Somewhere To Belong

Nightmares and Devil Fruits

Luffy shot up holding back a scream trying to banish the images of Ace being swallowed up in the snow again. He bit his lip trying to muffle the sound of his cries.

Seeing Ace buried in all that snow had been one of the scariest moments of his life and now he was having to relive it every night since they had left the cold island. He squeezed his eyes shut hoping to stop the tears, but it was no use. He quickly grabbed his pillow and pushed his face into it making his cries almost silent.

Every night for the past two weeks he had terrible nightmares about snow eating Ace, sometimes literally. His brothers had been supportive and caring in the beginning but over the past few nights he could tell that they were getting tired of him. Which is why he had been as quiet as possible when he woke up, hoping to not awaken his brothers. He had been successful the past two nights and it would seem tonight as well.

He looked up at the bed where both Ace and Sabo were sleeping soundly, not bothered with images of evil snow. He desperately wanted to crawl into bed and curl up in between them, in his usual spot, but he wouldn't wake them up again. He rearranged his blankets until he decided they were comfortable and laid down, staring at the ceiling, clutching his pillow to his chest.

Tonight his nightmare had been one of the worst, instead of just Ace the snow also got Sabo and Thatch. Marco had tried to save them but the snow ate him too. Luffy almost started crying again just thinking about it.

He shook his head and started to think about Shanks instead. Shanks was always fun to play with and so Luffy would just remember some of the adventures he had had with the red haired man. He felt himself smile thinking about the time that he and Shanks had snuck into an apple orchard and gathered as many as they could carry and spent the rest of the day eating them while Shanks told him stories about being a pirate. That had been a really good day.

He slowly drifted off to sleep with a smile on his face.

The next morning at breakfast he sat on a bench yawning next to Sabo and across from Ace and Namur. He was really, really tired. Stupid Shanks. Thinking about him made him dream about Sea monsters and one that was big enough to eat the Moby Dick. He whimpered at the thought.

"What's wrong Lu?" Sabo asked looking concerned.

"Uh, nothin'," he said looking down at his plate stabbing at his egg and bringing the piece that broke off to his mouth.

"Hey guys what's up?" Thatch asked as he joined them, holding his ribs as he sat down to ward of some of the pain he was still in as he sat next to Ace. The man hadn't talked to them for four days after the incident, Luffy still didn't know why, but he started hanging out with them after Marco talked to him which was good because Ace really liked Thatch.

"Something's wrong with Luffy and he doesn't want to tell us what it is," Ace answered glaring at the youngest.

Sabo's eyes narrowed. "You had another nightmare didn't you?"

"N-no."

"Nightmares?" Thatch asked looking at the boy in concern.

"He's been having them since the avalanche. And you're a terrible liar Luffy," Ace said looking unamused.

"I'm not having nightmares honest. It's not like I dreamed about snow eating people again," he said looking around to see if anyone noticed his lie.

"Wow he really is a terrible liar," Thatch stated in mild surprise.

"Luffy couldn't lie to save his life," Ace said.

"Ain't that the truth," Sabo mumbled before letting out a sigh. "Luffy if you had a nightmare last night then why didn't you wake one of us up?"

"You were getting tired of me waking up so I stopped waking you up," Luffy said, disappointed that he was found out.

"Wait, you’re still having nightmares and you're solution was to just stop waking us up?"

Luffy thought for a moment of how to answer that. Finally he settled for a simple nod of his head and a, "Yes."

This caused the other two boys to groan. "How much sleep did you get last night?" Ace asked.

"I dunno."

"Great. Now he's going to be whiney and cranky all day," Sabo complained.

Luffy looked down. He didn't want his brothers to be mad at him. That's why he didn't wake them up but they were still mad at him. It seemed like he couldn't do anything right. He rubbed at his eyes hoping to stop the tears that he felt coming.

He completely missed the looks of concern he got.

"Hey Luffy how about me and you find a game to play while your big brothers finish their chores?" Thatch asked in an excited whisper.

Luffy shook his head. He liked playing games but for some reason he didn't want to. "I have to help with the chores."

"It's okay, we'll take care of it," Sabo said. "You can go play."

"I don' wanna play," he mumbled.

"Fine then," Sabo sighed. "Just finish your breakfast maybe you can take a little nap or something to make you less cranky."

Luffy looked at his plate that was still half full. For some reason he just wasn't hungry anymore. "Ace do you want the rest of my eggs and pancakes? I'm not hungry anymore."

The fork that had been halfway to Ace's mouth dropped out of his hand and Sabo spit his juice out across the table. Both turned to look at him in surprise. Sabo's hand was on his forehead. "You're not sick again are you?"

"No." he shook the hand off. "I'm just not hungry. And I don't want to play." He put his arms on the table and laid his head down on them. "Do you want my food or not?"

Ace and Sabo traded anxious looks. Two of the things that defined Luffy was that he liked to play and was always hungry. The other was the fact that he wanted to be king of the pirates.

"Yeah, I'll take it," Ace agreed hesitantly grabbing the plate and digging in. Ace never turned down food.


Five minutes after Luffy put his head down he was asleep.

"Is he alright?" Marco asked joining them, nodding towards the wanna be pirate king.

"He's been having nightmares," Sabo informed.

"How bad are they?" Thatch asked looking down at the little boy.

"Apparently worse than we thought," Sabo said looking sad. "We thought they stopped a few nights ago when he stopped waking us up."

"I guess I shouldn'na yelled at him," Ace said looking guilty. "I thought he was just being a crybaby again and told him that I was fine and to stop crying about it."

"Ace we thought you died. We didn't ever say it or anything but we both thought that we weren't going to see you again." Sabo said quietly. "Remember what it was like for you after my ship was blown up?"

What?

Thatch felt his eyes widen. Sabo had been on a ship that had been blown up? He traded shocked looks with Marco.

"Don't remind me," Ace said with a shiver.

"Remember how clingy Luffy was after all that?"

The brunette nodded looking sad.

"Well I'm guessing we should expect that from him again."

Thatch really wanted to ask about the ship but he held back. They probably wouldn't really appreciate him asking.

"He had nightmares back then too," Ace said thoughtfully. "I didn't really mind him waking me up because I had them too."

"Then you should be more sympathetic," Sabo stated.

"Well it's not like anyone told you guys that I was dead, so why is he freaking out?" Ace demanded.

"He saw it Ace," Marco said looking down at the freckled boy. "I knew that I wouldn't be able to out run the snow so I transformed into my phoenix form and I picked him up and we flew. He was looking down and he saw you. When he started screaming and crying for you I knew what had happened."

"W-what? He saw when the snow hit me? Why didn't anyone say something? At least then I would have been expecting the nightmares."

Just then a small distressed sound left the sleeping boy. Sabo let out a worried sigh and shook him awake.

"Sabo? W-wha?"

"You were having another nightmare."

"Oh. 'M sorry."

"Don't be sorry," Ace said climbing over the table, ignoring Marco's reprimands. He sat on the bench next to Luffy and hugged him tightly. "We just want you to not have nightmares anymore. You're not sleeping like you should."

"I tried not having them," Luffy said in an apologetic voice.

"We know you did," Sabo said joining the hug. Luffy's face broke out in its usual grin at his brothers' actions.

"Come on we have our chores to do," Ace said breaking out of the hug looking slightly embarrassed. "Luffy you can just watch since you're so tired."

"Actually," Marco cut in. "I was wondering if he wanted to keep me company as I did some work today. It won't be all that fun, but maybe you could draw or something."

"No I don't wanna."

Marco frowned before smiling thoughtfully. He bent down and whispered something into Luffy's ear.

"Really?!" The boy asked excitedly jumping up onto the bench.

"Yup."

"I changed my mind I wanna go with Marco." Luffy looked at Ace, asking permission.

"If he gets to be too much of handful send him back," Ace told the commander.

"I think I can handle it," Marco said with a chuckle. He reached down and picked up the small boy.

"I wonder what got him so excited," Ace said as they watched the two walk out.

"Yeah, Marco doing work is not all that interesting," Sabo agreed.

"Oi commander we got to go!" a voice of one of the men from his division called to Thatch.

"Right, be there in a few minutes!" he called back with a wave of his hand.

"Where are you going?" Sabo asked.

"Pops is sending me on a mission. I should be back late tonight or early tomorrow morning at the latest."

"Have fun," Ace said smiling.

"I'll try," Thatch laughed standing up gritting his teeth at the pain any sort of movement caused, it was bearable at least. He walked across deck and bid farewell to Pops before boarding the smaller ship that had been set aside for his mission. It wouldn't be that hard and he was hoping that he would actually be back sometime that afternoon.

Marco smiled as he watched Luffy literally bounce around his room. Normally he wouldn't have allowed it, but the poor kid was just so down and for some reason the boy said that his brothers insisted that he keep his powers a secret from everyone, even those on the ship. Luffy said it was something about Garp being mad about something.

He had to wonder when the last time Luffy had been allowed to stretch as much as he wanted. Marco knew how hard it must have been. Once you ate a devil fruit it became a part of you. To deny it was difficult and even sometimes painful. Marco had to transform at least a little each day just to feel right.

He laughed as Luffy grabbed onto the end of his bed from across the room and sent himself flying into the wall landing with a smack. He would have been concerned but the boy had burst out laughing after he landed on the ground.

"Having fun?" the pirate asked. He wasn't going to get any work done while he had a rubber boy bouncing around his room so he might as well chat with him.

"Uh huh. Thanks for letting me stretch in here. I really missed it."

"I know what you mean. It's hard not to use your powers huh?"

"Yeah." A hand stretched out grabbing the end of his desk, as the limb shrunk the boy came sliding across the room, giggling, towards him.

"Sometimes I forget that I'm not supposed to use them and Ace and Sabo get really mad, even though no one ever notices," he said sadly. "I wish that I could stretch when I wanted."

Marco wished he could too. But if he encouraged Luffy to and the other two found out, they'd be after Marco's head. And he was pretty sure if they tried hard enough, those two just might get it.

They'd probably use Luffy as a distraction.

He shook his head clearing his mind of murderous over-protective older brothers.

Two sets of fingers appeared at the end of his desk followed by a little face looking up at him curiously. "Hey Marco?"

"Yeah?"

"Do you think being rubber is a stupid power?" He cocked his head to the side.

"Do you?" Marco imitated the little one's actions.

"No I think it's neat."

"Then that's all that matters."

"Ace says it's stupid," he pouted.

"Well I'm sure that's just Ace being Ace and he actually think they're really cool. He just doesn't want you to know that."

"Do you really think so?"

"Yup."

Marco could tell that Luffy was just excited to tell someone about his powers as he grinned. "Did you know that you can hit me and it doesn't hurt?"

"No I didn't know that, but you should probably still avoid getting hit." Marco was sure that nobody on board would stand for Luffy getting hit by anyone or anything. Even if it didn't hurt him.

Luffy just giggled as he shot across the room again.

Marco shook his head at the little boy's antics still smiling.

A knock sounded through the room and Luffy, who had been about to grab onto the bed and shoot across the room again retracted his arm looking disappointed.

Marco waited until the limb was its normal size before calling, "Come in."

Two faces appeared. "Hey Marco. We came to get Luffy for lunch," Sabo said peering into the room curiously and the commander realized they had never actually been in his quarters before. He had invited Luffy in multiple times whenever Namur and Thatch had the other two occupied with things and Luffy was left alone. They probably had to ask around to even find out which cabin was his.

"Food!" Luffy cheered tackling the blond out of the doorway. Ace had been smart enough to step aside.

"I see you're feeling better," Sabo smiled pushing Luffy off of him.

"Yeah! Marco's the best," Luffy smiled.

"So what'd you do," Ace asked.

"Just played."

Marco raised an eyebrow. So the brat hadn't told his brothers that he knew about his powers yet.

"So you feel like playing now?" Sabo asked looking happy.

"Yup. Now food!"

Ace and Sabo both smiled and nodded. "Bye Marco thanks for watching him," Ace said waving as he left.

"I don't know what you did but thank you for making him feel better," Sabo thanked with a bow.

"I didn't do anything," the man said. He really hadn't.

The blonde boy closed the door behind him as he left.

Marco shook his head fondly. The brats were really growing on him.

He looked down at his desk and saw the mountain of paper work that was waiting for him. "Nope not happening." He said standing up and making his way outside. The brats needed someone to watch them with Thatch away on that mission and Namur busy training with a new recruit in his division. And the brats were a lot more fun than paperwork that could probably wait until tomorrow.


Thatch smiled as he climbed onto the deck of the Moby Dick. The mission had gone perfectly. They were able to destroy the enemy ship that had been attacking one of the islands under Pops' protection in less than an hour and he had found a rare treasure on the ship.

"Thatch. Welcome back. That was fast." He turned to see Marco leaning against the wall opposite of him. Ace and Sabo ran up to him.

"What were you doing?" Sabo asked.

"Did you fight someone?" Ace demanded.

"Did you win?" the blonde asked.

Thatch laughed as the questions were fired at him. "There were some pirates bothering one of the Island Pops guards. We took them out and I found something really cool," he told them excitedly looking around for the small bouncy brat hoping that he would be feeling better. He found him clinging to Marco's leg looking terrified at something that was behind Thatch.

"I thought that your ribs and ankle would slow you down a bit," Teach greeted from where he was eating a cherry pie, sitting on deck a few feet away.

That would explain Luffy's behavior. For some reason that no one understood the boy was terrified of Teach.

"Nope. My ankle has been better for a while now. My ribs aren't that bad anymore," Thatch said with a smile turning back to heave the chest the contained his treasure in it. "You'll never guess what I found," he said in a sing song voice. "Hey Luffy come here. I bet you've never seen one of these before and you should check it out."

After some encouragement from Marco the little boy shuffled towards him casting glances at Teach, as if expecting the man to jump up and grab him at any moment. Thatch wished that the man would just leave. He wanted to make sure Luffy was alright, after all it was his fault that the poor kid was having nightmares and the brat wouldn't act like himself if the larger pirate was around. But it would be rude to ask Teach to leave so he would just try to distract the boy from the man.

"What'd you find?" Ace asked looking excited.

Thatch threw open the chest and was disappointed when he didn't get the reaction of awe he had been expecting.

"It's a fruit," Ace said let down.

"A weird looking fruit," Sabo added.

"This isn't just a weird looking fruit, it's a devil fruit."

"Don't eat it. It tastes gross," Luffy said sticking out his tongue.

Thatch shot him a confused look wondering at the comment. Ace and Sabo both stiffened and turned to Luffy with looks that Thatch couldn't quite read.

"You found one?" Marco asked looking excited. Finally an appropriate response. He was either going to get some sort of power or a lot of money. Someone should be excited for him.

He pulled it out of the chest and held it up so that everyone could see it. "I don't know what kind it is yet. I think I want to find out before I decide if I'm going to eat it. I want to make sure that it's worth becoming an anchor like Marco here."

He was too busy showing off his prize to notice the slowly growing smirk on the face of the large man sitting behind him. He didn't notice as the man slowly approached him from behind and rise an arm. "Congratulations Thatch," Teach said slapping him on the back. "Let us know when you decide if you're going to eat it or not."

"Will do."

"Hurry and put that thing away," Marco commanded. "Navigation says that there is a storm coming tonight and we have to get ready because it's supposed to be really big."

"You're no fun," the man pouted before sighing dramatically. "I guess I'll put it away."


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