Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece or any of its characters.

Drowning In Blissful Insanity

There were times he just wanted to scream.

Maybe if he did, he would be able to feel something.

Because in here, in the suffocating, squeezing darkness, there is nothing.

No warmth. No air. No life.

He was cold, the icy chill biting and seeping into his bones, nipping, gnashing, shredding what remained there. If there was anything left.

The air was so thick and crusted with despair, blood and death that the weight of it pressed heavily on him. Even he could not block out the screams of his neighbors.

He licked his lips hungrily. They were cracked, bloodied and swollen. Still sore after the cheeky remark he gave one of his tormentors earlier.

Ribs poked through his pale skin. His stomach long ago had abandoned any hope to receive a morsel of food. The last time he got a "meal" was when his guards brought him a bowl full of bones, bile and urine. As a special gift to those on the death row, they said with a satisfied sneer.

He could taste the salt in the air, bitter and harsh. Burning his nostrils, making him cough. It scraped roughly against his parched throat and he ached for a drop of water. It clung to his skin, sticky and wet, like an extra coating. It stuck to his oppressing shackles, prickling the cuts on his wrists sharply, digging deeper each time he shifted.

When he was younger, freshly recruited in the ranks of Whitebeard, he was told many tales of this place. To scare him. To tease him.

About a prison. A dungeon. A cage.

They spoke of cells, coated in filth and crimson. Men crammed so tightly in that they could barely move. To the point, they all ganged up on each other, fighting desperately to survive, willing to get rid of the others to ensure they live another day. Their greed and selfishness was almost enough to disgust him.

Creatures of verminous teeth, black feathers and scarlet eyes swept through the desolate hallways, waiting impatiently for the next unfortunate soul to come across them. Their voices echoed murmurs and whispers of the past, some friendly, often cruel and scathing, a mimicry towards the prisoners. Monsters that prowled behind the walls and underneath the floors, so they would pray that they won't grab them, dragging them to the depths of their lairs.

There was several rooms, special rooms for the convicts, certain "entertainments" designed especially for them. Big, wide ones. Tiny, cramped ones. Ones full of poisonous needles, nails and pins. Some with snakes, scorpions, spiders, and rats. Many with assorted devices, all different sizes and shapes, all for the same purpose. Others with an eternity of mirrors, gruesome, broken reflections of those who look upon them. A few with nothing but white, to drive its occupant mad. Several with nothing but darkness, also to reduce their residents to mindless lunacy.

Different chambers for different sins and crimes committed.

Liars get their tongues ripped out.

Thieves are robbed of their limbs, before losing their minds.

Gluttons and drinkers forced to never eat or drink again.

Killers repay their deeds blood for blood.

And pirates, they're left to live.

But in the cruelest, most tormenting kind of life imaginable.

They sold their souls to gold and adventure. Therefore, they must pay up.

Now, he knew those tales weren't lies.

After all, he had experienced all those and more.

They may have his body. They may have his soul. But he refused to let them have his pride. It may be the only thing he had left in this forsaken place.

Several times, he reminded himself who he was. He was the captain of the second division in Whitebeard's crew. He was the son of Dragon, the infamous revolutionary, whose blood run fiercely through his veins, as much as he hated to admit. He was the son of his mother, whose blood also coursed through him, something of a comfort in contrast to his father's. He was the brother of Monkey D. Luffy, a potentially strong pirate, daring to be the Pirate King.

His loyalty for his captain. His hate for his father. His reverence for his mother. His love for his brother.

It was all he had to stop the hideous screams, the manic laughter, the craving insanity within him.

The guards often have bets to see which one would be the next to descend into madness, who would start breaking down, either sobbing uncontrollably or laughing wildly. He heard his name mentioned once or twice, as they walked by his cell, shooting snide glances at him to see if he was listening.

The darkness surrounding him enclosed tightly around him, so tightly he could barely breathe. Monsters, real and hidden ones, laid swathed in shadow and watchful, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Snarling, biting, devious creatures in the dark. Playing tricks on him, casting illusions, toying with his emotions, jeering at his misfortune, taunting his anguish.

It might have been years. It might have been days. He didn't know anymore. Each day a new horror, born from cruelty and sadism, would come to take a sickening pleasure in his torment. Testing to see how much longer before he broke and ravishing that he would bite his tongue and remain silent for another day.

Only for them to enjoy another session with him the next day.

It was but what seemed like yesterday (or only a short while ago), that they gleefully informed of the war that the World Government and Whitebeard declared. His captain was coming to rescue him and the Marines will be there to assure Whitebeard's defeat, carefully using Whitebeard's trust and compassion for his subordinates as his downfall.

So he, Portgas D. Ace, as the main chess piece of this delightfully wrenching tragedy, would inevitably bring Whitebeard to his defeat.

Of all things that broke him, it was the thought that Whitebeard, whom he saw and loved like a father, would fall at the hands of the World Government because of him.

Because he was not strong enough to beat Blackbeard.

Because he had so foolishly underestimated his opponent.

Because he was trapped and helpless.

It was knowing that if Whitebeard died trying to save him, he would never forgive himself.

As he laid in his cell,

Alone and broken,

He silently wished his death,

While the screams continued.

Again and again.

Echoing in the depths of his mind.