In a world where special people had their own guardian angels, a bar at the edge of Grand Heaven was the place where such angels could meet up to share their experiences among themselves, talk about joys and troubles of their charges, or simply spend free time in calm and peace, outside the human realm.
A tall angel with huge pure black wings was sitting at the bar alone, nursing a bottle of booze. His blond hair was covered by a red hat and he absent-mindedly fiddled with one of the heart-like shapes which hung from it.
There was a sound of wings beating and another form landed on a seat beside the sulking angel. "Hey, Corazon, buddy!" a cheery voice greeted him. "What's up?"
The black-winged angel only briefly looked at his friend before turning back to his drink. "Hey, Ace," he mumbled.
Ace's wide grin fell and he frowned, his bright orange feathered wings rising slightly in worry. "Did your First Meeting with your charge go okay?" he asked.
Corazon groaned and hit a bar with his head.
"That bad, huh?" Ace wondered.
"Law asked if he could get another guardian angel because according to him I suck at being one," the blonde explained, his shoulders slumping and his wings drooping in defeat. "And then he stabbed me."
The other angel winced. "Ouch."
"But it's not my fault that humans don't see us before they turn ten years old! And that he had to go through all that horrible stuff in his life till now!"
Ace patted him on his shoulder. "You'll grow on him, don't worry. You do that to people," he soothed his friend. "Like a fungus," he added as an afterthought, smiling mischievously.
Corazon grimaced at the comparison, unsure how to take it.
There was another flutter of wings and a petite, brown-haired female angel with cream colored wings landed on the seat next to Ace. "Hey, guys!" she chirped happily. "How're you doing?"
"Hey, Koala," the orange-winged angel greeted her with a wide grin.
Corazon only listlessly waved at her, causing Koala to cock her eyebrow in question. "Oh, right!" she suddenly exclaimed. "You had your First Meeting today, didn't you? I guess it didn't go well, huh."
"His charge stabbed him," Ace informed, stifling a chuckle.
Koala's eyes widened. "Oh my, I'm sorry to hear that it went so bad, Corazon," she said softly.
"Thanks," he replied in a murmur.
"I'm sure he'll start to adore you once he gets to know you better. You're such a sweet guy."
A blush crept on the black-winged angel's cheeks. "Thanks, Koala. I appreciate it."
"Ah, don't mention it!" she waved it off.
"How're your own charges doing?" Corazon inquired curiously, looking at the other two angels.
Ace beamed, his feathers puffing in pride. "Luffy climbed into the tree to save a kitten today! And he's only three years old! I'm telling you, guys." He shot a pointed glance between his two friends. "That boy, he'll become someone grand in the future! Like, HUGE grand!"
Koala giggled at his excitement, and Corazon smiled, happy for his friend.
"I saw you and Sabo at the bus stop the other day," Ace recalled, looking at the female angel with a grim expression. "Did his father hit him again?"
Koala's smile fell completely and her face darkened. "Yes," she replied. "Seriously, sometimes I wish I could just…" She held her hand out and squeezed her fist like she was crushing something with it, a pure demonic expression on her angelic features.
Ace and Corazon both stared at her with huge, terrified eyes. When Koala slammed her palm on the bar, they both cringed and leaned away from her in unison.
"…You know?" the cream-winged angel asked, looking up and blinking innocently at her co-workers like she didn't just scare them out of their minds.
Ace and Corazon nodded furiously. Koala could be very, very scary when her charges' happiness was on the line.
"I mean, Sabo is only six years old, for Pops' sake! What does that man want from him!" she continued to fume before breaking into a huge, warm smile. "I can't wait till he turns ten! I'll give him one tight bear hug!"
"Hey, why don't we try to get Luffy and Sabo to become friends?" Ace suggested. "They live near each other and I bet they would get along so well!"
"Oh! I love the idea, Ace!" Koala cheered. Her wings flapped once showing her eagerness. "Sabo sure would be happy to have such a friend!"
The two started chattering excitedly, planning how they could influence their boys to meet each other. Corazon turned back to sulk with his bottle of booze in his hand.
There was a sound of a pair of wings beating right behind the trio. Ace was the first one to notice a presence, and he spun on his seat with a grin on his freckled face to meet the new arrival. "Hey, Mar–" his voice hitched in this throat and Ace himself froze mid-move.
"What's wrong with Mar–" Koala also abruptly stopped, staring wide-eyed and mouth agape at the same spot.
Corazon frowned at their strange behavior. He slowly turned around too and blinked.
Marco stood there with an annoyed expression on his usually stoic face, his blue and yellow feathers fluffed up from irritation, but that was not what made the other two angels lose their gift of speech – the usual blond, spiky hair was now gleaming with neon blue color.
Ace and Koala both snorted at the same time and then burst into a laugh. Ace was laughing so hard that he actually slipped from his seat, falling on the floor and even then couldn't stop.
Marco groaned, his palm meeting his forehead. "Shut up, you two, yoi." He walked closer and sat down on the free seat next to Corazon. A bottle of sake appeared out of nowhere and fell straight into the blue-winged angel's hand.
"What happened?" Corazon asked, carefully. He managed to stifle his laugh, but couldn't force the amused smile to go away.
"My charge, who else," Marco grumbled. "I love Thatch, but sometimes I get this deep urge to strangle him myself."
"Your charge did that?" Corazon motioned to his hair.
"Man," Ace exhaled, calming himself enough to climb back on his seat. "Thatch is awesome!"
"That prankster will be a death of me…"
"Your charge managed to prank you? You, his guardian angel?" Koala asked in disbelief.
Marco snapped his head to glare at her, his blue hair flopping funnily as he moved. Ace tried, really tried not to laugh again, but to no avail and he melted into another fit of cackling with his arms around his stomach and tears in his eyes.
Marco let out a frustrated noise at his friend's behavior.
Koala flashed a comforting smile to him before suddenly perking up. "Oh, Sabo is awake," she stated, her wings spread out, ready for a flight. "See you later, guys!" And she was gone.
"Oh, dear Pops…" Ace said, brushing the laughter tears out of his eyes. "That was–" He snorted as soon as his eyes landed on Marco's hair and received another glare from his fellow angel. "Hey, Marco," Ace called, a mischievous smirk on his lips. "Wanna hear a joke about this blue turkey who–"
He didn't finish because a bottle suddenly flew his way and he vanished in a flurry of the orange wings with a laugh.
Marco sighed, a new bottle appearing in his hand. He glanced at Corazon who was smiling at him with pity. "How was your First Meeting?" he wondered.
That question blew off the smile from the black-winged angel's face and he slumped on the bar again. "Law asked if he could get another guardian angel."
Marco gently patted him on his shoulder. "He'll warm up to you soon enough, you'll see."
"And then he stabbed me," Corazon added.
"Huh," he uttered an amused grunt. "Well, look at the bright side – at least he hasn't dyed your hair."
Corazon chuckled. "I guess so," he agreed, lifting his bottle. "Cheers."
Marco bumped his own bottle to his. "Cheers, yoi."