AN: Well here we are, another Sabo Luffy, brotherly love drabble. This piece is fairly similar to To-Do List, but not the same. It's set after the defeat of Doflamingo, and we assume that Luffy got gravely injured in his battle because that's kinda what he does after a really big battle. So consider this a scene with Sabo being worried about his brother.
*A LINE BREAK… BEHOLD*
"Don't think I'm going anywhere."
"Of course not."
The silence stretches a few more moments before Robin pulls a chair from the wall and pushes it closer to the bed, her sleeping captain, and her old revolutionary friend.
"Zoro tells me he was very emotional upon exiting the coliseum."
"He's allowed. I never told him not to cry, that was Ace." Sabo, ran the blanket through his fingers, feeling the weave, the cloth, trying to gather the courage to look up again.
"I only mean to ask if you felt similarly."
Without hesitation he answered.
Ussop hobbled in on crutches, escorted by Leo and some other Tontattin warriors who had elected themselves as his personal entourage. He was trying to enter quietly but the group of people swarming around his feet were boisterous enough that his rather loud pleas for quiet only added to the noise and were not heard. After a few steps in he noticed Sabo and Robin and immediately turned tail, the Tontattins following close behind until it was silent again.
"It would have been nice if you told me my Captain was the Brother you were always talking about. Some of your stories would have made significantly more sense."
"I didn't know if I'd ever get to see him again. Dragon has never liked it, and I have a lot of things that need doing. And if I couldn't see him ever again I didn't want him to know I was out there. I'd just be another problem. He can handle himself…"
"But you don't want him to." Robin concluded. Sabo sighed again, shaking his head, fiddling with the blanket some more, trying to look at his Little Brother, lying in the bed, covered in bandages. Still breathing, thank God.
"I missed out on so much, he might not even want me back. What do I say when he asks where I was? Hanging out with your Dad? Learning fighting from top level bounties and instructors while you fought wild animals? Missing you?"
"I'm sure 'Missing you' would do just fine."
Sabo exhaled loudly at her advice and dropped the blanket, leaning forward he snatched Luffy's hand from where it was lying on the bed, each finger bandaged with care. His own fingers stroked the bandages, wishing the skin beneath was unmarred, wishing the hand was small as it used to be so he could do the years over.
Wishing he would wake up soon.
"I missed you, Lu. I missed you both so much. And I'm sorry that I could never find my way back."
Silence reigned, just three bodies breathing and an older brother's frightened heart beat that his little brother would never forgive him.
And then the sheets rustled.
A grunt and incoherent string of mumbles. Luffy's head turned, nuzzling into the pillow before stilling again. More seconds passed, and then his voice warbled out.
"Whadd'ya mean never?" Luffy opened his mouth in a long yawn, fingers clenching around Sabo's "You're here now, right?" And his eyes blinked open for the first time in days and Robin smiled without any teeth while Sabo can't seem to move any muscle but those in his hands, gripping the bandages and feeling the strong return pulse of Luffy's strength.
"Luffy…" And Sabo lurches from his seat to hug a rather sluggish rubber boy who blinks in confusion at finding his big brother pushing on his injuries in what appeared to be a hug but felt more like a body slam.
"Right! I'm sorry, I'm very very sorry!" Sabo pulled back immediately, straightening blankets as he retreats back to the safety of the bedside seat, away from that clingy, bubbly, child he's missed for so so long. "I'll get Law! Or someone, I don't know, someone. Just, whatever doctor I come across first. And… and… And I'll get you some meat!" He stands, shaking his finger triumphantly. "That'll make you feel better won't it? Yeah, I'll find the biggest darn steak in the whole palace, and I'll tell them your favorite sauce and maybe they'll…"
"Stay." Luffy lifts his hand and holds it out, shaking a little. It doesn't look at all like a staying hand, not like an outstretched palm that clearly says stop. It just kinda hangs, and then drops back to the blanket, like it's spent its energy and had done its job. "Sabo will make me feel better. I don't want a doctor, I want Sabo." He would have chuckled at the lack of decline for meat if he hadn't been so worried.
"Luffy, it's nice to see you awake. Are you feeling better?" Robin asks, she hasn't moved but she's still smiling. Sabo sinks back into the chair, ready to sit there for years I that's what it takes for Luffy to tell him he can go.
"Yup! But why's it nice? It was just a nap."
"Actually Captain, you've been sleeping for a few days now."
"Wha!?" Sabo doesn't miss how his semi-frantic gaze sweeps directly over him, like he's worried about how much he worried Sabo. He supposed he's used to getting hit by worried older brothers by this point. "Then everyone's probably waiting at Zou."
"No, they got stuck in a storm and Nami realized that one of the pose needles was still set for Dressorsa, they're on their way back."
"Really?" Luffy grinned, the notion of his nakama sailing towards him a definite positive occurrence.
"Yes." She answered evenly, though Sabo knew the decision had been debated over the den den for hours, and the decision was finalized by the doctor that had begged to come back so he could treat Luffy right away.
"So they're all coming back? Great! They can all meet Sabo!" Luffy grins at the ceiling now, because he still hasn't sat up, and it's actually worrying Sabo a little now, because the revelation that he'd been asleep for a while was generally an urgent need to escape the bed he'd apparently been confined to and stretch. Because apparently rubber got sore when neglected.
"How's everyone else?"
"Worried about you."
"Tell them not to be." Sabo wants to ask why not. Wants to break down crying because he's been worried for years and at this point he's not sure he can stop. But then Luffy meets his eyes, still talking to Robin. "I'm Captain. I'm supposed to worry about them." And now he does grasp Luffy's hand again and pulls it close, but he doesn't cry.
"I really think you'd feel better with some meat, Lu. Look at you, acting responsible." Sabo chuckles into their entwined fingers and squeezes, just so he can feel the return squeeze and remind himself that Luffy wants him to stay.
"I'm Captain. I have to protect my crew."
"I'm your Big Brother, and I'm not on your crew, so I'm gonna protect you. Kay?"
A tilt of his head, another hand squeeze.
"Haven't you always?"