line break-line break
AN/ I have an old account on this site. My old account, LeTardis, has a very old copy of Marimo's Fate on it. I'm not ripping anyone off because it's me. Thanks.
I haven't put angst as a genre in the category because this fic will generally turn out to be fairly lighthearted. But I had a reviewer mention something so I might as well clear it up a bit. WARNING: There is a fair amount of angst in the first couple of chapters. You have been warned.
UPDATED: 8/28/16 - fixed grammar and added a proper chapter title.
UPDATED: 11/27/17 - caught more grammar errors and cut the paragraphs for easier reading. Added a different witty line from Zoro at the end because I thought the old one was to corny.
Don't tempt Fate. That's how the phrase goes, doesn't it? Don't. Tempt. Fate. What utter idiocy. Useless. Fate tempted ME. And the formless entity, Fate, is a very skilled seductress.
Chapter 1: The Fate of Zoro
"Wake up, Roronoa Zoro."
Zoro gasped loudly. Cold air stung his throat and he heaved, the frigid air filling his lungs as he exhaled shakily. His head fell to the side to rest on his shoulder. It was night, and Zoro's eyes shone brightly as he flicked them hazily.
His eyes adjusted and the moonlight became visible; his blindness dispersing. Still breathing heavily, Zoro took it all in; the long cement wall, the shadow of the Marine Base which was behind him, and his own shadow; which projected a person draped over something reminiscent of a cross.
"It is done, then." Zoro whispered, his eyes closing. He knew this place all too well, years ago his eyes bore into the very same cement wall for days. It also served as a cross roads in his life; Luffy looked over that wall in curiosity, and everything changed for him.
Luffy would look over that wall again and Zoro would be here waiting for him.
Ever so slowly the moon faded and the sun rose, bathing the court yard in a red light. Zoro looked at the red light lazily and wondered if that sailors' rhyme was true; the one about battle, death and the rising "red sun".
Zoro whispered the rhyme softly under his breath, thinking of the times when such sailors visited his home island. It was an eerie song, which spoke of death and carnage. Sailors were superstitious, though, if they thought whenever the sun came up red it meant people had died.
Zoro sang and hummed it anyway though. If he was still on the Thousand Sunny Luffy would complain about the funeral marching sound of it. Zoro was sure Robin would take pleasure in it though; she enjoyed creepy stuff like that. After awhile of humming, it made him feel hallow and alone so he stopped, turning his thoughts towards more pressing things.
Zoro frowned morbidly, according to what happened before; he was tied up for approximately two weeks. It seemed stupid to just sit there and starve waiting for Luffy. His nose burned with the smell coming off of him too, and he was sure he was as white as a ghost. Not to mention…he didn't even want to think…It's not like the marines allowed him bathroom breaks.
Zoro shifted and breathed out his nose feeling the same humiliation that plagued him so long ago. He really should have known better. A person as bratty and misguided as that onion haired kid shouldn't have been trusted to keep his word, but he foolishly believed him, but it was to save that little girl and her mother wasn't it?
Regardless, Luffy truly saved his life, and that was a part of the bond between first mate and captain that he didn't want to change. He would endure this waiting for as long as he had to and then they would fight and escape together.
Wincing, Zoro thought of their current difference in strength. How would that even work? What captain wants a first mate leagues ahead of them? A small string of panic settled into Zoro's heart.
'What if Luffy doesn't want me?'
Luffy had always been good at 'sizing up his mark'. What if he looks and sees exactly what he is? A man years older than he looks with an unshakable shadow of grief he would never be able to get rid of. Or maybe he was over thinking everything.
If he asked, Luffy wouldn't turn him away, that he was sure of; but…. was it selfish of him to want Luffy to ask him the same as before?
Zoro took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. He was spiraling, and he didn't like it. Zoro would stand by what he said to Luffy in this very court yard all that time ago. He was a lone wolf and he worked better that way. He craved solitude, but he couldn't help but think that after years of hearing singing, bellowing laughter, yells and curses in the background of his everyday life he had become accustom to it. To the point where it unsettled him when it was gone.
How does the lone wolf go back to being alone?
He had never felt it so crushing before. Zoro did feel it briefly when they were separated by Kuma but that was different. He had a goal, he strived everyday so he could return to his crew mates, his family, once again…and wasn't that what he was doing right now?
Zoro was waiting for Luffy. He would come and look over that wall with that stupid expression on his face and they would sail off this rock together in the coming hours.
Why. Couldn't. He. Shake. This. Feeling.
Zoro knew why, but he didn't have to like it. He took a deep breath, filling his lungs to the point that the ropes tying him became painfully tight. Swinging his head up Zoro shouted one clear, ringing note that echoed in the clearing and faded through the village. He struggled with his binds shouting unintelligibly till his bonds broke and he fell to his knees.
Both hands came up and gripped his hair, a deep keening noise vibrated in the back of his throat letting out a rough wail till he fell silent breathing heavily. The back of Zoro's throat ached but he didn't shed a tear. He would not allow himself too.
Dead. All of them.
He wasn't strong enough! Why wasn't he?! They all slipped away, one by one, till he was all by himself. He foolishly accepted his first grasp at fixing it all. Going back and fixing it all sounded appealing, but why was it he was just realizing now that everything wouldn't be the same. How could he be so stupid?
They weren't his nakama, not really. They probably wouldn't even be the same in time, similar maybe, but never the same. Why did Zoro feel as if he abandoned his crew for another one? The entity called Fate told him the crew desperately needed him, and always would no matter in what time or lands. They were sugar coated words and he knew it. Grief clouded his decision making, and he would suffer for it.
He would suffer.
"Yes," Zoro breathed out. Strangely enough the morbid thought was helping him find peace with it all. Of course, he would always suffer for it, he would never forget his first failure. But, there were still people out there who needed him.
His nakama, his family, they still needed him, and even if Luffy never asks him to join the crew this time, he will follow that idiot around till he thinks again. Zoro could play the pest; he owed it to his lost nakama. And he owed it to himself to protect them, always.
In his previous life he came close to becoming the world's greatest swordsman, heck, they all came very close to achieving it all, and this time he would make sure they did. Zoro's shoulders sagged in relief at his inner admission; he was never good at feelings. It was liberating to get something new to strive for.
Zoro's relief was cut short when a shadow was thrown on the ground he was staring at. His head snapped around to look and he squinted at the dark shape standing in front of the rising sun. Exhaustion was keeping his senses dull if he couldn't sense such a powerful aura approaching him.
Zoro stiffened, the 'aura' was furious. It seemed to suffocate him as it drew nearer, and with a start he realized he recognized the livid aura. His eyes adjusted to the light and his eyes widened when he also recognized the silhouette.
"Oh good, it seems you've already set yourself free," the silhouette snarled before giving the top of Zoro's head a reprimanding smack, "you foolish boy!"
Zoro looked up at the person and gaped. The person wrinkled his nose and glared disapprovingly down on him. The wide brimmed hat the man wore shadowed most of his face but his yellow eyes shown intensely.
Dracule Mihawk clicked his tongue, reprimanding Zoro, before reaching down and dragging him up to his feet by the arm. Zoro let himself be helped up, a gob smacked look still on his face.
"I've been looking everywhere for you," Mihawk hissed shaking Zoro slightly by the shoulders, "and look how I find you!" The man gestured furiously at the wooden cross and the broken ropes.
Zoro closed his mouth with an echoing click and analyzed the person in front of him. The man looked exactly as he remembered but there was something about his face that Zoro didn't recognize, and it made him feel intensely uncomfortable. Mihawk was still holding him by the shoulders and Zoro looked away from the concentrated stare.
"Great. I'm hallucinating." Zoro said quietly. Mihawk just raised an eyebrow saying nothing but grabbed Zoro by the arm and tugged. Zoro wrenched his arm away with a growl, causing Mihawk to stare at him questionably before raising his hands in a surrendering position.
Mihawk stance turned weary and slightly…concerned but that couldn't be right. Zoro glared at him and backed up till his back hit the post. Mihawk still had his hands up and took a slow step forward like approaching a rapid animal.
"Calm down, you need rest and you have been here much too long, it's a miracle you're even still breathing," Mihawk said calmly, muttering the last part mostly to himself.
Zoro could only find the energy to sneer at his rival/teacher, not even letting himself think on why the man was here at this point in the timeline and why he seemed to know him already.
"Come, Zoro, I'm getting you out of-" Mihawk was cut of by Zoro yelling; "No!" like a petulant child, though the childishness of the answer was lost in the fierceness and the growl that accompanied it.
Zoro scrambled against the cross and laid on it as if the ropes would just spring back up and wrap themselves around him. Mihawk reached out worriedly but he stopped when Zoro looked ready to bite his fingers off.
"Leave me." Zoro hissed. Mihawks eyes widened before his eyes hardened like Zoro's and he answered back just as frostily;
"Leave you here!?" Mihawk argued, "You will die!"
"Then let me rot!" Zoro spat back, his voice full of venom. The answer made Mihawk stop and really look at Zoro since he arrived. His ire slowly faded and he saw something he didn't notice before. This time it was Mihawk who took a step back;
"What happened to you?" The man said looking horrified. Zoro just stared back and said nothing. The two veterans stared at each other in silence for a few minutes till Mihawk broke it; "I should have never let you leave home so young, I should have trained you more."
Zoro froze and slowly looked up at Mihawk; "Home?" his voice cracked just barely and Mihawk's eyes softened minutely.
Zoro noticed and became nauseous as implications took root and started firing away in his brain. He tried to deny it in his head but it wouldn't let him. Now that the idea was in there it wouldn't go away; the more he thought on it the more the past couple minutes made sense.
The softness around the eyes, the worried looks, and the fact Mihawk was even here in the first place. It also brought on a new load of questions; Was this even the same timeline? Was he in a different world? Did Fate really have such a horrible sense of humor?
Zoro needed to do something. He couldn't stand the looks Mihawk was sending him! Perhaps he just had to jump in and poke the elephant in the room; if he was wrong, well, he could just claim that he was delusional from starvation or something. He opened his mouth then hesitated before he cautiously asked, "Father?"
As soon as the title left his mouth, Zoro grimaced. It felt really weird calling that man…that. It felt awkward and embarrassing and Zoro's cheeks instantly burned a bright red. Mihawk looked at him with an unreadable expression on his face before he smiled.
Zoro was left gaping again.
Mihawk. Smiling. Without any ill intent. How… creepy.
"You've been here a month, " Mihawk said approaching Zoro, but still hesitantly, "I imagine the heat, lack of food and water has made you slightly delusional, but for a second there it was like you didn't recognize me."
Zoro's mind was reeling with the fact that Mihawk didn't even deny his claim, but before he could properly freak out, his mind latched on to something else.
"I've been here a month?" Zoro croaked out, his eyebrows coming together in a worrying line. Mihawk looked proud, worried, and annoyed when he nodded in confirmation.
"It's crucial, you understand then, that you need to be treated and fed immediately," Mihawk ground out taking a few steps forward, his old fierceness coming back. He got no response from Zoro who was now looking over the long cement wall like it had betrayed him.
Mihawk turned briefly to look too, before turning back towards Zoro and grabbing his shoulders gently; "The sun is continuing to rise and I'd rather avoid any marines wondering why I would save a "nobody" from east blue."
Zoro shrugged the hands off him and adopted a glare; "I'll find my own way."
"You can barely-"
"Then I will crawl!" Zoro snapped making Mihawk glare back and press his lips into a thin line.
Zoro recognized that look from his two years of training; it was 'The Stubborn' look. He wasn't so naive to think he wasn't already half dead from his…month…here. And it seems in this…. land? Timeline? Things were…different.
Or maybe he was seriously hallucinating, a month is a long time, but hallucination or not Zoro didn't have the energy to fight him.
"Haven't you, " Zoro hesitated thinking on what little he knew of the man, even after spending two years with the guy, "Don't you want me to be my own man?"
"You're in no shape-"
"Let me prove it to you!" Zoro yelled sounding a tinge desperate.
"How?" Mihawk snapped looking ready to just grab Zoro and throw him over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.
"Let me show you my inner strength." Zoro said quietly. Mihawks eyes narrowed and he looked over Zoro intensely for a second. He stepped back and walked to where the cement wall was, jumped up and sat on it crossing his arms.
"Show me." He said simply and Zoro grinned wickedly. Father or not. Hallucination or not. True swordsmen understood each other, and for just a moment Zoro was taken back to 'Mihawk #1' who treated him differently than the one in front of him.
"There may come a time when you must rely solely on your inner strength, because your mortal strength will do you no good." Dracul Mihawk inserted suddenly, watching as Zoro lifted a colossal weight using only his feet. The weight dropped to the floor with an echoing 'BANG' and Mihawk winced.
"What are you on about?" Zoro intoned blankly, before he had to throw himself out of the way of Mihawks incoming swipe of his sword. While Zoro dodged successfully he still tripped over the handle of one of his weights and face planted onto another exercise bar.
"Arghh…" Zoro hissed in pain clutching his head with both hands.
"You better get faster, boy, you can't afford to keep dodging so clumsily," Mihawk quipped in an amused tone that made Zoro glare at him, "you're going to end up taking your own eye out at this rate." He finished morbidly, sneering calmly.
"What's the sudden attack for anyway?" Zoro snarled, getting up slowly and trying to ignore the throbbing in his head.
"As my duty as your… teacher, I will attack you whenever I feel you are becoming too comfortable with your surroundings," Mihawk paused before slyly looking at the now fuming Zoro, "As it were, you are being particularly bratty today."
Zoro breathed and exhaled through his nose in frustration before turning on his heel to pick up another weight, this time to work his upper arms.
'Mihawk may have won this battle, but he would not win the war.' He thought savagely, a sneer erupting on his face. Mihawk chuckled darkly on the side lines seeming to understand the course of Zoro's thoughts and…looking forward to them.
"Were you even listening to me?" he questioned after a pause. Zoro grunted in acknowledgement before dropping his weights again and making Mihawk's eye twitch in annoyance at the loud landing they made. Zoro smirked;
"Inner strength and outer strength, right?"
"Tch, your inner and mortal strength, brat" Mihawk corrected with a glower.
"What's the difference?" Zoro asked predicting a lecture coming. Mihawk didn't seem to appreciate the tone in which the question was asked but let it go lest the boy get permanent brain damage…the thought made him grin;
"I say mortal because that's the best way to describe it, in an overall sense," Mihawk started, "our strength is tied to our bodies…and wither we want to admit this or not, mortality weakens us."
Zoros brow furrowed and gave Mihawk a questioning look, Mihawk sighed and continued again," It's not an easy thing to explain…but think of it as this, you neglect to eat for days and you haven't slept in a week, what happens?"
"I would never forget to do a thing such as sleep or eat," Zoro stated feeling snarky. Mihawk eye twitched, it seemed to be doing this more and more often nowadays.
"Idiot! Do you mean to tell me that certain circumstances keep you from eating, or you have been beaten so thoroughly that despite the fact you are in the best shape of your life your limbs are incapable of lifting themselves!?" Mihawk ranted at the green haired teen. Zoro huffed;
"Everybody gets tired-" he was cut off by an increasingly irate Dracul Mihawk.
"Exactly. You can become a master swordsman, but mortalities curse will always be there with a leash on you," Mihawk paused, looking pointedly at Zoro, "can you recognize some of your fights that you won just out of sheer will and stubbornness, where your skill and strength is easily outmatched but you won anyways?"
Zoro opened his mouth to retort before clicking it shut and grudgingly shrugging his shoulders agreeing. Mihawk nodded knowingly, "Do you understand now?"
Zoro nodded slowly his mind turning with all that Mihawk had told him, "You're talking as if you have a way around 'mortalities curse'."
Mihawk looked positively lethal when he replied, "Oh, well, nobody has a way around mortality, of course, but there is a little trick I have picked up, if you have the inner strength for it," Mihawk stopped talking and eyed Zoro before turning and walking away out the door suddenly.
"Wha—where are you going?!" Zoro yelled
"Earn it Roanoa Zoro."
Zoro blinked and the memory faded. Mihawk was giving him a scrutinizing stare from across the yard and Zoro gave him a pointed look before turning on his heel and walking towards the base.
Each step was a battle in of it self but Zoro knew if that he stumbled once this "new world Mihawk" would take it as a weakness.
The 'inner strength' technique Zoro learned from the man was 'stubbornness but with more attitude' as Mihawk explained it; and 'just a fair bit of haki'. Zoro hesitated to call it artificial strength; if he had to give it a description he would call it tapping into hidden reserves.
With a start Zoro realized with annoyance that he would be incapable of doing even half the sword techniques in his arsenal even with his 'reserves'. It gave him power, yes, but only the power his body could contain.
Meaning, his eighteen-year-old body's muscles wouldn't be able to do things his twenty-year-old body could, even if he had the knowledge for such techniques. It felt like years of working out and training poofed away before his eyes.
But he didn't give that much more thought as he finally approached the front doors of the base, he felt Mihawk burning holes into his back with his stare but he didn't turn around when he snuck through the front doors.
Something was off about the fact that there were no marines guarding the front entrance but his uneasy feeling went away when he found a heap of unconscious marines behind a desk that had Mihawk written all over it.
Zoro stomach screamed in relief when he spotted a pink donut box tucked away in a cubby at the desk. With inhuman like speed Zoro snatched the box up and ravenously swallowed the three donuts held within and then downed the cold coffee that sat on top of the desk with a shudder.
He turned to walkout from behind the desk when his stomach gave a lurch and he crumbled heaving. The urge to vomit was so strong and Zoro gagged as the food he just ate battled to come back up again. He succeeded but he didn't move from his position on the floor breathing shakily. Zoro did not remember that happening the last time.
A little voice in the back of Zoro's head spoke snidely; 'This just proves that everything is different. How much longer were you tied up to that post, I wonder?'
Zoro snarled and pushed the thought away, forcing himself to stand up. He moved to continue on when he stopped and looked at all the unconscious marines. He approached them and knelt to examine their bodies thoroughly, before finding one suitable. He pushed some of the marines aside till he managed to dig up a marine who was tall and broad shouldered.
"Hope you don't mind." He muttered to the unconscious marine, removing the guy's shirt and trousers, leaving him in his underwear. Feeling decidedly awkward, Zoro dodged into a room by the desk, pointedly looking anywhere but the knocked out pile of marines.
The room he dodged into looked to be an archive room. It had stacked files that went all the way to the ceiling and bounty posters were hung everywhere. The room was tiny though, proving that this room served as information pivotal only to the marine minding the snail-phone; the snail-phone which was now snoozing on a little desk.
Zoro assumed if this was a bigger and higher ranking base this room would also contain screens watching rooms all through out the base and he was briefly thankful for the simplicities of east blue.
It took Zoro a second to take this all in before he was removing his boots along with his shirt, using it to wipe down any excess blood or sweat lying around. He winced when he removed his trousers, which was humiliating but he forced himself to keep a hard look on his face as he did so.
Cleaning himself up as best he could, and looking forward to a good washing, Zoro put on the marine uniform. He didn't even bother glancing at the clothes distastefully as he pulled his head through the opening in the shirt; marine clothes over his currently soiled ones any day.
His pride wasn't flexible enough for the marine insignia though, which he wasted no time in tearing off. Zoro tossed the patch on top of the pile of his old clothes and bent down to lace up his boots. He undid the dark blue navy scarf that hung around the neck and instead tied it to his head over his hair, enjoying the familiar feel of it.
Out of his old clothes in the pile, his old, signature black bandanna was missing. Zoro tried not to dwell on it as he tossed his dirty clothes in a trash bin when he was done and walked over to the door and cracked it. He needed his swords, and if he remembered correctly that bratty kid that eventually would take up kukri knives would have them.
Avoiding attention would be his best bet, if he drew attention to himself, he would have to fight his way through….and that took time; time that he didn't know if he had because of his weakened state, if he followed the hall ways he should eventually make it….to his swords.
Yes, good plan.
Zoro snuck out of the room and started to travel across the hall trying to mimic the way Nami would tread lightly whenever she was sneaking around. It was needless to say that Zoro was horrible at it but he made good time dodging into broom closets and empty rooms whenever he heard marines approaching from around corners.
"The prisoner has escaped!"
"Whoa! I thought he was dead!"
Zoro spun around a curse flying past his lips having hidden in a room that was clearly occupied with a good dozen marines. He could have groaned in annoyance but instead he leveled the marines with the nastiest glare he could muster.
"Tell me where my swords are!" he shouted making sure the bandanna shadowed his eyes effectively and sending out killing intent but not enough to reduce the marines to a quivering mess, that would be counter productive. Some of the marines shrieked but all of them stood their ground and held their weapons aloft.
"We will not yield to one such as you!" they yelled together, as a group. They were brave…but he didn't have time for this. He eyed them up shortly; "Fine."
Then he left out the way he came, leaving the marines spluttering in disbelief behind him. The dismissal made him think of Mihawk but he really couldn't help it. He chuckled and started sprinting down the hall dodging all the marines he passed but not bothering to hide seeing as he exposed himself already anyway. He swiftly turned corner after corner keeping his eye open for a staircase and not finding one.
He stopped short after swinging around a corner and seeing the same group of marines that he exposed himself too sprinting out of a room and shouting at each other, once they noticed him they shouted at him to halt. Zoro was impressed, if only a little;
"So you guys followed me but took a shortcut to cut me off, clever, but that won't stop me." He sneered taking a heavy stance so he could shoulder through these headstrong marines. Instead of preparing themselves for an attack all the marines looked at him strangely;
"Uhh, this is the…same room as before." One of the marines said slowly as if he wasn't sure whether or not he would live through such a declaration. Zoro had to stop and think to realize, yes, he just ran in a big circle. A marine coughed into his hand and Zoro glared at him suspiciously.
The awkward moment passed and Zoro had to jump into a roll so he could dodge the spray of bullets he knew would come. When his roll slowed down he swept up onto his feet, sidestepping one of the shorter marine's and grabbing him by the scruff of his collar. The marine howled;
"Save Meeeeh!" he yelled as he was swept away by the 'blood thirsty' escaped prisoner. Zoro paid the marines shouts no mind, tucking the poor guy under his arm as he set to sprint again. No bullets followed him seeing as he had a 'hostage', but he heard the marines behind him shout and the thud of their boots in pursuit.
"Show me the way, marine, and you won't be spending tonight in a hospital." Zoro exclaimed as he ran down a hallway that he didn't recognize but must have gone down before. The marine had streams of tears down his face when he answered;
"T-t-t-t-oo the le-f-f-f-t up ahead." He pointed with a shaky finger, "the door t-t-t-that s-s-says 's-s-stairs'"
Zoro arrived and stopped at the door to stare at it dejectedly before throwing it open and running up the spiral stair case. These marines obviously needed to label their doors better.
"Our labels are fine; you are just directionally challenged!" The marine under his arm screeched in defense, and then cowered at Zoros glare.
Did he say that out loud? Huh. He must have been muttering stuff under his breath. Zoro raced up the stairs, skillfully skipping steps as he worked his way to the top with the marine directing him with every step.
"I can navigate through these stairs just fine…. all I have to do is climb them, right?" Zoro snapped when the marine actually said 'left foot then right foot'. But perhaps he spoke to soon.
"That's the fire escape!" The marine twitched in disbelief.
"Well, how was I supposed to know!?" Zoro defended.
The gutsy marine was clearly over stepping his bounds. When Zoro got to the top floor he stopped at the nearest supply closest and tossed the guy inside;
"Thanks." Zoro grunted.
"Hey!-" The marine was cut off when Zoro slammed the door in the guys face, and continued down the hall. He set off in a light jog when a siren started to blare and red lights flashed in the hall, indicating that the alarm had finally sounded.
"ATTENTION! All Cadets! ATTENTION! The infamous 'Zoro The Maniac' has-," Zoro stopped and stared, his brain going into overdrive from that simple command, drowning out the rest of the spiel of orders. No, this couldn't be happening, another thing was inexplicably different. Was he not…Pirate Hunter Zoro here? He shook the thoughts away and listened in again;
"—I repeat ESCAPED! He is currently running loose in the base keep a wary eye and travel in pairs! We mustn't ALLOW HIM TO ESCAPE the island! We must catch and make the arrest of 'Zoro the Maniac'"
He wasn't just hearing things then, they really just called him 'Zoro the Maniac' like it was a title! This didn't bode well for him. Zoro for once in his life was feeling reluctant fear for something in terms of himself.
No! He wasn't going to spiral into pity! Maybe that wasn't his, title…and they were just calling him a maniac, and it wasn't his…WANTED poster moniker. Yes, he liked those odds, they could be referencing anything, he needed to calm down and think straight, he would sort out everything later. He was wasting precious time!
So Mihawk has become delusional and thinks he suddenly has a family; the weirdo's probably just lonely, Luffy was late; the idiot must have been distracted by a giant chocolate fountain or something, and people have called him a maniac before. Everything was fine. He would fix this.
"What do they mean, ESCAPED!?" A door banged open to his right and someone stepped out.
Lo and behold, it was the kid that got him tied to that post in the first place. It settled his rattled nerves slightly to see that the brat looked no different from what he remembered, he was probably over thinking everything.
Even as the thought fluttered in his head, Zoro couldn't banish the feeling that everything had already gone completely out of his control. He was through with playing games though; he had ten minutes left before he collapsed in a heap on the ground.
"Hey! Brat!" Zoro barked making the guy shriek in surprise and alarm. The guy with the mushroom/onion hairstyle froze and stared bug-eyed at Zoro. Any other time Zoro would have enjoyed whole heartily the little twits fear but he was already shaking from all his running around.
"Swords." Zoro commanded firmly but simply. The teenager had enough survival instinct to twist on his heel and point straight back into the room he just exited from. Zoro grabbed the kid by his collar and dragged him into the room, ignoring the boys whimpering.
Making a disgusted face at the pink walls and bed spread, Zoro scanned the room quickly. A real smile, the first since he arrived back in time, irrupted on his face when he noticed three katanas resting up against the wall in shadow. He promptly dropped the kid and practically sprinted up to them.
And just like that, the good feeling was gone. Zoro's hand flew up and covered his mouth. He took a shaky step forward and fell to his knees. A choked sob came past his lips and he cried for the first time since he made the promise to never lose again to his captain.
Wado Ichimonji. Kuina's sword wasn't there. It was gone.
His heart wrenched and he used both hands to cover his face, feeling everything that ever held him together falling apart. The feeling of tears falling down his face was unfamiliar but he couldn't find it in himself to care.
Everything he was, everything he lived for was gone from this world. Nothing was right, and nothing would be the same. He established this already, he would suffer. That was his job as the first mate; carrying the burdens that the captain couldn't.
He was used to this, and he easily accepted his continued fate in the court yard earlier but now it was different. Knowing that things were going to be different was one thing but having it completely removed from his life was another.
Zoro's eyes squeezed shut as more tears fell. Feeling a lurching sensation, this time coming from his stomach, made Zoro turn and vomit the donuts he had eaten earlier. Gasping for breath and whipping his mouth with one hand and gripping the fabric on his pants with the other he steadied and slowly got up from his position on the floor.
Picking up the three unknown swords he turned towards the cowering mess that he dropped earlier.
The navy marine bandanna shadowed his eyes effectively and he stared down at the kid tear marks leaving tracks on his dirty face. He un-sheathed one of the swords; ignoring its internal scream of protest at its new owner, and pointed it menacingly down at the pink haired kid.
"I have had one hell of a day." Zoro hissed, making the kid flinch. Exhaustion completely forgotten, Zoro kicked the kid aside and stormed out of the room.
Having nothing on his mind but complete and utter carnage; Zoro cleaved through the Marine base. Barely even giving a thought to whither he killed marines or left them horribly disfigured. Something deep inside reminded Zoro that Luffy didn't condone this type of thing and the last time he acted like this he ended up losing his eye.
The worse thing was he knew exactly what he was doing when he picked up those unfamiliar katanas. He knew what would happen and he didn't care. Through his haze of violence, he briefly registered that the marine leader of the base lost his trademark axe hand, courteous of his rage, and he burst his way out into the courtyard where it all began.
The haze shifted a bit when his eyes rested on Mihawk, his subconscious brain picking up the fact he was a million times stronger than everyone in the base behind him and he quivered in excitement, the swords sending a high pitched ring in his ears egging him on.
Mihawk stepped out of the shadows and drew his sword, face intense. Someone blinked and they lunged into action parrying back and forth. The battle was quick and very experienced but ended shortly regardless, with Zoro falling to the ground, blood pooling out of his left eye.
Till Next Time