A Dream

By: Kuroi Neko-kun

Summary: A high fever hits Shanks, causing the captain to be in a near comatose state. In his mind, he dreams about five little kids who help him through. But will it be enough to bring the red-haired pirate to reality?

Disclaimer: I don't own them, but I would like to. Can I at least have Shanks? Please?

A/N: Since ff.net ruins the usual paragraphing, this "~~~" means it's a new paragraph.

-------------------------------------------------------

The cigarette was left hanging on his lips as he stared at his crew member, who was changing fresh water in the basin before placing a wet cloth on their captain's head. He had fallen sick with an unusually high fever and was more asleep than awake. The first mate had seen his fair share of this illness on the ship and many others. Not many ever wake up from it. Most just die from the heat alone. He was not prepared for his captain to catch it. Ben stared at the redhead, who seemed to be trying to fend off 'demons' in his dreams. Ben knew the only way for Shanks to be awakened was through his dreams. The raven-haired pirate prayed that his captain would wake up… soon.

~~~

He clawed his way out of the dark cave, feeling the fear of not seeing light of day again. Shanks made his way out with his only arm, only to feel a tug. Something was pulling him out.

"Man, you're heavy…" Shanks turned to see a green-haired boy, no older than nine, panting. He realized it was the kid who pulled him out/ "What do you think you were doing in there? Only I'm supposed to be here!" Shanks could not help grinning.

"Cocky little kid, aren't you?" the boy gave him a look.

"You never answered my question…" Shanks blinked before wondering it himself. What was he doing in a dark cave? How did he even get there?

"I don't know," he finally answered, scratching his head, turning to the kid who had stood up.

"Someone might be able to help you in the village," the green-haired boy pointed to the direction of the village. Shanks gave that thought before getting up as well.

 "Thanks, kid." He turned to face the boy but he was gone. The redhead blinked before heading to the direction the boy pointed to. Maybe they would meet again.

~~~

He had walked for hours, thinking that he might be going to wrong way. Maybe he was not supposed to see the village at all.

"Oi, oji-san!" He turned to see a long nosed kid grinning at him.

"You're a funny looking kid. Where are you from?" The boy did not answer. Instead he puffed his chest.

"I'm the great village leader! You have to bow to me before you can get your answers!" A smile twitched onto the captain's face.

"Sou da na?" He tapped at the boy's nose," stop lying or your nose will grow longer."

"Oi, you can't do that to the great village leader!" Shanks started laughing, tickled by the boy's enthusiasm.

"Gomen, gomen…" he said stifling his laughter," I need to find the… err… I mean your village." The boy smiled, grabbing him by the arm.

"Follow me!"

"Oi, slow down!"

~~~

The boy brought him to a village, much like the village that he had used for a base. His mind instantly thought of Luffy.

"This is it, oji-san…" Shanks blinked, noticing that the village was deserted. There was not a single sound of life except for the ghostly ones made by the wind.

"Where is everybody?" he asked, turning to the boy, realizing that he too, had disappeared. Just like the green-haired one. Shanks sighed, walking around the village. He knew it had been raided and most of the villagers were either killed or captured. It was then when Shanks heard a muffled cry. He walked down a dark alley, to the source of the voice. There he saw, an orange-haired girl crying at the corner. He walked up to her. "Daijoubu da?" he asked, startling the little girl.

"Anata dare?" she asked, backing away," you're not with those monsters, are you?"

"Monsters?"

"Yeah, they took everyone and my friend… he's a great cook and because of that, he's forced to cook for them," she mumbled, wiping a tear. Shanks took out a handkerchief from his pocket. She took it, thanking him before wiping her tears.

"Can you show me where your friend is?" he asked. The girl nodded.

~~~

With the girl in hand, Shanks walked to the tavern. Whoever these people are, they cannot just take over a village and make it their own. Shanks never did that, even though he was a pirate. He preferred coexisting than forcing to submit. She turned to the girl.

"You go hide. I'm going to go inside and save your friend, okay?" She nodded before running off. He searched for the kitchen entrance. He could sneak in and out with the friend, hopefully. He peeked at the window, seeing a small blonde boy, chopping some vegetables. He acted casual, even with a metal ball chained to his leg. Shanks blinked. This had to be the friend the girl was talking about.

"What's taking the food so long?!" he heard someone shout. That someone entered, barking orders at the kid, who never seemed to be bothered by anything. Shanks was trying his best not to gasp. The person was not a person at all… it was a monster. The girl was not lying. He admired the boy who just worked without bothering. But Shanks saw the flinch every time he had to move his leg that was chained. Shanks waited for the 'monster' to leave the kitchen before sneaking in.

"Hey kid," he mumbled. The boy turned to him.

"I can't talk to you right now…" Shanks gave the kid a look.

"Why are you still working here? Can't you just leave?" The boy shook his head before returning to his vegetables.

"It's my job. I feed people who are hungry," the boy muttered.

"Those aren't people out there!" Shanks hissed," are you planning to chain yourself as a cook, boy? You could be much grander than that. Very much…" The boy finally looked up.

"How?"

"The All Blue…" He saw the twinkle in the boy's eyes. He knew what Shanks was talking about. "You want to be bigger, kid, you have to be free." Finally, the kid nodded, letting Shanks work on the chain. As he got the manacles free from the blonde boy, something struck his head. He fell, not without making sure the kid made a break for it.

"Run, kid!"

~~~

"You owe us a cook!" The monster leader pointed out, pulling a tied up Shanks to the edge of a cliff. Shanks looked down not liking the idea of falling. Shanks turned to the horde of monsters in front of him.

"I don't owe you anything, demon. Enslaving a little kid is not yours for jurisdiction," Shanks pointed out.

"Shut up!" the demon leader shouted, turning to his men," Throw him off!"

~~~

The feeling off falling was not something Shanks liked experiencing, especially off a cliff. He was certain of his death as he felt closed his eyes, preparing for the impact.

"I got you!" he heard a familiar voice shouting. A tug stopped him from dropping to the ground. Shanks let out a sigh of relief before turning around to see who had saved him. It was only an arm, a rubber arm.

"Luffy…" he mumbled as he was slowly pulled up to the top. When he was on ground again, the little girl worked on his binds, smiling at him. Shanks glanced around to see the three boys he had met earlier standing over a field of fallen demons. The green-haired one placed his swords into the sheaths again.

"Daijoubu ka, Shanks?" He turned to the familiar voice. The seven-year-old rubber boy grinned at him. Shanks nodded, staring at the boy. He had missed seeing Luffy.

"Luffy," he mumbled getting up.

"Shanks," the boy said his voice now a lot deeper. Shanks looked up to see the older version of the rubber boy. Behind him were the other kids, only older, much more mature. All of them were smiling at him.

"Don't die now," the girl winked at him.

"We still have to meet," the green haired one said.

"And taste my food," the blonde smirked, lighting a cigarette.

"You'll see my ship!" The long nosed one grinned. Luffy placed his straw hat on his head.

"I have to return this to you," the rubber boy said," so wake up, Shanks."

~~~

He opened his eyes, inviting the light that shone the room. Shanks touched the wet cloth on his head, remembering the fever he had. Those kids in his head… Luffy… It was a dream, Shanks knew. But he smiled, glad that he had it.

"You're finally awake." Shanks turned to face Ben who was smiling.

"Yeah," he mumbled," I can't die yet." The first mate gave him a look. "Not when I still have to see Luffy become the King of Pirates…" Ben smiled before nodding.

"Then, we'll make sure of it."

-------------------------------------------------------