Sighing, she ambled into the main room of the house. Even though the room was packed with people, it still felt quiet to her. Too quiet. And it had been that way for years. Not that she'd ever admit as much out loud.
Others would disagree though, if they were here. Some of the men were arguing over who had a larger haul this time and their squabbling eventually led to a wrestling match that had several others hooting and hollering.
Grunting, she mumbled a quick "idiots…" under her breath, and shuffled towards her stash of booze. She vaguely recalled a young woman who had previously scolded her for drinking so early on in the day. Hmphing, she opened the cabinet and reached in. She was a bandit dammit; she could do whatever the hell she wanted to, whenever the hell she pleased. Her hands hovered near a bottle, her mind darting back to a day when she noticed a bottle missing. Shoving the intrusive thoughts away, she grabbed the bottle and went to find a comfortable spot for her to drink the day away.
Once she'd found a spot, she plopped down and began working on the bottle's contents. She chose to ignore the worrying glances two men gave her. But...they said nothing and nor did she.
As she continued drinking, the atmosphere in the place became more subdued. They were bandits, so they were no strangers to drinking and being drunk, but when their boss started drinking this early in the day, and alone, they knew to be wary. Years ago they had learned that there was no helping when their boss became like this.
A reason was never given but they all knew. She knew that they knew too. But no one ever spoke about it. They knew that it was best to just leave her be and do their best to not do anything too boisterous that might set her off, so slowly they all drifted off to do whatever they could find to do, like chores.
Eventually, the noise level of the house matched the silence she'd felt hanging over the place. It felt right finally. But at the same time it was all wrong. She took another swig of her bottle.
Some days she found herself wishing that the noise would return, that everything would go back to the way it was, but she knew that was impossible. Other days, she wished the noise had never happened in the first damn place. Then it wouldn't have gone away, and made her see how damn quiet it was!
The morning trotted onward, oblivious or uncaring about the silent state of misery she was in. Except, it wasn't silent, but she was so gone she was unaware of the grumblings about 'ungrateful brats' and 'goddamn marines' that reached her mens' ears.
Time continued on, as did the silence, as did her misery.
When her booze was gone, and her vision blurry, she rolled over and laid out on the ground. Eventually she started hearing a noise. Thinking it was her men making fools of themselves again, she turned over, grunting. 'Stupid fools… can't even let me alone in peace', she thought.
Soon enough the noise became clear enough to make out some words.
"...have to wait!"
"You at least…..hello first."
"What did you say!?"
"Now, now you two. Let's not fight.."
She grunted in annoyance. 'Great, had too much this time and now i'm hearing shit, she told herself. Resolving to not drink quite so much next time, she rolled over, intent on going to sleep. Her conscious was drifting off, just as a knock at the door came.
"Dogra! Mogra! One of you louts get that!" she yelled blearily. She was too damn drunk to deal with any visitors right now. She heard their footsteps as they came downstairs and made towards the door.
She heard the door open, shortly followed by Dogra and Mogra's squeaks of surprise. But she didn't hear anything else.
'oh for the love of….' she thought, as she wondered what the hell those two were doing. Grunting, she got up and slowly made her way towards the door that was still open. She spotted her two men on the ground, staring up, out the door in shock.
"What the hell are you two idiots doing!? Don't tell me-" Whatever her next words were, they never came, as she made it out the door to see who their visitors were. Standing there were three boys in a row, looking an awful lot bigger than the last time she'd seen them.
"Shishishishi! You guys are as funny as ever." a boy in a red cape stated, a huge grin lighting up his face, while he waved at them very enthusiastically.
"Yo Dadan!" said the boy on the opposite side of the first. He had a playful smirk on his face, and he lifted his orange hat in greeting.
And the boy in the middle….
"EHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" shouted Dadan as she fell backwards on her butt, looking very much like the two bandits she'd just been lecturing.
The boy in the middle took his top hat off his head, and proceeded to bow at them, his blonde hair falling over his face.
"Ah. Hello. It's been quite awhile hasn't it?" He straightened up and beamed at them, replacing his hat upon his head.
None of the bandits were able to make a sound. Dogra couldn't believe his eyes. He'd seen it, with his own eyes...what had happened….that day. Yet standing here, right in front of him, was….
Mogra was having a similar reaction but he was also worried about the Boss. She wasn't reacting at all, and he knew how much she'd had to drink today.
Dadan was more than certain she'd had too much to drink. She was hallucinating now. Or dreaming. Yeah, dreaming. She was dreaming. She had to be, because that was the only way she was seeing any of this.
Grunting, she stood back up, turned around and proceeded right back into the house.
"Boss...where are you going…?" Mogra asked her.
"I'm dreaming. Gotta be. 'Cause there ain't no damn way that those...three are on our doorstep." was her response. The three boys exchanged amused glances.
"Hmph, still a crazy ole hag, huh?" said the boy with the orange hat, amused. That got her going. She whipped around and trotted right back out to them.
"WHAT'D YOU CALL ME?!" She yelled at him. The other two boys started laughing.
The boy in the top hat said to her, "Still as lively as ever I see." She threw a glance in his direction.
"That makes one of us at least…" she mumbled. The pain in her voice evident. A pained expression crossed the blonde boy's face, before the smile returned. He was about to say something but the smallest of the three beat him to it.
"Shishishishi! Silly Dadan. Sabo's not dead anymore! He's alive now!" he told her, smiling. She only continued staring at them.
The boy in the orange hat walked over and bonked him on the head.
"Owww! Ace what was that for?!" he exclaimed, clutching his wounded head.
"Because, you idiot. Sabo wasn't dead the first place." Ace told him. Sabo just smiled at the two of them, meanwhile Dadan stood there, confused.
"Wha-?" she didn't know what exactly to ask. What is going on? How is this possible? Are you sure it's not a dream? Am I drunker than I thought I was? Mogra and Dogra were staring at Dadan in concern.
"Sabo's not dead!" Luffy repeated for her.
Oh gods, if this was a dream, she didn't want to wake up. Although if it really was a dream, it'd be the first of its kind. Yeah, she'd dreamt of the three of them running around again, plenty of times in fact. But this, them standing here, all grown up? First time it's happened. All her other dreams had them as little kids. So then this….
She didn't want to let herself hope. But could it really be possible..? Was Sabo…? And the other two, were they all really here?
"...really?" She heard herself asking, before she could stop herself. She cursed the hopeful tone it came out as.
All three of the boys to bust out laughing. Ace was the first to semi-recover.
"Oi Dadan, are you drunk or something? Sabo's not dead, he's right in front of you." he told her, in between laughs.
"Here I was thinking she'd be pissed, and she doesn't even believe i'm really here." Sabo laughed.
"Hahahaha silly Dadan!"
That did it. It finally clicked that they were laughing at her. She felt a stubbornness and warmth well up inside of her. A feeling she hadn't felt in years.
"Shitty brats! Who the hell said you could come back here! Go away!" She yelled at them, glaring.
The boys just grinned, not believing her words for a second.
"Shishi, we missed you too, Dadan." said Luffy, smiling softly at her. She hmphed before walking up to the boys. Before they could even think about what was happening, she had grabbed all three of them into her arms.
"Come here, you shitty, ungrateful brats. You leave here and don't ever send word home and think you can just show up on my doorstep like nothing happened?!" She asked, as they squirmed in her embrace.
Luffy, as blunt as ever, said, "Yep!" Dadan snorted.
"Whatever. Damn brats…" She squeezed them once before letting them go. "Well? Get your asses inside! We were just about to have lunch anyway.. BUT YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED THAT MUCH. YOU'RE GETTING DINNER YOURSELVES!" she growled at them.
"Meat!" Luffy shouted before running inside. His brothers followed after him, all eager for food. Dogra and Mogra went in next, worried about them causing a mess. Raised voices sounded as the other bandits, who'd been wondering what all the noise was about, greeted their guests.
Dadan didn't immediately follow, choosing instead to watch them all go in. Feeling herself smiling slightly, she muttered, "Welcome home, my idiot boys." She started walking back in. Typical of them to come home and bring all this damn noise, she thought. For once, though, she didn't really mind the noise. It felt right.