sanji wasn’t daring to look anywhere but the floor as icy fear ran up his spine.
“Haa, it’s good to know that it was just his son that stole his van. He must be worried, I’ll give him a call.” Garp knew very well that Zeff did not ‘worry’ about things such as that. But the implied threat was enough to get Sanji talking.
“N-Naw, that’s alright,” he was trying to play it cool, but Zoro saw straight through it, “I’ll give him a call. I should probably get going anyways.”
“Hey, I’ll come with you.” Zoro offered before he could think otherwise. “I mean, if we both tell him why you took his van, then he probably won’t get so mad, right?”
Sanji sighed. Why did Zoro have to see him looking so lame? “Yeah, alright.”
“We’ll be headed out, Ace.” Zoro waved as they started to walk around Luffy’s grandfather. He was a very powerful looking man, and he held an incredible presence within the room.
“Aww, c’mon,” Luffy whined, “you guys just got here!”
“Well, I should be getting home anyways. Mom’s probably worried.” Zoro looked down at Ace, “And I’m kinda worried bout my brother too. He wasn’t really himself earlier.”
Ace looked away, a light blush forming on his cheeks.
"Oh, you're leavin already? Well, be careful driving home, ya brats." Garp smiled knowingly down at Sanji, who simply looked down and away as he slunk out the door after Zoro.
"Hey, thanks for, uh, comin with me." Sanji mumbled awkwardly as he scratched at the back of his head.
"Well, in return you can take me home." Zoro smirked as he yanked on the passenger side door handle, impatiently waiting for Sanji to unlock it.
"Ha! Fat fuckin chance. I just helped you transport a dead body at the risk of my own skin. If anything, you still owe me." Sanji unlocked the doors and climbed in.
"Hey, I didn't have to volunteer to put my ass on the line for you."
"You wouldn't have to if I hadn't stuck my neck out by picking your wayward ass up in the first place." Sanji lashed out and playfully punched Zoro in the shoulder before starting up the van and pulling away from the curb.
"You didn't have to agree!" Zoro punched him back, a broad smile on his face.
"What, and leave you to roam the streets for the rest of your life just cause you couldn't find your way out?" Sanji reached over and tried to hit Zoro again, but Zoro blocked. He began to wave his hand around, trying to get in a good slap whenever he could. Zoro grabbed Sanji's hand and batted at Sanji with his free hand.
"Geh! That's cheating! That's cheating!"
"What are you, a kid?" The two of them were laughing as the van swerved all over the dark and thankfully empty street.
Zoro finally established a firm grip on Sanji's wriggling hand with both of his. "Heh, guess I win."
"Yeah, yeah. Only cause I'm driving..." Sanji could feel the incredible warmth that surrounded his right hand and he couldn't help but feel a little giddy. All he had to do was rotate his hand a bit and their fingers could interlace. He was scared to take that first step, but after steeling himself with a deep breath, he moved his hand ever so slightly so his fingers were nestled between the creases of Zoro's fingers.
Zoro felt his heart jump when Sanji’s hand moved to hold his. The hand that he had resting on top of Sanji's fell away and his other spread to let Sanji's hand intertwine with his.
Sanji’s fingers slowly curled around Zoro’s hand, Zoro reciprocating the movement. When Sanji came to a stop sign, he looked down at their intertwined hands and smiled, chuckling nervously. Zoro looked up at Sanji, an uneasy expression on his face. Sanji smiled back and gave his hand a gentle squeeze before driving off again.
“Saanjiii!” Zeff bellowed when he heard the door open and close. “What have I told you about taking my van without my permission!” He stormed into the foyer, calming down a bit when he saw Zoro standing next to him, shirt covered in dried blood. He folded his arms across his chest. “You kids better have a damn good explanation.”
“Uh, well, you see, our friend, Ace, passed out and then Zoro called me when he’d meant to call his brother, but then I figured it’d be easier to get Ace home if I used the van...so...yeah.”
“Why’s the kid covered in blood? What’d you do, kick his ass?”
Zoro scoffed at the very idea. “As if he could beat me up. No, I just tripped and fell.”
“Damn hard fall.”
“Dad, can I just use the van a little longer to take Zoro home?”
“Why should I let you use it now?”
“Cause I already promised Zoro I’d take him home!”
“Well, maybe this’ll teach you a lesson not to make promises you can’t keep.”
“Look, ya old geezer, let me take my friend home real quick, and then you can lecture me until you’re blue in the damn face.”
Zoro’s eyes shot wide. If he’d ever even thought of talking to his parents like that he’d be sent to hell and back 10 times over. It was completely surreal to him that Sanji got away with it.
“Hmph, fine, but we’ll see about punishment when you get back.” Zeff turned and hobbled away, his false leg making a solid clunking sound as he walked.
“C’mon, let’s get you home.” Sanji turned and headed back out the door, Zoro following behind silently. When they got back to the car, they sat in the driveway a moment. “Sorry bout that,” Sanji muttered, “wish you didn’t have to see that.”
Sanji chuckled, “You probably think I acted like a little shit to my old man.” Zoro didn’t disagree. “Well, that’s just how we’ve always been. But it suits us just fine.” Sanji gave Zoro a small smile before looking away shyly. He looked back over at Zoro and offered his hand, quirking one of his curly eyebrows.
Zoro chuckled and reached out to take his hand.
The front door swung open, banging noisily. “Sanji!”
The pair ripped their hands away form each other. Sanji rolled down the window, gritting his teeth. “What is it?”
“If you plan on staying for a bit let me know.”
“Alright.” Sanji rolled up his window and backed out of the driveway.
“...Did you just get out of being punished?”
“...I think so.”
The pair drove in silence until they were about halfway to Zoro’s house. Sanji’s hand was resting limply on the gearshift. Zoro shifted in his seat, eyes glued to whatever was passing by the windows. His hand shakily groped around for Sanji’s. He took the pale hand in his and squeezed, turning his face away as red seeped up to his cheeks.
Sanji also kept his eyes facing straight ahead as his own face burned with a blush. His thumb gently began to stroke Zoro’s, slowly as they drove all the rest of the way to Zoro’s house.
“Uhh, thanks for driving me home.” Zoro said before regrettably letting Sanji’s hand go and undoing his seatbelt.
Sanji stared for a moment before he realized he’d been spoken to. “...Uh, yeah! Any time.” He watched as Zoro went around the front of the van. He felt like he had to do something to get Zoro to stay. He quickly rolled down the window. “H-Hey, Zoro!”
Zoro stopped in his tracks and turned around to head back towards Sanji’s car. He put a hand on the door. “Yeah?”
Sanji stared a moment, clearly trying to work up the nerve to do something, anything. He racked his brain as he stared into those captivating red-brown eyes.
A) Kiss him! (N/A)
B) Ask him on a date (Next Chapter)
Chapter 8: What Not to Wear
Zoro could see the conflict on Sanji’s face. The blonde looked like he had something fighting to get off the tip of his tongue. He felt his heart speed up hopefully, waiting with baited breath for what Sanji might say.
Seeing Zoro’s eyes practically light up with hope gave Sanji newfound confidence. While the green-haired stoic didn’t let his expression change, he could still tell that Zoro had an idea of what he was about to ask.
“There’s uh...” Sanji’s voice cracked a bit and he cleared his throat, “There’s that movie about the gladiators that came out, if you wanna go see it, maybe? With me. Tomorrow after work?”
Zoro shoved his hands in his coat pockets, looking down at the ground as he tried to hold back that stupid smile that was spreading across his face. “Yeah, that sounds...” he finally managed to look up at Sanji, unable to contain the gin, “that sounds good.”
Sanji grinned, “Good, good, uh...oh! I can take you back home to change, though.” Sanji figured Zoro wouldn’t want to be out and about in his uniform, just as Sanji wouldn’t want to wear his chef’s jacket.
“Sounds good.” Zoro ran his tongue over his teeth as he kept trying to hide his smile, “I’ll check movie times and get back to you?”
“Yeah, yeah...so, uh...see you tomorrow?”
“Yeah, tomorrow... So, um... g’night, Sanji.”
“Night, Zoro. See you tomorrow.” Sanji watched as Zoro went up his stairs and inside his house before he drove off. His chest felt like it was expanding to the point of bursting with excitement. He pumped his fist before hitting the steering wheel with his fists out of excitement.
Suddenly, there was a loud honk as a car zipped through the intersection, almost slamming right into Sanji. The young teen screeched to a halt, almost pissing himself as his heart burst through his ribcage. He rolled down the window and yelled at the car, even though it was long gone. Sanji was irritated for a little while, but thoughts of his date the next day soon expelled any and all irritation. His heart was still beating fast, but only out of excitement now.
Zoro had to fight the urge to look back at Sanji as he walked to his door. He heard the engine rev just as he stepped inside. He peeked around the curtain and watched Sanji head off around the corner, almost wishing he’d come back and stay a little longer. As he pulled away from the window, he heard a screech of tires, and he was worried for a moment, but there was no sound of a crash. It was probably some asshole driving too fast on the icy streets and struggling to stop.
Hancock appeared in the doorway just as her son darted up the stairs. “Zoro?”
“Yeah, Mom?” He stopped at the landing, looking down over the banister.
As a fairly experienced mother, Hancock could tell that this wasn’t the right moment to bring up a rather difficult discussion. She changed the topic before she could even get it off her tongue. “Where’ve you been? It’s late.” She folded her arms across her chest, voice stern as always, “You know I don’t like it if I don’t know where you are.”
Zoro had to fight the urge to roll his eyes. It seemed that no matter how old he was his mother would never stop treating him like a child. “I was with Ace and Sanji. Ace had a fit and Sanji helped me get him home.”
Hancock nodded, letting her son know she accepted his answer. “Go speak with your brother. He’s been in an off mood ever since he got home.”
Zoro heaved a sigh, “Alright.” He waited until his mother waved him off, signaling the end of their conversation before heading upstairs. Out of courtesy to his brother, he knocked on the door, despite the fact that they shared the room.
Smoker looked up at the door for a moment before turning back to his computer. “Come in.”
The door creaked open and Zoro stepped in. He held onto the door as he looked over his brother. To any outsider Smoker looked fine, but Zoro could feel that he was upset.
Smoker closed his laptop and set it on his bedside table. He looked up at Zoro, “Why? Something to talk about?”
Zoro went over to the bed, crawling over Smoker’s legs and sitting opposite him on the bed. “You’re annoyed about something. If it’s something I’ve done I want to rectify it.”
“Rectify? Big word for you, isn’t it?” Smoker couldn’t help the snarky dig; trying to ignore the clear offense his brother took. He knew Zoro still had a bit of baggage from their youth, growing up being known and treated as the slower of the two twins. When Zoro didn’t say anything, Smoker felt he owed an immediate apology.
“Shit...” Smoker ran a hand back over his hair. “Look, I’m sorry, Zoro. I didn’t mean it. That was petty.” He shifted uncomfortably as he thought about how to continue. “I, uh, I heard you talking with Mom about helping Ace with a fit. I didn’t know that. I guess I thought you were...you know, with him.” Stupid jealousy. Utterly stupid and useless jealousy had gotten the better of him, and he’d acted like a dick.
Zoro sighed, accepting his brother’s apology with a curt nod and a mildly annoyed grunt. “It’s fine. I get it. Ace pulled a stupid stunt,” and that should be all there was to it. Yet, it was never so easy whenever there were feelings involved. Zoro and his brother both weren’t particularly good at handling emotions like love or jealousy, mostly out of lack of experience. “You want me to talk to him?”
“Absolutely not.” Smoker prickled up like a cornered cat. “I don’t want anything to do with him.”
Zoro gave his brother a look that made it clear he thought he was acting like a child. He was about to say something when he heard a thud and a quiet curse from outside their door. He got up and went to open it, finding Perona trying to sneak away.
Perona froze like a deer in the headlights. She sucked in her lips and gave an awkward smile. “I wasn’t listening.”
Zoro rolled his eyes and stepped out of the doorway, silently inviting her in. She hurried into the room before flopping on Smoker’s bed. The younger twin closed the door after her before going to sit on his own bed.
“Soooo, if Ace likes you, aren’t you going to do anything?” She poked at her brother’s ticklish sides, goading him for an answer.
“I swear to god, Perona I will pin you down, and we’ll play the spit game again.” Smoker twitched away from his sister, grabbing her by the wrists and easily restraining her.
The girl screamed as she writhed and tried to slip from her brother’s grasp. Her eyes bugged as Smoker pursed his lips, preparing a loogie to be dangled above her.
Zoro laughed from the sidelines until he felt a buzz from his pocket. He pulled his phone out and looked at the screen, smiling a bit when he saw who it was from.
curlybrow [received at 10:13]: So dad wont let me take the van after today so it looks like we have to walk. Hope you have boots it’s supposed to snow all night tonite
Zoro didn’t really mind walking. It was only about a fifteen-minute walk to the little downtown area. He texted Sanji back right away.
You [sent at 10:15]: thats ok i can walk to ur place after i get changed
curlybrow [received at 10:15]: It’s fine. I’ll walk over.
curlybrow [received at 10:16]: If you can get lost on your way to Ace’s I doubt I’ll ever see you again if you try to find my house haha
You [sent at 10:16]: asshole
Zoro suddenly noticed how quiet it was around him. He looked up and realized that Smoker was staring at him with a shit-eating grin while Perona was biting her lip, clearly trying to contain her excitement. Zoro hadn’t even realized how hard he’d been smiling until his face fell into a frown.
“Are you texting Sanji?” She pressed, hands balled up under her chin, “What’re you guys talking about?”
“None of your business.” Zoro hugged the phone to his chest, trying to hide it from his sister’s prying eyes.
“Come oooooon.” Perona groaned, flopping back again with an annoyed kick of her legs. “You were smiling like an idiot, it’s gotta be something!”
Smoker saw this as his chance to get a bit of teasing in. “You know, Perona,” his grin never faded as he stared into Zoro’s eyes, ignoring the warning look his twin gave him. “I’m pretty sure I saw them flirting at work today. I bet this is a date.”
Perona gasped, bright red lips forming an almost perfect circle, her eyes shining with elation.
Zoro knew exactly what was coming and redirected his warning look to her. He extended his arm and pointed at her, “No. No, no, no.” He could see the excitement bubbling up inside her and his stern look faltered for a moment. “Perona, I know that look. Don’t you do it.” He felt like he was talking to an excitable puppy.
The youngest of the bunch sprang up and zoomed over, ignoring Zoro’s repeated protests as she tackled him in a hug. “Ahhh~ you’re not denying it; you totally did!” She squeezed him tight, “I can’t believe it! You finally got a date with Sanjiiii~!”
A strangled noise came from Zoro’s mouth as he tried to pull Perona’s arms from around his neck. “Perona....get off!” Just as he started to pry her arms from his neck, she suddenly let go. She grabbed him by the shoulders and looked him in the eyes, suddenly completely serious.
“We have to pick out your outfit.” Perona rushed to her brothers’ shared closet, yanking it open and looking through everything before extending her raid to Zoro’s dresser.
Smoker wasn’t hiding his smirk as he pulled his computer back onto his lap. He was completely satisfied with the fact that all attention had been taken away from him and put on his brother.
Perona finally settled on a pair of red skinny jeans that both brothers had no recollection of, a white v-neck, and a grey hoodie vest. She ran to her room to fetch one of her favorite checked scarves. She put her hands on her hips proudly before looking to her brothers for their opinions.
“Well? Am I a genius or what?”
’Or what is certainly a good question.’ Smoker couldn’t have been any less interested as he glowered at his phone while Zoro looked at the outfit with mixed feelings. It’s not that the outfit was in bad taste, but he wasn’t sure about the whole thing. He figured he should just be himself with Sanji, as he always tried to be.
“Perona...I don’t know.” He appreciated where she was coming from, but... “I never wear shit like this. Can’t I just wear a shirt and jeans?”
Perona rolled her eyes, “Well sure you can, but this is a first date! It’s what normal people do.” She turned away, pursing her lips as she muttered, “Not that you two dorks would know that.”
“Hey!” The brothers began to protest in unison, but neither of them had any further argument.
“Ugh, whatever. Smoker, you can just angrily stare at whatever Ace just sent you forever, and don’t deny it. I know that look when I see it. Zoro, you can go to your first date in stained sweatpants and a wifebeater for all I care. I give up!” Perona threw her hands up with a noise of exasperation before leaving her brothers’ room.
The twins exchanged a look, neither of them sure if they should feel bad about what had just happened. They knew she just wanted to help, but she also had the tendency of crossing that line and becoming a meddler. It was silent in the room, the only sound that interrupted the stiff atmosphere was Smoker’s ring tone, but it was cut short when his phone died.
“...Guess I could try it on.” Zoro mumbled before starting to strip. He’d humor his sister, but he still refused to coddle her when she got frustrated with not getting her way. He had to wiggle a bit to get into the pants, but they fit comfortably enough. The shirt and hoodie were both comfortable, but he wasn’t sure about the scarf. If they were going to be walking in this weather he wanted something more insulating. He turned to his brother, arms spread as he looked down at himself.
Smoker stopped searching for his charger to look up at his brother, giving him a once over before nodding. “Looks good. Not something I’d think you’d wear, but it works.” He paused, “By the way, whose pants are those?”
The next day, the entirety of Alubarna was filled with varying degrees of tension. Ace had spent the better part of his night trying to get in contact with an unresponsive Smoker. He’d tried to call Smoker, tell him the truth about the whole jealousy scheme. He’d wound up having to leave a message, but he was afraid that Smoker had either A) heard the message and decided to never speak to him again, or B) he hadn’t heard the message and was still mad at him over what he’d done.
Either way, it didn’t look good, but that didn’t stop Ace from coming in and requesting a seat in Smoker’s section. Unfortunately, no tables had been available, so he was sitting in Zoro’s section. Would Smoker misunderstand the unfortunate seating arrangement? His paranoia was piling up with every sidelong look that Smoker gave him.
Smoker didn’t know what to make of Ace being there, and it was distracting him from his work. He knew Ace was staring at him, and every time he tried to cast a casual glance, Ace would make a face like a startled rabbit and pretend to be engrossed in the menu that Smoker knew Ace practically knew by heart at this point. He knew they needed to talk, but Smoker didn’t want to be the one to initiate it. It had been the freckled moron’s dumb shit plan that had gone to hell. Smoker refused to fix a problem he didn’t feel he’d caused.
The tension between the two had permeated through most of the restaurant. Even a few of the casual patrons were starting to suspect that there was something brewing under the surface.
As Zoro hurried to the window to pick up an order, Sanji called out to him, leaning on the sill a bit as he spoke. “Do you know what’s going on with them? The cooks won’t shut up with their daytime drama theories.”
Zoro let out a long sigh, “They’re both morons that are turning something stupid into a drawn out mess. If you really want to know, I’ll tell you about it after work. Just tell them that their theories probably aren’t too far off.”
“Yeah well, wait till you hear some of them.” Sanji turned to go back to work when suddenly he remembered, “Oh yeah, the movie times are at 4:45 and 8:20. Unless we want to rush straight there after work, I think that the later one would be better. It’s a long ass movie, so maybe we wanna do dinner first? I can pop by around sevenish?”
Zoro threw Sanji a grin, “Sounds good.” He picked up two armfuls of plates before hurrying to serve the hungry guests. His smile was genuine as he placed the food, already excited for after work.
Sanji smiled and bit his lip, drumming the sill a moment before moving to pull away. He stopped when he saw Ace sitting alone, looking down at his food morosely. He sighed before calling out to the head chef. “I’m taking five!”
“Not until you finish the onions, ya damn slacker!”
Sanji sighed and rolled his eyes. Hurrying over to his station, he chopped the onions with skill and speed beyond his years. He was done in half the time it took most everyone else. “I’ll be back in five.”
The blonde ducked out of the kitchen, heading over to sit across from Ace. “What’s going on, man?”
Ace startled, as if he hadn’t noticed Sanji had approached and sat across from him. “Oh, hey,” he paused, “is it really that obvious?”
“Painfully.” Sanji folded his hands, like he was some sort of guidance counselor meeting with a troubled teen. “You don’t have to talk about it, and I’m pretty sure the head chef would be yelling at me to get back in the kitchen before we finished working through it, so I’m just going to say this. If I know those brothers, they are both stubborn as hell and are the absolute worst at dealing with drama. Or feelings in general, for that matter. Sitting here beating yourself up is going to get you nowhere, and this tension is going to eat the two of you alive. So, for now, just go home. We all get off at three today, so unless you plan on waiting around here for the next five and a half hours, go home. De-stress a bit so you don’t have a fit in the middle of your apology. Alright?”
Ace nodded, “Yeah, yeah you’re right.” He sighed, carding a hand through his hair. “I need to figure out what I’m going to say anyways.” He glanced over Sanji’s shoulder, noting a dirty look that one of the chefs was throwing them through the service window. He turned back to Sanji and smirked, “It also looks like you’re about two seconds away from getting your ass handed to you.”
Sanji turned around, cursing under his breath. “Fucking Christ.” He got up from the chair, “Feel free to text me.” He clapped Ace on the shoulder before heading back into the kitchen.
Ace felt a bit better after hearing Sanji’s input. He properly dug into his food, trying not to stare at Smoker too often. Smoker, on the other hand, felt instant relief once Sanji had finished talking to Ace. He could tell that Ace’s mood had picked up, and the tension within the room began to dissipate.
Smoker took a deep breath and squared off his shoulders. He’d let his mind wander with unanswered questions once work was done, but for now he had customers to serve.
Sanji was pacing his room, clothes spread out across the floor and his bed as he tried to decide what to wear. He had Ace on video call as they both discussed their current dilemmas.
“I don’t know, Ace. I know Zoro won’t care, but I have no fucking idea what I should wear. Do I go overly casual? Make things feel real at ease? Or do I dress it up a bit? It’s a first date, you know?” Sanji had always been a sharp dresser; got a lot of flack for it until he busted a kid’s nose for trying to tease him.
“Well, Zoro would probably go casual if given the choice, but I bet you anything his sister’s gonna try and push him to dress up a bit for you. She’s always been a meddler that way.” Ace rolled his eyes as Sanji unbuttoned another shirt and tossed it into the pile. “Just...wear those red plaid pants you liked, that white polo or whatever, and maybe one of your button up sweater things.”
“Whatever, doesn’t matter what its called. The point is that either way, you’ll look great. Zoro’s not gonna like you any less whether you wear jeans or slacks.”
Ace could hear Sanji changing off screen, and he sighed for the millionth time. “In the meantime, what should I do about Smoker? He’s home now, right?”
“Unless he went somewhere after work. You can probably text Zoro first to see. Or better yet, ask Smoker. Let him know you want to talk to him.” Sanji pulled on the outfit Ace had suggested, though going with a pullover sweater instead of a cardigan.
“Yeah, he wouldn’t like it if I just ambushed him at his door.” Ace pulled out his phone. He had to do this while he was amped enough. He couldn’t give himself enough time to think this through or else he would definitely wimp out.
You [sent at 18:14]: hey
You [sent at 18:14]: mind if I pop by tonite? I really need to talk to you
“Alright...sent it.” Ace took a deep breath, feeling a bit shaky. He suddenly regretted ever sending the text and felt a nervous pounding in his chest. He took a deep breath and calmed himself, trying not to stress too much.
“It’s gonna be fine, Ace.” Sanji had sat down in front of the computer again now that he was changed. “Whether he responds tonight or not, whether he says yes or no, I can’t imagine that you two are never gonna get past this.
The curled eyebrows drew down in a frown when he noticed that Ace wasn’t moving, nor was anything being said. “Ace? Did you freeze on me?”
The video pixelated for a moment before going back to normal. “Yeah, sorry. The little thingy that pops up when someone is typing kept popping up and then disappearing; its making me anxious as hell. Ah! He responded!”
Smoker [received at 18:16]: Sure. Zoro’s heading out soon so come over whenever
Smoker [received at 18:16]: Just give a heads up
You [sent at 18:17]: I’ll head over now then! See you soon!
Ace winced, hoping the exclamation marks weren’t over the top. “Alright. I’m heading over now. Want me to pick you up on the way? Storm’s starting to pick up; it’d be a bitch to walk.” Ace offered, looking up at Sanji.
A) Go with Ace
B) Walk over as planned (Next Chapter)
Sanji thought about it a moment, listening to the wind whipping around outside. It would be nice to hitch a ride with Ace, but if he was going to be having a heart to heart with Smoker it might get a little awkward with all of them there.
"I appreciate it, Ace, but I think I'm gonna walk."
"You sure? Storm's supposed to get pretty bad."
"Yeah," Sanji opened a new tab to check the weather advisories, "plus the movie isn't starting for a while yet."
"Alright, man. I'll see you later then. Have fun on your date, and good luck." Ace shot him a wink before hanging up the call.
Sanji huffed a laugh, "I'm not the one that needs the luck, dumbass." Sanji took a look at the advisories and a frown began to settle in. From the looks of it there was a good chance they wouldn't be able to make it to theater. To be extra sure whether the effort to get downtown would be worth it, he pulled up the website for the theater. As he read the front page notice, Sanji felt his mouth twist into a disappointed frown.
The storm was already getting bad outside when Ace pulled up to Smoker's place. He probably should've insisted on driving Sanji, but it was a little late for that. He jogged up the stairs, being careful not to slip. He shot Smoker a text, announcing that he'd arrived. It took a minute, but he was finally let inside.
“You know, you could’ve rung the bell.”
“Oh, right. Forgot." Ace stepped inside and brushed the snow from his hair, “Damn, it’s fuckin freezing out there." He looked up at Smoker, his usually bright smile falling into a sheepish one.
"Thanks for agreeing to talk. Is Zoro around? I owe him an apology too." Ace saw Smoker’s brow twitch and immediately started to backpedal. “I mean, at some point, but us talking is the, uh, priority here.”
Smoker nodded, “Zoro’s upstairs in our room, but I can kick him out and we can talk there.”
Ace nodded, afraid to say anything more at the moment, lest he have another foot-in-mouth moment. The pair made their way upstairs, already hearing bickering coming from the twins’ room.
"Oh yeah, shit, Perona's also here." Why did her dumbass have to get grounded? At least their parents were out of the house that night or there really wouldn't have been any personal space whatsoever.
"Yeah, no, that's fine. So, uh, do we still wanna talk in your room? Or we can go downstairs?"
"Nah, let's leave my brother and sister alone. If Perona knows you're here she might try and eavesdrop. Let's go to my parents’ room."
It was, admittedly, a little weird going into his parents' room and sitting on their bed next to one of the biggest dumbasses he'd ever had a thing for, but Smoker didn't really see any alternatives. At least none that had lockable doors.
“So…” Ace began awkwardly, neither boy really able to look the other in the eye, “I...want to apologize for pulling that dumb stunt with Zoro. I just…” Ace took a deep breath, “I...I really like you, and I don’t really know how to go about liking people. I’m not very good at…” he brought up his hands and meshed his fingers together as he tried to explain, words failing him.
Smoker sat patiently, waiting for Ace to continue. He wasn’t going to give him an out or put words in his mouth.
“I’m...I never...fuckin, okay,” Ace ruffled his hair with frustration as he tried to get the feelings in his head to translate into words. “I was talking to Thatch and Marco about how to go about, I dunno, going about getting you to like me. Not...not that you’re something to be gotten, but if I could prove to myself that you liked me by making you jealous it would’ve been easier for me to ask you out. Marco told me it was a bad idea, but Thatch was so sure it would work that I got swept up in his shit idea”
Smoker slowly nodded, tongue running over the inside of his cheek as he processed what Ace was telling him. “Hm...I see.” Good to know that Ace’s friends were also idiots. Well, this Thatch guy was anyway.
“And I get that that’s selfish of me, but it made sense at the time. You know, before I realized that it was not a good idea.”
Smoker couldn’t help but snort a laugh at that, “You’re a fuckin dumbass.” His smile fell again when he looked at Ace, seeing that his face was still wrinkled up in a frown.
“I know I am. I didn’t think of anyone else when I pulled that shit. I hurt you, Zoro, Sanji was pissed at me for a bit there, and that all could’ve been avoided if I wasn’t such a coward.”
Smoker took a moment to really hear what Ace was saying. The pair sat in silence for a moment before he finally spoke up. “You’re really torn up about all this.”
Ace sucked in his lips until his mouth looked like a flat line. He couldn’t bring his eyes up off the decorative throw at the end of Smoker’s parents’ bed.
The two sat in another stretch of silence until Smoker leaned back against the headboard, a sigh slipping from between his lips. It was definitely his turn to say something. “I know I’m not the easiest person to get close to and that I’m not particularly readable,” his family reminded him of that often enough, “but I mean… It’s not as if I don’t have feelings and shit. Explaining why you did it helps me understand where your head’s at, but it doesn’t really make me feel all that much better.”
Smoker caught the way Ace glanced at him, the way the dark-haired teen’s shoulders slumped a little further. Ace’s eyes darted side to side, mind running a million miles a minute as he clearly tried to put together what to say next.
Before Ace could open his mouth, Smoker continued, “I feel like you tried to manipulate me. You did manipulate me, screwed with my emotions, and that’s going to take some time to get past.”
Ace waited until he was sure Smoker had said what he needed to before opening his mouth. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I’m not asking you to forgive me, but I really hope that… I don’t… Would we…?” Ace didn’t know how to pose the question. He wanted a second chance, but was struggling to ask for it. “Can we try again? Or I mean...I? Can I try again? With the whole normal way of going about liking you.”
Smoker did his best not to laugh as Ace fumbled. He’d never seen the guy at such a loss for words, so frazzled and awkward and unsure of himself. He couldn’t keep from cracking a smile, “And how should we go about doing that?”
Ace perked up, finally able to look Smoker in the eye. A shy smile spread across his face. “You mean it?” His eyes practically shone with hope and an eagerness to atone for how royally he’d fucked everything up.
Smoker hadn’t been prepared for a smile of that calibre. A frown set in as his ears started to burn bright red. He gave a noncommittal grunt, turning his head away to break off the intense eye-contact.
Ace’s confidence returned, “Then...would you like to hang out? Maybe go see a movie? I’ve got my car out front. Unless that would be too soon?”
Before Ace could launch into whatever he was about to figure out, Smoker interrupted, “How about we join my brother and sister and just play some video games for a while?”
Ace paused, eyes darting over Smoker’s face as he tried to get a read on him. This wasn’t Smoker rejecting him or refusing to spend time alone with him, but him needing to start slow before he could begin to completely trust Ace with his feelings again. He nodded, “Sounds good to me.”
“Good.” Smoker nodded before swinging his legs around to get up off the bed. “You know, I was all set to kick your ass if you fucked this up.”
Ace laughed nervously, scratching at the back of his head as he meekly followed Smoker out of the room. He wasn’t going to press on that one.
Zoro was alone in his room when Ace and Smoker entered, having just changed into his date outfit. “That was fast. You two make up already?”
Smoker grunted, “Something like that.” He clicked the TV and playstation on, grabbing a controller and tossing it to Ace before grabbing one for himself.
Ace almost didn’t catch it, distracted by Zoro’s outfit. “New look for you.” He couldn’t help the smirk on his face as he noticed the similarities between Zoro’s outfit and the one he’d helped Sanji pick out. “That for your date tonight?”
The twins shared a suspicious look before Zoro hesitantly spoke, “Yeah…? Why?” He patted over his chest and waist, starting to second guess the choice.
“Nah, you look great. Sanji’s a lucky guy.” Ace flinched before looking sheepishly at Smoker. “I mean he does, right? Back me up on this.”
Smoker nodded, “Perona knows what she’s doing.” He settled on his bed, loading up the game. “Speaking of, where is she? Figured she’d be here to batter us with questions.”
“She went downstairs to eat. She’ll be back soon enough.” Zoro got comfortable on the bed, checking his phone in hopes of a text from Sanji. “I’ll take winner.”
Smoker and Ace settled into their game, Smoker clearly getting joy from beating the everloving shit out of Ace’s character. The laughter and shouting of the three hypercompetitive boys drowned out the sound of the doorbell.
Perona had just pulled her diet meal from the microwave, frowning at what was bound to be a tasteless experience. She could hear her brothers shouting through the ceiling and wished to be a part of it. Just as the timer was about to hit zero, the doorbell rang. Thinking it was one of her friends come to collect her, Perona got up with a sigh, tying her hair up as she approached the door.
When the door swung open, both parties were surprised to see the other person across the threshold.
“Ah! The cutie from earlier?” Sanji cried in surprise.
“Eek! The pervert!” Perona flinched, instantly on her guard. She gripped the doorknob as if the door was her weapon of defense. “What’re you doing here? Are you stalking me? I’m gonna get my brothers and they’re gonna beat you up!” Though it was weird that a stalker would come to her door with a bag of groceries in hand.
“Wh-Wha—? No, no, no, I’m Sanji, I’m here for Zoro.” Man, what was with everyone in Zoro’s family being attractive? “I didn’t know you were his sister.”
Perona’s face fell into one of disappointment. She couldn’t believe she’d wasted time and effort to make sure her brother looked good for this creep; that she rooted for her brother to get together with the guy that had been hitting on her.
“Ugh, alright, I’ll go get him. Make sure to knock the snow off your shoes and leave them on the tray.” Perona instructed before turning around, haughtily tossing her ponytail over her shoulder before sashaying up the stairs.
Without warning, she burst into her brothers’ room, judgemental frown on her face. “Zoro, your playboy is here.”
“Sanji? He's early...” Zoro cocked a confused eyebrow before getting up and hurrying downstairs. He found Sanji setting his boots on the shoe tray, having already stripped himself of his coat. Upon hearing the creak of the stairs Sanji turned around.
“Zoro, hey. Sorry for not texting you, but I checked the theater site, and apparently they had to close cause of the weather.” He picked up the bag off the ground, holding it out for Zoro to see into. “I thought maybe instead of going on a pilgrimage through the storm that maybe I could make us dinner and we could watch a movie here?”
Zoro was surprised by Sanji’s forethought and it made his heart flutter. He would’ve just traipsed through the snow and found out the hard way that the entirety of the downtown area was closed down.
The blonde had hoped to surprise his date, but Zoro was just staring at him blankly without saying a word. He felt a little awkward and diverted his gaze. “Sorry, I should’ve texted you.”
“No, I’m just...impressed. I—” Zoro was interrupted by excited shouting from upstairs, Perona’s shrill victory laugh cutting through Smoker and Ace’s good natured arguing. “Sorry, everyone’s here right now. Except my parents, they won’t be back till close to midnight. Here,” Zoro extended his arms to take the groceries, “I’ll take that into the kitchen. You can put your coat on the newel post.”
Sanji carefully handed the bag to Zoro, relishing the brief contact. “There’s a bottle of wine and a bottle of sake that I nicked in there, if you’re interested.” Sanji wasn’t sure how straight-edge Zoro was. The topic had never really come up, but judging by the grin Zoro shot over his shoulder, his date was more than okay with it.
“You know me well. Normally I wouldn’t touch frilly ass wine, but I can humor you this time.” Zoro teased, instantly putting Sanji at ease.
“The wine’s to be paired with dinner, not that you’d know the first thing about pairing alcohol with food.” Sanji hurried after Zoro, not at all minding the view he got following behind.
“Who the hell cares? The point of drinking is to get drunk.” Zoro began unpacking the food, eager to see what Sanji would be making them. “So, what’re we having? And where the hell did you get all this stuff?”
“We always cook at home so we've always got stuff like this lyin around. I brought pork chops in a salt brine that can sit for a while yet, and some veg that we’re gonna roast in the oven.” Sanji began unpacking the ingredients he brought over as Zoro began fetching cooking utensils. “Heat the oven to four-fifty would you?”
Zoro obediently moved around the kitchen, following each of Sanji’s instructions as the two prepared dinner together. The kitchen began to glow with the delicious smells of roasting veggies and sizzling pork chops.
“This isn’t so hard,” Zoro commented smugly from where he sat, “I don’t see why the guys in the kitchen are always complaining. Even I could do this.”
Sanji snorted as he placed the skillet with the seasoned pork chops in the oven. “You’re only competent in a kitchen because you were following my orders to a T. Plus cranking out food for twenty tables is different than making dinner for two.” Sanji grabbed the bottle opener, popping open the bottle of wine. “Glasses?”
Zoro hopped up and fetched them two wine glasses, “You want these, right?”
“If you think you can handle that level of sophistication.” Sanji took the glasses and filled them, sitting down across from Zoro, watching as he took a swig. Despite the fact that this was supposed to be a date, it still felt like they were just friends hanging out, making dinner. Sanji wasn’t sure how to go about transitioning from an antagonistic friendship to a romantic relationship.
“You know,” Sanji sat up a little straighter when Zoro finally broke the silence, “I thought it would be weird, trying the whole dating thing with you.”
“Yeah. I thought it would get weird and we wouldn’t be able to talk like we normally do.” Zoro took another swig of wine, “But we’re still the same.”
“Well,” Sanji started to blush a little, “not completely the same. Like we’ll eventually start doing more...coupley things.”
“That...that’s true.” Zoro stared into his drink, feeling a bit of red tinge his cheeks. He looked up at Sanji and the two shared a shy smile before the timer dinged.
"Ah, dinner's ready.” Sanji popped up from his chair, hurrying over to the oven and pulling their dinner out.
Zoro was practically drooling at that point. He hadn’t eaten since his break at work and was starving at this point. Plus, Sanji’s cooking was always better than anything his parents made. “So can we eat now?”
“It’d burn your mouth if you tried to eat it now. Besides, the chops have to sit for a couple minutes.” Sanji set the food down and turned the oven off. “Set the table for me?”
“Yeah, sure.” Zoro got up and began to pull the plates down from the cabinet before grabbing the silverware. When he turned back around he saw Sanji trying to hide one of his shit-eating grins. Zoro’s face instantly fell into a frown out of reflex. “What?”
“You’re so obedient. It’s not everyday I get to see you so compliant. I’m treasuring this.” Sanji couldn’t help the tiny snicker as Zoro began to set their places.
“So, you like the obedient type huh?” Zoro’s frown shifted from prickly to condescending, “I thought you were only a pervert with women. Guess it’s too ingrained into your system at this point, huh? You gonna push all your weird fantasies on me now?”
Sanji’s smug grin disappeared and his face quickly started to turn red. He looked down and away as a hand went up to his hair; a nervous habit. “Uh, well,” he cleared his throat, “maybe that’s something we can talk about...further down the road? Not really a first date conversation.” Sanji tried to laugh it off, but he was growing steadily more red and more embarrassed. He took another swallow of wine to try and quell it.
Zoro didn’t realize Sanji would take his teasing so seriously. Yet, as he thought about it, they were dating now. Zoro used to listen to Sanji as he prattled on and on about scenarios and fantasies that he wanted to experience with a future girlfriend. Zoro’s mind started to paste himself into all of the fantasies Sanji had shared with him and soon his face was as red as Sanji’s.
Zoro awkwardly cleared his throat, “Ah, well, I was just joking, but…” he took another swig of wine, “...in future, I don’t think I’d be...completely opposed to some of it.”
The two boys finally managed to make eye contact again, sharing shy smiles. “Shall we eat?” Sanji reached down to grab their plates, but when he looked up he saw Perona peering around the door.
Zoro noticed Sanji’s surprised look and followed his eyes. “Geh! Perona! What’re you—?”
“Relax, I just came down to grab my dinner.” Her face was also slightly red, indicating that she’d definitely heard some of their more personal conversation.
Zoro watched through skeptical eyes as she edged around the kitchen towards the microwave. He could tell from the way she kept glancing at their food that she had undoubtedly smelled it from upstairs and was hoping to partake. He sighed, “Fine, fine, take my portion.” He glanced back at the doorway, “The three of you can share it.”
“Ah, we’ve been discovered.” Ace peeked his head around the doorway, “Sorry, sorry, but it smelled really good. We were getting hungry.”
Sanji tisked, “A bunch of goddamn moochers is what you are.” He served up the two plates, bringing them over to the table before taking his seat.
“It’s fine, isn’t it? We can share.” Zoro offered as he downed the last of his wine.
Smoker appeared behind Ace, “You know if Mom and Dad find out you’re drinking they might actually kill you.”
“Quit pretending like you came down here for a noble reason.” Zoro scolded before getting up and grabbing one of the plates Sanji assembled and holding it out for his brother to take. “Take it and get out of here before I kick your collective asses. We’re trying to have a date, you assholes.”
Perona swiped it out of Zoro’s hands and immediately absconded, Ace and Smoker chasing after her, the three of them arguing about how to most fairly split the meal.
“Che, bunch of assholes.” Zoro went back to sit at the table, this time taking a seat next to Sanji.
“This isn’t so bad is it?” Sanji cut off a piece of the pork chop and speared it, “Besides, this way I can do this.” He held out the bite for Zoro, “Here, Marimo, open up.”
Zoro tried to stick Sanji with a distasteful frown, but broke out into a smile. “I never thought I’d ever fall for your doting bullshit.” Zoro leaned in to take the bite, but Sanji pulled it just out of reach.
“It must not be bullshit if you’re falling for it.” Sanji teased, putting the bite in Zoro’s reach once more only to pull it away again. “Ohh, fell for it twice.”
Zoro laughed along with Sanji, not minding the teasing as much as he thought he would. He scooted forward, attempting to bite it off Sanji’s fork only to have it pulled away a third time. “Bastard, let me eat it.” He grabbed hold of Sanji’s hand and brought the fork to his own mouth. “Ha,” he celebrated with a mouth still full of pork, “got it.”
“You neanderthal, finish chewing.” Sanji scolded as he took a bite for himself, pleased with how his food turned out. “Damn, I’m good.”
“Yeah you’re good, good at blowing your own horn.” Zoro teased as poured himself another glass of wine.
“Hey now, don’t drink it all. You’re gonna get drunk quick if you keep it up at that pace.” Sanji speared a piece of potato and presented it to Zoro, letting him take the bite off his fork this time.
“Nah I won’t. It’s not like it’s hard liquor or anything like that.” Zoro topped off Sanji’s glass as well. “Besides, being tipsy and eating good food is a nice combination.”
“Ah, you called it good! I win.”
The two boys bantered, ate, and drank together until they finished their meal and one bottle of wine. They were both pleasantly tipsy at this point, and were enjoying a comfortable silence as they worked to clean up the kitchen.
“This was really nice. Bummer we couldn’t go to the movie, but I think this was better.” Sanji confessed, as they finished putting everything away.
“Yeah, me too.” Zoro leaned back against the counter, “I’m also glad those guys didn’t interrupt us a second time. Your food must’ve worked some sort of magic over them. That or they’re up to something.”
“Is Mom nervous about the young’uns?” Sanji barely managed to block the hit to his arm.
“No, but I’d like to maybe watch a movie in my room. We can break out the other bottle. The others would probably still be in my room, but if you’re okay with that...”
Sanji considered it a moment. While he wanted to spend one-on-one time with his date, he figured it could be fun enjoying a movie with everyone else. “Should we grab some shot glasses then?”
“Yeah, only ones for Smoker and Perona, though. Ace isn’t supposed to drink with his meds.” Zoro warned as he pulled the bottle of sake from the bag.
“Ah yeah, shit, I forgot about that. Think he’ll be okay with us drinking around him?” Sanji didn’t want to make their friend uncomfortable. “Well, he drove here anyway, so that’s another good reason.”
“True. C’mon, let’s see if they’re down for a movie.”
The pair made their way upstairs, already hearing dramatic music coming from the other side of the twins’ bedroom door. Zoro opened the door and peeked in. Smoker, Ace, and Perona were all sat on Smoker’s bed. Perona was cocooned in the blanket while Ace and Smoker were sat together on her left.
“What’re you guys watching?”
“Sinister. We just started so you haven’t missed much. Ace and Perona haven’t seen it yet.”
“Yeah? It’s alright, as far as horror flicks go.” Zoro got comfortable next to his sister, Sanji settling next to him. “We brought sake if anyone’s interested.”
“Oh hell yeah, pass it down.” Smoker reached his hand out, Zoro passing down glasses to his siblings. “You okay with us drinking, Ace?”
“Yeah, that’s fine. It really fucks with my meds and my sleep so I’ve gotten used to not being allowed to drink. Besides, someone’s gotta get Sanji’s drunk ass home.” It was a bummer, but Ace had to take his health into consideration.
Drinks were distributed, and a communal shot taken. The three siblings were quickly enthralled with the film, Zoro and Smoker taking quiet enjoyment in already knowing what was going to happen. Sanji and Ace were definitely feeling the fear.
Zoro only noticed how afraid Sanji was when the blonde jumped and grabbed for his arm. He leaned in and drunkenly whispered, “Hey, hey, if you’re—if you’re scared, you c’n lean on me.”
“I ain’t scared,” Sanji slurred back, “but if I wan—if you want I can sit behind you, cause like, I know you’re scared. So, you know what? Fuck it, I’m sitting behind you, scooch up.”
Zoro mentally praised Perona for keeping from saying anything, even if it was obvious to anyone who could see the glee in her expression as Sanji moved to sit behind Zoro. The blonde wrapped his arms around his date, partially hiding behind him as he held on for dear life as another jumpscare popped up on the screen. Zoro shifted down and let his head fall back against Sanji’s shoulder, resting a comforting hand on Sanji’s leg.
Ace had also taken notice of the couple, having diverted his gaze from the spooky scary nonsense on the screen. He nudged Smoker, quietly whispering to him, “Hey...they’re pretty cute, aren’t they?”
Smoker glanced past Perona at his brother and Sanji before turning his attention back to the movie. “Zoro looks happy a’least. So, good for them, I guess.”
Ace cocked an eyebrow at Smoker’s attitude. He wanted to ask more, but not while Sanji, Zoro, and an eavesdropping Perona were so close. “If something’s on your mind we can talk about it.”
Smoker reached for the nearly empty bottle, pouring the last shot before downing it, hissing as the alcohol burned his throat. “Nah, nowzz not the time. You’re missin the movie, yanno.” He smirked, “Or izzat the point? Ya scared or s’mthin?”
Ace chuckled nervously, “Little bit. It’s creepy as hell. Makes me never wanna have kids.”
“Hey, well, don’ be scared. I’ll protect yer fuckin scaredy-ass from the boogleman.”
“Gonna use your drunk-fu against the boogleman?” Ace teased, cuddling a little closer to Smoker.
“Yeah, I’ll kick his ass. Jus’ you fuckin watch me.” Smoker went to pour another shot, but was disappointed when he discovered the bottle was empty.
“Here, lemme take that.” Ace took it upon himself to make sure that all the glasses were collected and the bottle was picked up before anything could fall to the floor and break. “I’ll go clean these up before your parents get back, alright? Zoro, Sanji, Perona, I need your glasses.”
Ace carefully plucked the glasses from the three other drunks before excusing himself from the room and heading downstairs to clean up. He washed the glasses and put the empty wine and sake bottles back in the grocery bag Sanji had brought them in. His attention was drawn from the task when he heard irregular creaking as one of the drunks made their way down the stairs. He went to the base of the stairs, finding Smoker slowly making his way down.
“Mmm, hey.” Smoker greeted, running a hand up his face and through his hair. “Thought I would help clean up, but looks like you got it.”
“Yeah, looks like Zoro and Sanji already cleaned up their mess. Now just to dispose of the evidence.” Ace held up the paper grocery bag with the alcohol bottles inside.
“Yeah, that’s probably good. I’ll come with you.” Smoker shuffled over to the boot tray, reaching down and almost falling forward.
Ace watched as Smoker struggled to yank his boots on without untying them first. “You sure? the storm’s still pretty bad out there. It’s gonna be cold, and I know how much you gripe when it’s cold out.”
“Shhhuddup. I’m coming. It’z my house, so my rules.”
“Alright, alright.” Ace slipped his shoes on and grabbed his coat, slipping it on before helping Smoker with his zipper. Or trying to, rather, as the elder twin wasn’t making it easy. “C’mon, let me zip you up.”
“Don’ you fuckin patronize me.” Smoker argued, continuing to smack the helping hands away.
“Alright, you can do it yourself then.”
“Damn right.” Smoker continued fumbling for a moment as Ace watched. Even when he turned his back, no longer able to see Ace’s steady, patient gaze, Smoker struggled pitifully. He harrumphed and decided that he didn’t need to zip up his jacket. “Lez go then.” He grabbed his gloves, managing to put them on without too much trouble.
Ace sighed, figuring that if Smoker was unhappy with the cold it was his own doing. He followed him outside, seeing that the wind had died down, but the snow was still falling heavily.
“Ahh, it’s actually kinda pretty outside.” Ace stuck out his tongue to catch a little group of snowflakes that had clumped together during their descent. Instead, he got a face full of compacted snow. He stumbled backwards out of surprise, falling back on his ass and dropping the bag.
Smoker was already balling up another snowball as Ace wiped his face. He was chuckling drunkenly as he took aim, but Ace was privy to his plan of attack this time. Smoker could do little other than shout in protest as Ace rushed him, tackling him into the snow.
Ace quickly pinned the drunk beneath him, sitting on his stomach. “Eat snow, bitch!” Ace shoved a handful of snow into Smoker’s face, smirking as he exacted his revenge. “That’ll sober you up, huh?”
“...Didjyou jus say ‘eat snow, bitch?’” Smoker smirked, “haaa yer such a loooser.” He shivered reaching up to wipe the snow from his eyes and nose.
“Says the drunk that couldn’t even zip up his jacket.” Ace reached down and started brushing the snow off Smoker’s face and out of his hair. “C’mon, let’s hurry up, throw out these bottles, and get you back inside.” Ace climbed off Smoker and grabbed his hands to help him up. He took advantage of Smoker continuing to try and wipe the cold from his face to finally zip up the stubborn teen’s jacket.
Once he was sure Smoker could stand on his own, he went to pick up the discarded recycling and went to go throw it out. When he returned, he found Smoker lying on his back in the snow once more, waving his arms and legs as he tried to make a snow angel.
Chuckling as he approached, Ace stood off to the side as he watched the drunken wriggling. “Having fun?”
“Ain’t done this in forever.” Smoker grinned as he finished his masterpiece. He lifted his arms, “Help me up, I don’ wanna ruin it.”
Ace obliged, helping Smoker to his feet. “Quite the piece of art you created there.” His hands shifted to hold onto Smoker’s forearms, bringing them a bit closer. “You ready to head back inside now?”
A) Go back inside
B) Stay outside
longer chapter this time cause it's been about a year sinceI posted