Time and Time Again
They asked him, before they killed him, that if there was anything he would go back and changed.
The crowed stilled and waited for the Pirate Kings first mate to speak, willing him to speak of his past regrets.
Zoro just blinked. Out of all the questioned they couldve asked him, they asked him that. Basically they were asking him to say that he was sorry that he followed his Captain.
The Master Swordsman couldnt help it. He laughed. It was the same question he had himself on every now and again. That Nami had asked him when she first joined up with them. If he regretted following this man who proclaimed he was going to be King of the Pirates like he was discussing the weather. The man who changed not only his but everyone who came into contact with him lives.
Zoro thought of the few past days, weeks, months, and even years since he had joined Luffy on the quest. The memories seem to flood through him, cutting that barking laugh that was coming through his throat off.
When he first met Luffy.
The first time Luffy had said his name.
When Luffy had smiled at him so brightly just for playing with him.
When Luffy all had to do was smile at him.
When his Captain got angry when one of his Nakama got hurt.
When Luffy had flown the two of them off the ship with his Gum Gum No Mi powers.
When Luffy cried because he thought Zoro had died.
When Luffy had punched him when he saw that Zoro was alright.
When Zoro had held Luffy when he cried himself to sleep the night Usopp left the crew.
When Zoro couldnt help but make sure he always held his Captains hand when they went through big crowds so they wouldnt be separated, at least that was his excuse.
When Zoro had felt broken and scared when his Captain wouldnt wake up after he rescued him for drowning.
When Zoro had felt so relived when Luffy started choking up water and looked up at him with those eyes that made him feel things that only Luffy made him feel.
When he had hugged his Captain and blurted out how much he loved his Captain and how scared he had been.
How happy he felt when Luffy told him he loved him also.
How mortified he had been when he realized when the rest of the crew had been standing there watching.
How pissed he had been when he saw Nami laugh and collect her winnings when she had placed bets with the rest of the crew to who would tell who loved the other first.
How secretly glad he had been when no one seemed to care that the two of them were now a couple.
When ever Luffy got hurt he made sure that Luffy went to Chopper first and him second.
When Luffy had smiled and cried happily when Zoro had asked for his hand.
How happy and full Zoro felt when Luffy and him got married.
When the two of them had fully completed their marriage that night in the nearby hotel.
When Zoro awoke before Luffy and would just watch his love and lover just lay there peacefully.
How proud he felt to be a Straw Hat when Luffy became Pirate King and he defeated Mihawk.
When the Straw Hats had been surprised attacked by the Marines and captured on their way to Shanks so Luffy could return his hat.
How he felt the fear in him when they said Luffy was to be executed.
How scared and helpless he felt when Luffy kissed him goodbye and walked towards the gallows with his head high and proud and with a never-ending smile on his beautiful and handsome face.
How Zoro couldnt move his eyes away from Luffy when he said a speech, word to word to what Gol D. Rodger had said.
How the first mate couldnt cry when Luffy died with a smile on his face.
How he couldnt eat for the next couple of days as his Nakama were all hung, one by one. Besides, the soup tasted of corpses.
How he felt when Brooke was drowned in a small pool of water since he couldnt be killed any other way.
How he felt a sick sort of happiness that when he awoke that morning that he knew it was his day to die.
How he felt when he realized that no one here would understand what it meant to be in a Nakama and how he was more then happy to die.
So Zoro stood there, with the noose around his neck as the crowd waited for his response.
He chuckled, and finally answered the question.
I have no regrets to the life I have led. He said.
Zoro nearly burst into hysterical laughter when he saw the look on his executioners face and the crowds face. They looked shocked that someone even wants to follow the crazy demon child called Monkey D. Luffy.
But Zoro knew. He knew that Luffy was many things but he wasnt the demon that people assumed he was when they saw his bounty and heard the legends that surrounded him.
As Zoro thought of Luffy, the executioner pulled the switch and the trap door underneath Zoros feet dropped away and he was left floating in the air.
The last thought Zoro thought of was him wondering if Luffy felt like he was floating too when he died.
His neck snapped and his body went limp. Everyone who watched the execution shivered at the demons smile that was on his face. Zoro had died and gone to the next life, leaving loved ones to mourn the loss of the Straw Hat pirates.
Ace had broken down for the first time in his life and gone into a emotional wreak at the thought he lost one of his dearest friends and one of the only small family he had was gone and the promise to protect his brother that he made with his mother before she died made it even worse. After that, he became cold and aloof before all those emotions could come flowing back out like a raging river when a certain silver haired marine came into his life. Smoker literally saved Aces life and the two of them separated themselves from the world.
Vivi had declared all marines to leave Alabasta and was inconsolable for a long while when she had gotten news of her Nakamas execution.
But being the stubborn and strong queen she was, she got up again and continued to rule over her county though her kingdoms people all knew she was in pain. They could only love her more.
Shanks went on a drinking binge with Ben and Mihawk, who had come only in respect in Luffy and Zoros memories. Shanks got so drunk he started to tell them stories about the times he had spent with Luffy and Ace. The two of them had heard them time and time before but they knew this was Shanks way of grieving and soaked in every word. Later the two would tell their own stories, which Mihawk was lacking, so he told them the story of when he had first met Luffy and Zoro and when Zoro had defeated him. The three friends drank in memory to the pirate crew that helped changed their lives, even if just a little.
Makino was in her bar, alone and crying. She knew the next time she saw Shanks that she would probably have to be held back from killing him, but how everyone was acting in town they probably wouldnt. Everyone was in their homes grieving. Grieving for the little boy they remembered, the one that would follow his older brother around and would cause trouble and smile so wide that you couldnt help but smile back. The sun in Fuchsia village had disappeared.
Monkey D. Garp stared at the ice in his empty bottle of sake. His worthless grandson had died, died a pirate. He shouldve known that something like this wouldve happened. He saw it in the beginning. The resemblance between his son and his grandson. Garp sighed. The two were so much a like and thats most of the reason he acted like that with Luffy. He had been so kind to his own son and loved him and encouraged him to see his dreams and look where that got him.
His son cut off all ties with him after his wife had become pregnant and didnt even see the birth of his second child or the death of his wife. Garp had watched his grandson grow and was harsher then he needed to be but tried to distance him self so the pain he had now wouldnt hurt so badly. It did though, so much. It was even worse knowing that this time he wouldnt see a glimpse of him or even hear of a rumor about him. His grandson was dead. Garp took the bottle of Sake and poured the contents down his throat. There was nothing he could do but remember him as the stubborn brat that he had been.
Dragon stared emotionlessly at the gallows where his sons best friend, first mate, and husbands body was swinging in the wind. He then turned and walked away, trying to ignore the guilt that had grown in his years away from his family which was now starting to overflow. He wished he had been a better father and son, but there was no way to turn back to clock, and he decided to try and live his life that Zoro had lived his. Without regret. Hopefully his wife wouldnt beat him up too much when he died.
Hemlmeppo stared at his younger and smaller friend who was sobbing and shaking. Coby didnt cry like this really anymore but when he heard his first friend, Luffy and then his second friend, Zoro, had been killed he just lost it. He had stormed into Admiral Garps room to find him drunk and demanded a explanation and then blew up at him. Coby say things to Garp that shocked the entire squad and all those who knew of Coby. But Helmeppo, who knew Coby personally, wasnt surprised. He knew that both he and Coby owed so much to them. As the blond haired man rubbed his friends back and listened to him sobbing, he knew that this was all he could do. He also knew that if there was a Heaven or Hell that Straw Hats would probably cause so much trouble in where ever they go to. Those guys just having fun where ever they were
sounded just like them.
Kaya cried. She didnt come out of her room for almost two weeks. The Veggie pirates and Merry tried to get her to come out by any means but to no avail. Her best friend was dead. It hurt even worse then when her parents had died. So she cried.
When Usopps village had found out he died. They were shocked. They had woken up to find him gone one day. The kids told them that he had become a pirate they didnt believe them. But when the newspaper came out with all of the Straw Hat pirates faces on it and they saw Usopps solemn face on it instead of his goofy smile they knew he had grown up and become strong and had gained strong friends. They all were silent, and then someone started talking about a story that Usopp had said once and that caused everyone to join in on the story telling. The pain was there, but it was less noticeable until someone stopped talking, so they kept talking.
The giant floating restaurant was closed for once, making people who had come from far away angry and shaking fists at them until Zeff came and kicked them away. Everyone was silent as they cleaned the place and imagined Sanji yelling at them and calling them rude things. No one said much but they all knew that Zeff was the one taking it the hardest. They stayed silent the entire day.
Nojiko and Genzo stood at Bellmeres grave and looked at it and sighed, wondering what the war veteran would have done. Probably gone and knocked a few marine heads together. The two chuckled humorlessly at the thought. With one last look at her grave, they turned and walked back to village. After all, they had a eulogy to do.
A dark haired man with glasses stared at the picture of his daughter and his student together. He silently begged Kuina to make sure he got to the other side safely. He got up and bowed towards the picture of his dead student and head out of the ceremony room and towards the dojo. He had more students to teach. He had a feeling that Zoro would understand.
The Franky bros all cried and all of Water seven shipwrights were a mess. Everyone was connected to Franky in a way and they were all so proud of Franky and the Straw Hats and it all hurt them to see their Brother die. But they all knew that Franky would be proud of the way he stayed with his Nakama.
Laboon wailed. His cries could be heard as the mournful music of the night as he continued on. He was told of the death of Brooke, the one he had wanted to see for so long and finally did, the one that he had known since he was little. He cried for he lost him family again.
The citizens of Drum Island all mourned the death of their cute, strong, awkward, funny, smart doctor. They all knew that if it wasnt for the little reindeer many of the people in the world wouldve died. He managed to save thousands, maybe even millions! The doctors mourned the death of such a amazing inspiration, and the old witch doctor on the top of the mountain drank her wine and wondered if that old man was happy how his son had lived his life. She paused and then smiled and shook her head. He would probably gloat in her face when she finally died. She watched as the starts grew brighter in the night.
The hearts of all those who had lost their precious people and friends. They all knew though, that the Straw Hat Nakama would never be happy unless they were all together, and now they would be together.
Zoro felt something soft on his back and slowly opened his eyes. The first thing he was the intense blue of the sky.
The sky? He wondered. Then a familiar face blocked his vision.
Zoro stopped breathing for a few seconds and then let it all out as the face smiled at him.
Hey Zoro, weve been waiting for you. Luffy said, putting his hand out to his lover.
Zoro hesitantly touched his hand before feeling that it was indeed Luffy. He would know those hands anywhere.
Luffy helped him up and Zoro took in his Captain with his eyes. Luffy looked just like he always did, like nothing ever happened. He wore his red vest, torn blue shorts and his sandals and of course the straw hat on his head.
The green haired bushido looked at him self and saw that he also looked the same as he always did. H was wearing his white shirt, green haramaki, dark green pants, golden earring, dark bandana on his arm and his three swords on his waist.
Zoro felt a pleased feeling run through his body and he smiled one of his Just-For-Luffy smiles and of course Luffy smiled back with one of his Just-For-Zoro smiles, which was even more beautiful then his other smiles.
The Captain held his hand out to his lover and spoke.
Come on. Our Nakama is waiting for us. He said softly.
Zoro felt his throat tighten.
Theyre here? He managed to choke out finally.
Luffys smile grew.
Yep, and weve been waiting for you. Luffy then began to lead Zoro away through the grassy clearing. Suddenly Luffy stopped. Zoro looked at Luffy and saw something conflicting with him.
Luffy? Whats wrong? He asked, putting a hand on his shoulder.
Luffy looked up and looked him right in the eye.
Do you regret following me? Tell me the truth. Asked the raven haired man, his voice much like a child who didnt know what to do.
Zoro sighed and mentally smiled. Sometime Luffy really was a child who just needed to be reassured over and over.
I will never regret following you my Captain
Id do it all over again, just for you. He told the smaller person.
His other half, his sun, smiled and held his hand and continued to walk, not saying anything. Zoro was just fine with that.
When they finally reached where Luffy had been taking him he was in for a pleasant surprise.
Everyone!!! I found him! Luffy called. The rest of his Nakama was all here and some of them waved in response to Luffys call.
Zoros throat tightened again. It was everyone.
Nami, Usopp, Sanji, Chopper, Robin, Frankie, and Brooke!
Chopper immediately came running over and hugged the swordsmans leg.
Zoro!! He then began babbling about how they had all missed them.
Zoro pat Chopper on the head and gave a small smile to everyone of his Nakama. Usopp patted him on the shoulder, Nami yelled at him for being late, Sanji gave him a nodded but muttered about he was a dumb ass, Robin gave him a smile as well, Frankie was bursting into tears saying how emotional it all was and Brooke was laughing and making a degrading joke.
Zoro felt warmth come back into his chest that he didnt know that was there until he lost all his Nakama. But now he had them all back.
He started. Where are we going?
His excitable Captain grinned a grin that could break his face.
To the ocean! He yelled, pointing down the long winding pathway they were on.
Eh? How do you know this leads to the ocean? Sanji asked curiously.
I dont, but well find it sooner or later, right? Said their Captain.
Right! They all shouted enthusiastically.
Then lets go!! Luffy shouted, jumping up in the air hyperactively.
Everyone laughed, their laughter filled with joy and happiness, as they followed their Captain down the path, ready to follow him anywhere.