I dont own One Piece...
This is the final chappie, thanks so much to everyone who has supported this story so far. So here is an extra long bonus chapter!!!
Luffy crouched into his Gear Second position, his silver eyes never leaving Ridgecuts face. The black haired pirate smirked and the ground underneath him began to crack, sounding as though a massive weight was forcing its way down on the ground. A deep depression suddenly formed, Luffy still crouching in the centre of it, he continued to force his power into it for a few moments and then he jumped - forcing his power into the ground to get th eleverage he needed to launch himself high into the air.
Ridgecut smirked - so the strawhat wanted to change the playing field? He was fine with that. Ridgecut launched himself into the air after Luffy, a loud whooshing noise and the cracked earth underneath him the only indicators of his rapid movement.
'Whoa!' Sanji exclaimed, watching the battle in astonishment. As the crew watched, Luffy finished his ascent and began flipped gracefully in the air. He closed his eyes and began the long plummet back down to earth.
Ridgecut was almost to him now - his own additional bulk did not allow him to get quite as high as Luffys lighter frame. His ascent began to slow and his eyes widened briefly at the sight of the boy who was plummeting head first towards him. Luffys eyes snapped open and he twisted his body to one side, his hands clasped together.
The older pirate smirked, it was clear Luffy was about to unleash a giant ball of fire. The taller man would easily be able to counter it, all he had to do was wait the boy out - get him to fire his own ball first. A long moment passed and Ridgecut frowned suddenly when he noticed Luffy was now almost on him and still had shown no sign of creating the energy ball. The taller man caught Luffys glittering eyes and realised hed drastically miscalculated - the young pirate wasnt going to use power at all. Ridgecut panicked, he no longer had enough time to move out of the way of Luffys trajectory - instinctively he brought his hands up to protect his head, only to have Luffys Gum-gum bazooka slam into his solar plexus - he felt a rib break, the ruthless pirates ascent abruptly ceased and he began plummeting back down to earth, much more quickly than he had left it.
Ridgecut focussed through the pain in his chest and focussed his power on the front of his body - using the power to cushion his fall. He landed on the ground with a sickening crack - the hard rock of the ground flew apart from the force of the impact - the crater from his landing was roughly 10 m deep.
Luffy landed a short distance away, much more lightly - denting the ground when he impacted, rather than destroying it. He stood smoothly and waited, his arms crossed and his expression unreadable. He was breathing slightly heavier than usual - but he still seemed to be in good shape.
'D-did I just see what I think I saw?' Usopp asked weakly.
No one answered the marksman, each apparently overwhelmed by the enormity of Luffys new power. It was obvious to all of them, that Luffy was angry - he was not as uncontrollably furious as he had been when he had frozen the town a few days before, but this was more of a righteous rage. The anger Luffy occasionally experienced when one of his values had been badly damaged by someone.
They had not seen Luffy simmering in rage like this since he had destroyed Wapol of the Drum Kingdom - then it had been caused by the tyrants disrespect for the pirate mark of Choppers father Hiruruk, and by the gluttonous Kings attack on him when he had been carrying the injured Sanji and sick Nami up the Drum Rockies.
'What set him off?' Sanji asked quietly, watching in amazement as Ridgecut finally stood - small rocks from the impact fell from his clothes.
'Looks like he's finally realised Ridgecut is completely insane.' Zoro mumbled. 'There'll be no repentance from that perverted bastard for hurting his crew. Looks like Luffy has decided to do the world a favour and completely destroy him.'
They crew watched in disgust as Ridgecut stood and sucked hungrily at a small cut on his own arm. Luffy turned his head to one side, unable to watch the disgusting sight.
'Urgh!' Sanji exclaimed, putting a hand over his own mouth. Unbidden flickers of his own childhood entered his thoughts unexpectedly - of a man he loved like a father sitting with one leg missing on a rock in the middle of an ocean. His eyes prickled with sudden tears and the cook averted his own eyes - blinking rapidly.
Luffy's eyes shot in the cooks direction and hardened when he realised Sanji's crisis. The Captain uncrossed his arms and let them fall to his side. He nodded discreetly at the momentarily upset cook - his expression clearly saying he would make Ridgecut pay for bringing back such painful memories. He turned to face the older man, a hard glare on his face.
Sanji grinned to himself as Luffy landed another blow to the taller man, knocking him again into the dust. What had the old witch been so worried about? Luffy had this fight sorted.
The older pirate stood suddenly and shot a look of expectation at a man standing off to the side-lines, the man Sanji noticed as the one who had flinched when Luffy had told them that he had been called.
The man flinched again, and nodded in understanding, his head hanging low as if defeated.
Ridgecut turned his attention back to Luffy, who landed a strong punch right into the taller mans solar plexus, increasing the force behind it by adding some of his own power.
Sanji watched with concern as Luffy wound up for a kick and Ridgecut didn't move, a superior grin on his face. Luffy's face showed some confusion, but he didn't hesitate in his kick, unleashing it with all his might towards the other.
There was a sudden flash of blue as the young man in the blue linen shirt Ridgecut had signalled ran out in front of his Captain. Luffy gasped in surprise and tried to stop his kick, but it was too late. The powerful kick caught the young man in the chest and knocked him straight through a tree. Luffy hopped on one leg, momentarily off balance. His silver eyes wide with horror as he noticed the young man was not moving at all.
Ridgecut smirked at the distracted young pirate and held out both his hands.
'Luffy!!' Usopp called, catching his friends attention.
The black-haired man turned back to the fight only to see a huge ball of water was coming directly for him. Luffy gasped again and tried to move out of the way, but the ball was too large. It swept Lufy up and floated into the air, Luffy still trapped inside.
'LUFFY!!' Nami screamed, watching him struggle to free himself.
'Fire star!' Usopp yelled, firing a shot at the huge ball of water from his sling-shot. It hit dead on and hissed as it contacted the water, the ball didn't even shudder. The crew watched in horror as Luffy's eyes slid closed and he stopped struggling, the curse from his devil-fruit powers taking hold in his watery prison.
Usopp desperately fired several more boshi, trying hard to save his friend. All of his shots hit, but none did any damage, the huge ball simply absorbing all of the shots. 'Aaaaah!!' the marksman yelled in frustration, his voice breaking.
Luffy was no longer moving, he was simply floating in the bubble - seemingly unconscious.
Ridgecut began to laugh at the marksmans desperate attempts.
'Shit!!' Sanji exclaimed, moving forwards. A hand on his shoulder stopped him and he spun to find Zoro looking at him from a sitting position. 'We need to get him out.' Zoro began, his eyes hard and then keep that bastard busy until Luffy can move again. Sanji nodded.
'You attack low, Ill go for high.' The swordsman didn't respond, he unsheathed his swords and ran, the cook close behind. Ridgecuts laughing abruptly ceased when Sanji's first kick caught him squarely in the side of the head. Zoros sword's followed next, catching the huge man behind the knees and knocking him to the ground.
Losing his concentration, Ridgecut's ball of water disbanded, falling from the sky to splash on the ground, Luffy falling with it.
Usopp, Chopper and Nami ran to Luffy's side as he lay, unmoving in the middle of the water.
'Oh no...' Nami whispered. Usopp fell to his knees next to their Captain and felt for a pulse while Chopper checked his breathing.
'He has a pulse.' Usopp breathed.
'No breathing.' Chopper grunted, changing into his human form and starting to pump the water from Luffy's lungs.
'Shit!!' Sanji exclaimed again - shooting an anxious look towards their Captain. Ridgecut barely managed to block an oni-giri attack from Zoro - launching the injured swordsman back towards the cook - panting heavily as his broken ribs rubbed together.
'Yeah, we might have to distract the perverted bastard for a few more minutes.' Zoro grumbled through the sword in his mouth.
'If we keep attacking together, the sleazy bastard won't have a chance to use that power of his.' Sanji put in, Zoro nodded in agreement and they leapt forwards again.
'Collier shoot!' Sanji yelled, coming in from the right.
'Oni-giri!' Zoro growled, attacking from underneath.
Ridgecut grunted as the attacks found their mark, and was sent crashing to the ground. The older pirate's crew still didnt move as they continued to watch their captain get beaten.
'Come on Luffy!' Chopper begged, pumping water from his lungs. At last Luffy gave a weak cough.
'Yes!' The doctor turned the black-haired man onto his side, allowing him to more easily cough up the water.
'Urgh!' Luffy groaned after a few minutes, clearly weakened from the water.
'Thank god!' Usopp whispered to himself. That was too close. Nami nodded, agreeing - tears of stress standing out in her eyes. Luffy coughed weakly and sat up, swaying slightly he seemed to be having some trouble focusing his eyes.
'Take it easy!' Chopper ordered, 'You almost drowned!!'
Luffy smiled at his doctor. 'Thanks Chopper.' He laughed weakly, his eyes still not quite focussed. 'You saved me again.'
'Are you ok?' Usopp demanded.
Luffy chuckled and stood, wavering a little on his feet. 'I'm fine.' he said with a grin.
The others looked at the still unsteady man doubtfully.
'Sanji!' Zoro's voice yelled, as the cook was punched hard, landing hard on the rocky ground and sliding along for a few moments. The cook sat up and spat a mouthful of blood onto the ground then relaunched himself back at the pirate.
Luffy stumbled into a tree as his head spun, trying to follow the fast movements of the battle.
'Eh?' he mumbled, a slight ringing noise echoing through the air when he knocked his arm into the rough bark of the tree trunk. The ringing grew louder and Luffy looked at his arm in astonishment - he had just activated the strange black and white bracelet his shishou had given him when he had finished his training.
He looked up bewildered as the ringing intensified to find the others staring at him, their mouths open in astonishment. 'What?' he asked, covering his ears to try and block out the ringing in his head.
'You're glowing!' Usopp exclaimed, rather loudly
'I'm what???' Luffy gasped. The ringing abruptly stopped and Luffy blinked at the sudden silence, his vision dimmed and his hearing faded out. He could still see his friends, but he could no longer answer them. The rubber pirate was staring at them as though looking through a dark shroud, he blinked again when he realised there was something else moving behind the blackness- he was suddenly certain that it was something that only he could see.
'Luffy, oi!!' Usopp exclaimed, each watching as he simply continued to glow and stare into space.
Luffy twitched. 'Shishou...' he whispered.
'Shishou?' Chopper asked.
'It must have something to do with that bracelet she gave him.' Nami suggested. 'She said to use it when he needs help and he just activated it by accident.'
She gasped when Zoro's voice echoed through the clearing, yelling in pain when Ridgecut managed to land a cheap shot to his broken ribs. Ridgecut smirked and was about to land another when Sanji, battered and bruised himself, kicked the older pirate clean across the stomach, Sanji landed with a sharp intake of breath and clutched at his shoulder which was bleeding profusely.
The older man stood after a moment with his hand holding his stomach. He coughed up a mouthful of blood and stared at Sanji for a long moment. A strangled groan escaped the cook when Ridgecut suddenly transported himself over to the blond cook and lifted his chin up with one hand. He sniffed deeply at Sanji's wounded shoulder, then looked at the started man.
'That colour also suits you, when I am finished with your Captain. You will be next.' He licked his lips and bent forwards. Sanji narrowed his eyes and kicked upwards with all his might, catching the taller pirate hard in the chin and knocking him back into the dirt. Sanji grabbed at his shoulder when it jarred in the movement and bent to help Zoro to his feet.
'Sleazy bastard!' he choked out.
'You ok?' Zoro asked, panting heavily and clutching at his broken ribs.
'Yeah. I can't keep this up much longer though.' The cook admitted. 'He's not the best fighter, but he's fast and that power is incredible.'
Zoro grunted in acknowledgement and put his sword back in his mouth. 'We just have to hold him off a few more minutes.'
'Hurry Luffy!' Nami pleaded watching her crew members visibly weakening even to her eyes. 'They can't keep this up much longer. Sooner or later, he's going to catch one of them with his power. They aren't invincible!!!'
Luffy twitched again in reaction to her words and the glowing that surrounded him intensified.
'Woah!' Usopp exclaimed, shielding his eyes with the back of his hand.
'Shishou?' Luffy asked in his mind, unable to speak through his mouth. The image on the other plane became clearer - his friends greying out even more until they were just black silhouettes in the background, they were beginning to distract him from the image that was solidifying before him. He closed his eyes to shut out his friends and the image suddenly became clear - he saw his teacher sitting at the table in her kitchen.
'Ah, you face him already?' She asked, her tone serious. Luffy couldnt help but grin slightly, when he saw the plate of mashed zucchini in front of her.
He nodded quickly. 'He is strong and fast, but his technique is not very good. He took us by surprise though, hes using dirty tactics and were no longer in any condition to fight him. My friends are struggling and I'm trying to regain my strength after being in contact with the water.'
The witch nodded, her hands folded calmly on the table. 'That, young one is why I gave you the bracelet.'
Luffy looked at her in surprise. 'What?' She sighed and quickly clarified.
'You are honourable, that is why you were the one that was given the golden power, however it can also be a weakness as you do not expect others to use dirty tactics. This makes it easy for them to take advantage of you and your unwavering sense of justice.' She paused and looked him over.
'You still seem to be in good shape, weakened as though you are I admit it was unexpected for him to exploit the weakness associated with your devil-fruit. Although not so unexpected that I did not plan for the possibility.'
Luffy looked at her a bit desperately. 'What do you mean? My nakama are getting hurt while we wait.'
'Listen to me,' she advised. 'What I mean to do will indeed help your nakama, however, it may do some damage to your body in the process.'
'I don't care!' Luffy exclaimed, his thoughts clearly focussed solely saving his friends.
She smiled and held out her hand. 'I will give you my powers temporarily, they will mix with your own and should give you enough to defeat Ridgecut easily enough. However, you will not be able to hold that much power for long. It will all depend on your will to defeat him.'
'You can do that?' Luffy asked bewildered, he held out his own hand and the witch took it.
'Yes but as I said, it will cause you damage' - her expression hardened. 'even so, he must not win.'
She closed her eyes, focussing on their entwined hands - letting her power run through the connection and into him.
The black haired boy tensed at the strangely invasive feeling, but the exchange did not take long, it was only a few seconds later that Luffy felt the connection weaken and the plane he and his teacher were currently occupying began to close, the witch not having enough power left to keep her side of the connection open.
'Use it well.' Her voice reached him sounding strained and fatigued. With a strange rushing feeling, Luffy once again found himself standing next to the tree, his eyes wide and his hand still outstretched. With a clang, Luffy felt the witches power click with his own so forcibly and completely that he fell to his hands and knees with a gasp.
'What's wrong?' Usopp squeaked.
'...too much!' The black-haired pirate muttered through gritted teeth. 'I d-don't think... I c-can hold it!' his head slumped forwards.
'What are you talking about?' Namii demanded.
'What the hell happened?' Usopp asked, watching Luffy struggle with something they couldn't see.
'Shi-shishou, she gave me h...her powers too... t-too much!' He gasped head still low.
There was a yell off to one side and he wearily lifted his head to see Sanji smash into the rocky ground hard, sliding for a few meters on his side. Luffys eyes narrowed.
'Sanji and Zoro need you!!' Nami exclaimed. 'They can't hold him off much longer!' She suppressed a gasp when Luffy finally raised his head and looked at her, his eyes were a deep, smouldering silver - the navigator could practically see the power overflowing and found herself concerned. No human body could hold that much power for long.
The watched as he gently shook his head, seeming to get a hold of the power. He stood fluidly. 'Time to finish this.' He muttered, moving forwards.
'Go Luffy!' Usopp yelled, as the Captain began to walk away. Luffy looked over his shoulder and winked, disappearing before they could say another word and appearing directly behind Ridgecut over 100 meters away.
The straw-hatted captain reached up a hand and stood slightly on tip-toes to tap the taller man on the shoulder just as he was about to land another cheap shot in Zoro's ribs.
'Oi.' he said softly, taking the older pirate completely by surprise. He spun around quickly, his previous prey completely forgotten, he froze when he saw the smouldering fire in Luffys eyes - the, younger pirate took advantage of his advesaries momentary distraction to take stock of his friends.
Sanji was limping heavily due to a large scorch mark on his right leg, just underneath his knee. He had a black eye and bloody nose as well as the deep wound in his shoulder that was causing him so much grief.
Zoro, however, was worse still, he seemed unable to stand completely straight - his left hand was dangling uselessly, blood dripping off his fingers due to a large gash above his elbow. Luffy nodded to them in approval. 'Thanks for holding him guys, go take a break - Ill handle it from here.'
He turned to Ridgecut as Sanji helped Zoro towards Chopper and fell into a fighting stance. 'Did you miss me?' he asked sweetly.
'You have no idea'. Ridgecut muttered again, licking his lips. Luffy shuddered and rolled his eyes, he held both hands up and closed his eyes and brought them quickly back down - the palms pointing towards Ridgecut. He opened his eyes again and the glowing almost knocked Ridgecut off his feet - his eyes widened when he realised Luffy needed to release the pent up power as soon as possible and Ridgecut didn't have any room to move out of the way.
'WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!' Luffy screamed, pouring everything he had and had been given into a giant fireball the size of merry. Ridgecut braced himself, but didnt have any chance of moving in time. The entire island shook as the fireball slammed into the taller pirate, Ridgecut smashed into the ground and slid along the ground for a long distance, but Luffy wasn't finished. He teleported above the other man who was already struggling to rise.
'HA!!' he screamed again, firing another three fireballs in quick succession - the giant balls of fire slamming into the earth with such force that the ground began to crack.
Luffy fired two more before allowing himself to fall back down to the ground. He landed on his feet, stumbling slightly and rested his hands on his knees, panting harshly. He kept his eyes on the hole he had left Ridgecut in, waiting for some sign that the man who could have the power to destroy the world would not get back up.
The blue robed man awoke just in time to see Luffy fire the last two fireballs into the ground and took a moment for his mind to catch up with what was happening. .
Now, now was his chance! He stood quickly, ignoring the spinning in his head and his screaming muscles. He was also fairly sure he had a few broken ribs, but these were nothing. He froze suddenly, he was not the only one in Ridgecuts crew who was a slave. He turned slowly and looked over his shoulder at the group of young men who stood frozen to one side - observing the battle between Captains.
A grin crossed his face and he ran over to them, his ribs jolting with every step. He had thought of the perfect escape. His sudden movement grabbed their attention and the young men looked at him in amazement.
'Listen to me quickly.' he hissed urgently to the astounded men. 'While Ridgecut is wounded and distracted by Strawhat - now is the time to escape. I am going to take his boat and sail it away now, while we have the chance.' He gestured at the men, desperately trying to get them to understand his plan. His voice cracked. 'If you're with me, follow me now - if you want to follow your own dreams, to be your own person follow me now!!!!' Tears filled his eyes and several of the men began to look hesitant. 'I need some of you to come, I can't steer the ship on my own... please...' his voice cracked again. 'We will never again be given an opportunity like this. An opportunity like the one Strawhat Luffy has given us now.'
He saw the desperate anticipation on their faces and knew they were with him, he began to run towards the ship, holding his ribs with his hand. 'Lets go!'
With a yell, the rest of the crew followed him.
Thank you. The man thought desperately at Luffy as he ran. Thank you so much!
He looked over at the still exhausted straw hat and was surprised to see him lift his head wearily and flash him a quick grin and a thumbs up.
The nameless man broke into tears of joy as he ran up the gang plank behind the rest of the crew.
They were free - and it was all thank to the infamous Mugiwara pirates.
Luffy smiled to himself as he watched the crew of young men run away up the beach. Thank god. He thought to himself. They would never have to deal with Ridgecut again, Luffy would make sure of that. He turned his attention back to the seemingly unconscious man in the hole, not yet having enough stamina to stand up properly to walk over to see if he was still conscious enough to consider a threat. He could feel the witches power struggling to leave him - but he held onto it with all his might. He wasn't sure if it was safe to yet, not until Ridgecut was completely defeated.
Ridgecut twitched briefly and Luffy tensed - the man exhaled slowly, breathing out a long stream of silver mist - the power leaving his body.
Luffy sighed in relief, Ridgecut had lost the power, he was now just an ordinary man with adequate fighting ability. He also looked like he wouldnt be feeling up to causing anyone any trouble for at least another few months if he ever walked again.
'OI!!' Luffy looked up, still panting harshly to see his crew running towards him, he grinned as they arrived, Zoro leaning heavily on Chopper for support while Usopp was supporting Sanji. Luffy watched them arrive with concern.
'a...are yo-you guys, ok?' He panted.
Zoro grinned and Sanji flashed a thumbs up. 'Absolutely!' The cook exclaimed. Luffy laughed softly.
'How's the bastard?' Sanji asked, lighting up a cigarette and gesturing towards the crater. Luffy finally straightened up, hiding his slight stumble when his head span by taking a small step forward towards the hole - Ridgecut was still unmoving.
'He'll live.' He said. He lost his power though so now he's just a bastard. Everyone laughed at the typically Luffy assessment and Usopp strode forwards, pulling Sanji with him, the sharpshooter chuckled lightly.
'Well, we always knew you'd save the world.' He grinned, patting Luffy lightly on the shoulder. He was completely unprepared for his Captain's reaction. At the added pressure of his marksmans hand, Luffys legs buckled underneath him and he passed out silently, falling to the rocky ground with a dull thump. A small trickle of blood leaked out of his partially open mouth and he exhaled slowly - a red mist escaping and floating away on the wind, apparently on its way back to the witch.
'Luffy!!' Nami exclaimed in horror.
'Whoa!' Sanji yelled, pulling away from Usopp to kneel next to his fallen friend. 'What the hell?'
'What did you do?' Zoro demanded, rounding on the sniper.
'Nothing, I swear - I barely touched him!!' Usopp screamed. 'What's wrong with him?'
Chopper padded forwards and leant down to gauge his captain's heart rate.
The little doctor chuckled. 'He's fine, absolutely fine just having a quick nap from the look of it. The witches power leaving his body seems to have knocked him out for a few minutes, the power must have been too much combined with his own. Its a good thing his body is made of rubber though, I don't think anyone else would be as undamaged after that.' He paused to look fondly at their snoozing Captain. 'He'll just be a bit sore I think.'
'But what about the blood?' Nami asked, pointing to the small line, working its way out of their Captain's life.
Chopper giggled. 'He um... bit his tongue on the way down. He'll be completely fine in a day or two.'
'He...' Nami choked back a laugh, the pressure of the battle finally getting to her. 'bit his tongue?'
Chopper nodded, his own face twitching as he tried not to laugh. The crew shook their heads, each laughing softly. There really was nothing to worry about.
'Hey Sanji.' Nami asked sweetly. 'Can we have a BBQ on the beach tonight? Luffy is going to want a lot of meat after that one.'
Sanji's eye lit up. 'Nami-swan is so considerate!! Of course, I'll go and start the marinades now.' He bounded back to the ship, injuries apparently forgotten.
Zoro lowered himself down until he was sitting next to Luffy on the sand. 'Love cook.' he mumbled.
'Sanji is Sanji and Zoro is Zoro.' A voice to his left stated wisely. The swordsman looked down with a slight grin to see Luffy laying on his back on the sand, staring up at him with his silver eyes. Zoro sighed, a little exasperated, noticing Luffy already seemed fine after the difficult battle.
'...and Luffy is Luffy.' He muttered under his breath. Marvelling at the Captains healing abilities.
'You finally get it?' Luffy laughed, his stomach growled loudly. 'Man, Im hungry.' He looked up with a smile when Usopp came over to sit on the other side of Luffy.
'We're having a BBQ.' The sharpshooter advised.
The Captain's eyes widened in anticipation. 'Wow! BBQ Sanjis are the best!' he advised them, confusing his words and not realising it. His brain apparently still just the tiniest bit dazed from the fight.
'BBQ Sanji?' Usopp grinned.
'What a good idea.' Zoro smirked.
'Eh?' Luffy muttered, watching the two continue their conversation in confusion.
Nami came over to sit with him and Chopper moved to the kitchen to make sure Sanji wasnt over doing it on his injured leg. 'How's your tongue?' She giggled.
Luffy looked at her in confusion for a minute, then he moved his tongue around in his mouth and his eyes widened a bit. 'Hey, my tongue is sore!' he turned to the navigator who was watching him with a grin on her face. 'Why is my tongue sore?'
Nami finally burst into laughter at the expression on his face, covering her mouth with her hand.
Luffy watched with a grin on his face and snuggled back into the sand, ready to take another quick nap while Sanji finished their dinner.
'Here he is Captain Shanks.' the man with his arm around Luffys back muttered quietly, unaware that although the boy was too exhausted to answer, he was wide awake.
'We're not sure what happened to the town, but it's like a bomb went off up there.' The man whispered, he missed Luffy's imperceptible twitch - Shanks however did not.
'A bomb, eh?' the red-haired man asked quietly, stroking his chin and observing the boy. 'Is there anyone left?' he asked the mate.
The man grimaced slightly. 'No sir'
'I see...' Shanks thought for a moment, there was something special about this little boy, he just couldnit place a finger on it.
'We'll take him with us.' He decided on a sudden whim - startling both himself and the mate.
'He's a bit young to be ships boy, Captain.' the mate pointed out cautiously.
'We'll drop him off in Fuschia until he's old enough to sail with us. I know a few people there would be willing to take in such a cute kid.'
'Oi, Barmon!' one of the crew called the mate. 'We need a hand with the sails.'
'Aye!' the mate called back, he looked at the boy in his arms, unsure what to do with him.
Shanks sighed and held out his arms. 'Give him here.'
Barmon grinned 'Thanks Cap.' he laughed, passing his little package over very carefully, then waving and running to help his nakama furl the sails. Shanks stood on the beach alone with the little boy in his arms.
The man frowned when Luffy flinched, Shanks rolled back the sleeve of the boys too large shirt to reveal a welt the size of a plum, which was just beginning to darken.
He sighed and looked back at the sky, hugging the little boy closer. Hed have to take him to the ships doctor when he woke up for a check over.
'How about some food?' he asked softly, not sure if the boy was awake enough to answer him.
Luffy's eyes shot open and Shanks laughed at the look of unmistakable hope on his little face. 'Come on then Pup.' he began, walking with Luffy in his arms towards the ship.
'You're going to let me...eat?' Luffy asked carefully. 'With you?'
Shanks covered his unease at the question with a laugh. 'Of course!' they entered the kitchen, the little boy looking around the ship's interior with wide eyes. 'Now what would you really like to eat?'
Luffy's head whipped around to look at the man in surprise, his eyes filling with sudden tears at the simple question. Luffy suddenly remembered all the days where hed only been able to salvage a little piece of wrinkly fruit or a piece of mouldy bread from the neighbourhood garbage cans, sitting on the cold footpath to eat, all the while listening to the sounds of happy family life from the houses, saw the warm light emanating from the windows, while he smelt the delicious smells of roast meat wafting from the kitchens.
'I want meat! Lots and lots of meat!' he said boldly.
Shanks laughed and ruffled the little boy's hair. 'Meat it is!' He decided and ordered some from the waiting cook.
'What's your name?' Shanks asked the boy, pouring a glass of milk and handing it to him. The famished child drank the whole glass before answering. How long had it been since hed had fresh milk. The scent of the cooking meat began wafting over to him and his eyes teared up again still unable to believe that this time hed be allowed to eat some. How long had it been since hed been allowed fresh milk - or fresh meat?
'More?' Shank enquired, shaking the bottle. Luffy looked down at his now empty glass in surprise, he didn't realise hed finished the whole thing. He passed it to the pirate with a huge smile.
'My name is Luffy.' he finally answered after hed drained the second glass. He wiped his milk moustache on the back of his hand.
'Luffy, eh? My name is Shanks.' He grinned and tilted back his Strawhat. 'How would you like to go on a cruise, Luffy? My crew and I will take you somewhere you've never been before - we'll go on an adventure. We'll find someone to take care of you until you're a bit older.'
'Yes!! Yeah, I wanna go!' Luffy exclaimed happily, now clutching his third glass of milk.
'Great!' Shanks grinned back. 'We'll leave tomorrow!'
The cook brought over a huge roast leg of lamb and handed Luffy a plate with a large chunk. Luffy picked it up, not even looking at the knife and fork next to his plate, honestly he didn't remember how to use them - he held the chunk of meat up to his nose and inhaled deeply before taking a small, unsure bite, he froze for a second.
'What's wrong?' Shanks asked, a little concerned. Luffy's eyes shot to his and the Captain held back a laugh at the expression on his face.
'YUM!!!!' The little boy hooked in, eating so quickly that the cook took a step back. Shanks began laughing.
'Now there's a boy who can eat!!' he pushed the plate of roast towards the feasting boy.
'Don't eat so fast!! You can have as much as you want while were sailing.'
Luffy leapt up and threw his arms around the startled Captain making the cook laugh from where he was watching by the sink. 'Thanks Shanks!!' The Captain grinned and hugged the little boy back. 'You're welcome, anchor!'
'Nnnn...' Luffy grumbled, feeling someone shake him awake. He opened his eyes blearily to see Zoro.
'Oi, dinners up.' The swordsman advised.
Luffy's eyes lit up at the huge pile Sanji had already grilled. 'MEAT!' he exclaimed, diving forwards to grab a piece. Instead of shovelling it straight into his mouth, Luffy paused and took the time to inhale the fragrance. Sanji had used his favourite marinade, it was light but spicy with just a hint of honey.
The others came to sit down too, including Sanji would had prepared some larger pieces to slow roast while they ate. Luffy took a big bite and made a noise of delight.
'Sanji... this is awesome!'
Sanji grinned the grin that was only reserved for three things, the ladies, talking about his dream the All Blue and compliments about his cooking.
'You're welcome, Captain!' he said with a sarcastic bow.
Luffy laughed and dug in, relishing the delicious food and the company of having his closest friends nearby. He pushed his had low over his eyes for a moment. 'You guys really are the best!' he told them with a grin.
They looked at him in confusion.
He grinned. 'You saw me use that power'. He waved a hand negligently when he used the word 'power' 'and all of you treat me the same. Everyone in my old village used to be afraid of me.'
The all looked at him for a long moment before answering in unison.
'Luffy is Luffy!' They all looked at the bewildered expression on his face and burst into laughter.
Luffy joined them a few seconds later, pure happiness welling up in him for the first time since he had met Shanks. He really did have a lot to thank Shanks for, and he planned to when he next saw him. Luffy patted his hat fondly and reached down for his dinner. Shanks had given him a chance at a new life, and he was finally ready to live it.
AN Ahhhhhh... sniff... another story completed. As always, any suggestions you have that may help me with my next stories would be really appreciated. Sweet, thanks for all your support guys. This one was really fun to write. Till next time. I'm not sure why but it did that weird format thing again... hopefully i picked up all of the ones that have fallen off - it was mainly around the conversations. so yeah, sorry if i missed some.