So, yeah. Aiming at a new fandom? Yes. This is unusual for me. But, I do like Ace/Luffy, so maybe I'll write more for them in the future. Anyways, I won't bore you with my ramblings any longer, people. xD Ready, set, READ!
Not for the first time that night, Ace rolled out of bed before he even opened his eyes and hurried across the hall to Luffy's room as fast as he could without losing his balance completely. "What is it now, Luffy?" he asked as he opened the door into the other's room.
In the dim illumination of Luffy's nightlight, Ace could see a shivering lump hiding under the covers with a patch of crazy black hair at the top. Rubbing a hand down his face, the twelve-year-old boy sat down on his younger brother's bed beside the lump of blankets.
Patting the fluffy black patch, Ace asked, "Another nightmare?"
The hair disappeared beneath the blankets as the cowering ball of child nodded. Ace almost laughed, but he figured that wouldn't make Luffy feel any better. "So, what was it about? Same as last time?"
"No," Luffy mumbled and Ace nearly said a very inappropriate word when he realized Luffy was crying.
"Okay, what then? It wasn't about that movie we watched the other day, was it?"
Luffy shook his head again. "No. A-Ace, there were sk-skeletons on tr-trampolines!" Luffy told him, rolling over and peeking out of his blanket sanctuary. "They were making fun of me!"
"I'm sure they were, Lu, and that's really rude of them, but why would that make you cry? I've seen you when people make fun of you. You never get your feelings hurt," Ace told him, hoping that, if nothing else, it would make Luffy stop crying because that was just too much to take.
"B-but, they said I can't be a pirate 'cause that's not a real job!" Luffy said, fresh tears pooling in his eyes and rolling down his cheeks.
Ace's eyebrows shot up. "And, you believed them? They're talking skeletons, what do they know?" He waved a hand, dismissing the conversation, but Luffy wasn't having it.
"Could I come sleep in Ace's room?" Luffy asked with the most pitiful pout Ace had ever seen in his life; the kind that only Luffy could create.
Ace didn't have to think about it, but he pretended to for a minute before he sighed. "Okay, fine. You can come sleep in my room. But, only this once."
"Aaaaace..." Luffy whined, resting his chin on top of his hands on the edge of Ace's bed. The older boy did not stir. "I had another nightmare," Luffy whispered, making no move towards or away from his brother. "Didn't you hear me? Ace. Ace, wake up. Ace."
With a snort, Ace shot up onto his elbows and looked around wildly. "What? What is it? Who's there?" he asked, stumbling over the words tiredly.
Luffy adjusted himself, sitting on his legs in the floor. "Ace, I had a nightmare again."
"Holy- Luffy! What have I told you about sneaking in here?!" Ace put a hand over his panicked heart. Creepy, oddly-spiked shadows were not good things to see just out of sleep.
Said creepy, oddly-spiked shadow sunk down a little lower, hiding half its face behind the mattress. "'M sorry... But, I was scared. And, Ace said that when I was scared, I could just come sleep with him. So, I thought it was okay," Luffy mumbled pitifully, his lower lip making it's grand debut into the spotlight.
Ace lifted the covers in a silent invitation as he dropped back carelessly on his pillow. He would pretend for all he was worth that he was annoyed, but he really didn't mind sharing his bed with Luffy. "What was your nightmare about this time?"
Luffy burrowed under the blankets and his head somehow ended up on Ace's arm, his cold nose buried in Ace's chest. "I don't really remember... But, I know it scared me. It was something with blood."
"Luffy, you are the least coordinated person I know, and you're always getting into trouble. How could blood scare you?"
The younger boy shivered. "I just remembered, now, Ace!" Luffy exclaimed, way too close to Ace's ear to not rupture an ear drum. "It was my friends! They were hurt! And, I couldn't help!" Luffy shouted, rolling over on top of Ace to properly convey his panic with his wide eyes. "It was a bad dream!"
And just like that, the tears began again, for the second night in a row. Ace caved like a house of cards in the wind. "It's okay, it's okay. It was just a nightmare, Luffy, I promise! See, you're awake. In here. With me. And, I will always protect you, or help you protect your friends. So, don't cry. Please," Ace comforted, all in a surprisingly awake voice for how exhausted he was.
"Okay," Luffy mumbled with one last fantastic pout before wiping his tears away on Ace's shirt. He was quiet for all of five seconds, in which time Ace concluded that Luffy must be going to sleep, but the younger boy spoke up the very moment Ace closed his eyes. "Y'know something? I hate nightmares. They suck."
Ace didn't have enough conscious energy to splutter at his nine-year-old little brother's choice of words.
His eyes just opened. He was simply awake. That was it. He had no idea why, or even what time it was, but blue light was filtering into his room from an unseen source. Ace groaned, pulling his sleep-numb arm up and draping it over his eyes. It was too early to be awake.
Somewhere else in the house, perhaps just somewhere else in his room, Ace could hear a sound. It was strangely muffled, so he guessed it wasn't in his room. It sounded like voices, but there was something odd about it. He couldn't figure out exactly what, though.
For a while, he just lay in bed, internally having an argument with himself about whether or not he should go check it out. He wasn't feeling particularly froggy, but he never would be. Not for mystery sounds in the very early hours of the morning. But, then he had a thought. Luffy.
Ace didn't know if he should just call out, because maybe there wasn't a sound at all, and Luffy was still fast asleep. Or, maybe there was someone in the house aside from him and Luffy. But, whatever the circumstance, he decided against making any sound as he rolled out of bed and walked barefoot out into the hall. He could hear music along with the voices, then, so he calmed down. He doubted anyone would take their iPod to break into houses, so he decided it wasn't an intruder.
"Luffy?" Ace called quietly, pressing his ear to Luffy's bedroom door.
From inside the room, Ace could hear enthusiastic whispers. "Take that! No, no, no, I'm low health! Stay away so I can heal!" And, suddenly, Ace wasn't worried anymore. In fact, he found himself moving in the opposite direction of worried as he opened the door between him and his little brother.
"Luffy," Ace began testily. "What are you doing at-" he paused to look at the digital clock by Luffy's bed, "four-fifty-one in the morning?"
Hurriedly shutting his Nintendo DS, Luffy attempted to play possum in the floor with his back to Ace. Needless to say, it didn't work. "Luffy, I swear." Ace shook his head. "You need to sleep. What makes you think you can play video games at this hour?"
"I'm not playing video games, Ace, I'm asleep. See?" Luffy made really big fake snoring sounds, his eyes clenched shut.
"Luffy..." Ace warned, flattening out the crease between his eyebrows with two fingers. "Get back in bed and go to sleep."
The younger D brother whined, rolling over onto his back on the floor. "But, I can't sleep!" Luffy pouted, turning his wide but tired eyes on Ace. "I had a nightmare again."
Ace had to keep himself from rolling his eyes. He was getting tired of these constant nightmares. "At some point, Lu, you're gonna have to get over it. You can't be scared to sleep. It doesn't work out for anyone like that, especially not me."
"But, Ace," Luffy whined, flailing his limbs out in all directions as his brother approached him. "I don't want to have nightmares! They scare me!"
"Nightmares scare everyone, Luffy, but you have to learn to deal with it and get some sleep. Humans can't function without sleep, y'know." Ace reached down for Luffy's hands to pull him up, but Luffy curled himself into a ball on his side.
"Who says I'm human, huh? What if I want to be a vampire or something? I could be an alien. They don't need sleep," Luffy argued, frowning at the wall and sticking out his bottom lip defiantly.
"I'm sure you've met aliens and vampires to know that and all, but you still need to sleep. I need to sleep." Ace lifted Luffy up with some difficulty and rolled him onto his bed. He tucked the bedcovers around Luffy, ignoring protests and pouty lips that usually made him want to move heaven and earth for his brother. He was too tired for that. "If you get scared, try to think of something that makes you happy, okay? And, don't just sit and play video games, either. That's no good."
Luffy didn't say anything, just stared at Ace with his luminous, sad eyes as his older brother left the room and closed the door.
For the first time in weeks, Ace didn't wake up until the sun was shining. And, it was glorious. He smiled and sat up, stretching his arms high above his head. His back cracked and he sighed, climbing out of bed and starting his day. Something felt off, but he couldn't figure out what it was as he changed into day clothes and went about getting breakfast.
Ace sat down at the square kitchen table, munching a piece of jelly toast and looking around. Something was definitely odd. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, though. The utter silence in the house was making it hard to think. Wait... "Utter silence?" Where's Luffy?
Hurriedly getting up from the table, Ace went to Luffy's room, realizing that he'd had uninterrupted sleep on Thursday night. Meaning, Luffy didn't have a nightmare.
"Luffy?" Ace called, excited as he opened Luffy's bedroom door. "Are you awake yet?" He was about to congratulate his brother on not having a nightmare, but then he saw that the bed was empty and stripped of blankets. "Uh... Luffy? You in here?"
A small hand came out from under the bed, followed by an arm, and then a head. Luffy looked up at Ace, his eyes barely open at all and the corner of a blanket on top of his head. "Huh?"
"Why were you sleeping under the bed?" Ace asked, one eyebrow rising in question.
Luffy blinked slowly once or twice, processing the words with his tired brain. "I dun think... I was sleepin'," Luffy mumbled, turning his head from side to side in a slow negative gesture.
"Then what were you doing under there? It's already morning, you know," Ace informed as Luffy crawled out from under the bed, still cocooned in his blanket.
"I was waitin' for Ace to be awake..." Luffy yawned, attempting to unwrap and dump his blanket onto the bed and succeeding on the fourth try. When he was rid of the blanket, Luffy went over and hugged Ace briefly around the waist before moving around him to go to the bathroom.
Ace frowned. Something was definitely strange. He didn't know why it was strange, because Luffy was never really a morning person. Perhaps he thought Luffy should be happier, since they both got good sleep. Unless he didn't get good sleep...
"Ne, Luffy!" Ace went after his brother, stopping just short of the bathroom door. "Did you have another nightmare last night?"
The toilet flushed and the door opened before Luffy answered. "Yeah. More than one, I think, 'cause it was a really long bad dream," Luffy said tiredly, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand. He yawned again as he shuffled to the kitchen with Ace on his heels.
"And you didn't have to come see me? You dealt with it? That's gre-"
"Nope," Luffy interrupted, with a strangely cheery little pop.
Ace raised an eyebrow, confused. "'Nope' to what?" he asked, reseating himself at the table as Luffy put two pieces of bread in the toaster. Ace was really starting to worry, even though Luffy was perfectly calm about it.
"'Nope, I didn't deal with it' is what I meant. I just hid under my bed. It's nicer under there, but a little cold. Have you already had some, Ace?" Luffy held up a jar of apple jelly and pointed at the toaster.
"Uh, yeah, earlier. If you were really scared, why didn't you come wake me?" Ace asked, feeling his eyebrows were irreversibly furrowed.
Luffy gave an odd, sleepy grin as he pulled out a little flowery plate. "Silly Ace. Don't you remember? You told me not to, so I didn't. Did you sleep?"
"Did you?" Ace asked, watching his beloved little brother trudging around the kitchen in his too-long sleep pants. He looked much littler than any nine-year-old Ace had ever seen at that moment.
Yawning again, much to Ace's dismay, Luffy mumbled, "I don't think so. I slept for a little while and had a nightmare, then I woke up."
"At what time?"
"I dunno. Before the sun," Luffy whined, turning the jelly jar upside down over his plated toast. "Ace, why haven't you said 'good morning' yet? My morning doesn't start until Ace says 'good morning!'"
Ace frowned. "Luffy, I'm trying to ask important-"
"Good morning, Ace!" Luffy spoke over Ace, spreading the jelly on one piece of toast with the other piece of toast.
That was certainly not like his little brother. Not the toast thing, the other thing. The interrupting him and not answering him thing. Luffy didn't ever do that. Something was very, very wrong, and Ace was beginning to think that maybe he wouldn't be able to fix it.
Luffy hadn't come to see him that night either. He'd lain there, just listening and waiting for Luffy, but he never came. Ace was almost certain Luffy had a nightmare, though. The kid was scared of nothing in the day time and everything in the night, it seemed. But, in spite of Ace's expectations, Luffy did not seek his comfort. He was disappointed, perhaps more than he should have been, considering he'd complained about Luffy waking him up.
Ace rolled over in his bed, facing away from the window. I shouldn't have told him to try and figure it out on his own. He's only a kid... Ace thought miserably, frowning at the radio on his bedside table. He shouldn't have to be on his own... It's not like it's his fault he's having nightmares.
He was sure he'd hurt Luffy's feelings already, but he wanted to do something. He had to try. As the big brother, he had to alleviate his baby brother's fears; that was his job. He had to help, instead of being the selfish idiot that he'd been when he decided his own rest took precedence over Luffy's peace of mind.
That's right, Ace thought. I'll face the day with a new resolve. I've got to help Luffy get over all that scares him.
Ace rolled out of bed quite literally and he didn't stop to change or get breakfast, he just went straight to Luffy's room. The younger D was curled up at the foot of his bed, blanket forgotten. His hair was everywhere, his hands trapped between his cheek and the mattress and his mouth open just enough to allow a stripe of drool to escape. He looked like an angel, in Ace's honest opinion, drool and all.
Suddenly, the beautifully peaceful expression dissolved and Luffy frowned. He groaned in his sleep, turning over onto his other side and thus freeing his hands. He threw his arms around limply, mumbling words that Ace couldn't understand. Luffy kicked at unseen things and shouted an indistinct noise before Ace decided he should wake him.
"Hey, Luffy! You're just having a bad dream, it's okay! Calm down, Luffy," Ace soothed, shaking his brother's shoulder gently. A tired noodle arm whacked Ace in the side of the head, its owner fussing and making little noises of distress. "Luffy, wake up! It's just a bad dream!" Ace's voice was rising, in volume and urgency as Luffy started to cry in his sleep. "Luffy!"
In a blur of color and movement, Luffy sat up and a second later he was holding his head and Ace was holding his own head and they both groaned in pain. "Ouch..." Luffy whined, his voice grumbly and a little slurred with sleep and tears.
"Ugh. Sorry about that, I just- You were having a nightmare," Ace explained, sounding a bit dumb to his own ears.
Luffy sniffed, rubbing his cheeks with his hands. "I was not," Luffy said in that argumentative way children often said those words in. Ace didn't know whether to smile or disagree.
"Okay. Then, you were kicking butt," Ace decided aloud, grinning in anticipation of Luffy's response.
"I was," Luffy mumbled thoughtfully, almost like a question.
"Yeah, I saw it with my own eyes. You were kicking and punching and shouting battle cries. It was pretty intimidating, to be honest."
Luffy's eyes sparkled. "Really?" he asked, a grin spreading across his face.
Ace's heart almost broke, thinking that that was the first time he'd seen Luffy smile in two days.
"Ace, you're the worst!" Luffy shouted, confusing his older brother. Hadn't they just been having a happy conversation?
"I hate you! You're the worst brother anyone could ever have!" Luffy screamed, glaring at Ace as if to melt him.
"I don't understand! What did I do?" Ace asked. The floor disappeared and he fell away, no longer able to see Luffy. But, he could still hear him.
"You did everything wrong and nothing right! You're mean and awful! I wish you weren't my brother!"
Ace could've cried. "You don't mean that, Luffy! This is a dream!"
"I do mean it! I hate you, Ace!"
Those words seemed to echo and carry into his consciousness. He woke up with a start, even though the end of the dream was the gentlest part. He was lying flat on his back, hair in his face, hands balled into fists on his chest. It was dark in the room, still too early for the sun.
Ace put his hands over his face, feeling wetness that he would never admit was tears. He was shaking, but he didn't know how that happened. It might have come with the not-tears, or it might have been because his blankets were gone, or it might have just happened for no reason. He couldn't tell. He just wanted it to go away.
Shakily, Ace sat up on his elbows, looking around his dark room. He knew it had been a dream. He knew that. But, he was scared that it was real, that it could be. That it must be. That Luffy must hate him. He couldn't convince himself, no matter how hard he tried, that there was no possibility of it being true. He could do that night and day for Luffy, explain his nightmares away, but for himself, it just wasn't working.
Ace scrambled out of his bed before he knew what he was doing and slid on the floor a little as he crossed the hall into his little brother's room. It passed through his tired, crazed mind that perhaps he should wake Luffy before he practically dove into his bed, but he didn't try. He briefly remembered that he'd told Luffy many times not to just sneak into his room, but that thought went away as soon as he had his arms around him. He was there.
"Mmm?" The warmth that was his little brother twisted in his arms and he wasn't quite sure whether they were facing each other or not, but it didn't really matter. "Ace? Is that you?"
Taking a deep breath to steady his voice, to hopefully have a voice at all, Ace held on to Luffy tighter. "Yeah, it's me... Were you expecting someone else?"
Luffy snorted. "Why are you in my room?" he asked, sounding like he might still be mostly asleep.
"I had a nightmare, Lu," Ace mumbled, burying his face into what he could only guess was Luffy's chest. He could hear a heart beat slowed by sleep and that made him smile a little.
Luffy patted him on the head, humming to acknowledge he'd spoken. Then, a minute later, "Wait, what? Ace had a bad dream? About what?"
Ace laughed quietly, beginning to pat Luffy on the back. "Hmm... Spiders."
"Spiders? Spiders can't scare Ace! You told me that before!"
"They were eating all our food."
Luffy gasped, shrinking against Ace. "That was a bad dream!"
Wasn't that lovely? xD I know I liked writing it. Little Luffy is just too cute~! And, hey! I didn't use any Japanese in this! Aren't you a lucky little reader? Unless you like Japanese... But, it doesn't matter. It never needed it. ;)
Tell me what you think, and if I should write more AceLu fics~