Well, honestly, I'm not sure what sparked this idea. I was kinda bored and had an OC lying about, and an idea popped into my head. XD I would LIKE to write an actual AceOC story with with character, but I don't think it'll happen. Why? Because a perfectly good character can easily be turned into a Mary-Sue by circumstance, and I don't have a plot for anything.

So, I just wrote this little budding-friendship-type story for kicks and giggles. I hope you enjoy.

Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece or its characters.

She watched the new kid out of the corner of her eye as he leaned against the railing of the Moby Dick, conversing loudly with the crew members nearest him. Granted, he was only a year younger than her, but he was new to Whitebeard's Crew, so she could call him 'kid' for now. She'd heard of his reputation as the Fire Fist, due to his Devil Fruit power, and wondered just how good he was.

"I see you found the new guy. His name's Portgas D. Ace," one of the crew's chefs commented, taking notice of the young woman's gaze. "I think our firefly should go talk to Fire Fist. You might learn something."

"Shut up, Emile," the young woman snapped, tucking a stray hair behind her ear and realized she'd have to cut it again soon. She disliked when the crew teased her about her name, Hotaru, which was why they always egged her on about it. "He was the captain of those Spade Pirates that joined us, right?"

"Yeah. Apparently he's pretty good, and the captain's taken a liking to him."

Hotaru nodded slowly as she continued to watch the kid. She had joined Whitebeard's crew as a child, serving as an apprentice. The captain had become like a grandfather to her, now that he was nearly seventy years old. A very strong grandfather whom she never wanted to anger, but a grandfather nonetheless. It seemed like this kid and his crew would soon be part of her nakama as well. Hotaru smiled softly. She supposed she could live with that.

The kid, Ace, laughed loudly at something that had been said and Hotaru figured he would be very easy to get along with. Then, suddenly, his body went limp and he fell backwards, right over the side of the boat. The small group of men that had been around him could only watch in shock, disbelieving that the kid had fallen overboard so easily. Hotaru's eyes widened and she ran across the deck, her feet pounding on the wooden boards beneath her. That idiot had the powers of a Devil Fruit, and he had fallen into the sea!

"Out of the way!" Hotaru yelled, and a pathway opened up for her.

She leapt over the railing and dove into the sea after Ace. Hotaru hit the water and the current instantly began pushing against her. Her eyes stung from the salty sea water as she searched for the Devil Fruit user who had fallen in. Her gaze soon fell on a pair of black boots and the pirate they belonged to. Air bubbles drifted from Ace's nose and Hotaru quickly swam deeper to catch him.

Hotaru's lungs began to burn as she wrapped an arm around Ace's bare torso and put one of his arms over her shoulders. She propelled the both of them towards the surface as quickly as she could, hoping the kid hadn't taken on too much water. As they emerged from the water, Hotaru released gasping breaths while trying to keep Ace's head above the water.

"Don't die, kid," she muttered.

"Hey, Hotaru!" one of the men yelled from aboard the ship.

"Throw down some rope!"

A long, thick rope was tossed down from the deck. Hotaru swam to it, struggling to keep Ace from slipping from her grasp. She tied the rope around them both and tugged twice. They were slowly lifted up the hull of the Moby Dick. Finally, the crew pulled them over the railing and Hotaru turned Ace onto his back, their waists still tied together by the rope. She placed one hand on his chest, ready to push the water out of his lungs, and let the other hand hover over his mouth to feel for a breath. Before she could figure out if he was still breathing, Ace started coughing and turned to the side to rid himself of the water.

"Hold still," Hotaru warned, grabbing Ace's shoulder.

"You nearly drowned," Emile added from the crowd that had formed. Ace looked around, clearly confused.

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

"You fell overboard, kid. I just pulled you out," Hotaru answered, untying the rope that held them together.

"I must have fallen asleep again. Happens all the time." The surrounding crew stared at the young pirate incredulously, while Hotaru slumped back with her arms supporting her from behind. Ace only laughed.

"Idiot kid," the young woman muttered, though grateful the newest crew member was unharmed.

Please let me know what you think.