Author: Makoto etched_n_memory
Fandom: One Piece
Disclaimer: Don't sue me, Oda-sensei. I love your work too much! Besides -- it's not like I'm making money. I'm actually kind of losing it, 'cause I could, like... be... working or something. For money. Yeah.
Notes: X-posted to etched_n_memory and kyoudai_love.
"One... two... three... four... five..."
Luffy took off as soon as he made sure his brother's eyes were closed and his hands were over his face to even further obscure his vision.
The question was, where to hide.
Hide-and-seek had always been Luffy's favourite game, ever since he had been old enough to toddle along and seek a hiding spot. Ace always had to be the 'seeker', because if he hid, he usually had a habit of falling asleep, and then Luffy could never find him.
The small house had been designated as the limits, no hiding outside due to the heavy pouring rain that now blocked his brother's steady counting from Luffy's ears, the further he got.
The kitchen? Too obvious. There was still left-over cake from Luffy's fourteenth birthday, and Ace would notice if it was missing and be sure to find the younger one there.
The bathroom? No, the only place was the shower, and the curtain that hung limply against the pole was clear. All Ace would have to do was glance into the room, and Luffy's bright red shirt would stand out against the white tile.
Luffy moved into the bedroom the two boys shared, glancing about. This seemed like a safe space. There were so many obscure corners and little knick knacks in the room that Luffy was sure would be able to find a place to hide.
Under the bed was too obvious, Ace would look there, first. Same with in the closet. For a moment, Luffy considered finding a way to stretch himself out onto the ceiling before remembering that gravity still existed.
His eyes darted around the room quickly. Ace was bound to finish his counting-to-fifty soon. He needed a plan!
Maybe if he--
But Ace's shout of, "Ready or not, Luffy, here I come--!" from the living room made the boy's eyes go wide.
No! Not yet! He wasn't ready yet!!
And so he did the first thing he could think of as he heard Ace's feet clunk down the hallway -- jump behind the curtains, hoping that, by some miracle, Ace wouldn't see him. As he heard the door open, Luffy sucked in a breath, holding it worriedly.
Ace stopped. A quick glance around the room already solved the 'Where Is Luffy' mystery -- a recognizable pair of legs stuck obviously from the window's curtains.
He must have run out of time or something.
"Hm..." Ace muttered, trying to sound as if he were truly stumped. "Luffy? Are you in here?"
Faint giggling from the curtains. Ace ignored it. Why not play along?
"Not under the bed..." Even though he hadn't bothered to check. "You're not in here at all..." He sighed loudly, exaggerating as much as possible. "Guess I'll have to look in some other room..." He slowly crept further towards the curtains.
The giggling got louder.
"Funny..." Ace said slowly, reaching a hand out towards the edge of the curtain. "I didn't know that curtains laughed!!" Ace pulled the edge back and tackled his brother to the floor, the two laughing and rolling around on the hard-wood floor. Luffy's face was red, and he was almost laughing too hard to speak.
"How did you..." Laughter. "How did you find..." Giggle. "...find me, Ace?"
"Call it big brother's intuition." Ace smiled, rolling off Luffy's body and settling on the floor beside him. "No matter what, a part of me is always with you. That's how I always win at this game."
Luffy blinked and turned his gaze to his older brother, eyes curious.
"Really?" He asked, his voice taking on a dreamy sort of tone to it.
"Maybe." Ace whispered. "Or maybe you're just really bad at hiding."
Luffy pouted, then snuggled to his brother.
"You're always with me always, 'nii-chan." Luffy smiled one of his wide, trademark grins. "No matter what."