Author's Note: So many other fanfics that I really should not start a new one right now? Check. I did anyway? Check. Fanfic is a gratuitous self-insert, with real names tweaked as to avoid needless Internet searches? Check. Author isn't the owner of One Piece, and is not using this fanfic for any sort of monetary gain? You know it, baby.
Let's do this!
Chapter 1: ROB's Really Get On My Nerves
The red-hot sun smashed down through the cold waves of winter wind resiliently in south-eastern Ohio on the afternoon of Friday, December the Thirteenth. This created a unique mixture of the sensations of both warmth and cold against my neck as I stepped out of my car with an annoyed huff. My body shivered unconsciously, and I straightened my back. It felt good to stretch after a long seven hours of sitting in school desks all day, learning senior-level Calculus and Physics. The muscles in my back eased out of their stiff tension and breathed deeply.
Unfortunately, this also had the rather disappointing result in loosening my fingers as well as my back, and causing me to drop my school computer case (every student from grades 9-12 were now assigned these crappy Dell laptops) right onto my winding gravel driveway.
I slumped in defeat. "Man, this day can't get any w - -" I froze mid-sentence, realizing exactly what I'd been about to say. "Nononono, no way am I finishing that! I've read and watched way too much stuff to be tricked into tempting fate like that."
A moment passed as I nervously waited, the biting December wind blowing my precious black leather coat in the breeze. When nothing suspicious happened, I let out a sigh of relief and started the walk up to my house, a nicely sized two-story, white and unassuming, that my dad and grandfather had worked on together. Many of my classmates commonly thought I was rich because of how considerably huge it looked for such an admittedly hick community, but this belied our income, which was really quite average. I supposed that my family just liked to go the extra mile.
That being said, this day had been a particularly bad one as far as the average highschooler's went. Someone had left gum on my chair, which I had then sat in, during Second period; I had misplaced my Calculus homework, which had been regarding derivatives and their uses in real-world situations, and therefore was unable to turn it in for Fourth period; and a lunchroom-wide food fight broke out during Seventh period, for which I was blamed despite the fault laying on my best friend who sat across from me. I'd ended up accepting the punishment simply because I wasn't the kind of guy who'd rat out their friends, but of course, that meant my parents had been called about my "poor lunchtime conduct," as well as the fact that I had acquired an in-school suspension.
All in all, it really was not my day. I supposed I should feel lucky that I hadn't accidentally ran into the infamous Crazy Biker Lady, who rode her bike down my route back to school daily, rain or shine or freezing cold snow, and wearing dark clothes, no less! I mean, who rides a bike in dark clothes in the snow flurries of mid-December!?
An annoyed sigh escaped my lips as I reached the side door to my house, grasped and turned the brass knob, and pushed it open, my computer case bouncing painfully against my leg. I dropped both said computer case and my backpack on the floor next to the door, shut it, and started to kick off my shoes without untying them.
"Welcome home," called my mom from her and Dad's ground-floor bedroom.
I winced. "Thanks. Listen, about that food fight - -"
"I don't want to hear it, Evan Joseph Johnson. You're eighteen now. You shouldn't be pulling shit like starting food fights in the middle of the school day. That's just unacceptable. You're grounded from everything except your laptop; bring all other electronics out of your room and give them to me immediately."
Well, shit. Looks like Fate was going to give me hell whether I tempted her or not.
Heaving an even more annoyed sigh, I ground my teeth as I stomped over to and up the steps to my room. From experience, I knew that anything I could try to say to argue my case would only amount to Mom getting more pissed, cutting me off before I could continue, and grounding me even harder, or simply misconstruing things and grounding me even harder anyway. She was a good person, but not all that great a listener in stressful situations.
Muttering under my breath about stupid parents and stupid best friends, I maneuvered across a slowly growing pile of dirty laundry strewed across my floor and found myself before my desk. On it sat several items: a three-ring binder filled with unused paper, for doing homework; a notebook filled with various ideas, for keeping plotlines and story ideas; and a magazine holder, filled with not magazines, but other notebooks and various items. Taking up center stage were my laptop, 3DS, and iPod, my three most treasured possessions on this great Earth. As according to my Mom's instructions, I snatched up the latter two items and made my way back downstairs, barely holding back a withering glare as I came into my parents' bedroom.
"There you go," I grumbled, setting the electronics on a cabinet.
"Thank you. Your attitude has been worsening recently, and it's no doubt because your nose is stuck in those stupid things all the time. You won't be getting them back until I see some improvement."
Despite this statement, my Mom, a chocolate-brown haired woman in her early fifties, was herself staring at her iPad. I rolled my eyes. She had no idea of the hypocrisy she was spitting out. Lately, all I ever saw her doing was talking with friends on Facebook, even more so than present-day teenagers would. She went about everywhere taking pictures, only to upload them to her page, and chat non-stop about them with her friends. Her brown eyes fixated unblinkingly upon this social black hole, she lifted a hand to shoo me out of her room. I gritted my teeth and stomped out, barely able to contain myself from shouting at her to follow her own advice.
Fifteen minutes later found me with a full belly and a much calmer countenance, sitting in front of my laptop. Eating a bowl of homemade pot roast tends to make you feel much better. I cracked my knuckles, itching to get some writing for my One Piece fanfiction done. Writing always made me feel better when I was down, and lately I'd been feeling worse and worse about myself. Grinning as I opened up Google, keyed in my go-to fanfiction site, and accessed my home page, I scrolled the mouse over to my most recent series.
Just as I had entered a new chapter, typing an author's note, a message popped up on my computer: 1 New Email from All-Seeing-Author .
I blinked. A PM?
Sliding the mouse over to the notification, I clicked on it and brought up the email. It was a PM… and a bit of a strange one at that.
Having a rough time? it read. Not anything else, just that.
Blinking, my fingers flew across my keyboard. It's been a kinda meh day, I replied after a few other selections. How did you know? …Are you in my class?
My finger hit send. Surprisingly, barely a moment passed before the next message arrived: No, nothing like that. I'm simply an… interested third party.
I typed back with a frown. That sounds ominous.
Ha! You worry too much. Again, the reply was immediate. My frown deepened as I read on. Actually, I was thinking I could be of service to you. I believe I have a good proposition for you… that is, if you'd be willing to hear me out.
Grinning slightly at that, my fingers danced across the keys, as light as feathers. Well, Mr. All-Seeing Author, I doubt I can actually hear it since this is just a PM, but I'm always happy to take fan requests. What is it?
It's an adventure filled with pirates, Marines, and general Oda insanity. You in?
I hesitated momentarily. I already had a lot on my plate as far as fanfiction series went, and while I'd be happy to write a one-shot for those who desired it, full-on stories like what it seemed this All-Seeing Author fellow was suggesting might be too much to handle for me on top of what I already had put out. That being said, I could use all the fans I could get…
Feeling slightly nervous, I sent back the fateful message: ...I'm in.
My eye sight went static-y for a moment, like old eighties movie footage. I grasped my stomach in sudden pain as a wave of nausea swept over me. A dull headache throbbed into existence, growing stronger and stronger with each passing second. On the screen, a new message popped up, the final one I'd be getting for a long, long time…
Ah, I forgot to mention. This time, you're the main character.
In the final moments before my headache overtook me, I thought, 'Whoever this damn All-Seeing Author is… I'm going to find him, and I'm going to…'
Before I could finish the meme, I passed out.
Relaxing on the chair in front of the computer screen, the All-Seeing Author interlocked his fingers and sat back in satisfaction. It felt good to give people what they secretly wished for, and the fact that it was without their knowledge felt all the better. Being a troll, it decided, really was the best occupation. And omnipotent beings could afford to troll as many people as they could want.
It went by many names: Calypso, the Bastard Random Omnipotent Being, Jerry. "All-Seeing Author" wasn't really its full name at all, but rather a new pseudonym it was particularly proud of. It had chosen it when looking for a new unknowing fanfiction author to make a game out of, and had indeed created its most recent account on ffn using it.
Now, then, it thought, smirking. What should I do next? Hm... it would be fair to warn dear Evan's fans of his sudden departure...
Another important note about omnipotent beings: being omnipotent, they had the ability to hack into anything they wanted to, seeing as they had all the knowledge in the world. Currently, the All-Seeing Author decided to make use of this fact. It cracked its knuckles, leaned forward, and smirked as it hacked into Evan's fanfiction account, accessed his home page, and started to write a new chapter:
I am deeply sorry, but due to unforeseen circumstances and a certain All-Seeing Author, I must inform you that I find myself unable to continue writing this story for the time being. Know that I am doing fine, and may one day return with many more ideas due to this sudden adventure, but until then, I must overcome the challenges I am faced with...
Waking up in the morning was always a task and a half, but that time, it felt like it took far more of an effort than usual. My head felt like somebody had hired little monkeys to jump around inside of it and crash cymbals obnoxiously for eons. I felt very comfortable laying there on my grassy bed, the room nice and comfortably warm…
Chills ran up my spine. Something very uncanny was going on. I never got headaches unless I was sick, my bed was certainly not grassy, and my mom always kept the house at a maximum 67 degrees!
My eyes shot open, and I immediately regretted it.
"Ah, dang it, who turned on the lights…" I moaned, my eyes seared by bright light. I took a moment to blink away the shimmering yellow spots. Once my vision fully repaired itself, I stared.
Because I most certainly did not go to sleep in a marshy valley every night, yet exactly that was what I saw.
A vast expanse of vibrant grass, dotted here and there with shallow pools of water, stretched out at my feet. About two football fields away, a forest of trees I couldn't identify - - hey, I was no biologist! - - sprung out of the ground like fingers reaching towards the sky, no doubt thriving on the wetlands. The tree line was still and quiet, although the sounds of forest animals filtered into my ears from farther away. I must have been in a salt marsh, because the air smelled of sea water.
"Okay, okay, so what salt marshes exist in the United States?" I thought aloud, folding my arms in deep consideration. "Let's see… there's Florida… But I've been there a lot, and this place doesn't really feel warm enough for that… ummm…"
Crap. Was there any other salt marshes than Florida?
Uhhhh… Mississippi, maybe? Heck, I don't know geology.
Well, whoever had kidnapped me, because that was certainly what must've happened, didn't seem to be around now, so the best thing that I could do would be to find civilization and figure out what the hell was going on. That being said, what exactly had lead to these circumstances? I was feeling kind of tired, and couldn't quite remember anything past driving home from school in the middle of a freezing day. I hummed as I wracked my brain. Just what had brought me into these circumstances?
My feet began moving themselves as I thought, an unconscious movement powered by my decision to discover where I was. I had no real way of knowing where to go since no paths or roads were in sight, but I wasn't really thinking about where I was going. When I actually realized that I was moving, I realized that I'd been heading near the forest.
An apple tree reached out of the ground before me, as different from the other trees as mountain and valley. It stood out with a strange air of importance. The air around it seemed to be different, more mysterious somehow, a kind of mist clinging to the tree branches. I paused before it, tilting my head as I regarded it curiously. What was an apple tree doing way out here in the middle of nowhere, when no other tree in sight was a fruit-bearing tree but just a normal one? The strangeness of the apple tree momentarily brought me out of Memory Lane.
As I watched, a single apple dislodged itself from its branch and tumbled through the air, bouncing off the ground and rolling at my feet. I looked down and blinked at it.
The apple was unlike any I had ever seen in my life - - and apples were one of my favorite fruits. It was somewhat diamond-shaped, which felt extremely unnatural for an apple. And instead of a red, yellow, or green color, the apple, whose skin was covered in swirly bulbs like raspberries, carried a strange hue of midnight purple. My jaw dropped. After one too many years spent staring at a computer screen, I could very easily recognize the unique fruit I saw on the ground in front of me: it could be none other than the infamous Devil Fruits... but those existed in an entirely fictional world.
With a gulp of shock, I stumbled backward. "A... a Devil Fruit? But how - - I thought those only grew in the world of One Piece..."
My voice trailed off as memories flashed through my mind. The All-Seeing Author. The offer for a new One Piece story. The twist that in it, I was the main character. And now, the weird, bulbous Devil Fruit, blue and irkingly innocent, laying so close to me I could see every swirl.
So then I'm really in the world of One Piece?
I crossed dimensions!?
What should I do, ohfuckohfuckohfuckohfuckohfu...
The freight train in my brain came to a screeching halt as I came to a realization. This world was filled with people far more dangerous than anything I could possibly imagine. Considering a weakling like me, for whom the base line for durability was not able-to-survive-a-two-story-fall-without-a-scratch, even the weakest scrub could lay me flat on the ground with a lump the size of Dallas on my head. I was essentially screwed over if I so much as gave a bad look to the wrong person - - and no way could I put up with the nearly demonic corruption in the ruling government. I simply did not have the patience for those "Give me what I want and you won't get hurt" types.
Therefore, if I didn't want to end up as a grease stain on the side of the road, then there was really only one option for me to take. Besides, even Oda himself stated there were no real bad powers as long as you used them wisely, right?
With this in mind, I took a deep breath, bent over, reached down, and performed quite possibly the stupidest action of my life:
I took a bite of a Devil Fruit.
One thing you should know about the Devil Fruits: if you have a bad gag reflex, you absolutely should not, under any circumstances, even consider so much as putting one in your mouth. They are positively the worst-tasting thing in the entire multiverse. Words cannot describe how horrible Devil Fruits actually taste, but I'll attempt to give you at least a vague idea of the abomination my taste buds encountered that day. Imagine it thusly: mix cauliflower with horseradish, add spoiled milk, drop in a few lobes of horse poop, square the taste, and you still can't even come close to the Hell that is Devil Fruits.
The moment the altogether nasty piece of "food" entered my mouth, I spat it out in disgust. My tongue screamed in defiance at me, utterly horrified at the torture I had unknowingly inflicted upon it. I mean, I'd understood how bad they were - - if even Luffy could be disgusted by food, you knew it tasted bad - - but I hadn't been able to comprehend the sheer horror of the fruit.
"Oh, Lord, whatever caused those things to exist needs to die a terrible death," I moaned, tears building up in my eyes. Yes - - it tasted so bad I was actually crying.
Now, I wish I could say that I had actually swallowed the bite of Fruit I'd taken.
Not so. Actually, it had been so entirely disgusting I'd immediately expelled it from my mouth, and hadn't actually swallowed even a small portion of the fruit. Therefore, I still was at base form; weak, powerless, and hopelessly dismal. My tongue begging to be rid of the nastiness, I rushed over to one of the many marshes around me, knelt onto the soggy ground, and dipped my hands in it. Water pooled in my cupped palms as I scooped it out of the marsh, bringing the cool liquid to my lips and swallowing greedily. I didn't stop until I felt as though I'd drank a small pool.
I collapsed backward, chest heaving. "Never again..." I groaned, rubbing my head. "Never again..."
Like a magnet, the Devil Fruit drew me to gaze it unwillingly. It sat there on the ground as pure and unassuming as a puppy, holding my gaze and keeping me locked on it. Now that I'd taken a bite out of it, it looked kind of like the Apple logo, if Apple liked diamond-shaped fruit from hell.
"No!" I denied, pointing at it accusingly. "Just look what you did to me!"
The apple sat there pleadingly.
You're going to die a pitiful death, it seemed to say.
A tremble ran through my body. "A-Alright, fine!" I grumbled, stomping over to the fruit. "Playing dirty like that... calling a man a weakling is really deplorable, even if it's one hundred percent true!" This declaration hanging in the air, I hesitated before repeating history.
"Ah, fuck it," I said, and I again scraped the fruit off the ground and bit into it.
It was every bit as disgusting as it was the first time. Having been prepared for it didn't make it any easier, but at least I managed to swallow a bulb of Devil Fruit before I spat out the rest in pure hatred. Apples had been one of my favorite fruits before, but after that particular experience, I didn't think I'd ever manage to look at one the same way again.
"SO DAMN BAD!" I screamed, dropping the fruit once more and again rushing back to the marsh to drink like no tomorrow. Once I'd successfully washed the taste of the fruit from my mouth, I gasped in deep breaths of air. My stomach rolled nauseously, the urge to throw up overpowering nearly everything else. The fact that it was waterlogged with at least a couple gallons of H2O probably didn't help me feel better, but at least my tongue wasn't looking to commit seppuku anymore.
I wiped sweat off my brow, panting. "So... then... what the hell kinda power did I get anyway, huh?" I asked, turning around and glancing down at the fruit I'd dropped... but it was already decaying, turning a sickly shade of brown.
I took a horrified couple of steps back. "E-Ew... just, ew! ...Wait, something feels off."
Frowning, I stood still for a few moments, trying to pinpoint exactly what it was. Then my eyes happened to slide downward, and nearly popped out of my skull. Because, without realizing it... although I thought I'd been standing on solid (although considerably wet and muddy) ground, when I turned and backed up... I somehow... I somehow...
My skin crawled at the insanity of the situation.
I had come to stand right on the watery surface of the very marsh itself.