Just a few things to note before we start... this is a female Luffy story where Luffy has eaten the yami yami no mi (dark dark fruit). The different fruit is because it's awesome, and I wanted to explore its and Luffy's potential this way. With this in mind, Luffy and Ace are not going to find East Blue very challenging, so there won't be too much time spent on the earliest parts of the anime/manga. I'll do my best to keep the everybody in character as much as possible but there are going to be some differences mostly to work with the others changes.
I respect that not everyone likes female Luffy/different devil fruit Luffy, but give it a go, and if you still don't like it that's fine as well. Having said that if you'd like to leave any feedback, drop me a review, I'd really appreciate it. Equally if you have any questions never hesitate to ask! Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy!
Ace stood on the edge of the cliff. The paper of Sabo's letter crumpling in his clenched hand.
I hope you're both okay. I know you will be, even though I worry about you. I've decided that I can't stay here, so I'm gonna leave for the sea early. I wish we could have sailed together. It would have been fun! When we're the freest pirates on the sea, we'll find each other again!
I wonder, Ace, which of us is the bigger brother? It might be strange but our family, the bond we share, is my greatest treasure. Luffy's powers may be strong, but she's still a weak cry baby. She's our little sister though, so watch over her for me.
Despite desperately trying to keep them in, the tears raced down Ace's face as he screamed in anguish. His only brother, and first real friend, had been stolen from him, and he would never get him back. Ace had never had anyone. He couldn't rely on the bandits, and Garp was away more than he was here. But he'd found Sabo, and Luffy had found them, and together they were a family. Gripping the letter to his chest Ace sunk to his knees with a silent promise. He may have lost his brother, but he would never let anything take away his sister. He couldn't lose her too.
As his sobs receded to small watery hiccups, Ace scrubbed the tears off his face and out of his eyes. Tears were for babies, and Sabo wouldn't want him to cry. Standing on slightly shaking legs, Ace turned to head back into the forest. He had to take care of Luffy.
Finding Luffy wasn't a difficult task. Predictable as ever, Luffy had run off to her favourite cliff face. Ace didn't try to mask his footsteps as he walked up beside where she was lying face down in the grass. He ignored the tendrils of darkness that flickered around her body, like they did whenever she was upset, scared or angry. Instead he punched her on the back of the head in an attempt to snap her out of it. Moving past her to stare at the sea, Ace kept his own grief out of his voice as he spoke.
"Stop crying Luffy. You're gonna lose control if you keep that up."
Luffy sniffled as she pulled Shanks' straw hat down harder on her head. Losing control meant scaring the people around her. Like when she almost hurt Makino and Shanks when she first got her powers.
Shanks' freaking out had freaked her out, causing her to slip into the 'Dark Space'. She was only there for a moment, but it was terrifying. When she came back to the bar, chairs and tables were broken all around. Shanks' crew was crowding the edges of the room, and Shanks was behind the bar, Makino pressed against the wall behind him. The 'Dark Space' was somewhere she never wanted to go again and she wasn't going to!
"I'm not going to lose control! I'm going to get stronger and stronger, and I'll learn how to use it until I never lose anyone ever again! Ace, promise me you won't leave me! Promise you won't die!"
Bonking her on the head a second time, Ace yelled at her, "I'M NOT GONNA DIE! YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S MORE LIKELY TO DIE!"
Ace took a calming breath to stop himself from hitting his sister again.
He continued quietly, "I promise I won't leave you either. There can only be one King of the Pirates... and... I'm going to be there when you make it to the top."
Luffy's head snapped up to look at Ace, her eyes wide in surprise. Ace had never acknowledged that she could achieve her dream. He always claimed that she was too weak, too much of a cry baby. She knew she could do it. That she would do it. But to hear Ace say it. To hear he wanted to go with her... a small smile tugged at the corners of her lips. That was like obtaining her ultimate dream.
"Sabo asked me to look after you. There's no way I'm gonna leave you on your own. Who would watch your back then?"
He paused, hoping that Luffy would realise that was he was saying was serious, "Listen Luffy, Sabo died without freedom. We're gonna make a lot of enemies, but together, no one will stop us from becoming the freest people on the sea."
Sitting up, Luffy rest her head on her knees. Tears were still dripping down her face, but she managed to reign in her Yami Yami no Mi powers that had been threatening to overflow.
"We're going to train every day until you turn 17. Then we'll finally be strong enough to set sail."
Firming his stance, Ace pressed his fists into his hips. Determination filled his body.
"Then we'll finally be pirates."
Luffy wandered quietly through the forest by herself. It was the first of January. It was the day that the darkness within Ace was at its strongest.
From what Luffy could tell there were two types of darkness within everyone. The first was the dark that represented the evil that each person harboured. For some it was only a small flicker, a bad thought, an impulse not acted upon. For others, like Bluejam, it flared like a beacon, a warning of true evil. The second type of darkness was that born from suffering and hurt. It was this type of darkness that threatened to consume Ace on the first of January, and just like every year, Ace had taken off by himself to spend the day alone in his pain.
Usually Luffy let him spend at least a few hours by himself, before she would crash into where ever he was and distract him for a while.
Today was different though.
Today Ace turned 17.
The age they'd initially agreed that they would sail out into the open sea and start their lives as pirates. Ace wasn't going. During the week leading up to his 17th, Ace had become increasingly withdrawn, causing Luffy to question her selfish desire to keep him with her.
Walking through the tree line, Luffy poured a small bottle of sake on Sabo's grave, as she did whenever she visited. Ritual completed, she sat herself down by Ace's side. The pair sat in a companionable silence, until Luffy found the courage to say what she needed to.
"You should go."
Ace turned to look at her, but she kept her eyes locked on the waves rolling towards the island.
"Oh yeah? And just who would keep you out of trouble then?"
"I don't always get into trouble!" Luffy huffed.
Raising his eyebrow at her, Ace folded his arms over his chest.
"Uh-huh. Sure you don't."
Jutting out her bottom lip, Luffy pouted, "Meanie Ace."
With a shake of his head, Ace got to his feet, offering a hand to Luffy.
"I promised I would stay with you, didn't I?" Ace asked rhetorically, "I don't break my promises."
-One year later-
Luffy was startled into consciousness by a punch to the head.
"Ow! What was that for?!"
"Is that how you greet your grandfather?"
Jumping to her feet Luffy glowered at Garp, "You hit me!"
Ace, who was nursing an equally sore bump, jumped to action before the old man could hit them again.
Linking his fingers through hers, the pair sped into the forest, both knowing that if they got caught before sundown, Garp would make them complete even harsher training.
"Luffy! Ace! Get back here!"
Six hours later the two teens slowed to a jog and then finally came to a halt. Ace collapsed against the base of a tree, resting whilst they could. Luffy remained standing, turning in a slow circle. Watching. Waiting. She stopped suddenly to focus on something through the trees.
"Is he coming?"
Luffy didn't answer but stared harder. There was something. A slight movement. It could just be– no.
"Run! He's almost here!"
In seconds Ace was up and they were once more running away from the crazy old man they had the misfortune of calling 'Grandpa'. They only had a few more hours to go. Twisting through the trees, Luffy took the lead, changing direction as it suited her. Left, right, right, back past Dadan's base, left, up into the trees, down, left, to the cliffs.
Bent at the waist, Ace and Luffy rested their hands on their knees as they gulped down much needed air. It was sundown. They'd done it. They'd made it.
Stretching her arms up to the sky, Luffy leant backwards, enjoying the full body stretch that pulled at her tense muscles. Finally having caught her breath, a growl rumbled from Luffy's stomach.
"Shishishi. Let's go hunt some dinner. I'm starving."
As Ace's stomach grumbled in agreement, the pair took off, this time at a much more leisurely pace, in the hopes of hunting down some much needed food.
Night had well and truly begun to fall by the time Ace and Luffy had managed to catch and cook their dinner. Luffy's eyes flicked up to scan through the trees, the firelight reflecting in her eyes as she locked onto her Grandfather's form.
Garp ambled towards the pair, just as the wild boar they'd caught was being taken off the fire. Giving his grandchildren an evaluating stare, Garp snagged a leg whilst he could. Luffy's stomach was a black hole, and Ace's appetite was not far behind. They'd done well in their training exercise today, but that wasn't why he was here. Ace had already turned 18. It was time.
"Looks like you're ready Ace. We'll sail to Marine Headquarters first thing tomorrow morning."
"I'M NOT GOING!"
Roaring to his feet, Garp's fist of love quickly connected with Ace and Luffy's heads. Not wanting to expose Luffy, to the old man's ire, Ace stepped in front of his sister, blocking her from Garp's reach.
"I'll join when Luffy joins. Not before."
Ace wrapped one arm behind him, gripping Luffy's wrist tightly to stop her from acting out. Garp narrowed his eyes, seeing the stubborn resolve that Roger had always had, staring back at him. He was not at all happy with this development. Clearly it had been a mistake putting these two together. Ace's first impression was vital to his success in the Marines. Something Garp wouldn't be able to achieve if he was dragging the boy behind him kicking and screaming for all he was worth. With a growl, Garp conceded to the demands.
"Fine. You can have three more years. But I expect you to be twice as strong by then!"
Ace stood stoically as he waited for Garp to stomp his way back to the harbour without him. Exhaling deeply, Ace let go of Luffy's wrist.
"Na, Ace?" Luffy questioned, "I don't wanna be a marine! I'm going to be King of the Pirates!"
Ace offered Luffy a sharp grin and scooped up the boar leg that he'd discarded at Garp's pronouncement, "Guess that means I'm never going to be a marine either."
Matching Ace's grin with one of her own, Luffy chuckled freely, "Shishishi! Gramps is going to be so mad!"
At that, the two D.'s began digging into their meal once more.
Ace and Luffy waved goodbye to the small gathering that had come to see them off. The farewell party consisted mostly of the bandits, as well as a few of Fushia town's people, including Makino and the Mayor.
"GOOD LUCK ACE! GOOD LUCK LUFFY!"
The calls from the bandits carried across the water, only outdone by Makino's well wishes.
"STAY SAFE, YOU HEAR ME LUFFY?! YOU TOO ACE!"
Meanwhile Mayor Woop Slap alternated between waving his cane in the air and pacing frantically.
"This is horrible. What will Garp say? Not one of them, but both of them! That's it! I'm retiring!"
Makino giggled at the Mayor's unfounded fears, and raised her hand higher as she waved goodbye to a 17 year old Luffy, and 20 year old Ace. It was the beginning of their grand adventure, and she wished nothing but the best for them.
Please let me know what you thought, I'd love to hear from you!