So I realized earlier today that it was Ace's birthday and I probably ought to celebrate it some way! Therefore, I present these small drabbles of AU's that present a variety of ways that Ace might have seen Luffy's bounty poster! Happy Birthday Ace-san!
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece or any of its characters. That honor belongs to the magnificent mangaka Odacchi without whom none of these wonderful characters, stories, and worlds exist. Happy Birthday Oda-sensei!
Five Ways a Bounty Poster Was Never Seen
The bounty poster was almost overlooked, what with the insignificant bounty and the peaceful sea from which the pirate originated. It was the grin that caught his eye and made his breath catch in his throat. The cheerful open honest grin that could barely contain the joy and freedom evident on the boy's face. The grin and that familiar straw visible on the smiling boy's head.
"It can't be." He whispered and gently touched the bounty poster's picture.
"What's the fuss?" A rough voice growled.
He turned and smiled wearily at the wolf Zoan's contemptuous scowl.
"Nothing." Gol D. Ace, CP 9 Special Agent, performed a polished, practiced smile that didn't quite reach his eyes, "Just another pirate scum."
Inwardly, a fond glow warmed his stomach.
So you became a pirate after all, Luffy!
"What?" The previously-napping pirate raised his head irritably from his breakfast plate, dripping with eggs and sauce, "Can't a guy eat his meal in peace around here?"
"Sorry, Ace. It's just that Headquarters sent us some new bounties."
"And? They do that every week. It's not like I have to go after every stupid rookie that hoists up a pirate flag, just 'cause I'm a Shichibukai!"
"It's just, you might want to take a look at this one."
He saw the cheerful grin of the boy with the straw hat on the bounty poster and a broad grin stretched over his freckled face. The youngest Shichibukai, Portgas D. Ace, declared a celebration right then and there, which his crew eagerly concurred. Drink and laughter poured easily on the ship as the young captain was congratulated on his brother's ascension to piracy.
So you finally came, Luffy!
His face was warped in a fearsome scowl as he strode stormily down the halls of Marine Headquarters. Damn that Sengoku! Was he doomed to continually have his bloodline shoved in his face every time he went against orders? As if he didn't know that it was only thanks to Vice-Admiral Garp that he was in the Marines to begin with, instead of rotting in some prison or immediately put to death thanks to his notorious father!
He paused by the new bounty posters that were hung by the atrium. Maybe he'd be able to take out his aggressions by capturing some hotshot rookie. One of the pictures caught his eye and his foul mood almost immediately lifted.
The cheerful boy pirate looked so out of place next to the scowling and sneering criminals that littered the wall around him. His guileless grin stretched from cheek-to-cheek and he raised his hand to nonchalantly greet the photographer. Hardly the face of a pirate worth 30 million, one of the highest bounties from the peaceful East Blue!
Commodore Gol D. Ace studied the poster with a strange mixture of pride and dread.
Pray we never have to meet in battle, Luffy!
He trudged wearily up to his home, sweat long-since dried and plastering his flyaway hair to his face. He'd been forced to take off his shirt for the heat of the day and his shoulders were peeling and red due to the heat of the merciless sun. His feet were caked with mud, and his calloused filthy hand supported the simple hoe against his shoulder.
It wasn't easy, the life of a farmer out here on Odessa Eer. But for all its hardships, there was a simple joy in the hard daily work among his friends, feeling the warm earth beneath his feet, washing down the day's bread with a cold mug of beer at the bar… So his friends had been surprised at his sudden scowl at the sight of the new bounty poster pasted to the earthen wall of their tavern and his sudden departure.
He slumped in his chair, seated in his plain yet clean kitchen and stared at the newspaper before him. A long-suppressed feeling arose in his at the sight of the reckless idiotic boy waving cheerfully at the camera, ignoring the chaotic battle around him. Was this how his mother felt, keeping track of his crazy father's exploits as she waited for him?
He'd once promised never to live a life that he'd regret, and he still abided by that. Hardly the adventurous, chaotic life his little brother led, but it was a good one.
He smiled almost with a hint of pride as he raised the glass of sake in honor of Straw Hat Luffy, a world away but family still.
"Good luck, little brother." Portgas D. Ace whispered as the warm liquid scalded his throat and warmed his chest.
Live the life you choose, Luffy.
Not many a man would have had the guts to barge in on the infamous Revolutionary Dragon. Even fewer would have rushed in, an eager grin on his face, shouting,
"Hey, old man, you'll never guess what I found!"
The grim tattooed face just came up to glare at him in deadpan.
"Exactly how many times have I told you not to call me that?" Dragon asked dryly.
"Aw lighten up, old man! Just look at this!" The eager young man smiled cheerfully as he lifted the bounty poster, his grin almost identical to that of the young pirate waving cheekily in the picture.
The world-famous revolutionary's face lost its habitual scowl and an unbidden soft smile showed through at the sight of the boy's bounty.
"They say he's headed to Loguetown. Should I tell the men you're going for a walk?" The young man asked knowingly.
"Hn." The Revolutionary rose from his desk and put a hand on his protégé's shoulder.
"This doesn't leave this room." He said quietly.
He gave a brief nod in reply.
"I'll look after things while you're gone." The young revolutionary promised as his leader quietly lifted his hood and left.
Neither of them would ever risk of the life of the boy, even now that he was making way across the Grand Line as an infamous pirate. Even so, they would wait and watch him from the shadows with pride. Perhaps one day, when Luffy was strong enough to withstand whatever the World Government threw at him, they would reunite as a family.
For now, Portgas D. Ace, Second-in-Command of Dragon's Revolutionary forces, could only smile with hidden pride at the sight of his little brother's wanted poster.
Let's meet soon, Luffy!
Ace: You call this a birthday present?
Killslay *hurt*: You don't like it?
Ace: I'm completely miserable in most of them! Would it kill you to write about something happy concerning me for once?
Killslay: Jeez, it's not like I'm as bad as Odacchi when it comes to you!
Ace *first furious, but then considering*: Point taken...
Killslay: Besides, I'm probably going to do much worse to poor Luffy in "Grace of a P-"
Ace *grabs Killslay in a chokehold*: Do and die!
Killslay *darting out of hold with a piece of seastone*: Just for that, I'll follow up on the "Blackbeard kidnaps Luffy" plotline just to add some drama!
Ace *roaring furiously*: Get back here!
Yes, I am working on "Grace of a Pirate" but I'm a little busy right now, what with school and incoming graduating exams to worry about. Happy New Year to everyone! May the 2010 be fresher, newer, and open to countless possibilities!