Disclaimer: AW YEAH. WORDS 'N' SHIT. Anyway, I don't own One Piece or these characters. Please support the official release or I will HUNT YOU DOWN WITH A RAKE.

Prince Fukaboshi was a quiet man by nature. He kept to himself when he could. His brothers were almost always with him, true, but he didn't really consider them entirely separate beings from himself. Family was everything, and an intrinsic part of how he identified himself.

And so, he had very mixed feelings about entering the ridiculously loud throng of people (pirates and royalty alike) dancing, eating, and singing, often all three at the same time. It would appear that the Straw Hat Crew were veterans of parties such as these, because even the ones who kept their dignity and stayed off to the side seemed very comfortable where they were. Or, at the very least, they were used to their Captain being a terrible influence on everyone else.

Speaking of Luffy's bad influence on people…

Fukaboshi's thoughts turned to his beloved younger sister. He couldn't say 'little sister', naturally, because she was approximately twenty times taller than him. Well, every family had their quirks. She had used to be so mousy and quiet. She still was, but she was a little louder, a little bolder, and a little more confident since meeting the profoundly bizarre young man made of rubber. Fukaboshi had yet to see the full extent of the change, and as such decided to wait and see if the it was a good change or not.

His eyes must have unconsciously drifted over to the half-subject of his thoughts, because he (quite accidentally) found his eyes locked with the Pirate Captain's. Fukaboshi blinked and tried to pass it off as an accident, the fault of a wandering eye.

Too late. Straw Hat Luffy was heading over his way.

Why? What did he want? The young man's face had tightened a bit, and the atmosphere around him grew a little on the heavy side. The smiles of the people he passed by dimmed for a moment, as though they could sense something dark approaching. Uh-oh. Whatever Straw Hat had to say, Fukaboshi had a strange feeling it wasn't going to be good.

"Oi. Shirahoshi's brother. Can we talk somewhere?" he asked.

It would be rude to refuse. Luffy didn't seem like the type who would be fazed by rudeness in the least, but Fukaboshi had been raised right. "Of course."

He led them into an empty formal meeting room, normally used for the enormous diplomatic dinners that only happened on occasion. "No-one will interrupt us here. I assume there is something on your mind?" he asked.

Luffy sighed. "Yeah."

Fukaboshi waited patiently.

"…Don't do that thing you did."

…Wait, what? How on earth did Luffy expect him to understand what the hell that meant? "Pardon?" he said, betraying none of his thoughts.

"You went after Hordy. On your own. With a shit-ton of injuries."

"Forgive me, but you had a fair number of injuries yourself, and you fought him alone. How is my defense of my country and my sister-"

'There!" Luffy cried, voice powerful and a little angry. Fukaboshi stopped immediately. "'Defense of your sister'! You were really badly hurt, and you already knew you were going to lose. You were going to die like a dumbass. Achieving nothing."

"I was protecting my-"

"You weren't."

Fukaboshi's eyes widened.

"You weren't protecting her or anyone else. You were going to lose. You were going to die. And you were going to break her heart in two."

A chill went up Fukaboshi's spine.

Luffy continued. "Just because you're a big brother, you think you have to throw yourself in harm's way every time something threatens your younger sibling. You're gonna die like that. For no reason at all. That's why I'm saying don't do it. Your life doesn't just belong to you, you know. Physical wounds heal. Emotional wounds don't. If I died, Shirahoshi might be sad, but not heartbroken. If you died…" It didn't need saying.

His hands had unconsciously formed fists and were clenching and releasing, back and forth. Fukaboshi could make out a slight tremor shaking the boy's entire body. Most of all, he could feel it. The pain. The sadness. The memory of a child sobbing brokenly on the ground at the loss of his brother, and a more recent memory of a young man's suicide attempt for the same reason. The emotions coming off the pirate captain were almost physical things, and they shook Fukaboshi to his core.

At last, Luffy spoke again. "Just don't leave her alone. I won't forgive you if you do. You don't die for the people you love – you live for them." And with that, he turned on a heel and left the room, turning the opposite direction from whence they had came. Fukaboshi would have wondered why if he hadn't already known.

Luffy needed to be alone right now.


That wasn't right.

He wanted to be alone right now. He needed to be around someone, someone to lift dark memories of a pain too deep to ever truly go away.

Fukaboshi knew that perhaps the Straw Hat Crew might be better equipped to handle their Captain, but somehow he felt like… like just this once, that might not be the case. He followed Luffy.

He was in a mostly secluded corridor, not far from the conference room. Just standing there in the middle of the hall. Fukaboshi didn't have to see the shaking of his shoulders to know he was crying silently.

Fukaboshi kept to himself, unless it was family.

Luffy might not be family, but he desperately needed family right now.

He already had two younger brothers.

What was to say he couldn't temporarily adopt a third?

He slowly, awkwardly drew the boy into a hug. It helped that he turned around and all but threw himself into the Prince's arms. Fukaboshi waited patiently, gently holding him as he waited for the tears to stop.

When Luffy finally drew away, there were some slightly awkward thanks and apologies and peculiar gesticulating, which was probably meant to justify Luffy's actions to himself somehow. They went back to the celebration once Luffy was confident that he looked himself again.

They would never speak of it to anyone else.

(A/N): Anybody else notice how Luffy only flipped a genuine shit when he thought Fukaboshi was about to sacrifice himself for his younger sibling? Anybody else thinking that he was probably making a parallel to Ace's death at that moment? Anybody else think that Luffy fighting so hard to save the royal family was sort of his way of going back in time and saving his brother? There's a lot of pain, and a lot of hurt in this child, and he has needed to prove to himself for two whole years that this time, he's strong enough to keep them all together, and all safe. He wants to keep it from ever happening again. To him, the whole thing on Fishman Island was Marineford all over again. Except this time, he managed to save everybody. I think that might actually be part of the pain - knowing that he had this kind of power, knowing that if he had just known how to use it at the time, he might have been able to save Ace. There was no way Luffy didn't go through a lot of hurt in his head right around this time. He probably shoved it away, just trying to be grateful for the present and not wallow in the past, but there are some emotions that you can't shove away forever. Besides, I feel like he really would have tried to keep Fukaboshi from doing this sort of thing, understanding what the ones left behind go through, and wanting to keep Shirahoshi from ever experiencing the same thing. He's a considerate guy like that.