Title: Direction Decisions

Author: naniyo

Rating: G

Genre: Family, Humor

Disclaimer: I own nothing, I only salute you oh Oda-sensei, my personal Jesus.

Summary: Luffy gazed at his grandfather. Then he gazed at Ace. Then he tilted his head, confused. Was he suppost to choose?

A/N: I haven't been writing anything for YEARS and I wrote this pretty much on a whim. I know that according to the latest canon spoilers from Oda-sensei, Ace and Luffy didn't actually meet until later on but... call it artistic exemption. Nyah.
On some level I also saw this as Luffy's unconcious decision to follow in Ace's footsteps rather than Garp's. But that's just me.

Direction Decisions

Monkey D. Garp had been a very tired man lately. Which wasn't all that unexpected having two lively grandsons to look after 24 hours a day. Ace was already four years old and luckily a very bright child, so Garp didn't have to look after him nearly as much as his younger marine-to-be.

Luffy, had turned one a month ago and since then he'd been a whole day, all night long workout for the elder. Now, Luffy had always been a very loud, curious and animated child, much more so than his older brother. Because of that he had always been a handful for both Garp and Ace. But something changed after his first birthday. Luffy had become impossibly zappy and demanded constant attention.

Garp had found himself wishing that the boy would soon learn how to walk. If Luffy had a way of moving on his own he wouldn't need to cry half as much when he wanted to go somewhere, see something, or touch something. Or so he hoped. It was very exhausting since Luffy didn't want to stay put for longer than five seconds.

Thinking he had come up with a perfect solution, Garp had tried binding Luffy to his back while cleaning or cooking. It did keep the almost-toddler more quiet... for about ten minutes. After that it seemed Luffy had figured out that even though he was moving and seeing the world (mostly the kitchen) more broadly, he wasn't getting any attention.

Time for plan B.

Ace had been excused from his daily chores so he could give Luffy his undivided attention as long as possible. He played with his younger brother, bathed with him, stopped him from trying to eat everything that was on the floor and desperately tried to teach him how to walk. Well, at least Luffy had already learned how to stand up on his own feet. This plan worked very well for much longer than plan A, but gradually Garp noticed an undeniable issue.

For Ace was and had always been an extremely narcoleptic child. He could fall sound asleep during any daily need, eating, playing or even bathing. This proposed a problem since when Ace had a fit and fell asleep, Luffy's attendant and attention provider temporarily disappeared. Thus, more crying ensued.

Closing the tap and lifting the last cleaned plate on the shelf, Garp sighed. He was out of ideas and exhausted. Dinner was over for the day and all messes had been cleaned and dishes washed. Ace was currently on his and Luffy's room changing since his shirt had been stained with mashed potatoes and carrots after feeding the younger ball of endless energy. Luffy had clearly been upset from the lack of any meat in his food. He didn't like vegetables as much as meat.

After Ace had left to change Garp had started cleaning the dishes, leaving Luffy on the floor next to the dining table on his own. He was relieved, since from the first fork to the last plate the kitchen had been quiet excluding the running tap and clattering dishes.

It had been quiet. Extremely quiet. Unusually quiet.

Hastily Garp turned to glance at Luffy and felt his jaw drop all the way to the wooden floor. Luffy was standing and wobbling a bit. He had a very focused look in his eyes staring down at his own tiny feet. After a fierce staring, he moved his right foot foward.

Garp inhaled sharply.

Could it be...? Was Luffy... attempting to walk? The look on the toddler's face was confused and surprised, like he didn't really understand what had just happened and he continued ogling at his right foot, clearly ashtonised.

"Ace! Ace come quickly!" Garp bellowed eagerly trying to keep his voice down, as if a louder noise would snap the tiny terror from his foray.

Ace slogged to the kitchen, straightening his clean shirt and brushing a few strands of hair from his forehead.

"What now Gramps? You can't handle Luffy for one minute?"

"No! Look! I think he's trying to walk."

Ace immediately turned to look at his brother who had now successfully moved his left foot in front of his right one. Garp kneeled on the floor gesturing Luffy to come closer.

"Come on Luffy, come to Grandpa."

Luffy raised his eyes from his feet and at the exact same time he turned to look at his grandfather his knees buckled and he fell on his bottom.

Garp pouted.

"Don't distract him when he's concentrating, Gramps you daft", Ace sighed and sat on the floor at a decent distance from the sulking elder.

He held out his hands and turned to Luffy.

"Okay Luffy, come to big brother, you can do it, come on."

Luffy turned to look at Ace who was leisurely clapping his hands and held out his own tiny hands, smiling. Swaying mildly he stood up and slowly started to put a leg in front of the other. Garp cheered up right away after he noticed Luffy on his feet again.

"Come on Luffy, come to Grandpa", he said and grinned broadly. Ace frowned at him.

"Come to big brother Luffy, come to Ace."

After a whole four successful steps, Luffy gazed at his grandfather. Then he gazed at Ace. And his grandfather. And Ace. Both were gesturing him to come forward and to the spot they were sitting at. But they were both at least two meters apart.

Luffy tilted his head, confused, managing not to fall over at the same time.

"Come to Grandpa Luffy, come now, a little further", Garp groaned.

One step. Two steps. Three, four, five clumsy steps and Luffy groped Ace's face giggling. The freckled one smiled and took the smaller hands on his own.

"Good boy Luffy! Look at you, you did awesome", he laughed and embrased his younger brother who had closed his huge eyes and now smiled with a wide open mouth still giggling.


"Ite-!" Ace doubled over holding his head.

"WHY DOES HE COME TO YOU!" Garp roared and gazed at his oldest ward resentfully.

"Of course he does! Who would come to a scary geezer like you!?" Ace bellowed with flushed cheeks turning to face the elder marine. He was carefully fumbling the top of his head which now sprouted a very noticable bump. That had really hurt...

Suddenly he noticed that the gentle giggling sound had increased and turned towards the third party in the room.

Luffy was laughing and trying to childishly clap his chubby little hands. Garp bursted into a loud laughter.

"Look! He thinks it's funny!" He chuckled and whacked Ace over the head again.

Luffy giggled louder and avidly pointed at Ace's head. Ace narrowed his eyes at him and pouted. Wasn't Luffy on his side just a moment ago? Traitor.

"As... As.. Ascy" Luffy babbled clapping his hands.

Ace snapped out of his thoughts and his eyes widened. Luffy was speaking. Or attempting to speak at least. This was new. Luffy had always been a little slow when it came to verbal understanding or word producing. He was clearly more of an adventurer type of a child who cared more about interesting objects and shiny things rather than syllables and talking.

Could he possibly be all of a sudden saying his first words at the same day he took his first steps?

"Acey.. Asce.."

Ace beamed. He was. Luffy was saying his first words and he was trying to say his name!

Garp looked totally flabbergasted.

"Asce! ASCE!" Luffy shouted gleefully and held out his hands as if asking to be held. Ace lifted the squirming brother on his lap and forgot all about being upset. How could he when Luffy was parroting his name and fumbling his hair.

Finally Garp seemed to snap out of his shocked state and begun to frown.

"Why are his damn first words your name too..."

Ace lifted Luffy from his lap and stood up holding the now drool bubbles blowing kid to his chest. He turned to look at his grandfather and smirked.

"Because he likes ME best!"

"ASCE!" Luffy cried as if agreeing. Ace nodded his head towards Garp and strutted out of the kitchen with a giggling Luffy in his arms.

Garp sighed and collapsed on one of the dining chairs. Then he chuckled and rested his head on his right hand.

"Hmph... Those two are just too cute."

-Four years later-

It was pouring outside. The night sky was covered with nasty dark storm clouds allowing only the moon to appear from time to time. No stars were visible that night.

The raining didn't bother Luffy. He liked the rain, after it passed there were usually big puddles of water outside and he could go and jump from one to another and play. Puddles were great.

What Luffy didn't like was the occasional thunder that came with the raining. He didn't like it at all. And at the moment the thunder was very loud.

The thunder was also the reason why Luffy was tiptoeing out of his own room and towards Ace's. Whenever there was a thunderstorm and Luffy was afraid (because Luffy was never afraid... except of thunder) he would sneak into Ace's bed and sleep there the rest of the night. Usually Ace was already awake during storms so Luffy didn't really have to wake the eight-year-old up. Luffy knew Ace was awake because the older D. knew his younger brother might be scared, so he tended to wait for Luffy to climb to his bed, dive under the blanket and wrap his arms around him before he could fall asleep.

Suddenly there was a lightning and a loud peal from the sky. Luffy immediately freezed, having made his way only to the living room. The way to Ace's room was through the living room and to the right from the following corner. Slowly he started to make his way through the room all the while clenching desperately his night shirt with both hands.

"Where are you going at this time of night Luffy?"

Luffy shrieked and turned towards the old green armchair by the window so hastily that he could hear a snapping sound from his neck.

In the armchair sat his grandfather, Monkey D. Garp holding a whiskey glass on his right hand and a pair of watchful eyes on his youngest grandson.

"Uh, hi Gramps, um, I was just going to Ace's room.." Luffy mumbled and twiddled with his shirt. Garp raised a brow.

"Why? It's the middle of the night, you should be sleeping."

Luffy exhaled loudly and glanced at his feet swaying a bit on the spot. He was obviously feeling quite uncomfortable.

"Well, it's storming outside and... I don't like the thunder so... Ace lets me sleep with him when it gets loud and scary", he said and tried slowly to inch closer to the other side of the room.

"You're afraid of thunder?" Garp asked surprised, his brows rising high. Luffy nodded and hoped the elder would just let him go to Ace already. He was sure the next lightning would strike any minute now.

But he was pulled out of his thoughts when Garp placed his midnight drink on the table and turned more clearly towards him.

"Ahhh, but you can come to Gramps if you're scared~" Garp cooed and sprouted a disturbing pair of kissy lips spreading his arms towards Luffy as if waiting for a hug.

Frowning deeply, Luffy sweatdropped.

"Are you an idiot? Like I would you crazy geezer!" He stuck out his tongue and made his way quickly out of the living room, unsure if his grandfather would deliver him a piece of his fist of love or simply throw the whiskey at him for being ungrateful and rude. He wouldn't risk it. After all it wasn't so unheard of.

But Garp didn't make a move to pursue the young rascal. He collapsed on the armchair, defeated, and took a sip from his nightcap. Then he gazed out of the window to the bounding rain and a sudden lightning that illuminated his face to show the dramatic tears of rejection.

"He did it again..."

And that's all folks~! Cookies for everyone who R&Rs.