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Hungry Ghosts

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The Flame-Flame Fruit was bitter on its way down, and Sabo expected to feel different, but he didn’t.

That would come later.

-

There’s something oddly familiar about the fight against Admiral Fujitora and his men.

“Is it the Revolutionary Army’s job to support pirates?”

There’s fire at Sabo’s fingertips, and a grin on his face when he says, “Yeah, that’s right. As a Revolutionary, I forbid you to pass!”

(Under the heat of the desert sun

“I don’t get it. Why are you helping Strawhat?”

“It’s natural for a big brother to worry about his bungling kid brother.”)

Sabo’s grin widens, “No… I take that back! As a brother!”

-

C.P. 0 is on its way, and Sabo is leaving before they can catch up to him.

Always leaving.

-

During the day Sabo trains with his new powers. The hardest part is remembering that he's intangible now, it feels like if he spends too much time as flames a piece of himself will slip away. He works hard to combat that fear.

At night Sabo dreams.

-

The dreams he remembers are always of fire. Blazing, raging, roaring, all-consuming fire.

He feels like the dreams will one day eat him alive.

For the dreams he doesn't remember, he sleepwalks.

-

Sabo talks in his sleep now. He never hears what he says, but sometimes he can feel it, the words rumbling in his sleepy chest.

(I’ll get that Have you seen this pirate Hey could you pass me I know he’s a handful It’s fine Whoops I fell asleep

I promise I’ll never die)

-

There’s something wrong with his eyes. They keep watering at seemingly random times.

The doctor can’t find anything wrong, but encourages him to write down when it happens to see if there’s a link.

(looking at Luffy’s vivre card
an intelligence report from a former whitebeard
looking up at the endlessly black night sky
staring into a flame
saw a funny looking bird)

-

One night Koala catches him sleepwalking.

“Can’t sleep either?” she says, as she rubs her eyes.

“Who are you, how did you get on this ship?” he says.

“We’re not on a ship? Sabo, are you okay?” she asks.

“How do you know that name.” he hisses.

Sabo wakes up wet.

Koala is standing in front of him, holding an empty glass.

“You were sleepwalking, I think.” she says, out of breath, “You asked me who I was, and then you started using your powers. I might have panicked a little.”

Sabo thinks maybe he was dreaming about fire.

-

Somedays his clothes feel too tight.

Somedays his reflection looks strange.

Somedays he’s so tired.

Somedays he feels like he’s burning alive.

Somedays.

Somedays.

Somedays.

-

When Sabo was young the bandits would tell stories of ghosts up in the mountains. Hungry ghosts that died unfulfilled. In the stories they would cling to the living, and try to live out their unfinished lives.

Sabo feels the fire crackling beneath his skin, and wonders.