Work Header


Chapter Text

Wordcount: Pages, 5. Words, 2837. Characters, 14560. Characters excluding spaces, 11744.

"Coming after tiny fractures

Call it post-traumatic

What comes after tiny fractures?"

 There were stories about some poor random fuck ending up stuck in the body of a 'canon' character from one of their favourite fandoms. The true version of self-inserts, that's what I'd always called them, laughing at the idea of inserting someone into someone else's body. I never expected them to become real or find myself in such a situation. It had been just fanfiction to me- a story, and I thought that was how it would always be, but now I was staring at a familiar and yet also unfamiliar face in a river creek and having to force myself not to fall into a mental breakdown or panic attack.

It wasn't like I was uncomfortable with my new body, I'd always been someone more concerned with what someone was on the inside compared to the outside, but the person I had become was someone I felt no one should be unlucky enough to end up as. Portgas D. Ace, about four years old, with wounds and blood all over him, stared at me from the river's depths and reflections. Pulling back, unable to stare any longer, I plopped down on too small and too childlike limbs and onto the ground where I shakily brought the small but tanned and freckled hands up to rub at my face aggressively.

It was a bid to calm myself down, but all it did was make me feel more hysterical. Being a child again was weird, sure, but I could deal with that. I had never really grown up in the first place. Hell, I could also deal with the guilt of somehow taking over someone else's body when all I remembered was going to bed the night before, but becoming someone destined to die before their twenty fifth birthday? I didn't know how to deal with it. A pending mortality, I suppose it could be called, and I was so damned scared. It didn't help that I knew I'd never be able to live up to what made Ace such a good person. I was so much more selfish, and although I had suffered from self hatred issues before, I had never truly wanted to die.

I knew I could avoid the entire process that ended in Ace's death if I wanted to, but the idea of derailing 'canon' events terrified me almost as much as dying did. Not from fear of the unknown or anything, but because I knew Ace's death had been a needed catalyst to get Luffy strong enough to survive the second half of the grand line. If Ace hadn't died, he'd have no reason to keep getting stronger until he wouldn't lose anyone else. If Ace didn't die, Whitebeard didn't die, and if Whitebeard didn't die then the new age of pirates would not start. If the new age of pirates didn't start then a lot of canon events wouldn't happen, and it was an entire smorgasbord of problems that were overwhelming and made me feel just as small as I'd become when I'd been dropped in the body of a four year old.

It didn't help that I knew I was hurt, and as I sat there, I began to come to a very dark conclusion. I should not exist. This should not be possible. Breaking the fourth wall was only Deadpools thing, and I was most definitely not Deadpool even if I was a fan of chimichanga's. Tilting my head back and ignoring the drying blood on my new body, I closed my eyes and tried to come up with HOW this would be possible, and why I did not sense 'Ace' himself in my mind nor find myself suffering from probable multiple personality disorder to the extreme.

My mind, so used to coming up with macabre ideas, went to the pain I was in and the amount of blood I'd found upon my new body, and came to a chilling conclusion that Ace may have died.. But early, and something, or someone, had interfered and dropped my unsuspecting ass into him so that 'canon' could mostly continue on as planned. The idea that I was that small a part of the universe didn't bother me as much as the fact I had been practically shoved into a death sentence unless I wanted to completely bring things off the rails and maybe cause the death of Luffy and his entire crew- the main heroes of the world.

It came down to how selfish I was. Was I selfish enough to cling upon life or let myself go? Was I selfish enough to sacrifice Luffy and so many damned others just because I didn't want to die? Even as I thought this I wondered if there was a way to make it where neither of us had to die. I also wondered if perhaps I was paying too much attention to the shitty ideas about time travel and messing with what was 'supposed' to happen causing utmost destruction via the butterfly effect. I began to rub at my face harder, and barely noticed I was shaking slightly as I took in a choked breath.

My head hurt, but I had a feeling it had to do with shoving metaphorical memories of a almost twenty three year old into the brain of a four year old, not just my current existential crisis. I felt exhausted, mentally, emotionally, and physically, and wondered exactly what had happened to the four year old body I now inhabited that had caused so many wounds and so much blood. Forcing myself to open my eyes again, I looked up at the large trees that hid most of the sky from view and squinted.

It seemed that it was maybe mid day, but I couldn't be sure since I could not see the sun through the canopy of trees above me. Licking my dry lips, I forced myself to begin moving. There was no use thinking about all of this until I was sure I wouldn't get myself killed from my own stupidity in an unfamiliar place while wearing an unfamiliar face. I felt myself snicker somewhat hysterically at the very thought as I dragged myself back to the river I'd 'woken up' next to. Taking a calming breath, I leaned over and took in my features once more.

An adorable toddler stared back at me. Wavy hair that went down to his shoulder blades as black as coal, silver grey blue eyes, and tanned freckled skin. The kids, my- I mentally corrected myself- deciding to get used to things as they were now as quick as possible, cheeks were chubby from baby fat that had yet to disappear from the-my features. There was dried and caked blood all over Ace-MY- throat and sleeveless shirt that must have been orange before but was now more a brownish red than anything else. Bringing my hand up to touch hi-MY- throat, I found that there was no scarring nor wounds to indicate a torn out throat, but the blood and the way it seemed to have come onto this body indicated something like that must have happened.

A wild animal attack maybe? Wolf most likely, if my memories of the jungle and the series said anything.

Deciding to think on it later, I notice that there was some extra blood that had dripped down onto some shorts that used to be tanned but were more brownish red and green by this point from both the blood and multiple grass and dirt stains. I wore no shoes, and I wiggled my toes into the earth as a frown pulled across my new features. I jerked slightly in shock as soon as I saw it appear on the image in the river of my new self, because damned if that growing scowl didn't look natural on Ace's- my- face. Growling in frustration, I kicked at the image and in the water to disturb it, only to yelp as I tripped over myself and instead found myself falling face first into the water.

I pulled myself up and mostly out of the water into a standing position by pure will and stubbornness alone and sputtered while spitting out a good amount of water. My scowl had only grown from the situation I found myself in, but I wasn't paying attention to that anymore. Instead I was annoyed because I found myself so damned small that the water literally went up to my shoulders now when it would have only gone to below my waist had I been in my original body. Being this short, this small again, was going to be a difficult thing to get used to. I could already tell that much.

Since I was in the water, I decided I might as well get as much of the blood off of me as possible. I was in a forest, a jungle even, and that could attract more danger than even my size now would. Yanking the shirt up and off of my body, I shoved it over to the edge of the river and then looked down. The blood that caked my front seemed to flow from the neck, making my idea that Ace may have died prematurely and that was now why I was in his body become a more believable idea of mine. That didn't make me happy though, instead it made me sad. Ace never deserved what he went through, so the idea that he had died so early only for me to have to swoop in to 'keep balance' hurt me.

Didn't Ace himself deserve so much more to live?

The most I had done was way less than he had. He'd been so large and full of life. The idea that I was now part of the reason he was technically gone and instead in his place hurt me, especially since this Ace was too young to have ever realised how loved and cherished he was. He'd just been a kid, a poor kid who had been hurt more than he deserved. Taking a shuddering breath, I forcefully grabbed a handful of sand from the riverbed and began to use it to help scrub the blood off of me. As I did so, I allowed myself to stop thinking and instead just do.

It helped.

By the time I was done I found myself mostly clean of blood and felt slightly relieved. The tips of my hair were still clinging together from dried blood, but I could fix that soon. Shuffling through the water to grab the shirt, I then shoved it into the water and furrowed my eyebrows in concentration as I began to try and get as much of the blood out of it as possible. As I did so, more orange began to show, but the blood sure as hell would be staining a good amount of it. I gave a tsk under my breath in annoyance and jumped from the childish sounding voice that came out in the process, surprised and yet not all at once since it was my first true vocal noise I'd made in this new body.

Once I'd gotten enough of the blood off of the shirt it looked more like an old stain than a recent one, I noticed that the shirt looked very worn out now and decided that, once I could, I'd get rid of it. Pulling myself out of the river, I went to a nearby tree and hung the shirt on one of the lowest branches to dry before heading back to the river where I slipped off my shorts to begin washing in the same way I had the shirt.

I'm not sure how much time passed as I did all this, but the light seemed to be getting less obvious so it must have been a while. I jumped back into the water to duck and harshly wash at my hair, making sure it was no longer coagulating together due to the blood on the ends, before I got out and watched the blood flow downriver until it was completely gone. "Okay." I said out loud, wincing slightly from my new voice but forcing myself to get over it as quickly as possible. I spoke again, louder, more sure. "Okay. I can do this. I've cleaned up. Now I just need to find some kind of shelter. Going missing isn't.. There's no way that no one will come looking for Ace- for me- so I just need to survive until then."

Going over to the same tree I'd hung my shirt on, I put my shorts up to dry too and then leaned against the tree and tried to THINK. "What do you know about wilderness survival?" I asked myself, only to wince as I remembered how little it was. "Stay away from water sources." I suddenly said, eyes widening as I remembered and sitting up straighter. The reason wasn't because having a water source was bad, but because of how many animals would be drawn to said water to drink from it- most of them probably dangerous carnivores.

Cursing, I rubbed at my face harshly again and wondered if that would become a habit as I then looked at the tree I was leaning against in assessment. Even with the threat of the animals, I needed the water. A human could survive weeks without food, water though? Not so much. I was lost as well, which didn't help anything. Still, another rule I remembered was, when lost, continuing to keep moving was a bad idea. It was best to stay in one place. This was the only water source I knew of, but I needed to be careful due to the threat of wild animals. Being up high in a tree and unable to be reached while also near a water source would allow me to get water when no animals were around and also keep me mostly safe.. I think.

As for food, I had no idea what was and wasn't edible around in a jungle or forested area, so I was definitely fucked over on that end. I was already cold, so I left my clothes where they were to dry and gripped onto the thick trees bark, looking it over for good hand and foot holds that would help me climb it. I had not climbed a tree in almost twenty years, and I had absolutely no fucking idea what I was doing. How had I done this so easily as a child? What the utter fucking hell had I done to be able to act like a spider on these things as a child in my original childhood? Mentally praying to whatever higher power was up there, I grit my teeth and forced myself to try climbing the gigantic tree that seemed to have no end in sight.

I'd like to say that I immediately got the hang of climbing the tree again, that some weird muscle memory kicked in, but that was the farthest from the truth that existed. Multiple times I fell, only getting a few small painful feet of climbing and ruining both my bare hands and feet with scratches from the bark as I did so. They joined the other scratches on my arms and legs I'd been ignoring that had already been there when I woke up in this body. I didn't think of them as important, and it wouldn't be until later that I realised how damned stupid I had been. Anyway, if there was anything I was good at it was being stubborn and not giving up easily, so I kept trying and trying even as my hands and feet began to bleed and it began to hurt more and more to try, until finally I succeeded.

It must have been hours, because I was now covered in a thin sheen of sweat and panting while the light seemed to have dimmed to a low glow. Groaning and letting my head thunk back against the tree branch that was at least three times as thick as my very waist now was, I brought a shaking arm up to cover my eyes with and just laid there trying to catch my breath back. I didn't think I had it in me by this point to actually crawl back down, and the jungle was humid enough I felt I should probably be okay if I took a little nap. Hypothermia, I hoped, was the least of my current problems.

That decided, I fell into an uneasy sleep.

Chapter Text

 Wordcount: Pages, 5. Words, 2710. Characters, 14220. Characters excluding spaces, 11526.

 Wish we could turn back time, to the good old days

When our momma sang us to sleep but now we're stressed out

We're stressed out

 Ace woke up to shivers running up and down his body and a deep ache settling into his system. Giving a shaky groan, he forced his eyes open and felt regret right after he did so. The sun was shining, animals were loudly moving around, and birds were giving him the mother of all headaches. Not to mention he felt like ass, literal ass. All he felt the urge to do was curl up in a ball and never wake up, but he knew that was the worst idea ever when he was in a situation like he'd found himself in.

Shaking so badly he was worried he may fall off the branch he'd found and made into his temporary base, Ace forced himself to sit up and had to bite back a noise of pain as he did so. His hands and feet felt worse today, and everything hurt. Darting his silver eyes down to take in the damage, he flinches. Puss, it had bubbled up and turned the ruined gouges caused by the bark on his hands and feet into something straight from a horror film. He had no idea how he was supposed to get down now, especially with his hands and feet in such a horrible mess.

He was sure the shaking he was dealing with now, as well as how cold and hot at the same time he felt, was from infection. If the puss and ugliness his wounds had taken on didn't say it, then his body was telling him, and he felt both sick to his stomach and exhausted- like he hadn't slept what he was sure was an entire night. He felt overwhelmed, and his emotions were rolling and more volatile than he remembered, but as he'd just become a damned child he shouldn't be so surprised. The hormone difference was probably making him feel this out of whack, because he sure as hell didn't remember feeling like crying and having a pity party parade over something this small when he'd been older.

If he thought things were bad right then, they only got worse, because that's when he heard something terrifying. A loud hissing noise, near his head. Breath catching in the back of his throat, Ace felt terror flow through him as memories of the show and how large the animals on Dawn Island and Mount Colubo got. He had no doubt in his mind that if he looked, he'd probably not be able to keep himself from emptying his bladder into his boxers. Snakes hadn't really bothered him before in his old body, when he'd been an adult, but as a child he knew he was probably the closest thing to this snakes 'morning snack' and he really wasn't interested in that.

Struggling not to move and cause the snake he can hear to realise he's definitely there, his breaths come in quick pants and are as quiet as he can make them as he begins to sweat for a whole new reason. His mind whirls, struggling to come up with what to do, and he is seconds away from bursting into tears from the volatile childish emotions he's having to deal with. Swallowing thickly, he tries to remember how far away from the ground he is, and if it would be a good idea to just try and roll off. Would the fall kill him in place of the snake? What the hell was he supposed to do?

He didn't have the memories of the original Ace. He has no idea how to survive in the wilderness, or even what living in it was like. What he does know is stuff he's read about at most, and he is now sick from getting wounds infected when he should have realised such a thing would happen. He'd been so damned tired after he finally succeeded in getting in the tree though, so he'd just gone to sleep. He should have forced himself to stay awake, to not give into his exhaustion. Now he's sick and half a second from having a panic attack due to what he's sure is a giant ass snake hissing into his ear.

It's taking every ounce of his control left not to give in to the helplessness and break down. With trembling hands, he closes his eyes tightly and tries to psych himself up for the maneuvers he's going to have to go through to get out of his current situation. He's not looking forward to it in the least. Still, he really doesn't want to die, so with a quick move and a shriek he flops himself quickly over the branch and begins to fall. His shriek is something he decides he can excuse, because he let it out when the snake snapped by his head by a millimeter at most and he almost got bitten or, god forbid, even swallowed whole.

He doesn't know if it's luck or not that, instead of hitting the ground, he instead hits a lower branch. It's painful, and makes his breath leave him in a whoosh so he has to struggle to try and get said breath back, but he's alive so he feels the pain is worth it. What isn't worth it is the fact he can still hear the fucking snake and it's hissing is rapidly gaining on him. Still panicked and adrenalin now fully flowing through his system enough to dull the pain, he grabs a hold of the thinner branch and tries to ignore how the puss covered scabbing on his palms breaks open to ooze more blood and puss before he swings himself down again.

Branch by branch he falls, until finally he painfully hits the ground. He forgets all about his clothing, probably dry by this point, as he runs in the opposite direction from the tree and the snake inhabiting is. By the time he stops he has no idea how long he's been running nor where he's found himself, and he realises with a chill he's only gotten more lost and already broke the number one rule of getting lost- to stop moving. Cursing out loud, and uncaring of the fact anyone would be horrified to hear a four year old yelling out like a foul mouthed sailor by this point, Ace blinks rapidly to try and fight the tears as the urge to cry comes back mercilessly.

"Why?" He chokes out, because he really wishes he had an answer by this point. Why him, why did he get shoved into this situation, why did Dadan let a four year old run around without watching him, making him probably get killed and causing him to end up to have to take Ace's place and become him. Why was he this unlucky? Why did the snake have to do that? Why couldn't, if he had to become someone else, it have happened when his new body was in a safer environment at least?! Scrubbing harshly at his watering eyes, as if that will help stop the tears that keep trying to come out, he tries to ignore how the pain is rapidly coming back and only seems to be worse while he trembles and bites his bottom lip.

He's not a crybaby, he isn't, and neither is Ace, but somehow he's been so overwhelmed that it's literally painful to not let the tears that keep wanting to come out go free. As he strands in the middle of nowhere in a forest filled with deadly and gigantic animals, in pain and sick from infection while having barely escaped with his life intact from a snake, he decides to just let it all out for now. Just this once, he'll let himself cry, but afterwards he'll force himself to toughen up as much as he can and keep going- keep surviving. Once he's made the decision, the tears finally escape, and he finds himself bawling loudly, his whole body shuddering as he sobs and hugs himself. At some point he falls to the ground and curls up there as he continues to cry, and it takes a while before his tears will even stop.

By the time he's pulled himself mostly together, he's still shaking from what he's sure is a fever caused from the infection of his wounds. It hurts to even stand, but he knows exactly why that is and grits his teeth in the realisation that he could have made this better for himself if he only thought to grab his shirt. He could have ripped it up and used it as makeshift shoes and bandages for his feet and hands, but instead he was so emotional and panicked he forgot all about it. Not to mention, who knows where the hell a new water source could be or how far away he ran from the only one he knew of.

His situation only seemed to look more and more bleak, and he was tired already even though he'd been awake probably for an hour or two at most by this point. His stomach decides to betray him that very moment, giving a loud painful rumble and reminding him he's had nothing to eat in who knows how long. Wrapping his too small arms around himself once more he grits his teeth and wonders if this is something the original Ace had to constantly go through, this trial and error and seeming unending terror. Swallowing thickly and closing his eyes, he tries to get a hold of himself and his tumultuous emotions, only to fail horribly.

At least he isn't crying now, because he sure as hell has no water source to get rehydrated anymore. He's wasted his own body water levels by doing that crying, and he feels like an idiot all over again because of it. It hurts like a bitch to even move or try and close his hands, but he forces them into a fist and flinches as he does so, using the pain to ground himself even more. Stumbling to his feet and trying to ignore how it hurts to just walk from the infected cuts on his feet, Ace grits his teeth and wonders if giving himself another pep talk out loud would count as proof of his own ebbing sanity.

Finally, he decides fuck it, because it's not like anyone will hear him at the moment. "It's time to try and channel my inner Rambo and Braveheart." How many years it had been since he'd seen those movies he had no idea, but whatever. "Okay fuck, I need the big three. Food, water, and shelter. Food's going to be the hardest, shelter has just bit back, and I am no who knows how far away from the only known water source I found and more lost than I was to begin with. What next?" Licking his lips, which felt dry, Ace tries to ignore the way all his bodies pains are pulsing in time with his own heartbeat and takes a deep breath through his nose.

Of course, considering his luck, he should not have asked 'what next', because in the next moment he found himself almost scared to death by a gigantic fucking worm jumping out of the ground near him and then digging back in a little way further away, leaving a gigantic hole behind and reminding him of how he'd used to watch season's upon seasons of Lost and what came out of those fucking holes. "Oh my fucking God. That is not normal." He blurts, staring in shocked horror at where the thing of nightmares had just gone back into its natural habitat. "How the shit did anyone grow up in this kind of hell? That thing was like a sandworm! The only thing missing was the fucking teeth!" Bringing his hand up to tug harshly at his black wavy hair, Ace tries to calm his now rapidly beating heart and fails badly.

"Is this is what I need to expect for the coming years?" He chokes out, rather hysterical and hoping the thing that shoved him into this situation will at least take pity upon him enough to give him some goddamn answers. "Utter insanity that is practically a fucked up version of Alice in Wonderland? Does that story even exist here? FUCK!" He thought he had already his existential crisis, but it appeared as if he needed another one. Existential crisis the story, that was his life now, and he realises he's laughing hysterically to himself through his shock. Mental breakdown? Probably, but he couldn't let that beat him or stay in one place doing such a thing. He really needed to pull himself together. If he wanted to have a full mental breakdown later when he was safe and in a better environment than hell, he'd do it then.

Getting himself to begin moving again is hard, but he does it, and he purses his lips together and forces himself to go silent as he does so. Walking around while laughing hysterically wasn't a good idea, it could attract all kinds of dangers and he really didn't want to know if the worm could hear him and could come back- this time with those nightmare teeth from that fucking movie he regrets remembering. He's stuck in only a pair of slightly bloody grey boxers and nothing else, with infected scratches on his hands and feet, and with a fever. He had none of the big three and was fucked six ways to Sunday because of it, he needed to get himself together before things got worse and he got himself really killed. He didn't think he'd get a do over, even if he'd been shoved into Ace's body and it's last 'death wound' had disappeared.

Another frightening idea was that, if he did die, he'd just cease to exist and some other poor fuck would be shoved into Ace to keep things going like he had been. It terrified him and made him feel sick. "Get a hold of yourself." He chokes out suddenly, hoping voicing the thought will help some. Surprisingly it does, at least a little bit. Straightening his shoulders and standing as tall as he can at his small height, he gives a grim smile as, after a moment of intense thinking, he comes up with an idea.

Leaves. If he recognised the trees then they wouldn't be toxic, could fill him up slightly, and also hopefully help keep him hydrated. That was a good step, because he sure as hell was fine with eating fucking leaves if it helped him not die. Yes, he was desperate enough to eat something most people never did. It could be just.. He'd pretend it was a salad or some shit. Yeah he can really do this, he just needs to think. He's not an idiot, sure he knows barely anything about survival, but there are ideas he can come up with that can keep him alive longer and hopefully long enough until he's found. It's been at least a day since he's been seen so he's sure by this point Dadan must have realised something was wrong.

Now all he had to do was survive and wait.

Chapter Text

  Wordcount: Pages, 3. Words, 1570. Characters, 8231. Characters excluding spaces, 6674.

Most people thought Dadan was an idiot, but as the boss of as big a bandit group, she had to be smart about that and many other things. She hadn’t exactly been parent material, and while she still wasn’t and hated most kids, she had to admit she had a soft spot for the heathen that had been shoved into her arms as a baby. Dadan was a tough woman; she didn’t get attached often due to necessity, and through the years had constantly felt annoyed with Ace as he did random shit and made her feel like ripping her own hair out of her head in frustration. She was not parent of the year by any means, but that did not mean that Ace was not important to her.

She called him a demon child, but in truth, she did so as an endearment more than anything else. She herself was considered to be a ‘demon lady’ or a ‘truly manly woman’ by most of her men and anyone who met her, so the idea that she was raising a kid as strong as her and with her ideals was, while frightening, also something she enjoyed at times. Ace may be a little hell-raiser and a shit, but he was HER little hell raising shit; it was getting the brat to realise it without admitting a whole platter of feelings she preferred to ignore that was the hard part.

She could admit, with some shame, that she had many problems, and one of those problems was expressing herself in a healthy way, but that did not mean her feelings meant any less by long shot. At four years old, Ace was hers, the fact she hadn’t birthed him herself didn’t really come into as a factor of things in her mind. He was hers; that was it. Get used to it or get shot, that was her thought process on it, and if you weren’t okay with it, well, too bad. 

Anyway, because she wasn’t an idiot, she realised something was wrong when Ace did not come back in time for dinner. The little shit had a black hole for a stomach and had never missed a meal. She had high doubts that would change any time soon, so when he did not come back, she began to get a little annoyed. She was not worried because she didn’t worry dammit. 

But suddenly letting the four year old wander around and explore a jungle on his lonesome wasn’t one of her best ideas, nor something she felt was worth it. Even if it gave her a bit of a break from Ace for a while, which she damned well needed as he was as much of a handful as she was, nothing was worth him getting hurt on her watch. Her thought process had been as follows: It was only a super dangerous forest that adults sometimes didn't come back from. The tiny defenseless kid would be okay, right?

She wasn't worried. Totally not, not even a bit. He'd come back or she'd kill him herself. But not cause she's worried or anything.

Still, it was understandable that she immediately went out herself to try and find the little shit right? That was a normal reaction. By the time she was back hours later, nighttime had fallen, and she was really getting upset, not that she would admit it out loud. There had been no trace of Ace in any of his regular haunts and she could feel the beginning of worry she tried to pretend she never had that was causing her to become a little hysterical. Okay, maybe more than a little. She’d spent over an hour yelling at her subordinates, but knew by this point that going out again to look for Ace in the dark was a death wish for both them and probably Ace-- if he was still alive. A chill went through her at the very thought, and she was shaking when she actually forced herself to go to bed.

Mount Colubo was at its most dangerous at night. Night was when the biggest predators came out. Ace had always been smart, so she hoped beyond hope that he had listened to her warnings about the jungle and hidden away so he wouldn’t be found. First thing in the morning, if Ace hadn’t dragged himself back, she was going out to look again and making the rest of her bandits spread out in search of him. Plan made, she tried to sleep, only to find herself unable to get much rest at all from tossing and turning and the what if’s going on in her head.

If this is what most mothers felt constantly for their kids she could understand why all of them were stressed out bitches all the time.

When morning came, she was up as the sun rose and delegating a search party as she tried not to break down in panic. Ace wasn’t back, it had been too long, he had missed three meals by now, and he never missed meals if he could help it. Either Ace was hurt and lost or dead, because she knew the brat better than she knew herself and he wouldn’t miss a meal unless either of those three things had happened to him. She hated the idea of having to do it, but she was more worried about Ace than her own hide by this point, even if she’d deny feeling such a thing at all, so she used the Den Den she left to practically rot for the first time in years to call a number and person she usually felt terrified by.

Garp had been avoiding both paperwork and Sengoku when he got a call from his private Den Den that only about three people had the number for. Forcing himself to stop stuffing his face with the donuts he’d gotten brought to his office, he reached out an answered, the loud sound echoing through his mostly empty room. Still chewing, he slurred out a “Yeah, whaddyu wan’?”

He was expecting his brat of a son or even the Mayor to be calling to complain about him and little Luffy disappearing because he’d finally learned to walk and kept causing heart attacks because of it; he wasn’t expecting Dadan blubbering out nonsense- most of which he could barely catch and assaulting his ears with wailing reminiscent of a goddamn banshee. The most of what he caught was a lot of cursing and denial about something. It was odd, because the only time Dadan had called him had been to screech at him about changing diapers and not being equipped to deal with a baby, but that had been years ago and so he was left floundering trying to understand why that was changing now, or even why he could barely understand her. Ace had gotten old enough that he’d begun training him not too long ago, and was growing up to be a real hell-raiser of a man already, but Dadan had control of it. Mostly, last time he had checked.

Worry beginning to edge into his emotions, Garp swallowed the donut in his mouth and actually put down the rest, stopping himself from continuing. Something had to have gone wrong, but what it was he didn’t know. Finding out would be the problem, because Dadan didn’t seem to be able to control her vocal chords or even speak to him in a coherent manner right then. Tapping at his desk with a large meaty finger, he waits a few moments through the wailing before he speaks, voice gruff and more serious than he usually allows it to become. “What happened?”

The single question causes a silence on the line for the barest of moments, before three words are choked out and he feels a chill run down his spine as he pales rapidly from them. “Ace is missing.” 

He struggles with words for several moments, mind whirling, before he asks the question he feels will help calm them both down. “For how long?” 

“Since lunch-” He’s begun to relax and is about to yell at her when she continues, “yesterday.” The answer makes him pause, the rice cracker he’d unconsciously grabbed at some point giving a loud crack through the silence as he breaks it within his fist from the sudden surge of emotions that flow through him at the admittance Dadan gives. 

What follows next is a flurry of activity, and Garp filing himself into using some of his vacation time without explaining why to Sengoku before taking off. There were few times when he became serious, but as someone raised on Dawn Island and having adventured through Mount Colubo as a child himself, he knew how dangerous it got at night. He himself had dealt with many close calls as a child in the place, and Ace was less than a third of the age he had been when he had dealt with those close calls. Ace may be strong, but he’d only been going through training for a few months- that was in no way enough for the kid to go around Mount Colubo at night with any sort of ease. All he can hope is he hasn’t been called too late, and that Ace is still alive.