Hey! First fic in a long time, though I'll be putting up another later today, probably. This is just a set of drabbles, a sort of possibly AU look into Luffy's early childhood. Luffy is the only character that's going to show up, besides mentions of Makino and Garp, though there will be a surprise guest in the last. They will be about eight of these, each looking into some aspect of Luffy's character or one of his habits.

And without any further ado...

EAT (and live)

Luffy hated the empty feeling.

It was dark, and cold, and his tummy was roaring like a lion, and he felt empty. He bit at his lip, nervously avoiding the rustling fern three feet away and was forced to walk through the brambles instead. They clawed at his bare ankles and shins, caught on his shirt like the hands of the villagers when he caused a fuss. But they did not make the emptiness go away. If anything, they made it worse.

He sucked on his thumb. His mouth was a little dry.

The gurgling sound almost scared him, but he realized it was his own body's protest after ducking behind a tree. The noises didn't help the empty either.

He tripped over a root next, his hands grazing the bark of a sapling and rough ground scraping his knees. Somehow, the pain made the emptiness seem less bad. A sharp rock got caught between his foot and his sandal, and that hurt a bit. Made walking hard too. There was a slickness building beneath his foot, but it didn't matter if his foot was slippery, 'cause he was wearing sandals. The emptiness was a priority, so he stumbled on, ignoring the hiss of animals and wind between the trees.

The emptiness is worse, he told himself, and that made the other fears fade away.

But then he lost his footing and rolled down a hill, bumping into roots and such along the way, and just scraping himself even worse.

Empty, empty, empty.

Hungry! That's what they call it!

He needed food!


But where did he get food out here? He'd already been out in the woods for a sunrise and sunset, and still hadn't found his way back to the village.

But then, he got lucky! Berries! He landed right in the bush, after another fall, surrounded by orangey-red circles and deep green leaves. And he was hungry, ravenously so.

So he ate. And ate, and ate.

Then, he retched. He retched and coughed up strange white foam, and convulsed on the ground, shivering. His tummy screamed and burned, and he felt wetness in his eyes, and twisted pain impaling him through, but somehow...

He didn't feel so empty anymore.

The villagers found him like that, not that he remembered them stumbling across him or getting rushed back, but he did recall the miserable days that followed, the burning and sickness, and the retching.

Next time he was in the jungle, when the hunger was back and horrible as ever, he encountered the berries again. He remembered them well, but he was so, so hungry...!

The second time was better than the first. He still threw up, still lay paralyzed on the ground for a long while, but could eventually heave himself up and stumble onwards.

And so, Monkey D. Luffy learned to eat, wherever, whenever, and whatever, as much as possible, because the next meal was never guaranteed but the emptiness was. And years later, if some slowly acquired poison immunities helped him survive hell and its warden, no one would ever know.

I hope you enjoyed!

I'll be updating in about a week with the next: RUN (and live)! Also, keep an eye out for the first chapter of my multi-chap story that'll be published sometime this weekend: Home Free, a Marine!Strawhats fic.