on the waves

Notes: For 30kisses theme #5, ano sa.

When they meet again, Ace is older and Luffy is not. Luffy is taller, more lines and less roundness, and he is still exactly the same child Ace remembers, the same little brother with the same dream.

It is only a little while, and it is interrupted by Smoker, but Ace does not mind too much. He cannot mind because he has not seen Luffy in three years, and his brother's precious face, still wide-eyed and naïve in its own way, is worth everything.

The feel of Luffy's skin stays with Ace long after he has left to continue his own quest.

Luffy is not an easy child, and Ace is not an understandable one. Somehow, together, they fit together perfectly. Ace can make everything alright for Luffy, and Luffy knows Ace intuitively, without needing to see.

When Luffy cuts himself under his eye, it is Ace who talks to their mother for Luffy, and it is Ace who cleans it. Later, it is Ace who fights with him, who makes himself stronger to make Luffy stronger, to be able to protect Luffy if he must. And when Ace leaves, Luffy lets him because he understands.

"Hey, you know..." Ace begins the night before he leaves, and Luffy says, "I've always known." It will always be enough. No one else can be this way.

Ace lies beside Luffy, and he traces over the scar under Luffy's eye. He still remembers kissing Luffy there years ago, remembers it is the first time he kisses Luffy. Luffy is already asleep, but he puts his hand over Ace's, and everything is okay.