Disclaimer: I don't own anything from One Piece!

WARNING: This is a prequel to an upcoming fic called Pirate's Trove. This fic is an Ace x Luffy fic, so if you don't like this kind of pairing then don't read. And please, no flames.

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A tall, freckled eleven year old boy gave a sigh as he and his little brother walked home from school. His name was Portgas D. Ace, and if you asked anyone that knew of him they'd tell you he was a brilliant boy. He did very well in school (so much that he had been promoted to the eighth grade already), he was handsome, and through family connections could have a promising future in the military, like his grandfather.

But if you asked about his little brother, Monkey D. Luffy, you'd find your answers quite different from Ace. Luffy was a scrawny boy, but rather adorable with his cute face and simplistic nature. He never really did too well in school, not that he was really stupid, it was more like he really didn't care for what they were teaching. Many of the other children would find him weird and would constantly pick fights with him (he'd get blamed for starting the fights) and was branded a notorious trouble maker.

The brothers D. were almost exact opposites of each other, but regardless of that fact the two were very close.

"Ace…Does Gramps hate us?" Luffy asked as he followed his big brother.

"Huh…? No…he just wants us to go into the military like him…" Ace then noticed the confused look on his little brother's face. "Don't worry about it Lu…Gramps is just weird…"

"He makes you do a lot of stuff though…" Luffy pointed out.

Ace gave a small laugh. "You'll be joining me soon…"

Luffy looked a little worried. "No way!" He then stuck his tongue out at Ace.

The older boy just laughed harder. "Well just you wait…When you're older Gramps is going to make you train with me…"

Luffy then looked thoughtful for a moment. "Will he be nicer to you then?"

"Nicer?" Ace said looking a little confused.

"Will he stop making you do so much stuff?"

"Maybe…" Ace said.

"Then…I'll try to grow up fast…" Luffy said suddenly.

Ace looked at him a little surprised. "What?"

"If I grow up…Gramps won't be so mean to you…right?" Luffy asked.

Ace smiled, pulled Luffy into a playful headlock and ruffled his already messy hair. "You silly goof…"

"Hee, hee, hee!" Luffy managed to slip out of Ace's grip and ran ahead.

"Hey! Wait up Lu!" Ace chased after him.

The two raced their way back home. Ace had reached the door first and rushed inside.

"Nyah…Still faster!" he teased.

Luffy leaned against the wall and panted heavily. "No fair…"

Ace just laughed.

"Boys?" called a voice from the kitchen.

Both boys froze for a moment, it was their grandfather.

Garp then walked into the hallway. "Good to see you two finally got home…Ace, get in your work clothes, we've got training to do…"

"But I got a lot of homework tonight!" Ace protested.

"You'll have time to do it after training, now march!"

Ace grumbled and marched upstairs to his room.

-three years later…-

As the years passed Garp became harder on Ace, he kept pushing Ace to work harder at his training and his studies. These days it was obvious that it was taking it's toll on the boy.

It was raining and Luffy was on his way home from school. He still wasn't doing too well, he was just barely passing and the fights had gotten even worse. But the worst part of it all was that there was no Ace to walk with him. The rain pelted down at him hard, it was beginning to soak through his hoody sweater. It didn't matter though, he'd be home soon, although if he had a choice he'd choose the rain over home any day.

Luffy reached the house and sighed before going in. 'Please don't let Gramps and Ace be in another fight…' He then went in.

Surely enough the house was surprisingly quiet.

Luffy blinked confusedly. Odd, usually he'd be welcomed by the squabbling of gramps and Ace. Luffy sighed, it could only mean only one thing. He walked into the living room and sure enough there has Ace lying on the floor. He must have had another narcoleptic fit. Luffy crouched next to his brother and began poking him in the side.

Ace squirmed a little, he was ticklish in his sides. "….Stop it…" he groaned. He then sat up, looked at Luffy, and blinked for a moment. "Where the old fart go?"

Luffy grinned and shrugged.

Ace rolled his eyes. "Of course you wouldn't know…you don't know much of anything…"

"Hey!"

Ace then spotted an envelope Luffy's hand. "Another parent teacher conference? Luffy…"

Luffy averted his eyes from his brother.

Ace frowned. "Luffy…I know you're not really stupid! So stop acting like it!"

Luffy didn't say anything.

The two weren't so close anymore, there was so much pressure on Ace these days. Luffy, although strong, didn't quite meet their grandfather's expectations, Garp still had intensions of having both boys going into the military, but had much higher expectations for Ace than he did Luffy. Garp was always pushing Ace to do well in school and his training. It was getting to be too much for the boy, he had began arguing and talking back to Garp, and even sometimes taking out his frustrations on Luffy. It all had drove a good sized wedge between the D. brothers.

"………………I'm hungry…" Luffy said suddenly.

Ace blinked. "……Lu! You're not changing the subject! I-"

Luffy's stomach then gave a threatening growl. The younger boy then gave a look that'd rival a sad kitten.

Ace's eyebrow gave an irritated twitch. "Fine…I'll fix you something…God knows if you tried to cook you'd burn the house down…"

Soon the two were eating together.

"So what did you do this time?" Ace said, referring to the letter Luffy had.

"…There was another fight…I beat up someone bad…"

"Luffy!" Ace gave and irritated sigh. "Why don't you just walk away?"

"I did! But he followed and threw rocks at me!"

Ace was then quiet. He knew a lot of the other kids liked to pick on his little brother, because he was childish and at first glance he looked like a push over. But now it was getting a little out of hand, often enough he'd see Luffy come home with a scratch on his face or a few scrapes on his arms and legs, then there was that one day he came home with a deep cut under his left eye, the scar is still there today.

"Why don't you're teachers do anything?" Ace asked.

Luffy shrugged and continued to eat.

Suddenly they heard the door open.

"Boys? You home" It was their grandfather.

Ace frowned. "Great…just what I don't need…"

Garp then walked into the kitchen. "There you are, get you ready you two, you got a few miles to run, then go though the obstacle course a few times…then…" Garp continued to ramble off.

Both boys gave a groan.

-Later…-

Luffy wobbled into his room and collapsed on to the bed. He was exhausted. It wasn't long before sleep claimed him.

Later that night, Ace stormed into the house, quickly followed by a furious Garp.

"Gramps, for the last fucking time, I'm not going into the damn military!" Ace shouted.

Luffy stirred slightly from his sleep. "Hmm…? Ace…?" he said groggily. Luffy sat up, he could hear people marching up the stairs next to his room.

"Don't talk to me like that boy!" Garp yelled. "I didn't raise you to be a defiant little punk!"

"I don't care what you want! That's all you care about! Have you ever thought about what me and Luffy want!?"

"You're both children! You don't know what you want!"

Luffy blinked and carefully made his way to the door. He was a little scared, Ace had been acting weird for a while now, he had been talking back to gramps and would sometimes even snap at him if he caught him in a bad mood. Luffy was now at the door.

"You stupid old man!"

Luffy flinched slightly at his brother's shout. This was the angriest he had ever seen Ace. And even though he tried his best not to, he could feel himself begin to cry, he was scared, he was actually scared of Ace.

Hearing the sobs of his younger brother Ace looked over his shoulder and saw the crying little boy. "What's your problem!?" he snapped.

Luffy began to sob harder, he tried his hardest to stop but he couldn't, the sobs just kept forcing themselves out. "A…A…Ace…"

Ace growled slightly, stomped over, grabbed Luffy by the shoulders and pulled him in front of him. "Luffy! Stop crying!"

The poor little boy only cried harder.

Ace finally had lost all patience, he began shaking Luffy roughly. "I said stop Cryi-" He wasn't sure how it happened, but suddenly Ace felt the younger boy slip from his grasp.

Luffy's eyes went wide with confusion and fear as he fell back.

Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud! Thud!

Ace winced when he heard a disgusting "crack!" when his brother finally came to a halt at the bottom of the stairs. Ace's eyes widened with ghastly fright as he stared at Luffy's limp body.

"Ace…" Garp said quietly. "What've you done…?"

Ace suddenly found himself breathing in quick short gasps. He then let out the most blood curdling scream.

Luffy groaned as he opened his eyes, he was in a bright, white place. He could feel that he was laying on something soft and comfortable. He wanted to sit up, but he felt dazed and a little dizzy. Just then he realized something, his left arm was stiff, he couldn't really move it.

"Your arm's broken." said a voice out of nowhere, in a flat tone.

Luffy forced himself to sit up, next to his hospital bed was Ace sitting in a chair. Luffy gave a confused blink. "How did that happen?"

'Well the doctor did say he hit his head pretty hard…' Ace then looked away from his little brother. It actually hurt knowing that it was his fault. "…I…accidentally…pushed you down the stairs…I was fighting with Gramps and…Well…look what happened. And I know have to take anger management."

Luffy's eyes widened, it all came back to him.

Ace noticed this and braced him self for whatever Luffy might say or do.

Surprisingly, nothing came, Luffy just remained silent.

Ace bit his lip. What was going on in that kid's head? He had to be pissed, I mean come on, he broke his freaking arm for crying out loud! Any normal person would be furious!

"………………Sorry Ace…"

But then again, Luffy was not a normal person.

"Why are you sorry!?" Ace nearly shouted.

Luffy flinched a little at his brother's sudden outburst.

Ace then tried to calm down. "I…I'm the one that should be sorry…" He bit his lip again, he could feel his heart ache as he thought of what could have happened if they hadn't been lucky. "Luffy…I could've killed you…" Ace was near tears, the whole incident must have really disturbed him.

Luffy stared at Ace for a moment. A small smile crept upon his childish lips. "…………I don't care."

Ace looked up at him in surprise. "……W-what…?"

"You didn't mean to do it…" Luffy said simply. "And besides…I love you."

For some reason Ace felt his heart skip a beat at those words. "L-Lu…"

Luffy then tilted his head to the side, looking like a playfully curious kitten. "Ace…your face is all red…"

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VTM: There's chapter 1, sorry if it seems a little rushed.