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We are the Stuff of Broken Dreams
Piece by Shard by Bit b-- (whole.)
[Fanfiction] Rules (One-Shot) 
29th-Aug-2011 08:47 pm
Released Caged Bird
Title: Rules
Rating: K
Media: Fanfiction
Genre: Introspective, angst
Pairing/Characters: Ace, Luffy, Whitebeard pirates and allies
Word Count: 851
Warnings: Character death, spoilers for Marineford and post-Marineford arc.
Prompt: Post-Marineford 
Notes:
Written for solitaryaya , for a prompt she requested on a meme. Originally posted in the one_piece comm here.

Summary: The Whitebeard pirates are governed by three golden rules. Luffy surprises them all with the readiness he obeys them with, never mind that he’s the captain of his own crew. What one can’t be too sure of is if he actually knows that these rules exist. Ace figures that’s a moot point with Luffy. Rules were made to be broken, at any rate.  

 Rules

Battles are never without casualties. Wars, never without deaths.

The flagship they now stand on is a keen reminder.

Of the fact that the Moby Dick lies in ruins at the depths of the ravaged seas surrounding Marineford.

Of the fact that the tsunami that now bears them and their ally ships away from the scene of carnage is a last goodbye.

Rule One: The Captain’s orders are absolute.

Waters raging a tempest have never looked so magnificent before. (Never been so loved by those who fear the seas. Never felt so gentle. Like an embrace.)

Comradeship counts for everything on the seas. Everything. But, even that has a weight. The dead are a burden to those advancing quickly (Godspeed, my sons) towards the New World. For that, they are left behind. Physically.

Rule Two: Those that fall behind, are (never) to be left behind.

He stands near the aft-deck, cutting a fierce figure – all flames, light, ablaze – and doesn’t look back (Don’t look back—) even as the collapse of Marineford’s architectural foundation echoes around the seas. The farewell he says will never make it past his lips. Not because he can’t bear to (say it, sayit, sayitsayitsayit), but because the distinct, all-encompassing roar of the wave that is bearing them away will drown out his voice.

Good—

Goodb—

Goodby—


He clenches his fist, reigns in his logia abilities and ignores the fact that blood and fire don’t mix. He already knows. Just like how being a pirate and shedding tears do not mix. There is too present the danger of waters already. And the water of the seas – salty, bitter, sometimes sweet – are anathema to pirates, and will continue to stay that way. It’s the salt in them that they fear. Running down cheeks, reddening eyes, stinging into cuts. (No. No. No. No. Stay, stay, stay. Please.)

Please.


It still stings, telling him he’s alive. (STAY ALIVE AT ALL COSTS—) For that, he bears the pain, stays silent, keeping his lips sealed, back straight, gaze strong and fire burning.

Then, there’s the stupid little brother who never knows the distinction between rules and his own rules. He follows the Whitebeard pirates’ rules just fine, but it may just have been the fact that the rules they had were made for him to break and bend.

OSSAN! WE’LL SEE YOU IN THE NEW WORLD AFTER YOU BEAT THOSE GUYS UP! HURRY UP, OKAY!?”

All eyes, not just on-board, but on every proud sullen vessel that now rides on their father’s last wish, look up to the small figure of a boy twined around the main mast of the flagship.

His eyes bear no sign of the war, take no note of the casualties and sees only dreams.

The boy’s voice is heard over the silence that sweeps across the ships like a well-placed blow, and he thinks he can hear the waves laughing at him. Familiar, gruff, affectionately condescending (Gurahahaha—) and amused.

Tears are the first step to recovery and laughter, its best medicine.

“Your kid brother’s not too shabby, eh,” says a quiet voice next to him.

And he laughs. The sound that spills from his lips sounds broken, horrible and guilty. So, so, so guilty. He laughs anyway. Laughs till he cries. Laughs till he can’t tell if he’s laughing or crying. The smile he gives the small audience – his family – he has gathered around him in concern is chipped, maybe more than a little broken, but nothing that time and memories will not be able to fix.

“Of course he is,” he says, and it sounds both proud and fond. “He’s my little brother. And this is how we do it.”

He whoops as he unleashes his hold on the flames tickling at his subconscious, and surges into immaterial form, blazing a reddish-gold streak up the mast. When he reaches, he ignores the “Ouch! Hey!” that he’s become accustomed to over their childhood.

“OLD MAN! IF YOU’RE NOT IN THE NEW WORLD BEFORE US, I’M DRINKING ALL OF YOUR SPECIAL STASH OF SAKE FROM THE SOUTH BLUE! AND I’LL MAKE SURE LUFFY EATS ALL YOUR MEAT! YOU HEAR ME, OLD MAN?!”

The second silence drops like an anvil on the first, and the sound its shattering leaves in its wake is like undiluted chaos and smells like the life-blood of pirates everywhere.

OYAAAAJI! KICK THEIR ASSES!”

“POOOOPS! WE’LL WAIT FOR YOU IN THE NEW WORLD!”

“YOU’RE TAKING TOO LONG, OLD MAN! AGE HAS CAUGHT UP WITH YOU! YOU’RE GOING TO MISS OUT ON THE CELEBRATION BOOZE!”

“POOOOOOPS! GIVE IT TO THEM!”

“WE’LL GET THE BEST SAKE AND MEAT IN ALL THE SEAS AND WAIT FOR YOU, OYAAAAJI!”

Somewhere in the midst of all that ruckus, the crying turns to laughter, the laughter turns to tears, but they are alive. They are alive. They are alive. Alive.

(Breathe.

Breathe.

Breathe.

Bre—)


Rule Three: The seas are yours to roam freely under my name. Cry, laugh and live, my sons.

And no rules are broken, even though they are made to be.

Goodbye, old man.

See you around.


-

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