icefox94: *hiding behind Shanks*
Shanks: not that I mind, but why are you hiding behind me? Don't you usually hide behind Ace?
icefox: thought I'd change things a little bit. And I'm hiding in general from readers waiting for me to update Side Effects, Wings Of A Feather, A New Kid, etc. Sachiel Angelo gave me the idea to write a one-shot on a doujin we found on YouTube called Dream. The idea wouldn't leave me alone, so I thought "what the hey" and wrote this.
Shanks: are you going to be hiding behind me the entire time?
icefox: maybe. You can still drink, if that's what your worried about.
Shanks: dahaha! Okay then. Do whatever you want Almighty Authoress.
icefox: thank you, I will. Do the disclaimer please?
Shanks: sure. icefox94 does not own One Piece or the doujinshi Dream. One Piece is owned by Eiichiro Oda and Dream is owned by someone other than her. We don't really know who. We just know that icefox is really happy for that person helping her stay in denial.
icefox: denial is such a wonderful place. ^^
Only A Dream
Akagami Shanks stared sadly at the young man lying motionless at his feet. Now more than ever, he wished that he could have avoided fighting with Kaido in the New World. If he had only gotten there a little sooner, he might have been able to prevent this.
"So much sadness." Shanks murmured while looking around him at all the bodies and crying faces before kneeling next to the body of Portgas D. Ace. The red haired man tilted his head slightly as he looked at the smiling face of the man this whole war was started over, ignoring the arguing going on behind him. Even in death he wore his ever present smile, a smile he was quite familiar with seeing every day for an entire year on the face of the freckled man's younger brother. Taking a stroll down memory lane almost made him miss something curious.
"Hey, Buggy!" Shanks shouted while standing, picking up a familiar straw hat that was lying next to Ace's body.
"What do you want, Bakagami!" Buggy shouted while the top half of his body floated above the battlefield, annoyed at the presence of the man responsible for his inability to swim.
"Just come here. I need you to do something for me."
"Why should I do anything for you?" Buggy countered, voice an octave higher then normal.
"Oh? Then I guess you don't want this treasure map." Shanks temped with a sigh, making Buggy do an abrupt 180.
"What do you need me to do Bakagami?" Buggy asked floating down to Shanks' level.
Amazon Lily (2 weeks later)
"I wonder... if Luffy-kun will be okay." Former Shichibukai Jinbe wondered aloud as he stood with Trafalgar Law looking at the destruction left by Monkey D. Luffy in his search for his big brother after waking up. "We lost so many. After Impel down and Marineford, he must be hurt very badly. And his wounds... is there any chance at all?"
He is asleep now.
"But what will happen after he wakes up? What else can we do?" Jinbe asked with a worried tone of voice.
"Only wait." Law answered once again, a slightly scary look on his face.
"I swore to protect him after Ace-kun..." Jinbe protested. Law saw the upset look on the fishman's face and sighed.
"He will be okay. There is nothing wrong with him. Physically, of course. There's no telling about the state of his mind." Law commented with his usual smirk which widened at the beginning of his next sentence as he pointed towards the left with his thumb. " I sent someone to get him. He recovers pretty quickly, you see." Jinbe looked in the direction of Law's thumb and his eyes widened.
For someone burned.
In a forest clearing
A young boy around the age of 17 lay in the grass with his eyes closed. This boy only wore knee length shorts, the rest of his body was covered in bandages. The only recognizable feature other than his wide black eyes and short raven hair was a small scar under his left eye where he cut himself when he was 7 to prove his bravery to his idol.
I had a funny dream, Ace.
Luffy frowned in his sleep.
In this dream, you died.
"Ace..." Luffy called quietly with a few tears leaking out of his closed eyes.
You promised, right?
His sleepy mind barely registers the sound of boots crunching the leaves and grass underneath them as someone walks to his side.
To never leave me alone... You promised to stay alive!
"It was... only a dream, right?" Luffy mumbled, finally waking up.
You never change, Luffy.
A familiar voice coming from a figure crouching next to his body made the lingering sleep disappear in an instant and caused his eyes to snap completely open.
"Always scared like a kid. You tried to kill me off again? I'm... alive, as you can see." Ace said with a smile. Luffy can't help but stare at his brother in disbelief, mouth hanging open slightly and eyes going glassy with unshed tears. "Who would take care of my little brother if I died?"
Only a dream?
Snapping out of his disbelief, Luffy launched himself into Ace's waiting arms and wrapped his bandaged arms around his brothers neck in a tight hug.
"ACE!" Luffy cried as he held his big brother as close to him as possible.
"Luffy..." Ace said, love and affection heavily lacing his words. "Yeah, it's me. Thank you, Luffy. For trying to save me back there." Here, Ace's calm voice held a hint of sadness. "Pity... that you weren't strong enough." Hearing this, Luffy cried harder and held Ace closer, not ever wanting to let go and have him leave him again. Ace hugged Luffy in his dream while he cried with a sad smile on his face.
Waking up from his dream with a start, Luffy stared at the forest in the real world, all alone except for the trees, grass, bushes, and flowers in the clearing.
It was not a dream.
Realizing this, Luffy shoots up into a sitting position, calling for a big brother that will never answer him again. Just like that one time 10 years ago on Dawn Island when he lost Sabo.
"Nothing?" Luffy asks no one, hoping against hope that the one he called for would answer.
Hearing nothing, Luffy clenched his fist against his chest, then held both his palms against his face as he began to tremble.
So... he... really died?
"I failed." Luffy whimpered with tears cascading down his cheeks. He tried to brush his tears away, but more took their place. Emotions beginning to overwhelm him, his bandaged body fell forward so his head dug into the ground and his fists tore at the grass.
"I was... too weak!" He lay there crying as he thought of Ace. His smiling face as he ruffled his hair, his angry yells when Luffy tried to steal his food, his peaceful expression when he slept, his loving and amused gaze when he watched him playing when they were little or when he was with his nakama aboard the Going Merry at Alabasta, and finally, his sad eyes at Marineford when his friends came to die for him and the sweet smile on his face when he died in front of Luffy.
"Ace... Ace..." Luffy stuttered, unable to voice what his mind was trying to tell him and ignored the sound of bare feet walking on the grass he sobbed in.
"Luffy?" Someone called with concern. Luffy jumped slightly and raised his head but didn't turn to the voice behind him, terrified that his mind was playing tricks with him.
"Sorry for worrying you." He tried. Really, he did. But the temptation to see the speaker of the familiar calm voice was too much for Luffy to resist. With tears still running down his face, Luffy turned his head and there he was. He was bandaged just as heavily as Luffy was, but the speaker with his hand resting on a nearby tree and a slightly pained look on his face was definitely his brother Ace. Seeing Luffy finally look at him, the pained look turned into a small relieved smile.
"It's real?" Luffy asked, hoarse voice trembling.
"Luffy." The pained look came back. "I'm alive, Luffy."
Ace's words and serious eyes were enough to make the dried up tears flow once more and the still body to continue trembling. Luffy struggled to his feet while Ace pushed off of the tree he was leaning on and both ran to each other. The crying teen reached his hands out towards his brother and jumped into his arms. Ace stood in the clearing and held his crying brother close as Luffy wrapped his legs around his waist and his arms around his neck.
As I promised.
The whispered words reached the rubber teens ears as he nuzzled his face in his brothers neck.
"Thank you for saving me." Ace whispered into Luffy's neck and shoulder and held his crying brother closer. "I'm really happy to be alive."
Luffy smiled tearfully into Ace's neck, thankful beyond words to whatever higher power that saved his brother and allowed him to stay with him. Once Luffy calmed down, Ace gently set him back on his feet and continued to speak.
"But... next time I will do the saving. Okay?" As he said this, Ace put his intact vivre card in Luffy's hand. Luffy answered by nodding, still to emotional to answer verbally. Ace saw the tears still coming and the hiccups and sighed.
"You're strong now, Luffy. So stop crying like a baby!" he admonished gently.
"Ace." Luffy said shakily. Ace smiled, then frowned slightly.
"But what you did was really stupid! No meat for a week!"
"No way!" Luffy protested but knew by the scolding look in Ace's eyes that he was getting off easy for almost getting killed more than once to save him. Ace's face suddenly donned a pondering look.
"Huh, I thought I was a goner there for a moment... but I promised, didn't I? To never die..." Luffy bit his lip so he wouldn't start sobbing again though a few tears still leaked out and Ace gave him a small smile filled with emotion. Reaching up and with both hands the freckled man wiped his little brother's tears away. "Thank you. Luffy." Ace then held Luffy's head to his chest while Luffy clutched at the bandages on Ace's back.
Only a nightmare.
After holding Luffy there for a moment, Ace drew back from the hug a bit and cupped Luffy's face in his hands.
"You did well." Ace congratulated with a sweet smile and rested his forehead on Luffy's. "Idiot brother."
Luffy's eyes brightened with happiness and he hugged Ace tightly once more. This time, both brothers were smiling their brighter than the sun smiles.
"I'm back." Ace said making Luffy laugh.