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Across The Folds Of Time

Chapter Text

For a crew like the Whitebeard Pirates, this day was quiet tiring.

First, the ingredients of some of their herbal medications have ran out and so, they had to make a detour to a near island to see if those particular plants grew in its forest or were sold in its markets.

And as if that cannot be enough, they found themselves face to face with the Roger Pirates, with their captain Gol D.Roger himself standing proudly on the figurehead of his beloved Oro Jackson while giving Whitebeard his infamous grin.

The battle started and the cannon balls flew from one side to the other, the voices of the men in both crews growing louder by the second... This battle was nothing new; every time the Whitebeard Pirates crossed path with the other crew, such a show of power occurs, both captains were too proud to pass each other without making such a fuss! and so, after some hours, and like all previous times, the two crews docked in the small yet bustling port of the island.

Marco, himself was giving orders to various divisions in order to work out the watch and entertainment schedules, already thinking about the stacks of paperwork he needs to fill, when his father's voice rang above the murmurs of the crew:
"Son, you need to go out and have fun with your brothers and sisters. You are always working or cooped in your room filling paperwork. Even you need to take some leisure time now and then."
"But, Oyaji, I have paperwork to fill already and it is not like I will find someting particularly interesting in such an island. It might have a busy town, but, all I can imagine would be there are the local products or some other things from other islands here in West Blue. The most pleasure I might find in this part of the world is some sake, and I already asked Thatch to fetch me some while he's still in town. "
Whitebeard sighed before mentioning for his son to come closer...Marco, already anticipating a lesson, rolled his eyes and went to sit on his father's knee. While it might seem odd to some people, those who knew the Whitebeard Crew find it more endearing than anything...


When Whitebeard found Marco, a seven year old at the time, in an alleyway trying to shield himself from the onslaught of rocks thrown his way by a bunch of kids chanting "Monster!...Monster!" , he knew the kid was special. And not even five minutes later,his assuption was proved true as the young boy grew bright, angel-like wings and took to the skies, leaving behind some flickering dust of blue and golden flames. It was an ethereal sight of majestic beauty that never ceased to amaze the older captain, to this day...


However, even such a beautiful creature had a sourdid and painful past, Marco never knew his family as he was brought in an orphanage since his early days, the "mother" in said establishment told him that he was found very young ( not even a year old ) in front of the gates during a winter night, a particular winter night, the night of "The God's Rebirth". It is said that once every two centuries, such a night comes, when the sky would shine with millions of colours, like lanterns hanging by unseen threads in the black sky.


Some say that Mother Nature presents all her colours during that night as a show of power as the legends talk about a mighty God, the God of Life and Rebirth, gracing the human realm in that very night, making his descent in the Mountain of The Fire Temple , a mountain so high that it touches the clouds, on top of which stands an old temple, old as the land, built even before the Void Century.


Unfortunately, Marco did not manage to live in his Island for long as the World Government, for reasons yet unknown, ordered ships upon ships to destroy the Island, and no one but Marco came out alive. In his distress and fright as the marines invaded the island , he was left with no choice but to hide in the temple. Yet, cannon balls were shot and the walls started shaking and collapsing in front of the young child, prompting him to thrown himself in the raging sea below. But, before he could make contact with the water, his arms turned into wings and he flew for the first time.

When asked later where he found the Devil Fruit, Marco said that he doesn't even remember eating one to begin with, which led the captain to assume that he has eaten the fruit, somehow, before being found in front of the orphanage and didn't face much danger to trigger his powers into action.

Now looking at the seventeen year old young man, sitting at ease between his friends and family and looking confident in his ability, he truly chenged from the insecure, frightened and cautious kid he found ten years ago and has become his most trusted and admittedly, his favourite son...

Chapter Text

The sun is high on the sky, the sound of children playing in the town's plaza is still detectable to him, even in his position in the crew's nest.
Marco, being his father's "eldest" son (even though, he is one of the youngest at the moment. But the name stuck since he was made Whitebeard's "heir" as the marines call him now, his right hand and first mate) could not argue with him after hearing the concerned undertone that coloured his voice during their discussion, an hour ago.

To be fair, Marco tried to protest, "tried" being a key word. But, noone could argue much with a concerned father, and it is not like Marco intended to stay behind in the ship after seeing the worry dance in his father's eyes; it just became a habit of sorts to simply give some half-hearted protests to keep up his image as the ship's "Ice Block" or so Thatch "creatively" labelled him (and "painfully" paid for it) whenever he feels his Will to argue back weakens. It wouldn't do for his siblings to think that he has gone soft. Someone must maintain a strict presence in front of those troublemakers, especially that his Oyaji is prone to goofing around with them when the mood strikes (which is more often than not, much to Marco's cough*fond*cough annoyance)...

Now, Marco is simply enjoying the faraway sounds of the town and the calm sway of the ship under his feet, the gentle wind playing with his hair and the salty smell of the sea calming his exhausted m--

A crush sounded from below, in the deck. Looking down, he found his captain and his rival laughing about something he did not catch as they were clearly far too gone in their "drinking contest", two big cups of saké shuttered accross from where they sat cross-legged, with the most ridiculous grins painted on their faces...

So, Marco deduced that the time has come for him to escort them to the bar, where both crews have gathered together. The pirates are well liked in this island as the mayor is a mutual friend of Whitebeard and Roger.


When he agreed to go to town, Marco had one condition, that he will stay be his Oyaji's side wherever he goes. But, after Roger claimed to want to have a drinking contest with Whitebeard, the trip was postponed until the contest ended with a winner (which is unlikely since both of them were notoriously known for holding their liquor) or until they were too drunk to walk by themselves.

Whitebeard permitted Marco to go first and assured him that he will come back later. But, Marco knew better than to let these two men go anywhere by them after the "accidental" volcanic eruption they caused in one -thankfully- uninhabited island they docked in, a couple of years ago (the "accident" may or may not involve a drunk Roger cracking a volcano's surface with a haki infused fist before emptying his "highly-flammable-but-the-captain-didnt-know-that-!" gun powder in the hole he created or a drunk Edward Newgate "accidently" activating said dormant volcano with his powers. To say the least, the island is no longer one of the "above the sea" part of the world...)


All of this explains why Marco is now dragging a sobbing Roger by the arm while a less drunk, but drunk nonetheless, Whitebeard is trotting behind more like a schoolgirl than the fearsome pirate captain that he is supposed to be. THIS is the reason why Marco dreads these two men's encounters. The embarrassment that befalls their collective names each time is a serious blow to Marco's pride as the two of them don't seem to care much about theirs, or else they wouldn't be holding hands like a couple while walking now in front of Marco; the drink-induced flush colouring their cheeks and the brainless smiles they are sporting didn't help to lessen the image. As for Marco, let's just say that he would rather live without having THAT image as an internal wallpaper whenever he saw or even thought about these two men, one a father and the other a swaying_between-being-a-friend-and-an-enemy kinda person.


Looking at these formidable men and hearing the laughter from the bar in front of them, where the rest of his family is gathered drew a smile on Marco's lips. He wouldn't have this life any other way. When he was younger, he always felt that something was missing, that a piece of his soul was yet to be found. For years, that feeling grew within him and became so integrated in his bones that he only knew about its existence - that he is not supposed to have that void within his heart - when the hole was filled with this man's booming laughter, with his gentle touch and the immense love shining in his eyes... Edward Newgate has proved to Marco - time and time again - that everyone deserves love, even those deemed filth, scum or monsters -like himself- and Marco will do whatever he can to ensure that this man's dreams will come true and the laughter will never leave his face... Marco knows that no one can love Oyaji more than he, himself does. This man gave him a life, took him in his arms - beaten and bruised from those who saw him as a devil-child - carried him to his ship ( his "home" ) and introduced him to his crew ( his "family" ). But, more importantly, he smiled to him with more love than Marco have ever seen in those past seven years, and he called him "son"...
That day, Marco knew that THIS is what he is meant to be in this life...

Chapter Text

Shanks has always been part of these waters; and since his mother died, he started reaching out to higher seas. He may be still lurking in the waters of West Blue; but one day he will get stronger, get his own pirate crew and sail the seas, have the most outrageous and unbelievable adventures, earn his freedom - a freedom greater than anyone else’s - and find his own treasure…

Shanks never met his father, not even knew his name… His mother would always tell him that he is a very special child and that one day he will leave her behind for his spirit was as free and boundless as his father’s. He didn’t understand his mother’s words until one day; a man came to their hometown bearing two chests, a smaller more crafted one and a bigger more standard one…

Shanks could only listen to their murmurs behind closed doors and the occasional sob of his mother; he first thought that the man had hurt his mother but after focusing more, the undistinguished yet somehow soft words spoken with a comforting if a little regretful voice assured him that his mother’s distress is not caused by the man talking with her in the office…

After what felt like forever, the two emerged and his mother looked up at him and smiled, tears cascading down her pale cheeks and yet smiling the biggest smile he has ever seen – will ever see - in her face, and somehow it drew a smile on his face and sent an overwhelming pain through his heart ,both at the same time…


No-one talked about what happened that day, nor about the money hidden under her bed, the additional swords hanging on the wall or the open crafted chest full of new and old letters, worn with sea water and cheap sake and sometimes blood stains… Shanks didn’t want his mother’s eyes to cloud with pain and longing, so he never brought it up… But, he always wondered, if it was worth the cost to love someone this dearly, to the point of forgetting the taste of life the moment theirs ends …


After that day, his mother’s smiles became shallow, but to him, they were better than nothing, so he tried to preserve them…But, his mother’s health started declining after a while. Until one day, when he was ten, coming back from the doctor’s office, carrying medicines for his mother, he found her sitting in the old swing, under the shade of an even older tree in the center of their backyard. She was looking ahead in the horizon, smiling. It was the most peaceful and genuine smile his mother had since the strange man visited their home, a year ago. And for some reason, Shanks knew that the time has come…

He knelt in front of her and put his hands on top of hers and smiled. She looked down, startled for a moment as if woken up from a dream, and a tear fell down her right cheek. Then she hugged him close to her heart and closed her eyes saying : “ Set your wings free, my little dragon, set them free and take to the sky, roam this world , make as many friends as you can and one day, when you find your own treasure, do everything you can to protect it… Vermillion D. Shanks! ”


She never opened her eyes again…


Now, two years later, Shanks is yet to fulfill his goal. But, it is alright. He still needs experience before venturing in the endless dangerous seas…His mother told him once that the sea is a caring mother for the wise and a merciless mistress for the foolish. Shanks will never forget these words as long as he lived.

 

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Shanks was heading toward the shopping district when he heard some men talking:

“Can you believe it?! I never thought I will see such big names in our little town and yet here they are! Just thinking about their strength and reputations makes my legs shake! “

“I could swear that the ends of my nerves are lit with fire!”

“Man, just think about what will happen if we pissed them of. They will kill us all!!”

“Just shut up! I would rather not think about that right now! “

And the talking went on and on. But, Shanks never had the patience to keep listening. So, he went to the bar to see what all the commotion is about. If there was one place that holds all the news – gossip – of any town, it will be the bar… With that, he started his trip down the road…

 

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Looking back on it, Shanks should have known that the peaceful life that he led until that moment was nothing but the calm before the storm…

 

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Going back to the center of the town, he was not prepared for what happened …
Lady Misaki, an old short woman with a frail body and too sharp eyes, was yelling at a man wearing a long red and black coat adorned with golden designs. His most prominent features were his big moustache and his shit-eating grin.
“The hell you think you’re doing, brat! If you don’t let me down at once, I will kick your ass into the Grand-Line! “
“But, you are so perfect! Will you join my crew, beautiful!”
“Do I look like a blasted bloody pirate to you?!”
.
.
.
…Oh! So, these newcomers are pirates. From his words, it seems that this man is the captain … He looks like a drunken idiot … Shanks likes him …

“Sorry, but I think the lady just rejected you.”

“No! Women like to play hard to get!”

“I don’t think this is the case. Actually, I believe that she was quite serious. ”

…. “Oh!” And that was all the man said before picking his straw hat from the ground. ”Do you know where I can find the bar?” the pirate asked.

“Yes, I do. Just go down this road and then turn left after that library.”

The man gave him his biggest grin and patted him on the head in a fatherly manner – that made Shanks’s heart skip a beat – before wobbling his way in the previously mentioned direction…and Shanks turned back to go to the flower shop. After all, before all the commotion led him here, he was in his way to buy flowers for lady Sasami, the owner of the inn closest to the bar. If the pirate crew is staying the night, then he might get to see the pirate captain in the inn tonight. After all, since he came here two weeks ago, he has stayed in that same inn and he intends to remain there until his boat gets patched, next week.


A minute or two later, Shanks turned around to see what happened to the captain, only to see a glimpse of red and black turning right instead of left. Not even two seconds later, the sound of crashing pottery was heard all the way to where he was standing shell-shocked.

Heaving a sign, he ran after the wobbling captain, only to find said captain laughing his heart out with one of the stores owners, drenched from head to toe in paint. The smile he wore on his face was a refreshing sight, and for some unfathomable reason, it warmed Shanks’s heart.

“Come, I will help you get to the bar.” said Shanks after he saw the look of utter helplessness on the man’s face while the owner was giving him directions.

“Oh! You are the boy from earlier! Thanks a lot! I think I drank a bit too much! Hahaha! I was actually escorted earlier to the bar. But, the air inside felt hot, so I decided to get a breather. I don’t even know how I ended up in here. The last thing I remember before the world started blending together was the delicious smell coming from a bakery I think. “

How the man managed to smell the bakery’s goods when said bakery was in the other side of town is beyond Shanks’s imagination.



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How his day turned like this, he has no idea!


First, after getting the pirate to stand on his legs without falling back - head first, into the ground – they had to make a detour to the bakery so the man could taste the cakes – that got him lost in the first place -. After that, they had to go get the flowers – beautiful Yarrow branches (his mother’s favorites) - and then go back to the bar to drop the man there before heading to the inn to give Lady Sasami her flowers.


To be honest, the trip in itself felt like an adventure, thrilling, unpredictable, funny, amusing and freeing; just like the man walking – running – in front of him. It was one of the best moments in Shanks’s life so far; even the man’s laughter has that boundless free feel to it! What a man!


Looking at the back of the man in front of him passing the swinging doors of the bar, he was about to change his course when he heard a collective: “Where the hell have you been! “; just as the captain said: “Rayleigh! Marco! “ .
Not even a second later a man with strawberry blond hair went flying over Shanks’s head spouting swears and threats and another body came crashing on Shanks after sending the swinging doors flying across the street.
Shanks didn’t have time to brace himself for the impact before the body –boy? – connected with his, throwing him on the ground and sending the flower basket flying in the air.
But, Shanks didn’t notice any of that, not when a boy – angel? – was sitting on his lap, shaking his sunshine blond hair and rubbing his beautiful sun-kissed arms. Shanks never felt this way before. His heart felt like it might burst at any moment now! Small purplish Yarrow flowers fell on the boy’s hair and shoulders, and said boy lifted his eyes to look directly at Shanks. At that moment, time just…stopped.
Those eyes, perfect as a pair of azurite stones, calm as the sky and defiant as the sea were looking at him…

Chapter Text

Marco felt more than saw the stranger's eyes fixed on him. So, he did the most natural thing someone would do in such a position; he looked up in the stranger's eyes....

Well, first of all, said stranger was in fact a boy and he seemed to be caught up in a trance. He looked lost in thought, but his gaze on Marco was too intense.

Seeing as the kid was not about to speak anytime soon, Marco did his own share of observation. Focusing a bit more on the kid, he looked about 12-13 at most, his face was young and dotted with few freckles spluttered against his tanned soin. But, he was tall for his age, a little shorter than Marco himself. His eyes were grey in colour and held a spark of innocence and youth. But, all those traits aside, there was The Hair, with the most ridiculous (albeit, surprisingly fitting) colour Marco has ever encountered-

"Man, this sure hurts!"

"Ah, excuse me-" said Marco while getting up (seriously, how can someone not realize that they were sitting on a stranger's lap ?!) "-I apologize for, literally, falling on you. An old friend was too drunk to care where he threw others.", That part was said while sending a murderous glare in the direction of the bar.

" Dahahaha! It's alright. I really should've paid more attention, too." But then, he seemed to remember something and extended his hand. "Hey, m'y name is Shanks, by the way. Pleased to meet you!"

"Marco, and the pleasure is all mine." said Marco while shaking the kid's -Shanks- Hand. "Please, allow me to help you gather your flowers. I am quite sorry that some were ruined. I promise to pay you for the damaged ones."

"Wow... Take it easy, no harm was done. It's OK. I will manage just fine with the undamaged ones and you really don't have to help me out. Honestly, this is no-" Shanks docked down just in time to avoid a plate thrown out of one of the bar's windows from across the street, just as the captain's voice grew louder, seemingly laughing (hysterically) about something. "-trouble at all, at least not on this side. Maybe you should go and see what happened to your captain?"

"He is not-" and before Marco could finish his sentence, a small purplish Yarrow was put in the side pocket of his shirt, just as Shanks turned around to continue gathering his flowers as if nothing happened.

After a couple of seconds (observing the kid's turned back) Marco shrugged and went back inside the bar to see what could be salvaged and how many people were caught in Roger and Whitebeard's drunken games.

As the day turned into night and the fun continued, Marco forgot all about his earlier meeting and the flower hidden in the folds of his pocket.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------

 

In the other side of town, Shanks was walking leisurely along the dirty road of an abandonned Park, humming softly to the lyrics of an old half-forgotten song. The night was beautiful. The sky was full of bright stars- some said that a meteor shower is going to occur tomorrow.

Even though it has been abandonned for years now, Shanks really liked this Park. It was calm and isolated from all the commotion of the town- and thanks to Mother Nature, it looks as if it has never been touched by human bands, just another natural paradise.

This atmosphere was all Shanks needed right now. With all these feelings wrecking havoc in his inner world, he didn't feel like interacting with anyone at the moment- not before he reorganized his thoughts and processed all the informations sworming his mind.

 

A few hours ago when he met that boy -Marco- a feeling of familiarity overwhelmed all his senses. Yet, he could not remember where he has met him before (no matter how much he tried to).
Shanks could have put it off as a normal occurance if not for the fact that , after Marco entered the bar and Shanks went on his way, he started feeling like something was missing and sometimes he would hear someone calling his name (in a voice not unlike that of the blond boy, albeit a little more mature and sharp).

 

Sometimes, Shanks would have a sense of déjà-vu from a long time ago to some scenes or even some flashes that seem unclear and unfamiliar to his mind and yet they felt extremely familiar (and important) to his other senses (a light pat on the shoulder, the ringing sound of a faraway laughter, the cool sensation of the wind caressing his hair, a feather-like on his cheek and the taste of exotic fruits on his tongue...).

 

Earlier when he gave the flowers to Lady Sasami, she asked him to stay a bit and he complied. Looking around the living-room while the old woman made some tea in the kitchen, at the end of the hall, Shanks found an old broken mirror covered in a thin layer of dust. Looking in it (out of curiosity) nothing seemed out of the ordinary until, between one blink of an eye and another, a reflection of a man flashed on the broken surface of the glass. He looked so much like Shanks- all red wavy hair and straight nose, and yet he seemed way too different with sharp assessing eyes and confident and more mature features...
So, Shanks did the most natural thing in the world- he let go of the mirror and the glass shuttered. Sharp shards littered the carpets and the floor and he could hear, from somewhere behind him, the sound of hurried footsteps.

What happened later was nothing but a hazy memory in his mind, he remembers apologizing over and over again, cutting his hand on a piece of glass and then running out of Lady Sasami's house as soon as she dismissed him (saying that he must have tired himself and that he should go to sleep and let her handle the cleaning).

Now, he is seriously feeling guilty for the extra work he caused her. He should probably buy her a small cake and apologize properly tomorrow or maybe he should help her in the bar to make up for all the mess he made in her home.

Thankfully, all those voices he has been hearing seemed to have settled down for now.

But, what was all that about ?!

Chapter Text

**Raftel-10 thousand years ago**

 

"Shanks-kun, please stop running around! Your parents, Lord and Lady Vermillion, are waiting for you to join them and you shouldn't let them wait-"

"Where are we going anyway? Mom and dad said something about an important ritual. But, it sounds really boring! Do I really have to go with them? I want to stay here and play with the dragons a bit more!"

"Shanks-kun, this ritual is extremely important and your presence is obligatory for you are the heir of the Vermillion Branch of the D*** Family, the sacred family that found our Great Kingdom and gave it its name, the D*** Kingdom! One day you will shoulder the responsibilities that come with that name and vow, as one of its Knights, to protect it and keep its legacy alive. For this reason, you must attend this meeting and I promise you that it's not boring. Let's see... Hmmm... Ahhah! Let's say that this is an interesting special adventure-"

"Adventure?! Yay! Why didn't you say so already! Hurry before they decide to leave without us!"

With that, the red-haired five-year-old boy and his blond guardian/uncle went down the stairs of the Palais Royal...

"Say Wadii-san, you are a knight too, right?"

"Yes, I am a Knight. Is there a particular reason for your question?"

"I just wanted to know if it's a good job. As a Vermillion, I have to be a Knight. But, sometimes I don't feel that thrilled to be one."

The man -Wadii- hummed a bit before answering:

"I get what you mean. When I was younger I wanted to sail the wide seas and have fun. But, as a member of the Jaguar Branch, I felt doomed at the thought of tying my life to the Kingdom."

"Are you regretting being a Knight now?"

"No, actually I am really happy that I had decided to pursue this path. Even as a Knight, I still get to go on adventures and have fun whenever I want. In fact, the only times I am tied to specific orders are when your father sends me on missions and even then it is quite fun since it's either to meet up with allies and friends or to explore a newly-discovered island. Anyway, if you don't wish to become a Knight then dont be. It's our way of life, but it isn't obligatory you know. I mean it's against our laws and nature to force someone to do something. Where is freedom if we make someone do something that they are not happy about? The whole point of our King/Knights system will be mute if such things were to happen."

"Hmmm... I guess so... The position of King is not an inherited one, right? One of the Knights takes that position when the King stetps down."

"Yeah, that's right. It's all about merit. Those who are worthy of being King take it and the rest of the Knights pledge their loyalty to whomever wears the 'Crown'."

"I guess it's a pretty fair and free kind of ruling."

"Yeah, it is and I don't think that any other system would sit well with the members of the D*** Family. After all, we are the craziest brand of people! Kahahahahaha!"

Shanks joined in the laughter. But, before he could elaborate on the subject, the conversation was cut short by his mother's voice:

"Here you are, my Little Dragon. Where have you been? Your father and I have been waiting for more than half an hour now. Is there any particular reason for such an un-gentlemanly behaviour?"

Shanks's face grew redder with embarrassment. Thankfully, before he could embarrass himself more or earn a disapproving look from his mother, Wadii answered her question:

"Lady Vermillion, Shanks-kun and I were having a conversation about our ruling system and I feel proud and honored to inform you that, despite his young age, your son is such a smart and observant child and I am certain that, one day, he will make you both proud" the last part was said while giving Shanks a wink and a lopsided smile.

His mother's smile was soft and happy while his father's was pleased and proud. The look in their eyes was enough to make Shanks feel guilty for every second of their waiting-

"Now that our Little Dragon has come, let's get in the ship. This trip will be a long one."

"Where are we going dad? Wadii-san didn't tell me anything."

"How did he convince you to come? For a moment there I thought that I have to go personally and drag you out of the Upper Gardens." said the King with an amused tone and a fond smile.

With wide eyes and blushing cheeks, Shanks said:

"How did you know that I was with the dragons? I didn't tell anyone where I was going this morning."

"When was the last time you hid somewhere other than the dragons' gardens?"

Puffing his reddened cheeks a bit more and looking to the side, Shanks answered begrudgingly:

"... Fair enough."

But before his father could continue his teasing, his mother interjected:

"Anata, you shouldn't ask such a question when the answer is so obvious! Nothing could convince a D*** to do anything but the promise of adventure. In other words, you just say the magic word and whatever you ask will be done! Hihihihihihi!"

With that, she blew a kiss in her son's direction and ascended the planks leading to the main deck.

"Pfft~ For a moment there, I thought that mom would take my side this time ..."

"Sahahahahaha, I expected nothing less of the love of my life! After all, your mother is a D*** herself! "

Chapter Text

Shanks woke up to the sound of laughter ringing in his ears and unshed tears blurring his vision.
Turning around, he found himself lying on his back, under an old tree, deep in the abandonned Park. It seems like he drifted to sleep last night.
His limbs were stiff from the straining position. His neck was bend to the side and his lower back was probbed by small pebbles and stray branches.
All in all, last night's sleep could easily take up a high position in his 'not to repeat again' list.
All Shanks could think about right now is his dream (was it even a dream? It felt too real to be a mere illusion of the mind).
His heart is still pounding in his chest. The warmth in his soul is still spreading...
What was that?!
The look in the woman's eyes is still itched in his memory, making him dizzy with so many thoughts and feelings. She felt so real and alive, almost tangible to the touch...
Even now, he could still picture them with such clarity that he usually doesn't find in dreams. The moment he met that blond teen-Marco- these flashes started taking over his life, conquering his mind (troubling both his sleep and his waking moments)