Disclaimer: I don't own anything. One Piece belongs to Eiichiro Oda.
Even though all the things that had happened, despite the fact that he now was standing on top of all Pirates and in spite of what once he had promised with his now deceased brother Ace, Monkey D. Luffy did regret one thing: he couldn't save one of the most important persons in his life.
Now, standing on the Sunny's deck and awaiting his arrival to that remote island in the New World where all the people who died back at the War of the Best, he could just think of what he could've done differently, what would've happened if he'd been able to reach him before they had transferred Portgas D. Ace to Marineford, what would've changed if he hadn't been held up by Magellan's attack.
Yes, it was all such nerve-wracking and useless to dwell on all the things that went wrong… He felt guilty, because if he hadn't been so worn out after his struggle in Impel Down he would've been able to notice Akainu's approach and probably would've been able to dodge and avoid making Ace take the blow in his stead. Maybe he should've listened to Bon-chan when he'd told him to run for it instead of facing that damn prison mayor.
It was his only shame. He still was unable to face Sabo for what he "let" happen at the War of the Best and looking in Marco's eyes was sort of difficult for him after how much the Whitebeard Pirates had lost that one day. Luffy had lost a brother, but they lost a lot more than that. They lost half of their family along the one person they considered their father. It had been just a few moments of knowing the man, but for what he'd noticed, Newgate was a very caring, loving parent to all of them.
That's why he and the Straw Hats were here today, to pay his respects to both Ace and Whitebeard. Beside him, Sabo had his arms crossed over his chest. Even though he looked cheerful, Luffy knew better. Damn, both him and Ace had thought he had died when those Tenryubito had shot at his small boat when he was trying to set sail and get away from the nobles that called themselves his parents, to be free from the pain they'd caused him and now they both were there, they had survived while Ace hadn't.
"Oi, Luffy!" The man tilted his head before turning to see Nami waving at him. "We're about to get there, we should get ready to throw the anchor and dock."
So soon? He thought. He simply nodded and jumped off the figurehead of the ship while stretching to get rid of the stiffness in his muscles.
"Alright!" he shouted back. His gaze landed on his other sworn brother and smiled from ear to ear. "You okay, Sabo?"
The blond man smiled back. "Not sure, it's still hard to believe that… Ah, well. Nothing we can do anymore, right?"
"I wish, but… what happened, happened. I guess?" Luffy said, crossing his arms over his chest and tilting his head to the side. "I guess? Uh, I guess?" Was this one of those mysteries he'd never really understand? Why did his insides tell him that when they got there something was about to happen?
Of course he always thought that things would've gone otherwise if he had had his whole crew with him when bursting in Impel Down and then Marineford when the shit hit the fan with Ace's situation?
Anyways, it was no use to wonder, to pounder on these things anymore.
The rest of the crew decided to stay on the shore. Only a few of them had known Ace and not enough to get in the way of their captain and his sworn brother while they were paying their respects to the man, so they settled there and told their sencho that they'll be waiting for him.
The slope felt as if went on forever. Luffy's feet felt heavy with each step they were taking upwards and the burden he'd been carrying all along since that one day twelve years ago had started to crush him, to prevent him from breathing properly. One of the Straw Hat's hands raised to his chest, a strange hissing noise erupting from his parted lips each time he pulled air in.
"Oi, Luffy?" Sabo stopped on his tracks as he turned around. "Luffy? What's wrong? Oi! Can you hear me?"
He didn't want to. He still couldn't accept the truth. No, what truth? Nothing had happened. Once he went up there, he would just find an empty field, right? There was no way Ace was there, buried there.
But he is there. He is up there because of you. If you hadn't went to Impel Down and to Marineford after that, Ace would've been saved, he would've gone back to the Moby Dick, he would still be alive and part of the Whitebeard Pirates. Say, didn't you want to battle him in Raftel? Didn't you want to battle Edward Newgate? To settle your score with Ace?
No. All he'd ever wanted was for his brother to be happy, to be alive, to be well. Nothing more than to know that he was alright and now…
You killed him and you will lose your crew too and it will all be your fault.
"Stop it! Ace's not… Ace isn't…"
"Oi!" Sabo was beginning to freak out. What the hell was wrong with him? What had happened to the person that was always positive, always cheerful and carefree? Something was really wrong. "Luffy! Luffy, c'mon, let's go back, okay?"
"Found you…" a small voice said, smiling.
"Who's there?" Sabo growled but before he could even react, a haki coated punch knocked him out. "Lu… ffy…"
The raven-haired pirate opened his eyes suddenly. He looked around, confused for a split second as to where he was to find himself on his hammock back at the Sunny. What had happened? Why was he there?
"Oh, you're awake." Luffy blinked.
"Seriously… You were on the figurehead and you suddenly collapsed. Zoro had to dive in to get you back on the deck."
Sanji? But… why was he so… And why was he…? Why was it so… dark?
"Where are… we?" he asked, still confused.
"What do you mean, idiot? We're on our way to Sabaondy. Don't you remember? We've left Thriller Bark a couple of days ago." The blond grabbed one of his cigarettes and searched for his lighter. He let out the smoke through his mouth and sighed.
That's impossible. I… Wait a second.
He lifted his hands and looked at his chest. Akainu's scar was gone. But, how?
Ah, well. I don't know how this is going to unfold. Seriously. I've re-written this twice and I am still unsure where will it lead. Anyways, this is my own attempt on a Future!Skip fic. I just hope that this won't be as bad as I think it is. Damn, I'm trying my hardest to not make Luffy look too OoC but, my God, I think I'm kind of unable to picture a Future!Luffy going back in time AND not change him too much. And yes, someone was messing with his head. Not sure what will that person end being but I'll figure it out.
I just hope all of you, whoever reads me, that's it, enjoys my attempt and don't hesitate to say whatever you think through a review, okay? I'm pretty accepting when it comes to criticism, but it has to be constructive criticism, all flammers will be mostly ignored and/or deleted.