There's a checklist for One Piece self-insert fics.

Enter world, retaining consciousness of previous reality.

Ticky box, check. I was in Loguetown, East Blue, at some time before Hurricane Luffy was due to hit, because Smoker was still present in all his second hand lung cancer glory, distinctly not bitching about a certain rubber limbed pirate.

Acquire the powers of awesomeness without any real effort, aka Devil Fruits, Haki, Rokushiki, magical girl powers, other assorted depending on how viciously you wish to defile the canon.

Ticky box, check. I'd eaten a Paramecia fruit – fucking Sketch Sketch fruit, what the fuck – like the dumbass I am. Thankfully, the powers weren't hopelessly niche like Luffy's, but I certainly wasn't going to have something as stupidly flexible as Doflamingo's.

Join Straw Hat / Heart / Red Hair / Whitebeard / INSERT CREW HERE Pirates.

Ticky box blank. Ticky box hopefully stay blank, though the moment Luffy asked me – 'if' was the key word here, but I was the idiot who could bring drawings to life, so of course he's going to fucking ask –, I was entirely certain that I'd never escape.

Entering their orbit wouldn't be disastrous – heck, I was counting on it to figure out where the hell I was in the story – but joining wasn't exactly something I was going to put on my Christmas list.

Attain the love interest.

Ech. Ticky box blank. Tick box can stay blank. I don't know for sure if that's even my kind of deal, because I've never even thought about real interactable people that way. Maybe? Who even knows. The series was delightfully hands off on the subject, though there was more than enough to be annoyed with in other places.

I sighed and leaned back against the brick wall of a building before snorting. I'm a doodle human. Pfft. Like I wasn't already. Now it's just a superpower that requires prep time and art supplies. The fact that I was in possession of pretty much the exact same Devil Fruit I'd given the Mary Sue I had cooked up when I was fourteen wasn't lost on me either.

Oh, the universe and its kooky sense of humor. I wondered if any other of my less glamorous and long deleted ventures into self-indulgence would come back to bite me in the ass.

Maybe my mad scientist Hogback-hanger on would tase me if I ever ended up on Thriller Bark. Maybe Mercy D. Witt would kick me face first into a building while dressed like Lupin the Third.

Oh, sure, there was a three point five chance that my life wouldn't be shit, but this was me I was talking about.

Things were going to go to shit at some point and, if you were standing in the right place, it was going to be hilarious.

In spite of the universe's propensity to pour its boiling hot coffee over my head, I had a plan. Like the smartest plans, it's simple, flexible, and not so shiny that I can't throw it away the moment it becomes untenable.

My plan had three steps.

Step one, make some money.

Step two, get to the Baratie.

Step three, confirm position on timeline.

Yes, that was the plan. Depending on what I found out, I would make other plans.

If Sanji was on the Baratie without any sign of the Straw Hats, I would have a nice meal and go back to Loguetown and either wait for chaos to come my way or pull together enough funds to rinse and repeat.

If Sanji and the Straw Hats were on the Baratie, I would have a nice meal and probably get caught up in Krieg's nonsense. Then, depending on other factors, end up part of a pirate crew or heading back to Loguetown.

If the Baratie was in a damaged state and the Straw Hats absent, I would ask if it was possible to place an order and, if so, I would have a nice meal and return to Loguetown.

If the Baratie was undamaged yet sans a certain sous-chef, I'd have a nice meal and return to Loguetown. This seemed like the least likely outcome, since Smoker was still in town, but hey. Hedge all bets.

Any way you slice it, I get a top class dinner. It's a win-win-win.

Unless I get caught up in the Krieg mess and die.


I think I'll take that as motivation to keep filling my sketchbooks.

But back to the plan.

The Baratie is a popular place despite the roughness of the staff. It's popular enough to justify it being a stop for a Lougetown-based East Blue ferry service.

But, naturally, a ferry ticket costs money. As does a seat at a five-star ship-based restaurant.

So, step one.

Make some money.

Street art is an old and ancient practice. This does not mean the cops accept it.

"No, I do not have a license," I said for the third time, any remnant of nervousness washed away by my eternal hatred of 'The Man'.

The Marine looked less than impressed. "You need to purchase a license before street trading-"

Selling doodles that I cook up in literal minutes counts as 'street trading'. Incredible. "I'm doing this because I don't have any money."

"You need a license."

"And this license costs money, right? Money that I don't have?"


Bureaucracy at its finest. I fought the urge to face palm. "So basically, if I'm not working, I'm a layabout and an idler, but if I try to use my skills to earn money honestly, I'm in violation of local ordinance?"


Ugh. I force a pleasant smile and my voice into a sickly sweet service industry pitch. "Is panhandling against the law also? Just so we can skip another repeat of this situation. I'm sure you have better things to do with your time."

"Yes. Thank you for your consideration." With that, the Marine turned sharply on his heel and continued down the street.

I adjusted my glasses before rummaging through my spread out supplies, each drawing finding its way back into my sketchbooks and each pencil sneaking its way back into the pockets of my satchel. Organize, organize, tidy, tidy.

Every doodle is a potential weapon, another card up my sleeve. I'm not in a position where I can lose a single one without some kind of return, monetary or otherwise. And like hell I'm going to get arrested for littering.

I ignore the feeling of someone watching me until I hear measured steps – heavy, combat boots, big guy with long legs – slow and stop in front of me. I smell smoke, the kind of tobacco saturation that takes me back to an old, small town diner in the years before no-smoking was the rule rather than a concession.

I dip my head in deference, face hidden beneath the brim of my hat. No eye contact, no face to be memorized. Polite, pliant, and silent. That's what authority likes.

The sensation of inspection vanished as the measured steps resumed, this time away from me. He's seen what he's needed; a homeless person with no desire for trouble.

While I don't like the breakdown, it's not so far off the mark. Social anxiety, a trained fear of authority… Once I'm comfortable, and realize that I'm talking to people and not the faceless, nameless murder entity that my anxiety keeps screaming about, I'm funny. Sarcastic. Witty.

It just takes a bit. And people who don't register as authority.

I sighed as I finished packing up my stuff. While I probably could do a decent profit using my powers to do a street side song and dance, the attention it would wasn't worth it. Devil Fruits are flashy and, most importantly, unique. You couldn't show off those powers without providing the world with the means to ID you for the rest of your life.

Okay, maybe it would work in the boondocks where the locals had no idea what the hell kind of witchcraft you just busted out, but anywhere where the locals possess a modicum of common sense? No sell, even if you dressed it up like something else.

I stood up and started down the street. No particular destination was fixed in my mind, though my general path was towards the docks. Marine presence was looser towards the outskirts, meaning I just might be able to turn a quick buck there with my doodles. Or that I just might get mugged. Equal opportunities for good and bad to be had here.

Considering that Loguetown had not only overtaken nearly all of its original island, but was beginning to spread out into the ocean in places as people started taking architectural notes from Venice… or Water Seven, considering the world that I was in… the uneven saturation of Marines made sense.

It just wasn't practical to be everywhere at once, and it was probably only thanks to Smoker and his hardline ways that the patrols were as tight as they were now. Still, criminals still eked out an existence along the shadows.

"Hey! Watch it!"

I glanced up at the sound of a fight taking place on a higher level. I didn't see anything but the black suitcase that slammed me to the ground, face first.

"You fool, you lost the loot!"

"Me?" another voice screeched, "You're the one who threw it at me!"

"You shouldn't have dodged! That beri is coming out of your portion!"

"What? That was all the loot, you fuck up! Your portion included!"

"Fuck you!"

A gunshot rang out. I jumped to my feet, suitcase clutched to my chest.

"You stupid motherfucker! You'll call the Marines right down on us!"

"Already here," I heard Smoker growl from above.

I didn't hang out long enough to find out if there was a Marine version of the Miranda Rights, scuttling into the shadows and through the maze of streets towards the docks.

As soon as I had found an empty alley, I'd stopped to inspect my prize. I hadn't expected much. Maybe a few thousand at the tops. Certainly nothing close to the prize the Straw Hats had lost in Water Seven.

I was simultaneously right and wrong. Five hundred thousand beri had quite literally fallen into my hands.

The conversion rates between beri and American dollars hadn't quite solidified in my mind, but five hundred thousand is a very big number. Hell, I had just blown about two thousand on art supplies and it still wasn't quite real to me.

I'd ditched the suitcase, obviously. The shiny black lacquer stood out too much against my dull brown-grey-yellow-red color scheme and I preferred my hands free anyway. The money was sorted, small change – or what passed for small change in my beri-illiterate mind –in my pockets while the larger bills were tucked into a secure inner pocket of my satchel.

Down at the docks – the respectable, civilian docks, not the rough areas where pirates and other ne'er-do-wells arrived to the welcoming handcuffs of Smoker and his men –, I browsed the various ferry schedules.

Most were long term things, week long voyages that traced the far edges of East Blue. Cheaper than buying a ship and going through the process of learning all the relevant skills from scratch, I imagined, but not what I was looking for…


There it was. 500 beri and four hours – the board had a small note saying 'approx.' and 'two-way' – for the Baratie.

I smiled, internally clapping my hands together. Yay for one of my plans actually coming through.

On to step two.

About an hour into the ferry ride the smile slid off my face.

I was going to a nice restaurant. What if they had more than one fork? What if I had to pick the right wine to go with whatever I ordered? I don't know that kind of stuff. I don't even drink.

I am not prepared.

Oh god.

Sanji –

The Baratie was a five star restaurant, widely respected as one of the finest in East Blue. While walk-ins weren't uncommon – rather, the unpredictability of the sea, even in the relatively sedate East Blue made such a concept as 'reservations' unfeasible –, lone costumers were. The very nature of sailing called to teamwork, and anyone who knew the reputation of the restaurant and was willing to go that far out of the way for their food almost always came with company.

But there one was, quietly stepping in through the door and shyly asking if a reservation was necessary.

I traced the path of the young lady as she followed Patty to a small table near a window. Cute, brunette, short wavy hair, cute, glasses, shy – just look at the way she searched the room for a friendly face, it was adorable –, and did I already say cute? Well, it never hurt to think it twice.

But the young lady was clearly not Patty's type of clientele, not with the way that she was subtly cringing away from his unconvincing 'the customer is king' act. I snuffed my cigarette and with the same motion, plucked a menu from the holder near the register.

Time for Prince Charming to rescue a princess from a troll.

Coming to the Baratie was feeling like a mistake, despite it being the most important part of my three step plan to figuring out exactly what was going on.

Sure, plan was going alright – the patched hole in the roof and the sight of one Straw Hatted chore boy told me exactly where I was –, but the Baratie was a crowded place that came with standards and I was alone. Things are weirder when you're alone. Have a group of friends? Standards are much lower priority, as evidenced by the absolute madness going on over at the Straw Hat table, So much more comfortable, but also so much not happening right now.

I could feel the eyes on me, analyzing, finding me wanting…

I'd be more comfortable if I could wear my hat, scarf, and coat, but that's one of those restaurant taboos. No outerwear indoors. Just me; alone, exposed, and having a minor crisis.

Which is not being helped by Patty's entire violation of personal space routine or the creepy, plastered-on smile he's wearing while doing it. I was trying to look at anything but him, but staring at other costumers was rude. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. Damnation, damnation, an eternity in anxiety hell –

"Is this guy bothering you, miss?" a smooth voice – too smooth, the sort of articulation that precedes a pick-up line or a vicious putdown – cut in, followed by the light scent of tobacco. Not the overwhelming cloud that followed Smoker around Loguetown, but a thin reed of scent that brought back different memories. Waiting for absent parents outside school with the other unwanted kids, fellow weirdos and rejects who had their own habits. Smoking, hacky sack, and talking – grousing – about the latest whatever. Music, movies, manga…

I draw my mind out of reminiscence mode and I spare Sanji – couldn't be anyone else but him – a glance.

His hair's different. Ashy blonde, rather than the bright duck yellow I was half expecting, and against a light tan that hadn't ever materialized in the anime, the pale color stood out even more. What I didn't expect at all was the fact that he looks – and sounds, oh my god – like the bastard child of Leonardo DiCaprio and Steve Buscemi… with his own legendary swirled eyebrows attached.

Stevenardo DiSchemi.

Oh my god.


"I wasn't asking you, Patty." Sanji's visible eye slid back to focus on me and his expression slipped smoothly into what he probably thought was a suave smile. It half was. "How may I assist you, miss?"

Put on the spot, I flinched and broke eye contact again, "Ah, I… ah… I was hoping to place an order?" I asked hopefully. Potential professional pirate here. Totally capable of letting people know I mean business. This isn't going to hell at all.

"Well, this is a restaurant after all… Patty, don't you have other customers to poison?"

Patty's temper was near tangible as he slowly turned to leave. "Go fu- dge yourself. Yeah, go fudge yourself, Sanji," There was a final muttered, "shitty sous chef," before the cook vanished into the kitchen.

Sanji ignored him, instead handing me my menu gracefully. "What's a lovely young lady doing dining alone?"

Spying. Making a fool of myself. "Personal treat," I said with a little smile, "I haven't been having the best week, so I figured I'd dip into my funds a bit and have a top class meal."

That seemed to be the exact right thing to say to take the suave smirk a notch towards something brighter. "Well, you came to the right place, so long as I can keep Patty away from your plate."

"I heard that, jackass!"

Sanji ignored him. "So, anything catch your eye?"

The prices, the presence of French, which I can't read, and even more stuff I – coming from a family where Applebee's counted as fine dining – cannot even imagine. "Ah… I don't know what to possibly pick. What do you recommend, Sanji?"

"Well, I happen to know that there is a wonderful soup on today's menu," he answered in what might have been a playfully conspiratorial tone, "one that the sous chef himself prepared –"

A glass smashed dramatically and a wave of terror washed over the restaurant. Of course shit would start the moment I sat down for dinner. Fucking –

"There's a battleship coming this way! And it's flying Krieg colors!" someone yelled.

The room practically exploded into panic as customers scrambled for the exits and whatever else passed for 'safety' on the high seas. The cooks pooled into the main floor, panicking over the imminent arrival of one of the most feared men in East Blue.

Sanji was nowhere to be seen.

I sighed and pulled out a sketchbook and flipped open to an unfinished drawing. So much for lunch.

Sanji –

The sensation of imminent disaster was as thick as the fog around the Baratie, but I had a responsibility as a cook to attend to first. Soup for the young lady – the bowl was already in my hand – and then the pirates.

If they were in as bad shape as Gin had been when he'd limped through the front door, they'd be here for food as well. Being pirates, they would be able to pay and, if they were smart, they would.

Unless Patty or one of the other hotheads decided to get ahead of themselves and start a fight.

Hopefully they wouldn't be that stupid. Krieg had a reputation and a reputation didn't come around without something behind it, even if the man wasn't in top form.

Almost as an afterthought, I added a bit of garnish to the soup. A splash of color without much substance, but with a clear broth soup, it was an important touch.

The soup was probably the cheapest item on the menu, save for maybe a glass of water or the breadsticks, but one didn't mention 'dipping into my funds' and 'personal treat' when they were rolling gold.

Maybe I'd give her something else that was a little more substantial for free. It'd be pushing the line a bit with Zeff, pulling that while giving Nami – wonderful, beautiful sunset goddess Nami – free meals for the last week, but the girl – oh, crap, I don't even know her name – was so cute.

Well, all girls were cute – that was a simple fact of the universe – but still, there was a cute girl depending on me! That was enough to get any red-blooded male fired up.

I walked back out into the dining area, ignoring the overturned furniture and sudden absence of customers. It happened with the softer crowds, if the pirates coming in had a reputation, and the fact that it was the Krieg Pirates coming in had only made more leave.

The girl was still there though, a sketchbook in front of her as she occasionally stole glances out of the window. Her attention snapped to me – I hadn't been that loud, had I? – as I came closer to the table.

"Your soup, my lady."

She blushed slightly as she pushed her sketchbook across the table. "Sorry. I... need to do something with my hands when I'm anxious."

"Oh, there's absolutely no problem with it. We have worse behaved cooks manning the kitchen, believe me." I looked at the drawing, seeing the sweep of a black serpent with only the tiniest crescents of glittering gold, blue, and silver ink etched scales – gel pens? Cute! – giving away the three-dimensionality of the subject. "You're very talented, miss…?"

"I practice," she said with a shrug before blinking, "um, I'm… you can call me Laine."

She took a sip of my soup and I stopped thinking about pirates and names and cute.

I didn't breathe.

She looked up at me and smiled.

"It's delicious."

Yes! Yes yes yes yes yes! Take that, shitty geezer. A cute girl likes my cooking! Not that other cute girls didn't like my cooking to begin with, but she liked my own, carefully developed over the years of you kicking my ass for every mistake, recipe!

Can you smell that, you old ass-cracker? That's the sweet stench of victory!

"Hello? Earth to Sanji? Are you alright?" the girl- Laine, Laine! – asked. Ah, what a cute frown!

I spun in place again– oh wait, I was doing that already? Huh, victory was more exciting than I'd thought it would be. "I'm absolutely fantastic, my lady, with your praises ringing upon my humble ears–"

"Sanji! Stop flirting already!" Zeff snapped from the staircase, "The Krieg Pirates are about ready to knock on the door! The least you can do is help pull up the welcome wagon."

Fucking- "I'm on it! Shitty geezer." I turned back to Laine with a smile, "I'll protect you from the pirates, miss!"

"Worry about yourself before me," she replied, that cute frown still on her face, "You can't afford to get distracted during a fight for your life."

Such concern! Cute!

I don't think he heard a word I said.

I fought the urge to facepalm, instead picking up my soup bowl to slurp down the delicious broth.

So much for manners, I thought, wiping my mouth before I pulled my sketch book back towards me and drew in the last details of the snake. There were other finished drawings, but this one just felt the best. Fight a poisoner with poison.

Outside my small window, the Krieg Pirates' sole remaining ship ground to a halt.

I was half tempted to whistle. Mihawk had done a number on it – one stroke had nearly bisected the ship near the prow, though the thing was just barely hanging together –, though there was other damage that couldn't possibly be from a sword. They had to escape through the Calm Belt, if they'd been coming from the Grand Line, so maybe there was damage from Sea Kings.

Or maybe Mihawk had done all of it and I simply was incapable of wrapping my mind around what a skilled swordsman was really capable of unleashing.

Maybe it was like cutting steel, except instead of listening to the metal, you listened to the wind, finding the exact angle to catch the air so the pressure could be turned into a thrown stroke. Wasn't that how the Wind Scar was explained?

Any thoughts on the subject of swords and anime physics were shoved to the back of my mine as a huge thump echoed through the restaurant. Metal jangled before being followed by another heavy thump.


A dragging noise.





Footsteps. Big man, bigger than Smoker, heavier than sin, but tired. Unable to pick up their feet all the way, instead dragging their soles to the next step.

Krieg wore armor. Heavy steel armor, loaded with weapons and other dirty tricks. He was too stupid – or too paranoid – to take it off, even though he was literally on the edge death by of starvation and dehydration. Considering that he was here to start shit, maybe it wasn't so stupid, but the entire set up was idiotic on his part.

His men would require days, if not weeks, of care to be in any kind of fighting shape, his only path of retreat was unwieldy, and there were too many unknown factors to account for.

Yes, Krieg was one of the strongest pirates currently in East Blue. But that was because he strategized. He manipulated expectations. He took blatant advantage of the rules of combat.

Logically, the fact that he had that reputation for playing dirty meant that any response would gradually grow less and less lenient until the fist of the Marine over-watch came down to squash him like the metal-plated bug he was, regardless of any white flag the man might raise.

One on one didn't suit the man.

But Krieg did seem the kind of moron to believe his own hype. He'd start shit, try to establish what little edge he had over the Baratie crew.

I continued inking my drawing, quietly pushing my power into it as I went.

Given the privilege of future knowledge – useless as it might soon become – I wouldn't be caught off guard.

The pen nib squeaked and the drawing twitched.

Shh. Not yet.

Sanji –

A sucker punch.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I shouldn't have expected less from a man named 'Foul Play'.

Did I regret feeding the man? No. I knew what it was like to starve. To feel death raking its bony fingers up and down your insides as your body burnt itself up just to keep it at bay for another minute. I wouldn't let another person suffer that, even if they were the worst creature in the world.

But – the thought was echoing through my mind as Krieg drew his fist back, the world slowing to a molasses crawl – I really should have taken a step back.


Something black flashed out of the corner of my eye before shooting past me. It wrapped around Krieg's arm, a long black tail – scales, smooth blue-black scales that shone gold and silver at the edges – pushing me back as it wound its way up the pirate's arm, its head rearing back next to Krieg's head to show a mouthful of needle fangs.

Gin stared, as surprised by the sudden appearance of the snake as I was. "Krieg, you said you wouldn't…"

Krieg sat frozen, only his eyes moving as they panned the length of the massive snake coiled around his arm, its own unblinking eyes – molten orbs of gold and silver that would have glowed in the dark– locked on his face.

"I say a lot of things, Gin." the pirate growled between his teeth, not looking away from the snake, "You've served under me long enough to know better." The fingers of Krieg's free hand twitched.

The snake had been thrown. What the hell kind of person threw snakes at people? Not that I wasn't appreciative for the intervention, but still. Snakes? Where had it even come from?

"I'd suggest leaving slowly and peacefully, Krieg," Zeff said levelly, apparently unimpressed by the fucking ten foot serpent that had deadlocked the entire room, "Pirate armada or not, I don't think manpower counts for shit against the venom of a Grand Line snake."

"Yes," Laine said from where she stood right beneath the stairs, light glinting off her glasses, "that's just one of the incredibly deadly vipers known to inhabit the first half of the Grand Line. The process is rather slow and painful, as you see, it paralyzes every muscle, including the diaphragm, while insuring that you retain awareness throughout the entire ordeal."

Wait, why was she explaining it?

"Can you imagine that?" Zeff continued calmly, "In case you don't speak medical, that means you stop being able to breathe on your own. You get to suffocate slowly, completely aware of your impending death without any hope of doing anything about it. Some end for a wannabe king, eh?"

A bead of sweat dripped down Krieg's forehead. "Call it off," he growled between his teeth.

"I'm sorry?" Laine asked.

The snake flicked its tongue – silver, bright white flashing silver – into Krieg's ear.

"I said, call it off!" Krieg said louder, "I'll leave peacefully!"

The snake uncoiled with liquid smoothness, the lights playing gold-blue-black-silver across its scales as it slithered across the white tiles. The other staff jumped back from it as it wound its twisting path to coil in a lazy loop around my feet, molten eyes still staring down the pirate it had kept from knocking my block off.

The hell kind of snake was this?

Krieg took a shaky step back before steadying and gazing around thoughtfully. "This is a nice ship, even if it does have a pest problem. I think I'll take it. It's your choice, old man," Zeff looked up, with his permanent 'you talking to me, y'little shit?' scowl still etched on his face, "whether it's as a gift or spoils of war."

He fixed his gaze on me, ignoring the snake at my feet. "And you. You're a bleeding heart weakling, but I can use you. I've got one hundred men still breathing, all about to drop dead from hunger and dehydration. You feed and water them, I just might overlook your disrespect and let you and your little friends live."

The disrespect of saving you from starvation without the expectation of repayment. The disrespect of not receiving your generous punch to the head. The disrespect of being defeated by a wild animal.

The snake slithered up my leg, around my waist, and over my shoulder, not in the stranglehold that it had put on Krieg, but just in a loose coil, ready to strike should the pirate get any other brilliant ideas about sneak attacks.

I'd preferred it if my guardian angel had been a beautiful lady on pearly white wings, but there was a saying about beggars and choosers.

I tucked my hands into my pockets and turned my back on the pirates.

"Hey, where do you think you're going?" Patty asked.

"To the kitchen." I pulled a cigarette out of my pocket and lit it. "I've got one hundred men to feed."

There would have been more resistance to that, I think, if not for the snake casting glances around from its place on my shoulder. If it's as deadly as Zeff and Laine say, they're right not to want to aggravate it, but somehow, I doubt it.

As soon as I cleared the kitchen door, the snake unraveled, pooling into a black pile right at the edge of the threshold, eyes watching me as I moved between the stations.
"You're pretty smart for a reptile," I remarked as I packed up the first set of bento, "Are you secretly the devil in disguise, here to collect the souls of Krieg and his lackeys?"

It didn't say anything, only the slightest flicker of its silver tongue moving against the inky black of its scales.

"You're welcome to it. After they're fed, I couldn't care less."

Silence, save for the sound of my own work.

"Does that seem cold? I don't think you're in a position to judge, being a snake."

The snake hissed.

"Yeah, yeah. It's two-faced, but even if I can't stand to let someone starve, I'm not going to let Krieg shit all over the old man's treasure. I owe him too much for that." I twisted the frying pan in my hands around, flipping the rice over in a single clean movement. Years spent in this very kitchen mastering that little trick. "I'll save their lives and end them in the same day if it comes down to it."

The last bento finished, I packed them up in a sack.

The snake watched me leave, still silent as it waited.

Under the gaze of everyone present, I set the bag down in front of Krieg and flicked the ash off the end of my cigarette.

"Here's your order. Food for a hundred men. Now fuck off."

Once Krieg ducked out of the restaurant doors – his words were 'temporary period of grace' but that was poor cover for the fact that he'd cut and run – leaving Gin behind, trembling on the floor, I let the tension run out of my shoulders. A momentary reprieve and slightly less damage done than I remembered, all thanks to a properly placed snake.

Krieg might have suspected that I had something to do with it, and Zeff almost certainly knew – the old guy had gotten far enough through the Grand Line to call the first half 'Paradise' without the use of a Devil Fruit, there was no way an upstart like me was going to trick him with a 'mystery spring loaded snake' – but otherwise, nobody else had an inkling on the true origins of my Inkling –

"Hey, did you see that cool snake?"

Fucking –

I jerked back from Luffy – dammit, it would be Luffy –, who was hanging over the railing, big brown-black eyes staring deep into my soul like… like that was an acceptable way of saying 'hello'. For all I know, that is the traditional Monkey family greeting. Besides eating other people's food, breaking through various important parts of buildings, and getting into fist fights.

Really, the staring was probably the best of the possible options here – wait, this was conversation time.

"Y-yeah. I did. It was very… snaky."

Perfect dismount. Ten for ten landing. Totally didn't sound like Coby 2.0.

"Oh." Luffy blinked at me owlishly as he turned his head around at angles impossible for anyone that wasn't made of rubber. "I thought it was your snake."

Fucking dammit you're not that observant, I call bullshit – "It seems to be Sanji's snake now," I said levelly.

"But it was your snake, wasn't it?"

Goddamn motherfucking Zeff is everyone going to push my stress buttons with this sneaking up on me from behind thing going to be a running gag or what – "Can I help you or is this 'Give Someone A Heart Attack' day?" I asked sharply.

"Work on your situational awareness and you won't get scared by people breathing," Zeff said, folding his arms over his chest. "Just because I played along with your act doesn't give you a free pass to bring wild animals onto my ship."

I sighed, flipping open my sketchbook. "It's not a wild snake. I made it." I pulled a doodled sparrow from the page, the small watercolor picture becoming a full-sized bird in the palm of my hand. "Devil Fruit. Tastes like regret, works like magic."

The avian Inkling shook itself, puffing out like a dandelion before giving a small peep.

Luffy clapped his hands, eyes sparkling at the display. "So cool! Do a robot!"

"Later." I placed the bird back on the paper and shut the sketchbook, returning the drawing back to its usual 2D reality. "Anything I can imagine and put to paper, I can create. Such is the power of the Sketch Sketch whatever."

"Cute," Zeff said flatly, "instead of a wild animal, there's a Devil Fruit creation made of ink and other inedible crap in my kitchen. It better not make a mess, kid, or you're going to be bussing tables for a year."

I gestured, and the black streak of my ink snake wound its way over to the register to coil on a small shelf, silver tongue darting out to blow a raspberry at the old chef. "Not in the kitchen, old man."

"Smartass. Backbone takes a minute to materialize with you, does it?" He made a sound that registered halfway between a cough and a barking laugh.

Fuck you and your being right. I can see where Sanji gets his bitchy side. "We can pick at the flaws in my personality after we get the tin plated asshole off your porch, alright?" I said, "I'd ask if anyone had a plan, but I think 'don't get killed' is about the sum total of that right now."

"Well, besides 'beat up the other guy', that's the only plan you'll ever need," a voice cut in. Low, smug, a thrumming undertone of excitement in the face of a coming fight. Hello, Roronoa Zoro.

"And that's why you end up cut to shreds by every single swordsman you fight," Nami – the lilting voice, playful but alert, could only be her – replied.

"You've only seen me fight three times."

"Watching you get shanked by Buggy was more than enough," the navigator said flatly.

"Devil Fruits don't count!"

"Forget it. I'm going back to the Merry."

Luffy waved past me. "Hi guys!"

"Hey Luffy!" Usopp – process of elimination, but also sounding much younger and less booze soaked than Zoro – chirped.

I turned to look at the Straw Hat crew - well, three out of four, anyway - and memorized them.

Zoro is, unsurprisingly, built like a tank. His green hair is weirder in person, but it's actually close to the color assigned to it in the manga color spreads, and there are a multitude of little crisscrosses and slashes of pale scar tissue running across the darker tone – his post-time skip design was as white as sour cream next to the much deeper copper tones available here – of his skin.

Luffy's a shade darker, a head shorter, and so much more compact than Zoro. If Zoro was a beeftank of layered muscle, Luffy was a braided rubber band. His own scars were much less varied than the swordsman's, though the one on his face was an ugly, painful looking thing that, combined with my own memory of how the little idiot had gained it, made me cringe just to think about.

Usopp's hair is an explosion of curls, contained only just by his bandana and goggles – not the ones I was half expecting, because I just remembered that those come later – and his nose isn't as weird as I had expected. Really, it was just a nose, just… nosier, if that was the way to describe it. He's the same color as Luffy – despite the disparity between their pallets in the anime – but where Luffy I suspected it was half of a natural tan, Usopp's didn't strike me as anything less than that which he was born with.

Anime based reality, despite making sense and actually following understandable logic – I'd miss that once I hit the Grand Line, wait, what the hell was that thought –, was so weird compared to actual anime.

My thoughts were interrupted by a finger poking my face. "I found another person for our crew!" Luffy declared.

"Is this another Gaimon thing?" Zoro asked.

"I'm still not entirely sure that actually happened," Usopp muttered before adopting a more confident stance and pointing a finger at me. "So! What sort of skills do you bring to the table, miss…?"

"Laine." "She's a doodleman!"

I glanced at Luffy. "Doodlewoman, please." I looked back the rest of the crew and shrugged in a way that I hoped was cool and nonchalant. They're not that intimidating, not when I have the mental imagine of all of them wearing some goddamn stupid things. Thank god for filler and movies. "Devil Fruit bullshit."


Luffy nodded so fast, he might have given himself whiplash if he didn't have a rubber spine. "Yeah, she made a bird and she has a really big, really cool snake!" He turned back to me. "Can you do the robot now?"

Ugh. Fine. I opened my sketch book, turning to a blank page. It didn't have to be complicated, it was just a demonstration of my power. Nothing big, I reminded myself as I sketched out a square little robot. I reached out…

Sanji walked around the corner. "What's going on?"

…and I almost dropped the tiny robot that I had just pulled out of the book.

"Domo Chumbly Rooombaaaaaa!" the tiny robot screamed in a high pitched warble.

Oh my god.

"So cool!" Luffy declares as he takes the robot out of my unresisting hands.

A whole new shade of red is going to have to be invented to describe my face right now.

"Okay. That is kind of cool," Usopp conceded.

"It's pint-size," Zoro said.

I sank to my knees.

Kill me now.

There was a mighty yell from outside. Oh, great, the pirates were attacking.

Prayer answered. Welcome to hell.

Author's Notes

So I'm finally trying One Piece fic again.

New character (more blatant self-insert type), with powers built using a Jumpchain and the powers of the random number gods.

Hopefully this will go well and you'll all enjoy it.