No, my name is not Eiichiro Oda and I do not own One Piece
It has been thirty years since the Marines executed Monkey D. Luffy, second King of the Pirates, in his home town. The Marines thought it would all be over with his death. They could not have been any more wrong. You see, right before they cut off his head, Luffy uttered his last words, grinning all the while. "I found One Piece! If you want it, try and find it!" And so began the second Great Age of Pirates. The Marines found themselves with an even bigger problem. Many of the new pirates were those who thought, "Hey, some crazy teenager could find One Piece, so why can't I?" A massive recruiting campaign began. The Marines swelled in size, as did the number of pirates. Battles raged. Many islands throughout the world were hit by the crossfire between these two conflicting sides. Now, let us take a look at one of those islands...
~East Blue: Beedle City, Starwash Island~
A crowd had gathered in the center of town. Another fight. Locked in battle were two teenage boys. One had short, floppy, bleached white hair that hung over his eyes in thin bangs. The boy wore a blue and white flannel shirt, unbuttoned to reveal a white tank top underneath. His sleeves were rolled up past his elbows, exposing lean, yet muscular arms. His shorts, stopping just above his knees, were a dark gray. A red bandana was tied around his right upper arm. Around his neck hung a necklace of three animal claws stung on a leather cord.
The other boy had spiky, jet black hair with a streak of red tearing through the left. He wore a sleeveless black shirt with a large, grinning white skull in the middle. His shorts were a light tan color and sported many pockets. Underneath his left eye, a small scar gleamed silver in the midday sunlight. Just like the white-haired boy, he had a bright red bandana tied on his upper arm and a similar necklace of claws.
"Give up, Tavvy!" growled the boy with the skull shirt. He swung his arm, catching the other on the side of the head. The other boy, Tavvy, staggered backwards.
"Yeah, right! As if I'd ever give up to you, Sammy!" shouted Tavvy, retaliating with a devastating punch to the jaw. The blow was so strong that Sammy rose into the air before crashing down back to the ground. He got up, spitting out a mixture of saliva, blood, and dirt.
Sammy wiped his mouth, then rushed towards his opponent. "Davy died because of those rotten Marines!" he shrieked, slamming into Tavvy with a huge force. Both of them toppled to the ground, Sammy on top.
Tavvy kicked the boy off him. "No, it was those stupid pirates!" He punched Sammy in the shoulder.
Ignoring the blow, Sammy tackled Tavvy. Again, they fell to the ground. "It's all because of the Marines!"
Tavvy managed to roll on top of Sammy. "It's the pirates' fault!"
The two boys separated, rising and backing away from each other. Then they charged, arms drawn back and ready to deliver the final blow.
Jumping into the air, they punched each other at the same time. Both fists slammed into the opposition's cheek. Both heads jerked back. Both collided with the ground and lay there, unable to move.
After a considerable amount of time spent just lying there, Tavvy spoke. "Another tie," he muttered from the ground, his lips curling into a small smile. The smile turned into a large grin. He lifted his head to look at Sammy.
"Geez. What was that? Fifty-seven? I guess it's fifty-eight now," said Sammy, propping himself up onto his elbows. "Darn. I've never won."
Tavvy let out a short bark of laughter. "Hey! I haven't either!"
No one spoke for a few moments. The crowd dispersed. This match was over. People walked away, realizing they had better things to do. Soon, only the two teens were left.
Breaking the uneasy silence, Sammy spoke. "Tavvy…are you really going to enlist with the Marines?"
Tavvy looked him in the eye. "Well, are you really going to become a pirate?"
Neither felt inclined to answer the other's question. They just stared at each other, unblinking.
Then, a single voice penetrated through the silence. "Damnit! Why is it always you two?" asked a female voice, tired and weary. It belonged to a woman, probably in her early thirties, with wavy blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. She wore a pair of dirty overalls over a white blouse with the sleeves rolled up right above her elbows. Heavy boots covered her feet. They made a loud thump every time she took a step. Her face displayed an annoyed expression. Obviously, this situation was fairly common.
"S-Sorry, Maria-san," both Tavvy and Sammy mumbled, rising and brushing themselves off. When Maria reached them, they bowed their heads, refusing to meet her gaze.
Maria shook her head in a disapproving manner. "Why? You two were on such good terms until a few weeks ago. What happened?"
The boys pointed to each other, rage glittering clearly in both pairs of eyes.
"Sammy's gonna become a pirate!" yelled Tavvy accusingly.
"Well, Tavvy's gonna become a Marine!" countered Sammy.
They glared at each other with an unwavering malice. Their eyes were both a clear blue, perfect reflections of a calm ocean, which neither of them displayed with their body language.
Maria sighed, her calm gray eyes filled with sadness. "No one is responsible for Davy's death. You two know that, so why are you fighting?"
"If those pirates hadn't come to the island, then Davy would still be alive!" Tavvy snapped, his eyes flashing. He was trembling with fury, his hands balled into tight fists.
Sammy whirled around to face his friend, his face beet red. "So? If the Marines hadn't told everyone to go inside, Davy would've had somewhere to run!"
"But it was the pirates who blew up Davy's house!"
"No, it was the Marines!"
"Enough! You are both staying right here on this island! Is that clear?" shouted Maria. The boys were about to argue when they became aware of the assortment of knives sticking out from the pockets in Maria's overalls. They also saw her hand move slightly to one with a terribly jagged edge.
"But, Maria-san—" began Sammy tentatively.
"Is that clear?" repeated Maria, cutting Sammy off with a withering glare. She fingered the knife with her finger.
The boys gulped. "Yes, Maria-san," they said in unison, their knees knocking together in terror. They could fight each other, but neither dared to compete with Maria. Her strength and ferocity was inhuman.
Maria smirked, jerking her thumb towards a low building. A single word had been painted over its door: orphanage. "Dinner's ready if you want it. It's Ivan's evening specialty, though if you two want to stay here and fight…"
Nothing mattered to the boys anymore. "FOOD!" they shouted in perfect unison. Tavvy and Sammy rushed straight past Maria, tongues lolling out and drool dribbling down their chins. They forgot about everything in just an instant. Food was far more important.
Maria smiled, slowly shaking her head. "Poor Ivan."
~three hours later~
"They both turn seventeen tomorrow," Maria murmured, propping her feet on the small table in front of her. She leaned backwards in her chair, the front legs rising above the floor. Across from her sat a middle-aged man. His graying hair had been slicked back with gel. A pair of reading glasses rested on his nose. He wore a stained apron over a dark gray, pinstripe suit. Now, he removed the apron, flinging it away carelessly. A blood red carnation had been tucked inside his front pocket.
"Let them do what they want," said the man in a deep, mellow voice. He took a cigar from an inside pocket. Striking a match, he lit the cigar and took a long draft before removing it from his mouth. Smoke drifted out from between his slightly parted lips.
"They'll get killed! How can you be so relaxed about this, Ivan?"
After raising the cigar to his mouth again, Ivan blew out a steady stream of smoke. He smiled. "Really now, Maria. Can you predict their fates? Those two are destined for something great. Someday, they'll return from whatever great adventure they set off on and teach us a thing or two about the world."
Maria frowned. "But look what happened to Davy. Not even this island is safe from conflict. Think about how much worse the outside world is. Tavvy and Sammy are not ready. They never will be!"
Her words made Ivan laugh. It was a deep sound, yet surprisingly gentle. He pointed at Maria with his cigar, causing her to shift uncomfortably. "Maria, just because you're afraid of what's out there, doesn't mean Tavvy and Sammy will be afraid as well. Have a little faith, would you?" he said, a tendril of smoke escaping from the corner of his mouth. "They'll surprise you."
"But..." Maria trailed off. She turned her gaze to a photograph hanging on a wall. It showed a boy, about ten, laughing his head off. He had glittering, clear blue eyes. His sandy blond hair was coated with thick mud, as was his face. In his hands, he held a humongous frog. Obviously, he had chased the poor amphibian into the pond, making himself incredibly filthy in the process.
Maria scowled, enveloped in the memory. The ungrateful little rascal. It had taken a whole week to get the stains out of his shirt.
"You miss him, don't you?" asked Ivan, glancing at the photograph. His words snapped Maria back to the present with a jolt.
The only reply she could think of was, "Who would miss all that extra laundry work?"
Ivan laughed again. "I miss him too." He paused. "I'm going to prepare some supplies. Would you like to help?"
Maria hesitated for a bit too long. "Supplies?"
"For Sammy and Tavvy. They'll both need boats, some money...a lot of food, of course—"
"You're not really going to let them go, are you?"
Ivan looked Maria in the eye, his gaze hard, yet kind. "Maria, they're not kids anymore. You can't keep them here against their will," he said, sticking the cigar back into his mouth. "It's their life to live, you know."
Maria closed her eyes. "I know, I know. I'm just such a worrier," she said. Ivan heard a sharp clack as Maria lowered her chair and swung her legs off the table. "Alright, let's surprise them."
~morning the next day~
Tavvy glanced around the hallway, searching for any signs of movement. He had just emerged from his room. Doors lined the corridor, name plates bolted beside each one. A window at the end of the hallway revealed a barely light morning. The first rays of sunshine just began to creep over the horizon. Seeing no threat, Tavvy took a step forward.
"The coast is clear," he whispered to someone behind him. After a series of shuffling sounds, Sammy poked his head out the door.
"Is Maria-san still asleep?" Sammy asked, scanning his surroundings. He stepped forward and a soft creak escaped from the floorboard. The boys froze.
After a minute or so of standing stock still, they relaxed. It would be disastrous if Maria or Ivan caught them. They would ground them for life. No more evening specials from Ivan. No more fishing trips or hikes into the mountain. Maybe it didn't matter, since they were leaving the island anyways.
"Come on. Let's go."
They moved quietly, testing the floor before taking a cautious step. Soon, they arrived at the end of the hall where a curtain of beads shielded a doorway to the right. Sammy slipped through first, cringing at the sound of rattling beads. Tavvy followed, casting one last glance behind him.
Once they emerged outside, the boys weren't so wary. They grinned at each other, a gleam of victory in their eyes. Finally, they were free!
"To the harbor!"
~at the harbor~
Maria awoke by the sound of two very familiar voices. She tried to rise and almost flipped the rowboat she was laying in, water splashing onto her face. Salty and fairly disgusting. Groaning, she managed to sit up.
"MARIA-SAN?" Sammy shrieked, jumping backwards.
Ivan also sat up and rubbed his eyes drowsily. He took out a cigar, lit it, and stuck it in his mouth. He then smiled at the two bewildered boys. "Surprised?"
The two could only nod dumbly.
"There's just about everything you need. You two both know how to row a boat, right?"
Again, the boys just nodded.
"Good! Get going then."
They didn't move. Tavvy looked at Sammy. Sammy looked at Tavvy. Then they looked at Ivan and Maria.
"But—" Sammy broke off, unable to continue.
"Maria-san, you said—" tried Tavvy.
Maria smiled sadly. "You two are seventeen already." She looked at Ivan and he gave her a reassuring nod. "You guys should make your own decisions.
Ivan nodded. "Seventeen's a great age to set sail. You two shouldn't waste your life here at an old, rundown orphanage." He chuckled. "Even if it is run by me."
Maria walked over to Sammy and Tavvy and hugged them. "Go ahead. Make us proud," she whispered, tears welling in the corner of her eyes. The early morning sunlight made them look like a trickle of diamonds. She let go. Tavvy and Sammy were, to be frank, shocked. Not only had Maria hugged them, she was crying as well! A rare sight indeed.
Still quite blown, they took a moment for it all to sink in. When it finally did, they looked at each other, eyes gleaming.
"Alright!" they shouted, grasping the other's hand in a firm grip.
Tavvy jokingly punched Sammy in the shoulder. "You'd better become the greatest pirate in the world! Don't you dare slack off!"
"Yeah? You'd better become the greatest Marine! I'm not gonna wait for you!"
Maria watched the interaction, smiling all the while. Those two were always arguing, but somehow they were always friends. Even through Davy's death...
"You know, I think both sides killed Davy," said Tavvy quietly, subconsciously tugging on his necklace.
After a moment's hesitation, Sammy concurred. "Yeah, I think so too. Marines aren't bad—"
"Neither are pirates."
They stood there in silence. Then, the two exchanged the bandanas on their arm. Embroidered in gold thread in the center of each were three letters. JDT on Tavvy's, JDS on Sammy's. They boarded their boats.
"Thank you Maria-san! Ivan-sama!" they called, waving cheerfully. Sammy rummaged around and found a sandwich. He stuffed it in his mouth. Tavvy took the oars and began rowing.
Maria waved back. Ivan contented himself to just standing, smiling, his cigar pinched between two fingers. "So long, you two!"
"Bye!" Tavvy rowed very fast. Soon he became just a small speck on the horizon. Sammy, though a bit slower, also faded and eventually disappeared as he rowed farther and farther away.
Once the two had completely vanished from sight, Maria turned to Ivan. "Did I truly just let the two most precious things in my life sail off to become whatever they want in a world full of danger and death?"
Ivan chuckled patted her on the head, much to Maria's annoyance. "Yes, you did."
So begin the adventures of Sammy and Tavvy! Their quest: to become the greatest of the seas! Will they reach their goals, or will they sink to the bottom of the sea? Read on and find out!
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