Change the Course

BY : Demonized
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 2773
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, nor do I make any money off of this work.

In the weeks following Luffy's sudden but welcome intrusion upon their lives, both Sabo and Ace find a home with Makino, more so than at Dadan's (for Ace) and amongst the rubbish heaps of Gray Terminal (for Sabo). It is something of a relief for them, to not have to worry about the dangers of Gray Terminal when trying to scrounge up something of interest for any amount of berī they can get their hands on. Instead, they do simple odd jobs around Fūsha, much to the amusement of many of the villagers living there, who occasionally chip in a little extra for the hard efforts the trio make. It is a slower but steadier flow of money and none of them mind. The only person still sour about them, and Luffy, is Woop Slap.

Wiping some sweat off of his brow, Ace straightens up from the rather tidy stack of firewood he has been making. Next to his stack is Luffy's rather sloppy effort but it will hold. With a glance over his shoulder at Sabo, who is manning the axe for this job, he grins and gives him a thumbs up. "We're all done, Sabo. Let's go get our payment then head back over to Makino-san's." The coveralls that Makino had made for them to do their work in are surprisingly dirty. That is Luffy's fault, of course, but that is just him turning their work into a form of training.

"I could use some of Makino-san's cooking," Sabo comments, returning the axe to the tool shed before joining Luffy and Ace on the back stoop. Luffy is already knocking on the door, a smile splitting his face in half.

The villager who had given them the job, a gentleman in his elder years, opens up the door and takes a look at the sweaty, messy boys. His gaze roams over to the two stacks of wood, one neat and the other a little messy, then he smiles and pulls out his money purse. "What a fine job you three have done." He hands them a little extra, followed up by a cold bottle of cola for each of them. "Thank you so much for your help."

"You're welcome Odachi-san. Thank you for the work!" Ace and Sabo chime together, while Luffy has already opened his bottle of cola and is drinking it down.

"Take care now," Mr. Odachi says with a smile before ushering them off of his stoop and closing the door.

Sabo carefully counts the money and grins, adding the total to what they already have stashed away, now moved to between Fūsha and Dadan's at Luffy's urging. "This is much better than digging through the scraps at Gray Terminal," the blond voices as he pockets the money for the time being, and opens up his bottle of cola.

"And Makino-san is really nice," Ace comments while he watches Luffy literally bounce ahead of them. It probably isn't the best of ideas to let Luffy have a whole bottle of cola to himself but the five-year-old is easily able to outmaneuver both of them. They had complained about it only once before and the expression Luffy had given them had sent chills down their backs whenever they recall it. "I will not watch you die again," he had said, looking directly at Ace with an expression that was far too serious for the exuberant five-year-old they have come to know. It is sometimes hard to remember that despite his physical age, Luffy technically is older mentally. He certainly doesn't act it though.

Luffy disappears into Makino's house just ahead of them but within seconds he darts back out and is running towards them. "RUN!" He yells at them as he passes by them, leaving them a little confused. They blink and look at each other, then at Makino's house. For a second it seems like there is nothing wrong, then a wall explodes. They don't wait to see what comes out of the wall. Sabo and Ace drop their drinks and turn to run after Luffy, who is already way ahead of them.


He knows it is horrible to not wait for them to catch up, but he has his reasons. Sabo is the first to get caught, just outside of Fūsha. It isn't really the blond's fault, per se, but he is exhausted from chopping wood for the better part of the afternoon. While his training for them is paying off, they are still in the beginning stages where exhaustion comes quickly and easily.

Ace is caught next, and the older brunet being present has given him a bit more time to run and hide. Logically he knows there is no such thing as running and hiding, not from…

WHUMP!

CRRRAAAACCCCKKKK!

The tree Luffy had scaled to the top of quickly becomes unsteady and begins to fall. "AHHHGGG!" He screams at the top of his lungs and clings to the treetop for dear life.

THUD!

Luffy screws his eyes shut and waits for the inevitable pain that always accompanies one of his grandfather's visits. After several seconds of silence, the young rubber-boy opens his eyes a sliver and hesitantly lifts his head to look around. Ace and Sabo are standing over him, each with a somber expression on their faces. A cracking noise sounds behind Luffy and he can hear the foliage around the tree shifting as someone approaches him.

Just before a loud whoosh filled his ears, indicating that a fist is heading for his head, Luffy remembers that Garp is able to use Busō-shoku Haki. Making a split-second decision, one that is most likely going to haunt him for the rest of his life (at least while Garp continues to breathe), he rolls out of the way of his grandfather's punch, which happens to shatter the thin treetop that had been under him.

"Uwah! Are you trying to kill me?!" Luffy cries out once he catches sight of the shattered treetop. He ducks behind his brothers faster than anyone else can react, and even catches the narrowing of his grandfather's eyes, despite the action being very minute. Peeking out at Garp from behind Ace, Luffy makes sure to keep a firm grasp on the back of the older brunet's shirt. He ignores Ace's immediate protests and stares up at his grandfather.

While Garp would have normally made another attack, despite Luffy using Ace as a shield, the Vice-Admiral had paused at the expert dodge his grandson had used to evade his punch. Not that it was even expert. Luffy had used pure speed—a speed that he shouldn't have at five years old or anywhere close to his age. There had also been a touch of something else, which niggles at the back of his mind, but he pushes it aside for the time being. "I see you've been doing some training, Luffy, and heading out of Fūsha on your own," he comments, his gaze sliding over each of the boys. It had been a surprise to see Ace down in Fūsha, and with the way that his grandson is clinging to the back of the boy's shirt, he figures that Luffy had something to do with it.

It is such a perfect opportunity to cover up his use of the speed he had been training his body to be able to handle again that he nearly misses the glint in Garp's eyes. The old man is suspicious. "I-I don't know what you're talking about," Luffy stammers out, looking away from his grandfather.

What a terrible liar, Ace, and Sabo think together, the blond edging away from the two brunets and certain pain, while Ace tries to tug his shirt out of Luffy's grasp.

"Oh?" A sort of dark aura seems to surround Garp and he cracks his knuckles in a threatening manner.

Ace's tugging becomes a little more desperate while Sabo outright flees, or at least attempts to. Garp is suddenly blocking his way, having decided that all three boys, even if he is unfamiliar with the blond boy, are in on it together.


"Owww…" Luffy groans out, rubbing at the sizeable lump on the back of his head. Two small fists immediately smash into said lump, sending another lance of pain through his body, though it is incomparable to the pain of the single blow that Garp had managed to land on him while using Soru.

"Shut up, idiot. It's your fault 'cause you chose to run," Ace grumbles as he and Sabo go back to nursing the half dozen lumps each are sporting on their heads.

They are all still out in the forests between Fūsha and Dadan's mountain bandit home, Garp having temporarily left them to go and fetch some firewood. They don't dare slip off since the old Marine had proved that he can track them down regardless of where they go, and that is without the use of Kenbun-shoku Haki. He has an uncanny sense of where they are.

"I only ran 'cause I knew he would hit me," Luffy pouts and lays out on the ground. He cranes his neck to look at his brothers, even if his view of them is upside down. "And he still got me," the five-year-old mutters. It is a little unfair that his grandfather had used Soru, but it is completely expected of Garp to do something like that. At least that opens up an avenue for him to question his grandfather and ask him to teach him the technique. Hopefully, he can also get him to teach him the rest of the Rokushiki techniques.

There comes a rustling from the surrounding forest, followed by the cracking of branches being stepped on. All three boys unconsciously tense as Garp appears with a whole tree over one shoulder, that is at least a few feet wide, and a large tiger slung over the other one. "I came across dinner while I was out looking for firewood."

Luffy's stomach grumbles at the mention of dinner, and it is quickly followed by Ace's and Sabo's stomachs as well. The youngest of them, however, ignores his stomach and instead sits up to give his grandfather a serious expression. "Ne, jii-chan, what is that superfast move you used called?"

"Hm?" Garp tosses the tiger corpse then proceeds to stand the tree up so he can punch it into suitable pieces for firewood with his fists. He glances at Luffy for a moment, taking in the look his grandson is giving him before he begins to pulverize the tree. "It's a special technique that only strong Marines are taught, along with a few others. It's called Soru."

Luffy can hardly believe that Garp is telling him about the Rokushiki techniques, or that he is even mentioning it in front of Ace and Sabo. This is more than perfect, and he can only wonder why Garp would be willing to reveal such coveted information. The Rokushiki techniques are not even known by the majority of the Marines that patrol the four Blue Seas. It is uncommon for Marines to know them in Paradise but in the New World… It seemed like a vast majority of the Marines in the New World know the Rokushiki techniques. "Soru?" He says it slowly, his eyes purposefully large as he stares up at his grandfather. "Ne, jii-chan. Could you teach us to do Soru?"

Garp pauses in his task of making firewood with a splutter, a stricken look on his face as he turns to answer Luffy. He also takes in the sight of Ace and Sabo, who look confused about this line of conversation but also interested in what his answer will be. They also look a bit hopeful. Normally, he would have never used Soru to catch up to his grandson, so he wouldn't have been put into this position. Still, the boy had been unusually quick on his feet. "I suppose I could… But none of you have the proper training so that your bodies can handle Soru or any of the other techniques." He is wary of teaching them any of the Rokushiki, especially since he doesn't know Sabo, and only has a vague relationship with both Ace and Luffy. None of that really matters because he hadn't questioned Ace's presence in Fūsha, nor did he need to know the blond boy's identity. That they are fast friends with Luffy is more than enough for him to accept their presence.

"Then could you train us?" Surprisingly the question comes from Ace, whose expression becomes determined. "Could you teach us to use that Soru, and the other techniques?"

Garp knows that it hasn't been easy for Ace growing up here, even in the far corner of East Blue. The hatred directed towards the child's father is commonplace, and he knows that the boy occasionally wanders out from the safety of Dadan's mountain hideout thanks to the annual reports he has the woman send him. "You boys will need to work hard. Learning these techniques will not be easy, at all, and it usually takes years for them to be mastered. I won't tolerate any slacking, from any of you." He had wanted to give an overblown speech about how they should also join the Marines, but they are young, and he has plenty of time to convince them.

"Yosh!" Luffy cries out, pumping his fists into the air. His celebratory mood quickly halts, however, as his stomach gives another loud, plaintive growl and he gives a groan as he puts a hand over the rumbling organ. "Can we eat yet?"



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