Chapter Seven: Forgiveness

Nami looked into her bedroom and made a note, He's been sleeping since yesterday...

"Ace isn't sick," said Nojiko, walking past, "As you are so worried about him, I checked his temperature while you were in the shower and he is fine. Maybe he's just a really deep sleeper."

"I know but he's slept since yesterday afternoon to this afternoon! 24 hours, sis! I ask you, if this is his average sleep, how does he get up for school!"

There was a creaking sound as Ace sat up, "What the hell? Where am I?"

Go, mouthed Nojiko.

Nami entered the room, unable to keep the relief from her voice, "Ace! You're all right!"

"Eh, Nami? Yeah, I'm all right, why wouldn't I be? I can't remember anything though... why am I here?"

"I was going to tutor you but then I had a breakdown and you fell asleep remember?"

He scratched his head, "No..."

"Never mind then. Are you hungry? Do you want anything?"

Right on cue, his stomach rumbled.

"I take that as a yes," said Nami, grinning, "You've slept since yesterday and you haven't had anything to eat... Geez, no wonder. Oi, Nojiko, what's for lunch—"

"I can't make lunch today!" yelled Nojiko, "I'm visiting Mum's grave for our monthly visit remember?"

"Oh..." said Nami, "Well, then, I'd have to go too—"

"Don't worry, Mum insists you go with him," said Nojiko, walking into the room, "Can't you hear her?"

Nami listened and heard a voice in her head, Nami, it's OK. Ace will take care of you... I'm sorry for arguing that night... Oh, and don't cry.

"I heard her," gaped Nami.

Nojiko snorted, "Well, duh. Did you really think she'd leave us completely? Oh, and Luffy called, Ace," she said, addressing Ace now, "He's going to Baratie today and wants to know if you'd join him."

"Sure," said Ace, but looking distractedly at Nami who was still slightly gaping.

Nojiko noticed this and rolled her eyes, reaching over to shake Nami gently, "Oi, don't go all weird on us."

"That's easy for you to say, you weren't the one who did something terrible to your own mother before she died."

Nojiko sighed, "OK, maybe that's true but I do have to go to Mum before I'm late. Do whatever you want for lunch." She left, smiling smugly, They'll help each other out.

Ace and Nami stood there for a few moments, each thinking about their own mothers. Finally, Nami spoke up, "So, are we going to Baratie?"

"Yeah," said Ace, smiling a bit, "You know, your mother said she was sorry."

"What? You heard her?" asked Nami.

"Not really, my own mother told me."

"What?"

"Mum," smiled Ace, "She's friends with your mother wherever they are. In a dream once, long ago, Mum told me she met a great person who has become her friend and that she knows that person's daughter is a great person too. She also said that friend was sorry for something that happened. Mum showed me what her friend looked like. I was kind of surprised when I found my mother's friend in your house. I wonder if I'm forgiven though..."

"Your mother has always loved you hasn't she? She'd be happy seeing you happy."

"I guess," said Ace, grinning a bit more happier now, "Gramps did say my mother really loved me. For the few minutes she saw me anyway. But she seemed to adore me when she was still expecting."

"See?" said Nami, "Now, let's go to Baratie."

They walked out, feeling happier about themselves now. Little did they know two people were watching them.

"Ace is finally happy," smiled Portgas D. Rouge, "I owe you, Bellemere."

"Are you kidding? Look at how happy your son has made my girl," laughed Bellemere, "They grow up too fast... I hope they use protection."

"Nani!" cried Rouge.

"HA HA HA!" laughed Bellemere..

Meanwhile...

"You know, Nami..." said Ace, walking down the street.

"Nani?"

"I've never really met anyone like you before that has been so understanding to me, Luffy aside... and I think I lo—"

"ACE!" shouted a voice all of a sudden. They both turned towards the source and found Marco walking towards them, "Geez, I've been looking everywhere for you... And Nami's here too! Great, girl advice!"

"What is it?" asked Ace, kind of frustrated that the big confession had to wait but managing to level his tone.

"You see, Margaret confessed that she loved me last night and I rejected her..."

"You WHAT!" yelled Nami, grabbing Marco by the shirt and shaking him back and forth with each word, "DO YOU KNOW HOW FRAGILE HER HEART IS!"

"Let me finish!" said Marco. Nami let him go but still looking a bit angry. Ace, on the other hand, was laughing.

"So, now I regret it," finished Marco, "I couldn't sleep at all last night, I really regret my decision and I don't know how to say it to her. And it stinks."

"OK, firstly, mate," said Ace, "You've only known her a day. Are you sure you love her and not just concerned about her feelings?"

"You've only known Nami two days. That's hardly any better."

"Yeah, but we don't love each other," said Nami.

Ace looked pained for a moment before recovering with a fakish-looking smile, only Nami couldn't tell since his back was to her. Marco knew immediately of course and sighed.

Do you know how fragile HIS heart is?