Shells Town was quiet that morning, the way it always was, for the last ten years at least. Rika helped her mother open up the bar and get ready for the day, made breakfast for some of the early risers who stopped by before starting their day and then got to work finishing up last night's dishes in preparation for that evening's rush.
It was quiet, like every other day for the last ten years, which was what really made it a shock when the cry of 'Pirates!' rose from the docks and spread through town. Her mother darted toward the door, and Rika nearly threw herself over the kitchen counter and out the window to try and take a look at the approaching ship.
Shells Town had been quiet, because ten years ago the Pirate King had come as a rookie just starting out and found his swordsman here, defeating Captain Morgan at the same time, and the minor pirates and citizens in the East Blue remembered feats like that. And Rika caught sight of the Jolly Roger on the ship's sail, spotted the straw hat on the skull just as the second call came.
"The Strawhats! The Pirate King!"
Rika grinned madly, drawing back from the window and catching sight of the stunned expression on her mother's face as she slumped against the door frame. The Pirate King was returning to Shells Town after ten years, bringing his whole crew with him.
Townspeople were rushing down toward the docks, but Rika turned to her pantry, trying to remember everything she had. She should have the right ingredients, and just enough time to get everything ready.
She wondered if they'd remember her, after so long and when she'd only known them for a few days. The Pirate King and the Greatest Swordsman in the World had certainly made an impression on her, but she doubted she'd managed to do the same when she had been so young at the time.
Still, it never hurts to give a warm welcome and a good impression.
There wasn't much to see in Shells Town-it wasn't exactly a tourist spot, and the Marine base that had once loomed over the people who lived there had declined and was only sparsely manned nowadays. Travelers and pirates didn't bother with it, which was fine by the townspeople.
The Pirate King came screaming into the bar, shouting for food and preceded only by his green-haired, one-eyed swordsman, who seemed to look around the interior with a fond, nostalgic gaze. What followed after the Pirate King was a parade of colorful, interesting people, chatting brightly amongst themselves, greeting townspeople warmly for all that they were strangers and civilians.
Nami thumped Luffy on the head, admittedly more gently than usual as she scolded him for bursting in and disrupting the bar. Franky and Chopper were outside with Usopp entertaining the local children as Brook, Robin and Jinbei tucked themselves unobtrusively into a corner. Sanji helped wrestle Luffy into a seat at one of the center tables, and while usually Zoro would be expected to help with that particular disaster, instead he made his way to the bar, and the familiar woman standing behind it. Ten years older than the last time he'd seen her, but he remembered her being kind, in the same way her little daughter had been.
"Ririka-san," he said, nodding his head as he sat down, and the woman grinned broadly, clearly delighted.
"Zoro-kun," she replied fondly, grabbing a mug from under the counter. "Long time no see. I seem to recall you liked to drink."
He barked a laugh as Luffy escaped Nami and the cook's clutches and slung himself over, giggling madly when Ririka laughed and greeted him by name as well.
"Food'll be up soon, boys. On the house, special thanks for the last time you were here."
"Pretty sure you said that last time," Zoro muttered, taking a deep drink when Ririka passed him the mug with a little smirk.
"Hmm, did I? You boys are still heroes around here, you know," she replied, and Zoro rolled his eyes as Luffy, predictably, fucking pouted at her.
"'M not a hero! I'm the Pirate King, I can't be a hero," he grumbled, and Ririrka laughed, filling more mugs and piling them on a tray to bring to the rest of the crew.
"All the same, Luffy-kun," she said. "Food should be just a moment. I'll get your crew taken care of."
"They seem happier now," Luffy commented, and Zoro turned to watch the bar, scoffing at the cook's fawning. "Wonder if Koby's ever been back."
The door leading back toward the bar's kitchen opened, and Zoro ignored it. There wasn't anything in the East Blue that posed a risk to them, so he took another drink and watched as Robin and Jinbei soothed Ririka after Brook had startled her by speaking.
"Meat for the Pirate King and onigiri for Oniichan," a woman's voice said, and Zoro turned at the announcement. She was a teenager really, brunette braids and dark eyes and a bright, mirthful smile as Zoro frowned and Luffy inspected her even as he inhaled the provided meat. "Don't worry, I didn't use sugar this time."
Luffy grinned around his mouthful as Zoro's eyes widened. "Rika."
"You remember me?" she asked, surprised. Zoro nodded, huffing a laugh as he pulled his plate closer.
"Sure. Best onigiri I ever ate."
The cook made an affronted sound behind them, and Luffy swallowed and turned his neck unnaturally to look back over his shoulder.
"Rika fed Zoro when the marines were starving him," he said easily, and the cook shut up, ruffled feathers soothed at Luffy's explanation. The captain launched into the story of how he met Zoro and Rika, and Zoro ignored the excited retelling as he took a bite of his food, Rika watching him all the while.
"Is it okay?" she finally asked, as if worried about his opinion even after so many years.
"Yeah," he hummed appreciatively, and she grinned brightly again. "They're great."
"Good," she replied, pulling up a stool to sit across from them. "I'll make more if you tell me about your adventures. Sound fair?"
"Throw in another drink and we got a deal."