Beyond The Smiles, Beyond the Reason
Chapter One: Life

Ace was now eight and his little now five, both strong children. Things had been a little different since Dragon had left to go out to sea, but they finally adjusted to it. Their mother, Portgas, had been taking care of them all by herself and the boy's couldn't have been happier with a more kind and caring person. But lately, Portgas found herself having a little trouble with Ace. She had decided to tell him the truth about his father and ever since then, he's been beating up the adults in town who were talking bad about Roger. And today was the same. Ace walked through the door with several small cuts and bruises on his arms and Portgas gave a sigh. "Come here, Ace." He gave no protests and plopped himself at the kitchen table. She brought out some bandages and bandaids and took a seat next to Ace, bandaging some of his cuts. "Ace, this is the third time in a week this month. You're getting worse." Ace frowned at the floor, gripping his knees tightly. "What's wrong."

"They talk bad about Roger," he replied. Portgas' look softened and she gently set her hand on Ace's head.

"I know they do, Ace. There's a lot of people out there who don't like him, but that doesn't mean he was a bad person. They probably just don't like pirates."

"They said his child should die." This caught Portgas' attention and she stiffened. "They said if he had a child, the kid should have a needle stuck in him for every person who hates Roger. They said he should die slowly, that I'm nothing but trash." Ace's grip tightened more and he began to shake. His mother sat there, shocked. She had no idea the townspeople were saying that. She pulled Ace into a tight hug.

"They're wrong, Ace. You don't deserve to die and you're certainly not trash. You and Luffy… you two are the best things that ever happened in my life. I love you both very much, and nothing will ever change that. Do you understand?" She looked down at Ace who seemed to be in a much better mood now. "Always continue to live, no matter what. Life is something precious to all of us and throwing it away is a waste. They say you should die, so prove them wrong. Live and become strong, stronger than everyone out there. Live your life without regrets." Ace nodded and grinned.

"I will! I'll prove them all wrong. I will live a life without regrets." He turned around and hugged his mother. "I love you, mother." She hugged him back with a smile.

"I love you too, Ace. And you too, Luffy. Come on." Luffy, who had just appeared in the doorway ran to his mother and brother to join the hug. "Together as a family, we'll overcome anything as long as we stick-up for each other."

"Let's make a promise!" Luffy suggested, holding out his pinky finger.

"No matter what, we'll live a life without regrets!" Portgas, Ace, and Luffy all connected their fingers together.

"It's a promise!"

~ Two weeks later ~

Portgas grabbed her purse and looked at her two sons. "Now, remember what I said: Don't answer the door, don't leave the house, don't touch the stove and no roughhousing while I'm gone." Ace and Luffy nodded, each running up to her to give her a hug. "I'll be right back, okay?"

"Be safe!"

"Don't forget the meat!" Portgas chuckled and ruffled Luffy's hair.

"I won't, Luffy. Love you guys."

"Love ya!" She exited the house and headed down the dirt path towards town. She took in a deep breath of the fresh air.

"It's a nice day today. Maybe I'll take Ace and Luffy down to the beach later." Ace… Ever since she had that talk with him two weeks ago, he had stop beating up the adults in town, much to her relief. But still, every time she saw one of the adults beat up, she'd give them a glare. 'He said my son deserves to die,' She'd always think, wishing she could beat the men up herself. "That's okay," she told herself. "Ace already beat him up really good." She couldn't believe that her son, only 8, could beat up some of the adults here! She giggled to herself before looking up to the sky. "I guess he really is your son, huh, Roger?" The sun seemed to brighten even more as she made her way down the grocery store.

x x x
Ace and Luffy watched their mom walk out of sight before grinning. "You wanna play tag?" Luffy looked over at his brother.

"But she said–"

"Don't worry, we'll go back in before she gets home. What she doesn't know won't hurt her." Luffy thought for a second, then grinned, nodding his head in agreement.

"Yosh! You're it!" He tapped Ace on the shoulder before bolting out the door, Ace hot on his heels. Within a minute, Ace slapped Luffy on the hand, making Luffy 'it'. The hyper boy chased his brother all around the backyard, his hand reaching out to tag his quick rival. Seeing that Luffy wouldn't be able to catch him, Ace slowed his speed down slightly, giving Luffy a chance to tag him. "Ah, you're it! I got you! I'm getting faster!" Luffy pumped his fists in the air and Ace chuckled.

"No you're not, you're still as slow as molasses." Luffy tilted his head.

"Huh? What's that? Isn't that a disease misquotes give you?"

"Baka! That's malaria! Molasses is a syrup!" And before Ace could bump Luffy on the head, he fell asleep. Luffy shook his head.

"Ace, your narcotics is really weird." Luffy stopped for a second. "Wait, narcotics are drugs right? Oh, I mean narcolepsy." He looked back to his sleeping brother. "Your narcolepsy is really weird, Ace. Oi, wake up." He went to poke Ace's freckled cheek, but tripped and he ended up smashing his finger into Ace's closed eye, waking the boy up immediately.

"Ow! Luffy, what the hell was that for!" Ace grabbed his now watery eye and hit Luffy over the head.

"Ow! I didn't mean to poke your eye! I tripped and missed your cheek!"

"Why would you even poke my face! Just poke my arm or something!"

"Because you never wake up when I poke your arm! Baka!"

"You're the baka! Baka!" They soon went into a scuffle, but it ended rather quickly with both of them laughing on the ground staring at the sky.

"Look, Ace! That one looks like a piece of meat!"

"Baka, that doesn't look–" Ace stared at it for a few seconds. "Well, what do you know… It does look like meat."

"And that one looks like a dragon! And– Look Ace! That one looks like your cute freckles!" Ace gave a blush before playfully punching Luffy in the arm.

"They're not cute!" But Luffy wasn't even paying attention because he was currently watching two hercules bugs fighting. Ace got up to watch them too. "I bet the black one wins."

"I'm going for the other one. Go bug! You can win! Gooo– Noooo! My bug lost!" Ace could only laugh as he watched Luffy flail his arms in the air. His mom was right, life indeed was a precious thing.

x x x
Portgas placed a few more apples into her hand basket along with some lettuce and spinach. "Luffy has to eat more vegetables, he can't just live off meat." She hummed quietly to herself as she walked down the isle looking for anything else she should get. Finding everything she needed, she payed for her groceries and headed out the door, turning the corner to go back home. But when she turned the corner, she stopped and gasped, dropping all her bags of groceries. She stood there surprised, not knowing what to do. "You…"

x x x
And… that's a wrap for today! Hope you kind of liked it? Leave me a review on what you thought! Next chapter is where it all begins. ;D