"Ace! Come on, we got to go! What are you doing?!" Various members of the Whitebeard crew all yelled when they saw their brother, the one they came here to rescue, stop running and turn back towards the enemy.
"Ace!" Luffy yelled. He knew what was happening, and he didn't like it. Why did Ace always have to do this? Why.
"You don't talk about Pops that way." Ace growled as he stalked back towards the Admiral who was currently smirking like he just won the lottery. "You have no right to even speak his name!" He yelled as his shoulders caught fire.
"Your precious 'Pops' is a coward. A weak old man." Akainu continued to taunt as Ace prowled closer and closer.
"Not again." The Whitebeards closest heard Luffy mutter before he started to get more desperate in his attempts to get Ace's attention the closer Ace got to the Admiral determined to 'rid the world of his tainted bloodline'.
Ace ignored him, something that shocked the Whitebeards, with all the times they had heard Ace talking about his beloved little brother, they didn't think it was possible for Ace to deny Luffy anything, yet here he was, ignoring his pleas for them to just GO. That he was also ignoring their pleas as well... and apparently this wasn't the first time Luffy saw Ace do something like this.
When Luffy tried to run after Ace, one of the second division members held him back. With all the fighting the kid did today, and with opponents so much stronger than himself, everyone was amazed he could still stand, much less try to keep fighting.
Finally, just as Ace was about to launch himself at Akainu, Luffy yelled, "Don't make me lose the only brother I have left! Don't leave like Sabo!"
Ace froze. Then he had to jump out of the way just in time to avoid a magma fist. Marco took this as his chance to get between the two of them while Ace turned to Luffy.
Nobody heard Iva muttering, "Sabo? They can't be talking about..."
"Don't leave me." Luffy whispered, staring at his big brother. The broken look on his face made Ace's heart break and brought him back to his senses. What was he doing? He was about to risk leaving Luffy behind... the little idiot he promised to protect, the little idiot he raised and loved with everything he had.
He looked back at Akainu, then at Luffy before he decidedly turned his back on the Admiral and ran to join Luffy, who was finally let go of so Ace could grab him in a quick hug. "Sorry about that, Lu. I forgot myself for a minute there." He whispered in his ear. He pulled back and gave Luffy a grin. "Let's get out of here. I can get him another day, when I'm stronger and we've all had time to recover. Let's go!" He yelled to the rest of his crew. They all cheered and started running for the boats again with Marco and the rest of the commanders covering them from behind.
As they ran, Ace wasn't the only one who glanced back at Pops body, still standing tall and proud, with his tattoo proudly on display on his unscarred back.
Unfortunately, getting away wasn't turning out to be easy.
The Marines seemed desperate not to let them get away, with the captains and officials sending their men out to fight them in waves, with no regard at all for their men's lives. Ace passed one Marine crouching on the ground, rocking back and forth holding his head, muttering for someone to make it stop. He heard another Marine in the same position on the ground demand to know what they were even fighting for, he saw another Marine call for a doctor, only for a Captain come by and put the poor man out of his misery before ordering the one who called for a doctor to chase the Whitebeard's and leave the wounded behind. They would take care of the wounded after every single Whitebeard was destroyed.
Ace never saw it coming, he was too focused on getting his family out of there, too focused on Luffy and Marine attacks from the sides.
One minute, he's running, the next, Jinbe was standing over Luffy with his arms wrapped around the rubber boy as he took a direct hit from a magma covered fist. The fist went straight through him, even touching Luffy.
"LUFFY!" Ace yelled, Marco and Izo showed up and got Akainu away from them as Ace and a few others from the Second Division rushed to grab the two injured pirates. Ace took Luffy while the rest of the division took Jinbe. Ace was no doctor, but even he could tell it was bad. He couldn't even bring himself to care that he had no idea where Luffy's hat flew off to. He figured he could always get a message to Garp later about finding it and getting it to him.
Once they finally reached the boats, they found a strange looking boat alongside it. "Give them to me, I'm a doctor." The man standing on its deck said.
"Your Trafalgar Law. How can I trust you with him?" Ace yelled, as the pirates around them worked at keeping the Marines away while their family boarded the boats.
"I can go with them, Captain. You need to stay with the rest of the crew though. We need our commanders to decide what next." Dusty said. Dusty was Ace's first mate back when he was captain of the Spade Pirates. Even now, a couple of years later, he refused to call Ace anything other than captain, he said his captain was Ace, and Whitebeard was his Pops.
Ace hesitated and looked down at Luffy in his arms. "Ace! He needs medical attention now! And all our doctors are in the New World." Marco yelled as he kept fighting. Ace looked over at them before he gritted his teeth and handed Luffy over to Dusty.
"You call us, as soon as he wakes up. You tell us where you are. You tell me how he is. Alright?" Ace ordered Dusty.
Law frowned at hearing he was going to have to host a Whitebeard for a while, but he didn't say anything. It was kind of hard to argue with a protective fire man who also happened to be the infamous Second Division Commander of the Whitebeard Pirates, Portgas D. Ace. Or rather, Gol D. Ace.
As Dusty got on with Luffy, he laid him out on the stretcher that was waiting while some of Laws men grabbed Jinbe. He took a quick look at his new patients and make a quick decision that Luffy was in more immediate danger. As they sailed away, "Shanks?" Law breathed when he saw Red-Haired Shanks show up and stand between the Marines that were left and the Whitebeard pirates.
He watched as Shanks knelt down and picked something up, if Law strained himself, he could just make out the tan and red colors of Strawhats hat. He watched as he spoke with the clown that was flying around (ok...) then tossed the hat to the clown who then started flying after him and his ship just as his crew started yelling at him to come inside so they could go under already.
He waited just long enough for the clown to throw him the hat before he finally came inside, wondering again why he was doing this.
Back on Marineford, Ace watched the submarine taking his brother away and hoped he made the right call. Then he turned back to the fight that was still going on, only to see the sea being frozen as Aokiji joined the rush to keep the Whitebeard's from getting away. He cursed and jumped down to the ice surface to see what he could about melting it away enough for them to get out there, or at least to keep it from trapping the boat that Luffy was on.
He turned and shook his head to his crew when he found the ice was too thick for him to melt fast enough. Jumping back up to shore to keep fighting, he saw Shanks had arrived. "Shanks!" Both him and Marco yelled, standing between the Marines and their crew.
Shanks stopped walking and knelt down to pick up something by his feet.
Ace sucked in a breath. "Luffy's hat." He started to go forward to claim it from the Yonko, he knew about the deal Luffy and Shanks had with him. He knew Shanks was a man of his word, but he still felt that Shanks having that hat right then was breaking their deal in some way. Marco held him back just in time for a clown pirate to come flying up to Shanks and start yelling at him. They all sweat-dropped when they heard that this clown and Shanks used to be crewmates on the Oro Jackson. Finally, Shanks tossed the hat to Buggy, and asked him to go toss that to Trafalgar before they got too far away. Which he did, grumbling and complaining the whole way.
"I'm putting an end to the fighting here and now! This has gone on long enough! If you want to keep fighting anymore, then you will have to fight us!" Shanks announced, as he came to stand between the Marines and Whitebeards.
He narrowed his eyes on Akainu. "So, do you want to go against two Yonko crews? I believe your men have had enough with just one." He said, looking around at the destruction with a raised eyebrow. Sengoku and Garp finally showed up by this time, and Sengoku looked around too. Finally, he nodded. "Go. Get out of our sight. Unfreeze their ship! They probably would have figured out a way to get out anyway. Blasted Gol's and Monkey's. I can never get a break from those families." He muttered as he turned his back. "Akainu! Leave them be!" He said sharply as his Observation Haki detected Akainu preparing to attack again.
Before he got too far, Shanks called. "And give us the bodies! We won't have you making trophies out of them, we will ensure their proper burial." Sengoku looked back and sighed.
"Take them!" He yelled as he continued moving away. Ace and Marco looked at each other.
"Start searching the battle field for bodies! I'm not sure what to do about Oars, though..." Marco ordered. Right away, the other commanders went with their divisions while the Red-Hair pirates stayed behind to make sure the Marines didn't do anything funny. It took all of the second division to get Whitebeard's body, after which they spread out to find those of their division that didn't make it. Unfortunately, there was nothing they could do about those that fell into the bay when they had been trapped and Akainu was raining meteor's on them.
The Red-Hair Pirates waited until all the Whitebeard's were back on their boat before they went to theirs and sailed alongside the Whitebeards. When they got a little farther out, they saw that the water's were full of rookie pirate ships, all of them watching the battle from a distance, trying to see the outcome. They all knew that this battle would change the world.
Every single one of the rookie ships was completely silent as they watched the Whitebeard's and Red-Hair's sail past, with Ace and the rest of the commander's standing at the figure-head with Pops body behind them.
The silence was broken when a Second-division member ran up, another one of Ace's old crew that refused to call him anything but captain. "Dusty just called! He said they were heading for Amazon Lily with the Kuja Pirates. Boa Hancock has offered Luffy her protection." Ace nodded. Marco said, "Then that's where we will go to regroup for a couple of days. We will have to send our allies out to make sure our islands are safe..."
"What's the point? Pops is gone!" Somebody yelled.
"Yeah, he is. But he is still our Pops. And when he offered those islands his protection, they became his children, just like we are. They became our brothers and sisters. We can't just abandon them." Ace yelled right back. Then he swallowed. "I'm sorry, everybody. I'm sorry all this ever happened. I never meant to cause so much trouble, I..."
Marco laid a hand on his arm. "It's alright, Ace. Like you just said, you are our brother, and we couldn't just abandon you."
Ace ducked his head. Then he raised his head and his hands and shot a fiery Whitebeard symbol into the sky. "Pops is gone now. I think the best thing we can do, is stick together. Continue on, in Pops name. Some of us will have to head for Water 7, get a new ship commissioned, but we are still the Whitebeard pirates, we will show them what makes us so strong."
The Whitebeards and allies cheered.
Ace smiled, even as he heard the navigator's set a course for Amazon Lily. He had his second family around him, even if some faces were gone never to return, and he was going to made sure his first family was alright.
They normally avoided talking about Sabo, it was too painful. But right now, Ace couldn't be happier Luffy brought him up.