|Burning in the Skies
Author: icedragongurl PM
Welcome to Virgil Island, while you're here feel free to stop by Purgatories Lullaby down in the heart of the Underworld. Within this territory there is no such thing as the 'World Government'. Marines and Pirates are not permitted to fight, capture, or kill each other in any way. This area is controlled by the Hades family, and led by Elysia Hades, aka Lady Persephone. Ace/OCRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Ace - Words: 17,566 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 12 - Published: 06-07-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8192935
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Burning in the Skies
Rating: T for suggestive situations and possible language
Series: One Piece
Summary: Welcome to Virgil Island, while you're here feel free to stop by Purgatories Lullaby down in the heart of the Underworld. Within this territory there is no such thing as the 'World Government'. Marines and Pirates are not permitted to fight, capture, or kill each other in any way. Ace/OC
Disclaimer: I don't own anything other then my OC's. Other than the Island Virgil Island everything belongs to Oda. For he is the Godly creator of One Piece manga.
Author Note: I understand the fear of Original Characters but I would greatly appreciate it if you gave mine a try. I mostly write my own original stories so what I did was create my own little world within the One Piece universe. It is with the intent to make my OC as far as possible from a Mary sue. All the Ace/OC's were irritating characters that I've read and I really felt like at least one should try to do it real justice (and it is not my intent to be mean in saying that I apologize if I've offended anyone). Please let me know what you all think of this, I spent several hard months working diligently upon it. Thank you very much and please, enjoy.
All the lonely people
Some would have called it fate, Elysia Hades just thought it was sheer luck that he stumbled across her bar. Only the intelligent pirates knew that Purgatories Lullaby was a first-stop must. Having heard stories about Portgas D. Ace, she was certain that this was a smart fellow. Instead of grabbing a table, he came straight up to the bar and took a stool. Giving her a charming smile, he'd asked her what was good on the menu. Arching a single brow in intrigue, she'd told him that they didn't serve anything bad. This had earned her not only a laugh, but also an exchange of names.
Any healthy women would admit that the pirate was quite a looker. It didn't hurt that he waltzed about shirtless a majority of the time. Elysia found it difficult, to not get distracted by the expanse of muscled chest. She seemed to always spot it in her peripheral vision. At one point she'd been sorely tempted to force him into a damned shirt. Just so she could get the drink orders right. As revenge she decided to bust out the midriff showing tank. It had done the job, the bastard was just as distracted by her. When he complimented on the design on the top, she gave him a knowing smile.
There was one rule in Sirius City's Underworld, you do not spill blood. Marines were not allowed to go after pirates, or vice versa. If you were to break said rule…well, things wouldn't be pretty. Elysia had a neophyte Marine pinned against a wall, and Ace could only watch in stunned silence. She gave the moron a lecture, which was rather threatening in nature. By the end of it, the guy was sitting in a puddle of his own piss. The pirate stared at her in shock as she walked away with a dark glare upon her face. This was clearly a chick that one did not cross.
It almost became a magnetic pull that dragged them together, at first it was a playful sort of friendship. Whenever he discovered that a mission would lead him in her islands general direction, Ace would always detour to pay a visit. It almost felt like an insult to not stop by. There was nothing serious to it, just an innocent interest. They found one another to be fascinating to hang out with. Which was why his visits became an inside joke for the two of them. Every single time he'd enter through that black door, Elysia would smirk knowingly at him, and ask how many nights he'd be staying for this time.
Sparkling with Mystery
They wanted to know more about one another. She would be interested in all of his adventures, while he would ask about her family and the island life. Except, it was impossible to ever really know everything about a person. Which was why, he found it curious that every once in a while, this dark look would cross her face. It only lingered for an instant, as if she was thinking about a specific thing that bothered her. Then she'd smile at him like nothing had happened. Whenever he thought he had somewhat of an understanding about her…Ace would realize he probably knew nothing at all.
Be carefree with me soon
In the beginning she was extremely tense, even if she was playful and teasing. There was an underlying stiffness to her body, as if expecting something to go terribly wrong at any second. Ace took it upon himself to get past those barriers, and make her lighten up. It was only after the bar had closed for the night that he'd gotten the opportunity. She was busy taking inventory, when he broke the silence.
"Did I ever tell you about the time when I accidentally stole a villages deity?" Her eyes widened in disbelief, and after a few moments she burst into laughter. Ace couldn't help but grin at his success, while Elysia tried to catch her breath. Once she had, the blonde grinned at him with a relaxed look to her body.
"You are absolutely terrible at starting a conversation." He smirked at her in response.
"Got you to lighten up didn't I?" Elysia couldn't help but smile in response,
"So you did."
Once while he was visiting, something odd had unfolded before him. The bar had been just closing after a long eventful night, when a man entered. Accompanied by two rather large bodyguards, the spiffily dressed aristocrat went straight for Elysia. Ace had had a bad feeling that something nasty was about to go down. His muscles tensed and eyes narrowed, Elle had noticed this, causing her own sharp green orbs to flicker upwards. The aristocrat paused in front of her, and there was almost a silent exchange between the two. Elysia pat him on the arm, and gave a smile that was obviously fake i
"Don't worry. It's just some personal business I need to attend to." With that she escorted the gentlemen to her office. As the door shut behind her, Ace couldn't help but have a nasty feeling in his gut.
Fly away in the morning
Having never really dealt with any female after they'd just woken up before, Ace was surprised to see Elysia awake at such an early hour. The sun was just starting to rise, and she was sitting there on her balcony nursing a mug of coffee. Her hair stuck out in odd angles, and there was still a slight glaze to her eyes. Even so, she looked gorgeous in that loose red shirt that was way too big on her. It hung a few inches above her knees, and fell a bit off her shoulder. Ace leaned against the doorway, and watched her for a bit.
It was a clear hot view of the ocean, and there was something about the way the early light made her face nearly glow. A tired yet content smile lifted her lips, before taking a sip of her coffee. He shifted his weight a bit, and this caught her attention. Elysia glanced over at him, and smiled warmly before gesturing for him to come join her. Ace paused for only a second, before he crossed the den to join her.
And we all age
She listened to him, as he worried about his father's health. He knew that the 'old man' was too stubborn to die off that easily. Except, the fact was that eventually death came for everyone, be it young or old. It did not matter, for death was uncaring in that regard. Elysia had held his hand reassuringly throughout it all. In her mind she saw a world different from theirs. Perhaps in another time…and another place… Ace and her could have had a normal relationship. Except that wasn't bound to happen in reality. So she simply settled for comforting a tense friend that was frightened of his seemingly invincible fathers' mortality.
Ace had had his suspicions confirmed when she showed up one morning with a broken arm. There was no pain on her face, though bits and pieces of flesh and blood were stuck in her hair. It turned the typically platinum blonde hair an almost pinkish hue. As he'd assisted her in fixing the bone and splinting it, Elysia told him everything. There were no tears shed as she did. Although her voice was void of all emotion, and that alone silently screamed her agony.
Her father had worked for some shady people, and he'd never been loyal to anything. Not even his own wife, so when he stole something that belonged to his boss…he'd ditched town. Leaving his daughter to deal with the aftermath. This meant, she had to do odd jobs for the bastards. It was the only way to ensure they didn't get the Hades family involved, let along her mother. Elysia cleaned up messes for them, and dealt with whatever they would ask of her. No one else in her family knew about it, Elysia had taken it upon herself to keep it that way.
His anger towards those who'd injured her was unstoppable, his fury just as great. Ace had no qualms against burning the whole mansion of corrupt rich assholes down to the ground. He left her assailants as nothing short of dust and ash. Except she wasn't have any of that. It was her problem, she'd demanded. At the very minimum, he was able to put the fear of 'God' in the ringleader. Left him with half an eyebrow missing, and puddle under his ass where he lay unconscious on the floor. Let that be a lesson to those who messed with anyone Portgas D. Ace cared about.
A long night
One of the times that he'd come to visit, it had started pouring rain like waterfalls. The power had gone out and they were stuck in a dark quiet apartment. They'd spent the entire time talking, telling stories, and asking questions. She took note of how often he'd mention his kid brother 'Luffy'. He noticed how many times she's avoided his question about her name.
Finally she'd caved in, telling him that her grandfather had changed his name to that of a God of Death. Using it as a trick to frighten his opponents, he'd also fallen for the story that went along with that belief. She also let it slip that he'd been the captain of a pirate crew. This led into how her family had ended up on Virgil Island. It was one ridiculous story, but it wasn't unbelievable.
Ace had once accidentally walked in on her as she was getting into her shower. They'd stared at each other in silent shock, and as she began to chuck things at him angrily, he'd noticed the tattoo of a skeleton hand holding a pomegranate on the middle of her lower back. As well as how graciously formed she was, though there were random battle scars littering her body. The rest of the day she'd been unable to meet his eyes without a furious blush lighting up her cheeks.
What is left behind
If one was to ask if she missed his company whenever he left, she'd wholeheartedly reply with a begrudging, yes. It wasn't as though she wanted to miss him, it was simply that they had forged a connection. The only issue was that she was bound to the land, while him to the sea. It was simple and rational to allow him to leave. She was not about to fawn at his every footstep, begging him to stay. Elysia was certain, that even if she didn't verbally plead Ace to remain with her, he could certainly see it in her eyes. Whenever she bid him a safe journey, she always knew, that he'd be back. Even it was in a month or more. He'd be back.
Once he left, Elysia enveloped herself with work and keeping the pirates and marines from hacking away at each other in her territory. Even as she settled back into the lull of her life, Elle felt that ever present lack in everything. She'd eye that one stool at her counter, and wonder… just when that pirate would show up next. And sometimes, just as her hope of seeing him again would be on the brink of giving up… he'd show up with that infuriating smile of his, and she'd be tempted to clock him one.
The first time had been when he'd wandered into the club one early morning. She'd been cleaning the glasses and mugs behind the bar, and softly singing to herself. It was an old song that was about a lover and her sailor. The woman was mourning the loss of her soul mate to the spirit of the sea. Ace had listened silently, finding her choice in music to be rather fitting. He closed his eyes, and bathed in the way her voice lifted and fell among the notes.
Bring him home
After many failed attempts to get her to meet his 'family' he'd finally given up. Ace brought a few of his crewmates over to visit her instead. If it wouldn't have been rude upon first introductions, she would have smacked the fire starter upside the head. He was such a mischievous devil sometimes. And so, Elysia ended up meeting a man by the name of Marco, and another fellow called Jose. She didn't do much talking, but she certainly enjoyed watching and listening to them. Before they left, while Ace was conveniently out cold thanks to his…chronic narcolepsy, Elle had gently touched Marcos' arm to get his attention. Once she did, all she said was,
"Keep him safe." He only smiled and told her, with Ace… that was next to impossible, but he'd certainly try.
The very first time, was by pure heat of the moment. They argued, like any human being would. About what she wasn't entirely certain anymore, but as they lay there in a haze…she couldn't help but wonder what had brought them to that point. Exhausted, and sore… yet content and at ease. Four different things that ordinarily didn't belong together in one description… yet were absolutely scrumptious to experience. Once the afterglow was gone, she curled up in the already asleep pirate's arms and wondered about the future that would never be.
They refused to call themselves a legit couple, because that would suggest that there had been intent to be romantic. This there had never been. Ace never beat around the bush when it came to her, it was simple. Elysia was a very dear and important friend to him, and it was the same for her. Being in a relationship was purely a way to put ones leash around another human being. Neither of them wanted that, even if they did want each other. They had respect for each other, and that was what mattered.
Someone who will not
Elysia Hades would not change because of other peoples demands, she refused to. Her grandfather had been the first to stake his claim on that part of the Sirius City Underworld. She had inherited the territory after her mother, and so responsibility fell onto her shoulders to keep that small part of town a place that nullified all rules of the outside world. Bounties and World Government did not exist within that place, and she kept it as such. Respect and honor was what kept the patrons from running amok. She would not allow any outside interference to change that. A place where foes could be friends, without the fear of scrutiny, that was all she wanted, it was all that she hoped for.
The world was still shifting radically, and all she could do was watch. As everything turned upside down, when he'd first arrived with that almost heartbroken expression upon his face, Elysia was terrified. What could possibly have happened? When she comforted him with open arms and warmth, he told her everything. The loss of a close friend and the betrayal of a comrade… suddenly tragedy had struck his family… and everything was topsy-turvy.
Lords and ladies
Even though she allowed them patronage, it did not mean that she had to enjoy dealing with spoiled little brats. At first she'd let the irritant boss her around as though she were a servant, but when Elle caught a twitch in Ace's right brow…she'd finally had enough. Not hesitating to request the aristocrat to take their leave, and when they started to throw a fuss, the pirate reacted. In a more sane fashion then she'd expected, his left index finger was ablaze as he pointed at the rich brat.
"I believe the lady told you to leave." Elysia chuckled, as the snob simply spluttered in fear before fleeing as though the devil were at his heels.
Almost like flying
"What would you prefer to be able to do…breathe under water or fly through the sky?" she'd asked while they were lazing around in her bed. Ace contemplated the question, only after giving her a weird look, to which she'd poked his side with a smile. After a long pause he responded,
"If I flew… then it would look like I was trying to copy Marco, and that's the last thing I need. People thinking I'm a wannabe. Moot point with the breathing under water…seeing as I sink no matter what. All it would mean is that I would be able to survive longer until someone saved me. So neither." She scowled at him,
"Then what would you want to be able to do? Other than being a firefly." He rolled his eyes at her weak insult. Before grinning mischievously.
"Invisibility." She gave him a confused look. Before asking him why, To which he wiggled his eyebrows teasingly at her. Emerald eyes grew wide in disbelief, before smacking him hard on the chest.
"PERVERT!" She snarled, he coughed, trying to catch his breath while laughing,
"I was only kidding!"
She once paid attention while he was eating, and couldn't help but wonder if he was shoveling it all in to another dimension…or if he had eight different stomachs. No one ate THAT much in one sitting… unless they were horribly obese, and only then it would make sense. Even so, the way he ate would have given her own mother a heart attack. It was quite clear that manners were not in a pirate's guidebook of life on the high seas. The worst was when he fell asleep altogether, once she had to rescue him from nearly drowning in a bowl of soup.
When had she first started to resent the time she was stuck there waiting for news? Elysia hadn't the foggiest, all she did know was that she hated the overwhelming foreboding that seemed to loom over her whenever he was missing and silent for too long. Even if he didn't find a way to contact her, then at least his 'family' would know. His friend Marco would see to it, to let her know somehow whether or not Ace was still alive and causing a ruckus. Even with all of them keeping her up to date…She felt as though a nasty little maelstrom was brewing, and soon no one would be capable of stopping it.
They'd once been walking along the shoreline, when some scumbag decided to try to hit on her. You'd think that simply recognizing Ace, one would back off. No, this fellow was a few links too low on the evolutionary chain to compute such a thing. Before Ace had time to react, she turned to snarl viciously at the pathetic wimp. Canines more prominent, and a pair of white ears sticking out of the top of her head, she bared her teeth at the kid. The idiot swore and stumbled back, calling her a freak. Ace stared in disbelief, having never before truly seen her full zoan form. A long bushy white and silver tail emerged to twitch around angrily. Only then did the scum realize who she was, whimpering apologies, the boy fled from them.
She flustered as she rejoined him, her cheeks bright pink, and eyes, now animal like slits, diverted. Elysia muttered a small sorry for her reaction. The tail vanished along with her twitching ears. The fangs and eyes lingered briefly, he chuckled loudly.
"I better watch myself around you. That boy never even stood a chance did he?" Embarrassed she looked at him, and upon realizing the pirate was only messing around, smiled.
"When Marco is in his phoenix form… what kind of sound does he make?" Ace stared at her, frozen with food halfway to his mouth. Elysia had an expression like a child discovering a new interesting book, yet unable to comprehend all of the words. Fire fist paused before leaning back in his chair and trying to remember if his friend had ever done anything other than talking.
"Not sure." Was his inevitable answer. Elle looked nonplussed.
"Well that wasn't helpful." She muttered like a sulky child. He chuckled,
"I'll tell you this much… he certainly doesn't crow like a rooster." Ace then dodged an incoming frying pan.
Such strange exhilaration
When she finally got into a fight again, there was a weird burst of energy that filled her. Though keeping an eye out for Ace at all times. Who would have guessed that Smoker would end up running into them at the dock? After successfully knocking Tashigi out, she'd gestured for the pirate to make a run for it. Which he begrudgingly did, unsurprisingly once they entered the Underworld borders, the chase ceased. She'd waved over her shoulder at the Marine before calling back.
"I really enjoyed our little battle, feel free to stop by for a drink some time!" Elysia could have sworn that if Smoker had bitten down any harder on those cigars, he would have ended up with tobacco, that wasn't meant to be chewed, in his mouth.
Who would have guessed it? That Ace's little brother would swing through while the Fire Fist was out at sea. How had she known it was the straw hat? Other than by said straw hat? She only knew one other person that had that type of smile, and appetite! The blonde chef apologized profusely for his captains' inadequacies as a gentleman, before swooning and spouting all sorts of nonsense to her. All of which was a royal pain in the ass to say the least. When little reindeer fellow, whom she so wanted to hug because he was just TOO cute, pointed out the signed wanted poster of Ace sitting among the hall of fame on her back wall, all attention turned to her. This was certainly going to be an interesting story to tell…
Where we go
When she'd given the green haired swordsmen directions to one of her friends' weapons shop, Elysia had the distinct sensation that she probably should have given him a map or hand written instructions instead. His comrades reactions once she'd informed them as to where he'd gone, confirmed her suspicions. It was a reminder as to why she was so glad Ace had a good sense of directions… otherwise… who knows when she would have seen him next.
Luffy was not like his brother in many ways. For instance, he was… to put it gently… a bit slow on the uptake… as well as all other types of 'takes'. Rather naïve, a wee bit overly trusting, but still sweet and considerate. No matter how dumb he was, Monkey D. Luffy was still loyal and empathetic in an odd way. When one customer was giving the red headed girl Nami a hard time, the straw hats captain didn't hesitate to intervene in a way that was a lot smarter than Elysia had given him credit for. Perhaps Ace and his little brother did have more things in common then she'd initially thought.
Poetry and devil talk
When the flirtatious little sea chef wouldn't cease in his amorous declarations of devotions, she had to put her foot down. Pulling the blonde aside, she pointed a finger in his face and pointedly announced to him that she was Ace's girl. Unless he wanted to be turned into burned shish kabob, he'd better simmer down with the lover boy routine. Thankfully, he'd been polite and respectful after that. Still chivalrous, to almost a painful degree, but no longer spouting off ridiculous cries of how she was 'the most vibrant and graceful of all women,' and that she was 'more beautiful than even Aphrodite'! She'd been sorely tempted to correct him and say that he should compare her any goddess it should be Persephone, since she was the one who captured Hades heart.
To say and to think
Thankfully, the one of the straw hats that she got along with particularly well, was Robin. An intelligent and sophisticated young woman with the body to boot. Not a lot of gorgeous ladies with brains as well as beauty, when she ran across one, other than herself… she had to chat. Find out what sort of new things were learned, what new islands or species were uncovered. As the black haired female told her about Skypiea, Elysia could not help but listen with enraptured attention. After all, how often did one get to learn about a city in the sky?
The most fascinating thing of all, was that long after the straw hats had left to continue on their voyage…Ace had returned to 'visit' once again. As she was making a salad with the tangerines that Nami had been so kind as to leave a few as a thank you. While she peeled the skin from the orange fruit, Ace's head had popped up from where he'd been lying on her couch. He sniffed the air for a second before his eyes widened in her direction,
"Luffy's been here?" he yelled in surprise. She jumped and nearly dropped the fruit as well, which earned him a nasty look. Ace didn't cower like most men did, at those big green orbs narrowing in his direction. Elysia nodded angrily at him before returning to finish the job. Impressed that he was able to distinguish this little tidbit by scent alone, perhaps these little fleshy delights were even more special then she'd initially thought.
She'd once tried to ask Ace about his real family, who his mother and father were, and he'd completely shut down. Never before had she seen such a dark and dismal look on his face. Not wanting to inflict any pain upon him, she'd wrapped her arms around his tense frame and murmured that it was alright, and he didn't need to tell her anything. Before she could, he interrupted her, his words were angry and resentful.
"My father… is Gol D. Rogers." She stared at him for a long moment, the silence was awful. Yet she knew exactly what it was that he needed to hear, and it was the truth,
"I don't care. You don't need to tell me anything else. It's fine. I don't need to know" She held him tightly and comfortingly.
"I don't need to know."
She'd warned him. That it was the strongest of all alcohols. It's alcoholic content through the roof, making it pretty much illegal in most islands as well as countries. He was determined to try it out. No matter what the forewarnings were. So here she was, as he lay on the floor of the bathroom… after all but upchucking his guts. This proved her wrong in the theory of eight stomachs, but supported the idea of a dimension or a black hole of sorts. He let out an extremely shaky sigh,
"Never…let me drink…that…rubbing alcohol…ever…again…" He groaned almost pathetically. She couldn't help but chuckle and roll her eyes in exasperation,
"It's not rubbing alcohol. I did warn you… didn't I? That you wouldn't feel it at first… but once you did it would hit you right between the eyes… did you listen…no."
"…Oh…shut…up…" He slurred painfully.
All is one
Her grandmother had always been a very spiritual individual of sorts. Believing that each living being was connected to one another. So she tried to love and care for as many people as she was able to. This was why Elysia had so many uncles, aunts, and cousins. When Ace had finally gotten the opportunity to actually meet her family… it came as quite a shock. Not one family photo lingered in her home or work, except for the one in her bedroom of her mother, grandmother, and grandfather. The minute he'd been seen by her grandmother from across the large backyard at her families' estate, the old woman scurried across the lawn at a pace impressive for a lady of her age.
He'd nearly jumped out of his skin when the woman grabbed his hands in hers and closed her eyes tightly. Frantically the pirate looked from her grandmother to Elysia, and back to the old woman that was clasping at his hands. She only smiled silently and shrugged before looking away at the rest of the family party. When the elderly woman opened her eyes again, she'd stared at him with almost a type of sadness. Before she spoke in a quiet little voice that spoke of wisdom in a spiritual sense.
"You will be the catalyst for the change in tides. It is only through you that they will grow and prosper."
They'd sat together at the dock, feet dangling over the edge. Hanging just above the pitch black water, with stars reflecting from the sky. It was silent for a majority of the time, only their soft breathing broke it. Until she spoke,
"After you're done…when Whitebeard is pirate king… will you…come back?" In the silence following her question was the unspoken '…to me…' he didn't answer at first. Her sharp emerald eyes slid shut in a painful fashion, he wouldn't… he was a pirate and the seas would always be waiting for him. She had no right to keep him from that, as she started to move to rise back up to her feet… his hands rested upon her own. In the enveloping darkness he spoke,
"…I can try…" She smiled fondly, trying was good enough for her. She rested her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes once more. Trying was good enough for her.
Nothing was worse than the badgering of her aunts and uncles. When are you going to get married and settle down? A young woman your age shouldn't strut around like she's some sort of man! To all of this, her lovable grandfather would only guffaw and pat her roughly on the back with his large hand. Announcing loudly that, if his firecracker of a granddaughter ended up with any type of man… it would most certainly have to be a pirate. To which she could only fluster and splutter in response. Causing her grandfather to only laugh even louder than before.
One of her cousins had been a little too rough while playing, and she'd accidentally ended up with a bleeding lip. The child had cried, feeling horrible about hurting his favorite relative, and her maternal instincts had flared up instantly. Cuddling the little one in her arms and telling him that she was alright… no harm done. The child had accepted that response a whole lot easier then Ace had when she'd returned to find him at her apartment. The pirate had all but flipped out on her when he'd seen the gash on her lower lip. Demanding to know who had done it, in a really low and dangerous voice. Promising an unpleasant death to whoever had inflicted this damage upon her. Who'd have known that calming down a practically fully grown pirate would be more difficult than a six year old child?
Out of curiosity, once while they were lying out by the shore, she'd asked him why he liked her the way he did. To which he only arched a single brow under that rim of his cowboy hat, and smirked playfully before retorting with a simple,
"Why not?" He then successfully dodged the suntan lotion bottle she'd chucked at him.
I would never
One of her biggest worries about not being there beside him, was that there was chance he'd find someone else. A gorgeous, fiery, seductive, young woman that would be more than willing to travel the seas with him. Where ever he'd go, this buxom female would willingly follow. Leaving Elysia behind in the dust… or should she say… ashes. It wasn't such a ridiculous thing to fear, since it only made sense… after all…what sane male wouldn't trade an older model for something new? When she'd finally voiced her fears to him, Ace had given her a look that made her feel even more ridiculous about her worries. He ruffled her hair playfully before firmly telling her that he wasn't that kind of guy.
Elysia had been minding her own business, going over the cash flow to make certain that no one had been trying leech off of her. It'd already happened once, and you can be certain that the individual suffered horribly so. As she was about to move on to the next line of numbers, a single piece of what appeared to be paper fluttered down in front of her eyes. Green eyes glanced over in irritation, but he simply smiled back. It was impossible to be angry at him, even when he did little irritating things such as distracting her from paper work. She lifted the blank shred of scrap, giving him a look.
Ace leaned further towards her with a teasing little grin, and she was almost tempted to lean back. That way his close proximity wouldn't dampen her ire towards the man. He grinned further,
"It's a vivre card. This way, you'll be able to find me no matter what. You'll always be able to know I'm alright."
Put in your pocket
He'd given her a simple piece of paper. This wasn't actually all that simple. Vivre paper that meant that she'd always know where he was and if he was alright. While he was away… she didn't even know how often she'd check that tiny sliver of hope. The first time her grandfather had seen it… he'd simply smiled knowingly at her before pretending he hadn't noticed anything. That one little item kept her going, and it was almost pathetic how dependent upon it she was.
Such a rare thing
It had been so sudden when he'd asked her to come meet his dad. Her first reaction was to politely decline yet again. Except, this time… there was something about the look in those eyes of his… that made her forced to accept. When her grandfather had found out, he'd laughed merrily, and she couldn't help but stare at him in dismay. Thankfully the eldest Hades quelled his grandchild's fears with a grin, and a loud exclamation that,
"Whitebeard ain't dat scary, if yer in good wit one o' his boys. Den yer set fer life mah dear!"
She was so grateful to find out that her grandfather had been correct. After a terrifying trip on Ace's fire propelled little ship…bike… oh whatever the hell it was…she'd only been more shook up about being on the actual Moby Dick. Thankfully Elysia was greeted by a few familiar faces, nakama he'd brought along to meet her. The comfort had only been mild, and the anxiety at meeting one of the most infamous pirates to currently roam the seas was overwhelming. When she was at last standing before the actual man, she'd tried her hardest to keep the fright from her face. Her anxiety was demolished however, when Ace loudly spoke in a merry tone,
"Hey Pops! This is my girl, Elysia Hades!"
She'd always known that her grandfather had been pirate, though she'd never known how far in the actual society he'd been involved. Only from the stories she'd heard from Whitebeard, had she discovered that Samael Hades had been one tough cookie. The pirate world had apparently lost a good captain once her grandfather had chosen to settle down instead of traverse the wide, seemingly endless, seas. As Elysia sat there, with Ace listening and piping in questions or offhanded sarcastic comments, she could understand why there was so much admiration and respect for this man before her. Even without having seen him in actual combat, she could tell that he was a wise and dedicated individual. It only made sense that Ace would consider Whitebeard to be his father.
Happy for the rest of your life
Marriage was still something that her relatives were demanding of her. Even though her own parents did not care, and her grandparents didn't have any real desire forcing her into anything. When the demands finally went too far, her grandfather intervened. His voice echoed throughout the estate, and all who heard it did not speak up against him.
"It is 'er life tah live! If she chooses tah remain unwed until de day she dies, SO BE IT! We will not be de judges of 'er fate! Let de Marines be de connivin' dogs, manipulatin' others' lives! Not us! If she is content wit how she is livin' THEN YE SHALL LEAVE 'ER BE! DO YE ALL UNDERSTAND!"
Jack and Jill
He'd been astounded by the way her little cousins swarmed around him. The little brats seemed to find him fascinating, why… maybe because he was the only man they'd seen that waltzed around without a shirt on. Elysia had given up persuading him to do so when she was visiting her family, to no avail. Ace had tried to get them to leave him alone politely, which failed, when he got irritated, he mussed up his hair, and little flickers of flames licked up his arms. The kids gasped in delight at what looked like magic. Ace blinked in confusion, before turning his finger ablaze. Her little cousins exclaimed in delight. Elysia was getting a very bad feeling from the expression on the pirates face.
See, most men would play ball, or give kids piggy-back rides. Even read them stories… Portgas D. Ace... gave them intricate fire displays. This would probably end up with the tykes playing with matches once they got home with their parents... She wondered if she should give the fire department forewarning.
When Ace had first met Elysia's best friend as well as occasional bouncer, he'd honestly thought it was a woman. Who wouldn't have? The way she flirted with the pirate playfully, and even giggled like a freaking chick! It wasn't until Elle introduced her friend as Felix that Ace had all but leapt off his stool in fright. Especially after the…he…she…it…Fire Fist didn't even know what to call her friend! After the way Felix trailed his fingers along the pirates arm. Elle couldn't help but laugh out loud at the dismay on the poor guy's face. Felix grinned from ear to ear, and suddenly didn't look so feminine any longer.
They'd both found it interesting, discovering unique ways to bring their powers into play for purposes other than just fights and battles. For example, he didn't particularly mind her breaking out those sharp canines in the bed every now then. She found it kinda cute the way he could make candles flare and turn the stove on even if it's broken. He's a guy, he liked to look at things in a … male light of view. She on the other hand, enjoyed the more practical, as well as romantic take towards his gifts. To each their own in the end.
Sometimes she wondered if they would have been better off, if he'd never wandered into her little bar. If they'd never met, and this whole nonrelationship had never come into existence. She only thinks that when she gets lonely, and finds the club far to empty for her liking. Elysia wasn't entirely dependent on Portgas D. Ace… she tries to trick herself into believing that, as she pulls out the Vivre paper for a sixth time that day alone.
He found it irritating how she always won whatever card game they'd play. No matter what. Even WAR! It wasn't possible to win in the card game WAR! It was even worse to play strip poker against her. He'd learned that the hard way when he'd managed to trick Marco and a couple of the other Whitebeard pirates, which were stopping by, to play a round. He'd figured that it'd be an easy win seeing as he had very little clothes to begin with, and it wasn't like any of them REALLY wanted to see his naked ass.
When she'd decided to join in, all the guys got a bit flustered. Ace had nearly flipped his lid, but one look from her had silenced it instantly. Within fifteen minutes, all she'd lost was her t-shirt, while all the guys…were down to their boxers. He didn't know how she had done it, though she'd been kind enough to let them keep the boxers on even after she won her final hand. Her reasoning was that she really didn't to send all the female patrons running off screaming because there was a bunch of nudist lounging about by the bar.
She still remembered the terror she'd felt when she was late by nearly a week. She couldn't put that kind of responsibility on his shoulders. He was bound to the sea, she was lucky to get to see him even two days out of a whole month. If this was real, she'd need to figure out a way to handle things on her own. Unfortunately her mother wasn't about to let her do that. The instant she'd told her mother her fear, she'd all but hunted down Ace on another island and dragged his ass back to Sirius City.
Her mother was terrifying the way she bellowed at the poor bewildered pirate. The woman certainly would have made Samael Hades proud. Even though Ace had been serious about being there to help her no matter what…She had to confess her relief about discovering it was only a false alarm. The last thing she wanted to do… was make Ace be or do what he wasn't let alone didn't want to do.
When she found out that he would be the one to search for Blackbeard… she was worried. That foreboding sensation gripped her once more, and she was tempted to ask him not to. As she remembered how distraught he'd been that night he'd stumbled her way, searching for some sort of comfort… Elysia couldn't do anything but put up a fake smile and wish him the very best of luck. Even though she wanted nothing more than to break down and cry.
"Ya know… given your abilities… it makes even MORE sense that you can't handle water." He stared at her with a dumbfounded look on his face. She ignored it and continued,
"Other than the obvious reason of the devil fruit bit. I mean… water and fire never work well together. The only good thing to ever come from it is amazing tea." The kettle started whistling, she grinned at him mischievously.
"Speaking of which, can you go take care of that for me?" He scowled at her playfully,
"That was all on purpose…wasn't it? You just wanted me to get the tea." She gave him a very vulpine like smile.
"Possibly…" she all but purred.
Every single time the Marines tried to do something stupid in her territory, they had to be reminded of what… exactly… they were trying to screw with. Every single time she reminded them… they were… resentful. Of course they were, the World Government didn't condone of pirates… unless they were hand chosen by the Marines themselves. Even so, she appreciated that those of the highest rankings, and the ones that would be most feared… respected her families' laws and rules. Such as Garp, for example. He and her grandfather enjoyed occasionally have little chats of by-gone days. Once when Ace had happened to be around during one of these rare visits of chance, she was glad that the old marine restrained the desire to beat his 'grandson' for not following the right path. The truce within the territory of Hades was necessary, it was the only place where even brief solace could be found.
When he'd once showed up with a nasty bullet wound to his shoulder, Ace had been impressed by the efficiency in which she extracted the bullet, and then sewed the wound shut. Though if one actually looked at the stitches… they looked like a line of drunken ants. She knew how to patch up wounds, since her cousins got scraped up all the time. Her own grandmother had taught her little tricks to use when dealing with such wounds. Seeing as she had been the doctor on her own husbands ship many long years past. Even with the passing of time… she hadn't forgotten how to pull it all off, and that was what truly mattered. That she'd been able to pass it along to her own children.
He'd felt like total shit the first time he'd accidentally burned her. Mind you, it wasn't like he'd lit her entire body ablaze, but they'd had to rush over to her grandmother. While her distant relatives' spazzed at the sight of the bright burgundy burn mark upon her upper arm. He'd half expected her grandfather to try and beat the crap out of him, instead Samael Hades only pulled Ace aside. Instead of yelling, or physical violence, like the Fire Fist had expected, he'd calmly had the young pirate explain what had happened. Which Ace had been more than happy to do.
It'd all been a total, wrong place at the wrong time, sort of situation. She'd gone to pick him up at the dock, and they'd been jumped by a group of marines. Seeing as the dock was outside the Underworld territory, they were fair game. It had been a typical battle, but just as he'd let a blast of fire in the direction of a single rookie marine… Ace saw her let out a loud cry of alarm. One of the other goons had yanked off her necklace, and she'd reached out for it in blind desperation. Not noticing that her hand was right in the direction of his attack.
Needless to say, the rest of the bastards were crispy black critters, and her mother's music note necklace was safe around her neck once more. Though her arm was now being taken care of as a medical emergency. Samael had patted his shoulder reassuringly, announcing that his granddaughter was a lot stronger than a little sunburn. Just as those words had been uttered, there was a sudden outburst of cursing. Ace had dashed towards where Elysia had been, praying that the damage wasn't the cause of her yelling. The scene before him brought the pirate to a screeching halt. Elysia was all bandaged up and giving her other relatives a LOUD piece of her mind.
"IF I HEAR ONE MORE OF YOU HARPIES SAY SOMETHING NASTY ABOUT PORTGAS D. ACE, I SWEAR I WILL TEAR OUT YOUR FUCKING TONGUES!"
Only an accident
Elysia had just awoken, her bed seemed too big and lonesome. Upon opening her eyes, she'd discovered that her companion was already awake and about. His side of the bed was already getting cold, this brought a scowl upon her face. Unfortunately, she was unable to function without coffee first thing in the morning. Without her caffeine buzz, Elysia Hades was a bloodthirsty demon out for carnage and devastation, not literally, but close enough. A yawn escaped her, as she pulled on her discarded baggy sweatshirt, too exhausted to bother slipping on her panties. If she'd been even remotely conscious she would have noticed the singed spots on her undergarment on the floor.
At that moment she couldn't compute anything whatsoever, so she let her coffee seeking guidance system lead her to her god-send. A professional coffee maker that her mother had gotten her for her eighteenth birthday. It had seven different settings, could grind as well as brew the coffee. It was heaven, and the second her eyes had taken in the sight before, her heart broke into a thousand tiny pieces. Ace stared back at her with a sheepish embarrassed expression on his face. A brilliant blush stained his freckled cheeks, with a look like that of a kid caught with his hand in the metaphorical cookie jar.
Except in this case, it was her DESTROYED coffee machine! Elysia didn't know whether she wanted to break down crying, or bash his head in with the remnants of what appeared to be her former machine. In the end she settled for giving him the most lethal glare possible, and the fact she hadn't freshened up yet added to her terrifying appearance. In an almost deadly calm voice she spoke,
"You have approximately ten minutes to bring me coffee. If you don't successfully do so within that time, I make no promises towards the safety of your manhood." The quadruple espresso latte was in her hands in fewer than five, she was too busy enjoying the coffee to contemplate how he'd pulled it off.
Enhance a life
The first time he'd ever seen the way the Underworld had a positive effect on anyone. Once when he'd been minding his own business, wandering around the streets of the Hades territory, Ace had seen a small child sitting on the street corner all alone. It was already well past any kids bedtime, and he couldn't help but wonder where the brats parents were. As he did so, some marine paused along their way to talk to the kid. Ace overheard what was spoken.
"Hey kid, shouldn't you be at home right now?" the marine asked in a concerned tone of voice, the little boy looked up with lonely eyes,
"My papa just left with his crew today. I'm alone." Ace couldn't help but pity the tyke, it wasn't right to leave a kid without anyone to watch over them!
"Is your dad a sailor?" The boy shook his head, in a small voice he said,
"Pirate." Ace had expected the marine to walk off right then and there. Imagine his surprise when the marine only gave the kid a sad smile and offered his hand to the boy.
"How's about I help you get home? It's dangerous out here at night. Especially for a kid like you." The child hesitated, before finally slipping his smaller hand into the larger one. Ace watched silently as a marine walked the child of some no-name pirate, home. He was certain that nowhere else would you find such kindness, other than in the Hades infamous Underworld.
Everything we shouldn't have done
"I have a bad feeling that Smoker didn't take too kindly to your last little prank. Glad I wasn't involved… but…still…" Ace chuckled before taking a swig from the beer she'd place before him on the bar countertop.
"Don't worry about it so much. That grump won't be able to get a finger on me, let alone a hint of that smoke of his." Elysia let out a long sigh, shaking her head in exasperation. She jumped though, when the door suddenly slammed open to omit a rather pissed looking Smoker…with cotton candy blue hair. Her eyes bugged out in disbelief, he'd told her what his ingenious plan had been to bother the high ranking marine, but she'd not been able to comprehend just exactly HOW he'd pull it off successfully.
The, now, blue haired Smoker slammed his hand down onto the counter threateningly, Elysia raised her eyebrow in warning. He glowered at her, before snarling dangerously at the smug freckle faced pirate,
"Watch your back outside of this island Fire Fist. I will see to it that you pay for this!" Ace only chuckled in response and gestured for the marine to sit down already.
"Sure you will. Why don't you just sit down blueberry brain? Hell, I'll even pay for your first round." Smoker let out a furious growl before returning the way he came. Elysia could only shake her head in defeat, clearly Ace would never learn that it just wasn't a good idea to piss off the more powerful marines.
Stuck in the middle with you
Emerald orbs flared viciously at the pirate that was stuck squished up against her. They'd gotten caught in the supplies closet, and just as she was about to tell him not to close the door… there was a loud slam. Sure enough, the sound came from his letting the door shut. The small closet had barely enough room for two people to stand, let alone move around. He smiled sheepishly, but the sparkle in his eyes told her that he was far from apologetic. He leaned closer in towards her, Elysia backed away with an angry expression on her face . If no one heard them calling for help, they could be stuck in there overnight, maybe even DAYS!
Ace ignored the infuriated aura that radiated off of the woman. He smirked teasingly at the feisty female, before bracing his arm against the shelf next to her shoulder. He leaned further in, so that his lips were only inches from hers, before grinning and whispering roughly,
"It'll be awhile before someone realizes that we're missing…so how about we do something to pass the time?"
Ace stared at her in disbelief, he'd just come back after trying to find Black Beard at a neighboring island. The informant had been inaccurate, and his target was nowhere even remotely near that location. In disappointment, he'd gone to visit her, only to find a new bandage on the back of her neck. It was holding down a large square of cotton, and he'd felt panic swell within him. Except she'd blushed brightly with a small shy smile, only after the bar was closed up did he discover why.
She'd gotten a new tat, and this one was of a small fox, made entirely of vibrant crimson flames. Elysia had smirked at the speechless look on his face,
"What? Fox got your tongue?"
Stop, look, and listen
Far too many times did she have to warn him about being smart, not taking too many risks, not pissing off the marine high ranks, most importantly… not doing stupid things. Unfortunately, this was Portgas D. Ace that she was trying to get to be rational. He enjoyed yanking the marines' chains for the sheer hell of it. What else was she supposed to do, other than repeating the same plea over and over again? Knowing full well that it was falling on deaf ears. After all, what sort of pirate would he be… if he didn't do those life-threatening adrenaline rushes?
And then there is you
One thing had always been very clear, her family was of the utmost importance to her. Elysia adored her grandfather, practically worshipped his very existence. Ever since she'd been a little girl, Grandpa Sam had been her big warm powerful knight. Spent more time at her grandparents place then her own, since her parents bickered more often than not. The only reason her mother never left her worthless father was because he took good care of their family. Even if he had a horrid habit of cheating on Elysia's mom.
That was why, for the longest time, the only guy in Elysia Hades life, was her grandfather. At some point, she'd settled for the idea that there was no guy out there that could live up to her standards. When Ace had jokingly teased her about him having competition with her old man, she'd only smirked at him before responding,
"I've got my grandpa as my white knight. I've got you as my equal, I'd say that that's a better position than the former."
Everybody knows you've been faithful, give or take a night or two
Every night Elysia would leave her apartment door unlocked, just in case he'd show up. After all, she trusted him to always come back eventually. She knew that this wasn't his home, wouldn't ever be. What they had was a mock of a home together, a disguise that appeared relatively common, yet wasn't. Ace had a copy of the key to the front door of the club. That way, no matter what time he'd stumble into Purgatories Lullaby, there'd always be open and welcoming arms waiting. The only exception was when he'd been MIA for close three months straight, without any word whatsoever.
She'd become angry with him and finally, Elle was fed up with his lack of contact. That night she'd locked her door, her windows, hell she'd even stuck a chair under the door handle of her bedroom as a backup measure. Of course that was the one night he decided to show up out of the blue at almost three in the morning. After a rather heated argument, they'd inevitably ended up forgiving, forgetting, and cuddling up in her bed.
It was always a battle, whenever the temptation overtook him. She seemed to be able to sense his yearning, and was capable of calculating a quick defense measure. This was another one of those moments. She was leaning against her little kitchen island, reading the newspaper, while cradling a cup of coffee from her new extra professional machine that he'd purchased for her. It was that or having her imitating a demon, and not in the sexy succubus sort of way. More like the, I'll-kill-you-and-eat-your-heart-raw, sort of creature. Elysia was focused on her reading, seemingly oblivious to everything else.
At least, that was what he'd thought as he snuck up behind her. Ace seized his chance, and right as he'd reached for one of her ticklish spots, his hand was swatted with the now rolled up newspaper. She danced away from him, with a proud grin, before taking another swig from her mug. He grinned, the game was only just beginning.
Looking through closed eyes
He'd been having a hell of a good dream, when the sensation of something tickling his cheek lulled him out of deep sleep. His nose wrinkled in irritation, the scent of sandalwood and roses filled the air. The ghost of fingertips trailed along his neck and shoulders, he tossed his head and unconsciously swatted away the bother before rolling over and trying to return to sleep. His bedmate didn't take too kindly to that, Ace discovered this the hard way… when she shoved him off the bed entirely with her feet. He yelped as he came in contact with the cold hard wood floor. Elysia gave him a particularly nasty look,
"See if I try to play nice in the morning again. You bastard!" With that she turned on her heel and went to find her coffee. Wrapping the blankets around her like some sort of shawl, just to spite him from being able to use them to get back to sleep. All Ace could do was growl in frustration before following after the extremely irksome female.
She'd become used to finding a pair of men pajama pants lying around, and the spare cargo shorts that had taken residence in her dresser. They'd become extremely comfortable with each other, her home was like a backup home for him, once in a blue moon a crew mate of his would swing through to drop off a message, or news of Black Beard. Hearing two male voices laughing freely, or low in serious discussion was commonplace for her now. It was still rather rare for such occurrences to take place. So one can only imagine Elysia's surprise when she exited the bathroom with nothing but a towel wrapped around her; A black soft towel that fell three inches above her knees, steam escaping the, now, stuffy room.
Thinking that it was only Ace sitting in the living room area that lay between the bath and her bedroom, she'd not really bothered with modesty. Oh how she regretted that now, Marco sat on the seat across from his nakama, and was staring wide eyed at her. Determined not to give Ace fuel to tease her with later…she tried to play it off as nothing. Though the bright red blush on her cheeks betrayed the truth.
"I used up all the hot water, so you're going to have to wait a few hours for it to…oh…wait… no you don't. Never mind. Fire-user…Ignore my previous comment…"A single black brow arched in amusement as a grin slipped across his face. Poor Marco looked like he was feeling a wee bit awkward with her standing there in nothing but a small towel. Giving up on taking the high road and not giving her lover ammunition, Elysia fled to her room. They were going to have a serious talk about giving one another a heads up. So they could avoid further half-naked embarrassments.
One of the things she'd always hated was the feeling of cold hands. Her cousin Seeley loved to torture her by sticking his hands in a freezer before creeping over and holding them against her face. She'd scream like a freaking banshee before slapping him so hard he'd get a nosebleed. Still that bastard would just laugh at her reaction. What? She hated the cold! This was why she was soooo grateful that Ace never got cold hands, LITERALLY! It could be thirty degrees in her apartment, winter time at night could be pretty chilly, and he was like a furnace!
She would snuggle up against him, and he'd grin, knowing full well the main reason behind why she was doing so. Ace was a useful jerk at times, He could wander through a damned blizzard and be wearing nothing but his typical attire. No frostbite, no hypothermia, no colds, it was like he was freaking immune to all of those typical problems in regard to temperature. Though she thought it might be funny to have him chomp onto the end of a thermometer, just to watch it pop.
Typically she'd be shivering under five thick blankets, with Ace… she was in a short sleeve shirt and sweats. Elysia nuzzled her head against the crook of his neck, enjoying the warmth. He chuckled in amusement,
"Glad to be useful." The hot head, no joke he was really warm, smirked at her. And all she could do was stick out her tongue playfully…which he took full advantage of before she could realize what was happening… Not that she was complaining. Body heat could be a magnificent thing as well.
On your guard
Ace was introduced to Elysia's cousin Seeley in a rather… violent manner. The pirate had opened the door of the club, intent to go gather provisions before heading back out. When he was hit with a bucket full of ice water, seriously… an ice cube hit him on the forehead before instantly melting. He glared angrily at the shocked man that stood before him. The red head chuckled sheepishly,
"Oh… geez… man… my bad…thought it was Lysi." This really didn't help, the water steamed off of the pirate, leaving him perfectly dry once more. Elysia finally appeared, she looked back and forth between the two guys. Realization dawned, and she grinned from ear to ear, she kissed Ace on the cheek before laughing.
"My hero! Taking the evil cousins prank for me. How swe-" she was cut short as a water balloon hit her on the face. Ace fought back the laughter but failed, the death glare she gave them both looked more like a soggy cat. She dove for the second bucket that held a whole bunch of multicolored water balloons. Seeley didn't get the chance to yank it away, and she swiped an armful. Chucking a bunch at the two guys, and there in the middle of the street, in the underworld… a water fight broke out.
It lasted for a grand total of two hours, and there was no real victor. Though some could argue to the fact that Ace was the only one perfectly dry while the other two looked like drowned rats.
One of things she always found impressive was how Ace handled small children and infants. When Seeley's twin sister brought over her nine month old baby girl, at first the baby had stared at the pirate as if fascinated. When he'd finally glanced at the child, it had let out an adorable little laugh. Those pudgy little arms had reached out in his direction, and his brown eyes had widened in surprise.
Elysia's cousin grinned brightly, having noticed her daughters' warm reaction to a complete stranger. Before Ace even had a chance to react, the child was in his arms. The little girl babbled gleefully, before tugging on the rim of his hat. The pirate gave Elysia a panicked look, uncertainty dancing in those deep brown orbs of his. She only smiled fondly at him, before getting distracted by the interesting conversation with her cousin. The two women had gossiped for what had felt like hours.
When they'd finally decided that it was getting late, and it would be a good idea to get the baby home soon, Ace and said child were missing. They had scoured the entire first floor, and only on the second floor did they find the two. Ace was out cold on the couch, curled up between the sofa and held protectively under the crook of his arm, was the sleeping child. For a moment Elysia couldn't help but wonder just what kind of a dad the pirate would be. From what she'd seen at that instant, it appeared that any worries she would ever have… would be unnecessary. He'd definitely make one hell of a dad.
"Why is Elle such a monster in the morning?" Ace had asked Seeley out of sheer curiosity one morning. Her cousin shuddered as a shadow danced in the gunmetal grey eyes.
"When she was little, it was absolute hell to get that girl out of bed. She'd literally try to BITE your friggen ARM off! Then, when she was about ten she thought what Grandpa Sam was drinking was hot cocoa. Tried it, and we discovered that coffee turned the beast into a princess." Ace's eyes narrowed in exasperation, he wasn't surprised one bit about that,
"You didn't answer my question." There was a low growl from directly behind the two men.
"And he won't!" Was the last thing Seeley heard before Elysia started clobbering him.
Rise above the smoke
"I TOLD you that the vent wasn't open you moron!" Elysia barked, as she shoved the windows open with extra force. Smoke was billowing out of the small fireplace, Ace was desperately trying to figure out a way to get the damned gray clouds and ashes to stop. Who knew that ventilation was so damned important? It wasn't like he used fireplaces all that friggen often!
He wasn't able to stop her from dumping a bucket of water onto the flames. This added to the creation of the irritating gray clouds that were now choking her apartment. When they finally did succeed in airing out the apartment, they'd given up on trying to do something 'regular' people would do. Cuddling by a fireplace was SOOOO overrated. As they sat in the empty bar, they agreed never to try and do something they had absolutely no clue whatsoever about.
When Seeley slipped neon pink hair dye in her shampoo, the gloves were off. Ace was cracking up laughing when she emerged from the bathroom with cotton-candy for hair. Though the lethal look she gave him made the guffawing die down to chuckling.
"Come on…you have to admit…it was funny." She grinned evilly from ear to ear, and it made the rest of his words choke in his throat. That look was one of not getting even, but doing something even WORSE as revenge. The pirate immediately made himself scarce, it was better to be able to plead ignorant in such matters.
The next day, when Seeley showed up at the club. He was positively livid, and Ace could understand why. The mahogany colored hair was gone. As in, he was as bald as a baby's ass. Ace's eyes bugged out in shock, but Elysia just gave her cousin a cool smile. The pirate had anticipated a throw down to occur, but when the, now hairless, man offered his hand as a truce…Ace was stunned.
He intercepted the guy on the way to the exit. Fire Fist eyed the guy, knowing that most pranksters wouldn't just give up that easily. When he asked Seeley why he'd thrown in the towel like that…the guy glowered sheepishly before answering in an embarrassed tone of voice,
"She didn't just get the head hair." Ace's eyes widened in shock, knowing full well what he meant. The bar was drowned out by Fire Fist Ace's loud laughter.
Out of habit
It was driving her positively nuts. She was very sensitive to noises, so the constant 'tap tap tap tap tap' may as well have been a cannon going off next to her. Elysia could slowly feel her right eyebrow begin to twitch in time with the sound. Desperately she tried to ignore him altogether, let the pirate continue eyeing the map that lay before him. It wasn't even something he was doing consciously, so focused on his future destinations. The pen just kept tapping away at the wooden countertop.
When she'd noticed that it had been the fifth time she'd reread the exact same sentence, Elysia had finally had enough. Patience gone, she grabbed the pen out of Ace's hand before he even had the time to compute the fact she was on her feet. Crossing the room while the pirate stared at her in utter shock, she opened the window…and chucked the offensive object out. Waiting till she heard it clatter three floors below, before finally closing the window.
As she returned to her novel, Elysia realized that her companion was giving her a bemused as well as intrigued look. Resting back into her seat, and lifting the book back into her hands, she spoke.
"Hath no fury like a girl trying to do some reading."
Color me excited
"You have got to be kidding me!" he grumbled, as she dragged him along to some sort of art event. This was not his scene, Ace hated going to crowded festivals. Sure food and drink were awesome, but being squashed with a whole bunch of folks he didn't even know! Not his definition of an amazing time. Even so, Elysia had to go to be supportive of some Aunt that he knew she didn't even like. When he tried to point that little detail out to her, she'd pinned him with a vicious look and hissed,
"If you don't behave I'll make you wear a shirt to the show!" Not that she'd have actually succeeded, but hey, it was worth a try. So here he was, bored out of his mind… trying to work out the quickest, subtlest, exit out of this hell hole. Elysia had wandered off to talk to some cousins of hers, leaving Ace to his own devices. He had no complaints with that, it gave him a chance to flee.
As his eyes caught sight of a potential escape, the pirate noticed his companion laughing at something some pretty boy was telling her. The stereotypical territorial urge kicked up, the kind when some stranger tries to steal your treasure…and you're having none of it. Ace crossed the room in a few quick strides, before sweeping her up and over his shoulder. Much to her utter dismay, he knew that this was going to get him in the doghouse. Didn't matter… no way he was letting her drag him to some event he had no interest in, and then flirt with some weird guys.
One thing he knew for certain, the rest of the evening was certainly going to be interesting, to say the least.
What stays hidden
The first time he'd ever been present to witness it, had been a few good months into their non-relationship. Elysia had conked out on the couch, a book on her stomach, all seemed fairly peaceful. Ace had been busy trying to sort out the information he had received from different sources. The room had been silent, except for the rustling of his pieces of parchment. As he enjoyed the small bit of quiet, too much of it tended to make him a bit uneasy, Ace noticed a shifting from the couch.
Elysia had rolled over onto her side, the book slowly fell to the floor with a dull thump. It remained there, as a low whimper escaped her throat. That was the first signal that something was dreadfully off. Her brows furrowed, as if she was caught in serious concentration. When he rose to his feet, the chair slide against the floor roughly. Which brought her awake, those green gems blinked in his direction. Ace watched silently. Worry laced the edge of his eyes, to which she only smiled weakly. Before rolling back over and returning to her book.
"So, have you two finally become official yet?" Elysia spit out her drink in shock. There was a long moment of silence as her cousin glowered through the coffee-soaked bangs. She was quiet, it was wishfully thinking on her behalf, but it genuinely pissed her off every time the bastard asked. Since he knew fully well what the answer to the question would be.
"No, and we never will." She watched Ace from across the room, he was distracted by the lunch she'd served him. Scarfing away in the kitchen, none the wiser to the conversation that was taking place. She wasn't one to be held down by any connections other than her family. He was the exact same way, but on top of it all… Ace would always belong with the sea.
Seeley raised a brow with a skeptical look upon his face. Glancing back and forth between the pirate and his cousin. Her green eyes glazed over in distant thought, as if sensing some staring Ace looked up from his food. Elysia blinked a few times to drag herself back to reality. She gave him a heartfelt smile and a little wave, with which he responded with a knowing little grin of his.
They were so in complete denial. Seeley couldn't wait till it swung around to hit the two morons on the head.
A single step
Ace watched the villagers celebrate some random religious festival. He'd been dragged along by Elysia and her family, guilted into going. Black and red decorations covered the Athens Shrine, the natives were garbed in traditional garments. The pirate had put his foot down on dressing up, thankfully no one had forced that. The Hades family was keeping him close, welcoming him as if he himself were a member. He'd been lucky to sneak away, trying to find his companion.
He'd found her with seven other girls dressed similarly, surrounded by a circle of spectators. Together they danced to music being played by some of the priests. It was captivating to watch, thin see-through fabric fluttering about, lithe forms twirling and flitting. There was a story being told, he couldn't exactly understand what it was, but the others did. Once the music changed into something more free, others joined in as well. Elysia noticed Ace watching her, and grinned cheekily before offering him her hand.
Force of nature
Never before had he seen the full extent of her fury. Even he had to admit, that with the sight in front of him… it was rather frightening. The man before her had tried to manipulate the pirates into engaging the marines in combat...in the Underworld. The fool had done so knowing full well the wrath it would incite, and now… with the carnage lying before him. As visual evidence that proved his guilt, were the terrified villagers that had sought her protection.
The snarl that she let loose was so feral that he'd been tempted to take a step away in personal defense. Ace watched silently, as the white fur spread across her body like it was ripples of water. The tail swayed like a venomous snake waiting to strike out in anger at those that opposed it. Her claws sharp and lethal, fangs pearly white, ears tilted back harshly. Elysia didn't give the poor bastard forewarning, not when he'd been gloating before she went all zoan on him.
Even Ace had to admit, what she did was a bit gruesome to watch. By the time she was through, the fellow was in literal pieces, and her pristine white fur and hair was bathed in blood. The ease with which she reverted to her human self was impressive. What was even more admirable, was that she immediately went to assist the villagers. Not pausing to pity her victim, doing the job and moving on. Elysia Hades was one hell of a woman… that much he was certain of.
"I still don't get what this whole holiday thing is about." Ace complained as he straightened the collar of his shirt. All he could hear from through the bathrooms closed door, was rustling of fabric. Possibly bandages? The only reason he was tagging along in the first place was because her little cousins had begged. The Fire Fist had a major soft spot for messy short black hair and big sad puppy eyes. There was a grunt of frustration, shortly followed by a response,
"People dress up in costume, the religious origins say that it is to trick the evil spirits that are empowered by the moons position in the sky. Once a year demons come to steal weak spirited folks soul…so to protect the inhabitants we disguise ourselves. Make sense? There are parties, free food, candy, drinks, among many other things." The pirate glanced at the clock that hung on the opposite wall. She'd been in there for close to a half hour. With no sign of heading out, Ace pushed up off the wall he'd been leaning against. Crossing the short distance to the sofa, he collapsed onto the dark gray cushions.
Just as his rear connected with the chair, she joined him with dramatic flair. Her hair was dyed black, fake freckles speckled upon her cheeks, chest bound nice and tight with skin colored bandages, and all the fine details necessary. Ace was staring at a female version of himself, and he couldn't help but grin smugly. It explained where his hat had vanished to.
"Nice little ensemble, gotta admit. I'm impressed." Elysia grinned as she tilted the rim of the orange hat, cocking a hip cheekily. Ace rose off of the couch to circle her like a lion stalking its prey. The woman wasn't put off, quite the opposite actually. He embraced her from behind, arms wrapping around her bare waist, all nice and snuggly. As his hat fought with hers, making it almost difficult to lean in close to her ear and whisper.
"Never looked so sexy in my whole entire life." She couldn't help but giggle. The fabric of his costume was rough against her lack thereof. Her family was going to freak out about how half-naked she was. He continued,
"I have to ask though, where in the hell did you get a marines standard uniform in my size?" Elysia burst out into laughter, managing to sneak out of his arms and head for the door. She gave him a cheeky smirk that suited the costume, before answering in a sing-song voice.
"Now that's…a secret!"
"Come on, just a little sip?" Elysia glowered at him. Ace was trying to get her to try some sort of 'special alcohol' he'd gotten his hands on. It was called Fire Tears and she had never heard of it before. Which was certainly a first. Ordinarily, she could spout off a list of every alcoholic beverage within the grand line. Thanks to her Gramps of course. She just shook her head again, experience had forewarned her against any foreign drinks. The pirate smirked mischievously at her,
"Really, you're not interested at all?" there was something in his voice that should have been a hint all on its own. Except something must have been off, because she'd been oblivious to the danger. As she turned back around to snap at him for pushing the damned topic, he kissed her. Not that she was one to complain, seeing as there was no one else around. Only thing was… suddenly she found herself swallowing a swig of that drink of his.
Ohhhh, she was going to throttle him for being such a….such a…..such a damned pirate! After he let her catch her breath….and maybe once her mouth didn't feel like she'd just downed a mixture of dark chocolate, potent red wine, and lethally spicy peppers.
With one more chance
She couldn't even remember what they'd fought about, whatever it had been was now insignificant. All that mattered was that harsh words had been exchanged, things had been said that were cruel and untrue. He'd snarled something, and flames had been licking his skin. There'd been a loud slam of the door, and then utter silence. She'd sat there brewing in her own rage for all of three whole hours.
Little by little her rational self-began to chastise her overly emotional reaction to such a silly minute thing. Once she'd managed to completely gather her thoughts, Elysia was out the door. Sprinting through the streets, cutting straight for the dock. Knowing that odds were, if he had the last word… she'd never see him again. They would both regret it if they lost their friendship in such a horrid way. As the dock was within sight, she could already see him tossing his stuff into that monstrosity of a 'ship'.
By the time she got there, he was already a few feet out. Gathering all the air she could into her lungs, Elysia bellowed as loud as she could.
"I'M SORRY!" He flinched and nearly lost his balance. Ace paused and glanced back with a small smirk on his face,
"Geez, think you were loud enough?" he called back teasingly. She stuck her tongue out at him. Before she could fully react, the jerk was back on the dock. Resting his arms around her shoulders, he rested his forehead against hers.
"You can be so difficult sometimes." He murmured, she smiled softly back.
"Yeah…but you wouldn't have it any other way."
He'd managed to persuade her to spend a full day hanging out with his 'family'. Apparently Whitebeard had found her interesting, what the hell that meant she wasn't sure. The last time she had agreed, it had been for a couple of hours only. Now, nearly a half a year later it looked like Elysia was going to have no choice in the matter. Once again she'd been reluctant in giving an immediate yes…but the look on his face. It was utterly impossible to say no. Her only demand was that…there was no way in HELL she was EVER getting on his fire death trap again to get there.
Truth does not blush
She'd felt awkward when Ace had left her alone with his captain. Marco had had to discuss something urgent with Fire Fist, it wasn't like she could argue against it. So there it was… The old pirate was sizing her up in an almost lazy way. The silence was overwhelming, and Elysia wasn't sure what to say or do. After a few long minutes, he finally broke the quiet, his voice held a curious tone to it,
"You like my boy, don't you?" Her eyes widened in shock, knowing full well what he meant by that. She sputtered frantically, panicking quite a bit on the inside. From a distance she could see Ace glance over in her direction for a split second. When their eyes met, he gave her that cocky little smile of his. She felt her heart stop for an instant, unable to answer verbally, all she could do was nod.
The giant of a man chuckled at her response, which was all the information that he needed. If things went well, who knew what could happen. The Hades family wasn't a bad bunch to be associated with.
Value of a smile
It was odd, just how comfortably they'd managed to fit with one another. In such a short span of time, they'd learned how to read each other's emotions in ways no one else could. When she was positively furious about something, Ace was capable of easing the anger. If he grinned at her in a very specific way, some would assume he'd be planning mischief…in actuality… he was thinking certain things she'd rather not discuss publicly.
Even with all of that, nothing mattered more to Elysia… then the way he would show up in her door way. After being gone for weeks, and the corner of his mouth would curve upwards in its tempting way. Suddenly the world could be ending, and she would be perfectly fine with that. So long as the last thing she saw… was his face, and that single expression. That was all that truly mattered.
Orders are orders
She'd been hesitant, not wanting to let go of him entirely. The desire to keep him from leaving was overwhelming. Something bad was going to happen, she just knew it, but there was nothing she could do to talk him out of it. Ace was hotheaded, determined as all hell to take out the traitor from his crew. Elysia could understand the drive to get revenge, but she had this horrid feeling that this was going to be good bye… forever. She knew that Whitebeard hadn't given him this mission.
This was his own free choice, and she hated it so very much. So when she hugged him on the dock, her hands clung desperately for a split instant. Before finally releasing him, Elysia stared at Ace for a long moment. Taking in all of his features, like it would be the last time she ever would. He just quirked a brow in curiosity, slightly amused but her strange antics.
All she could do was shake her head before pressing a long adoring kiss to his lips. Using that as a silent means to plead him to come back to her, safe and sound. She channeled all the things she'd never actually say, and when they broke apart…the look in those eyes…told her that he got the message. Then she watched with a heavy heart, as he left to clean up a mess that wasn't his to take care of.
There is no need for sadness
She would never forget that moment for as long she was alive. It was to be permanently engraved into her brain. Scarred onto the very surface of her heart. It had started out as just any old day, waiting to hear news of Ace escaping the marines' prison. Praying he would get free, that the execution wouldn't actually come about. As she was drying some glasses she'd just finished washing, some no-name pirate barged into the club and bellowed out,
"Turn on the television! Hurry!" Everyone just stared at him silently, but Elysia had reached over. She turned the knob on, and for a second there was just static, then the picture cleared. The only time it was ever used was when the government had something to broadcast. Once the picture was clear, her heart sunk deep into her stomach. It wasn't possible! She shook her head in denial. This was a sick joke! What was he doing on television? Why was he being executed? Why hadn't anyone rescued him? What the hell was going on?
No such thing as "no such thing"
"Ellie!" Her grandfather's large frame filled the entrance of the bar. Her frantic green eyes met the somber gray ones. The television was still on, and though they were having a hard time understanding which side was actually winning, it wasn't looking good for the pirates. Samael Hades hurried over to stand beside his dearest granddaughter. His large hand squeezed her shoulder reassuringly,
"He'll pull through this just ya wait an see!" Elysia wasn't so sure anymore, and with each new doubt, her heart was breaking a little more. That was when the connection was cut off and the screen went black. There was an outcry among the bar goers, demanding to see what was happening. Her voice was silent, it was her heart that screamed out instead.
She'd been so nervous for such a long time. A foreboding had been hanging over her soul ever since Ace had been given the duty to hunt down Blackbeard. Even as she wanted to beg and plead that he not go…not hunt the man down…she had known that it would be cruel to ask such a thing of him. So instead she'd sat back and waited for the inevitable, hoping it would never arrive. Here it was, sitting on the other side of the black screen.
Her knees were weak, and Elysia was beginning to believe that it was only her grandfather's strong hand that was keeping her upright. Her knuckles were white, from how tight she was gripping the counter. What felt like hours had passed before the connection returned. For a split instant she felt joy at the sight of Ace free, until he stopped to battle with a marine. Her grandfather had recognized the man as someone named Akainu, and a grim look took a hold of his face.
That look alone had predicted what she did not want to see. There wasn't going to be any celebration happening tonight.
Cry with the world
A sharp hiss escaped her, as the agony engulfed her entire body. This wasn't happening… not to him… not Ace. He had promised, to come back to her. Even though he lived a dangerous life as a pirate, she'd expected him to fulfill that promise. As the camera locked on the sight of her lovers' body with a gigantic hole in his chest… she felt her heart shatter into a thousand pieces. Sam was the one keeping her from collapsing, without him, she was certain that she would have been on her knees.
Elysia wailed in sorrow, and she didn't care that her patrons were staring in shock at her reaction. There would be no comfort for her pain tonight. The cold was already beginning to seep into her skin, she would never see him again… He was gone for good. The only person she'd been willing to get involved with was dead. All she could feel was a grief and rage.
The following day her grandfather had asked what she wanted to do in response to Ace's death. Her reaction was simple, in a voice so frigid and empty of emotion she spoke,
"Marines are forbidden to set foot in the Underworld. To do so will be the same as asking for death by our hands. They killed Ace, any privileges they'd had are null and void as of this point on." The retired pirate gave her a sad old smile, before nodding in understanding. It was reasonable. Though he would miss some of his old drinking buddies, no one insulted the Hades family and got away with it. Killing Portgas D. Ace was like a backhand to the face. The boy had been considered like family, even though they'd never said so.
Samael watched his granddaughter walk away from him, and his heart ached for her. He'd been so happy when the girl had finally brought a guy over to meet him. At last, a chance for his little Ellie to settle down and be happy. Sure, he understood the urge in a pirate's blood, to travel the seas. Yet, Sam had hoped that once that was fulfilled… Ace would have been officially brought into the family.
Now, it was quite obvious that that was never to happen. Never before had he felt such disappointment and anger. His favorite granddaughter had only deserved the best in life…and that had been Portgas D. Ace.
She stood before the door of her apartment, unwilling to turn the knob. Knowing that once she entered, it would be final, he'd be gone. She'd have to get rid of all the little things that lingered. The shaver she'd bought him, when she'd caught him using his huge blade. The spare shirts that she'd tried to persuade him into wearing, not that he ever had. The coffee mug she'd gotten him as a joke, that read 'Too Hot For My Shirt'.
The sorrow engulfed her, and she rested her forehead against the cold wood. Biting her lip so hard that it bled, tears streaked her cheeks silently. If she'd had begged him not to go… would he have listened? Would he still be here? Waiting for her to show up… of course not. Ace never would have listened to her. Hell, he'd have been pissed at her if she'd have even tried to get him to stay.
Now all that she was left with, was a frigid, empty home. One that would now be too quiet to be comfortable. Memories of times held dear, would haunt her every footstep. This place was no longer her own, it had been replaced with something else. And the one that had brought about the change, was gone. Buried under the ground, corpse to decay into the earth.
A sob escaped her, as Elysia slowly slid to her knees. He'd never been hers to begin with, she had only realized that now. Indeed, they had loved each other, in a way unique to only them. Now she'd never experience it again.
When Marco had arrived at the Purgatories Lullaby, Elysia was far from surprised. The tears she'd thought were all cried out, seemed to start to blur her eyesight. When she asked if it was really true, he looked away in pain. That was answer enough. With a shaky hand, she'd reached over and touched his arm hesitantly. With desperate eyes that silently begged in desperation she spoke,
"Show me where they buried him. Please. I need to see it."
She didn't need to bother asking twice, and even though she had had to endure a trip across the seas, Elysia survived it. Just so she could stand before the two monuments, her hand reached out shakily, caressing the stone where his name was carved. It was final, and he was gone. Nothing more to do, nothing more she could ever say to change what had happened. She leaned her forehead against the stone that was cold not unlike the being buried beneath it.
Even though it was far too late, she softly whispered what she'd never dared say…
"I love you Ace. I love you. That will never change. When I see you again up there… I'll tell you that to your face. Just wait for me…Ace…Please…Wait for me…God, I love you so much." Tears fell silently down her cheeks, apparently she did still have a few left to cry.
Learn to unlearn
For a month no one had heard from Elysia, it was as if she'd vanished off the planet. Only evidence she was still upon the island, was the terrified Marines seen fleeing The Underworld. All she had left within her was a fierce rage that would not be eased. Nothing was left of him, and that was what hurt more than anything else. At least, that was what she'd initially believed. Until three weeks in, when she was unable to keep anything down. At first she'd told herself it was nothing other than the grief.
Until Elysia found herself partaking in cucumbers and chocolate fudge ice cream. The problem with that, was she hated cucumbers more than the Marines. Confirmation from her grandmother was what sealed the deal. She was nearly two months in, and seeing as there was no one else… well. Her grandfather was ecstatic, the distant family was horrified, and Elysia hadn't a clue what to think. Apparently the Gods didn't bare complete hatred towards her after all.
As time ticked away, promises fade
"Grandma!" A small child called out happily, to an elderly woman that sat with her legs dangling over the edge of the dock. Green eyes sparkled with warmth and adoration, lighting up the small freckled face. The aged emerald orbs shimmered lovingly, wrinkled hands reached out, gesturing for the little girl to join her.
The pig-tailed black haired nine-year old dashed forward, restraining the urge to tackle her grandmother with a hug. Knowing that it would be really bad if she fell into the water. White hair with grey streaks shone brilliantly in the sunlight, almost as bright as the smile on her face.
"Helen, where's your mama sweetheart?" the old woman asked with a soft and gentle voice. The girl pointed over her shoulder, where a young couple was approaching hand-in-hand at a leisurely stroll. The woman had platinum blonde hair pulled into a high ponytail, freckles across her cheeks, passionate brown eyes, and an affinity with the sea. She was every bit like her father, and it was so endearing.
"What are you doing out here mom? Aren't you getting over a bad cold?" Elysia only smiled fondly at her only daughter. Mischief danced in the green eyes, daring her child to make her go back. To which her granddaughter wrapped her arms around her neck and placed a small kiss on her cheek.
"Tell me about Grandpa and the Pirate King!" Helen chirped gleefully, to which her mother sighed loudly. Elysia pat the girl on the head, laughing softly,
"Haven't I told you that story a hundred times already?" The black haired child crossed her arms with a small playful pout,
"Then tell me it another hundred billion times! It's my favorite!"
Helens' father chuckled before going to prepare their small ship for the return trip. Elysia looked at her daughter with sad eyes,
"You're leaving already?" Helen frowned and hugged at her grandmother even tighter. Her daughter took her hand comfortingly, before speaking in an apologetic tone of voice.
"We've got to get back, your nineteen year old grandson is calling every twenty minutes begging us to return home." Elysia sighed in defeat, releasing her grip and kissing her little grandchild on the forehead. The sea was in their blood, just like his who was she to stop them?
As she watched the small vessel disappear, she felt at ease. It wasn't just a simple little cold… but they didn't need to worry about that. Just a bit longer, then she'd be more than content to lay back and greet death as though it were an old friend.
The last thing she'd recalled, was feeling oh so tired… and closing her eyes for just a moment. Then…everything lifted, she'd felt weightless almost like a feather floating. When she'd finally opened her eyes, bright white engulfed her vision. Lifting a hand to shield her, she took in the smooth youthful state of her skin. Confusion gripped her being tightly.
When her green eyes lifted to take in her surroundings, she froze. That smile… that grin… both hands lifted to press against her mouth as tears swelled. That frustrating bastard had waited after all. He was standing there with that cocky-ass smirk on his face, arms crossed against his chest. There was no more bewilderment, she fully understood where she was now.
"Took you long enough." He'd said with amusement lacing every teasing word. She just gave him a confident smile in return,
"Patience is a virtue. Learn it." Those brown eyes shimmered with such warmth and affection. Her chest was overwhelmed with the emotions that she'd been carrying for far too long. As if he'd read her mind, Ace had reached out with open arms. Behind him she recognized faces that she hadn't seen in so many years past. The only two that she didn't know personally, were obvious in identity. The man and woman both held features that their son carried from them.
As they were looked upon by those they both held dear, he finally spoke.
"Welcome home Elysia." Tears finally fell as she wrapped her arms around him and held on tight. While embraced by the one man she loved, at long last he said the four little words she'd waited so long to hear.
"I love you too."