A/N: This idea came to me as I was just sitting in my room. Nothing leading up to it, just a wandering mind.

But I hope you enjoy, because I certainly enjoyed writing this :)

The Pirate King

He sidled along the wall until he reached the end. The stone wall in the middle of the night was cool against his fingers. He dragged his thumb across the smooth surface, not sure what to think as he stood there. He knew what he didn't want to think of though. The memory he had of this place was horrible. He hadn't wanted to come back -not at this time -but he had something he had to say. He had a declaration that he wanted to make.

He took a breath before peering around the corner.

It was all clear.

He exhaled slowly, cracking his neck by stretching it to the right, then to the left, just to relieve himself of the small stress that was building up. He glanced down at the bouquet he held in his left hand briefly, making sure the flowers were still okay. He ran to the next corner, his bare feet making hardly a sound on the ground. He was trying to be cautious. It was hard though. It was tiring. It was nothing like him. That's where the stress was coming from -not being able to do things the way he wanted to.

But he had no choice; the entire world currently thought he was dead. If he were to cause trouble here –in Marineford –then everything would be over, long before it even had the chance to begin. Meeting up with everybody in the Sabaody Archipelago would become that much harder, and they wouldn't be able to depart quietly nor safely.

But he didn't regret a single thing he did in the incident two years ago. His only regret was not being able to protect his brother, not being able to do anything except watch his brother die in his own arms. Just thinking about it made him harden his heart. Now was not the time for him to cry. He was on a mission. And he would complete this mission no matter what. So he pushed his emotions down and continued on.

He crept forward, wondering if they were expecting him to come back here. He paused and chuckled to himself at his own stupidity. No –they all thought he was dead. This was the very last thing they were ever going to expect.

He licked his lips, listening carefully. Someone was coming. He stretched his right hand upward, grabbing the roof, and pulling himself up. He was almost there. He was nearly at the plaza. He gulped dryly, ready to test his recently acquired, recently conquered, powers. Two men walked around the corner, speaking of the menu for the evening. As he hung there, he could feel his mouth begin to water. But there would be plenty of time for eating later. The two passed underneath him, and for a moment he thought he was alright, but the roof creaked under his weight, and the two men looked up to see him –a shadow clinging to the wall in the dead of night.

Releasing a small amount of his Haōshoku Haki, he watched as the two men collapsed.

"Shishishi," he chuckled quietly, dropping beside their unconscious bodies, and flexing his hands, pleased with this new ability that he possessed.

He dragged the men into the shadows to keep them from being seen immediately. Satisfied, he turned back towards the plaza and walked forward. Patiently, he hid in the shadows he waited as a group of men marched directly past, not even glancing in his direction. He wasn't necessarily in a rush to get in and get out, but he wanted to hurry up and get to the Sabaody Archipelago and meet up with his crew. When the group passed, he slipped around the corner quietly and continued on.

There. Finally, he could see it. The plaza. He let out a breath he hadn't known he had been holding and walked to the very edge of the plaza, sticking to the shadows. It wasn't empty, the plaza. He hadn't expected it to be though, so he wasn't surprised. He gripped the bouquet in his left hand tightly. The paper around the flowers crinkled slightly, but no one except him heard it. He watched for a moment, the people walking about, unaware of his presence. What would happened if they did know?

He released his Haki once more, using enough to knock out the entire plaza population. When everyone was down he walked out into the open, glancing around for anybody that had been able to withstand it. No one was standing.

He walked to the Ox Bell and stood before it. He laid the flowers there and took off his straw-hat, holding it to his chest as he bowed his head in a silent prayer for the deceased –for Whitebeard; for the pirates and marines that had died on both sides in the ultimate sacrifice, in hopes of saving one man. He stood there and prayed for his brother, Ace.

A single tear snuck past his defenses and he quickly wiped it away, as if his brother was there watching him now. And maybe Ace was watching over his younger brother, unable to say anything to encourage him, to keep him moving forward when he needed it the most.

But that time had passed. Ace's kid brother was okay now, and he had a future that he was confident to stride into once more.

He lifted his chin up defiantly, staring at the bell as if Ace's face was there, looking down on him the way he had always seemed to do. But in those eyes there was still the love of an older brother there.

Luffy slowly lifted his straw-hat back onto his head, and striking a bold pose with his hands on his hips and his shoulders pulled back, he grinned.

"Ace. There's nothing stopping me anymore. I'm gonna do it! I'm gonna to become the Pirate King!"

As Luffy ran off once more, Ace smiled.

Whitebeard placed a hand on his shoulder, "One hell of a kid brother."

"Mm," Ace agreed.

"Pirate King, eh?"

"If anyone can do it," Ace looked up at the older man for a moment before turning back to Luffy's disappearing figure. He began his sentence once more, his voice brimming with pride for his younger brother:

"If anyone can do it, Luffy can. He will."

His was gone now, carrying his precious straw-hat and the will of D. with him.

"Luffy will definitely become the next Pirate King."