Hello there! As you can see, this is the reason of why I haven't updated 'The wonders of being a kid'… and school too. Anyway, I've wanted to post a drama fic for a while now, and one with a plot too, so here it is! Actually I don't have much to say now, except: sorry for my extremely long prologue.

Warning: Mostly language, I've rated it T to be safe. This is a yaoi fic; you've been warned.

I don't own One Piece, obviously.

I'm done here, so enjoy!


~Prologue~

Run, run, run.

Run away little boy, run away, for as you know, the moment you get caught, the moment you will die. So tell me, little boy, what are you running for? Whom are you running of? What are you scared of, little boy?

Dark.

No matter where you looked at, everything was dark. The small boy clutched the rusty iron pipe tightly in his little hands, small puffs of air were showing themselves in front of the boy's face as he ran through the empty town. The night was cold, but the boy was too scared to even care that the cold breeze of the night clashed violently with his sweaty face.

He couldn't hear those footsteps anymore, and after a second glance behind him, he let his small back lean against the wall of the alley. The black haired boy let out a sigh of relief as he turned his gaze up. Everything was so dark, so empty. There was not a single star visible in the sky, not even the faint light of the moon could be seen through those thick clouds, as if they were keeping the light to themselves, leaving the small town to the mercy of the shadows of the night.

The boy let out a groan of pain as he clutched his left shoulder tightly; those bastards had stabbed him when he tried to run away, he had been too careless. He let his body slide to the ground, his eyes never leaving the empty sky as he recalled that night's events…

A raven haired boy made his way through the dark alleys of the village; it was only during night time that he could sneak into the busy restaurants and steal some meat or bread to satisfy his begging stomach. He successfully made it to the back of a small bar that he knew a little too well. He hid himself behind some trash cans and waited for the right moment. That small bar had only one problem: they always had the back door open, inviting either robbers or animals to enter that small, cozy kitchen. When the boy thought nobody was looking, he slipped through the open door and grabbed a piece of meat that some chef left unattended. Without as much as a second glance, the boy left the place successfully, a small smile adorning his muddy face.

He knew this was wrong, and he wasn't proud of stealing food, but no place would let him work because of his young age and starving to death was definitely not one of his options.

He took one big bite of his piece of meat before immediately stuffing it in the pockets of his worn-out jacket, deciding to save the rest for tomorrow morning and maybe even for the afternoon, knowing that it would be too risky to try and rob something at the light of day. A cold breeze made its way to the boy and he hugged himself, rubbing his arms to keep himself warm.

November was about to end, and the cold was already unbearable in the small village, making the nights too cold to go out unprotected. The raven haired boy sighed, he needed to find someplace warm to spend the night, otherwise he would most likely catch a cold and he didn't have the money to buy some medicines.

A flicker of light caught the boy's attention, he was already in the park of the village, a long park that was located at the center of the town, making it the perfect spot for picnics and for the kids to run and play. He walked through the empty park hoping to find some place to sleep, the light the lamppost emitted guiding him through the empty road. He needed some place that would protect him from the cold wind, at least that's what he hoped for.

Too deep in thought, the small boy didn't notice two other figures waking through that same road, stumbling every now and then. It was until one of the figures fell and the other one started to laugh loudly that the little boy acknowledged their presence. He grunted, they must be drunk. Without paying those drunken guys any mind, the small boy walked through the road with his mind set on his own goal, and he would've successfully ignored those guys, had it not been that one of them grabbed him by the arm, a nasty smile was on his face.

"Look what we have here," He said spinning the boy around so he could see his face. "Hey kid, wanna come and play with us?"

The boy wrinkled his nose in disgust. The man that grabbed him had his face close to his, close enough for the boy to smell the beer on his breath. "Let go." He growled, giving the man a glare.

"Oh, a kid!" The other man said, getting himself off the ground and nearing the glaring boy. "What about we have some fun with him, eh?"

Fear spread through the boy's body, but he tried his best to keep his face calm. What were those guys going to do with him? He saw the second guy approaching him with his muddy hand extended. He started to panic, what should he do at this moment? He was too deep down the road and no one else seemed to be taking a late walk, and screaming would just be a waste of time…

Something caught his attention when he tried to free his arm from the drunken guy, it was just a few meters away from him, he could even reach it with his foot if he tried. He turned around, the man was already in front of him, and a maniac glint could be seen in his eyes. A shiver ran down the boy's spine and in one swift move, he pulled the rusty iron pipe that was shining under the lamppost behind him. He grabbed it with his free arm – his right arm – and in one hard swing, he hit the man in front of him on the head sending him to the ground as he clutched his head in pain.

The other one let go of him and rushed to his companion's side, checking his head for any injury. When the other man finally let go of his head, they both stood up. The boy could now see them as they stayed still under the light of the lamppost.

The one on the right was thin and tall, he wore extremely shabby clothes and they were torn around the edges. His light brown hair reached to his shoulders, but what the boy found most weird were his glasses, heart-shaped glasses. The other man, the one he'd just hit, was also thin and tall, although just a bit shorter than the other one. His black hair was swept back and he wore round glasses. A trail of blood was running down his face. The glare he was giving the boy managed to get the hairs at the back of his head stand, but the boy just tightened his grip on his iron pipe.

"You'll regret that." Said the shorter man as he grabbed a knife from under his black cloak, the other man smirked, somehow finding this whole situation amusing as he crossed his arms over his chest.

The boy turned his head around, maybe he could run back and hide in one of the alleys, but that possibility vanished as soon as the man with the heart-shaped spectacles walked around him, blocking his other way out. "I don't think so." He said smugly as he too took out a knife from his pant pockets.

The boy took a long, deep breath; he didn't have time for this, he needed to get out as soon as possible, and with a look full of determination, he dashed forward, his pipe held high as he aimed once more for the man with the round glasses' head. But to his surprise, that same man dodged his attack and instead stabbed the little boy on the shoulder, taking the opportunity of him stopping to kick him on the back and send him flying forward.

The boy grabbed his bleeding shoulder, feeling the pain travel all down his body as he tried to stand up. He saw the man that just stabbed him push his glasses up with the palm of his hand, followed by a nasty smirk as he licked the blood from the knife. "Let's make thing interesting." He said as he stepped over the boy's shadow. "We'll give you ten seconds to run, little boy. Amuse us."

Fear took possession of the boy's body as a shaking hand grabbed the pipe that was lying beside him and he ran. He didn't know where he was going, but he knew he had to hide. He was already at the end of the road; he could hide into one of the alleys of the city and stay there the rest of the night when he suddenly heard some steps behind him. He didn't have time to think were to go, so with a quick turn he dashed through the empty streets. He went right, left, then right again, hoping to lose those guys along the way, and when he couldn't hear the steps anymore he dared to go into an alley and catch his breath once again.

It was hard living by himself, having no one to depend on, or no one to go when in trouble. He sighed, deeply wishing that this was just a dream – a nightmare, and that he would wake up and see his gentle mother cooking breakfast with the pink apron that she always wore and his grinning dad patting the seat next to him so they could all eat breakfast together…

His dad… he didn't hate him, he couldn't bring himself to hate him. He was so kind and caring, he trusted people so easily, he was so sure that everyone was kind hearted when given the chance… And yet, this trust that he gave so easily was what had ended his life, bringing suffering to his mother and him. It was all because of that man. He killed his father, he killed his mother, and with that ugly, twisted grin he let him live. What for? Hadn't he suffered enough already? Why didn't he kill him too when he had the chance? The raven haired boy unconsciously clutched his pipe harder, forgetting for one moment the pain his left shoulder was emitting. He was going to get stronger, he was going to avenge his late parents, he was going to make that man regret the moment he forced him to live… He would struggle to live.

A sudden rustling behind him made his heart skip a beat. The boy unconsciously grabbed tighter his pipe and waited. He stayed rooted to the spot, sharpening his hearing as much as he could to hear any noise. Those guys couldn't be on the alley, it was a dead-end and he was standing at the entrance of it; if anything, someone had been there before he entered.

"Who's there?" He growled while turning around. He squinted his eyes to try and see something, anything at all, but the back alley was pitch black, and the hidden moon would not let a single ray glow down.

Another rustling was given as an answer. The boy scowled, be it a kitty or a person, he was annoyed already. How could it be that this night turned out so wrong? He wouldn't take this any longer. "Who's there!" He demanded once more, but there was no answer to greet him. He smashed his pipe against a pile of boxes that were placed beside him, if whatever was there was not going to come out, he would make it come by force.

A small 'Eep!' was heard from behind a trash can bin after the boxes came down. The boy turned his head to the source of the sound and glared. "Come out." He said in a threatening voice.

More rustling was heard from behind the bin, and a moment later, a shadow crept from behind it and stood on the middle of the alley. The boy pointed his pipe to the shadow, ready to use it if the shadow decided to attack him.

"Who are you?" He asked after a few seconds of staring, with such little light he was unable to see if it was a boy or a girl. The shadow took some steps forward and the boy could finally see him. He was definitely younger than him, if he had to guess, he would say he was about six years old. He had a dirty old sweater that looked a little too big for him since it slid down showing his left shoulder and reached below his hips; underneath he was wearing some ripped shorts. His knees were covered in band-aids and dirt and he wasn't wearing any shoes. He turned his sight to the boy's face; his messy black hair was covered in a big straw hat, his lower lip was trembling and he had a scar under his eye. When he saw his eyes the boy gulped, they were big and watery; he was about to cry.

"H-Hey…" He said slowly, a crying kid was definitely not one of his strong pints. The boy looked at him, and if possible, his eyes widened even more. Now tears were rolling down his cheeks. "W-Wait! Don't cry! Look, I'll lower the pipe okay?" The younger boy sniffed loudly as he wiped his tears with his sleeve, he watched closely as the older boy lowered the pipe and stared at him with a nervous look. They stayed like that for a few seconds until a loud rumbling noise echoed through the alley. The younger boy stared at his stomach in curiosity, poking it every now and then as if expecting for it to make that strange noise once again.

The older boy sighed; he just couldn't believe his luck. After one glance into the empty street, the boy walked over to the boxes he had thrown a while ago and took a seat next to them. He placed his pipe on his side and after noticing that the younger boy was following his every move, he took out the piece of meat he had stolen earlier and handed it to the boy.

"Eat this." He didn't know why, but for some odd reason he had this feeling of protectiveness toward the smaller boy; maybe because he reminded him of himself, young and helpless, sacred of the future and the dangers it might bring with him.

The younger boy stared at the piece of meat for a moment before carefully taking it from the grasp of the older boy. He kept switching glances from the food to the boy, until a grin spread on his face and he sat in front of the scowling boy. "Thank you!" He said cheerfully with a bright smile on his face. The older boy looked away, hiding the small blush on his face.

"I'm Monkey D. Luffy," The younger boy said before taking one big bite from the piece of meat. "Who are you?"

"Ace." The older boy said in a barely audible voice, still averting his gaze from the younger kid.

He didn't know why he was embarrassed at all, maybe the fact that he hadn't spoken to anybody that much in such a long time, or that someone was actually eager to know about him was what made him nervous. He turned his head toward the kid once more and his blush deepened a few shades of crimson, the kid – Luffy, was it? – was now a few inches away from his face and staring fixedly at him. "You talk too low!" A small pout appeared on his muddy face. "I didn't hear your name!"

Ace opened and closed his mouth stupidly, but no words came out. He pushed the kid lightly on the chest to give them some space in-between, "You're too close." He mumbled before standing up. "My name is Ace, so stop bother- AH! You ate all my meat!"

Luffy stared at the older boy in curiosity as he licked the now clean meat bone in his tiny hands. "Ah, yes. Thank you, it was really good." The boy said mindlessly while staring at the bone.

"It was MY food!" Ace hissed angrily, trying to keep his voice as low as possible.

Luffy stood up and stared at the older boy for a moment before bowing down. "I'm sorry."

"YOU DON'T LOOK SORRY AT ALL!" Ace exploded before hitting the boy on the head. "Seriously, after all the trouble I had to go through to get this…"

Luffy rubbed his newly made bump while glaring at the older boy. What was all that fuss about; he gave him the meat to begin with. Luffy watched the older boy pacing back and forth while still grumbling about his stolen food, and in the midst of all that noise, he heard Ace's stomach give a faint rumble. Luffy guessed he hadn't felt it since he was still talking loudly, but he had a plan. He would give Ace some food back as in thank you.

"Yosh!" The younger boy said, grabbing the pacing kid's attention. "When I get home I will give you lots and lots of food!"

Ace stared at the smaller kid in disbelief, when he gets home? What was that supposed to mean anyway? Many thoughts rushed to his head before he decided to ask him the most suitable. "What do you mean when you get home? Are you lost?"

The smaller kid nodded and sat down once more, Ace followed him soon after. "I got lost three days ago." Luffy said calmly. "I saw some kids bullying a dog, so I went to punch them. But the kids started to run and I followed them…"

"…And then you got lost." Ace finished for him while sighing. This kid probably had some worried parents looking for him. "Alright, when daylight comes I'll help you look for your family."

The smaller kid smiled that trademark grin of his once more before nodding enthusiastically. "Okay! Shanks must be really worried! And gramps –" A shiver ran down his spine and Ace noticed how the color drained from the kid's face. "Gramps is scary…"

Ace chuckled at the boy's scared face, that grandpa of his must be really something. He continued to listen at Luffy's ramblings about his family before noticing how cold the night had turned. He hissed lightly as the wind clashed with his wound and clutched his shoulder tightly. He didn't know how long he had been hiding, but he might as well sleep in this alley with the kid, after all he had promised Luffy he would help him find his family in the morning.

Ace had been so deep in thought that he didn't notice when Luffy stopped talking, or when the kid ripped one piece of his shorts and started bandaging –quite badly – his bleeding wound. Only when the boy's hand slipped and he accidentally brushed his finger with the wound, Ace was painfully brought back to reality. "Ouch! What are you doing?"

"You're bleeding." Luffy said, matter of factly, as he made a rather lousy knot on the boy's shoulder. "Shanks told me that when you're hurt, you have to stop the bleeding first."

Ace stared at his now bandaged arm and sweat-dropped, he would fix that later; he didn't want to hurt the kid's feelings by pointing out how bad his nursing skills were. "Uh… Thanks." He mumbled while patting the kid's covered head.

Ace didn't know how many minutes passed since then, because Luffy kept talking non-stop and both smiled and laughed at his mentioned adventures with his grandpa. He had forgotten about the cold, about the burning pain in his shoulder, and about the drunken guys that ruined his night. But all good things come to an end, and tonight was no different. Too immerse in talk, neither of them noticed how a shadow crept down that same alley, or how the glinting of the knives the figures were holding kept coming closer and closer.

"My, my; look what we have here, the brat from before got himself a friend."

Not a second after hearing those words, Ace stood up sharply and automatically grabbed the rusty pipe that was resting at his side.

"Ace? Who are they?" Luffy asked standing up too, he gave a small step forward, trying to see the faces of the figures before him.

"Get behind me, Luffy!" Ace called, grabbing the boy by the hand and pulling him behind before those men could do something to him. "Stay here, those guys are dangerous."

The man with the round spectacles got closer and Ace could see his face clearly, the other man was standing right beside him. "Oh, you break my heart kid, afte rall the trouble we got into to finally find you." He said with a nasty grin as he took one more step forward. "And who's that behind you, hm?"

Before Ace could even swing his pipe, the man had already kicked him aside, making him crash against the wall he was leaning some minutes before. "Ace!" Luffy called, but the man with the heat-shaped glasses had a hold on him already. He grabbed his tiny, teary face brusquely by the jaw and obliged him to look at him. The man with the round glasses smirked and bent down to Luffy's level.

"Well, well; aren't you cute?"

Fear took over the younger boy the moment those words were said. He didn't know what the man meant with that, but something told him to run, to run away as far as he could and don't look back. He turned his head to the side and saw a panting Ace trying to stand up. He was in so much pain, but he kept his gaze on the crying Luffy, never breaking contact with him to assure him that everything would be okay. "A-Ace…" Luffy called between sniffs, he was scared.

"Let… Let go of… Luffy." Ace panted when he finally stood up, he was leaning on the pipe while trying to gain his balance once more. It was not until he saw the man with the heart-shaped glasses lick his lips lustfully while watching Luffy, and suddenly turn the boy's head painfully towards him making the small kid emit a cry of pain that something in Ace snapped. "Don't… Don't touch him!" And with a new wave of adrenaline, he dashed onward and in one hard swing, he knocked down the heart-shaped glasses man into unconsciousness.

"Luffy." Ace called calmly from where he was standing, clutching his shoulder tightly but trying not to show any sign of pain in his face so that the smaller kid wouldn't worry.

Luffy nodded and ran toward Ace, hiding behind him and hugging him from the small of his back. "Ace… I'm scared…" Sniffed the boy while grabbing tightly Ace's ripped jacket. "Let's get out of here…"

Ace nodded but stayed still were he was. The other man had reached his unconscious friend while Luffy ran to him; Ace noticed he had tried to wake him up with no avail. The man had turned his gaze at them and Ace could feel a shiver run down his spine. Luffy's grip tightened. The man slowly stood up while pushing his glasses back with the palm of his hand, he took out the knife he had used to stab Ace on the shoulder earlier on and threw it beside his unconscious friend's body. That nasty grin appeared once more as he stared at the kids. "So you wanna play, huh?" He took a step closer and a maniac glint appeared on his eyes. "Two can play this game."

It all happened to fast, one moment the man was standing a few feet away from them, and the next, he was already before Ace. The boy had no time to react, because when he had finally assimilated what was going on the man had already punched him straight on the face and away from Luffy.

"Ace!" Luffy cried. He tried to go and help him, but the man kicked him aside making him land further from Ace.

He smirked, watching how the small boy struggled to get back to his feet and tried to go over to Ace. He turned his head to the older boy and said, "Let me show you, boy, what it feels like to see how someone attacks your comrade."

Ace felt his heart sink at those words, it seemed Luffy hadn't heard anything at all, because he kept going to were Ace was. And then, Ace saw it. That man had grabbed something from under his cloak. It felt as if everything had slowed down, the pain on Ace's body seemed to disappear, he saw how that man pointed his gun at Luffy and he felt himself hugging Luffy from the front, trying to make a barrier between the gun and the small boy.

The blast of the gun was heard, and after that, nothing. Nothing at all. He kept his eyes closed, but he could still feel Luffy shaking violently from beneath.

"ACE!"

It was weird, he couldn't feel anything at all, but he was sure he heard the explosion from the gun. He opened his eyes slowly and saw the top of the straw hat Luffy wore, patting it lightly, the kid turned his head up. His eyes were red and puffy, tears were rolling down his cheeks and he sniffed loudly. Ace smiled, he had known this kid for less than an hour and that alone had made him jump to protect him from death. Luffy was really something.

"Hey! You two, are you okay!"

Ace's ears perked up at the sound of a new voice. He turned around and the sight before him made him gasp. The man that just tried to kill Luffy was standing there; his eyes were wide open and his mouth was slightly parted. He had his gun pointing at them still, but there was something new on him, something that wasn't there before. A stain of blood spread rapidly from his chest, and then he fell to the ground. Ace could see someone standing at the entrance of the alley – a man that was holding a gun.

"Hey, kid, are you all –Luffy!"

Luffy poked his head from beneath Ace's arm after hearing his name, but Ace blocked his sight soon after, standing between the man and Luffy in a protective manner. He grabbed his pipe tightly and pointed it to the approaching man, forgetting for one moment that he had a gun in his hands. "Don't you dare hurt Luffy!" Ace growled, he was going to protect that boy by all means.

"Shanks!" Luffy appeared from behind Ace and dashed towards the man, hugging him with all his might while smiling brightly at the sight of their savior. "Shanks, you saved us!"

The man known as Shanks laughed heartily while he hugged the small boy. Tears could be seen at the corners of his eyes, but he wiped them out of sight before they managed to get out. He then turned his head to the staring Ace; since the moment Luffy jumped on him Ace had been standing still while watching the emotional sight flow before him. A wave of relief flowed on him after realizing he was in no more danger, but that feeling faded soon after only to be replaced with something he couldn't quite describe.

Ace knew that he should be happy for Luffy, he was finally reunited with his family; but that was not the case. He was happy because Luffy was safe, but a small pang of pain was left inside the boy's body, because he had finally found someone to talk to, to be around with; he had found someone he wanted to protect, he had a friend. But everything was meaningless now, Luffy would go back with his family and he would be alone once again.

So deep in thought Ace didn't notice how that Shanks guy had let go of Luffy, nor he noticed the moment that same man walked over to him and kneeled down to be at the same eye level. It was only after he felt some arms wrapped around him that he was brought back to his senses. Ace stood still for a moment, not knowing how to react; his eyes met the ones of a grinning Luffy on the background and he blushed. The younger boy was giving him a thumbs up, and he felt how a single tear rolled down his face.

Ace felt the grip on the older man loosen suddenly and he brushed away that tear before the man could see it. "Thank you so much for protecting Luffy." The man said now that he was staring at the boy. "I don't know how I could ever pay you for that."

Even after everything that night, Ace felt happy. He felt a small tug on the side of his jacket and saw a smiling Luffy looking at him. A small smile appeared on Ace's face as he patted the little boy. He was happy, Luffy had accepted him, and even that man that he didn't know acknowledged him. He wanted to shake his head and tell the man that it was okay; that he didn't need any payment because now he knew that Luffy was going to be okay. He tried to lift his gaze and smile to the man but a pain in his arm impeded him to do so. He started to feel his head light and blackness was spreading rapidly into his eyes.

The last thing he could see was the look of horror the man gave when he saw his wound. How could he forget that? He had lost some blood when he first met those guys and even after Luffy's help he never stopped bleeding. How could he not notice that for an hour at most, his arm had bled constantly?

It was okay, though, because no matter what happened to him, Luffy was safe. The only thing he regretted that night was that he was the cause of Luffy's anguish behind the last words he heard before he passed out.

"ACE!"


Aaaaand, that makes it. I don't really think chapter two will take too long to be posted, so be alert ;)

I hope you managed to guess who the bad guys were, I seriously tried my best to describe them as good as I could, and if you still didn't manage to recognize them, then that makes me a lousy person at describing things XD.

Hope you enjoyed reading this (long) prologue!

~nt'kit