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Join the Club

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Zoro had a bloody nose, but the other kid was crying and that was just embarrassing. He stood up and got off of him, looked over his shoulder at the new kid, Luffy, who had Coby hiding behind him.

"My dad's gonna beat yours up!" Helmeppo screamed at him, glaring past tears and snot. Zoro snorted. Sensei was way too strong for that.

"His dad is head of Gull Scouts," Coby whined. "You'll never get in now."

"I don't wanna be in scouts," Luffy said with a shrug. "I'm gonna make my own club. And you have to join now!!" Luffy looked triumphantly at Zoro, and brandished the practice sword Helmeppo had stolen.

"Fine." He'd promised, so that was that.

Then the teachers finally arrived, and they all got detention for fighting.

There was angry yelling when Helmeppo's father came to get him early, and Helmeppo cried again, with a worse sound, which Zoro tried to ignore, but Coby stared after them.

Luffy had piled his schoolbooks out of the way and was using the sharp corner of his ruler to scratch a picture into the wood.

"What is that?" Zoro asked. It was really hard to tell.

"Club needs a flag," Luffy declared. "The Strawhats!"

Zoro gave it a dubious stare. What had his promise gotten him into?

It turned out the clubhouse was pretty great. Luffy said he and his brothers had built it, out here at the back of their foster family's yard, where it turned into the forest.

Except, when they opened the rickety door, there was a girl in it. "What?" Zoro growled. Okay, he'd just barely agreed to be here, but that still meant this was their clubhouse.

"Hi!" Luffy said brightly, and the girl stared, all narrowed eyes, orange hair, and green tunic, arms full with what had to be a really great stash of candy. "Wanna join my club?"