Trial by Error

BY : Demonized
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 1819
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, nor do I make any money off of this work.

Luffy stood there on the roadside, unmoving and unflinching as a pistol was all but jabbed into his cheek. His expression was one of minor irritation as the man went on and on about something while even going so far as to lean on him. He had apologized for bumping into him, so he should be on his way back to the Sunny and his Nakama. Ace was supposed to be meeting him there too, and he so wanted to introduce his older brother to Robin, Franky and especially Brook. Describing them to the Logia User did them no justice and he wasn't exactly able to convey just how awesome each of them were.

"I'm real sorry. But I'm in a hurry, so..." The reaction from everyone watching was instantaneous. They fully expected him to die now, because he refused to beg for his life like the pistol-wielding pirate wanted, not that he had caught any of the man's demands. As the pistol was aim at his head, point blank, his expression became serious, shadows cast over his face as he looked downwards. Leaning back slightly, right as the pistol was fired, he watched the bullet pass right in front of his face. He quickly righted himself and with barely a thought exerted his Haō-shoku Haki to knock out the annoyances surrounding him.

Luffy didn't spare them a single glance as he walked away from their unconscious forms, the onlookers in quite a state of shock. Their reactions to the outcome were severely delayed, and had he not been actively using Kenbun-shoku Haki he wouldn't have heard them wondering at just what he had done to get out of the situation alive.

-TbE-

He stared at the magnificent figure of his little brother's ship, his jaw a little slack. She was a thing of beauty, and there was the tell-tale sheen of Yarukiman Mangrove resin on her. The coating job was well done, and they would certainly make it to Fishman Island, barring any unfortunate encounters. Having been regaled with tales of some of the Straw Hats' adventures he expected there to be no problems whatsoever. "This is?"

"The Thousand Sunny, our home." Robin smiled wistfully at his side, her own gaze sweeping over the ship and noting the changes, however slight, that had been made. "Our beloved Nakama."

There was movement on the main deck, a hulking figure that Sabo hadn't remembered being described in Robin's tales. He made no move to attack though, trusting Robin to assess the situation and make any necessary actions. "Owwwhh! That nice beauty can only be the Super Archaeologist of our own crew!" The blue-haired man had leapt up onto the railing at the side of the Sunny, his box-like arms pressed together over his head and the split tattoo on them forming a star. He paused, however, his gaze going to Sabo. "Who's that with you, Robin?"

Robin smiled and they leapt down onto the lawn deck of the Sunny, joining the eccentric shipwright. Though he had upgraded his body dramatically, he still wore the floral shirts and a speedo. His hair was closely shaven, but no doubt he had some way of regaining his original hair style if he so chose to. "This is-"

"Sabo?" A voice called out from the hatch to the soldier dock system.

Robin observed from her peripheral that Sabo had frozen up, so she looked towards the hatch to see Ace, looking pale and shocked, climbing out. His actions seemed quite mechanical, and once he was out and the hatch closed he just stood there, staring at Sabo. A discreet glance at Sabo had her frowning faintly, because she could see fear in his eyes.

Ace seemed to snap out of his shocked state and lunged at his brother. Quick as lightening he punched Sabo in the jaw, which sent the blond reeling a little. He didn't wait for Sabo to recover from the force of his punch, a hand grasping at a lapel of the blue coat the blond wore which he tugged on to keep the man upright. Tears were freely flowing down his cheeks, evaporating before they could reach his jaw, and he had his fist raised for a second punch. Instead, he wrapped his arms around Sabo and sobbed.

Sabo silently returned the embrace after the shock wore off, his fear gone. His jaw throbbed, but he deserved it, for all the years he had remained silent, letting Ace and Luffy believe that he had been dead. Working up his courage, he let go of Ace after a long moment and pulled back, a faint, sad smile on his face. "I wanted to write and tell you that I was okay," he began in a soft voice, pulling out a handkerchief to wipe Ace's face clean. "You and Luffy were always on my mind, and had it been anyone else that had saved me I would have contacted you, but I couldn't risk anyone tracing my messages back to where I was at." Even now he was limited as to what he could even tell Luffy and Ace. Until Dragon made his move Sabo's hands were tied.

Ace allowed his brother to wipe his face clean, his gray eyes taking in Sabo's appearance. He dressed almost exactly the same as all those years ago, top hat included. Reaching up, he pulled the hat off of the blond's head and took in the scar that was on the left side of Sabo's face in full view of the light. There was no more left eyebrow, the scar going up into jagged points halfway up his forehead and it bordered around the outside and under his eye, going partially onto his cheek. "Is that from..."

Sabo frowned and lifted a gloved hand to touch the bottom edge of the scar. "The Tenryuubito that was visiting Goa. It was the only thing that Ivankov-sama was unable to fully heal." He watched as Ace frowned at that bit of information, grey eyes narrowed and lips thinned in thought.

Ivankov... That name rang a bell, and after a long moment it clicked. Emporio Ivankov, the Okama that had helped Luffy survive in Impel Down, and again at Marineford. "You were with the Revolutionary Army," he whispered. His gaze went to the woman that Sabo arrived with, the only other female member of Luffy's crew. This was the infamous Nico Robin, who must have spent her time among the ranks of the Revolutionary Army for the duration of the two year training period. His gaze went back to Sabo, a faint smile on his face now. "Franky-san, this is Sabo. He's mine and Luffy's brother."

"Luffy has another brother?! SUPER!" The shipwright beamed, ecstatic to meet the blond. He didn't comment on the fact that Sabo was a part of the Revolutionary Army, nor did he care about that fact. Every single member of the crew had a bounty on their head, whether it be for piracy of going against the World Government, so it made no difference, especially with his own past, and all that had happened at Enies Lobby with the crew. "Will you be joining us?"

Sabo looked from Franky to Ace and then finally to Robin, his expression unsure. "If Luffy will have me." The younger pirate and Captain was the main deciding factor, this much everyone knew, and if Luffy did say no, as slim a chance as that was, then they would have to respect his wishes.

Robin had a secretive smile on her face while Franky grinned and went to go grab more lumber for the extra beds to be added to the men's quarters. Ace had a grin of his own and he placed the top hat back onto Sabo's head, pressing it down a little forcefully. "I don't think you have anything to worry about, Sabo."

-TbE-

Grove 47

"Captain!"

"Captain Luffy!"

"Luffy! I've missed you guys so much!" Chopper exclaimed as he approached his Nakama with Sanji and Zoro. They looked as if they had gotten into a fight, not that he really paid any attention to that, as glad as he was to be reunited with them.

Sanji, however, noticed the state of his companions and asked, "What the heck happened?!"

"Luffy! Franky! Nami!" Chopper called out to each of them excitedly, though his tone became one of confusion as his gaze settled on one particular individual. "Sogeking?"

"It was like a cold chill shot through my whole body..." Luffy stated, completely ignoring the presence of the chibi-esque reindeer. "The hell did that guy do...?!"

"You guys really have changed in these two years, huh?" Chopper continued on, failing to notice that his supposed Nakama weren't even paying attention to him. "You must have got really strong...! Hmm?"

"Oh, but you've got to hear what happened to us...!" Zoro spoke over Chopper, as if he weren't even there. "The thing is, Cocoa-" he suddenly glanced down at the reindeer, as if finally remembering his presence. "-uh, I mean, Nico Robin-"

"...what did you say, Zoro?! Nico Robin's been kidnapped?!" Luffy bellowed out after Zoro explained that Robin had suddenly been carried away by two men dressed in black suits and sunglasses.

"Uh-huh! It's terrible, Luffy! Robin's in trouble!" Chopper cried out, tears in his eyes at the thought of losing Robin again.

"Who the hell kidnapped her?!"

"That's the thing... We don't have a clue." Zoro was looking down at the ground, unable to meet Luffy's gaze.

"It could be those slave traders! Like before, with Keimi!" Chopper exclaimed, though his words continued to fall upon deaf ears. He watched as Sanji walked over to their Captain and leaned close to whisper into his ear. "Hey, stop whispering!" Chopper cried out, waving his arms at them to get their attention.

"Well, whatever. Leave her. This is her fate," Luffy stated, his tone without remorse as he first looked to Zoro.

"Huh?" Zoro looked a little dumbfounded for a moment, then his expression grew more serious and he nodded. "Very well, Captain."

Chopper looked between the two of them, as if unable to believe what was going on, his anger surging. He didn't even hear Luffy question what he was as he opened his mouth and yelled, "Oi, Luffy! Don't you get it?! Robin's been kidnapped!" His words went on ignored and Luffy began talking about getting revenge on someone and going somewhere. Chopper paid none of that any attention at all, his mind so focused on rescuing Robin and the increasing anger that his Nakama weren't doing anything to save her. They were all getting ready to leave, and not in the direction that was to help Robin, when Chopper cried out, "Hold on, you guys! Luffy! Has your heart changed over these two years as well?! I'm feeling so sad, I could cry! What about Robin?! Are you all just going to let this happen?!" Large tears welled into his eyes and he turned, running away from who he thought had been his Nakama and went off to find Robin himself. "Dammit! I'm disappointed in you guys! I'm gonna save her even if I have to do it alone! Hang in there, Robin!"

-TbE-

Grove #42

He had searched through the groves for a bit, knowing that they would need a fresh supply of ingredients before they set sail for the journey to Fishman Island, when he had happened upon a fisherman that was getting ready to set out. "Hey, Mr. Fisherman!" He called out as he approached, hoping to see what the man had available. "How's the haul for today? I'm looking for a bargain!" He frowned when he noticed that the fisherman seemed to be in a state of panic, looking out at the water and clutching at his head with both of his hands. "What's wrong?"

"He gone! That green-haired guy!"

That statement made the chef frown, and there was an odd feeling that he was getting, because of a certain swordsman he was an unfortunate crewmate of. That was a green-haired guy he wasn't keen on seeing, especially after his two years spent on Momoiro. "Green...? Did something happen?"

"I've gone an' done something terrible," the fisherman said as he turned to face the blond, his expression one of terror. "Y'see. Just now, this guy with three swords happened to come by here, right...?" He began to explain, and the sinking feeling in the chef's stomach grew. "And he says, 'I'm bored, so I wanna do some fishing.' So I tells him, I'll be taking my boat out soon, so you just wait for me on board, yeah?"

He really didn't want to ask. Honestly, he should just turn around and walk away, but that wouldn't be polite. What were the chances of there being another green-haired swordsman wielding three swords out there in the world? "A green-haired guy with three swords and a haramaki around his waist?"

"Yeah! That's him! One-eyed to boot!" The fisherman exclaimed, seeming to perk up slightly at the accurate description of...him. "D'you know him?"

One-eyed? Sanji frowned and pulled a wanted poster out of his pocket. Unrolling it, and effectively revealing the wanted poster of Roronoa Zoro, he held it up for the fisherman to see. "Is this the guy?"

"Ahh! Yep, this is the guy all right!" Now the fisherman seemed to be panicked again, as if he hadn't realized that Zoro had a bounty on his head. "He a friend of yours?!"

"...well," Sanji began, the sinking feeling now one of outright despair. "I suppose. I know him, kind of..." That would suffice, right? He could leave and not think about Zoro, and how infuriating the man was. His thoughts of getting away were short-lived, however, the fisherman still going on about Zoro.

"But listen! I swear I told him to wait on my fishing boat! I told him, I did!" This was getting a little redundant, and Sanji had to keep himself from biting down on the filter of his cigarette out of frustration. "But you know what I found when I came over here?! He was fast asleep on the gigantic pirate ship right next to it!" And leave it to the brainless brute to get on the wrong ship. "I was panicked, I tell you, but I yelled at him, 'Not that boat!', I did, but he just keeps on snoring! And by then it was too late! The pirate ship was all coated up, and it sank right down into the ocean! It must have headed over for Fishman Island!"

Sanji stood there, looking out at the water, a mixed expression of shock and anger on his face. Leave it to Zoro to do something that stupid. He didn't even want to imagine Luffy's reaction if and when he told him that the ship's resident swordsman was on his way to Fishman Island already. "That idiot." There wasn't anything they could do, especially since they were still waiting for Luffy to make it back to the ship. He hadn't gone yet himself, seeing as they were in dire need of food. "I thought it was a bad sign that he'd actually made it to the meeting point before anyone else, and now look what happens!"

"It was a pirate ship, you hear?! He could've been killed by now!"

That was almost a laughable thing to say, as Sanji knew (rather, he had an idea) that it was rather hard to kill that green-haired bastard. "No, no, that's fine. Don't worry yourself, this isn't your fault at all!" It was Zoro's, for being too brainless to figure out which was a fishing vessel and which was a pirate ship. "That brute won't get himself killed, so you can rest easy. Hell, at least now we know where to find him." Well, if the ship could even make it that far with Zoro on it. Knowing him, once the swordsman woke up there was likely to be some sort of havoc. It was pointless, though, to think about it. "So... Have you got any fish?" He asked as he turned back to look at the fisherman.

"Hey! Look out in the ocean! There's something coming up!"

"Hm?" Sanji looked past the fisherman, who also turned, to see that a group of people had begun gathering on one of the many islands that made up Sabaody. They were all watching the water not too far off from where the chef and fisherman were, and some were even pointing at the spot that was bubbling. It was quickly increasing in size and then suddenly a ship, a Galleon, burst forth from the frothing bubbles. Rather, it was split clean in two, and there seemed to be some sort of commotion on board. Looking closely, Sanji scowled and shoved his hands into his pockets. "What, you're back already? Not that I care..."

Sitting up on the main mast, drenched in sea water and sheathing Shuusui, Zoro scowled. He ignored the cries of the Galleon's crew, his gaze going to where Sanji and the Fisherman stood. "I got on the wrong boat!"



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