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The lost have come home

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Shanks woke up with a small warm body huddled into his side. 


Then others present cuddling with each other. Shanks looked over, slightly propped up. He saw Luffy by his side, clutching at his shirt. Ace and Sabo were sleeping over each other, and Shanks swore Ace was drooling on Sabo’s leg. 


Shanks didn’t even know how they got into his cabin. The past couple of weeks with the boys around the ship were lively. Luffy was almost always near his brothers or Shanks, and wouldn’t leave Shanks's side if he was around Shanks. He constantly hung onto his coat, following him like a duckling. Shanks smiled sadly at Luffy, knowing he usually wasn’t like this. When he stayed in Foosha, Luffy was an adventurous little kid who always ran around, uncaring of anyone when telling him to stop. Luffy was still adventurous but would prefer to stay around his brothers.  


Luffy was used to staying near the people he cares about, constantly telling himself they were there. 


It made Shanks hurt


No seven-year-old child, any child, should see his home island go up in flames. To realize that almost everyone they knew was dead. That they were the only ones to survive. It was a miracle for the brothers to live to tell the tale. 


Shanks thought Luffy was dead, along with his brothers he found out existed the minute he got the news they were killed. Shanks was off kilter longer than he would like the admit, and the only times he was calm was when he had blood on his blade and Marines' heads under his foot. Shanks felt the blood underneath his fingernails, even though he knew no blood could be found. 


Shanks was drenched in Marine’s blood. 


All because Shanks thought they killed the boy he thought of as a son. Actually, even though he knew Luffy was alive, he would have still gone on a rampage for the sake of it. One does not get away from aiming to harm what is his, and Luffy is his son. Shanks didn’t understand his parental feelings towards Luffy until it was too late. 


He mourned for the boy he thought of as his son for too long. But now Luffy was safe in his arm and aims to keep it that way. He knew Luffy and his brothers were more than strong enough to keep themselves alive and well, but Shanks knew that there were more powerful beings on these seas the brother wouldn’t be able to deal with. 


Shanks wanted to keep them safe. Keep them away from all that would harm them. And he knew the ones that would go after the brothers, the first would be the World Government. Luffy was the son of their sworn enemy, and Ace was the son of the one that made a mockery of their power. 


If their masks were ever removed, they would be hunted


Shanks would make sure that wouldn’t happen. He knew that the brothers wanted to become strong enough to remove their masks without fear, but Shanks knew how strong they had to be to do so. The brothers said they wanted to be strong enough to run away from admirals before they do, and Shanks knew how difficult that would be. 


And Shanks made a mission he would get the brothers to that level. It could take months, but Shanks had time. It would only cut in with some drinking time, but it would be good for Shanks to give his liver a break. Hongo was getting on his case recently, so the brother's entrance was good timing. He didn’t want to get blackout drunk in front of Luffy.  


Shanks left his head when the brothers started stirring. Luffy was mumbling, hands clutching harder into his shirt. He smiled, eyes softening. Shanks had never felt so soft


Luffy’s eyes blinked open, sleep still lingering on his face. He sat up, rubbing his eyes with his tiny fists. He yawned, eyes blinking. 


“... Shanks?”


Shanks patted Luffy’s head, without his straw hat. The straw hat was on the bedside table, so Shanks reached over and grabbed it, putting it on Luffy’s head, gaining deja vu from all those years ago. Luffy moved it, looking up at Shanks with young eyes. Young eyes that saw too much. 


Luffy was a super rookie at thirteen, with a bounty of three hundred million. Shanks thinks he had one the highest bounties at his age, only behind Big Mom’s bounty. Shanks knew that would have made Luffy see things that no child should ever see. His brother’s too. The Grandline was a dangerous and bloody place. 


Shanks grew up on a pirate ship and saw a beheaded person before his fifth birthday. Captain Roger tried to guard him against such sights, but it only took a couple of moments to ruin that. Shanks still had the nightmares of blood splattering on his face, seeing the last moments of a pirate who was dumb enough to go for the Roger Pirates Cabin Boy. 


It was the first time Shanks felt true fear, which made his body freeze. 


It made Shanks feel like tearing his hair out, body filled with self-loathing Luffy saw something oh so much worse. 


Shanks wasn’t there to protect him.


Shanks was powerful, he could have stopped the buster call with just his presence because not even the World Government was dumb enough to start a fight with him.  


They knew Shanks would not hesitate to destroy their precious bases, to break Marineford. 


He might not have the Gura-Gura no Mi, but he could make the world tremble at their feet. That power was close enough to make the World Government regret they thought they could kill his son.  


“Ready for breakfast?”


Luffy nodded eagerly, and the other two started to wake at his words. Shanks noticed they all enjoyed food a lot. Especially Luffy and Ace. Sabo could still eat more than an average person, but not enough as the D.’s.


Shanks smiled, putting off his thoughts. 


Luffy was alive, and Shanks would keep it that way.


For the World Government’s sake, because if not, well. Shanks could still destroy Marineford.  

“Ace, do you want to know more about your old man?”


Shanks, the man they sailed with for the past couple of weeks, asked Ace. Ace looked down, fork in the process of stabbing a piece of meat. One of the upsides of agreeing to sail with Shanks was better food. No bad feelings for Sabo’s food, but they had been eating the same thing for years, they needed variety. 


Ace didn’t hate his father anymore, but it was still an uncomfortable conversation. Ace came to know Gramps talked about him to Shanks, who turned out to be one of the Cabin Boys on the Oro Jackson, his father's ship. It was truly a small world. 


Ace shrugged, body tensed, probably showing how uncomfortable he was. 


“We heard a lot about him from Rayleigh at Sabaody.”


Shanks raised an eyebrow, genuinely surprised by his answer.


“So you met old Rayleigh. Didn’t expect that.”


Shanks moved on his chair, popping a bit of bread into his mouth. He chewed for a moment, then opened his mouth while still eating. 


“Did he coat your ship?”


Ace nodded, and Sabo butted in.


“Yeah, we heard about a coater by the name of Ray, and that was that.”


Shanks swallowed and smiled with humor, “He is the best coater on Sabaody. And he would be rich if he stopped gambling it all away.”


Ace smirked and added, “The first time we saw him, he was being chased by a horde of people telling him to pay back his debts.”


Shanks burst out laughing, banging his hand on the table in mirth. He stopped laughing loudly, but the smile was still on his face.


“That sounds like him. Glad to hear he is alright, though. Haven’t visited him in years. Maybe I should head over to Sabaody for a bit.”


Ace ate his food, while Shanks was being contemplative. Luffy decided this was the best time to interrupt, jumping up to Shanks's side.


“Do you have stories about the Pirate King?” 


Luffy’s eyes were sparkling, and Ace really wanted to swat his head at the moment. Shanks glanced at Ace for a second and then back at Luffy. Shanks broke down at Luffy’s awe-filled eyes, something he and Sabo noticed over the past weeks. Shanks truly loved Luffy, and it made Ace happy and sad at the same time. He was glad Luffy had some people other than them, but it only made Ace’s loss hurt more. It hit Ace that he barely had anyone to call his own, except for Gramps and his brothers, he had no one. 


Ace never felt so lonely.   


“I do, but I think I have some you and your brothers would enjoy. Some about Captain Roger and Hibiscus Rouge, the bounty hunter.”  


Ace’s head shot up, eyes widening. Shanks smiled sadly at his reaction but continued. 


“Ace, your mother was a strong woman. Do you want to hear some stories about the lady who taught me how to cheat in Poker?”


Ace nodded his head quickly, a grin on his face. It felt like his face would break at the width of his smile. Shanks grinned and situated Luffy at his side. 


“So, there was this time when Rouge managed to…”


Ace couldn't stop smiling with every Shanks told.


It was good to hear stories about his mother, the person he only knew the name of. The laughter around him while Shanks narrated the story made Ace feel included


Luffy was laughing, and Sabo was chuckling. Ace felt his heart warm, and the grin wouldn't leave his face. 


Today was a good day.

Garp walked onto the deck of the Red Force, some alcohol in tow. 


It was a regular occurrence, and Garp started to bring some alcohol after the third meet-up. It gave him something to do when all he could think about was his grandsons. 


Garp looked around, seeing the regular pirates but no red-haired brats. He raised an eyebrow, then raised it higher when he heard Shanks’s voice laughing loudly while other voices were arguing with him. 


“You won’t be able to get me, kiddos!!”


Garp finally saw Shanks when he came running out of the Red Force’s cabin area, followed by three shadows immediately tackling Shanks to the ground. Shanks was chuckling good-naturedly, even though three bodies were dogpiled on him. 


“Get his arm!”


One of the people tried to grab Shanks only arm, but Shanks caught the person with a grip on the back of the shirt. The other two tried to hold on to his legs, but Shanks only stood up and looked mighty ridiculous with a person in his grip and two people holding onto his legs. The person in Shanks’s hold squirmed in the air, then let hang when nothing happened with his actions. Shanks was chuckling at the actions while Garp was confused. Shanks could have easily dodged.


“What’s going on, brat?”


Shanks snapped his head to Garp, face wide and surprised. The three people froze and let go of Shanks. Garp looked at them but stopped looking when he saw the straw hat on the back of the person that was in Shanks’s grasp. 


Shanks started to smile, his face lighting up.


“Garp, I have some good news. Boys.”


Garp saw the boy with the straw hat turn his way, tears in his eyes. Garp’s breath shuttered, lungs stilling. He glanced at the other two boys, seeing the raven wavy black hair, blonde hair with a scar over his left eye. The pipe and blue noble clothes. A red bead necklace around the black-haired youth's neck. The scar under the left eye of the boy who wore a straw hat. 


Luffy was tearing up and ran to Garp. Garp opened his arms unconsciously, allowing Luffy to hug him. Garp put a hand on Luffy’s head, feeling the hair beneath his hands. He looked to his other two grandsons, who had tears in their eyes. Garp opened up his arms and the boys to the invitation. Garp was slammed with two more weights, trying to topple him over. 


Garp bit his lip to try and stop the tears, but some escaped. Garp hugged his three grandsons, sobs in his chest. 


He breathed in shakily, hugging back his grandsons with force, mind trying to understand what was going on. 


But one thing came to him. 


His grandsons were alive. 

Garp got the entire story, and never felt more relieved that his past self taught Luffy how to understand Marine Codes. It saved his grandsons' lives, and he was so relieved


Garp kept an eye on his grandsons, who were chasing each other around the deck of the Red Force. He knew they could take care of themselves, evidence of the bounties he just found out about, but he wanted to soak in the sight more. Of his grandsons, older and free, smiling happily. Luffy’s laughter echoed over the deck, and it calmed him. Garp smiled happily, tears in his eyes. 


Seeing his grandsons again before he died was a blessing he never thought about. So when it happened, the world started to gain its light again.


“They are lively kids.”


Shanks sat by his side, with two mugs in his hand. He gave Garp a mug, and the other one he took a gulp from. The two watched the boys from a distance, satisfied just by their presence. Garp chuckled, melancholy in the noise.


“They always were. Too much energy for their own good.”


Shanks smirked while he drank from his mug. He sighed in contentment at the drink and spoke.


“I noticed. Luffy was always energetic, but it multiplied with the other brothers.”


Garp nodded, seeing that. He only saw his three grandsons together once, but he saw how in tune they were. No wonder the Marines classified the Masked Brothers as high risk for a rookie crew. No marine wants to go up against a pirate that had someone at their back ready to do anything for their crew. Because with his grandsons, if one hurts one of the brothers, the other two would attack the attacker with no sympathy.  


There was a moment of silence when Shanks spoke, and Garp looked over to Shanks, smiling at Ace. 


“It doesn’t seem Ace hates the captain that much anymore.”


Garp blinked in surprise, and then looked at Ace. Garp saw that Ace smiled easier, lighter but heavier. His silver eyes were more open than before, less guarded.




Shanks nodded, “Yeah. It seems like meeting Rayleigh at Sabaody changed his perspective of Captain. He doesn’t like it when I mention him, but he doesn’t react in anger like your stories.”


Garp looked at his grandson and smiled.


“That’s good.”


Garp saw Ace laugh when Luffy slipped up, and tackled him, rolling around the deck. 


“Really good.” 

Garp left the next morning, with a goodbye hug from each grandson. Garp was glowing with happiness, and Shanks smiled. He hadn’t seen Garp in such a good mood in decades. Finding out your grandsons were alive did that to a person


Luffy was sad to see Garp go but smiled, knowing it wasn’t the last time he would come by. Ace and Sabo were the same but breathed out in relief about not getting punched, this time.  


Now it was only Dragon’s turn.

Dragon expected to meet up with Red-Haired Shanks to plan a raid, but he didn’t expect the man would push him to a room. 


“What is this about, Red Hair?”


Shanks only smirked with an odd emotion in his eyes.


“A surprise. A good one.”


Shanks stopped and then knocked on the cabin door. After his third knock, the door opened fast. An annoyed face of a youth, about sixteen to seventeen, was shown, wavy black hair framing the youth's face. 


“What the fuck, Shanks?”


Shanks pointed at Dragon, and the teenager observed him, eyes widening. 


“Just a moment. Oi, Luffy! Come here!”


Dragon tensed, sparks going through his spine. Before he could think, a thirteen-year-old boy with black hair and a straw hat on his head appeared in the doorway. 


Dragon stepped forward before he knew it, kneeling before the boy, heart beating wildly. Dragon would have been crying if he had any less self-control. 


Dragon smiled and looked at his son, that was staring at him with confused eyes.


You look like your mother.”

Dragon only stayed for an hour, quickly leaving. 


Shanks smiled when he left, seeing how happy he was to see Luffy alive. He could tell Dragon didn’t want to make a scene, so he left before he could break down. 


“So he was my Dad?”


Shanks scoffed a little at that, “Yeah, Luffy, he was your Dad.”




Luffy looked confused, but smiled and shook it off. Shanks laughed lightly at that. Ace looked in the distance, conflicted. He didn’t vocalize it, though, more focused on the food at the table in Shanks’s cabin. Shanks took a chicken leg from the stash, taking a bite.  


“What is a Dad supposed to be anyway?”


Shanks raised an eyebrow at Luffy’s question, who seemed genuinely confused. Ace shrugged, stuffing his face.


“Wouldn't be able to tell ya.”


Shanks frowned at that, but before he could talk, Sabo spoke. He was thinking hard and answered Luffy.


“A Dad is someone who protects and loves you. Someone that teaches you things to live your life.”


Luffy then gains a look of understanding, eyes glowing brightly.


“So, like Shanks?”


Shanks choked on his chicken, to the brother's glee. Luffy then looked confused at Shanks’s reaction. He patted Shanks’s side, while Shanks was choking. This was how he, an Emperor, dead. Choking on chicken because a kid said Shanks was like a dad. 


He swallowed, chicken going down his throat, to see Luffy’s innocent doe eyes. He tilted his head in confusion. 


“Yes, like Shanks.”


Ace had a shit-eating grin on his face, amused at the whole thing. Sabo nodded, the same smile appearing. Shanks glared at them for a moment, but they only smiled back with zero fear. Shanks turned back to Luffy, who only seemed to brighten at his brother’s inputs. 


“Are you my Dad, Shanks?”


He glanced at the brothers, who didn’t change from smiling, but there was a more serious light in their eyes. They told him to get his shit together. 


Shanks took a deep breath and looked back at Luffy. Shanks leaned down and ruffled his hair.


“I have thought of you as my son for years. So yes, I am your Dad.”


Luffy brightened considerably, and Shanks was blinded for a moment. It was like a direct look at the sun. Luffy then jumped into his chest and snuggled up against him. He looked up when Shanks unconsciously tightened his grip on the boy.


“Then can I call you Dad?”


Shanks melted right then and there and smiled softly.


“Yeah, you can, Anchor.”


“Thanks, Dad!”


Shanks pinched Luffy’s cheek, and Luffy giggled. Shanks smiled brilliantly, eyes crinkling.


Yeah, everything was going to be alright.