So today's the 1st anniversary of my mother's death and I thought I'd write something to fit the occasion. Didn't end up nearly as sad as I had hoped, nor as long. Maybe that's because I'm in more of an angry mood than sad mood because of a certain someone e_e Oh well. Hope you enjoy it anyways. I'll see you in like a minute when I write the Author's Note.

Disclaimer: Don't own One Piece. If I did Ace would have his own side anime and it would follow the Whitebeard pirates and would alternate in that Ace would not die and he would see it through to the end and would have an awesome fight with Luffy towards the end of the series :D And Sabo would come back and be all badass. No, better yet, he'd be just like the Sabo from Divide! Because that Sabo is so damn fun to write! I'm getting really side-tracked...

"…Ace?" Luffy called softly, quietly looking past the figure in his arms. His brother's crumpled form lied against him, pressing its weight into his left shoulder. Silently he sat, kneeling in disbelief. No. No, it couldn't be. It wasn't. Ace was the strongest. He was the one who said he would never die. Never.

He could feel Ace's white-hot breaths against the nap of his neck. They snapped him back to the situation and his large eyes widened, realizing just what was going on. He moved his hand shakily into his line of view, breath catching in his throat as his vision was met with red. Warm, cruel liquid dripped from his palm—Ace's blood. His brother's. Ace was… dying.

There was a hole in his chest. Giant and gaping, it mocked Luffy. Look, he's dying for you. This is your fault. You killed your brother. Ace was saying something, what would likely be his final words, but Luffy didn't hear. Those thoughts consumed him. He was to blame? Was that true? Ace was… He was only trying to protect him. That's why he got hit—he didn't want Luffy to die. So… it was true. He was to blame.

Warm droplets met his skin. Again his eyes widened. Ace was crying. He was crying and yet, though Luffy didn't know what he was saying, he sounded happy. Why? Why would he be happy? Why was he smiling? He was going to die! He was dying… for Luffy. There was nothing to smile at. Nothing.

Suddenly his voice quieted considerably. Amidst the battlefield everything had stopped. Their comrades were watching—crying—as the life of Gold Roger's son shriveled and faded. But there was one last thing he had to say. He told Luffy to listen closely because he couldn't speak loud enough for the others to hear, but wanted them all to know how he felt. It was the little brother's job to carry on that message. And so he stayed silent, awaiting those last, heavy words.

"Thank you for loving me."

In seconds Luffy's eyes shot open, met with the familiar sight of the men's quarters on the Thousand Sunny. He shifted and sighed, wiping away the sweat that was beading down his forehead. Another day, another dream. It was nothing more than a nightmare. Really, his mind seemed to hate him. How many other nights was he woken by such imaginings? He wasn't sure, but it was far too many. Nothing scared him more than losing his brother. But… how much of it was an illusion?

When he returned his hand to his chest he felt a slight indentation—malformed skin. Breathing hitched, he rubbed his hand across it and closed his eyes. That was what he feared. That was what made his nightmares a reality. It was the remnants of a day he could only hope to forget.

No matter how many years passed, the scars remained.

A/N: So yeah, hope you had as much fun reading as I did writing. Sorry it's so short but I didn't feel it had to be longer than this to convey such a simple message. That and I'm lazy. Plus I gotta work on Imagined Life and The Divide so... Gonna go do that. Side-note: veggie fried rice makes for weird ideas. Don't try it. Actually do, it's pretty fun. And for anyone who hasn't read my other stories, you should check them out ;) They're written a little happier than this :P Sadly I'm not good at writing tragedies, so... Well, not good with happy things either... I'll shut up, this is way too long for such a short fic. To anyone who DOES read my other stories: I'll be replying to reviews using PMs since this is a oneshot. Until next time!