Meosan: So here's the second chapter~~ This one isn't much either, I confess, and originally it's supposed to be much longer, but I added a bit more and I've decided to cut the chapter. I mean if you read on, you'll understand how angtsy it sort of is. And the bit I cut off is more light-hearted in a sense? You'll see what I mean when you read chapter three when I upload it I guess.
Warning for this chapter is that the character's, especially Luffy, is very OOC! He's still a kid here, but I must emphasize that he'll be back in character soon (if I write him well enough anyway), so please do not be disheartened! It is necessary for this chapter~
Also again no beta, but hope it's fine :)
Now on to the story!
Luffy laid on the sofa with arms tucked behind his head and stared blankly at the ceiling. It had already been two months since his stay at Makino's and the summer season was reaching its height.
The melting sun stayed sitting up on his blue throne longer by each passing day; his prolonged stay unintentionally harming and torturing the ant-sized humans. The rays looked weirdly orange, but bright nonetheless, and lethal. It left a sugary tangy sickness hanging in the air and that weight soon burdened the landscape. Bees came to drill more lazily around, laden by the increasingly stifling heat. Flowers reluctantly drooped down as their petals were dampened and darkened by the wet, sticky air that dissolved its beauty. The timid clouds, afraid of the sun's blinding beams, hid far away to the dark corners of earth, leaving only little puffs of cotton that hovered naively under the drowning blue sky.
It was a droplet of water, something small, something that would usually be overheard. But under the overwhelming silence of the house, the noise easily swam to Luffy, perking his ears. He sat up and looked expectantly towards the kitchen window, it might rain today.
Luffy sighed. It was just the kitchen tap. He rested his head and whole side of his body heavily on the sofa, still sitting up right. He sluggishly patted his stomach. He was hungry but didn't want to move at the same time. And he couldn't bring himself to go to Makino again. There was no doubt that her shop would be packed, especially during this time of the day; she doesn't need more distraction. But he was so hungry.
But honestly, the boy couldn't leave the house today anyway. After the sudden summer downpour yesterday, which resulted in the sticky humid air, Luffy opted to stay in, to escape the stifling heat.
And with nothing left to do, he went on to sleep sporadically throughout the night till now. He would humour himself during the night by raiding around the master bedroom and made a fortress inside it. He would lie on the floor, enjoy himself with midnight baths, and put on cartoon DVD's – pausing during random moments to laugh at the weird faces the characters made. However, he eventually reached the limit of an Individual Imagination. The thoughts that are brought to life by just one person. Luffy reached the end of that. Individual Imagination.
So in the end he stayed lying on the sofa, rejecting the lonely comforts of his room. He patted his stomach once more and swung his legs onto the floor. Luffy could've done anything in the house because there was no one to stop him, but there was one thing that he didn't do. And that was raid the kitchen fridge.
Luffy walked towards the open kitchen, his little feet patting lightly on the marble tile floor, and pulled out one of the kitchen chairs instead. He purposefully ignored the fridge. That was because he knew there was no food left inside it. He sat down, grabbed one of the last few apples from the fruit basket that perched lazily on the middle of the table and took a gluttonous bite of it, chewing it heartily; at least apples were his favourite fruit.
Garp always made sure to send Luffy enough food through a lady called Dadan, most of which he'll just have to heat up himself with the microwave. But lately, the woman hasn't showed up at all. Of course this has happened before, with Garp and his duties, and Luffy didn't really expect much these days. He would usually visit Makino when this happened, but Dadan hasn't visited longer than any of the other times before. And he really didn't want to go and bother Makino anymore.
Just then, a sound which Luffy almost treated as a godsend, traveled to his ears. The heavy rumbling of a car engine was heard and with a whistle it stopped. He quickly gobbled up the rest of the apple, juice dribbling down the corners of his mouth before throwing it in the bin and walking over to the door. He wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his shirt and listened to how the clanking of the keys gradually drowned the silence around him.
A harsh sound of shuffling came with it however, and angry muttering as well. With a small wonder, Luffy pursed his lips, a finger touching the corner of his mouth thoughtfully. Gramps wasn't alone? His question did not take long to be answered, since soon, with a slight heft and an unnecessary amount of brute force, the door opened, slamming against the wall.
"Gramps!" Luffy said happily, hands now up in the air, unfazed by the loud bang.
Luffy's sight settled on Garp's large figure straight away, since in all honestly it was very hard to miss. But he also didn't miss the boy the stood in front of his grandpa.
Luffy's smile slowly drained away.
He immediately took step back; he doesn't do well with other kids, especially older ones. His shoulders tensed subconsciously and arms slowly lowered. He kept his eyes focused on the taller boy in front of him. The other only snarled rudely at him and a sneer rested on his freckled face.
Behind him, Garp made a somewhat awkward expression, obviously embarrassed that the door had to be opened so forcefully. He eyed the tall boy in front him and coughed, before looking at his grandson.
"Luffy!" He bellowed, at the same time urging the freckled boy inside so he can get in, "How's my idiot grandson been?"
The boy shrugged Garp's hand off him in disdain and folded his arms across his chest crossly. However as he did so, startled by the sudden and unpredicted hand movements, Luffy flinched. The boy only snarled again and looked away, uncaring to Luffy's odd reaction. What the brat did was none of his business.
Luffy's lips quivered and for a split second, something clenched Luffy's heart spitefully, something very much like fear. He looked at the boy in front of him stoically, the torrent of emotion that waged a tornado within him only revealed by the slight tremble in his unusually bleary eyes. He clenched his fists and took another step back. He looked up to his grandpa.
"Gramps…" Luffy said again, this time quieter and with a hint of confusion.
Garp grunted and cleared his throat before showing a toothy smile, somehow feeling the sudden need to reassure his grandson from whatever he seemed to be scared of. And apparently it did the trick when Luffy returned with a steadier smile.
"Let's sit down first shall we?" Garp said He closed the door and attempted to walk in, but the boy with his messy black locks and a snarl still plastered on his face, seemed adamant in remaining where he was. Eventually, after some intense glaring and unspoken words, the boy moved begrudge towards the sofa, and sat down with a huff.
Luffy looked wearily between the stranger and his grandpa, his smile wavering again. "W-Who is he?" He asked, apprehension slowly threading through his veins. He really, really didn't like other kids, and honestly he really can't deal with older ones. Nowadays, they only spell trouble and most of all, pain.
Garp gave a hearty laugh instead and pushed Luffy's small back towards the sofa. "Come on now Luffy, I have something to tell you."
Luffy's grandpa was a big buff man, which is quite unexpected for his age. He has slick black hair with specks of grey peppering his temple. A decent amount of thick wrinkles covered his face, something that is probably due to his over expressiveness and large as life smirk. And so as to balance with his body features, Garp always spoke loudly as well, as though each sentence had a back bone in it, quietening down only for certain occasions.
The old man sat down next to the other boy. The cushions on the sofa caved in comfortably and adjusted to his body straight away. It was as though Garp had never once left his seat before.
He watched Luffy sit down at the edge of the singular sofa and sighed softly. "Did you just wake up Luffy?" He scrutinized his grandson's mussed black hair, "On such a good day like this you should be out and about! Bwahahahaha!" He laughed loudly and stretched over to ruffle Luffy's hair.
Luffy laughed back spontaneously, enjoying the feel of the hand on his hair. No one really ruffled his hair anymore, and Makino only occasionally did so. "Oh no, I –" he began to answer, but was quickly cut off by a snort. Luffy jerked back and looked at the boy again. For a millisecond he forgot the boy. Or actually, he forgot the underlying fear he felt for the stranger.
"He's probably just lazy all the time," The boy muttered, eyes staying focused on the wall.
"Ace!" Garp barked, a scowl lining his rough features.
Luffy didn't say anything; he only moved and got the straw-hat that lay innocently on the table and sat back on the sofa, clutching it tightly to his chest. He crossed his legs and looks down.
A cold silence settled on the living room at once. The boy called Ace refused to say anything, just as Luffy didn't dare open his mouth again. Garp sighed heavily and looked at his grandson. He gripped the cap of his own knees with his big palms and squeezed.
"Luffy…" Garp began, clearing his throat, "There's actually another reason I came back this time apart from seeing you." He reached over to ruffle Luffy's hair again, but didn't receive the similar reaction to earlier. Disappointment wrinkled the corners of his mouth, he sat back.
"Well, this is Ace," he introduced, looking at the boy he addressed and then back at Luffy, "And he'll be living here with you from now on."
Luffy instantly looked up; this was not what he expected at all. "What?!" He exclaimed. The strings of terror now squeezed around his heart painfully. He doesn't need someone else in the house, someone who hated him so much even when they've only just met.
"I know I'm home away a lot and it's getting harder and harder for me to come home to see you. You're always alone at home…So I want you to treat Ace like your brother, and you too Ace," he said to the other sternly, receiving only a growl.
"But I don't need a brother, I don't even know him! W…Where's dad? What about dad, does he know?" Dread filled Luffy's face. "Was this his idea?" He whispered.
Monkey D. Dragon was Luffy's father, and a figure that Luffy had never saw again after the death of his mother. He was a very important and influential man was all that Luffy knew. And he absolutely dreaded the possibility that this might be his dad's idea. Because to young Luffy, the only reason that can fit with why another boy was entering the house, was because he wasn't needed anymore. Dragon already never visited him, and to welcome a 'brother' into the house…. Luffy looked down at his strawhat with watering eyes.
"Oh no," Garp promptly replied with a reassuring tone that he mustered with difficulty. Sounding soft was never his forte, but understanding more or less what Luffy must be thinking, he knew Luffy needed to hear the comfort in his voice. However Garp found himself to be lost for words. He ran over what he wanted to say in his head, but the more he did so, the more unsure he was on how to word his sentence.
"This… was my idea," he confessed, earning look of betrayal from his grandson. "I had this old friend who asked me to take care of her daughter before he died, and Ace is basically this lady's nephew."
Relief washed over Luffy only for a short second. On one hand, he was happy that it was not Dragon's idea, on another hand, to know it wasn't and that maybe his father didn't even know, showed just how much his father didn't care about him.
Luffy bit his lips, aware of where the conversation is going. "Why do I have to know about this?" He asked softly, the pout heard in his voice, echoing how young he still really is.
Garp kept his eyes on Luffy and his heart hardened. His grandson would have to hear this sooner or later, it is best for him to know before they arrive. "She has a daughter and they're both going to come and live with you, together with Ace here."
This earned a quiet whimper and a sniffle from Luffy. He put his strawhat on, in a wistful way convincing him that through some bizarre ways the hat can protect him from hearing his grandpa's words.
"Luffy," Garp said quietly, "She's going to take care of you, and now you won't be as lonely anymore."
"I don't feel lonely," Luffy muttered, though to him and to Garp and even Ace who's been sitting quietly listening to the exchange, they can all hear how much of a lie it was. "I don't feel lonely at all," he repeated, "I can take care of myself…and I have Makino as well."
Garp chose to ignore Luffy's obvious lie, "Makino can't take care of you all the time. She has her own life, and she can't act like a mum to you –"
"Isn't that what you're doing?!" Luffy cut Garp off, "replacing mum with someone random!"
That was Luffy's Second Terror. His First Terror was the fear of replacement. Deep down, Luffy knew that it might be best for him to be replaced, since Luffy wasn't good enough for his father to stay with and care for after his mother's death. But still, even if it was the best option, Luffy didn't like it. To him, unlike how the villager's viewed him, he was fine with not seeing his father. He was happy just knowing he have one. He doesn't want to be replaced when there's still a string of connection that can lead his father back to him one day.
His Second Terror though, is comparable to soul splitting. Luffy doesn't want anyone to replace his mum. Because before everything happened, before the Death and Sadness, his mother was always there, always with him. Luffy shared all his sadness and happiness with her. During winter, she would wrap him warmly and play in the snow with him. In the summer they would share ice-creams and sleep together on the straw mat to tackle the heat together. And after the gift of a mother's love, his mother gifted Luffy a best friend. Zoro.
To replace her meant only one thing to Luffy. They want to forget her, and now they want Luffy to 'move on' and forget her. And no. No. No. No. Luffy absolutely does not want that to happen.
Parroting Luffy's mind, Garp quickly answered, "No no!" and sat closer to his grandson, "I'm not replacing your mum Luffy and no one is going to. But you have to understand that you can't rely on Makino forever. She'll have her own family sometime soon. I also won't be able to take care of you as much. My government duty is getting more and more, so it'll be harder for me to come back and see you, and when I do I won't be able to stay long amounts of time. And I don't want you to be at home alone. It's been too long."
"I don't care! I don't care if you don't come back enough, I…I –" Luffy was lost for words. He didn't know what else he can say. He understood that he was a burden to Makino, in fact, he was a burden to everyone, but can't gramps see the problem? To welcome a stranger into the house – still not home – would mean driving everything out that belonged to mum. The scent of his mother that Luffy believed to still linger around the house. Her accessories, clothes, the little music box that stayed untouched on her dressing table.
He looked up at his grandpa, but Garp only shook his head tiredly. He gritted his teeth; it was certain that nothing he can say would change Garp's mind at all. He began to cry loudly, finally losing the meager restraint he had. Hiccups started to invade his throat and his weeping filled the air.
As concluded the matter, leaving Luffy without anymore words to counter his idea, instantly came the Third Terror. Inside his mind, Luffy solemnly anticipated his replacement, and also however much he wanted to deny it, the replacement of his mother as well. But this Third Terror, was unforeseen, unforgiving and potentially deadly. And it came now, in the form of Ace. The older boy obviously heard about the incident, which was why he treated him with so much hostility. And gramps is about to leave Luffy all alone with this person, with this person's family, all who would hate him so, so much.
Luffy continued crying, and caught a glimpse of the older boy at the corner of his wetting eyes. He had an unreadable expression on, which easily twisted into a horrible snarl. Thick tears continued to dribble down Luffy's puffy reddening cheeks and he clutched tightly at the edge of his strawhat. Two of the Three Terrors.
Hearing Luffy's awful wails was harrowing enough, but to see his grandson consumed in such great sadness, Garp could only sit quietly and watch him; because looking away or comforting the boy wasn't an option anymore.
"I'm sorry Luffy, but everything will get better eventually." Garp said dejectedly, but with finality. He stood up, casting a shadow over Luffy, "I'm going to get his stuff into the house now."
Luffy didn't reply however, with tears streaking down his face, he ran to his room and shut with a loud bang.
"What a brat," Ace muttered under his breath, sounding somewhat detached, but still earning a hard glare from Garp.
Garp clenched his fists, looking at the corridor that Luffy disappeared down in. It was all for the best, he convinced himself.
So I hope this was fine as well? Chapter three will be uploaded soon. But can I just say chapter four, was supposed to be chapter two originally, but then Ace showed up and everything, and wow his coldness towards Luffy in the anime is good angst material I tell you :) Sorry if I've upset anyone by making Ace too much of a twat though. Everything will soon be fine is all I can assure you. And sorry again I seem to have a habit of doing one scene a chapter, but don't worry the rest of the story won't be like that.
Oh and I just wanted to say that I'm portraying Garp to be kind and more gentle due to me perception of him from the anime. I mean although it ended badly, he honestly wanted the best for Ace and Luffy, so in here Garp is doing what he think is best for Luffy, and well, you know how it goes.
But yes, chapter three will be uploaded soon, at least before Friday I think. So please look forward to it!
Thanks for reading, and please do review, your opinions are all very much cherished!