A Grave, Wreaths, A Song And Sake

Part I: Tradition Of The Wreath


"...e! ...ce! ...A... ACE, WAKE UP!"

Ace's eyes snap open and he springs up, nearly stumbling over himself to jump to his feet. All of his efforts, however, are for nothing when his forehead meets his brother's, and he hisses in pain at the pump already forming on his head while his little brother has the nerve to laugh at him. A vein pops on his forehead, and his fist meets the top of Luffy's head in one smooth swing; his otouto yelps more out of shock than pain and so Ace doesn't feel guilty when he sees the bump forming.

Ace looks around while his little brother whines, frowning when he didn't see anything that would mean to wake him up. Looking at his otouto, he raises an eyebrow. "Why'd you wake me up?"

Luffy rubs his forehead (red bump) with the heel of his hand, pouting. Ace rolls his eyes at the childish expression. "Why did you hit me, Ace?!"

Ace sighs and massages his temples. "Because you're an idiot. I'll ask again: why'd you wake me up?"

His otouto pouts at him, tears in the corner of his eyes and his cheeks red, making Ace roll his eyes again. "Because I wanted to show you something!"

"Show me something?" Ace says, not really caring and ready to fall asleep again.

"Yep!" Luffy smiles so widely that his gums are peeking out of the edges, showing two missing teeth in the front, one on the upper right side and the other on the lower left side. It is strangely adorable, in a very weird way, Ace thinks. "Wait here!"

Ace opens his mouth to say that he doesn't want to see anything because he is tired and only wants to sleep, but his little brother is already running off and so Ace resigns himself to fate and leans back. He contemplates falling asleep again, but remembers Luffy's excited smile and sighs instead, staying up.

Otoutos are such a pain.

And Luffy is back not three seconds later, holding something colorful in his hands and smiling happily. Ace tilts his head, slightly curious now, and decides to wait until his little brother stands before him to ask. Luffy trips two times and nearly falls flat on his face on one occasion before that happens, but Ace doesn't mind because as long as Luffy isn't hurt or in pain, he doesn't care.

"Look! I made it myself!"

Ace looks at the green mass of plants in his brother's hands. At first, he isn't sure what it is, but he sees petals here and there and he realizes it is a wreath, and not very well-made; most of it is probably made out of weeds anyway and the few flowers that are woven in there are either dead or have lost their petals (perhaps they've fallen out before, or maybe Luffy accidentally plucked them off).

It looks ugly and is barely keeping itself together and it looks like it is mostly made out of thistles and spiky greenery anyway, and Ace nearly grimaces at the thought of the poor person having to wear it.

Ace glances up at his otouto's expectant eyes, frowning. "A wreath?"

"Uh-huh!" Luffy's smile widens into a grin and he nods cheerfully.

Ace frowns in confusion. "Why?"

His little brother huffs and places his hands on his hips (the wreath still in one hand, and Ace worries it's going to fall apart from the movement), rolling his eyes as if Ace has just said something ridiculous and stupid. "To give it to Sabo, dummy!"

Ace blinks slightly before he twists around, looking at the wooden cross marking his brother's grave behind him. There is no body underneath the earth he's sitting, but it's symbolic and it means something, so it's on the edge of the cliff where they all used to play, overlooking the horizon of the sea.

Sabo had loved this place. It is fitting for his grave to be here.

The cross is nearly as shoddily built as Luffy's wreath, but it is stable enough to survive Grey Terminal's weather and that is good enough. Sabo's hat was fished out of the ocean and is now hanging off the top of the cross proudly, one edge missing and black with burn marks. On the wood, crookedly and badly written, are the kanji for 'Sabo', carved in by Ace's knife personally.

A wave of nostalgia hits him, but he quells it down and turns back to his living little brother. He only tilts his head quizzically, raising an eyebrow. "...And how?"

Luffy rolls his eyes, but doesn't say anything. Instead, he leans forward and over Ace, removing Sabo's beloved hat. Ace opens his mouth to yell at him when Luffy places the wreath's hole through the vertical beam, the wreath stopping at the horizontal wooden beam, placing hat on top of it, and steps back.

"There," Luffy says proudly, putting his hands on his hips and grinning. "Do you think Sabo would like that, Ace?"

Ace thinks back to nights where Sabo would sleep with Luffy, days where he would brush away dust from Luffy's shoulder after a hunt, afternoons where they would all lie on the floor in a tangled mass of arms and legs, and the answer is immediate and truthful.

"He'd love it."

Ace almost feels as if Sabo is patting him on the shoulder for a job well done when Luffy smiles his most radiant smile yet.

.–.–.–.–.–.–.–.

Author Note:

Originally, this was supposed to be a series on my one-shot stories D Brothers. However, this is more an ASL than a D Brothers thing, if I think about it. So, I decided to make it a separate story to D Brothers, but still connected to it because still has, even with all the ASL-cuteness in there, a lot of D brothers element in it.

I hope you enjoyed and thank you for reading! Please review!

(Luffy: 8. Ace: 11)