A/N: A little drabble for Ace and Luffy, in honor of the episode we all now is coming. My friend and I are still in mourning *wipes tears.* This can be related to my earlier story, I Regret (which is one of my older stories, so sadly the style is a bit dreadful. But, there's plenty of brotherly fluff.)

This week was kind of a downer for me, but I had a nice relaxing weekend to cheer myself up! Thank you to The Calling, for making the song, Wherever You Will Go, which inspired me to write this. Hope you enjoy:)

Warning:Spoilers for Chapter 574 and onwards.

Disclaimer: Do you see how sad this writing is? Don't you think I'd write a bit more cheerful if I owned One Piece? Don't you think Ace would have kicked Akainu's ass had I owned One Piece?

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A quiet numbness spread throughout his entire body. The searing pain that enveloped him only moments ago has faded; leaving behind the oddest sense of bliss.

He can't help but smile. It's a reflex; like breathing air or swallowing food. It must run in the family.

The last thing he sees through tear-blurred vision is his brother's face. However, the expression is so wrong on such a person. He has only been familiar with it a few times.

One, was when Sabo died.

It was then that Luffy, being the crybaby he was, had been found by himself out by the cliff overlooking the sea, tearfully swearing that he would become stronger no matter what. It was such a huge statement for one so young - and most might say it was an emotionally-induced promise.

But, whoever would assume such a thing would have a fist of fire slammed down their throat in the next minute. Because, from the bottom of his heart, Luffy had meant every word.

It was the exact look - the mixture of horrified realization and helpless agony - that had been on his brother's face right before he had died. His heart had wrenched at the sight of such an expression on someone who he had literally lived to make happy.

At the same time, he had been thrilled. Because, the fact that he could make such a face meant that he was alive. Living. He could feel the accelerated pulse beneath his own dying one as they held one another in his last moments of life.

That, had been enough. Enough to let him fall with a smile on his face.

Now, he waits, in a place where he thinks angels must fall to. Not that he's a saint; far from it, actually. He prided himself more in being a sinner. But this place is not Hell, he knows. Nor Heaven, which leads him to believe this is some forsaken purgatory he is destined to wait in.

Judgement day has arrived. He only briefly wonders what his sentence will be, before deciding he doesn't care.

Bored of the everlasting nothingness, and the other lost souls passing by, Ace thinks back to why he did it all. How it all began...

It was his father, the Pirate King, Gol D. Roger who had caused his birth. Then gone and gotten himself killed, since his end was near due to disease anyway.

In a way, Ace begrugingly admits that he can't completely hate his father. If he's being honest, he hates the fact that he doesn't more than anything.

Ace can truly say that there were many things about his father he respected, even admired. His strength, his will, and his penchant for never giving up. These are all things Ace is - dare he confess it - proud to have inherited.

What he hates, is his father giving him life. Not in general, but the life he had to live for being the cursed spawn of the Pirate King. For dying, and leaving him without a father before he was even born. He hated being called a monster for simply being alive. It was... a lonely existence.

Sometimes, he used to wonder how his angel of a mother had fallen for such a demon. He can't say he really knew her either, and he partially blames Roger for that as well. Had he not been the son of the recently executed Pirate King, his mother wouldn't have had to exhaust her body by postponing his birth for so long.

However, by doing so, his mother had allowed him to live. In turn, she had sacrificed her own life. He was, even in death, forever grateful to her.

But she too, had left him prematurely, to suffer in the loneliness of not belonging. He could never bring himself to actually hate her - but sometimes the deep resentment he held would clench his chest so tightly, and he'd wish he could.

Gramps was okay. Dadan too; she had raised him. They both were, in their own insane way, the only family he had. Yet, they simply couldn't understand what he felt or went through every day. That hurt more than anything.

Suffering alone.

Salvation had come when he was ten. Ace always knew grace came in several different forms, but his was the oddest of all. A young dark-haired boy with a strawhat.

Immediately, Ace had tagged the boy as a nuisance and tried to get rid of him on several occasions. Until, the fateful meeting with the Bluejam pirates, and how the stupid runt had gotten himself kidnapped. Him and Sabo had been sure he would have ratted them out first thing-

-but no. He endured being beaten black and blue all because of a one-sided affection he had towards him that Ace didn't even bother to acknowledge.

That, in itself, eluded him to no end. When asked why he did it, the little idiot simply smiled at him and said it was because he thought he was cool and wanted to be like him.

And for the first time in Ace's entire life, he had been wanted. The thought made his heart flutter and his lips quiver, but he didn't let it show. Ace could only scold him about it, smiling on the inside; knowing how much of a big brother he sounded like just then.

He saved him from a darkness that he hadn't known he was sinking in. Gave him a sense of belonging and a reason to exist. Protecting his little brother.

It was a purpose, a reason to live, so he clung to it with all his might.

They were the same, him and Luffy. No parents and the sons of criminals. Luffy didn't know it then, but he was the son of Monkey D. Dragon a.k.a: The most wanted man in the world. Now, just because the most oblivious kid in the world didn't know, doesn't mean others didn't suspect.

Luffy got the same whispers and looks as himself. But, he shrugged them off without a care. He let himself not care. He laughed and sang and smiled like everything in his life was okay, when it was so clearly not. He gave Ace the courage to do the same.

In all aspects, Ace would be dead had it not been for Luffy. If not physically, then mentally. After Sabo's death, his last dying wishes had been what kept Ace going through all the struggles passed his way.

One: to set off to sea and live without any regrets. Two: look after their younger brother, Luffy.

Ace can smile now, though no one can see it, knowing he fulfilled half of those expectations. His one regret was...not being able to see his brother become the Pirate King.

It had been his intention to put his true father, Whitebeard, on that throne. Deep within his flaming heart though, he knew Luffy would be the one who claimed the title. There had never been any doubt about it, to anyone who knew him.

To anyone who loved him like Ace did.

Confused, Ace wondered why the younger would feel so guilty over his death. Didn't he see the fairness in the trade?

If he didn't have Luffy, Ace would have never wanted to live anyway. Had he lost his will to live, he might as well been dead. He would have never went out to sea and made it so far, never recruited the Spade Pirates, never become Whitebeard's son, and never had found so many people to love him in the end and justify his life.

Didn't Luffy realize how much he meant to his older brother?

Ace knows that's why Luffy is the stronger of the two. See, had it been Luffy who took the fatal blow for him, he would not have been able to stand it.

But, Luffy was stronger than him. He would get through it and live on.

He had to.

And Ace would watch from down below or up above, as the savior of the two made all his dreams come true. Ace had already fulfilled his own. It was Luffy's turn now.

Suddenly, a bright light erupted throught the darkness. Ace knew distantly that it was here for him. With dim understanding, he found that before this instant, he hadn't been ready to let go of the present. Not just yet.

Now, he's ready for the afterlife. The light spreads until it's almost blinding, but he feels no sting. It warms the cold numbness that filled him since his death.

In the light, he sees many people. His father. His mother. Some friends. Some family. Sabo's there too. He's smiling, 'cause we both are thinking the same thing, and we both grin because of it.

He's the last of us brothers now. With his faithful nakama by his side, he'll change the world in ways it will never forget. There was no doubt about that in either of their minds.

It was inevitable.

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*Cries* I made myself sad with that. And sinfully happy. Don't you just think that's what our favorite big brother was thinking before he went off with Sabo and his parents?

Well, maybe not. Still, it's open for interpertation. Review if you think Luffy will definitely kick some Blackbeard and Akainu ass in the New World!XD