Disclaimer: If I owned One Piece, Ace wouldn't have died. Sabo wouldn't have died.

It was strangely ironic how life turned out, and how people do not realize how precious something truly was until it left for good, never to be brought back or replaced again. And the irony tend to play out by reversing roles that should've been, creating situations that shouldn't have happened.

But in the end, no matter how much Ace reconciled with himself or angst over the situation, it all boiled down to his fatal mistake. One stupid move that turned the tides and sent events in motion, falling like dominos before any could react. And that stupid move had cost valuable lives in the process while the criminal himself survived the deed despite all odds. Justice was not supposed to work this way; the offender must pay for his crimes yet his due was compensated by another's sacrifice.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this.

It would have been better to everyone if he had rightfully atoned for his sins and bowed to the blades of Absolute Justice because that way, his beloved brother would have never died. It was all because of his foolishness that Luffy sacrificed his own life instead of Ace's worthless one. His brother threw away his lifetime without hesitation, for someone as invaluable and useless as he was. The selflessness just hurt so much deeply.

Why? Why did he have to save him? And why couldn't he just die?! It was his fault, damnit, all his fault. He didn't need his brother to save him from the deep pit he dug, or any sympathy and pity. Just let him wallow in his emotions and leave him alone.

His brother often haunted him in his dreams, the bloody and traumatizing scene replaying in his head at night. In his final moments, Luffy apologized to him for doing such a reckless thing, but he was still smiling and laughing. Even though there was just so much blood. Even though he must've being in so much pain. Even though he was at Death's door. And just like that, Luffy died in his arms in his stead.

It was supposed to be him.

Why did it turn out like this?


And thinking about it had the image of his brother resurface once more in his thoughts, the sunny smile he always wore, the cheery attitude, the distinguishing scar beneath his eye, and that straw hat he toted around like a treasure. "Don't be so sad, Ace!" he'd say with a small laugh, tugging the ends of Ace's lips up in a failed effort to bring a smile to the elder.

It wasn't going to happen anymore.

Luffy was gone.

Suddenly, Ace blinked rapidly. On the other side of the train station stood Luffy with his wide grin, a ghostly figure amidst the jostling crowd. No one noticed. Then, tilting his signature straw hat back, Luffy waved and mouthed two words.

Live on.

Then the bullet train ran past, blocking the other side from his view as he stood there shaking. By the time it passed, there was no trace of his dead brother anymore.

For the first time in his life, Ace broke down and cried. He made no attempt to stop.

Listening to sad songs while typing this up in the middle of the night. Geesh. I have no life, or any excuses for this pathetic excuse of cheesiness that must've just killed you. OTL It's been bothering me so much, the idea of Luffy dying instead of Ace. Review, I guess…

P.S. Anjelle, if you're reading this, don't you dare get any ideas…