Trial by Error

BY : Demonized
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 1819
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, nor do I make any money off of this work.

Rusukaina: The First Month

Even though he had been two weeks late in starting the Haki training, Ace had caught up quite well with what Rayleigh had been teaching his little brother in a matter of days. It kinda helped that Rayleigh was quite the slave driver. Maybe too much of a slave driver.

On top of Rayleigh's training they had to constantly be on guard against the animals of the island. Rayleigh had been completely serious about the animals being stronger than them. They also attacked for little to no reason at all, and at the most randomest of times. Ace swore, up and down, that the animals were getting together and coordinating their attacks.

That was fine with him. Let them come and attack. He was gonna-

"Look out, Ace!" A rubbery hand stretched across the clearing and grabbed him by the left forearm. The grip was unbelievably strong as he was pulled away from the closing jaws of a humongous lion and towards his little brother.

"Luffy!" A fist smacked the rubbery boy on the back of his brother's head and now there was nothing to steer him. He was flying towards a tree and there was no slowing down. He was gonna smack against it!

Ace blinked and found himself standing there, as if nothing had happened. "Look out, Ace!" Ace ducked under the hand that shot out to grab him and rolled away from where the lion chomped into suddenly empty air. He instinctively shot a solid orange fireball at the lion's muzzle and it yowled and blindly dashed off into the tree line.

With the current threat gone, Ace stood up and looked over to Rayleigh, who merely grinned at him as if he knew that would happen. There was a snap as Luffy's arm retracted back into place, and the Dark King smacked a fist against the rubbery pirate's head.

"Hey! That hurts!!" Luffy rubbed at the sore spot with a pout while Ace just shook his head and smiled. "Ne, Ace! Did you do it?"

Do... Oh! "I was gonna smack into a tree, Luffy!" Honestly, his brother reacted too quickly sometimes.

"No. I knew that Ace-nii-chan would duck! Shi shi shi!" Luffy laughed and gave Ace a sheepish smile, one that made it so he couldn't even get angry at his brother.

"Well, now that both of you have awakened Kenbun-shoku Haki I have a course set up for the both of you. The destination is to the mountain over there-" Rayleigh didn't even get to point at which mountain. Luffy was already heading for the tree line, warming up via rotating his arms in turn, followed by some stretches. "Luffy?"

Ace grinned and followed after Luffy, also warming up for what laid ahead of them. If he knew his brother still, he didn't want to know what was in store for him. That sat quite well with Ace, being that this method always seemed to work out for the both of them. "Just show us where to start, old man."

Luffy grinned at him and crouched down into his Gear Second stance. His skin gained a pink sheen to it as steam rose from it while he sped up his blood throughout his body. "Race ya there, Ace-nii-chan."

Oh, this was gonna be good. "You're gonna eat my dust, Lu." Ace crouched into a sprint start position and smirked over at his brother. "Three."

"Two." Luffy also crouched into a sprint start position and stuck his tongue out at him.

"One!" They took off in unison, Ace matching his brother's speed for the first ten feet before Luffy looked as if he vanished. The race was on, and he had no intention of losing to his little brother, as he had a few techniques of his own. Bursting into flames, which were orange with the barest traces of red at the core, he picked up speed and followed Luffy's trail.



Baltigo: The Second Month

Training with Robin was highly challenging. She was vicious in her attacks, and very quick to change how she was attacking. Still, Sabo wasn't going to go easy on her all the same. She was already strong from her trials, so they were working on bringing that strength out.

He alone couldn't do it, so Dragon often came to help, making it a three way battle. It helped Sabo a lot, especially since he was developing another form of his Zoan Fruit. According to Robin, the doctor of the Straw Hats had developed something that allowed him increased transformations. Since he didn't have access to this something, he had to train to develop any other transformations.

"You aren't focusing on the sparring match, Blue Gentleman-san." An arm bloomed from his shoulder and loosely wrapped around his neck. No pressure was applied, but the message was clear. He was dead.

"Gomen nasai, Nico-san. I was thinking about the medicine you were talking about. The Rumble Ball?" The arm disappeared and Sabo smiled sheepishly. "I was thinking that maybe it's possible to train for more transformations without using it."

Robin smiled at him, and a shiver went down his spine from how dangerous she looked in that moment. Sabo could only assume that training was going to become much harder.



Momoiro: The Third Month

Sanji was in absolute hell. Pure, unadultered hell that was completely his own doing. He had been running, day and night, from the maniacs that were wanting to put him in a dress. It couldn't be helped. Not after what Ivankov had done to him.

Sanji wanted to sob, and cursed the hormones of the blasted female body that the Okama Queen had... Had... Oh it was terrible! Nothing would be the same ever again!



Rusukaina: The Fourth Month

Red flames tinged with blue shot out from Ace's hands, which Luffy expertly dodged. The resulting cries and yowls from the animals trying to sneak attack them was well worth it. Luffy twisted his body around and Gomu Gomu no Muchi'd a singed looking lion, his leg black from Busō-shoku Haki. It looked like the very same one that had tried eating Ace three months ago.

"Looks like we have dinner for tonight," Rayleigh observed from where he had been watching the two of them train. They were excelling as Kenbun-shoku Haki. Ace had unlocked Busō-shoku Haki last month, while Luffy had unlocked it a few days ago. The gap didn't seem to matter at all, because Luffy was just as proficient as Ace with the Armament Haki, and it looked as if he would surpass his older brother.

"Ne, Ace-nii-chan! I don't think this will be enough for us to eat tonight!" Rayleigh blinked at Luffy's statement before trying to figure out how many pounds of meat a nearly twenty-foot tall lion could provide for the three of them. He had seen both of the boys eat over the last three months, and surely they wouldn't eat the entire lion?

"I think one more will do, Lu," Ace called out as he somersaulted over a charging rhinoceros. It was almost as big as the lion, maybe three-fourths of the size, and Ace slew it with a jet of Busō-shoku enhanced red-blue flames through its thick neck. The flames acted very much like a sword and they immediately cauterized the decapitation wound perfectly so there wasn't a mess of blood.

"Shouldn't we get one more for Rayleigh-Ossan?" Luffy cracked his knuckles and started eying a tiger that was slinking away.

Rayleigh held up his hands and nervously looked from the tiger to Ace and Luffy. "I'll go catch a fish or two!!" Honestly! Granted that Luffy was rubber, but how could both of them eat that much meat?! It was utterly mind boggling!

"Ah! Okay." Luffy grinned and dragged the lion over to where Ace was cutting up the rhinoceros with Busō-shoku Haki enhanced flames.

Just watching that made Rayleigh a little nervous and he quickly left to go catch those two fish while he pondered on what kind of monsters he would eventually unleash upon the New World.



Baltigo: The Fifth Month

He had mastered his fourth transformation, which favored defense. His scales would raise out and sharpen to hurt an attacker, plus if he used Busō-shoku Haki he would have better defense against Logia Fruit users. Despite that, Robin still found ways to harm him. Had she been learning Haki as well?

Sabo snapped his jaws and shifted back to his human form. He grabbed up his solid metal Bo staff and dashed in quickly. He swept the weapon at Robin's feet, only for her to turn into actual flower petals. His eyes widened and he leapt back to examine the Hana Hana no Mi user a bit more closely.

Her extra training with Dragon seemed to be paying off.



Momoiro: The Sixth Month

Sanji, though resigned to the fact that she may never obtain her original gender again, was firmly against wearing that damnable dress they were chasing her with. She had won a handful of the Attack Cuisine recipes, all while nimbly dodging Ivankov and the supposed enhanced female hormones he had in his syringe like nails to make her even more girlier if at all possible. She was suffering enough as was, and did not need more damnable female hormones going through her already female body.

Night was starting to set in across the island, providing her with a different set of worries than for what she had during daylight. She couldn't use Kenbun-shoku Haki, so she didn't know where someone would be coming from in the dark. Her legs were aching, but she fought through the pain to run on.



Rusukaina: The Seventh Month

They sleep peacefully, Luffy possessively wrapped around Ace as much as possible while Ace is holding on to him protectively. Their breathing is one hundred percent in sync, and though they appear innocent enough like this, they are quite the force to be reckoned with when awake.

Rayleigh isn't fooled by the innocence the scene conveys. A stray animal, one of the many that has come down looking for an easy meal, is fooled by the sleeping brothers.

Ace is the first to react, a wall of blue flames springing up around the two in a tight circle. Luffy simply follows it up with a Gomu Gomu no Pistol, his arm a solid black from Busō-shoku Haki.

The animal is sent flying, screaming into the night, and the brothers sleep on. Rayleigh sighs and goes to sleep himself, the blue flames flickering before receding back to Ace without ever harming Luffy in the slightest.



Baltigo: The Eighth Month

Robin can duplicate herself perfectly, and hold the duplicate for extended periods of time now. He hadn't noticed it before, but her previous duplicates hadn't been perfect. Now, he couldn't tell them apart from her.

She is just as merciless as ever. He pushes onwards in their training though, determined to be stronger than ever. For Ace and Luffy. For himself.

She pushes herself, surpassing him more easily than he can comprehend. Her determination, he can understand. He also understands why she pushes herself. For Luffy. For her Nakama. They have given her something worth fighting for, and he can't help but feel like he is missing out.



Momoiro: The Ninth Month

She has become more vicious in her attacks over the months, never holding back even though they still chase her. Sanji has also been able to sense the Okama following her off and on for short periods of time. She vaguely remembers fighting the Mantra users of Skypiea and wonders if this is what it was.

Of course, thinking of a time when she had been male enrages her towards her current predicament. Surprisingly enough it doesn't hamper her fighting abilities, and her collection of Attack Cuisine recipes grows to thirty-seven. There is a sliver of hope that after she completes this task of gathering the recipes, Ivankov may change her back. She can only hope.



Rusukaina: The Tenth Month

For a while now, Luffy has been stealing kisses from him, especially when they were training. Ace had always assumed that Luffy would be rather simplistic in his approach, but it was very apparent that the rubbery brat was quite devious. He was also wondering where Luffy had learned to kiss like that.

First and foremost, Luffy favored using Gear Second when he was stealing kisses, to the point that Rayleigh knew what was going on. The old man would often chuckle to himself and shake his head. Secondly, they were kisses that involved quite a bit of tongue and Ace often felt that the younger pirate was attempting to devour him. He knew this wasn't so, and lately started to reciprocate in kind. Afterwards, the amount of cheer emanating from the young Captain was palatable and it seemed that the animals in the area were affected by his extremely happy mood.

Come to find out, Luffy was unconsciously releasing his Haō-shoku Haki in a way that left even Rayleigh baffled. It shouldn't have been possible, but this was Luffy, who lived to break boundaries and laws. The old man deemed it time to start working on Haō-shoku Haki. That was fine with Ace, and Luffy.

For now though...

Ace grinned and successfully tackled Luffy to the ground, a feat that was difficult to do considering both could constantly use Kenbun-shoku Haki. Then again, he figured that Luffy let himself get tackled, probably for this specific reason.

"You caught me." He was all smiles, full of warmth and tenderness. Ace leaned down and touched his nose to Luffy's, a pleased grin on his own face. "So I did," he murmured, then teasingly brushed his lips against the younger pirate's.

"Ace~..." Luffy pouted when Ace started to pull away, thinking that the all too brief and chaste kiss was all that was in store for him. He couldn't even really call it a kiss.

"Yes?" He hadn't pulled away like Luffy thought he would, only to the point that their noses were touching again. When Luffy only continued to pout he shifted and brought his mouth close to his ear. "I love you, Lu." There was a sharp intake of breath from Luffy and Ace swore his face was going to be hurting later on from how much he was grinning, but that didn't matter. All that mattered was here and now.

He pressed kisses along Luffy's jaw and slowed down as he reached his mouth. Ace took his time, a teasing lick to the corner of his lips, followed by a nibble dead center that drew a gasp from his brother, which he took full advantage of. A hand came up from Luffy's side to his cheek as he delved his tongue into the eighteen year old's mouth and explored.



Baltigo: The Eleventh Month

It's one of the rare days they're relaxing. Dragon is staring in the direction he knows that Luffy is in, a small smile on his usually stoic face. Sabo doesn't ask how the man knows where his son is at, but he does go to Robin.

He finds her in the library, sipping on coffee and reading up on the knowledge that the Revolutionary Army has gathered. He sits down at her table once she nods, her eyes never leaving the pages in front of her.

"You have a question for me, Blue Gentleman-san." It was a statement, and there is a knowing smile on her lips. Pale blue eyes turn up to watch him for a moment as he searches for the words to the question he wants to ask.

"Would you tell me about one of the adventures you had with Luffy?" It isn't the question he wanted to ask, and she knows it. He doesn't know how she knows it isn't the question, and as unsettling as that is he isn't worried.

"How about I tell you about our trip to the Sky Island of Skypiea?" Robin smiles serenely and sets her papers aside. Sabo's jaws are slack and he slowly nods, the idea that there is an island in the sky is not easy to grasp. "Well, our trip started after I joined the crew after everything in Alabasta. We were following our log pose when a two hundred year old ship fell out of the sky..."



Momoiro: The Twelth Month

She has fifty-one of the Attack Cuisine recipes. She also just ran out of island to run on. She can feel the Okama drawing closer, but she is trapped. What if all of her hard-earned recipes are taken from her? Sanji couldn't let that happen!

With a glance over her shoulder, the dress wielding Newkama Kenpo users closing in on her, she takes a leap of faith and jumps into the air. She doesn't fall. Instead, she keeps jumping, and running, the sky her new terrain. Sanji almost grins at the looks on their faces.

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