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Amnesia

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Whitebeard had a worried look as he saw one of their small boats approach their ship, likely carrying aboard the people he had sent on a mission to the island close by, 2 days ago. But, they shouldn’t be back for at least 3 more days. When they were closer, he got more worried when he saw they were injured, doing their best to steer. Namur did jump into the water and swim over to help.

When they got on board the ship, he asked everyone who was injured to go to the infirmary, and those out to help those who needed it. A great many more than he would every like; some were unconscious and others with various types of injuries, including broken bones. Something had obviously gone bad, but for now, he would concentrate on his children getting better. It was supposed to be a safe mission, an easy one, but it’s seems that was not the case.

After a couple hours, Bay had updated him on all those injured. The most serious of which resulted in the amputation of the individuals leg. The overall conclusion of the mission was that it ended badly. He chose one of his son, named Jens, who was the least injured of the group, to explain what happened during the mission. One which left great confusion. “What about Ace? He was suppose to be in charge, his first mission.” He had just given Ace more responsibility as he was getting more accustomed to being with them and having more responsibility.

Jens looked a bit lost. “He- we- I… We got to the island, which was easy, and Ace was amazing on the way there. He showed us to a really good place to dock at docked it. But, we only got a couple feets on the island before we were jumped. We were outnumbered by lots. And… Ace… He just… disappeared. Then, they also disappeared. They just left, suddenly not caring about us. We think it was the Black Lotus. We saw their marks on the men.” That was bad. The Black Lotus were a mixed group, consisting of truly heinous individuals; bother from marines, pirates, nobles, and so on.  But, why did Ace disappear? He looked at Jens. “Did Ace act different before you docked? And, he was the one to find the place you docked?” Jens nodded. “He was. He said we should dock there as it was a small secluded bay surrounded by a small, but dense forest. That was also why we didn't see the enemy before it was too late. And, he didn't seem different. ...Maybe… Maybe just a bit more quiet?” That didn't sit well.

The captain gave a breath. “And, you didn't see him fight? Both with or against you? Just gone?” Jens seemed to get what he was hinted at, and nodded. “He was just gone. I mean, he walked off first, looked around, then they were suddenly there. I never saw Ace after. We even searched the area. We didn't find anyone.”

“Do you think…?” Started Thatch. “I mean, that he… sold us out?” Whitebeard didn't know what to think or say. Ace was just gone. “I don't know, children. For now, we can’t jump to conclusions.” Everyone nodded. Whitebeard didn't know, but he didn't like this. It sounded as if Ace planned this and joined the Black Lotus, or just abandoned them. He hoped it was something else.

But, 2 months later, he felt hope was lost. They hadn't heard any news regarding Ace or the Black Lotus,, they hadn't heard anything from Ace, or anyone else. It looked like Ace had just abandoned them, and let the Black Lotus to attack his family, so he could get away. Possibly even joining The Black Lotus.

He knew his children had come to the same conclusion too. It looked like Ace had betrayed them. He had though Ace was perfect for their family, used all those days, weeks, almost months to get him to join them. Just, for this to happen? Whitebeard hoped this was all false. But, truthfully, he didn't know what to think.

He hated that his son might have betrayed him, them. His own family.

---x---

Marco gave a sigh, walking on the island with Haruta, Thatch, and Izou trailing him in order to shop for supplies. They were on a neutral and calm island.  It was a place where mostly pirates stayed, but marines dropped by at times. The ones who lived here, were very strict with rules to not fight here. And, they had the means to make them keep the rules, based on the supplies they had and resources. They hadn't been at any island for a small while, needing some time to come to term with the incident which happened 3 months ago with Ace.  When Ac- Portgas, had betrayed them. It was still hard to think about, that a person they called a brother, and family, had betrayed them.

As they were walking, he heard Thatch gasp, before he stopped.” Marco!” The first commander gave a sigh, turning around, not in the mood for Thatch’s antics. “What?” Thatch sputtered. “I- you- he- look!” He said, as he pointed forward, in the direction of  a shop, a bit to their left.

And, Marco could only blink as he saw where Thatch was pointing. He had to stare for a bit, as he couldn't believe it.

There, speaking to a shop owner, was the black haired kid that had betrayed and then abandoned them. There was no doubt, it was him. The hair was the same, freckles on his face, famous cowboy hat on, grey eyes, and tattoo on his arm. Who else would have that tattoo? Had he just run off? He didn't look bad off. He seemed to be… happy. Did he really betray them to just live on some island? Not a special one even. He knew one thing, and that was that Ace loved being a pirate. So, why was here?

“What should we do? I mean, he did betray us. We can’t just let him get away.” Marco held a hand up to the others, who were nodding in agreement with what Izou said. “No, yoi. Something feels wrong.” “You mean, aside from the fact he almost got 6 of our family member killed!” Said Izou, aghast. Well, it was true. But still. Ace wouldn't be on an island like this. It would be too boring for him, lacking any kind of adventure.. And, those who lived here knew they were coming, having seen them approaching from far away. Why didn’t he conceal himself, hide until they left. “Stay back and don't say anything.” Said Marco, needing to confront the other. He had abandoned them. The right thing would be to go to Pops first. But damn, they might not get this chance again.

“Portgas!” Said Marco, walking closer to Ace, who showed no reaction to seeing him. “Portgas! Ace!” Ace turned towards him, and while Marco was sure he would see dread in his eyes, he only saw confusion. “Me?” Asked Ace, looking more confused. If he was going to play dumb, it wouldn't work. “Yes, you! Do you know what your actions did?!” Marco was mad, they had almost lost so many, so many were injured. He had reached his hand out to drag Ace with him to the boat, knowing Pops could handle this much better than him.

As his hand was almost touching Ace’s, the black haired kid flinched his arm away. “I don't know you. What have I done?” Ace looked more confused and worried now. And he should be worried! Just wait until they got him on the boat and his justification for betraying them! “You kno-” Marco was cut off by another voice, speaking towards them. “Ace, what's going on?” Ace turned toward the man, walking and standing behind him. “I don't know. But, they're mad.” The man gave a sigh, before handing a bag to him. “Here, go home. I’ll deal with this.” Marco, taking a step forward to to make Ace stay, when the man halted him with a hand, a stare, and a small puff of Haki. Marco had a frown as he watched Ace walk off, making sure to remember which direction he was heading towards.

When Ace was gone from view, he turned to look at the man.He had pale skin, long pink hair in a sort of half ponytail, red eyes, and white clothes, which consisted of a long jacket, pants, boots, and gloves. “Now,” Started the man. “Why are you so mad at Ace? Did he do anything to you?” He had a calm voice. Which made some of his anger cool off, but not Thatch’s apparently, as he took a step forward. “He betrayed us! That's what! He fucking sold our crew out 3 months ago, before he went off and disappeared! Hell yeah, we’re pissed!” Well, it was the truth, Thatch was just a bit brash. The man blinked, before he looked at them seriously. “You know him?” Marco frowned. What a weird question. But, before he could answer, Izou did. “Yes, we know him! And as we said, we have business with him, since he betrayed us!”

The man gave a sigh, looking saddened. “Please, if you could, follow me.” Marco frowned. “Why, yoi?” The man, with his still calm look, turned around. “Because, things might not be as you think. Just, before you make an unfair decision. This way.” Marco had a frown as he thought it over, before he silenced the others with a small hand sign. They should follow. Either way, they could find Ace later. And, he had a feeling the house he sent Ace too, was his home. They walked in silence until they came to a medium sized home, walking inside. The man asked them to sit down in what he believed to be the living room, before he went to get something.

As the pink haired male was searching, Izou looked at him. “What are you doing? We should have gone after Ace, not here!” Marco gave a sigh. “I know. But, you have to agree something feels off. Just, let’s hear what he says. If it’s nothing, we leave, yoi.” The others nodded, still looking mad. He was too, but had a small voice that said something was wrong. After a minute, the man came back, sitting down on a small couch. “So, you said Ace ‘betrayed’ you 3 months ago?” Marco gave a nod, giving a sign to the others not to interrupt, to let him handle this. “Yes. But, I don't see what this has to do with you.”

The man gave a small sigh. “I found Ace 2 and a half months ago, close to Charlotte’s reef, confused and injured. I am a doctor and did my best, but his injuries were great.” The man handed a picture to him, Marco giving a frown at it. “He had a bad head injury, which caused hemorrhaging, bleed in the brain. Surgery was required in order to reduce the build up of pressure within the skull, as well as to remove several metal fragments, deeply embedded within the wound. Likely a part of a weapon, or a sharp object which was wielded with great force..” Marco could only blink, looking down at the picture, seeing it was a side picture of Ace’s head, which had a large portion shaved, and a huge curving scar. It started from his hairline, above his eye, moving towards the back of his head, before sweeping round, down towards the ear. It looked as those it would have required a major surgery. Before he could speak, the man spoke again.

“There was a lot of damage, and I did my best to help. He was out for 2 weeks, before he woke. I was sure he was a goner. But, when he woke. He had no memory. Nothing. He didn't even know his name. I guessed it was ‘Ace’ since he had it tattooed on his arm, albeit with grammatical correction.”

Had Ace really lost his memory? It would explain his reaction, he showed little recognition or any of the appropriate emotions you would have expected, only confusion. But still, Marco doesn't know if this man can be trusted, perhaps it’s a ploy, a devious method of deception. But, why was Ace so injured? “Why should we believe you, yoi?” The man gave a small shrug. “You don't need too. You can just turn and go away. For me, it means nothing.” That was at least truthful. “But,” Continued the man. “I can show what transpired; how I found young Ace, and the subsequent injuries I saw, and so on.” Marco blinked. “How?” The man gave a hum, holding his hand out. “I have a devil fruit, which allows me to see memories, and share them. I can even show you what I saw when I looked into Ace’s mind.” If it was true, it was a good idea. But, Marco had no idea if this man was trustworthy, what if the memories were fabricated. But, before he could voice it, he spoke again. “You can say no. And, the others here will be here to stop me in case they see something they do not like. I gain nothing in leading you on. I also have no desire to trick you.”

Marco thought it over, before he nodded. He told the others they would be allowed to step in if they wanted and saw fit to. Marco had a feeling the man spoke the truth. As he prepared himself, the man took his gloves off, before moving his hand to Marco’s head, telling him to close his eyes and that he wouldn't feel any pain. When the hand touched his head, Marco felt the world around him go black to place outside under the night sky, he could see Ace standing in front of him. He heard himself asking if Ace was fine, but he received no answer, just a confused look. Marco felt shocked to see Ace covered in blood, especially his face, which he mentioned. He now realised it wasn't him, but the pink haired man that was speaking. This was him viewing his memories, from the man’s perspective. Ace moved a hand to his face, before looking at it bloody, before he looked back at him, then passing out.

Everything turned black, before he saw Ace awake, looking confused, eyes closed, obviously being another memory, a later one. He saw a pale hand move to his head, before nothing. Just black. He could faintly hear some sound, before an intense pain came over him. The second he felt it, he opened his eyes and he was back in the living room. “Sorry, I should have stopped earlier.” Marco moved a hand to his head. “What was that, yoi?” The man gave a sigh. “When I tried to look in his mind. I saw nothing. I could hear some sound, and just feel pain, horrible pain. Nothing more.” That was worrisome. He turned to the others and told it was true, his story checked out.

Izou gave a sigh. “Okay. Let's pretend we believe you. But, why do you even have a picture of his scarred head? And his back? How could you not know he is with us?” The man gave a hum again. “I have the picture as Ace wanted to grow his hair back out. So i know where the scarring is when I check if it heals right.” That made sense. “And, his back? I must say, I don't know what you mean.” Marco frowned. How could he not? He had their mark on it. But, before he could say so, Thatch spoke. “What do you mean?! He has our, Pop’s, mark on his back!”

The man gave a defeated sound. “You are no longer mad at Ace, right? You no longer believe he knows what he did, or even if he did it?” Marco gave a nod. “Yes, yoi.” The man nodded, before he looked towards a door. “Ace, please come here.” He half yelled. So, he had been right, Ace was here. After a few second, footsteps could be heard, before the door opened and Ace carefully came inside, looking a bit unsure at them. “It’s fine.” Started the man. “It was a misunderstanding. Now, do you remember any of them?” Ace looked at them, giving each a look, before he looked back at the man, shaking his head. “Okay.” Started the man. “Could you show them your back?” Marco blinked, not sure where this would lead. Ace gave a hesitant nod, before he turned around, slowly lifting his shirt up.

And when they could see his back, Marco felt shocked and horrified. He heard Izou give out a gasp, Haruta moving her hands to her mouth, and Thatch looking utterly horrified. Ace’s back was a mass of scars. Scars from wounds, slashed, burn marks, and more. What was once a tattoo he wore proudly, was gone. What Ace had cherished was gone. The only thing left was few, small patches of the previous purple sections.

At the bottom left of all the scars, was a burn mark, a brand. The brand of the ones who had attack their family, 3 months ago. From those they had believed Ace sold them out too. They had taken Ace too. And they had done this. It was a huge shock. They had thought Ace had betrayed them, but he hadn't. Lord knows what he had gone through.

When Ace pulled his shirt down, he looked at the pink haired man. “Who are they, Azuruko?” Marco now realised they hadn't gotten the man’s name before now. He felt he had heard it before. The man, Azuruko, gave a sigh. “Someone who knows you. Why don't you come sit down.” Ace gave a nod and sat down in a sofa chair, legs up with him. He remembers Ace doing around them when he first arrived upon their ship. A defense mechanism when he felt unsure of himself, or others. He looked at Azuruko .”I know them?” Azuruko gave a hum. “You did. They know you. They are pirates, and you had their mark on your back, meaning you were with them.”

Ace blinked, before frowning. “I was a pirate?” Azuruko gave a nod, before doing a motion towards them, making Ace look at them. “Yes,” Started Marco. “You had your own crew at first, before you joined us. You were happy, as far as we could tell. Then you disappeared.” Ace gave a small nod. “That maybe makes sense? I mean,” Ace moved a hand to his tattoo. “If I was a pirate on my own, maybe no one taught me how to write, and that's why I’ve spelled my name wrong?” Marco frowned, before realisation hit him.

Ace didn't remember his deceased brother. Ace didn't remember Sabo.

Ace had told them about Sabo a bit after joining them, wanting to put a stop to everyone mocking him for the misspell his own name. It made this all the more true. He would never joke about Sabo, or his tribute to his memory. Ace really had lost his memory. Before he could speak, Azuruko spoke. “I now see there is more to it than that. I am sure you all want to tell him what, but I would like you not too. It would be better for him to remember himself. I hope he can get his memory back.” They all nodded, understanding that.

Azuruko then looked at Ace. “By the way, did you put the supplies where they should go?” Ace gave a nod. “Yes. I placed the milk in the fridge, the bread and meat in the walk in, the spice… spice…” Ace frowned, before looking lost and unfocused, before looking back at Azuruko. “What was I saying?” Azuruko gave a smile. “Spice, where did you put it?” Ace frowned. “Spice? I don't know. Didn't we need more?” What? Azuruko shook his head. “No.” Ace just gave a small “Oh.” Before shaking his head a bit, moving a hand to it and eyes closing. Azuruko gave a sigh. “Why don't you relax?” Ace nodded, and moved to lay down, half curled together as it was still a sofa chair. Ace even seemed to fall asleep within seconds, Azuruko moving a blanket over him, before sitting down and giving a sigh as he looked at them.

“He does this at times, when he tries to remember things. He tries to, before he trails off and forgets it all. I am trying to make him remember things, a type of cognitive therapy. Initially it was a way to ascertain the extent of the damage to his memory. However, it also functions as a memory exercise, coping mechanism to develop, or redevelop the memory skilled lost as a result of the trauma inflicted. To be medically specific, the portions of the brain most affected were the hippocampus, neo-cortex, and the amygdala, which collectively govern explicit memories, episodic memory. In layman’s terms, general knowledge as well as autobiographical events.” Marco nodded, understanding most of that, giving a sad look to Ace. He felt awful for blaming the other all this time. He couldn't even remember putting the spice away, or buying it, maybe not the trip to the city itself. It was bad. Marco had no idea how to tell Pops. Marco didn't know what to do.

Azuruko gave a sigh. “I get that he was with your crew, and I know you act like a family. I’m sorry to say Ace remembers nothing of it. But, I think, and hope, he will. He wants to remember himself.” That was good. But, he had no idea how to make it possible. “We are leaving in a couple days at the most, yoi. I mean, we have places to be and can’t be in one place too long.” They were pirates, wanted ones. If they stayed, they would be an easy target. Azuruko gave a hum. “Not to be rude, but I can not allow Ace go with you, as he has no idea who you are, and the fact you accused him of betrayal. I am sure the rest of your crew believes this as well.” Marco sighed, hand going to his face. He was right. Marco had no idea what to do.

“I have an idea, though.” Continued Azuruko. “How about you go back, explain to your captain what happened, tell the crew, and come back tomorrow and I’ll join you with Ace? To see how it goes. And, where are you heading? I would not pass up a trip to Sabaody Archipelago.” That sounded like a plan. “Will you join us?” Azuruko nodded. “If I can, yes. For Ace, it would be good. Whatever happened to him, was not painless. I can help relieve it if it comes back, or if it’s overwhelming. Take away the worst of the memories along with the emotional and psychological trauma injured.” That sounded like a good plan. “We will go back and speak to Pops, yoi. We, at least I, will come tomorrow and tell  you how it went, and what Pops thinks.” The man nodded. ”Or, I can come tomorrow, before noon. Easier for Ace.” That was better. It sounded the best plan given the situation. Now, Marco just needs to find a way to tell all of this to Pops. That they had been wrong. That Ace was a victim too. He had been captured. That might be why the rest were let off.

They bid goodbye to Azuruko, who gave them the picture, saying he had more, before standing up to carry Ace, most likely to a better place to rest. When they got out of the house, Marco moved his hand to his face, trying to think of the easiest and least painful way to explain this. He heard Thatch give a gasp. “H-how? How could we be so wrong? So quick to turn our back on him?!” Marco had no answer. “Let’s go update Pops. Don't tell anyone else, yoi.” Marco didn't want to cause a buzz. He knew many were mad at Ace, but it was all wrong. They didn't speak more until they got to the boat, where Marco asked to speak to Pops in private. “Why, son? Didn't shopping for supplies go well?” Marco sighed. “Just, please, Pops.” That made the man frown, looking worried. Marco just didn't know how to tell him.

When they got to the captain’s room, Marco gave a loud sigh, hand on his face, Pops looking at him worriedly. “What is it, Marco?” Marco took a breath, before he spoke. “We were wrong, about Ace.” Pops frowned. “What?” Marco knew Pops didn't like to be reminded about Ace’s supposed betrayal. “Ace, he didn't betray us. He was captured as well. His mark on his back is gone. Just scars left. They even branded him. ” Marco took his hand away from his face, looking at Pops, who was looking shocked. “But, why did he never tell us? Try to contact us? It’s been 3 months.” Lord, Marco felt like saying they were wrong was hard, but telling Ace didn't remember anything was harder. “I don't know if they did it to try and kill him, or if they planned this, but they really banged his head up. He doesn’t remember anything . He doesn't remember us, himself, the family. He doesn’t remember Sabo.

Pops looked at him with a frown. “How do you know?” Marco took a breath, explaining that they had met Ace, and Azuruko, and the event which proceeded it. How he had shown his memories of Ace and how Ace had acted. When he had explained, he showed the picture to Pops. “Azuruko gave us this. It’s the scar from the surgery. To know how it heals, yoi.” The man gave a sigh to it, looking to believe him. Which was good. “This man, Azuruko. Did he have pink hair, red eyes, pale skin, and white clothes?” Marco frowned, before saying “yes”, making Pops move a hand to his head. “I know of him. He’s a ‘mind healer’. A devil fruit. He wouldn't lie to us. I would trust this man.” Marco nodded. He thought the name had sounded familiar, perhaps someone had mentioned him before, maybe even Pops.

Marco then told him what Azuruko had said, how he could meet them tomorrow, bring Ace to the ship with him. And, that he would join them to Sabaody archipelago if they headed that way. He wouldn't let sail Ace off with them unless he come as well. Pops gave a nod. “I see. I have heard about Azuruko, and he cares for others. He doesn’t care who you are or where you're from. We'll wait for tomorrow, for them. I’ll speak to everyone during dinner.” Marco hoped everyone would believe what Pops said. They had blamed Ace. But, Ace hadn't done anything wrong. Pops gave a sigh. “We’ll stay on this island for at least tomorrow, maybe another day. I’ll ask most to either be in town or inside the ship. If Ace really has lost his memories, meeting hundreds of new faces, claiming to know him, can’t be healthy.” That was true. Pops managed to keep a calm mind, but Marco could see he was a bit constricted and worried. Marco hoped everything would somehow go well tomorrow.

When dinner time arrived, the ones who had been with Marco earlier and knew the story, asked everyone to be in the galley. Everyone was wondering why as this was a rare event. Pops calmed everyone’s attention and stated explaining in a calm voice, how Marco, Thatch, Haruta, and Izou had run into Ace here, and how they had been wrong. Ace had not betrayed them. He had been captured as well. He first mentioned the memory loss, before tackling the current state of his back, where their mark had been. It had been taken away from him, and a brand added. It had many looking shocked, worried, and sick. A pirates mark was the most precious thing to have, especially for a Whitebeard pirate. To remove it was abhorrent and horrendous. It was like taking a person's name and meaning.

When someone asked if it was true, not just a ploy, Pops explained a man he trusted, a man he would trust with his life, had explained it to Marco and the others. They all trusted Pops, and for him to say he would trust another man with his life, was enough to make them believe it. Marco knew everyone probably had doubts, some more than others, but it would be proven that it was true. Marco was even sure Pops had doubts, small ones, but he would see what tomorrow brings.

Marco felt he could never prepare enough for what was to come. That what they had believed for so long was false. A brother they had thought to betray them, had not. This was all a horrible situation.

---x---

Whitebeard took a breath, not sure how to handle this. He was about to meet his son, who he hadn't seen for 3 months, who he had believed to have betrayed them. But, he hadn't. Ace had been a victim as the others. That was why the rest of his children was let go. Ace was more known than them. He wasn't sure if he should apologize or not. Ace didn't remember him. He wasn't sure how to act around him, or what to say, or not say for that matter. But, Marco had said that the man, Azuruko, would come. He wouldn't do anything or say anything special before he knew more of this situation himself, seeing how true it was, how bad it was.. He really hoped things would turn out well.

Most of his children had left the deck, either disappearing somewhere into the depths of the ship, or venturing on land. Everyone understanding that it would be best to keep away initially. . There were mostly commanders out, as well as a couple others, two from Ace’s old crew, his first mate and doctor if he remembered. They all were waiting in somewhat suspense. Not sure what would happen.

When the clock was a little past 11 am, Izou noticed Ace and Azuruko at the dock. Ace was looking at some things in a few shops, Azuruko walking close to him, looking as calm as he was during their first meeting. As they were drawing closing to them, the captain asked Izou to go meet them. For Azuruko, and kind of, for Ace, as it would be their first trip on this boat. He should try and be courteous. He saw Azuruko saying hello and Ace just standing beside him, looking as if he didn’t know Izou at all. When they got on the boarding plank, Ace looked to get more excited, the captain hoping it was since he remembered something.

But, when the three got on board the boat, Ace ran to the railing, looking at the ocean, looking excited. “We were going here?! On a boat?! I’ve always wanted to be on one! It’s so big! And it has a whale!” Ace turned to look at Azuruko, looking utterly mesmerized and excited. “Look, Azuruko! It’s a whale! ” The pink haired man gave a chuckle. “Yes, it is. This boat is called the ‘Moby Dick’.” Ace blinked. “Why?” Azuruko gave a smile. “From a story, where a captain hunted for a huge whale, who had taken his leg, and he swore to find it and kill it.” Ace looked fascinated by that. Before Ace could respond, Azuruko spoke again. “But, enough of that for now. Do you remember any of the people here?” Ace blinked, before he looked them over, eyes staying on them for a second, before moving on, the captain not seeing any sign of recognition in his eyes. He felt a small sting when the grey eyes just moved over him too.

But, when his eyes landed on Marco, Ace blinked, before looking at Azuruko. “We need spice!” That had most of them blink, Azuruko looking at Ace. “What made you think of that?” Ace blinked, before pointing back at Marco, having a frown. “I don't know. Isn't he...I don't know. Just made me think that we need spice.” Thatch gave a small snort at it. “Marco and spice?! Maybe he’s a spice sal-” But he fell silent from a look he received from both him and Marco, especially when he saw Ace looking much more confused and unsure, almost scared.

Azuruko shook his head a bit. “No. But, he was with us when you spoke to Kent, the spice salesman, and when we spoke about spice, yesterday.” That made sort of sense. Ace frowned. “But… We didn't go out yesterday… Right..?” Azuruko shook his head. “We did. We bought supplies and food.” Ace just gave a small “oh”, seeming to have forgotten it. It had him worried. He knew, from what Marco had said, that Ace had issues with his memory from before he was attacked,. But, he didn't think it was this bad. It had all of the others realise it too. Azuruko gave a breath. “Aside from that, does anyone else look familiar?” Ace looked at the rest, before he shook his head.

Ace really didn't remember them. It was a hard pill to swallow, and the others thought the same, especially his old crew.

Ace turned to look at the pink haired man. “Should I know them?” Azuruko nodded. “Yes. Remember how I told you, you were part of a crew, a pirate crew? From those who visited yesterday?” Ace gave a nod, making him continue. “This is it.” Ace blinked, before looking at them and around. “On this big boat? There are so many…” Azuruko gave a small smile. “I believe this is only a small number of them. I’ve heard it has over 400 men in its crew.” That had Ace blink, and a motion from Azuruko had him look at the captain, who nodded. “We are a large crew, but you are- were- a part of us before you disappeared.” Ace blinked, seeming to look confused. “I was? Sounds weird. Did I have a pirate name?” Azuruko gave a small shrug when Ace looked at him, having no idea. When Ace looked at Whitebeard, he nodded. “Yes. It was ‘Firefist’ Ace.” Ace blinked. “What a weird name. Why that?” That had them a bit flabbergasted. “Because,” Started Thatch, “You fight with your hands while you used your devil fruit. Fireballs and such.”

Ace looked more shocked, before he spoke, sounding stunned. “I have a devil fruit?” The captain blinked. Ace didn't know? “Yes. You do. You have the ‘Mera Mera No Mi’. You're made of fire.” Ace blinked at him, before looking at his hands. “I don't feel anything…” Ace really didn't know.

Azuruko gave a small sigh. “You don't remember how to use it. I didn't even know you had one.” Ace looked a bit saddened by the fact he didn't know he had one and that he couldn't use it. Marco took a step forward, holding his hand out. “Place your hand on top of mine, yoi. I’ll show you.” Ace blinked, looking at Azuruko, who nodded and looked reassuring, before he slowly did, placing his hand on top of Marco’s. Marco moved to have Ace’s palm up, before placing his under, making blue flames appear from his hand. It had Ace retract his, but Marco gave a word that it was okay, making him put it back. Marco then closed it around his hand, before flames erupted from Ace’s hand, Ace looking amazed and astound at it, especially when Marco removed his hand.

Ace looked at the fire with huge eyes, mouth a bit open. It was like a child seeing the seas for the first time. Ace moved his other hand towards it, making the fire appear there too.. When the fire moved up his arms, in shock, slammed his hands against his sides, extinguishing the fire. He then looked at his hands again, having a big smile as he looked at Azuruko. “I have a devil fruit! I am fire! That was so awesome! And so terrifying !” It had Azuruko and a few of them, including himself, chuckle.

The captain looked at Ace, still worried, but amused Ace was in this good of a mood. “Ace, why don’t Izou show you to the infirmary? I just want a word with Azuruko, and then he will join you. I'm sure our doctor would want to look at you.” Ace sent a look at the pink haired man, who nodded, and Ace went with Izou, disappearing behind a corner. When they were out of view, Azuruko gave a small breath, looking at Marco. “I know that spice wasn't the thing you want Ace to remember you with. But, he did remember that and you. That’s a good sign in my opinion. Better than nothing.” That was true, making the captain a bit more hopeful . “What do you think, Azuruko? What should we do?” The mind healer gave a breath. “I hope he will improve, and I can meet an old friend at Sabaody Archipelago, who may be able to help. On the way there, I believe he should stay in the infirmary, at least during the night. He forgets things often when he sleeps.”

That was good to know, but concerning. “We are headed that way, so you can join us. But, how do you think we can help? The best way?” Azuruko gave a hum. “Don’t act any different to how you normally are. But, don’t tell him what he used to do, what he used to be like, and all that. Do introduce yourself, but no more. Show him around. He is new here, at least in his mind he is. And, you'll need to do this more than once. He will forget. I told him where my closet for extra household items were 15 times. Just, give it time. Don't be afraid to ask me anything. But, most importantly, don't push him. If his head hurts, ask him to rest.” Okay, they knew more and everyone looked to be listening and have taken in what he had said. Still, this was all worrisome.

But, the captain had a good feeling things would be fine somehow.