Commodore Smoker never once questioned why he fought, or those he fought for.

Not all the years he spent hunting down a certain freckled pirate with a determination that bordered on compulsive. The years focusing on a single goal that was enough to push all other obligations aside. It was completely justified. The pirate was a menace to the world, he needed to be captured and contained. The man was an enigma; something that he felt compelled to catch and tame, no matter how impossible it seemed.

Not the first time the brat had kissed him. He'd brushed it off like it was nothing, telling himself it was nothing even though it was. He thought about those lips and that infuriating smile for weeks until the pirate resurfaced. When the boy asked if he had been missed Smoker ground out that he had not. Even as he spoke the words he knew that the other knew better.

Not as he stood at Marineford, looking up at the resigned face of one of the strongest people he had ever met. A face he had woken to in the darkness of the morning on so many occasions, one he had mapped carefully as its owner slept. He hated the look on the once proud man's face. The brat always laughed in the face of authority, boasted that nothing could touch him, looked content with his lot. He looked fucking at peace when he should have been fighting and spitting fire, surviving like he always had.

Not even when he looked down at the now lifeless body at his feet. When he saw that the smug little snot was smiling peacefully as if everything was right in the world. He denied that he felt anything. Justice had been done and that was what he fought for. That was what he had sworn his life to, so why did it feel so wrong? Why did there feel like there was a hole in his chest? The thought made him look away from the man lying at his feet, simultaneously ignoring and denying the wave of nausea washed through him.

Smoker didn't question his loyalties as he returned to his ship and patrol. Not while he sat in his cabin with a familiar hat clutched in his hands, brandy untouched on his desk. Not even as he fell into a fitful sleep, having to remind himself that there would be no warm body crawling into his bed tonight, or ever again.

Even a broken heart would not make him question his duty. He found that it was all he had left.

AN: Not my best work, but it's been in my docs for literally ever. Sad Smoker/Ace fuels me.