Baltigo had been blessed in every aspect. Where the work was as fair as possible, the salary the best possible, as well as the fulfillment of all the rights that everyone had at the moment of being born in the kingdom. Its relationship with other realms was neither good nor bad, rather neutral with most of them. Had, however, better trade in fruits and meats with Arabasta, in terms of disease control could always count on the support of Flevance. It also maintained a close friendship with the Ryūgū, and Zō, the only Kingdom divided in two.
Baltigo was ruled by the King, Monkey D. Dragon, a man of distinctive and harsh features, with an expression that could intimidate anyone, but those who knew him knew that he wasn’t what he appeared to be on the outside. Many believed that because of his way of being and the strong presence of Haki must been an Akuma residing inside him, but he always denied the fact of having even one.
The Queen, Portgas D. Rouge was a kind, sincere, and beautiful woman, always attentive to the needs of Baltigo and her family. The Queen had a peculiar characteristic, her freckles, which were inherited to their first-born, Ace.
The young Prince and heir of Baltigo, with only five years old, Ace had an impulsive attitude, most related to the fact that the Prince had an Akuma. Mera, a symbol of fire tattooed on Ace’s back, or Fist of Fire, as he liked to make fun of him his friend, Sabo.
Sabo had been the son of a noble family who, after a family conflict, was received at the castle as Ace’s playmate. Being of the same age as the Prince, the two children soon became very close and began to call themselves brothers. And soon his old family was replaced by the three of them.
In a couple of months it would be the anniversary of the end of the Void Century. Shabondy, the only neutral island in the world that didn’t receive a Kingdom title, had always been chosen as the headquarters for the Kingdoms to enjoy together the end of darkness and ignorance. However, in Baltigo, the kingdom celebrated another reason. The Queen was pregnant, very soon a new prince would be born.
It was a sunny morning in May when Rouge, due to the strong pains that announced the near birth, fell into the royal garden. Quickly the royal doctors and ladies of the Queen came to her side to take her to her rooms.
Ace had his hands clenched like fists, listening to his mother scream so she could allow his little brother to be born. He was so helpless that he couldn’t go in and help his mother. Sabo, sitting next to him, didn’t say anything, but he hoped that everything would turn out well at the end of the day.
The doors opened and the doctor met the King. Ace wanted to approach them, listen to what the doctor whispered to his father, both had a tense expression.
“Ace, Sabo.” Dragon turned around to see the two children, because that’s what they were, children. “Rouge wants to see you two.”
Ace had always seen his mother dressed in multicolored dresses, orange was her favorite color, her hair adorned with flowers, always present in her clothes – Now it felt strange to see his mother in a simple white and pale nightgown, and although he’d try to think otherwise or ignore that it was... Stained with blood.
Ace and Sabo walked towards her, Rouge seeing them smiled faintly and pointed to the sides of her bed so that they would approach without fear of her. The two children noticed that she was carrying something wrapped in her arms. It was evident from her slow breathing that she didn’t have much more time in this world.
“Here… There’s someone who wants to know you two.” Removing one of the blankets, Ace and Sabo met their brother for the first time.
The settlers in Baltigo used to say that Ace had all the physical characteristics of his mother, but that in personality, he was identical to his father. This new baby, had no resemblance to his mother, but his father. His small eyes were closed, so Ace couldn’t conclude exactly with that thought.
“He’s Luffy.” Rogue said weakly.
“Luffy?” Ace asked at the curious name. There was nothing noble or royal in those five letters. Even among the villagers it’d be weird for someone to be called that.
“A child born on a special day deserves a special name.” Rouge explained with a weak smile. “Ace, Sabo… I’m leaving, Luffy stays with you, I know I can’t ask you to forgive me for being weak and failing you as a mother – ”
“You’ve never been weak!” Ace yelled, the baby, Luffy, moved at the loud noise to his sensitive ears. “Mom, we still need you, Luffy will want to hear from you, he’s just a baby – ”
“I know, honey.” Rouge held back the desire to cry, “So promise me to love Luffy, protect him like I can never do it.” Ace and Sabo nodded, they tried to keep the tears apart. “Ace, be a good King, make me feel proud, don’t let them hurt you or hurt your precious persons, be prudent and well educated with everyone. And above all, don’t ignite yourself on fire every time the result doesn’t come out the first time.”
Ace squeezed his mother’s hand, “I promise you. I’ll be the best King you’ve seen.”
“Sabo, if Ace starts to be stubborn, put him in his place, help him not to get into trouble, or let him be trapped again by the cook.” Rouge laughed along with Sabo. “Be a better person, and no matter what others say, you’re my son. And a mother can’t lie to her children.”
“I’m going to be the best man, mom.”
“Luffy,” Rogue brought her newborn son to her chest, “You’re in good hands... Once I’m gone... Don’t forget how much... I love you... And how much the people around you... Will love you.”
Rouge, finally closed her eyes and exhaling her last breath, Luffy opened his and began to cry.
As was the custom of celebration in the Realms, Baltigo invited all the Kingdoms of the world to the presentation and baptism of the Prince Monkey D. Luffy. The main hall was adorned with multiple colors, showing the banners with the real Baltigo symbol. Tables with food and drink delighted the guests, the whole place smelled of flowers and apple, and near the throne was the crib that had sleeping the young Prince.
Dragon was reunited with some of the Kings and Queens who were his closest friends, seeing Ace and Sabo, who hadn’t separated for a moment from Luffy since his mother had died, had even asked that Luffy’s crib be moved to his room, though they would also have to endure Dadan and Makino.
Dragon soon saw Flevance Royal Family appear in the crowd. The King approached them to thank them for their presence.
“Dragon.” Trafalgar Bernardo greeted Dragon, shaking his hand, “Congratulations for another son, and we’re very sorry about the Queen.”
For Dragon to hear all the sorry for your loss weren’t something he’d have liked to hear in the presentation of his youngest son, especially considering that Rouge wouldn’t have wanted that either.
“We don’t need to talk about that now.” Alessandra approached her husband and Dragon, “We bring a gift for the young prince.” The Queen approached her firstborn son, a boy older than Ace and whose physical appearance made him similar to his father.
Trafalgar Law, the Prince and heir, knew that this was his call to appear before the young prince and give him the gift that his family had chosen. Giving a slight bow before the other King, Trafalgar Law walked with a confident step as he felt all the looks of royalty on him. The Prince of Flevance could see several Nobles talking among themselves, usually some Nobles were almost never invited to the events of royalty, no matter how high they were in the social hierarchy, it was well known of some corrupt actions that the Nobles made.
He was already close to the crib where the baby was, he’d only come close, he’d see the child for whom they did all this celebration, and he’d leave the gift next, then he’d go back to the side of his family, and perhaps he’d use Lamy as an excuse to leave this place so suffocating. A baptism? This looked more like a funeral. And not one in which he’d like to be.
When Trafalgar had finally arrived in front of the crib, which was ridiculously large for a baby, he had to stand on end to see the child, the baby Prince was no different from the other babies he had seen earlier, Lamy had been the exception because she was born prettier than anyone. Small, pink, little hair, always looking at nothing, playing with his hands, saliva dripping from his lips.
Trafalgar felt something shaken when the baby looked directly in his eyes. Two small black eyes staring at him very intently, as if no one else could distract him.
Ace and Sabo remember that since the day their mother died, Luffy had only done two things in his life. Cry and eat. So when that strange sound began to be born in the cradle of his little brother, Ace and Sabo couldn’t help feeling surprised and at the same time, confused, but relieved at the end.
Luffy was laughing.
Trafalgar had to admit that he felt a little confused, out of place, hearing the baby laugh and smile at him. His usual self would tell him that it was time to leave the gift and move away from everyone’s eyes, then when Trafalgar tried to get away from the baby’s sight, the baby was soon to let his laughter down until it seemed to become what would soon be a nascent crying. Something in him felt empty and miserable if he simply left the child like that.
Still not knowing if it was right to do this, Trafalgar extended his hand to the baby, who was laughing again, though some tears were born in his black eyes and only a few rolled over his plump cheeks. His stomach clenched when the baby lifted his small hand to try to take his. Trafalgar lowered his hand a little so that the other child could take it. The baby took one of his fingers, wrapping it around his hand, and laughing happily.
Something inside Trafalgar felt warm, it was a feeling he didn’t feel very often, except when he was at home with Lamy and Corazon. Trafalgar noticed that on the baby’s wrist there was a tattoo, a circle with spirals. So the baby also had an Akuma. Something about the baby’s laughter made him feel good and Trafalgar couldn’t help but smile at that.
Dragon watched with attentive eyes. Luffy had laughed when he saw this boy, and it wasn’t just any laugh. It was as if his son had already met the Prince of Flevance before. Then he looked towards the boy’s family. They still looked bewildered, but something in their eyes seemed to shine at the unusual sight of seeing their children together.
Their looks met.
Apparently they were thinking the same thing.
“I know it’s too much what we’re asking now.” Bernardo spoke before both royal councils, “However, we believe that it’s the best option we’ve so far.”
“The Germa hasn’t appeared in ten years. The minions of Big Mom and Kaidō disappeared after the war with Shirohige. Even Kurohige has already officially been given up for dead.” One of Baltigo’s counselors spoke, “Not even in the Black Market has their names been heard again or their old connections to try to contact them. We don’t even know if we’ll need to make this kind of alliance.”
“We know that they may not do it in another ten years.” Now it was the turn of one of Flevance’s advisors to give their opinion, “But nothing assures us that they can’t do it in fifteen or twenty years.”
“It’s a pointless matter to ask for this alliance simply because that has happened.” Another counselor from Baltigo provided her opinion, “It could have been anything. Not necessarily a laugh.”
“Even under other circumstances we’ve to find a way to protect our realms.” The Queen of Flevance gave her opinion to support her husband’s idea. “Even if our old enemies are dead or missing, doesn’t that open up the possibility of new ones appearing in the future?”
Dragon rose from his seat, throughout the session both kingdoms haven’t come to anything concrete, in the end it was his word who gave the order, being the Kingdom headquarters at the time, but as a mandate he must first listen to the everyone’s opinions. He had already decided from the beginning what to do with this alliance.
Everyone present was silent as the Dragon parted his lips, “It’s true that the Germa hasn’t appeared in years since that attack on Punk Hazard. Most of Big Mom’s children disappeared after her fall and hasn’t heard from them again. Kaidō disappeared in the middle of the ocean after a failed execution... With regard to Kurohige, there are still rumors about how true that report was.” The King looked at his counselors, “Bad grass never dies. It never became known if there were traces of that weapon that the Germa scientists were creating with Clown’s help. But nevertheless,” Dragon looked at Bernardo, “I see no reason why shouldn’t join this alliance, even if the idea of an arranged marriage – ”
“If you allow me, your Majesty.” One of the directors of Flevance spoke, throughout the session he had remained silent, “Maybe many believe that arranged marriages only works in Nobles. I don’t blame you if you’re worried, we all know that arranged marriages in real families ceased to exist after the end of the Void Century. However, I think we can do this as an attempt to know if that wasn’t a signal.”
At these words Baltigo’s counselors murmured about how stupid that sounded.
“Both young men carry Akumas. Trafalgar Law’s Akuma is called Ope, it can create fields of force where the prince can modify at will whatever comes into it. His son’s is called Gomu, if I remember correctly.” Dragon nodded at the correct information, “The Prince has an elastic skin similar to rubber, which would make him immune to injuries caused by non-sharp objects.”
Dragon had never liked the idea of arranged marriages, but despite having already made his opinion, he must have understood that the idea of the counselor didn’t seem so outlandish either. Just as the idea of arranged marriages was almost non-existent, so were marriages between people who had Akumas.
“Well.” Dragon finally said, ready to say his final verdict. “We accept the alliance with Flevance, not only because they prevented the death of millions who had the Amber Lead Syndrome. The arranged marriage of Trafalgar Law and Monkey D. Luffy will take place on the same day as the older Prince’s coronation.” Dragon saw that some councilors didn’t seem entirely convinced, yet others seemed satisfied. “I must remind you, arranged marriages usually end up being unhappy, I won’t live with the idea of having one of my children being unhappy, so if before Trafalgar Law turns eighteen, he and my son haven’t felt the slightest affection for the other – The alliance will still stand, but the marriage will be canceled.”
Baltigo’s chief counselor stood up, and so did the others. “It’ll be declared that when Prince Luffy is five-years-old, both can be formally known. Both Princes will have to visit each other’s kingdom during the Summer and Winter. I’ve said.”
Those present at the council nodded, and Bernardo and Dragon signed the alliance.
“Is Dragon crazy?!” Ace yelled furious and irritated, so much that he took the first thing he had in his hands and threw it with all his strength towards the window, which had been his ball that bounced from the window to the wall and finally to his freckled face.
“You shouldn’t express yourself from your father that way, Ace-kun.” Makino spoke calmly while feeding Luffy. “He’s the King and he knows what he’s doing.”
“How you ask me not to get upset when he only agreed to hand over Luffy just like that!” Ace had to calm down or he’d explode, literally.
“A father knows what’s best for each of his children.” Dadan commented, opening the wrapper of a new chocolate bar, she knew that she shouldn’t and wasn’t allowed to smoke since she was in charge of the youngest of the children, but abstinence and having to deal with unruly children were making it very difficult to hold back that looking for a new addiction was the easiest solution.
She cursed Garp for blackmailing her that time. Now she had to deal with his family instead of him.
“I won’t allow it.” Ace murmured, his fists began to shoot sparks, “I can’t let any weakling come and steal Luffy from us!”
“No one’s going to steal your brother. In any case he will if Luffy falls in love with him – Stupid boy, what are you doing?!” Dadan ran to Ace who already had his fist wrapped in fire ready to leave the room.
Sabo and Makino watched as the Fire Prince and Dadan fought among themselves, sighing heavily both decided that it was pointless to call them out.
The blonde decided to entertain the baby, playing with his little brother’s sticky hand. A part of him understood Ace to want to protect Luffy because that was how Rouge had asked, but Makino was right, and Luffy would one day be old enough and decide for himself if he wanted to marry Trafalgar Law.
And even if it sounded selfish, he hoped that would never happen.
“What problems have you gotten us in, Luffy?”
Ladies! Gentleman! And everyone else in the middle!!!! I went to watch Venom and - HOLY FUCK!
Another thing that I'm glad to have done was to update this story in time, I published it a month ago so let's hope it can be with this rhythm.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The day couldn’t be more perfect and jovial. The blue sky was completely clear except for a few clouds, however the rainy season had ended sooner than the inhabitants of the Kingdom of Flevance would have expected, but what was expected of a Winter Island if not snowstorms and the occasional cool breeze in the morning and afternoon.
Yes, nothing could spoil this perfect day of May –
“Luffy, stop moving, you could fall.” Makino said worried, though with a slight tone of amusement, watching the youngest of the Princes ride on the back of the horse, imitating his brothers.
“It’s more fun this way.” The five-year-old, black-haired boy laughed loudly. It was easier to observe Flevance in this way than inside the carriage. It was the whitest city he had ever seen in his life, well, it must be because of all the snow that covered it. For a few moments he contemplated getting off and going to play with some children in the square who made snowmen.
Until Dadan saw his intentions and gave him a strong blow.
“You worry too much, Makino.” Shanks said nonchalantly to his sister. Akagami no Shanks was a soldier of Baltigo’s royal guard, the best of the best many used to say, he had been in several wars and battles since he was very young, ascending faster than anyone, not to mention that the redhead was Luffy’s best friend, besides being the one who gave him the straw hat that the boy wore every day after Luffy asked him to go with him on his trips to other Kingdoms. Which thing he was finally fulfilling. “Look how happy this caged monkey is.”
“Hey!” Luffy shouted from his seat, “I’m not a monkey.”
“I could believe it, but I’m sure at any moment you’ll get a tail, maybe your grandmother was a Zō inhabitant.” Shanks teased. To be someone over twenty-five years of age, he could become as childish as a small child.
“If that child breaks his head it’ll be your responsibility.” Dadan commented annoyed, taking from the inside of her blouse, after five miserable years, a cigarette and lighting it.
“If Luffy breaks his head, I assure you that only air will come out of there.” Shanks laughed.
Luffy would have liked to go ahead with his father and brothers, but there were labels to follow – Boring labels, Ace commented grumpily, to which Sabo had no choice but to grimace. Besides, he already wanted to take off all his pretentious clothes, it doesn’t matter that he’s a prince, he enjoyed walking in the garden and climbing in the trees with his shirt without sleeves, shorts and sandals.
At least he wasn’t suffering alone. Although, he had seen Ace and Sabo wear more elegant clothes, his brothers hated them as much as he did. And Dadan knew it, that’s why the old witch enjoyed dressing them.
The difference is that today he was better dressed than usual. During the trip at sea, he asked Ace why his was different from both. His older brother gritted his teeth and said it was a stupid mess made by stupid parents, and when he wanted to ask Sabo, Ace immediately shut him up with just a glance – Luffy wondered if that was Haki, he had heard that his father got it at an early age, just like his grandfather, but Ace was still too young...
In front of him, a castle so white it seemed to be made of diamond or marble rose in front of them, it was so big, not as big as theirs, though.
The carriage in which his father and brothers traveled stopped, and so did the horses on which he was riding. If it weren’t for Gomu, he’d surely have fallen if his arms hadn’t stretched like rubber.
“Slow down, circus monkey.” Shanks walked to his side, helping him down from the horse’s back.
In the distance Luffy saw his father, Ace and Sabo waiting for him. Rushing his way, he ran until he was at their side. Apparently Ace hadn’t changed his sulky attitude, Sabo didn’t seem so happy to be here – And he thought he could convince his brothers to go play in the snow. His father was still with the same stoic face, he could hardly see a smile on his father’s face, and if he saw it, it was when Dragon was plotting something.
“Be nice.” Dragon spoke with his hard, deep voice.
Luffy heard Ace snap his tongue. He had no idea what his father and brothers had talked about, he had no idea why such tension between the three, maybe it must be some prank in which they were discovered... He hoped it wasn’t when they stole Dadan’s sake, that female smoker had an inventory, sake was her life.
Trumpets broke in the sky, announcing the arrival of Baltigo’s royal family, the D.; Luffy noticed that Ace walked to their father’s side, crossing his arms, Sabo took his hand and led him to them, behind his family came Makino and Dadan, while Shanks waved his hand in farewell and went to rest under one of the pine trees covered in snow.
The doors of the castle opened to reveal another family. Flevance’s royal family, the Trafalgar.
Luffy had only seen the King and Queen once when they visited the castle two years ago – He was three years old at the time, he had fought with Ace because he wasn’t allowed to climb the tree house, and he had run in the direction of the kitchen, waiting to see Makino or Sora, it was then that he hit the Queen, she had kindly given him a cupcake and told him that he couldn’t wait for his formal presentation, Luffy didn’t understand what she meant by that, but he didn’t give it much importance, thanking for the cupcake (because Makino had told him and Ace must show good manners), he resumed his way to the kitchen.
The King was as tall as his father, and like everything else in this kingdom, his crown was completely white with a few incrustations of black pearls. The Queen on the other hand seemed to be a little taller than Makino, and like the green-haired girl, the Queen wore her hair in a bun. Then there were the three new people he had never met before.
The first was a tall man, taller than his father or the King of Flevance. Blond-haired and hidden under a black woolen cap, a feathered black coat, white pants that outlined his long, thin, flamingo-like legs, as well as a white shirt with red spots open in the middle of his chest – That was weird. His lips were painted red with two lines protruding from the corner, and his eyes were made up with small black triangles around.
Next to the two kings were a couple of children, a boy and a girl. The girl must be maybe a couple of years older than Luffy, but younger than Ace and Sabo. Big brown eyes, a completely round head, light brown hair combed in a pair of braids, a white dress, and two black patent leather shoes, with a smile as big as his, and whose eyes traveled between all the members of the other royal family until perching on Luffy.
Then there was the other boy who remarkably had a more moody expression than Ace’s. That child was evidently older than he or his brothers, he was even taller than them, and he had an undeniable resemblance to the King of Flevance. Unlike his father, mother and sister, he didn’t wear anything completely white, if otherwise, he seemed to be imitating the man behind them. Messy bluish-black hair, dark skin, gray eyes, a yellow sweatshirt with black sleeves, blue jeans –
“Oi,” Luffy made his voice present, “Why can he come dressed like that?”
Miraculously, Dadan didn’t hit him in the head – As Garp did when he came to visit for a few days to train Luffy and his brothers.
The Queen giggled while her daughter laughed out loud. “Hahahahaha!” The girl laughed without stopping, taking the other boy’s arm, “And you want to tell me that they – ?” The braided girl pointed between Luffy and the other boy.
“Lamy.” The boy muttered between his teeth, interrupting whatever the princess would say, his sister stopped laughing out loud, though she still had tears rolling down her cheeks and covered her mouth with both hands.
“Thankfully, this tense silence broke.” Trafalgar Alessandra said calmly.
“Not yet.” Trafalgar Bernardo murmured to the few present who could hear him. Walking to Dragon, he extended his hand, the other King accepted it. “A pleasure to see everyone again.”
“I say the same.” Dragon squeezed his hand and released it, “It’s also a pleasure to see you again,” Dragon took the Queen’s hand and kissed it.
“I was looking forward to this day.” Alessandra tilted her head slightly, then her eyes went to the three children next to Dragon. “Nice to see you again, Ace, Sabo.”
As much as Ace was upset with the Trafalgar family and his father in the matter of his brother’s future, Ace couldn’t be bothered by such a nice person, but with the one who was one of the few sincere people who approached his family when his mother died. “Same.” Still angry, Ace greeted politely.
“Thank you for giving us your hospitality.” Sabo greeted, he had been practicing what he’d say on the way here, he never imagined that the day would come.
Alessandra didn’t lose her smile for a second and looked at Luffy. “I’m glad to see you again, Luffy.”
“Thanks for the cupcake.” Luffy thanked, maybe she was going to give him another cupcake, they were sweet and everything but he preferred meat. Ace and Sabo looked at each other, they don’t remember that the Queen of Flevance ever had contact with Luffy before this day.
The Queen’s face seemed to light up, as if satisfied with some mischief – And they knew it because they did the same when they succeeded. “Bernardo,” Alessandra called her husband, “Make the presentations.”
“Now I am the King?” Her husband said jokingly, “I’m sorry, darling, I thought you wanted to do all the protocol.” Both, he and Dragon, laughed, though the King of Baltigo hid it in a cough. “Monkey D. Luffy,” He called the destined child.
Luffy turned his gaze, he stopped seeing the Queen to see the other King, as soon as he said his name Luffy could see his family react differently, just as he expected, Ace and Sabo tensed, his father moved his eyes on one of the members of the other family, Makino and Dadan pressed their lips together, and although he was on his back, he could swear that Shanks must be paying attention.
The dark-haired boy mumbled and his sister pushed him so he could take a step, he turned his head slightly towards the other taller adult but he only smiled and shrugged. Finally he was in front of his parents, a few feet away from Luffy.
Will he be another friend? Luffy thought. Maybe that’s how Ace and Sabo met. Excited Luffy waved his hand towards the other boy, but he didn’t change the frown on his face and turned his gaze.
Ace tsk’ed and Sabo had to give him a discreet blow to the shoulder.
Bernardo continued speaking, “The Kingdom of Baltigo and the Kingdom of Flevance are today officially united in an alliance that will end in a splendid culmination – ”
“Just get to the point and say it’ll be our wedding.” The boy spat aggressively while crossing his arms. The Queen looked at him alarmed, his sister couldn’t take it anymore and she began to laugh out loud again, and the blond man behind them hit him on the head with a clear expression of anger and weariness.
Dragon massaged the bridge of his nose, Sabo had to take Ace from his clothes because the dark-haired boy already had fire in his hands, Makino looked to the side when she heard Shanks cackle, and Dadan was already lighting three cigarettes.
“But I don’t want to get married.”
It was there that everyone forgot what they’d do to see Luffy.