Characters: Penguin, Law, Heart Pirates. Rating: K+. Warnings: None.

The Grand Line was a bizarre place. Penguin had heard stories - who hadn't - about how dangerous it was, but that was all. Dangerous. No-one ever bothered to mention the bizarre. Then again, most people who went to the Grand Line never came back. Those that did were the traumatised failures.

Still, even for the Grand Line, the idea of zombies was, in his opinion, a little far fetched. He couldn't say he was particularly comfortable with the notion either. Something about reanimated corpses just didn't settle right. Dead people were supposed to stay dead, as much as he still wished that wasn't the case.

His wishes aside, he'd never want his parents reanimated like the stories claimed. Mindless, soulless, inhuman… No, if his choice was between that or them remaining dead and buried, he'd gladly take the latter.

Even Law had dismissed the reports to start with, looking at the information they had and scoffing at the implications. "Zombies aren't real, I promise," he'd said, back as a teenager before they left North Blue to head for the Grand Line. Before they truly understood that there was no such thing as impossible in the Grand Line.

Moria's devil fruit was the stuff of nightmares. As a shichibukai, his name and face was well known, as was the fact that he had an island for a ship - or a ship for an island. Thriller Bark was not a place the cautious visited.

They had Bepo, a Mink for a navigator who wasn't at the mercy of log poses and therefore firmly locked into a single route from Reverse Mountain to Saboady, which meant that Thriller Bark was guaranteed to not be on their route. At least, not as long as they were careful.

Technically, they did cross paths; well they saw a thick black sea fog and Law made the executive decision to go around it. No-one had complained. Zombies were on no-one's list of things they wanted to see. Law might have been a possible exception - he didn't hide his intrigue as well as he might have intended to, not from Penguin, at least, and the knowledge-hungry doctor's eyes lit up at the idea of reanimated bodies moving - but he'd accepted that the rest of the crew weren't interested in dealing with zombies.

Penguin was still waiting for the day Law somehow got his hands on one, just to see how it worked. He had to admit, he was hoping that day never came.

From the prompt "Zombies aren't real, I promise", which made me laugh, because clearly zombies do exist in One Piece - at least, as long as Moria keeps making them! But maybe the Hearts didn't always know that.

Thanks for reading!