A Big Bang production, 2016.
Disclaimer: I don't own one Piece... as the quality of the following work will likely make all to clear.
He forgot it was tomorrow.
He couldn't believe he'd really forgotten; almost forgotten. For twelve years he'd reacted to the date accordingly, saying a quick prayer to the skies, staying silent and as solemn as he ever got for a short time to show he respected the life and death, and usually he gave a small offering. Often the whole week prior he spent moping and immersed in memories of him.
But this year he'd nearly forgotten.
Luffy's hands went to his hat, for comfort, for relief. His fingers flexed the straw, bending the weave in frustration as he sought for some semblance of solace. It was wrong to forget. His knees slowly bent and he lowered himself to the floor. It was all these dates, so many. All in a row. Rapid fire. Gatling.
His back met the seat and he leaned into it with a sigh. He needed some structure, otherwise, he might lose the will he had employed to keeping his form and he'd dribble down into a deformed rubber puddle on the floorboards.
His birthday was first. The last two years had been lonely, particularly on his birthday. Rayleigh couldn't be bothered by a birthday. They were training to get stronger. He agreed with that; he hadn't wanted to stop anyway. His nakama didn't know his birthday. Maybe he should tell them and they'd throw a big party, maybe. But it was late. Next year, maybe.
And the date his nakama were blown away; when they were all separated. That hadn't been hard last year; he'd been busy. But this year he'd been worried. What if someone mixed up the date? What if someone came a week too late? What if Zoro got lost?
Then was Ace. Two years ago was the last time he'd seen his brother breathing. Last time he'd seen him at all. He'd powered through it the last two years, with sufficient crying and hard reality checks. Rayleigh had helped him through the first anniversary, but this year he'd sat on a cliff and cried for most of the day.
And now, Sabo. Twelve years ago Sabo had sailed out in his fishing boat and sailed the black flag. That was the only day he'd been able to. He was gone as well.
Two death days and a birthday. Nice. He wished it was his death day and Sabo's birthday. Wished it was Ace's birthday. Wished it was two birthdays and one death.
But it was what it was, and he'd nearly forgotten.
What kind of brother was he?
He clenched his fingers around the brim of his hat, reminded himself that it was only a few weeks ago that the anniversary of their toast had happened, that had been one of the happiest days of his life. And his birthday doubled as the day he set sail, another time when he couldn't have been much happier.
But he could feel it. Feel that helplessness that he rolled into a little ball and stuffed away in the farthest corner of his mind. He was a Captain; he was a pirate. He'd cried enough, and he was back with his crew, and he needed to stop this. What happened, happened. No regrets.
With a shuddering breath, he pushed off from the seat to his feet and pasted a smile onto his face.
The next step forward was supposed to be just that. Forward, away from the grief and the past. The past didn't matter. His muscles stretched and pulled at his movement, tense and ready to run. He walked. He didn't have time to grieve today anyway. His crew couldn't see. It was best he forget about the date- all of them. They didn't matter.
The pressure of his grief against the door he'd locked it behind increased tenfold; the wood splintered, the wave flowed out and unleashed. The sob he hadn't realized had been hiding crawled out of his throat and he stumbled.
Beneath the tension, he finally snapped.