“You and I were sent on a quest together by the king, but now we’re horribly lost, and I’m fairly certain this quest was just meant to kill us.” With mas?
“You know,” Ace says twisting the map to the side to see if he could figure out where they were. “I think we’re lost.”
“I told you that three hours ago,” Sabo says calmly staring at the strange creature lounging on a branch not too far away. It looked like a cat, but Sabo wasn’t sure that it was. Not with the way it kept blowing smoke rings.
“Well darling, if you had been helping me try to read this,” Ace says folding the map back up and shoving it into his bag. “We might not be lost on what was already a suicide mission.”
Sabo freezes, “You noticed.”
“A little hard not to when Stelly was ordering what we left behind to be burned before we walked out the door. I’m not that stupid, you know. Just, oblivious.”
That was true. Ace still hadn’t noticed that Sabo liked him and it was getting far past the point of hilarity.
“At least Luffy took off with that troupe last year,” Sabo sighs. “We don’t have to worry about him getting the brunt of Stelly’s anger.”
Ace grins, “Too bad I could never convince you to stage a coupe, you’re just as eligible to be the king as he is. Probably more so, since you wouldn’t tax the hell out of everyone until they didn’t have any money left.”
“I would make a horrible king. So, are we going to finish this or?”
“Why not see where we were being sent and if it’s that bad,” Ace shrugs. “We can’t let people suffer.”
“Never mind that we might end up dead?”
“At least we’ll be together?” Ace shrugs. “I’m shocked I lived this long.”
Sabo bites his tongue and follows Ace. Ace always said that, since the coupe that Sabo’s parents had backed had taken the lives of Ace’s parents and the throne that Ace had been raised to take over. Ace had been lucky enough to have been away with a family friend when it happened and had returned to the ruins to find Luffy.
“You’re sad again,” Ace frowns prodding Sabo. “Don’t be sad.”
“Don’t say you’re suppose to be dead,” Sabo shoots back.
Ace rolls his eyes, leaning in closer, “We’re being followed.”
“The fire breathing cat?”
“I am concerned for you,” Ace says quietly. “It’s a fire-breathing bird. Where are your glasses?”
“Glasses?” They turned to the bird, Sabo was still certain that it looked like a cat.
“Did it?” Sabo asks slowly.
“You wear glasses?” The bird, that was a beak, asks. “Are you lost?”
“Are you following us?” Ace demands.
The bird bobs it head, something changing before a man stood before them in the bird’s place, “You’re headed towards a troll’s den. It’s mostly harmless unless you bother him, I thought you were picking a fight.”
“We had a mission,” Sabo admits. “But we’re-”
“A suicide mission, I heard.” The bird man assures. “From King Stelly.”
“You know Stelly?”
Ace snaps his fingers pointing at Marco dramatically, “You’re from Moby! Dad use to take me there all the time so he could try to out drink their king!”
“It has been quite some time, Ace.”
Sabo knew that name now, the name of Ace’s first crush. He had whispered about it Sabo when they had been younger, before Luffy had taken off on his own. This was starting to get a little ridiculous.
Marco watches Ace, all grown up, and Sabo as they sleep, head tipped to the side as he sat in the branches of the tree to keep watch. It was interesting to see them both, though Sabo didn’t seem to remember him. Or perhaps with his vision deteriorated he couldn’t see Marco well enough to recognize him.
He leans his chin against the palm of his hand thoughtfully.
He wondered how long he had to wait before it was appropriate to tease them about proposing to him when they were younger. He couldn’t wait to see their faces.