Change the Course

BY : Demonized
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 2148
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, nor do I make any money off of this work.

If Luffy were ever asked to describe his life in one word, and now that he certainly has the time to think about it, he will answer that his life is chaotic. He is very much that himself, but that is far beside the point. Another such word, one that he is sure his Nakama will choose, is unpredictable. Both are succinct in describing him and his life, which he didn't have a problem with. That had been before Akainu, who—in the past (future?)—has shown that the unpredictable isn't completely without prediction. He cares for his Nakama quite dearly, and it is this what Akainu had used against him. That is in the past now, even if it is yet to happen, and now he will do his best to prevent any of it from happening. Hell, if he can prevent a lot of it then he will. As things currently are, he doesn't see how anything is going to go in his favor.

Being stuck in the body of a five-year-old, his older body nowhere to be found, and unable to use even a quarter of his hard-earned abilities has decidedly taken a toll on his adult mind. He has all three forms of Haki at his disposal, though to a lesser degree, which can at least be resolved with training. Second Gear and Third Gear are absolute non-starters in his book, what with the damage they (mostly Second Gear itself) do to his body. It won't be until after he's completed his training (once again) for his Haki for him to be comfortable enough to use his Gears. As for his devil fruit ability… Well, strangely enough, he still has it, even though he has yet to meet Shanks and his crew. Meeting Shanks again is something he looks forward to, especially since he can prevent the loss of the man's arm. Hopefully.

First and foremost, since meeting Shanks won't happen for another two years, at the most, he decides to make the trip up to Dadan's on Mount Colubo. By himself.

He knows the path by heart, and though he feels a little guilty sneaking away from Makino (he does leave her a rather non-descriptive note) his guilt doesn't last. Excitement soon takes over at the prospect of seeing Ace! The thought that Ace won't know who he is, or very much care, doesn't even cross his mind as he practically runs the entire way without pause.

Luffy is barely breathing hard by the time he arrives at Dadan's bandit hideout. He can sense a multitude of people inside, and though he doesn't recognize their voices he bursts into the house to the familiar sight of everyone fighting over food. Everyone pauses in shock and stares at him, his entrance (let alone his very presence) a complete surprise and totally unexpected. Cracking a grin that looks suffused with happiness, despite it not quite reaching his eyes, he walks closer to the group surrounding the fire pit.

"Who the hell are you?" Dadan snarls out as she stands up, making it apparent that she does not like the intrusion into her home. That he is a child, a rather young one at that, doesn't make any difference.

Luffy turns to the burly woman, not at all bothered by her tone or her question. They don't know him, as he is two years early in arriving here, and without his grandfather for that matter. "I'm Monkey D. Luffy!"

Dadan seems to give a pause at his exclamation, her expression morphing into one of confusion and shock, as she is incredibly familiar with the Monkey surname. Too familiar with it. She looks over Luffy, swallows nervously, and tentatively asks Luffy the question that is poised on the tip of her tongue. "You wouldn't happen to be related to Monkey D. Garp, would you?"

Luffy grins wide at the mention of his grandfather and nods, noting that a look of despair seems to quickly replace anything else on Dadan's face. Even the bandits working under her seem to share her sentiments. "I'm just visiting for now. I wanted to meet Ace-san!"

Aside from the crackling of the flames from the fire pit, it is so quiet in the room that they could have heard a pin drop. Everyone, including Dadan, looks from Luffy to a figure sitting off to the side of the gathered bandits, his share of the meal far larger than theirs'. He is a child, only three years older than Luffy's current body, and he is glaring at the young time-traveler. "I don't know you. What the hell do you want?"

Luffy isn't even remotely fazed by Ace's harsh attitude. He expects the future flame fruit user to be like this, though it is thankfully without Luffy being spat on. Instead, Luffy gives a wide grin as he happily chirps out, "I just wanted to see Ace-san." He also wants to see Sabo. Is the blond living at Gray Terminal by this point? He isn't sure… Realizing that everyone is staring at him, and Ace's expression goes from pissed off to shocked, Luffy blinks slowly. "What?" Unfortunately for Luffy, or fortunately in the case for Ace, Luffy has said all of that aloud, which he hadn't even noticed.

The adults (more-so Dadan than her underlings) are confused over who Sabo is and why Luffy seems to be interested in him living in Gray Terminal. Dadan even shows a smidgen of concern.

Ace, however, is rendered speechless. He opens and closes his mouth several times, the color draining from his face. No one—not even Dadan and her bandits—knows about Sabo and Gray Terminal. It is a recent occurrence in his wanderings away from the mountain bandits, having met the blond only a few months ago. They had hit it off and even set out to accumulate as much treasure as they can to buy a ship for themselves to leave this godforsaken island. There is no telling what else this strange kid knows.

Luffy, still unaware of his external musings, just shakes his head at receiving no answer from the bandits or Ace and turns his attention to the food that lays forgotten. His stomach gives a miserable gurgle and his mouth positively waters. He feels like he is absolutely starving, even though he had eaten a large breakfast at Makino's a mere hour and a half ago. The thought to ask if he can have anything doesn't cross his mind as he literally jumps on the food and starts devouring it.

It takes everyone a full for everyone to react to this strange child, to them at least, and they all try to attack him. Try being the keyword. The kid is incredibly nimble, dodging every single attack they send his way. Even Ace is unsuccessful, and all of the adults in this room know how ridiculously badass the eight-year-old is. That he is being outdone by an obviously younger kid is quite the shocker to them, though this only makes Ace try even harder. This all goes on for several minutes, after which all of the adults are breathing heavily, most of them flopped over on the floor while Dadan is sprawled out on her back looking up at the ceiling.

Luffy grins widely as he finishes off the last of the food and simultaneously dodges a kick aimed at his side from Ace, who is the only one still attacking him. The future flame fruit user pauses momentarily, a gleam in his eyes as he stares at the elusive five-year-old with an expression akin to grudging respect. "Thank you for the food, Dadan!" Luffy cheerfully chirps, giving a bow to the downed woman. He turns to Ace, who quickly schools his face into a scowl, at which Luffy only smiles even brighter. "Ne, Ace! Let's go play!" He wants to spend time with his not-yet-a-brother and is too impatient to wait for things to go how they had the last time for him. He doesn't know anything about time travel, and he certainly isn't thinking about the consequences of changing how things will happen.

Ace, for his part, stares at the kid with a slightly shocked expression, his mouth hanging open. The thought to say no crosses his mind, but instead, he says, "Sure." As it registers that he has just agreed to go play with the brat, he decides that maybe it won't be so bad. The kid is able to dodge well enough, so it will be good for training. Watching as the kid pumps his arms into the air before he shoots out of the house, Ace gives a slight shake of his head then follows after him. "Hey!"

Luffy's only made it to the edge of the trees surrounding Dadan's home by the time Ace gets outside, and the young rubber boy stops where he is to give Ace another bright smile. "Hai?"

Ace looks unsure for a moment, and it is obvious that he wants to ask something. He finally follows Luffy over to the edge of the surrounding forest, determination in his gaze. "How do you know who I am?"

"'Cause you're Ace-nii-san!" Luffy states it as if it is the most obvious thing in the world. He is just so excited to see his brother alive again.

"Brat, that doesn't answer my question," Ace mutters and gives a slight shake of his head. He sighs when it becomes clear that he won't be receiving a plausible answer to his question. "Nii-san, huh?" For some reason, it feels right and he allows a faint smile to briefly grace his lips.

"Hai!" Luffy tackle-glomp-hugs Ace, which draws a slight protest from the older boy.

If Ace doesn't do much of anything to get Luffy to let go of him then neither of the boys say anything, and if he even returns the hug, albeit a bit awkwardly, that only makes the rubbery boy smile even more.

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