Title: The Once and Future (Pirate) King
Characters: Gol D. Roger and Shanks
Pairing(s): None
Warnings: Roger is philosophical. Be afraid.
Setting: Roger's cell in Loguetown, the night before he dies. Shanks sneaks in to free his Captain.
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece

Loguetown was exactly the same as Roger remembered it, and yet it wasn't. The last time he had been here no one had given him a second glance. Now, everyone knew his name and face. Tomorrow they would all see it for the last time.

"Have you just accepted your fate, Roger, you damn pirate?" Garp had practically screamed at him when he turned himself in. Roger had given him his trademark shit-eating grin in response. Annoying the other D had always been one of his favorite pastimes.

Oh, the times he had had…He was going to miss those times, he supposed, almost as much as he missed his crew. How many of them would be hunted down and executed now that the Marines no longer had to fear his revenge?

Oh, his crew. The two years without them hadn't been easy. Every day he had been tempted to gather them back on his beloved Oro Jackson, take back his hat, and sail on as if nothing would ever separate them again. If not for Portgas D Rogue, Roger thought he might have. Even with her, and how happy she made him, Roger still longed for the sea and his crew. There were days when he swore he could hear them calling.

"Captain! Captain Roger!" He could hear his red haired apprentice calling. Shanks would likely have some joke for him involving clowns or noses. Rayleigh had pretended to despise Shanks and Buggy's antics, but Roger knew better. Rayleigh was just as fond of the two reckless idiots as he was.

"Gold Roger." Roger heard Shanks' voice call again and his snapped out of his day dreams. That was no memory haunting him; Shanks knew better than to call him Gold when his name was Gol D Roger.

"What?" Roger demanded, opening his eyes, expecting to see a gloating Marine outside his cell.

The sight of a slender red headed youth wearing a straw hat met his eyes.

"Sorry Captain. You were lost in your fantasy world again. It was the only way to get your attention." Shanks apologized. From one of his hands dangled a set of keys, and the former cabin boy began flipping through them to find a potential match for Roger's cell door.

"What the in the four Blues do you think you're doing?" Roger demanded.

Shanks looked up from the keys and grinned a cocky grin.

"Getting you out of course. We can't be the Roger Pirates without you Captain."

"Shanks," Roger began, his voice heavy, "leave me."

Shanks didn't stop looking through the keys. "I know you're worried about how we're going to get out of here, but the guards have already been taken care of. All we have to do is walk out." Shanks paused for breath, "But Captain, why haven't you broken out yet?"

"I'm not going to break out."

Shanks finally stopped what he was doing. "Then you're going to escape tomorrow and show everyone the true power of the Pirate King?" He asked hopefully.

"No. It's been a good run, and while I may have some regrets, "Rogue," overall I am happy with the life I've lived." Roger explained.

"So this is it. No more Captain Roger, no more Roger Pirates."

"Yep." Roger leaned back on the cell's uncomfortably small cot. It creaked under his weight, and he briefly wondered if eating everything that Rogue had put in front of him had been the best choice.

"What about the Pirate King?" Shanks demanded. "Who's going to lead the pirates of this world to freedom from the government?"

Roger shrugged. "The next Pirate King."

A determined gleam entered Shanks' eyes.

"Just what are you planning now?" Roger asked with a chuckle. He knew Shanks' mind and he knew when the redhead had an idea, and therefore he knew that this one was sure to be absurd.

"I'm going to become the Pirate King." Shanks declared.

Roger stared at him.

"BWAHAHAHAHA!" He burst into deep belly laughs.

Shanks' face matched his hair. "I can do it!" He yelled.

"No you can't." Roger laughed.

"Why not?" Shanks demanded.

"Because you don't want to be the Pirate King." Roger folded his hands over his chest. "It's not your dream."

"It was your dream and you're my Captain so I'll make it my dream too." Shanks insisted.

"Shanks, being Pirate King isn't about following someone else's dreams." Roger said seriously. "Besides, who would ever take you seriously? A red haired Pirate King?" Roger laughed again.

Shanks frowned. "I could do it."

"Yes, you could." Roger conceded. "But it would kill you. You're not the kind of person who would want that freedom."

"I don't understand."

Roger smiled at him. "Not yet anyway."

Shanks crossed his arms and pouted at his Captain, making Roger laugh.

"You'll be a great pirate Shanks, but you don't have the will to be the Pirate King."

"The will?"

"Someday you'll find the one who will follow in my footsteps and you'll know what to do." Roger told him. "Now go. The Marines shouldn't catch you here."

"But Captain…!"

"Captain's orders." Roger grinned. "Tomorrow my time ends, but the age of the pirates is just beginning."

'Captain…" Shanks tried to protest, but Roger's hand cut him off. "I'll always be a Roger Pirate."

And then the red haired cabin boy left, slipping into the night.

The next day Roger died with a smile on his face. As Rayleigh later told Shanks, after a few too many drinks, Roger was the Once and Future Pirate King.