Warning: In this time travel fan fiction, I will do my best to make the story feel like One Piece, but there will be a few intentional differences. First of all, Luffy's personality evolved as his adventure progressed. He will not be as stupid or clueless as he currently is in the manga. While he will still have the key components of his personality that we all love, he will also be much smarter and have a much greater awareness of what is happening around him at any given time. While Luffy in the manga arguably never changes, I always find this unrealistic considering everything he has experienced, and would prefer to give him a more solid character development in this story. As it progresses and parts of his past are revealed, the changes in his personality will make more sense, because honestly after what happened there's no plausible way he'd stay the same.
East Blue Saga: Chapters 1–13
Romance Dawn: 1–2
Orange Town: 3–4
Syrup Village: 5–6
Arlong Park: 10–12
Baroque Works Saga: Chapters 14–35
Reverse Mountain: 14
Whiskey Peak: 15–16
Little Garden: 17–18
Drum Island: 19–22
Sky Island Saga: Chapters 36–48
War Ascension Saga: 49–60
Long Ring Long Land: 49
Water 7: 50–54
Post-Water 7: 55
Thriller Bark: 56–60
War Summit Saga: 61–Current
Sabaody Archipelago: 61–66
Impel Down: 67-68
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece. Never have, never will. But I do own a One Piece fan fiction, as of...now.
Chapter I: Neo Romance Dawn
Straw Hat Luffy was awakened by a subtle swaying that seemed to grow more violent by the second as he opened his eyes, blinked, and yawned tiredly. What was he doing before he dozed off? Memories presented themselves as his mind snapped back into alertness. Oh, yeah. He was still drifting. What was that noise? He took a look around him as his eyes focused, and laughed out loud.
"Damn, how do I always forget these things?" he asked with obvious mirth in the face of the whirlpool that threatened to devour his inadequacy of a boat. In the long run, something like this was trivial, laughable really, but Luffy couldn't help but find it troubling that it could have potentially ended his journey before it had even begun.
He glanced at the barrel next to him as it rocked back and forth with the waves. Should he try it…? It should work...based on past experience. He quickly dismissed the thought, though, chastising himself for his careless nature. If it didn't work, he wasn't coming out of the water unless a miracle happened. In his experience, miracles happened often, although they could only help you so much.
Regardless, he didn't want to risk it. It would not do for the future Pirate King to die at the hands of a tiny ass whirlpool like this. It wasn't his own fate he was worried about as much as the fate of the lives he would come to affect. In the beginning of his journey, he had easily resigned himself to the risks of his foolish dream, but as thoughts of those that he had to protect gradually piled up on his conscience, that mindset became increasingly difficult to maintain. In the eyes of many, he would always be a careless idiot, and in some respects this would always hold true. But what some didn't realize was that there were some things he had an ingrained intelligence for from the beginning, and other things he had forcefully willed himself to learn along the way…with some help.
He made a quick decision. He had already resolved to play an active role this time around, and that meant not leaving himself at the mercy of a barrel if he could help it. So he took a quick leap off the boat, propelling himself over the waters with a force that almost sank it. Any sane person would have wondered if he was losing it with this recent action, but sane people didn't last very long where he was going. After reaching the highest point of his jump, he took another step, and the air below him responded in turn, propelling him higher and further. He took more steps until he was cruising through the air at a comfortable speed.
Now, to get down to business. It should be closeby. He reached out with his Observation Haki, and more than a few dozen weak auras flickered to life within range of his senses. He also sensed slightly stronger auras approaching them. He predicted that they were all on a collision course, but then again he already knew that. It was an ambush after all.
He accelerated quickly and made his way over to the slightly stronger auras in the distance. One in particular dwarfed them all in power, but in other aspects that were far more important at this stage, it paled in comparison to another that Luffy instantly recognized. The shockingly humble presence brought a nostalgic smile to Luffy's face.
"Wait for me, old buddy."
He reached the pirate ship with the Jolly Roger that confirmed Luffy's already solid guess and touched down after quickly decelerating. The two pirates that were guarding the deck looked at him in shock, but shock quickly turned to malice. If they gave any more thought to the fact that they hadn't even noticed his approach until he had landed right in front of them, they may have been a bit more cautious. As it was, they were inclined to ask who the hell he was and charge at him with swords at the ready before waiting for an answer.
Luffy was in deep thought, but spared them a glance as he punched both their lights out.
Leaving the unconscious fodder on the deck, he made his way through a door and caught sight of the person who he had come to find. At first glance of the bright pink hair and pudgy appearance, he had to resist the urge to laugh out loud. He compared this timid boy to the quiet, confident Marine he would one day grow up to be. There were some similarities other than appearance (most notably in his aura), but it was nonetheless difficult.
The boy was being relentlessly harassed by a small group of pirates who were too busy taunting him to even notice Luffy's approach.
"Excited yet, Coby? This is gonna be a big haul. You looking forward to some good old fashioned pirating?" The boy weakly glared at him, causing him to laugh. The others followed suit.
"Is that even a question?" one thug asked. "Here's a better one. Are you looking forward to hiding below deck like a little bitch and then cleaning the captain's shoes just to avoid a beating?" They all howled with laughter. Cody turned red before he, to Luffy's disappointment, looked at the ground and let out a resigned sigh. We'll have to work on that, Luffy thought, as he mentally willed Coby to drop kick their asses through the floor, knowing full well that he wasn't capable of it. Yet. As he stepped in front of Coby, the unobservant idiots who by all rights should have been dead by now (mercy was not common on the vast seas, even if a minority of pirates made a habit of exercising it) finally took notice of his presence.
"Who the hell is this guy? I've never seen him before," one said suspiciously.
"New recruit maybe?" another piped up. The one who had been taunting immediately before Luffy stopped and glared at him.
"Who are you? Identify yourself." Luffy looked him dead in the eye and grinned.
"Well, I'm the guy who defeated your crew, kicked your captain's ass, and sunk your ship. That's all you really need to know." The pirates gaped at his audacity, but hesitated to attack.
Something about this guy was holding them back, but they weren't smart enough for it to last very long. Luffy scratched his head at his own phrasing. To them, he was simply speaking from a future perspective, but it was technically true, minus sinking the ship. He had left that to the Marines last time. Before they could charge, Luffy spoke. "You'll wake up in about 10 minutes. Try not to drown, I guess." This stopped them in their tracks as they stared in confusion upon hearing the cryptic statement. Then they dropped to the ground, foaming at the mouth. Luffy observed Coby carefully.
The blast, although weak to the point where he had to consciously control himself, was directed at everyone in the room. Coby was kneeling on the floor, sweating profusely and panting for breath, but he was still conscious. Not bad. Luffy smiled to himself, realizing that even this crybaby Coby, who had zero confidence and next to zero mental discipline, was still much stronger willed than your average East Blue pirate. That wasn't saying much, but it was something.
"Hey, you! You're Coby, aren't you? If I heard right anyway…mind giving me some food? I'm starved."
Coby was scared shitless at being addressed so casually by the person who had quite literally brought him to his knees with use of a faceless, overwhelming power. He nodded weakly and stood up on trembling knees. He walked forward, refusing to stumble, and led the mysterious boy to a supply storage closet, if only to appease him.
He looked back at him as he walked, and gulped. The boy didn't seem to be hostile to him despite the display earlier. If anything, he should thank him for saving him from a potential beating. He was too intimidated at the moment to think of the ramifications of what the boy had just done. If those pirates were waking up in 10 minutes, they would surely run to Alvida, and the thought would have sickened him if he had been in a state of mind to worry about it. Instead, he opened the door and let the boy walk into the storage closet as if his life depended on it.
"Wow, thanks Coby!" He dove into a barrel full of apples and started inhaling them—that was the only description Coby could really use. If he was chewing at all, Coby couldn't see it. It was all a blur as he bounced from one side of the room to another and gradually emptied the supply closet of its precious food. Just when Coby was starting to wonder where on earth he put it all, the boy stopped, sighing as he visibly restrained himself and patted his stomach dispassionately. "It's not much, but it will hold me over. I should leave some room for meat."
Coby looked at him dubiously and found the courage to speak for the first time since the boy's introduction. "How much can you eat? Are you a glutton?" The boy looked at him and Coby froze, wondering if the slip had been a mistake. To his relief, the boy just laughed.
"Most would say I am," he admitted. "I have room for a lot more, but fruit doesn't do much for me. My body is weird. I need some meat, but this will be enough until I make it to the next island. I might have to stock up here, though. I haven't eaten in over a day."
Coby frowned as he interpreted "stock up" to mean "steal. He squashed the rising disapproval. This ship was filled with ruthless pirates, and as ashamed as he was to admit it, he was one of them. He had no right to look down on someone who stole from scum.
"Why have you gone so long without eating?" Coby asked. The boy just shrugged.
"A day isn't really that long," he answered. Normally he would be dismayed at the prospect of not eating for that long, but at the moment his thoughts were wandering to a certain man he would meet up with on the island he was visiting next. "But since you asked, I was at sea and quickly ran out of food since I had no idea where I was going until I finally spotted this ship."
That surprised Coby. He should have guessed that the boy was a sailor, but the more sane part of his mind assumed he had somehow snuck aboard from the civilian ship that Alvida was about to purge. He remembered suddenly that a conflict would begin soon, and settled for one last question.
"Um, if you don't mind me asking, what was that thing you did back there? You knocked those guys out cold without lifting a finger." The boy smirked.
"Sorry. That's a secret. But you'll find out one day." Again with the vague responses. Coby nodded despite his lingering curiosity. Meanwhile, Luffy was internally wondering if he should just tell him. He didn't really feel like explaining the concept of Conqueror's Haki to someone who had yet to truly see the world. Even a small glimpse of its vastness might discourage the boy from pursuing his dream at this point.
"Oops," he said suddenly. "I forgot to introduce myself. Sorry." He stood up, and Coby nodded to convey his desire to know. He smiled widely and threw his hands up in the air. "I'm Monkey D. Luffy! The man who is going to become the Pirate King!" Coby's jaw hung loosely in response to the bold statement.
"Pirate King? Do you even realize what that means!?" he asked in shock.
"Yes," Luffy said simply. But Coby shook his head furiously.
"You're insane! Your desire is to stand at the top of this great age of pirates!" A hint of fear crept itself into Coby's voice at the thought of the boy he had unwittingly started to like dying a gruesome death. "Don't tell me you're going to the Grand Line! Are you after One Piece!?" The boy nodded, confirming his suspicion. Coby continued shaking his head. "It's impossible, Luffy! Give up now before you get yourself killed! I know I just met you and have no right to order you around, but I don't want you to die a premature death!"
Luffy's held back from bonking him on the head, if only because Coby had worked up the courage to shout at him, something he wasn't sure he would have the nerve to do after Luffy kind of overdid it with testing his will. Instead he just gave the boy a confident smirk. "Not likely. It will be a while before things actually get dangerous, but I'll be ready when they do. Even so, if I die, I die. At the very least, I will leave my mark on this world."
Coby looked awed. He probably assumed that Luffy meant he was going to make a name for himself, and while that was inevitable, Luffy was thinking more along the lines of impacting the lives of his crewmates.
Technically, he didn't know them yet, which felt weird, but it hadn't been difficult to come to the decision that he would recruit every one of them. Luffy was no saint; he wouldn't go out of his way to help people he didn't know if he had no direct reason to do so. But with people who he knew as his comrades, people that he knew were suffering and had such bright potential for both goodness and greatness, there wasn't much of a decision to make.
"I wonder if I can be like that." Coby's quiet voice pulled him out of his thoughts. "I wonder if I can live with no doubts, confidently fulfilling my ambitions."
Luffy shrugged. "No reason why you can't."
Coby's fists were clenched and started shaking. "I have a dream," he whispered. "It's nowhere near as amazing as yours, but I wonder if I can do it." He looked up to meet the focused gaze of Luffy, who smiled widely.
"Only you can answer that one!"
But Coby continued on, ranting as if he'd been discouraged, which Luffy thought was hilarious.
"No, I will do it! I will become a Marine! A great Marine who follows the code of justice to the end! And I will stop pirates from wreaking havoc on the innocent!"
Luffy's smile grew even wider. "Does that include Alvida?" It was a calculated risk, he knew.
Coby's eyes widened in fear before the determination flooded back into them stronger than before. He took a deep breath, and shouted, "I will capture Alvida!"
There was a sudden crash and Coby caught sight of a giant mace sticking out of the ruined wooden wall. "I was wondering where the hell you were while the others were attacking our target. And here I find you aiding a bounty hunter and entertaining thoughts of mutiny!"
Coby stared in horror at the still smiling boy. Did he do that on purpose? Why? What would his motive be? He had essentially just gotten Coby killed for revealing his traitorous thoughts, but that didn't mean Alvida would have mercy on him! What was he trying to do?
Alvida addressed Luffy directly. "And who do you think you are, planting thoughts of treason into my gullible cabin boy? Do you know who I am, brat?"
Luffy looked at her, bored. "The biggest whale in East Blue?"
All doubts vanished from Coby's mind. Luffy was definitely trying to get them both killed.
Luffy's thoughts were elsewhere. Wait...does Laboon count? Nah, he's on the other side of Reverse Mountain, so that's not in East Blue. I guess there might be whales bigger than her in the eastern seas, but I've never met them, so it's not like I have any proof. So as far as I'm concerned, she's the biggest. He mentally pictured a certain orange-haired girl commenting on the idiocy of his thought process before he snapped back to reality, just as Alvida's shocked expression melted away to make room for an enraged one.
Before she could compose herself enough to act, Luffy turned to Coby with the same bored expression. "What do you think, Coby? I guess there might be bigger whales out there…" he said.
Comprehension dawned on Coby's face. It was a test. He was to become a Marine. Marines could not simply bow their heads in the face of insurmountable power. Their job was to protect the world from injustice when no one else would. How could he ever be a Marine if he couldn't stand up to a single pirate?
That's what it's about, isn't it, Luffy? The resolve to put your life on the line. His eyes hardened and something shifted within him. He snapped. "The fattest bitch-ass whale from here to Loguetown! Iron Mace Alvida!" He shouted it at the top of his lungs.
Alvida wordlessly swung at the offending stain of a child with all her might, only for him to disappear from sight along with the bounty hunter. When her perception of reality caught up with what had just happened, she recognized that there had been a crash directly above her. She looked up to see a hole in the ship's deck. The shitstain of a bounty hunter was standing above deck with Coby sprawled down beside him in shock. He was casually taking down pirates who had reacted with hostility to his sudden interruption of their pirating. As they kept coming, he seemed to get slightly annoyed and his arms seemed to blur out of sight.
As Alvida climbed out of the hole he had made, she realized that all of her henchmen were now unconscious. The rational part of her brain told her to be wary of this boy, the same part that was ruthlessly stomped into submission by the part of her brain that desperately wanted to process the image of his bloodied body dead at her feet. She screamed in frustration as she jumped into the air and came crashing down behind the boy, swinging down with her mace. Coby's eyes widened. He didn't even have time to shout a warning before the iron mace came crashing down on Luffy.
And shattered upon contact with his head.
Alvida started to back away as her brain registered that perhaps she wasn't a match for this boy at all. These insinuations, which were normally silenced by the part of her brain that dealt with treasonous thoughts, seemed to be roaring through her mind all of a sudden, unable to be suppressed. She continued to back away until the boy disappeared from her sight once again. A fist collided with the back of her head, robbing her of her consciousness.
Coby watched as his preconceptions of the world were shattered right before his eyes. He knew Luffy was strong from what he'd shown so far, but to defeat the pirate that had plagued his existence for so long so effortlessly…it left him feeling oddly inadequate.
Luffy was frowning. He had meant to demonstrate the practical use of his rubber body, but his reflexes had chosen a much more sophisticated method of defense. He was so used to fighting New World pirates. Should he even try to explain what just happened to the awestruck boy? He decided against it. Devil Fruits were one thing. But he wasn't sure how he would explain something like Armament Haki to Coby so early on even if he wanted to. He was no Rayleigh. He sucked at explaining things.
Instead, he addressed another issue. "The Marines will be here soon. You can try to join them, but it would be suspicious in this situation. In fact, they might just arrest you."
Coby nodded sadly at that. It was an accurate assumption.
"Why don't you come with me for now? I'm going to a certain island to meet up with someone, but I honestly don't know how to get there." He laughed sheepishly while saying it. "But there's a Marine base on that island. It would be a good starting place for you." Coby smiled and nodded with enthusiasm.
It was then that Luffy realized he didn't have a boat. He had abandoned his to its fate at the hands of the whirlpool. The thought saddened him. It was no Going Merry, it hadn't even come close to developing a consciousness from what he could tell (although admittedly he wasn't exactly an expert on the subject). Still, a pirate should look after his ship when he can. He idly considered stealing the ship he was on while avoiding the Marines, but he didn't want to risk Coby being sighted as an accomplice. And anyway, he had a threat to follow through on.
He lifted his foot up above his head and brought it down in an axe kick. The effect was instantaneous. The ship's hull split right down the middle and it began to sink. Coby, who wasn't that surprised at this point, decided not to comment on the pointless destruction. The Marines would have sunk the ship anyway.
Wondering what he was going to do now, Luffy reached out with his senses and froze. His eyes widened. This presence...how had he missed it until now? A quick scan with his Observation Haki revealed who she was. For all her stealth skills, she couldn't exactly escape his sixth sense. Only someone with similar training could attempt that, and this girl had none…for now. Her aura was radiating fear. That was likely a panicked reaction to what she had just seen, which, knowing her, was everything.
It's good to see you again, Nami, he thought, as sadness and nostalgia welled up inside him in equal proportions. He grabbed Coby and nonchalantly jumped off of the ship and onto her boat.
Nami's eyes widened comically and she gasped. She had been planning to get away while she still had a chance, but he had found her somehow. This guy…he was dangerous.
"Hello," the boy greeted. "Sorry for the trouble, but we're kind of stranded. Would you mind giving us a ride to Shells Town? We have some business there."
Nami calmly assessed the situation. She knew Shells Town was on the same island as the 153rd Marine Branch. She was planning to go there herself to investigate a lead she had acquired. Perhaps it would be best to take this guy there to appease him long enough to get out of danger. He just single-handedly defeated a notorious pirate crew and trashed their ship. She had taken down one of Alvida's cronies herself, but only because she'd been spotted. She would never attempt something so outrageous and stupid. She wondered if this guy was a pirate, but decided against asking. She simply nodded in response to his request.
The obvious signs of fear Nami was showing saddened Luffy. Her faith in him had never faltered even a bit after the events of Arlong Park, so this was kind of difficult for him to digest. He didn't want Nami helping him out of fear, but he needed to meet up with his other crewmate as soon as possible. Gaining Nami's complete loyalty was a bitch the first time around, and he didn't blame her, but he wasn't at all deterred. He resolved to turn this fear into a deeply ingrained trust, and not just in him. He owed her that much.
Keeping the hurt off his face, he flashed her a smile and thanked her. This was his second chance. A new beginning.
Bring it on.
An 6/25/15: To those who have just begun reading this story, welcome, thank you, and above all, hope you enjoy it. It is also my hope that the edits I've made will prevent new readers from getting repelled by writing mistakes that are easy to fix but nonetheless make the chapter difficult to interpret. I'm sure you have better things to do than read my author's note though, so go ahead and click that next chapter button! Seriously, you know you want to.