A Grave, Wreaths, A Song And Sake

Part IV: Double The Wreaths

Ace blearily opens his eyes, grimacing. He yawns widely and rubs his eyes; it takes a while before his eyes focus again and the first thing he notices is that his head is in his little brother's lap. He rolls onto his back, looking at his otouto; Luffy stops for a moment to glance at him and smile before he stars weaving again in a steady rhythm. Ace sighs and sits up, stretching his fists towards the sky and sighing contentedly when his spine cracks back into place.

"I fell asleep again?" Ace asks tiredly, looking around.

"Hm," Luffy answers, nodding slightly.

"Sorry," Ace yawns again.

Luffy just shrugs and grins at him, stopping his work for a moment. "Shishishishi! That was funny when Ace suddenly feel on top of me!"

Ace blushes in embarrassment, glaring at his otouto. "Shut up, idiot."

"Shishishishi!" Luffy keeps on laughing, but starts working again.

A vein pops on his forehead, but he only sighs and gets out the sake bottle. The cork pops loudly when he opens it, but he ignores it and starts pouring the sake into the cups carefully. He puts the cups on the ground once they're filled and looks at Sabo's grave while he waits for Luffy to finish the wreath.

He frowns when he sees that there is already a purple wreath sitting in front of the grave.

He glances at his little brother, and looks at the different colored wreath in Luffy's weaving hands. The wreath is sloppy as if he's done it in a hurry, and Ace sees his otouto moving much faster than usual; some flowers are falling out and Ace is sure that his little brother is probably ripping out some petals.

Ace's frown deepens. "What are you doing?"

"Hm?" Luffy glances up at him for a moment before he looks back at his wreath. "A wreath."

A vein pops on his forehead again. "I can see that, idiot! Why are you making another one?"

Luffy looks up from his work and grins, shuffling closer to Ace and raising the wreath above his head, to which Ace leans away from on his left arm. But Ace feels the circular flower arrangement softly land on his head anyway and he looks at his otouto's maturing face centimeters from his own, confused. His little brother tilts his head, adjusting the wreath on his head, crouching in between his legs, his right leg supporting Ace's right arm.

Luffy's smile is childish, radiant and alive; every line in his face beaming with happiness and innocence and naïveté and Ace feels an overwhelming urge to protect that.

Ace smiles softly at his otouto, takes off the straw hat and ruffles his hair.

Later, they clink their cups and pour the sake over the grave, humming the song of Bink's Sake and watching the sun set over the horizon of the ocean. Luffy oh's and ah's, his back towards Ace and sitting in between his legs.

Ace feels happy and hugs his otouto from behind. His little brother is chatting away of everything and nothing, talking to the grave as if he is talking to Sabo, and Ace either hits him or laughs depending on what he says.

It almost feels like Sabo is grinning at them from somewhere.

When they start to walk back home, there are four wreaths hanging on Sabo's grave, one wreath for each year without their brother, along with one wreath hanging on the right side of the horizontal beam.

Ace glances back and smiles before he looks back at his little brother, taking his hand. Luffy squeals and swings their arms backwards and forwards, and Ace just grins back at his otouto when he looks up to smile at him.

Life isn't perfect without Sabo, but it is close.


Author Note:

Some news: there may be a lack of updates for a while.

I'm currently going through an exam week and I don't know how it will influence my inspiration or the pace of my writing. Factors like the amount of feedback I'll get and how many tests I have will count for a lot, though. As long as there is enough positive feedback the more inspiration will come and the more chapters will be there.

...I hope.

Anyway, hope you enjoyed!

Please review!

(Luffy: 11. Ace: 14)