Ch.1—The pain of knowing

What are nightmares? What are bad dreams? How do they affect a person? Why do they affect people? What's so scary about a stupid dream? It's not like it real. Right?

But no, some dreams can be very, very real and very, very scary. Ace had to learn about this the hard way.

10-year-old Ace was in the middle of a battlefield with no clue what the hell was happening. War raged around him, insults were thrown, swords clashed, bullets bounced everywhere and cannons nearly blasted the small kid's ears out.

Ace was never really the type of person to get scared easily, but here, right now, he wanted to piss in his pants and cry to Luffy and Sabo, wherever they were .He felt so insignificant, like an ant in a human house. He wanted to cry out, yell at the people to stop. He wanted to do something, yet his voice wouldn't word, his legs were glued in place. Fear rooted his to the exact spot he was standing.

The people danced around his in graceful motions, almost as if he wasn't even there. He heard a lot of yelling, something about the prisoner getting away with Mugiwara.

Whoever the hell that was.

Why would Ace care? Why was he even here? What happened to his brothers that he wanted by his side so dearly?

"There!" Someone shouted, pointing to a spot where the ground had erupted in flames. "It's Hiken and Mugiwara! Get them! We can let them escape! Kill them! Justice will prevail!"

Justice? Where these guys insane? How can killing someone bring justice? It only brings sadness. Loneliness. Then something in the back of Ace's mind clicked. Ah, these idiots were marines. Figures.

It was then, when he started to notice the details that never reached his brain before, such as the caps that the word 'marine' written across the top with blue bubble letters, and the skull and cross bone tattoo that some of the other men carried.

That explained why they were fighting, but why were they so intent on killing only two people? 'Hiken' and 'Mugiwara' who were they? Ace had been studying pirates for a long time now. He knew whom the government wanted dead at all costs, but yet, he had never heard of these names before.

Suddenly, two figures burst through the wall of marines. He heard someone cry 'they're here!' before everyone started firing at them. It took less than two seconds before the group of marines was completely demolished. Ace stared in awe at them, how could someone move like that? With such perfect teamwork? Sure, Ace, Luffy and Sabo could work together great, but this was different. These two could know what the other was doing without even looking at each other. These two people had known each other for years and have been fighting together even longer.

The smoke that surrounded Ace lifted, and he found his feet could move again. He stumbled forwards, towards the sound of yelling and the two figures that were called 'Hiken' and 'Mugiwara'. Ace didn't know why, he just felt drawn to them, like they were a light and he was a fly. He felt like a fly—being so tiny in this big battlefield. He felt as if he made one wrong move, he'd die. Simple as that.

He pushed past the marines; nearly freaking out when he passed harmlessly though them. Just what the hell was happening? Was he dead? Ace thought hell would be a bit more fiery and hell like. He never stopped running though; he had to keep going to find what he was looking for.

Finally—Finally! He was near enough to see the marines' targets. Ace was shocked to say the least; having yourself and your brother in front of you isn't someone thing someone would expect. Ever. Even if this was just some stupid dream.

But why did it feel so real?

Ace could feel it in his bones; something was about to happen, so he followed the two imposters (What? He wasn't just going to roll over and accept that he was dreaming of himself and an older version of Luffy!) Across the battlefield.

The next events happened so fast that Ace could barley keep up.

Akainu. He was saying horrible things about a man that Ace had only vaguely heard about. Then there was a battle. Lava covered fire. Everyone was watching. Luffy crumbled. Lava was about to kill him.

No, no, no, no, no, no. Not Luffy!

Then a purple mark was in front of him, stopping the lava. Stopping the blow that would've killed the man. Ace's older self collapsed. Luffy caught him. Meaningless words poured from his mouth, apologies that never reached Ace's ears.

"Thank you . . . For loving me!"

Luffy screamed, a scream that Ace never wanted to hear again, his strawhat fell off his head onto the cold, bloddy ground next to him. Then the world faded. Gone. Nowhere to be found.

He was dead, just like his older self.

No way to return, floating on broken promises and empty wishes.

Was there a way to change this?

Ace bolted up in his bed, hitting something with his head. His chest was heaving and his eyes were wild. Just what the hell just happened? He looked around and found he was back in the hideout that Ace, Luffy and Sabo made a while back and let out a breath he didn't know he was holding.

"Ouch!" Two smaller hands gripped a bump forming on the younger kids head. Luffy looked up at him with small tears in his eyes, but he didn't seem to really care about his injury. "Ace! Are you okay? What happened? You were thrashing and screaming in your sleep! Me 'n Sabo didn't know what to do!"

"Seriously," Sabo took his hat off his head and dusted it off. "Don't scare us like that, Ace. We thought you were having a seizer or something like that."

Luffy looked at both of the brothers with those wide, curious and innocent bug eyes. "What's a seizer?"

"Nothing," Sabo quickly answered, whereas Ace said, "When someone's body starts to randomly spazz. It can be fatal."

Sabo punched Ace on the head, and Ace growled at his brother. "I'm fine, other that the fact that Sabo punched me on the head." He glared at Sabo and received a glare right back. "It was just a bad dream."

Sabo snorted. "A bad dream? You were screaming and nearly crying. That was more than a bad dream, and if it was just a bad dream then that was some god-awful dream. What happened?"

Ace pulled his knees to his chest, remembering Luffy's scream. He shut his eyes for a few seconds before opening them and looking Sabo straight in the eyes. "Nothing important."

"Brothers don't keep secrets from each other." Sabo reminded him.

"Yeah!" Luffy cheered right next to the blonde-haired brother. "Ace, we just want to help you! What'd you see?"

"I said it was nothing!" Ace snapped, unconsciously curling into a ball, trying to protect him from the memories. He didn't want his brothers to know that he just dreamed of himself dying. He didn't want them to think that he was a damn lunatic and leave him so that he was all alone again.

"Ace, please! We want to help." Sabo was practically begging him. Luffy stood beside him just looking confused as hell, probably thinking, 'if it's nothing, then why does Sabo want to know?'

This boy, his Luffy that stood right in front of him, was not the same Luffy that was running through the marines, punching and kicking everything in his sight. Luffy was strong, but those people were not run-of-the-mill thugs. Elite marines were anything but that.

Ace caved at Sabo's request. He couldn't keep things from his brothers, he knew that, yet, why did he bother trying? Ace traces the folded lines of his pants, not looking either brother in the eyes. "It was a dream. I was at some marine base or something like that. I was stuck in place, I couldn't move my feet. A war was taking place exactly where I stood; there was a lot of blood, guns, cannons and pirates. It was a battle with marines and pirates, and it looked like the marines were winning. No one noticed me, I was invisible. The people that touched me only passed right through me. Then, these two people pushed past the marines. I think they called them 'Hiken ' and Mugiwara'."

"Strawhat and Fire-fist?" Sabo frowned, glancing at Luffy's strawhat out of the corner of his eyes. Both brothers were listening like their lives depended on it. "Do you think it was a pirate name?"

"Yeah, I do." Ace nodded. "But the thing it, when I could make out their faces, they were us, Sabo. It was me and Luffy, running for our lives, being chased by marines."

"What do you mean?" Sabo asked, clearly confused by this new development. Luffy, on the other hand, seemed exited about it and he kept on blabbering about how amazing and cool it would be to go 'beat up marines' and 'fight with Ace' and other stuff like that.

"Luffy, shut up!" This wasn't the time and Ace did not want to deal with his brother. He was stressed and tried and scared, not that he'd admit that to anyone, especially over a dream. "I mean that the two people were me and Luffy! We were older and stronger, Luffy actually knew how to use his fruit, and—and." Ace threw his hands up in the air. "Urg! I don't know! Everything was blurry and fire was everywhere! I could hardly make out anything."

Suddenly Ace stopped moving, and he glanced at his chest, right where the hole should be. Right were the hole will be.

"Thank you . . . for loving me!"

"And I died, Sabo. I died."

Long awaited story is finally revealed! Unexpected Emergencies will be posted soon, so don't worry! I'm not quite done with the prologue for that story yet ^_^

Also, if you want another story to be written by me, PM me or send me a review! I also have a poll on my profile for more stories that I may write.

Alright. I'm going to say in the dream, that I couldn't write about Ace's death in detail. -; That's why it ended where it ended. Nope, I have had enough of Ace dying. Ace is my favorite character, and he's not going to die. Nope. Nope. Not going to happen, in this story and all my other stories at least.