A/N: I know I have too many WIPs already, but this one is just a conglomerate of headcanons that I needed to write down. It's about 30% crack, especially when Dragon's in the scene. It'll have chapters of varying lengths and be updated irregularly — it could be updated two days in a row, or there might be a month or more between chapters.
A quick low-down on Lord Cattington: A cat who was saved from drowning by Dragon. When he did that, he also noticed Sabo floating around, and saved him as an afterthought. Dragon adores Lord Cattington, according to Jess.
"Sabo! Get down here!" Dragon shouted from downstairs. "Lord Cattington needs his litter changed!"
"Not now, Dad!" Sabo yelled back, lighting a stick of incense. "I'm doing my daily Luffy-honouring ritual!"
"That kid you've got a shrine to in there?" Dragon asked, conveniently forgetting that said kid was his only non-adoptive son.
"It's not a shrine, it's an altar!"
"It doesn't matter." Dragon's voice was getting louder, but now lacked the strained tone of shouting. "What matters is that Lord Cattington needs his litter changed."
Sabo sighed and shot a forlorn look at his altar. In the centre of it sat the most recent photo of Luffy he had, which was now outdated by three or four years. Luffy was soon to be seventeen, so Sabo would change it when the boy got his first bounty poster, but until then this snapshot one of his underlings had acquired for him would have to do. It showed Luffy rooting cheerfully through one of the piles in Grey Terminal, with Ace sitting nearby and laughing at Luffy's enthusiasm.
Sabo's eyes locked on Ace and burned with jealousy.
It might have sounded cruel, but sometimes — maybe even often — Sabo thought that he should have been the one looking after Luffy all these years, while Ace should be the one at Baltigo picking up after Lord Cattington. Sabo had always been nicer to Luffy than he had, hadn't he? Ace was the one who acted like a jerk, putting the poor boy down mercilessly, never being affectionate, and even trying to kill him.
"Lord Cattington!" Dragon yelled warningly.
Sabo shivered at the thought of the smug cat that was responsible for Sabo still being alive. It looked down on him, as if the day Dragon saved their lives only happened because Lord Cattington deigned it to. He couldn't help feeling as if, if it weren't for the damned cat, Sabo might have still been with Luffy, who would surely love him more than Ace.
He scowled, reminded that his former best friend had Luffy all to himself. How he had ever liked that cold, selfish kid, Sabo could no longer remember.
Heavy footsteps could be heard from the direction of his bedroom door. Sabo did not pause to wonder about that.
Reports from Sabo's underlings on Luffy through the years all showed that the boy was increasingly attached to Ace. Sabo whined about this endlessly to Koala, who went to check out the situation for herself when he told her of all the times Ace attempted to murder their little brother. She now insisted he was a much better person than Sabo remembered, which proved that Ace must have had mind control powers of some sort — and powerful ones, too, as Koala wasn't easily swayed.
Sabo gasped at the realisation; Ace was a brain-washer, and he was systematically using his powers to steal away all the people Sabo loved. First their — no, his — Sabo's precious little brother, Luffy, and then Koala… Who was next? Dragon? Lord Cattington?
That thought was quickly latched upon. Ace could have Lord Cattington, and Sabo would only ask for Luffy in return; that was certainly a fair trade, considering how highly Dragon prized the feline.
Didn't Sabo have to do something for Lord Cattington? Maybe something about… litter boxes… Sabo shuddered. He could think about that later.
Sabo placed a sacrificial plate of meat by Luffy's picture, giving it another wistful look. He would never tire of that angelic smile, although he wished he could see it in person, like Ace could, and have it directed at him, like Ace could. If only it weren't for Ace…
If it weren't for Ace, Sabo could have all of Luffy's attention. Sabo could have been the one to comfort Luffy when he was sad or scared — Sabo wondered if Luffy was scared of thunderstorms. Did he come to his big brother's room in the middle of the night when the boom of thunder rocked the island, looking for protection? If it weren't for Ace, Sabo would have known these things. If it weren't for Ace, Sabo could have been the big brother he was meant to be.
The people in the hall outside Sabo's room were getting rather loud. His eyebrow twitched. Didn't they know what time it was? Honestly, they should have all known by now that Sabo needed peace and quiet at this time of day in order to properly complete his Luffy-honouring ritual. He'd snapped at them before for far less than the ruckus they were making now.
Regretfully as always, Sabo left his altar behind to investigate and possibly crush a few skulls. Immediately upon opening the door, Sabo stepped into Lord Cattington's litter box, which had been left in front of his room.
If it weren't for Ace, Sabo's life would not have been such a monumental fail.
He turned to his fellow revolutionaries, who were gossipping about some rookie they called Blackbeard, with that thought in his mind. If only there were some way he could get rid of Ace and have Luffy all to himself...
A/N: So this idea came out of looking at a piece of fanart, which then had me, Samettikettu, and Kitsune Foxfire/Bedlam Wolf discussing the idea that we now call darkbo: that Sabo arranged Ace's death so that Luffy would be in the right emotional condition for Sabo to approach him and take over the role of big brother. All three of us have started writing about it; Samettikettu wrote an AU oneshot called Be Mine Forever, I've started this multichapter, and Bedlam's is yet to be posted, as far as I know. Thanks for reading!