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3 hours ago by joshualhj
Vanity Fair: Trump’s Pathetic Performance Masks a Deeper Betrayal
Vanity Fair
We may one day view the silence of top Republicans as its own national scandal. Read the full story
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9 hours ago by fulab
The Atlantic: Did Russian Interference Elect Donald Trump?
The Atlantic
The president understands the stakes of the Russia story more clearly than most of his followers. Read the full story
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9 hours ago by fulab
The Atlantic: White House Transcript Omits Key Putin–Trump Moment
The Atlantic
It’s not clear whether the omission was intended, but the meaning of a key exchange is dramatically altered as a result. Read the full story
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9 hours ago by fulab
While the Gods Sleep - Chapter 9 - MelodramaticCoffeeAddict - One Piece [Archive of Our Own]
While the Gods Sleep
MelodramaticCoffeeAddict
Chapter 9: Intermission One: The Other East Blue
Summary:
Monkey D. Luffy set out looking for a crew. In the weakest of seas, he finds the start of a family.
Notes:
Hello all!
Thank you all for making it this far in While the Gods Sleep! I've split this fic into 3 parts, to make it easier for me to keep track of the important events. The end of each part will come with a short intermission chapter of sorts that will give a short summary of what the Other Strawhats' have seen or gone through on their journey, highlighting the major changes to their personalities. Hopefully you guys enjoy this little treat.
I would like to leave everyone of a warning of slow updates. My father is currently undergoing a heart transplant and I will be spending a lot of time traveling. Most of my updates, when they come, will come via Google Docs on my phone, so my apologies if there are more errors than usual.
Thanks for everyone's understanding. I hope you enjoy a simple look into the Other East Blue Saga!
Chapter Text
Luffy hears rumors of a thief long before he sets sail. A redheaded woman who moves with the grace and sound of a cat. Pirates steal and sneak, so she’ll she’ll make a good member of his crew. His search brings him to an inn. To a crying little girl and a woman so full of guilt, Luffy can taste it. Brings him to a story. Of a brave and powerful swordsman that took out an entire Marine crew single handedly.
Luffy needs someone like that on his crew. He makes his way to the Marine base. Finds a green haired man, clinging to life after two weeks with no food and barely any water. Dark eyes crack open when Luffy approaches. Eyes that hold a lot. Pain. Hope. Fear. Courage. The desire for freedom.
“You saved those girls from the Marines?” Luffy asks.
Dark eyes close again. “Hai.” The swordsman’s voice cracks, weak from lack of use and water.
“I'm Monkey D. Luffy! I’m gonna be King of the Pirates. Join my crew!”
“No.”
“Eh?”
“My apologizes, Luffy. But I made a promise. I’m afraid I wouldn't be able to join you until I complete that promise.”
A promise. Luffy respects that. Promises are important after all.
“Yosh! I'll help you finish your promise. Then, you'll be on my crew?”
The swordsman blinks heavily at him. Confusion written across his face. Then, he gives Luffy a weak smile. “Hai. If you help me keep my promise, I'll join your crew.”
Luffy cheers.
The two meet Nami a few islands later, stealing a map from Buggy. The cheap captain stabs Zoro in the stomach when he saves Nami. Luffy can’t forgive him for that. Once Nami ties up all Buggy’s extra parts, Luffy kicks them into the ocean.
Nami joins their crew with a simple request. That twenty-percent of every treasure be sent home to her sister. Luffy accepts.
“So,” Nami says, eyes on Zoro as they settle into the small boat they'd taken from Buggy. “You're that sword collector, aren't you?
“Sword collector?” Luffy echoes.
Nami nods. “I've heard about this guy going around, challenging people for valuable swords. They say the Marines can’t touch him. Is that you?”
Zoro nods.
He doesn't talk much. Luffy realized that not long after he met Zoro. Unless spoken to, Zoro remains silent. His lips don't even move to smile. A weak upturn to appease Luffy seems to be all they're capable of doing. His eyes, though. Zoro’s eyes never shut up. They tell Luffy a tale of fear. That Zoro desperately wants to get back to something. To someone. But, he can't go yet. He needs something first.
“I'd like to go to Syrup Island.” Zoro’s soft voice takes Luffy by surprise. “Please.”
He sits at the far end of the boat. Eyes glued to the waters ahead of them. Red seeps across his neck and ears. Head bowed and body slumped.
Luffy can't think of a time that Zoro asked him for anything. Normally, the swordsman simply waits to hear the plan.
“Syrup Island?” Nami echoes. “What's on Syrup Island?”
Zoro doesn't look away from the water. “A man.”
“Zoro needs to find this man?” For what?
“He has a sword.”
There's no sword on Syrup Island. But there is a sniper. Usopp’s kind of a coward, but he's fun and his shot is dead on. Somewhere along the way, Luffy will find Usopp some courage.
Zoro thinks he's scary, Luffy realizes not long after they pick Usopp up. The swordsman could be considered scary in battle. He moves like a snake, fast, strikes with precision. Off the battlefield, not so much. Off the battlefield, he’s just Zoro.
That doesn't stop him from curling a lip back and snarling. Mostly when he wants to be left alone. Mostly to Usopp. For whatever reason, Nami presence is tolerated. And Luffy treated like he could tell Zoro to go drown and the swordsman would actually do it. There's just something about Usopp that seems to make Zoro anxious. An anxiety he tries to cover up with glares and snarls. It gives Luffy a funny feeling. And not a good funny feeling.
The sword ends up on an island with a cook. Not a professional chief by any means. But Sanji’s food is delicious. His heart is pure. The blond doesn't hesitate to save Nami from a Marine. Doesn’t think twice about feeding them when Usopp’s stomach growls.
Luffy can't keep the excitement from his chest. Sanji fights as well as he cooks. He chases the same man as Zoro. But for far different reasons.
“I never said I was a good man,” Sanji tells them when Zoro stops him from killing the other swordsman. “He’s my target. Stand aside, Zoro.”
The man they chase cries out some spiel about assassins. Disappears at a dead sprint.
Luffy’s swordsman clashes with the cook. Both full of power and promise. The two fight into exhaustion. Luffy leaves them to it. Chases after the man they both want.
A slippery little thing with a squeaky voice but a powerful swing of the blade. But Luffy leaves him unconscious and takes the large sword with him. When he returns to Sanji and Zoro, the swordsman leans over the cook. Speaking more than Luffy’s ever heard.
“Luffy can help you,” Zoro offers softly. “I know he can.”
Sanji’s chest heaves as he stares up at Zoro. Bloody and defeated.
“You said you don't want to do this anymore,” Zoro says. “Is there someone back home they'll hurt?”
“Just me,” Sanji admits.
“Then why not take a chance?”
“If I like you, they'll hurt you.”
“We’re pirates. Someone's going to hurt us for something, no matter what. I'd rather be hurt for someone I care about than by chance.”
Luffy’s heart sits a little lighter in his chest. Zoro might not say much, but he knows what nakama means.
Zoro waits until the others sleep peacefully to lower Merry’s emergency boat into the water. He leans his head against Merry’s side. His fingers linger on the wood.
“Take care of them Merry,” he whispers. “They're good.”
Good people. Good nakama. Zoro wishes he could go with them. Wishes he could just run away. But he can’t. His katana sit heavy on his hip. His promise, heavy on his heart.
One day, he tells himself. One day, when Zoro knows what freedom is, he’ll sail with Luffy. For now, he settles into the boat and follows Mihawk’s viver card home.
“Luffy! Luffy, wake up!” Nami screeches.
Luffy moans and bats her hands away as she shakes him. It's too early to get up.
“Luffy, Zoro’s gone!”
Gone? Luffy shoots up straight. “What?”
“You're late,” Mihawk drawls as Zoro’s led into his throne room.
There isn't a better word for it, no matter what the others call it. It's a single room with nothing but a large chair for him to sit in.
“Hai,” Zoro agrees as he shuffles forward. “My apologies, Mihawk-sama.”
“Apologies mean little, Zoro. If you were truly sorry, you wouldn't have done it in the first place.”
Zoro doesn't bother to tell him that he can’t be sorry unless he's done something wrong. “Hai, Mihawk-sama.”
“Did you bring my prize?”
Zoro offers him the sword, head bowed to avoid eye contact. Mihawk lets out an awed breath.
“I suppose,” Mihawk says, “You deserve a small reward. This was no easy task.”
“It's my pleasure, Mihawk-sama.”
“Such a good boy.” Mihawk’s fingers twist in Zoro’s hair as he stands. “I assume, you’d like to see her.”
Zoro can’t contain his excitement. His eyes shoot up to Mihawk, breath in his chest. “Please?”
Yellow eyes scan him. “A short lesson first, I think. You can't be late, Zoro. Then we will go see Kuina.”
“He just left us,” Usopp growls. “Why are we chasing after him?”
“Because he’s nakama,” Luffy answers shortly.
“Because he didn't leave by his own choice.” Sanji’s words send shivers down their spines. “I know the look in his eyes. Someone's telling Zoro what to do. And he might not like it, but he's not going to disobey them.”
“Why?” Nami asks. “It’s Zoro. He's strong.”
“Because it’s not Zoro they're threatening.”
Kuina looks heartbroken when Zoro kneels down in front her cell. Her hand moves through the bars, presses against his cheek as she examines the bruises.
“I was late,” he answers the unspoken question.
“Oh, Zoro,” she whispers. Her thumb strokes his cheek and he leans into the touch. Soft and sweet.
You shouldn't have come back, she wants to say. Zoro can see it in her eyes. But she doesn't want to have this fight again. Neither does Zoro. So they don't. Kuina strokes his cheek.
“Kuina?”
“Hmm.”
“I know what I want to do. When I get us out of this.” She raises an eyebrow. Genuine curiosity crosses her face.
“I met some people. They're good. Nice. Luffy’s going to be the King of the Pirates. And, when we get to leave, if he still wants me, I'm going to sail with him. I'll be his swordsman.”
She smiles. “The Greatest Swordsman,” she tells him. The whisper of a promise made so long ago.
Zoro shakes his head. “No,” he says. “That will be you.”
When I get you out of here. You'll be the best.
Kunia guides his head forward. Manages to place a kiss to his cheek … [more]
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9 hours ago by mcha
GQ: Now We All Know What Putin Has on Trump
GQ
After a summit that left most Americans stunned—but maybe not surprised—the truth is​ now​ obvious: Trump is doing Putin's bidding. And the reasons why are clear. GQ's Julia Ioffe on Putin's monumental win and the lasting result of Trump's Helsinki debacle​.​ The kompromat is out of the bag. Read the full story
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10 hours ago by fulab
FileRoom | Browser File Transfer
I upvoted FileRoom.io on Product Hunt: Browser airdrop to send files to anyone, on any device https://ift.tt/2KSyN2p
ProductHunt  iPhone  Mac  Productivity  Home  Developer  Tools  Browser  airdrop  to  send  files  anyone  on  any  device 
16 hours ago by glitchwitch

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