Disclaimer: One Piece not mine.

Summary: Two years have been more than long enough. The Straw Hat Pirates reflect on unsettled debts and undeserved miracles.

This Much I Know

They decide one morning under the tree-dappled light that the ocean will be their playground. Three solemn hands meet in the centre as they swear this to each other.

"We'll go anywhere." Ace declares quietly.

"Never fear anyone." Sabo adds.

"Pirates?" The grin on Luffy's face stretches from ear to ear, and he needs no reply. The answer is in his brothers' eyes; in his blood.

It seemed, to all three of them, that the world began that morning.

Twelve years later, Monkey D. Luffy wakes with wet trickling down his face, into the rough fabric of his vest.

He sits up and instantly knows what he must have screamed, how loudly he must have screamed it, because Nami and Robin are silent by the doorway. The rest of the male crew watch him, eyes wide and gleaming in the dark.

Luffy lifts his arm and shields his own eyes like a child. "Sorry."

No one moves. Usopp utters a sound that is part protest, part despair.

There is the hiss of a match being struck and the fumble of usually nimble fingers. The tiny red glow of Sanji's cigarette wavers.

"…We're all stronger, Luffy." Chopper's whisper is wretched, laden with pleading. "We won't let you down." Not ever again.

"Baka." The reply is swift and fierce as Luffy scrubs roughly at his face. "Baka."

Zoro increases his training regime the following day. Sanji delivers him snacks without a word.

In the chartroom, Nami's nib renders long, savage strokes on innocent mapping paper. Her captain is owed a debt. She will see it paid in full.

And everywhere, the mournful notes of Brook's violin drift.

Two years have been more than long enough for the whole crew to realize the scale of their dream; the magnitude of what is at stake. They've already lost each other (everything) once – nothing will ever hurt as much. Nothing can come close.

Weeks after the reunion, they still touch indiscriminately, guiltily. Fingertips brush against fingertips in the galley, on the deck, changing shifts. They revel in silent awe of the miracle that is one another.

This time, each touch promises, nobody will take you away. This time, we play for keeps.

"…repeat that?"


Garp's face turns radiant puce and his ensuing bellow parts his grandson's messy hair.

Luffy laughs. Now he is certain he made the right decision.