I really wanted to hit Oda when he made Ace die for Luffy! Still, the way Ace died was so beautiful it made me satisfied in the end. Thanks to my friend Eleamaya who introduced me with these lovely characters. Last, this is made for fun, nothing less. Hope you enjoy reading this story. ^-^
The Line Hasn't yet Ended
Disclaimer: Eiichiro Oda
Part 1 Delivering the Letter
It was another beautiful day in June with warm weather and clear sky. Moda opened her eyes in delight. She quickly crossed the room and changed her pajamas into suitable clothes. She picked plain pink shirt with colorful bohemian-styled long skirt. Those were her favorite clothes. She gently brushed her hair and wrapped it with her favorite bandanna. Another day had come and she was excited as always. There is no reason to be sad anyway, she said to herself, someday mommy and daddy would come and live with me. All I have to do is making the best of each day!
Since her parents left her alone in the farm for working in the navy base in Grand Line, Moda had lived alone for nearly three years. She was lonely, but she was never sad. She knew her parents loved her and missed her the way she missed them. Besides, she enjoyed her life as milk maiden. Her cows produced best delicious milk in her village and Moda was really proud of it.
Sometimes, she sold the milk in the town to get extra money. The journey was tiring of course. However, she liked the town. The crowds and the noise always drew Moda. She usually spent some times to visit the market before she went home. That day she wanted to go to the town to buy her cows some vitamins and visited her friends. So, she woke up earlier and hurriedly walked to the cow stall. Taking her cows out to the wide field, the milk maiden smiled and said loudly, "what a beautiful day! Teddy! Bunny! Piggy! Cocky! Come all of you! Eat much grass as you want!"
The cows bawled, answering her call. Moda's cows were more than fifty, and she named them after other animals for fun. Moda liked her cows and always did her best to take care of them. She hurriedly walked to the bridge for taking some water. Her cows liked water from river for variation. Most of the time, she took well water for their drink.
However, that day, instead taking water from the river, she found a body of a man floating. Was he dead? Was he alive? Moda didn't care whatever the answer. The milk maiden quickly clung into the river and saved the floating man with her. She was a good swimmer. In no time, she had caught his body and hurled him into the bridge. She hit and pushed his chest many times. There were no reactions at all. His face was still pale as white sheet. Moda took a deep breath before she gave him several blows into his mouth. Her hands kept on pressing his chest. He gave no reaction.
"Can you hear me? Can you hear me? Wake up!" Moda yelled, pressing the man's chest once again with her full power. "Wake up I say!"
The man lay still like corpse. His face was getting blue.
"Wake up or you'll die!" Moda hit him as hard as she could. "Wake up, please!"
"Eeeh?" Moda raised her eyebrows. The man finally gave positive response. Water flew from his mouth. He was saved at last. When he opened his eyes, he gave her a faint smile.
"Are you okay?" she whispered, "you look awful, though…"
The man didn't say a word since darkness had swallowed him once more. He totally collapsed. Moda was surprised to see the man had lost his consciousness. She had no choice and dragged him to her house. She called Cocky and asked it to bring the man with her. It was her first meeting with the man who later became her lover, Portgas D. Ace.
Ace found himself in the half-dark room, wrapped in thick blanket. His eyes quickly observed the room around him. All of the equipments were placed neatly and beautifully arranged. He could find fresh scented flowers on the desk beside him. When he looked closer to the desk, he saw a photo of a young girl and her parents. Who the hell is she? Why I am here?
The last thing that he remembered was the villagers had thrown and drowned him into the river. True, it was his fault to kick the wrong Blackbeard. The man he had attacked was a great doctor in the village, so the whole villagers had been angry. They had caught Ace while he had been sleeping and thrown him away. How stupid he had been, he acknowledged it bitterly. Where he would be then? Should he be in the bottom of the river?
Suddenly a cute face popped in his head. The girl… the little girl had saved him. That wet face and small wet body… ah! She was the girl in the photo! Ace rushed to the opened door and looked at a small figure who was busily feeding her cows in the field. Warmth feeling suddenly spread all over his body. He smiled and rushed toward his savior.
The girl turned her head as he greeted her. She was even cuter than Ace could remember. The bohemian style suited her, made her look pretty. Even she looked so cute when she spoke to him. "Ahh! You're awake!"
"Yeah, thanks for rescuing me." Ace bowed his body politely. "I owe you my life."
The girl blushed in seconds. It's not everyday scene that young man like Ace bowed his head for girl like her. She tapped her cows nervously. "It's nothing really. I knew you'll help me if you're in my position."
"You bet I will," Ace told her softly. "By the way, my name is Ace, Portgas D. Ace. What's yours?"
"My name is Moda," she answered, little bit groggy. "Only Moda."
"Moda?" Ace repeated her name. He couldn't believe there was a girl name Moda. It sounded like cow! How could parents named their cute daughter like her with that name? It was just weird, and unbelievable. He asked her again, "Moda?"
"Yes! Moda!" Moda pressed her words. She realized her name sounded strange, but she really liked it. "Moda, like bawling cows, moouuuhhdaaa!"
"Hahaha…" Ace laughed seeing that girl's act. The little girl looked so funny yet cute in somewhat way. Suddenly he felt the connection between Moda and him. Moreover, there was something inside her which drew him, aside of her cuteness. Gosh, she was so cute… stop it Ace! You're not pedophile, aren't you? Moda is like… she is like…
"Ace?" Moda was looking at him curiously. "Ace? Anything wrong?"
Come on, she's like 13 or something! Stop thinking that way!
"I see… your name is Moda…" Ace shook his head, grinning. He quickly adverted his mind, asking her. "You look busy. Do you need a hand?"
The girl looked amazed with his offer. To tell the truth, she was totally busy that day. "Thanks! Can you help me feeding all of them?"
Ace glanced at the whole farm and saw many cows around him. They were quite a lot cows to be fed. "Are you the one who takes care of them?"
Once again, the little girl nodded. Ace was so amazed that little girl like her could so hard jobs like what she was doing.
"Here, these are the buckets…"
Moda handed the bucket for Ace. Then, Ace helped the girl to feed the cows, water the tomatoes and potatoes, and many more. It had been a long time since he did farm works. However, he did the jobs well. Moda looked happy to see Ace's works. He was so powerful and helpful, she noted.
"Ace, do you want to try milking cows?" Moda asked him, all smiling. She was holding a big bucket with her. "I don't push you if you don't want to anyway. You'd better take a rest."
Ace quickly grabbed her hand, "Ah, don't be ridiculous! Of course I would like to try it. Show me how and I'll do it just like pro does."
"Haa, you're funny." Moda threw her smile. "Come on, then."
Moda brought him to the cow stall, then she came toward the closest cow with many black dots on its body. Moda tapped the cow softly, preparing the buckets and the water for two of them. Ace could only stared at her, wondering what should he do next. Moda asked him to sit next to her, saying, "You could try with Piggy first. It's the nicest one here."
Ace frowned. "Piggy? You told me milking cows, right?"
The girl laughed pretty hard, "Piggy is a cow, Ace. So are Cocky, Ducky, and Doggy…"
Ace lost his words.
"The tattoo on your back looks… uhmm… cool." Moda commented as Ace poured the fresh milk inside the big bottle. After milking the cows, the next step was storing them in the big bottles. Moda had explained to him that she would go to city or village nearby to sell them. So, he helped her again. It was funny that he always wanted to be in her side. Moda continued, "that tattoo… where did you get that?"
"This tattoo means everything to me. This is my happiness and pride. I got this from my father," he explained briefly. Ace didn't want to spill the fact that he was one of Whitebeard Pirates for some reasons. He just wanted her remembered him as himself, just Ace, average young man. Yet, Ace couldn't hide his proud for being Whitebeard's crew. "My father… he's the most wonderful man in the world."
"Means your father has a big, long mustache?" Moda kept staring at the tattoo. That was very interesting, no one had big tattoo all over his back like Ace. She even wanted to touch that. "He must have the longest or the biggest mustache in the world, right Ace?"
Ace laughed. "You could say so."
"That is really cool, Ace. How can I get the same?" Moda insisted. "Hmm, maybe…"
"Moda, there's no good girl wants tattoo on her body, except pirate girls." Ace clarified to her, thinking that that girl really didn't know much about pirates and more. "Not everyone likes this tattoo, though. You have good taste."
"True?" The little girl gave a warm smile to him. "So, you are a pirate? That's ever cooler, Ace!"
Ace could feel his heart pound faster. He gulped uneasy. He perfectly realized that there were only two of them in the cow stall. Anything could happen between them. Ace could feel his breath became rapid. Moda was really attractive. She was his ideal type, he noticed that. How if he… NO! NOT A CHANCE! I'M DEFINITELY NOT A PEDOPHILE!
"The tattoo suits you all right." She gave another smile, praising him. "You look nice with it."
DEG! DEG! DEG!
"Tell me, can I touch it?"
"NOOO!" Ace bolted when she asked him. He raised his brows, "NO!"
"Fine! You don't have to behave like that…" Moda warned him. She was very disappointed with Ace harsh reaction. "You made me jump you know."
"Sorry…" Ace almost dropped the bottle in his hands. "I didn't mean to shout, but…"
But you make me crazy. Stop being that close or else, little girl. Oh, just great! What am I thinking?
"Ah, that's all right." Moda answered, playing her silky hair. She didn't realize that Ace was so moved by her actions. Ace tried his best to focus placing the milk, ignoring naughty thoughts in his head. Moda look satisfied with their job. "I think that's enough milk for today."
"Hmmm, where should I put this bottle?" Ace asked nervously. He turned his head, didn't want to see Moda or stay close with her. "Woah, it's kinda hot in here."
It was very weird for Ace, being hot since he was fire user, but he implied hot in different kind of ways.
"It's June, Ace. Of course it's hot." Moda replied, touched Ace's hand. "You sweat too much, are you okay?"
"Moda, please, where should I put the—the bottle?" He pressed his words.
"Here, I lead you the way." The girl walked out from the cow stall. Ace took a deep breath. Thanks, he was saved from his brutality. He didn't know what he should do if he stayed longer in that place. He repeated a chant in his head. I'm not a pedophile! I'm not a pedophile! I'm not a fucking pedophile! I'm not and I would never ever be!
Ace and Moda was having their lunch together that afternoon. She baked some fresh bread and cakes. They tasted delicious and even tastier when Ace combined them with the fresh milk. He enjoyed his lunch very much. Well, most of the time, he cooked himself and his cooking was quite far from human's standard. Sometimes he ate in some restaurants too, but Moda's cook beat all of them.
"They tasted really good," Ace said, drinking his milk. "You're wonderful cook, little girl."
Moda pouted her mouth. She hated when people consider her as little girl, for she wasn't. "I'm not little girl! Next November I'll be 16!"
Ace spilled all milk from his mouth hearing Moda's statement. He didn't believe his ears. "SORRY?"
"I'll be 16, Ace…!"
Ace dropped his jaw, "you're?"
"Of course!" she quckly retorted to his question.
"Geezee! I thought you were 13 or something!"
Heavy rock had been lifted from Ace's heart. He felt released knowing the girl he felt so attracted with was no longer little. However, Moda looked very disappointed with his response, which seemed to be overreacted. If only she could read his mind, she wouldn't feel like that…
"Hmmph!" Moda smacked her mouth.
Ace quickly apologized, "Oh, I didn't mean to hurt you… it's my mistake, I'm sorry…"
Moda shrugged her shoulders. She surely pissed with Ace reaction. She even told him her plan. "it's all fine. Everyone thought the same like you. Listen, I tell you my secret! From now on I'll drink so much milk in order to be tall! I believe in the next year I'll be as tall as you!"
"Ohh…" Ace gazed at her, looking at her height. She was very, very short. She was about 145 or somewhat closer.
"MILK IS GOOD TO BUILD STRONG BONES!" Moda announced proudly. "You'll see, Ace!"
"Ahhh…" Ace couldn't able to say anything. He didn't want to hurt her feeling. No way, could she add such centimeters in one year? That was obviously impossible. Okay, he had to change the subject. Luckily, he remembered the photo on the desk. "Where are your parents? Are they going somewhere?"
There was a pain in her eyes when he popped the question. Ace cursed himself. He knew he had asked the wrong one. Fuck, why I keep saying something stupid lately?
"My parents are working right now, not too far from here actually, but they rarely see me. Guess they are very busy." Moda's expression looked so bitter. Ace was awed to see that. He didn't know that cheerful girl could be that gloomy.
"Hmm…" Ace barely said anything. Damn…
"They often tell me in their letter that they miss the taste of our milk here… You know our milk tastes really good, right? If only I could visit them…"
"You sound as if you haven't met them for years," Ace joked. He tried to change the subject, but Moda kept on talking about her parents.
"I haven't met them for three years…" Moda whispered. Her voice was trembling, "Ah, don't bother… I'm being silly, am I?"
Ace put his cup, taking her hands. He told her softly, "I wish I could help you more, Moda."
Moda eyes sparked as she heard his words. Yet, she shook her head. "No way you could help me. Nah, I must go to the town…"
"Just mention it. I'll do anything," Ace hesitated. "Anything, I'll help you."
"The letter… ah! I made a letter last year!" Moda dashed toward the house. Ace didn't know what the letter and her request would be, but somehow he felt obligated to help her. Her cheerful face reminded him Luffy. No, she wasn't Luffy. She reminded Ace himself when he was kid. He had been so lonely. He had been waiting his parents for years. Unfortunately, his grandfather told him the opposite. He had no parents. Both of them had died. To the worse of all, he carried the cursed blood in his veins.
The girl appeared with a letter in her hand, "here… could you… no! Please, give this letter to the Commander Bittercoff of the navy squad in Salamander Sea in the Grand Line."
"I see…" Ace nodded, smiling. Well, at least he could help her to lift her sadness. "Giving the letter, right?"
"Yes!" Moda looked so happy when Ace took the letter with him. "Thank you so much!"
Her smiled turned Ace's world upside down. Moda was really sweet, he noted. He had to get rid soon from that place or he would definitely lose his sanity. Yeah, he had to go, the faster the better. Moda had just returned from the town when Ace had packed his things. He even had prepared his ship, which he had hidden it in the cave near the sea. It was the time to say goodbye, they thought. Ace knew the faster he left the better it would be.
"I hope next time we meet, you'll be taller than this," Ace tapped her head lightly. Moda's face went rose hearing Ace's comment.
"You'll see!" she retorted shyly. "Milk is good to build strong bones."
"Yeah, I hope your wish comes true." Ace knew it was the time to go. He hurriedly ran toward his special ship. He waved his hand to Moda. "I guess it's time to go! Thanks for your kindness, Moda! Thanks for everything!"
Moda kept waving her hand until she couldn't see Ace anymore, hoping he could give the letter, and also hoping she could meet him again. There, Ace left with a letter in his hand and a big relief in his heart. A smile started to rise on his face. At last he wasn't a pedophile.
See you in the next chapter!