Chapter One

Too young to understand

Disclaimer: All characters belong to Eiichiro Oda

Rating: M

Setting: AU

Pairings: Zoro/Luffy, Sanji/Luffy, light Law/Luffy

Meosan: Hi everyone! Sorry for the long hiatus, one which I am very ashamed of since I didn't even tell anyone that it was on hiatus. Many things suddenly happened though I will not dwell too much into that. But! I have (hopefully) come back with a better writing style. As shortly suggested in the whole change of the synopsis, this is rewritten. I found that the old version is more like a summary of the whole story and lacks depth. This story is still influenced by the tragic Korean drama, Stairway to Heaven, but I have made many changes, because I wanted to add more angst (even more so than the drama itself, I don't even know how) so for those who have watched it, you'll see what I mean when you read on.

A word of warning is that my writing style has changed considerably (or that is how I like to think anyway), so I assure that the capitalization that randomly pops up or weird phrasing is intentional. But if you see something you really don't understand or you really think is a typo please tell me! It's much appreciated. Oh and there's also no beta so any mistakes is mine alone ~_~

But onto the story now! Thank you for sticking by me for the two plus years.

Fuusha is beautiful. The last of the spring rain had dampened the summer leaves, leaving a uniquely soft lushness on the surface of the vivid greenery. Droplets of water delicately dripped to the ground, seeping through the rich layers of earth, drank, consumed by it. Vines could be seen sneakily trying to envelop posts and lamps, but as if their waists were too tired, they'd bend and lie wearily on the mossy soil, like a tired ballerina, dancing and sad. Flowers burst, flicking a paint of rainbows on grass, bushes, and hedges, filling the landscape with the brilliance of warm, heated colours. Bee's hummed and sang solemnly, almost defeated by the summer sun but continued their work anyway; they flew absently around for pollen, and absently collected them.

Pitter- Patter-

A little noise slowly drifted in, hovering above weary blue sky. It was slow, but steady like the round tip of a blunt needle skittering delicately on a balloon, enticing it to pop. It was a pair of white butterflies fluttering lazily around.

Pitter- Patter- they tenderly sang. Singing like rain drops from the summer sky. They hovered around in random directions, blindly following invisible routes that was paved for them by the soft humming breeze. But they weren't really singing; if you listen closely enough, you'll hear that it was actually the footsteps of the butterflies that sounded like rain drops from the summer sky. They were tiptoeing lightly in the air, Pitter- patter- pitter- patter- gently. Quietly.

They fluttered away, walking on the air, because their wings were too heavy for the wind to carry away. So they walked, leaving no ripples in their wake, only leaving a quiet Pitter- patter.

Luffy liked to pitter patter as well, with his floppy straw sandals, fitted on his small feet perfectly with two strings – one a loop, one between the loop. He walked, sometimes ran, sometimes jogged, and sometimes he would dance, to follow the pair of white butterflies that walked on the air. He followed past the absent-minded bees, past the lazy vines that sank like a weeping ballerina, away from the ground that was dampened by the spring rain, away from the lush green grasses that made Fuusha beautiful.

The pair of white butterflies walked higher and higher, abandoning the nature they were born in. They left, alone, together, with one another and Luffy stopped. He didn't follow them anymore; he patted the straw-hat that sat firmly on top of his dishevelled black hair and gingerly took his sandals off.

A Step forward, and then another. Warm grass became scorching slabs of stones.

Luffy giggled and covered his mouth cheekily. His shoulders shook delightfully and his toes curled. He took a couple of steps more, feeling the heat of the stones under the pads of his feet, becoming familiar gentle warmth. He walked past a wooden sign that read: Fuusha, City of the Sea, so clean that it suggested constant care and maintenance. He ignored the sign just as he always did, and walked past with a gleeful grin plastered on his face.

The young boy, no older than eight, hurried his pace, following the road that is known to be paved with the precious sea stones found under the ocean. He hurried past many of the stands, and sometimes hid behind the legs of passerby's. The pungent smell of flowers was now instead replaced by aromas of thick rich spices and herbs, meat and fish, all invading Luffy's tiny nostrils.

If Luffy was any less focused on his current goal, he would've surely been lured by the abundance of mouth watering food laid around. So he kept head straight, and with determined eyes and a clenched mouth; blushing red from focus and self-control, he ducked under stands when there are no legs to hide behind or tip-toed around stands, stealthily as he could, until he was well away from the famous sea-side market and near the harbor.

With his destination in sight, Luffy sprinted towards it and only stopped when his feet touched the edge of the perfectly fitted grey slabs, allowing himself to be held back by the two coiling ropes that imitated a thick, rough python. Tilting his head back, he squeezed his big round eyes shut and inhaled the breeze of the sea, the breeze that made outskirts of Fuusha smell nice, and airy and free. He opened his arms and stretched his tiny fingers, sandals dropping unceremoniously on the floor. No word could express his inner triumph.

"Luffy?" A soft voice soon called behind him, breaking him out of his little reverie. His spread arms immediately swung back to his side, and he gulped, the little triumph he felt disappearing as quickly as it came.

"Luffy, I knew it was you," Makino said with a voice so sweet, as though the world's happiness was held at the tip of her tongue.

Luffy turned around with a dim but honest grin; he has been found. He quickly slipped his sandals back on and ran up to the green haired lady, her long light blue dress quivering in the wind. "Makino!" The boy hugged her and happily took the cold little carton of juice that she conjured from her dress pocket. He immediately inhaled all of the orangey content before letting out a little belch.

"What are you doing here?" He asked, tilting his head.

Makino tilted her head with him. "Shouldn't I be asking you that question Luffy?" She chuckled lightly, knowing very well the answer to her own question. "You're not supposed to be out all alone, what if you fall in again like last time," She couldn't help but lightly scold him.

Luffy acted like he wasn't listening though, only blowing air into the empty carton, until it was fat, round and straining, like the air was painfully restricted by the thin layer of card and desperately trying to escape confinement.

Makino sighed and gave a little soft smile. "Come on Luffy; let's go back, we don't want Garp-san to worry now do we?"

Luffy stopped blowing. He looked down at the constricting carton in his hand and squeezed it, eyes watching the air slowly wheeze out, hollowing the carton once more until it deformed tragically in his hand. "Gramps isn't even at home…" He mumbled. The straw-hat shadowed his face, darkening his features. It was always the same, with just him and the house. Not home. He doesn't want to go back.

Makino kneeled in front of Luffy and patted his Hat of Secrets. "Hmm, Garp-san isn't home you say?" She echoed with a smile, the line of her mouth weighed down by some sort of sadness.

The raven-haired boy nodded, eyes still down on the carton. "…I don't want to be alone…" He said in a quiet sullen voice, "…There's never anyone anymore."

"Mmmm," she sounded, her hand now rubbing Luffy's arm affectionately. And not long after, she gently pried the twisted carton from the boy's hand, setting it aside, replacing it with her hand instead. She began to rub little circles near Luffy's little knuckles with her thumb, feeling those bones that have yet to grow, her eyes following her own movements. Makino knew he was heading to the harbor when she caught sight of him at the market; to the place which the boy sees as a small speck of freedom in his isolated world.

Makino pondered on what to say next but no words came. No words that can comfort the little boy in front of her.

In Fuusha, the loneliness that Luffy suffers is no secret. The motherless-child is what many adults call him behind his back, but most would say 'orphan'. They weren't being savage, calling him an orphan, because he might as well be. They smiled in front of him, patting his hair and laughing with him when they see him, and in a tragically painful way, Luffy would react back. He would smile and laugh with them, but it was still undeniable. A father who was alive, but never thought to come back to see him; a grandfather who favoured his duty over family, bringing only brute strength with him during his rare visits, and a mother whose death left the boy at the time, only age five, scared, sad and inextricably alone.

And that loneliness, that hole was not something the villagers can fill up. They can be whatever to him, but they can never replace or even hope to fill on those vital roles of a mother and father, a family. Above all, the children in Fuusha were scared of Luffy, and the boy himself didn't know why, leaving the young boy in an inexpressible darkness that gnawed at his very being. But Makino does.

"It's your fault my husband died!"

It was exactly a year after the death of Luffy's mother. Makino was there that day, just as many of the villagers and children were; she never expected Luffy's father to show up, and of course he didn't. But astoundingly even Garp wasn't there, only appearing when the damage was done. Yet Luffy was, and all alone as well, bearing the burden that was not his to bear.

"You insolent child!" The woman screamed, face radical, with an awfully crazed waver in her eyes, "It's your fault my husband is dead!"

That time was suffocating, the air heavy with the poison of pressure, as if nature was oppressing them. Every leaf and petal, grass and stems laid low, bowing to an unperceivable aura. The air pushed against them, straining the heart and lungs of people. It stopped them from intervening in the situation. So they simply stood and watched, with caught breathes and clenched fists.

The lady pushed shoved Luffy, who, so young and newly turned six, stood quietly, rigidly with tense shoulders looking down on the ground.

"SAY SOMETHING!" she screamed. "YOU IDIOT GOOD FOR NOTHING YOU-" As if there were no words left in her, she raised her hand instead, eyes feral and face mad.

And like a whip hitting the crisp air, the clean smack on Luffy's small cheek echoed sharply across the graveyard.

That loud smack shattered Makino's trance, and she attempted to move forward when another villager gripped onto her arm, halting her. She looked back at him, but the man's grip only tightened, his face morphed into sadness and shook his head.

Luffy didn't let out even the slightest whimper. He stayed standing, facing down again after the painful slap.


"Mum!" A desperate voice cut the woman off, and she vehemently looked at the direction the voice came from.

A green-haired boy only two years older than Luffy ran up and stood in front of him, but the latter had given no form of movement to acknowledge his presence. Luffy stayed looking down, like an image of repentance, repenting for a sin he did not commit.

"Get out of my way." The woman warned quietly, her voice as piercing and poisonous as her slap.

The boy had stood his ground. "No, mum it's not Luffy's fault… you can't blame this on him."

Sometimes Makino wished she can just forget memories with a click of a finger. She wanted to forget her incapability that day. Why did she allow herself to be held back? Why did she not help Luffy? If that woman's son hadn't showed up like he did, she honestly wouldn't have known what she would've, or could've done.

But that time, which was certain to everyone, had scarred Luffy in many unimaginable ways. The woman, wrecked by anger and frustration, took her son away and broke the only true bond Luffy had left with anyone, forbidding them from seeing each other again. And soon, children in Fuusha began to exclude Luffy, fearing what happened to him, would happen to them. The children, unable to comprehend what was happening, one way or another, believed that Luffy was actually the cause of someone's death.

So the boy had been alone since then. And the loneliness that silently consumed him, like those droplets of water that was consumed by the ground, could not be so easily undone.

"Well," she said eventually, now looking at Luffy's down cast eyes. "Would you like to come and do a bit of food shopping with me? And then I can cook you your favourite dish?" She offered.

Luffy only made a little noise, and gave a somewhat reluctant nod.

"And maybe you can stay over at mine today? Since you said Garp-san isn't home today, we don't know when he'll be back right?"

At that, the boy looked up slightly. He timidly clutched Makino's hand, and when she didn't pull away, as he somehow expected her to, he held on tighter and gave another firmer nod.

He watched Makino stand up at his nod, taking the empty carton with her. He watched her smile at him and moved when she began to pull him, but he looked back. Luffy looked back to the sea, to the place where a boy promised him a future of freedom and happiness, as Makino lead him back to where all the solitude is, back to beautiful, sad, lonely Fuusha.

So sorry this chapter wasn't really much but I hope it was alright with everyone? As you can see, I've literally changed everything of the first chapter, and made Luffy all lonely, which I'm very sorry for, but it had to happen! Seriously though, I am so affected by One Piece nowadays with seeing Luffy's past and whatnot.

And just to clear things up, Luffy's mother died when he was five, the flashback happened when he was six, and Luffy is now eight.

On a side note, this is absolutely just about me so you can skip ahead if you want, but! I posted this right after exams! So I'm sort of having this mini heart attack on getting my results back~_~ I'd really like to get into uni but all these exams *Sigh* are they honestly all the necessary? Smh well sorry for my rambling~

Please do review~ The next chapter will probably be on tomorrow so please look forward to it! I'll happy do a Q&A if it gets necessary :)

Thanks again for reading!