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A New Start (Whitebeard Pirates x Child!Reader)

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__________________ didn’t remember much from her life before living at the convent. She just remembered her parents letting her out the car and driving away. She didn’t even remember their faces or name. Ever since then, she lived in a convent with an crotchety old nun named Flora or Sister. Because it’s just them in the convent, Sister taught her a few things to be an extra pair of hands and to be able to take care of things if she needed to. She did laundry, cook, weed the garden, water the plants, light the church candles, sweep the steps, and taking alms and making novenas for people. It was hard work but it was better than being out on the streets. When she was usually done with her chores, Sister let her play outside the convent, mainly to get her out of her hair. She’ll usually find Ace and his friends and usually tag along with them until it was time for dinner. Sister wasn’t the best cook but it as far better than nothing. Her specialty was everything into the pot stew. She would eat her fill and then go to bed. This has been her life for two years. Then one day, something happened. Many people visited Sister. Sometimes it was just regular people who wanted to see inside the old chapel but sometimes it was rough looking people. Usually when this happened, she made herself scarce but this man really intrigued her. She watched from her usual hiding spot in the bell tower as a man got out of a luxury car. She looked at him intrigued. Before she could do anything, he looked up and dead at her. She froze and ducked down. She quickly went downstairs. A man that huge was surely up to no good! She went towards the garden. She stopped when she heard Sister. She peeked behind the corner.

“What do you want?” Sister said leering at the huge man. ________________ froze. Huge was an understatement. The man was a giant. She’s been around other people in town and they towered over her but this man was in a league of his own. He was in a white suit, her hair covered with a black bandana, her eyes were gold and he had this great, white wide moustache, “What have I told you about bringing shit into this Church?”

“Oh please, I’m not Garp, Flora,” he said smiling at her. She smirked.

“I know, I’m still giving you a hard time,”

“Why? What did I do?”

“What didn’t you do?” he smirked.

“Oh? You mean that one night back when we were younger?” she flushed

“You naughty man, don’t bring that up!”

“You started it, I’m finishing it,” he said leaning in close, “Besides, it’s been too long before I saw you. Let me greet you properly…”

“LEAVE HER ALONE!” the pair turned as a mini blur went after the man and started punching and kicking at his knees, the only thing she could reach, “I’M NOT LETTING YOU HURT SISTER!” He watched in interest as the scrappy little girl tried to defend her caretaker. He took her by the nape of her shirt and lifted her up. He grinned at her. She on the other hand tried to punch and kick at him.

“SISTER RUN! SAVE YOURSELF! YOU’RE OLD AND YOU HAVE THE REST OF YOUR LIFE TO LIVE!” Flora sighed.

“This is _________________,”

“Scrappy, I love it!”

“LET ME GO SO I CAN FIGHT YOU!” the man snorts and tossed her into the air and held her by the shoulders. This surprised the little girl who was now shaken.

“Hello little lady,” he said with a sweet smile. He looked at Flora, “I thought you didn’t take in kids anymore,”

“I never did…put her down and we can talk. ________________ he’s not going to hurt me. Run along okay? I’ll be back,” she looked at the man and then Flora before doing as she was told and scampered away. Whitebeard was about to talk. Flora raised a finger before hearing a door close, “________________ is a special exception. Many parents don’t dump their kids off here anymore. But about two years ago, her parents did. She was seven at the time and has been here since. To make it odd, she’s a noble child. She came from a very rich family. I did some intel and she was actually promised to the middle son of the Vinsmoke family. Shortly after the visit, the parents dumped her off here. She’s a sweet girl with an adventurous and curious nature. I’ve seen her hang about Ace once in awhile,”

“I’ve seen her…do you know what happened between her family and the Vinsmoke?”

“I did some digging. A family visited the Vinsmoke’s empire and they left the same day. The oldest, the second, and fourth child all had sustained injuries to their faces and stomachs. I’m guessing she had something to do with it. But she doesn’t remember much from her old life. Child tend to forget things at seven,”

“I’m guessing she beat the ever living shit out of them,”

“Pretty much, she has spirit,”

“Spirit is a good thing…it’s the best thing,” he said looking contemplative

“…what are you thinking?”

“I want to adopt her,”

“You sure about that?”

“I took Ace in,”

“Ace is a little boy, you don’t know how to raise a little girl,”

“No child deserves to be abandoned like that. With me she’ll have a family,”

“Edward…”

“Flora, please, I know you want to keep her but she’s an energetic child. Maybe…she’s the child we were suppose to have together?” she froze and then reddened before turning away.

“Fine, take her,”

“Flor, I didn’t,”

“Listen, you’re right okay. She’s a good girl and…you can give her what I can’t,”

“Flora…you know my offer still stands. The boys miss you too,”

“Pfft, they don’t need me anymore. They’re strong boys who don’t need a mother anymore,”

“They ALWAYS need a mother. But I know you have your reasons. But you know I won’t take ________________ unless you’re okay with it,”

“Consider this…me giving you the one thing you wanted the most, a child,”

“…damn it woman come here,” he embraced her tightly, "It's not your fault--that you can't have children,"

“Just know…I’m only doing this because….you can give her everything she needs to be a healthy and functioning little girl. Just promise me you'll take good care of her, okay?"

"I promise," he bade her goodbye and drove off. Flora watched him leave. She took a deep breath and went into the chapel and up the bell tower where ________________ sat there looking at Whitebeard driving away.

“Hey get down here you little monkey,” _______________ jumped and scampered down.

“Sister who was that man?! He was HUGE! What was he doing here?! Are YOU okay?”

“I’m fine and that mean has just agreed to adopt you,” something fell to the pit of her stomach.

“W-What?!”

“You heard me. In a few days, he’s going to take you back to his home and he’s going to be your father,”

“B-But I don’t wanna go! I wanna stay with you and take care of you!”

“You’re a nine year old; you can’t take care of anyone. Listen, he can give you a better life. You’re too spirited to be holed up here. We’ll spend the last few of your days here. Don’t you dare make a fuss either. It’s for your own good,” Flora was stern. She had to keep her guns up. _________________ realized she wasn’t messing around. She looked down and nodded sobbing.

“Y-Yes Sister,”

“Good, go set the table for supper,"

***
“Another kid?” said Marco. Whitebeard made an announcement at dinner the next morning. It just came as a shock, since the last kid they decided to adopt was Ace, who finally adjusted to live with the huge blended family.

“Mhm but this time, not a boy, we’re adopting a little girl,” everyone in the room’s attention was piqued. For the longest time, they didn’t have another addition, until Ace came a year prior. Now they were going to have a little girl with them.

“Does this mean we have to watch ourselves around her?” said Fosse, “Meaning no walking about naked,”

“You shouldn’t do that in the first place!” said Izo, “Oh I can’t wait to have a cute little girl to doll up! When is she coming?”

“The day after tomorrow but there’s something you need to know about her. She’s been raised by Flora for two years,”

“And she survived?!” said they shouted

“Yeah, but I think she deserves a childhood. She won’t get that from Flora. She’s a tough kid; she tried to fight me, thinking I was trying to harm Flora. It was so cute!”

“…Is she the little girl who Ace hangs around with? The convent girl?” said Jozu

“One in the same,”

“SO cute! She looks so adorable in her little hakama!” said Izo, “Oh I can’t wait to see her!”

“I think we’re going to have to approach this more…delicately,” said Thatch smiling, “She may be a little skittish,”

“Why? We’re not going to hurt her,” said Whitebeard

“It took Ace a month, it shouldn’t take a girl that long,” said Vista

“Why would that be?” said Fosse, “If you remember, Ace tried to kill Pops that entire month and failed each time,”

“It was hilarious to watch though,” said Curiel

“I agree with Thatch,” said Kingdew, “We’re all tall and muscular. All of us coming at her at once would scare the shit out of her and that’s the last thing we want to do,”

“So what should we do? Not come to the house and everyone just come in slowly?”

“Yeah,” said Jozu, “Just a few of us first, then everyone gradually coming in. That there’s not a bombardment of people that could scare her,”

“What else do we have to do?”

“We have to prepare one of the rooms for her, get a bed, and…I don’t know what else little girls need,”

“Leave that to me,” said Izo, “Ace you’re helping!” Ace had just walked into the room.

“Helping with what?!”

“You’re going to have a new sister,” said Thatch

“Ugh why?! We don’t need a girl here! We have Izo!”

“We need another one and this one’s adorable!” said Izo, “And you’re going to help me and everyone made a room for her!”

“Tch, why should I?”

“Because you know her,” said Marco, “And know what she likes,”

“Do I?”

“It’s ________________. Pops is adopting her in a few days,” Ace froze, then his lit up.

“I-I guess I can help you guys! Pfft making a room for _________________ would be easy. Which room Pops?”

“The one on the third floor, that’s about two doors across from yours,” he grinned

“Okay. Meet you up there I guess,” before they could say anything, he run upstairs. Curiel snorts.

“Is he at that age that he’s curious about girls?”

“Kind of,” said Marco, “Okay let’s get her room set up. I guess since she and Ace are about the same age, they can learn the same thing,”

“Sounds like a plan,” said Thatch. Everyone agreed. They spent the next few days preparing for her arrival. On that day, only four were allowed in the house until she got adjusted: Marco, Thatch, Ace, and Whitebeard. Everyone had to make themselves scarce for awhile. Ace had the task of having someone her age to talk to. He also briefed them about their new arrival.

“She’s a girl but not super girly. She’s really fun to hang with and doesn’t cry like Luffy always does. She wears the same thing all the time because she’s a nun’s kid. Her room is super small and she’s always polite,”

“I can’t wait to meet this little lady,” said Thatch

“Me neither. It’ll be good to have someone Ace’s age for him to play with,”

“Ace, why don’t you check to see if ___________________’s room is perfect for her?” said Whitebeard.

“You got it Pops,” Marco and Thatch looked at him. They knew he had some information that he didn’t want Ace hearing.

“What is it Pops?”

“______________, Flora didn’t give away too many details but she was a child from a noble family. Her parents dumped her off two years ago and never looked back. Flora said she doesn’t even remember seeing them around the area since,”

“So her family must be from another area and dumped her here so there would be no trace back,” said Thatch, “Damn shame, she sounds like a good kid,”

“It’s a common noble practice,” said Marco, “If they don’t see any usefulness or if a child doesn’t comply…they’re dealt with. I wonder what she did,”

“She was betrothed to the middle son from the Vinsmoke family. For some reason she attacked three of the boys and her parents dumped her off at Flora’s convent,”

“Shit, if she did that she’s one of us already,”

“Three boys from a dangerous family like that? Took balls,”

“And she was punished for it by losing a home,” said Whitebeard, “So we’re giving her a home,”

“Does she remember anything from her family?”

“Nah, she’s been away for so long she doesn’t remember anything,”

“Hey, fresh start,” said Thatch, “Maybe we can train her to be strong,”

“One step at a time. For now, let’s give her a place to call home,”

***
_______________ was up and ready a few days after meeting Whitebeard. She didn’t have many things with her. The only thing she had a few items that Flora bought her. Flora made sure she was washed, clean, and prim when Whitebeard came. The little girl was gripping Flora’s hand.

“…_________________ listen you know you can always back to visit me right? I’m not abandoning you. You’re a great kid and anyone would be happy to have someone like you to be their daughter. Whitebeard…he can give you more than I can. I’ve known him for a very long time and you’ll be in good hands. Please, give him a chance. He’s not going to harm you,” she nodded, “I love you kiddo, please give him a chance, for me?” she nodded. Whitebeard got on one knee just to not intimidate the young girl. However, they didn’t help much because he was still taller than her. He offered his hand. She cautiously took it. She looked back as Flora. She gave her a wave as they drove away. ___________________ looked out the window as they drove. She was scared and nervous. Other than Sister and the convent, she didn’t know any other home. She gripped her seatbelt.

“We’re almost there little lady,” said Whitebeard smiling at her from the passenger seat. She nodded. He tried making small talk, “So do you have a favorite food?” she shook her head. Whitebeard winced to himself. If knew Flora, their diet probably consisted of vegetables from the garden, fish and rice. He tried again, “Ummm what’s your favorite color?”

“I really like (favorite color),”

“Oh that’s nice! Me too!” then she went silent again. He sighed and was happy when he saw the house. He parked and helped her out. Whitebeard ushered her to the door. She looked scared as he gently nudged her inside. She looked around. The house was huge. Sister told her that once upon a time, it used to be a Hongokan, boarding house that was set to be demolished until Whitebeard took it over and raised his sons there. He watched in interest. It was like seeing a kitten looking around a room for the first time. It was adorable. He gently touched her shoulder, “Let me show you to your room!”

It was a very nice room, a lot bigger than her old one at the convent. There a closet, a double bed, the room was (f/c) trimmed white and everything was nice and new. She cautiously went inside. Whitebeard smiled when she went into the closet and saw a lot of new clothes and things.

“A-All of these are mine?” he nodded. She bowed, “thank you very much, Mr. Whitebeard!” he cringed a bit. He didn’t like being called Mister. But he knew she was trying to be polite.

“You’re welcome! Come I have something for you downstairs!” she followed him back down. He ushered her to the kitchen. There was a familiar boy sitting at the table waiting for her. She perked up.

“About time you showed up,” said Ace smirking at her from the table

“Ace!” she hugged him tight.

“So you’re my new sister now?”

“I guess so!”

“Hiya Pops,” Whitebeard ruffled the boy’s head.

“Keep her busy, I’ll go get her surprise,” she looked up

“It’s not Ace?”

“Nah, something even better,” he walked off. Ace looked at her.

“Listen, I know Pops looks a little scary, hell they all do but they’re okay, I promise,” she looked a little apprehensive. He sighed and ruffled her hair, “Seriously! Just try and give them a chance! Try Marco and Thatch first!”

“Marco? Thatch?”

“Marco looks like a walking pineapple and Thatch is usually in the kitchens cooking,”

“I heard that pineapple remark,” ________________ saw two men enter the kitchen. One did in face resemble a pineapple. He smiled warmly at her and offered a hand. She gently took it, “My name is Marco, I’ve been here the longest. If you ever need anything, just let me know, okay?”

“Y-Yes sir!”

“Hey don’t call me sir, I’m your big brother. Like I’ll probably call you sis a lot,” she grinned as he pats her head.

“And I’m Thatch, whatever bad things Ace told you about us isn’t true,”

“He only said nice things!”

“Awww fire boy loves us,” Thatch smirked.

“I don’t! She looked so scared! I had to say something! She never had big brothers before!”

“Well, to be fair, we never had a little sister before,” said Marco, “guess we’ll all learn together, huh?”

“Yeah!” Whitebeard then emerged with a large cake. He gently sat it in front of her. It was a huge chocolate sheet cake with frosting roses and read “Welcome Home __________________!” in her favorite color.

“Wow Pops, where did you get that one?”

“Bakery across town,” Thatch cuts four massive pieces and served her first. She looked at it puzzled.

“What’s the matter?” said Ace.

“What is this?” she said

“Dude its cake. Have you ever had cake before?” she shook her head. Marco chuckled.

“Well, Flora never had much of a sweet tooth. I bet she had cookies from time to time,” she nodded.

“Ginger snaps,”

“That’s Flora,” said Thatch chuckling, “Well try it!” she nodded and took a bite.

“This is GOOD!”

“I’m glad you like it!” said Whitebeard grinning. After cake, Ace showed her around the place. He showed her the bathrooms, then the courtyard, which was massive and beautiful, then back upstairs to his room.

“See told you this place wasn’t so bad,”

“It’s really big!”

“Nah, you’re just really small,”

“So are you!” she said

“Wait until you meet everyone else, a few are bigger than Marco but no one’s bigger than Pops,”

“There’s more?!”

“Yup,” her eyes widened, “Don’t worry, they’re not going to come at you at once but everyone’s really happy and excited to see you. Don’t see why, you’re just a girl,”

“Stop being mean!” that night, ________________ went to her room. It was huge and wide and nothing like the one in the convent. She tried getting comfortable but just couldn’t. She couldn’t fall asleep. She then heard her door open. Marco checked in on her. She sat up bowed.

“Don’t be so formal. What’s the matter?”

“I can’t sleep,” she said.

“Don’t blame you, it’s your first night,” he said and perched at the foot of her bed. She sat up. He grinned, “You know this used to be Hongokan, right?”

“Yeah! Sister said it was really big and famous back in the day,”

“Pops thought the place still had a lot of character. People from all walks of life used to come and stay here, kings, queens, prince, princesses, travelers, monks, adventurers, thieves, so many people, either for rest or for the hot spring. So you might find a few surprises around here. There’s even one in your room,”

“Really?” he nodded, “Where?”

“You see that latch right there?” he pointed to the wall next to her bed. She nodded, “Unhook it and pull the wood left. She got up and did so. To her surprise the wall moved, revealing it was a door and it led to a mini balcony where she could see the entire city from her bed.

“WOW!” he grinned.

“Beautiful isn’t it? When I was younger, I used to keep this slightly cracked so I could fall asleep watching the town and the stars,”

“Did it help?”

“Kind of and this,” he takes a blanket with a star and moon galaxy print, “as long as you sleep under this, you’re sleeping under the stars,”

“Does it work?”

“Pops gave me one when I was your age and it helped me, maybe blanket magic will rub off on you. Want to give it a try?”

“Yes please!” he pats the bed. She goes to it and lays down. He then used the blanket to tuck her in tight. Almost like magic her eyes felt heavy. She looks at the sleeping city and the stars above. She yawned and closed her eyes. Marco grinned and closed the old door and re-latched it. He then quietly went to the door and closed it gently behind him.

***
For the next few days, ___________________ slowly got comfortable in her new home. It was quiet, like the convent, it was spacious, and she slowly started figuring out the secrets of the house slowly with Marco, Thatch, and Ace. However, things became…chaotic. She knew she would have a huge family, but she didn’t know that their definition of huge was well. One day she woke up to stomping, shouting, and other things. She peeked out of her room and was almost immediately stepped on. They apologized before they kept walking. She didn’t leave her room until Thatch guided her to breakfast. She was terrified to eat; she grabbed what she could and retreated to her room and hid under her security blanket. She then heard someone open the door and peeked out. Ace looked at her puzzled.

“So there you are,”

“W-Who are all those guys?!” she whimpered out

“…oh! Those are all your brothers! Did they introduce themselves?!” she shook her head and looked down He noticed how uncomfortable she looked, “Don’t tell me you got scared and ran,”

“They’re huge! One almost stepped on me!” he snorts. She looked so scared.

“Don’t worry, no one’s gonna hurt you. You can here if you want though,” she nodded, “trust me, things will look better in the morning,” however, she didn’t think so. Because she was so much smaller, she was able to weave in and out and everyone to get something to eat. She tried looking for Marco or Thatch but they were nowhere to be seen. She decided to hide in a closet and sobbed. She didn’t like this, not one bit. She stayed in the closet until she couldn’t hear any more noise. She peeked out and went to get something to eat. She saw a bunch of sandwiches on the table. She slowly approached. She reached for one when she saw something move. She froze. Whitebeard was stand next to her. She shook and looked up at him. He sat on a chair and smiled.

“Go on, they’re for everyone,” she immediately grabbed a sandwich, nodded in gratitude and ran back to her room. He sighed and took a bite out of his.

“Was that our new sister?!” said Izo, “She’s positively adorable! Aww Pops, what’s the matter?”

“She looks so scared. Maybe it was a bad idea to take her from Flora. But she seemed fine the other day,”

“Well, everyone was gone. She lived a very quiet life in the convent, this is going to take some getting used to,” upstairs, _________________ contemplated running back to the quietness of the convent. She didn’t have much to take ad if she left tomorrow, she could probably get there in time for dinner. Then again, she did like Marco and Thatch…and Ace did say to try and get to know everyone. It’s only been a week after all. That night, once again, she couldn’t sleep, even with her magic security blanket. She got up decided to walk around. She was thirsty so she got herself a glass of water and went on the adventure of looking for her room. But she became terribly lost. She opened each door and peeked in. None of these rooms were hers. She finally got to a room and saw a sleeping man inside but not just any man. Marco. She drank her water and set the cup on the table nearby. Marco was sleeping soundly. She moved the blanket aside and slowly got in and closed her eyes. She felt safe again as she drifted off to sleep. Marco glanced over a sleeping girl next to him. He smiled before moving over and trying to go back to sleep, until he felt tiny hands holding his arm protectively. He sighed and pats her head. In the morning the entire house was in a panic. Izo and Fossa decided they were going to gently wake up _________________ and introduce themselves, only to realize she wasn’t in her bed or room. They checked the bathrooms; they checked everywhere she could have been. The entire house looked everywhere for her. Whitebeard called Flora to see if she showed up and that turned up nothing.

“Where could she have gone?!” said Curiel

“Did she get stuck somewhere?!” said Kingdew

“Maybe she went outside into the garden and fell into a hole or something!” said Namur

“Or a well!” said Blamenco, “Kids are always falling down in wells!”

“WE DON’T HAVE A WELL!” said Thatch

“THERE’S ALWAYS WELLS!”

“What’s the matter with you all?” said Marco calmly coming downstairs and pouring himself some coffee, “You’re all noisier than usual,”

“____________________ FELL DOWN A WELL!” said Bleheim

“No we just can’t FIND her!” said Rakuyo, “We looked everywhere!”

“Pops can’t even find her! He’s worried sick!” said Speed Jill

“Oh. She’s in my room sleeping,” said Marco sipping his coffee.

“What?!” said the rest.

“Yeah, she wandered in last night, pulled back the blanket, curled up and went to sleep. This morning she was still sleeping. I think she got scared and found me. She’s still adjusting,”

“She still doesn’t like me,” Whitebeard sighed coming downstairs, “I think that’s why she’s been hiding,”

“Aww Pops! She’s still adjusting!” said Izo, “Poor little thing. It’s going to take awhile,”

“Why? It didn’t take us a long time to adjust!” said Vista, “Most of us took to Pops in a few hours or days,”

“She’s nine, a little girl, and surrounded by giants,” said Thatch, “She probably think we’re going to eat her or something,”

“She looks stringy to be honest,” said Namur, “We’d have to boil her at least a few hours and even then not enough for a meal,” Everyone stared at him, “Just saying!”

“Thatch is right; we’re all six or more feet. Pops alone is thirteen feet,” said Jozu, “She’s probably think we’re going to step on her,”

“Anyway, just be very cautious around her, she’s still skittish,” said Marco. He went upstairs to see ______________ looking around and yawning. She froze when she saw him. He smiled.

“Morning little lady,”

“M-Morning!”

“Want to come down for breakfast? We made pancakes and bacon and eggs,” her stomach growled. He chuckles, “And we found this (favorite color) outfit. It’s a coveralls skirt with a black blouse, perfect for a little explorer. It’s in your room if you want to wear it,” She nodded. He offered his hand. She took it and he ushered her to get dressed and freshened up. Once finished she sought him out and clung to his shirt. He smiled and led her downstairs. He smiled at her.

“You had us all worried for awhile. Two of your brothers came looking for you to say hi and you weren’t in your bed. Pops almost tore the street apart looking for you,”

“I didn’t mean to make everyone worried!” she said. Marco chuckled and pats her head.

“Don’t worry, you’re okay, we just wanted to know if you were okay! You’re about to meet the rest of your brothers. They’ve been looking forward to meeting you for a very long time,” she nodded as they made their downstairs. In the kitchens, everyone was eating when Marco came down with ________________, “As many of you know, this is _______________, our new little sister. She’s going to be living with us from now on,” she smiled weakly. The men stared. She really was shorter and smaller than all of them, then again so was Ace but he made himself known. Marco made himself scarce. She bowed.

“I-It’s very nice to meet you all! I-I didn’t mean to make you all worried! I-I got lost last night and I didn’t know where to go! S-So I went to M-Marco’s room and went to sleep. I-I’m sorry!”

“OH MY GOD! She’s so cute!” Izo scooped her up and snuggled her, “I’m your big brother Izo! Well more like big sister compared to them but we’re going to be gal pals!”

“N-Nice to meet you!” she smiled nervously.

“Aww she loves me more than you assholes already!” he snuggled her close, “In fact, we’re going to spend the whole day together so we can get to know each other! Come along!”

“O-Okay!”

“Damn it Izo!” said Curiel

“Not fair!” said Fosse

“He’s going to turn her girly!”

“No worst, another Izo,” said Namur

“Humph! You WISH there was another me! There should be MORE of mes!”

"Everyone calm down. I'm sure he won't do anything that would harm her or change her,” said Marco as he walked back inside to see what's going on, “Izo, let everyone else spend time with her too,”

“Okay, okay, humph,”

“You have two hours, then I’m going to take her!” said Namur

“Fine, fine!” he grinned at her, “Come on!” Izo’s room was huge, with guns displayed on the walls, along with fans and art, two black dressing panels that had a sakura blossoms design on them and a closet filled with clothes and things. He took her to his bed and sat next to her.

“I’ve been waiting for a cute little girl to doll up! Oh we have to do something with this hair! Did you do it?”

“Sometimes, or Sister,” Izo grins and takes out a comb and brush and got to work making ________________ a nice long French braid. He then went into his closet and started taking out things. He examined her for a few moments before giving her in a (f/c) changshan and a pair of black pants, “Here try these on!” he pointed to the dressing panel. She changed into the clothes and came out. Izo had a mirror ready. She grinned. She liked her new clothes, “How are they?”

“Comfy!”

“That’s exactly what I like hearing! Oh you’re going to be so cute when I’m finished with you! Are your ears pierced?” he checked, “Oh good! I have pair of studs that are going to look adorable on you! I would let you try on my hoops but they’re a bit too long for you darling!” Izo went searching for them. He laid out a bunch of pearl earrings and told her to pick one. She picked the white ones. “Excellent choice! Pearls look so elegant on ladies and make little girls so proper!”

“You wear earrings too?”

“Most of the time when I’m not training or anything. I look a sight that day; then again that’s why I have water and sweat resistant make up,”

“Say Izo, are you a man or a woman?” Izo smiled. She covered her mouth, “I didn’t mean to insult—,”

“Oh please. It’s okay hon. I’m a man who likes wearing women’s things and being a woman,”

“So you’re a woman?” Izo grinned

“Pretty much!”

“Okay! Can I call you Big Sis?” Izo placed his hands over his chest.

“OF COURSE YOU CAN!” he hugged her tightly and nuzzled her cheek, “Wait, wait the finishing touch!” he takes out a butterfly hair clip and attached it to her hair, “Perfect!”

“Izo it’s my turn now to be with her!” said Namur walking in.

“Hey! Knock before entering! There are ladies dressing in this room! ________________ looked up at Izo. He ruffled his hair.

“It’s okay. Namur is harmless!” Namur gave her a toothy grin. She goes over to him. He takes her hand and takes her out of the room.

“Come on! I have a ton of shark teeth I want you to see!”

***
It’s been a few weeks and ________________ was slowly adjusting in the huge boarding house home. She learned there were sixteen people living with Whitebeard however, there were like tons of other brothers living next door and around the neighborhood. Thanks to Marco, she was introduced and hugged and claimed as their only sister and spent time with each of them getting to know them. She was told the whole neighborhood was hers to explore but she shouldn’t adventure any farther than a black line area. Fosse told her about one of Whitebeard’s sons who tried to kill Thatch and was caught before he could achieve it and he fled and created the Blackbeard territory.

“That fuc—funny man betrayed us and tried to kill our brother. He attacked Ace some time ago and he won’t hesitate in hurting a little girl either,” her eyes widened, “And he doesn’t know who you are yet, let’s keep it that way, okay kid?” she took the advice to heart. Izo loved taking her into his room just to have her try and clothes and doll up. She liked that. She loved watching Thatch cook and helping him with chopping and things. Vista’s room had a small deck and she loved smelling the roses and helping him with him. Curiel showed her how to fire his flamethrower guns and use gunpowder to make them. She was gradually adjusting to her new family, even not hiding as much, which was a lot in the beginning. However, she only hid when one person came about, Whitebeard. Because she was so short, she could wedge herself in small areas of the house. Whenever Whitebeard came home, __________________ was usually gone by the time he came through the door. She would slip away and usually it was the closet but she was found in all kinds of places, even behind a fox statue in a space just small enough for her. He wouldn’t see her for the rest of the day and she would emerged when she knew he was gone.

“You don’t have to hide you know,” said Marco as she peeked out of the closet, “Pops wouldn’t hurt a fly,” she was not taking that chance. Marco held out his hand, “Come on,” she took it as she gets out and scampered upstairs. Whitebeard sighed.

“It’s been almost a month Marco,”

“Give it time. Maybe you two can find a common interest. She’s been sifting through all of us,”

“She’s saving the best for last, Pops,” said Jozu

“I hope,” upstairs, ______________ was pulled into Ace’s room. He shoved a controller in her hands and they started playing.

“You really are a spaz,” he said not looking up from game

“What did I do?!”

“Acting weird around Pops. Scared of him or something?” he snorts. He then glanced over and noticed that she had her head down, “Oh shit, really?”

“Wouldn’t you be?! I tried to fight him and he overpowered me!”

“You tried to fight Pops too? Wow…I commend you,”

“I thought he was trying to hurt Sister so I attacked! Then the next thing I know, I’m being adopted by him!”

“That means you’re stuck with us forever,” he said, “Get used to it,” she glared at him, “Seriously, why do you want to stay in that convent?”

“That convent was my home! Sister was really nice to me…borderline sadistic but she always was nice to me!”

“Give him a chance, will you?”

“It took you awhile!”

“I’m a boy, we’re naturally stupid, you’re a girl so don’t be stupid,” she decided to go to bed early. She hopped into bed and hunkered down. She yawned. Since coming to the house, someone was always there to tuck her in. She was getting used to it but she also had to remember, she was a older kid and didn’t need it every time. The door opened and Jozu walked in. He placed a glass of water on her nightstand and then tucked her into bed. He looked at her a few moments and pats her head a few times. She reddened.

“Night Jozu!”

“Night,” she woke up really early the next morning. She couldn’t smell anything but she heard a lot of breathing. Everyone was still sleeping. She looked at her clock. It was about seven. She got dressed. Today it was one of the plain cotton changshan that Izo got her and pants. She decided look around the big house again. It became her little hobby. Because the house was actually an old Hongokan, or boarding house, it was hard to navigate and remember where things were. She made it downstairs and discovered a huge hot spring under the place. Also there were about seventy rooms in the house. She noticed that while most were bedrooms, some rooms were hobby rooms, some were storage, some were empty but some had awesome things like weapons, she found one that looked like the dojo Sister had in the convent and even a hidden bathroom that one seemed to use. Because the place was so big, it felt like she was a different house all together sometimes. She made to the other end of the huge house within two days, marking where she left off. She decided to venture further up. She found some stairs. She avoided them, mainly because she scared of what she would find but today, since it was early, she was going to conquer her fear. She cautiously went up the stairs. She opened the door as the light blinded her. Her eyes focused and she saw the last thing she expected to see. It was a beautiful rooftop garden. She looked around and saw canopies of plants growing above her. She walked about in interest. She didn’t know this was up here. There was a fence around it but she climbed the winding stairs and saw the entire city. She looked at it in awe. She savored the moment before shimming down. She spied a peach on one of the trees and picked it and started munching on it. She went to grab another when she saw a figure moving in the corner of her eye. She froze and turned. Whitebeard was absentmindedly watering a few bushes. She looked over at him. He then stood up and turned only to be greeted to a little girl. He smiled at her.

“Enjoying the peach?” her eyes widened.

“I’m sorry! I didn’t know it was yours!”

“Did you pick it?” she nodded, “Then it’s yours,” he patted her head, “Like my garden?”

“This is your garden?!”

“Mhm, been growing and tending to it since I lived here,”

“It’s beautiful!” he chuckled.

“Thank you. The boys used to play up here all the time, not so much anymore and Ace usually runs off to play with Luffy and Sabo, so I guess the secret garden has you to explore it,”

“Really?! Thank you!” he grinned.

“Ever garden?”

“Yeah! Sister had one at the convent! It wasn’t as nice as this one. And she made me water and weed it all the time. She said it built character,”

“Water yes but weeding is a pain. But I can use some help around here. If you want, you can do watering and harvesting duty for me,”

“Really?! Okay!” he chuckled, “It’s the least I can do! Especially since you’re letting me play up here!” he grinned and ruffled her hair.

“You live here now, so that means it’s your garden too,”

“R-Really?” he nodded

“Just like your room,”

“B-But it’s your house!”

“And you’re my daughter. As long as you stay, that room is yours. It’s your personal space and your safe haven,”

“T-Thank you sir!”

“Don’t call me sir, please just call me Pops!”

“I-I’m trying!” he sighed and pats her head. Whitebeard thought to himself, they were alone. There weren’t any distractions. He could finally bond and get to know her better. He smiled at the little girl,”

“So other than gardening and exploring, what else do you like doing? Are you getting along with your brothers?”

“Well, I like cooking with Thatch! Sister used to just have me chop things to make all kind of soups and broths. With Thatch we made a lot of things that are delicious. N-Namur and me have been making things out of his shark teeth! Izo likes to dress me up in pretty dresses and clothes! I like them but I also like to be around Marco in his study with a book or helping Vista prune his roses. What do you like doing for fun?”

“Well, I like to garden, I like grilling more instead of cooking especially after we go fishing,” she looked at him puzzled.

“What’s fishing?” he looked at her.

“You’ve never been fishing?” she shook her head. Whitebeard looked at his watch. It was only about nine o’clock and on a weekday. By the time they get to the waters, the fish should be biting. She was dressed and ready, “Let’s go. We’re going fishing,”

***
“WOW!” Whitebeard smiled watching the little girl look over the edge of the boat as he took the boat out to the middle of the sea. ______________ never been this far out before or on a boat and she was taking it all in. The boat was massive with an under carriage to store fish, an area for rest, and a place for snacks. When they were far enough, he showed her how to bait the lines and cast off. She held onto her pole. They were silent for awhile. Whitebeard had no idea what to say.

“So…what do you like to do for fun?” he asked.

“I like to collect rocks!”

“Rocks?”

“Yah! They’re so cool! Sister said it was weird but I really like them for some reason,”

“You know when I was about your age I used to collect sticks,” she looked up.

“You did?”

“Aye, I did. I still have some of them in my room. Some are as old as time,”

“May I see them? I’ll show you my rocks!”

“I would be honored to see them!” he then felt something tug. He gripped his pole and reeled in a massive marlin.

“WOW! Is that what we’re fishing?”

“Yep! Marlin are huge and enough to feed an army and they taste great. Open that hatch for me,” she nodded and opened the hatch. Whitebeard flung it inside. He closed the hatch, “It’s filled with ice down there so we can keep it fresh for eating later,”

“Ah okay!”

“Let’s see if we can catch a few more!”

“Okay!” they cast out their line again. After some moments of silence, another fish snagged onto Whitebeard’s line. It was just as big as the first one. _______________ opened the hatch and the second fish met its fate like the other. _______________ looked intently at the water. Everything was so nice and calm and serene. She liked it. She loved the smell of the ocean, she loved the sound of the water hitting the boat, and she loved the calming rock of the boat. She was also enjoying Whitebeard’s company. She glanced up at him. He was peaceful looking. He was gazing at the sea with her. She noticed that his eyes were gentle. Not frightening as she thought. He had a very soft face and reminded her of those wise old men she read about in her books.

“So tell me,” he said not tearing his gaze from the water, “So do you remember anything about your mother and father?”

“Nah, I don’t remember much,” she said looking out into the water, “The only thing I remember was them packing up my things and dropping me off at the convent. Ever since then, Sister took care of me. She said that they just didn’t want a kid right now. At least they didn’t abandon me on the roadside or something, I’m happy for that,” she said.

“So no memories of your parents?”

“I remember Mom wore this necklace and I remember Dad dressed in black, that’s it. I don’t even remember their faces. Besides, Sister is kinda my mom,” he grinned and patted her head, “Does this mean you’re my Dad now, Mr. Whitebeard?”

“Aye it does but please, please, please call me—,”

“ACK! I got something!” __________________ hung onto her pole as she a sharp tug almost send her out of the boat.. Whitebeard grabbed her she hung on for dear life.

“KEEP HER STEADY! Reel and pull!” she started pulling and reeling with Whitebeard holding her close. He slowly moved his hands onto her smaller ones and in one swift motion they yanked. A giant marlin flew out of the water. __________________ was shocked and in pure amazement as Whitebeard caught it and wrestled it into the hangar below with the smaller ones he caught. He panted and laughed.

“I think we have enough for today! Wouldn’t you think?”

“YEAH!” they headed back to port where he showed her how to cut and clean the massive fish before having someone do it for them. Whitebeard took one of the cut pieces and took a bite, “You can eat it raw?!” he nodded.

“It’s sashimi at this point. The freshest ever!” he slices a bit and handed it to her. She bit into it.

“…this is good!”

“Just some added perks to hanging out with me!” on the way home, she kept looking back at the wrapped packages of fish in the back seat.

“Are we going to eat it today?” she said grinning at him from her seat.

“Hmmm it’s about five now. Thatch probably cooked something already. We’ll eat it tomorrow!”

“Okay!” she yawned and got comfortable in her seat.

“Did you have fun today?”

“Yeah! I never went fishing before! I like fishing! Can we do it again along with gardening? Please?” he smiled and ruffled her hair.

“Sure if you want to!” he passed an old seafood diner, “Hungry?” she nodded as he pulled up. He ordered crab, salmon, marlin, and even oysters. He watched as she ate her fill. He loved seeing kids happy and enjoying their food. _____________ never had food this good. They got home at around seven. Everyone was eating or finished eating. Izo was the first to greet them.

“Welcome ho—oh dear god!” he covered his nose, “Pops! Where have you been?!”

“Fishing with my daughter,” he said proudly

“You took her fishing?!” said Rakuyo, “Lucky!”

“Did you catch anything?” said Jozu

“YEAH! I caught a fish thiiiiiiiiiiiis Big!” she said happily at them.

“Let’s fire up that grill and cook ‘em up!” said Bleheim

“Nah it’s too late,” said Whitebeard, “This weekend though,”

“Fuck yeah!” said Ace grinning

“Language boy!” said Thatch

“Yeah watch your fuckin’ mouth,” said Fossa

“Damn it! Stop swearing in front of the kids!”

“So I need to get a swear jar? I don’t tempt me,” said Marco

“That’s all fine and dandy but you reek!”

“Izo it’s not that—,” Thatch recoiled, “Did you guys gut the fish yourselves?!”

“We don’t smell!” ______________retorted

“Yes you do. Come on,” Izo picked her up and headed to the bathroom, “Before the smell settles into your skin,” After Izo gave her a hot bath; ______________ went to Ace’s room where he was playing Mario. He paused and tossed her a controller.

“Thanks Ace!”

“So, you and Pops had fun?” she nodded and happily told him about her day.

“Yep! I never ate raw fish before! It was good! Then we had seafood! I never had crab before! I didn’t like the oysters though. They were slimy and ugh!” Ace smiled at her as she told him everything.

“So you finally like Pops now?”

“…it wasn’t like I didn’t like him…I was terrified of him. I thought he was going to hurt Sister and step on me!” Ace laughed

“He wouldn’t. He is strong and can be scary but he’s alright. So you’re gonna hold off your plans to run away?” she froze for a few moments.

“How did you know that?”

“No kid has a backpack with water and food that’s enough to feed themselves for a week,”

“Did you tell anyone?”

“It’s not my business if you leave or not. Why would you though?” she looked down.

“I was scared. I never had a family before, not one I could remember and I must have done something really bad for them to not want me anymore. Everyone here was so scary at first. I thought I was going to be stepped on. Then everyone was really nice and well…I didn’t want to take me back to Sister if I was bad again. But…Mr. Whitebeard is really nice! He’s so warm! And he likes to show me everything!”

“Yeah, Pops is amazing! And if you left, you would break the old man’s heart. Family isn’t supposed to abandon you; they’re suppose to take care of you! My mom can’t because she’s dead and I don’t give a shit either way about my dad. If your family abandoned you, they’re not your family. We’re your family now,” tears rolled down her face. He froze and started scrambling for a tissue, “Marco said girls are different but you’re like a boy! Luffy cries a lot too!”

“This is happy crying you jerk!” she sobbed and blew her nose.

“Girls are weird. Anyway, you better not run away. Because if you do, I have to look for you again. And I’m too busy to look for a girl. I already have to take care of Luffy, don’t be stupid and a pain in the ass like him,” she hugged him tightly. He reddened and just let it happen. Whitebeard had tears in his eyes as he stood by the door with Marco.

“Wow, you two really bonded today,”

“It was spontaneous but it worked! I’m so happy! She’s finally opening up to me!”

“I think she’ll open up more but remember, don’t rush into it,”

“Okay, okay,” he turned and headed upstairs, “I just wish she’d call me Pops,” Marco popped his head into the room some time later.

“Okay you two, time for bed,”

“Oh come on, it’s not that late!” said Ace

“It’s after eleven o’clock and ____________________ looks like she’s done,” Ace was about to retort when he saw the droopy eyed girl. She wobbled up and followed him to her room where she curled up in bed. Marco tucked her in.

“Marco?”

“Hm?”

“Ummm Can we all go fishing one day? The whole family?” he grinned at her.

“Yeah, one day but not now, we have plenty to eat,”

“I know…I caught one!”

“I heard, we’ll have a feast tomorrow, thanks you and Pops,”

“I’m glad…” she yawned, “Never had a grilled fish,” she was drifting to sleep, “Sounds tasty…”

“Goodnight,” he pecked her forehead.

“Night Big Brother,”

***
The three men have been watching the little girl for about two weeks now. Almost every other day, she would walk to a little store about a block away and come back to the area and then presumably home. They didn’t know where home was but that didn’t matter. They just wanted the little girl. She was a little kid that looked about eight or nine with (h/c) hair and (e/c) eyes and she was always carrying a randoseru that they knew was probably a utility backpack. This was perfect because those features were highly prized for their clientele, especially a small child. She could easily be sold overseas, harvested, and other things. She was always alone, so she had either no family or her family was nobodies. Either way, the kid was a good score. She passed by their car and that was when they made their move.

“Hi little girl!” the first man said, “Where are you going?” she backed away from him. Sister always told her to never talk to strangers in or near a car. She started walking faster, “Don’t be afraid little one! Your Mom told me to pick you up! She’s at the hospital!” now she KNEW this man was lying. She didn’t have a mom. She ran as another stepped in her path. She froze. He reached out to grab her. She jumped back and screamed.

“HELP! STRANGER DANGER! YOU’RE NOT SAFE! YOU’RE NOT SAFE! I DON’T KNOW YOU!” this startled the men and gave her the chance to run. They took chase and followed the little girl all over the area. There weren’t people out on the street and this worked to the men’s advantage but ________________ was fast and threw things in her path in order to trip them up. She ran from the strange men as fast as she could. She scaled the fence and landed before running again. She ran through another alley and jumped on a box to get over the fence this time. However, one of the men grabbed her leg and pulled her down. She yelped as she bit and kicked at them, “Let me go! HELP!” it earned her a punch across the face. She winced and whimpered. She couldn’t feel the right side of her face and it felt as though it as tingling.

“You little shit! When I’m done with you that little attitude of yours is going to be gone! If you would have gone quietly, you wouldn’t have been hit you little bitch. I say we sell her to the Celestial Dragons and let them deal with it!”

“She’s kind of ratty looking to be a servant. But she’s scrappy; they’ll probably make her fight for sport,”

“I’m not going with you! I don’t even know you! You’re bad people!” said _______________ trying to get away.

“Who cares, ain’t no one gonna help you anyway, you’re just some pathetic little orphan,”

“I’m not a orphan! I have a family! And they’re going to save me!”

“Oh? Then where are they, huh?”

“Right here,” they turned to see two very large men behind them. Something fell to the pit of their stomachs. They knew who they men were. One was the first division command and one was the fourth of the territory they were in. They looked at the three men murderously.

“…L-Let the kid go,”

“B-But Boss—,”

“I SAID LET HER GO!” the man lets her go and she immediately ran to Marco and Thatch sobbing hard, “W-We don’t want no trouble,”

“Oh? Look like you do since you chased our little sister into an alley,” said Izo from above with Jozu and Fosse.

“Looks like these idiots were asking to die,” said Fosse. Marco was on his knee tending to ______________’s face.

“Can you see out of it?” he said making her following his finger with her eyes. She nodded.

“But it’s blurry,”

“I see,” she heard a voice from behind. Whitebeard towered over them all. He looked at _____________ with a smile. She smiled back as he pats her head, “We’ll meet you at home. Izo, mind taking her home? Dish her some ice cream and call a doctor about that eye,”

“Sure thing Pops!” she scampered to Izo who picked her up onto his shoulders, “Come along, a girl your age shouldn’t see such violence!”

***
At home, the doctor treated _______________’s eye. The hit caused damage to her iris and an eye patch and medicine was required. Izo sent Ace out to get one from the store while ____________ laid on the couch with an ice pack on her eye and ice cream. She was shaken but otherwise fine. Izo kept an eye on her.

“As soon as Ace gets back, you’re going to wear that patch for awhile. At least it’s just for a week before another check up. You poor thing! Those assholes are going to pay for hurting that cute little face! You’re not going to be able to read or awhile because of that eye. We’ll read you a story every night until its better,”

“H-How did you guys find me?” she said looking at him.

“Oh, when you leave every day, Ace, Luffy, and Sabo follow you to make sure get back to the store okay. They do it for stealth training. Today, they heard you scream and Luffy ran and told us while Ace and Sabo followed behind them. When they cornered you, Ace and Sabo were ready but Thatch and Marco got to them first. Good thing you yelled,” Izo noticed her uneasy look, “Hey, hey you didn’t do anything bad! Those men were going to take you away and you would never been seen again! You probably saved more kids just by running and yelling,”

“Really? W-Why did they want me?”

“Those men…were a part of the Trade. They take children and sell them to other people as slaves. Most of the time, the kids are orphans, sometimes they have families. Once they’re taken, they’re never seen again,”

“That’s terrible!”

“It is, they’re really ballsy too if they’re coming into Pop’s territory and doing it,”

“Territory?” Izo looked at her

“I forget you don’t know anything about the area yet,”

“He’s talking about the territories around the area,” said Ace coming back into the house, “We’re in Pops territory but there’s other territories around. Every territory has rules and junk and usually people leave you alone depending on the territory, unless you do something you’re not supposed to,”

“Like what?”

“That’s enough of that for now,” Izo took out the eye patch and slip it on her right eye. About an hour later, everyone came back home. Whitebeard was barely in the door when he felt something clinging to his leg. He looked down to see __________________ clinging on without saying a word. He smiled and scooped her up. Tears were in her eye. He held her close.

“Shhh it’s okay, you’re safe now,” Pops decided to order out since everyone was on edge after thinking that ______________ would have never been seen again. They ordered a bunch of things and everyone dug in. Many of the foods ______________ didn’t know what they were. Ace helped her along grabbing things right and left for her. She happily munched on pizza, Thai BBQ, jasmine rice, burgers, and fries. A few hours later, everyone was stuffed. She was so full and she yawned. Izo took her and Ace upstairs for a bath. Ace went into his bathroom and slammed the door. He sighed.

“Little girls are so much easier to raise,” when _______________ was done, Marco was waiting to put her to bed.

“Umm actually Marco, can Mr. Whitebeard tuck me in?” Whitebeard was heading to his room but stopped when he heard his name and the tiny request. She looked up at him with large (e/c) eyes, “Please?”

“Of course!” ____________ hunkered into the blankets as Whitebeard tucked her into bed. He hadn’t tucked in a child since the boys were younger. Ace refused to be tucked in. She was securely tucked in as she yawned and he told her stories of pirates and gold and treasure and the like.

“The King of the Sea fought valiantly against the King of the Pirates. The old sea dog was no match for the mighty twelve foot king and he immediately succeeded to him. However, the Sea King did not want the title of Pirate King and allowed the man to live. So the pair turned and walked away from the other, off to fight another day,” She giggled.

“Did all of that stuff really happen?”

“Of course it did!”

“Did they ever find the treasure?”

“That is for another time,” he said bent down and kissed her forehead, “For now, you get some sleep,”

“Okay Pops,” she yawned, “I love you, goodnight!” Whitebeard stopped in his tracks. He looked back to see ________________ settled in bed and had closed her eyes to dozed off. She finally called him Pops and she said she loved him! He went over to her, pulled her out of bed and hugged her tightly.

“I love you too my little girl!”

“Ack Pops! You’re squeezing me!”

“Shhh it’s okay! I love my little girl so much!”

“Can’t breathe! Too much love!”

Chapter Text

Ace and _______________ would admit they were living a pretty normal life. Because they were homeschooled like the majority of the kids in the area, they got free range to do almost anything in the name of a lesson. _____________ learned how to cook by watching and helping Thatch and Ace was always outside with his two brothers. However, Whitebeard was getting a little worried, mainly because he knew kids needed social skills and Ace had his brothers and even though _______________tagged along once in awhile, she didn’t leave the Hongokan that much. If she wasn’t inside, she was in the little inner yard area exploring and things or on the garden rooftop. Whitebeard thought of something she could do that’ll teach her something new and get her to have some social skills with other kids. He then saw a notice about Ribbon Twirling. It looked fun and safe and they had a mini summer lesson that was everyday for a month.

“What do you think Izo?” said Whitebeard

“Ribbon twirling is fun, safe, and help her with her agility!” said Izo to Whitebeard, “And she’ll be able to make friends and things! It’ll be so much for her!”

“Sounds like it!” at dinner he pitched the idea.

“Ribbon Twirling?” said __________________ looking at the flyer

“Yeah! It’ll be fun and you’ll get to meet new people and make new friends!” said Whitebeard smiling at her.

“But, I like hanging around here!” she said

“Yeah but it’s not good for you to be cooped up in the house all day and night,” said Kingdew, “You need to have fun and do fun things,”

“Yeah and it’s the girliest thing ever!” said Ace, “What’s so great about ribbon twirling?!”

“It’ll teach her balance, grace, and being adorable,” said Thatch smirking, “Why Ace you want to join?”

“Pfft no!”

“Then don’t complain,” said Fosse, “Besides, it’s ______________ decision,”

“It sounds like fun!” she said excitedly

“Then it settled! Tomorrow you’re going to start ribbon twirling!”

“Yay!”

“And tomorrow, we’ll teach you something useful, like how to strangle a man with a ribbon,” said Curiel

“That’s awesome!”

“Hell if we’re learning that, I want in on it!” said Ace

“NO!” said Marco

***
____________________’s first week at her new hobby was fun. She realized she really liked ribbon twirling and was pretty good at it. The class was from nine to noon and Marco or Izo was always there to pick her up. Then she was show off her moves to Whitebeard and had to tell him ONE thing she learned. She usually just showed him and went from there. Ace teased it about it but she often saw him watching her practices with Sabo and Luffy. The girls from the school were really nice. She made a new friend named Vivi and they usually hung out as partners when it came to things. She learned she was a princess from a place far from where she was taking lessons.

“I’m just here while my dad does some business in this area,” she said.

“But you’re a real life princess, what are you doing here?!”

“I always wanted to try ribbon twirling! It looks like so much fun! You?”

“Pops found the flyer and thought it would be good for me!”

“So you live around here?”

“Yeah!”

“Like in an embassy?”

“…no, actually I live in this huge house that used to be a Hongokan,”

“Oh so you parents own it?”

“Yeah Pops own it but we live in it!”

“So wait a moment, are you a princess too?” __________________ chuckled

“No!”

“Diplomat’s daughter?”

“I don’t think Pops is a diplomat…whatever that is. Why?”

“Well, most of the girls here come from well off families, like royalty, diplomats, politicians, CEOs, you know people with a lot of money and status,”

“OH! Well I really don’t know much about my family yet. I’m adopted. For the last few years I was living in a convent until a few months ago. So I don’t know much about my new family yet,”

“So you’re a charity case then?” they looked up. Another little girl wearing a bright green leotard looked at her with a superior look. She had blond hair, hazel eyes, and looked very striking. ______________ smiled.

“You’re Holly right? It’s not to meet you!” she held out her hand. Holly looked at it and turned her nose up.

“I don’t touch stray’s hands. My mother taught me better than that,”

“Hey don’t be mean!” said Vivi

“Umm, what’s a stray?” said ___________________.

“You know…like a stray dog? You don’t have a family,”

“I do! I got adopted!”

“Wow, I guess poor people really are dumb. You can’t even afford to wear a leotard,” _____________ cocked her head a bit. She was wearing long shorts and a black shirt. They said wear something comfortable and this was comfortable. Vivi ushered ______________ away.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, why wouldn’t I be?”

“She was insulting you!”

“Was she?” Vivi looked at the girl before chuckling.

“You’re weird, but a good kind of weird,”

“Alright girls!” said the teacher smiling, “tomorrow, we’re going to have show and tell. Bring something so we can share and learn more about you all! Bring something that’s important to you or have an interesting story!” ___________________ was excited at the news. There was one thing she knew she wanted to tell her new friends about and that was her blanket that Marco gave her. She excitedly told Marco everything on the ride home.

“Looks like you’re making a lot of new friends,”

“Yeah! Vivi is a real life princess! She’s not from around here though!”

“Yeah, Alabasta is miles from here,”

“Is it beautiful?”

“It’s desert but I heard it was great at night when the sun is down,”

“That sounds awesome!”

“What else happened today?”

“Actually…I was wondering, what’s a charity case?”

“Where did you hear something like that?”

“This girl named Holly called me one. Is it bad?”

“….it is. It’s a person who’s given an handout out of pity. You’re not a charity case,”

“She’s been mean to me all day! She even called me a stray. Vivi told me what that meant,”

“You’re not a stray either,” he frowned.

“I know that! I have a family now! I don’t know why she’s being stupid about it,” he chuckled

“No idea,” he ruffled her hair, “So what did you have for your break?”

“Vivi and I went to that little bakery and had baklava! It was so good! She said they eat it where she’s from all the time. I had cake and tea. I want to treat her to tea tomorrow,”

“I’ll give you a twenty tomorrow,”

“You sure?”

“Meh, have some fun and get something nice,” at home, she got ready for show and tell. She excited told Whitebeard when they had their “What did you learn” conversations.

“So what were you planning to bring?”

“I was thinking about my blanket! She said to it had to be something special and it’s special to me,” he chuckled.

“Is it now?”

“That and my rock collection would be too heavy,”

“That it would,” he snorts at her.

“Anything else?”

“Nah! Other than that, everyone’s been really nice. How was your day, Pops?”

“It was eventful. But nothing a little girl should be worried about. Go practice,” he ruffled her hair. She chuckled and went off. She packed her blanket into a bag for the next morning before going to practice in one of the space rooms.

***
The girls all lined up to show off their items. Rei showed an old music box that ornate with gold, Vivi showed them her duckling Carue and how he’s been her constant companion since she got him. Holly showed off her brand new silver emerald tiara that her mother got her “just because”.

“Very good girls! Okay _____________ you’re next,” _____________ got up happily and presented her blanket. Holly laughed.

“And old hobo’s blanket! Of course YOU would,”

“Hush, proceed,”

“This is my favorite blanket! You see when I was living in the convent, I didn’t have much but I had a small room that made me really secure but when I moved in with my new family, I couldn’t sleep at night. So Marco gave me this so I can sleep at night and it worked! So I always sleep with it or on it to feel safe and happy at night!”

“Very good! Okay girls, put your things away and let’s get ready for practice. After the first set, Vivi took ______________’s wrist.

“Come on, we’re going to the bakery today! My treat!”

“Really? I was going to treat you today!” she said showing her the money. They both laughed, “Okay, rock paper scissors to see who’s going to pay?” they both did it, Vivi won so she bought the treats. When they came back to the studio, ______________ found that her blanket was gone. She looked everywhere for it. The teacher swore she locked the classroom. The blanket’s disappearance threw off her confidence and practice that day. After class she went looking again and saw Holly holding it. She looked so relieved.

“Oh Holly thank you! You found my blanket! Can I have it back?”

“I’m not giving you MY blanket back,” she smirked, “I found it on MY desk when you put it there and you and Vivi were playing that game,”

“I forgot! Give it back!”

“It was on MY property, therefore mine. It must not have meant a lot to you if you just placed it on someone else’s desk. I think my puppy would love sleeping on it. It’s a dog blanket anyway,” Holly hurried away. ______________ said nothing and headed to the car. Marco was there to pick her up. He noticed that she looked visibly upset.

“What’s wrong?

“Holly stole my blanket,”

“What?!” she explained the situation the ride home, “Did you tell the teacher?!”

“I didn’t know she had it until after class! She said she was going to use it as a dog blanket!” she sobbed, “I-I’m sorry for losing it! I didn’t mean to!”

“You didn’t lose it, she stole it, big difference!” two things popped into Marco’s head. His main objective was to make ______________ feel better and how much trouble could he get in for stealing a blanket. At home, the other brothers immediately saw that ________________ was upset. Marco gave them the reader’s digest version.

“You mean the snobby girl with the blonde hair?” said Ace.

“Yeah…she said it’s hers now because I left it on her desk,”

“…Would it be wrong to punch a child?” said Fossa

“Anything is legal as long as you don’t get caught,” said Rakuyo

“No,” said Marco, “______________ tomorrow, you’re going to have to be assertive and get your blanket back!” Curiel snorts.

“________________, all you need to solve your little problem is old fashion ingenuity. First you need is some gunpowder and you a conveniently placed trail and a match—“

“NO!” said Marco, “Listen __________ just—,”

“—use a natural means,” said Vista, “There's a whip with rose thorns in my room, one quick swipe across her eyes—,”

“—Vista that's insane!” said Thatch. Marco sighs.

“Oh good, thanks Thatch—,”

“—I'll lend you my thermos, I'll fill it with boiling water, you can accidentally on purpose trip—.”

“NO! A TEACHER! TELL THE TEACHER!”

“What’s a teacher going to do?!” said Namur, “Especially since she can’t prove she took it!”

“I agree with Marco, we have to let her do the right way and tell first before taking action,”

“So we’re going to let that little bi—,” Rakuyo caught himself, “Bit girl, steal her blanket and get away with it?”

“So do you want her to go in there fist drawn?” said Jozu

“Preferably!” said Vista

“So the school to think we’re teaching her violence?” said Marco

“She’s taking back what’s hers!” said Bleheim

“There has to be another way,” as the men argued, Izo pulled ____________ off to the side.

“Darling, what’s the name of your classmate?”

“Holly Horke,”

“Horke…do you know what her Mommy look like?”

“Yeah! I saw her a few times! She had dark red hair, green eyes, and always wears gold bracelets and short dresses!”

“Clarisse. Thank you hon. Oy idiots! I’ll handle it,” said Izo, “Woman to woman,”

“You’re not a woman Izo,” said Speed Jill.

“Say that again I’ll knife you,”

“Let me go with,” said Fossa.

“Me too!” said Thatch.

“No! I’m sure she’s not going to want a group of intimidating looking men confronting her at once. NO woman wants to be intimidated like that. I’ll work my magic and be right back,” Izo grabbed his coat and left the house without another word. ______________________ however was miserable. She had no idea how she was going to sleep tonight. Ace was coaching her in his room.

“Okay first you go up to her and you shove her hard and say “give me back my blanket!”

“I can’t shove her! That’ll be mean!”

“She took something that was yours! You have all right to be mean! Now shove me!”

“No!”

“SHOVE ME!”

“NO! I don’t want to shove you!”

“Quit being a girl and SHOVE me!”

“What does being a girl have to do with anything?!”

“Everything! You’re not a regular girl! You’re a Whitebeard girl! That means you HAVE to be tough!”

“I am tough but I’m not going to bully!”

“WIMP!”

“I’m not a wimp!”

“Prove it!” she glared and shoved him hard. Ace was taken by surprise. He grinned.

“Now, get into my face!”

“What?”

“Get in my face and trash talk me!”

“I-I can’t do that!”

“It’s how boys fight! Shove me and call me a fuckin’ bitch!”

“That’s super mean! I can’t call her that!”

“You have to go at her and say “Listen you bitch, you better give me back that blanket or I’ll punch you so hard your mother is going to feel it!”

“That’s threatening!”

“That’s how boys fight!”

“But Holly is a girl!”

“But she stole from you! Get into her face, shove her into a wall and say ‘Listen you fuckin’ bitch, you better give me back my blanket or I’m going to knock your teeth out!”

“ACE!” the pair jumped and turned to see Vista at the door, “The hell did you say?!”

“I was teaching her to fight like a boy!”

“That’s not going to work! Little lady, you have to fight dirty!”

“Dirty?”

“You take back what’s your by force. First you ask her one last time for your blanket back. If she refuses, grab her by the ear, shove her into a wall and hold her in place until you get your blanket back!”

“But wouldn’t that hurt her?!”

“She took your blanket, she started you, you finish it!”

“I hear that!” said Marco, “Stop teaching her how to fight dirty or fight like a boy! _____________ tell the teacher and then go from there!”

“What if the teacher doesn’t do anything?!” said Namur, “Then what?!”

“We’ll just get her a new one,”

“I don’t want a new one! I want my blanket back!” said ____________________, “It’s not fair!”

“Damn right it isn’t!” said Vista. That was when they heard the door slam downstairs, then stomping up three flights of stairs. Izo shoves Namur and Marco out of the way. He grabbed _________________ and whisked her away to his room and closed the door. She could tell immediately that Izo was angry. He took her hands.

“__________________, I’m going to teach you a technique that I thought I wouldn’t have to teach you until you were in high school but desperate times calls for desperate measures. I’m going to teach you the art of throwing shade,”

“What’s throwing shade?” said __________________

“It’s how women fight and it’s very, very dirty. You see, men and women are different in certain ways, mainly in hierarchies and social practices. If you were dealing with a boy, I would say to beat the ever living crap out of him but you’re dealing with another girl whose mother is teaching her how to be a very foul young lady. So you’re going to have to fight like that type of woman, with shade. And in the future, don’t use this technique unless absolutely necessary and only to defend yourself, got it?”

“Yes Izo,”

“Good, so listen to this and listen well and repeat every single thing I tell you,” after her lesson with Izo, she retreated to her room. She went inside and immediately opened the panel door to the balcony a bit to see the stars. She hunkered into bed. She then heard heavy footsteps. Whitebeard walked in.

“Hey Champ,” he said smiling at her, “You think you can’t last the night?”

“I think so,” she said sadly, “I don’t know why she doesn’t like me. I didn’t do anything to her!”

“Well, you’ll find out in life that there are people out there who are just jerks. No matter what you do in life, they’ll just be mean for no reason,”

“She said it was because I was a charity case or something. Like Vivi is a princess and it’s because I’m adopted but I have a family now! She said it’s because I poor, I don’t even know WHY that makes a difference!”

“It doesn’t,” he sat on her bed, “A man should not be judge by their physical wealth or power. Sadly you’re going to encounter people like that,”

“Say Pops, what is your job? I don’t want to sound rude but I’m just curious,” he chuckled

“ Let’s just say I work in keeping things in balance. It’s a dirty job but it’s fun,”

“As long as you’re having fun!” he laughs and hugged her tightly before tucking her in. He noticed the door being opened slightly.

“You’re using the Marco Trick. When he was younger, he could only sleep by looking at the stars at night. He’s rubbing off on you!”

“I hope! He’s so cool!” he tucked her in tight and closed the door behind her. _______________ thought about what Izo said to her. She didn’t want to hurt anyone and Izo said that this wouldn’t harm her in anyway, just on the inside. She yawned and replayed what she had to say. She hoped she would get her blanket back.

***
Ace decided he was going to do the big brother thing and get his sister’s blanket back. He and Sabo have been watching the girls practice and knew they schedule by heart. The girls had their break at 10 for about half an hour. The girls usually ate something from home or from the bakery nearby. He was about to confront Holly to give back _________________’s blanket. However, ________________ approached her first. Ace grinned. She was going to fight her! However, _______________ didn’t raise a fist. She looked at Holly and said something. Holly’s face went white, then it went red, then tears poured down her face as she kept talking. The little girls ran out of the school in complete tears. She ran all the way to her mother who was across the street having her nails down. Ace watched as Holly told her something. Clarisse grabbed her daughter’s mouth, grabbed her daughter and ran to her car, grabbed the blanket from the back of her car, and shoved it into her daughter’s arms. Holly ran to ______________, apologized over and over to __________________ and gave her back her blanket. Ace witnessed what happened. He was expecting to see _________________ strangle the girl with her ribbon but all she did was say a few things to her and it sent Holly running out in tears. He ran all the way back home and told everyone what he witnessed.

“I don’t know WHAT she said but Holly AND her Mom were crying and they gave back the blanket!”

“…what?”

“Whatever she said, it made her cry!”

“Hell at least she got her blanket back,” said Speed Jill

“True but what did she say?” they shrugged it off until it was time to pick her up. Marco waited at the entrance. He watched as she came walking out laughing and talking with Vivi holding her blanket happily. They said their goodbyes and she ran to Marco. He pulled her into an one armed hug and they started on their walk to the car.

“So, got your blanket back?”

“Yep! I’m so happy!”

“We’re going to have to wash it when we get home,”

“Okay!”

“So, how did you get it back?”

“I told her what Izo told me to say,” Marco looked down at her.

“Oh? What did he tell you to say?”

“That she should respect my things and give me back my blanket or else,”

“…or else what?”

“Or else I’ll tell everyone her family’s dirty little secrets,”

“…did she give back the blanket at first?”

“Nope,”

“…what did you say?”

“I told her who her real father is. The evidence is all over since she has blonde hair and green eyes and everyone else are brunettes with dark eyes. Also her father has been screwing the secretary for the last five years and that she has a half brother and sister because of it. I told her that if she didn’t give me back my blanket, I would tell her mother about her father’s affair and then tell the school about her prostitute, sex addict mother. Long story short, she gave me back my blanket,” Marco rubbed his temples and continued their drive home. Once in the house, he passed the blanket to Bleheim who took it the laundry.

“My little sweetie!” Izo scooped her up into one of his hugs, “How did it go?!”

“I got my blanket back!”

“Did you do what I told you?”

“Yep!”

“That’s my girl!” he ruffled her hair

“Hey little lady, Ace and the boys are eating outside,” said Thatch, “Hurry up and eat before there’s nothing left!”

“Awesome!” she scampered away. The room looked at Izo. He looked at them.

“I did NOTHING wrong!”

“You told her to tell that little girl that her mother’s a prostitute and her father was a cheater and NOT her father!” said Marco

“You damn right I did!”

“SHIT IZO!” said Fosse, “Seriously?!”

“What the actually fuck!” said Blamenco

“Oh don’t you guys DARE judge me!” he retorts and pointed at Curiel, “You wanted to light the girl on fire,” he points to Vista, “You wanted to blind her with a whip made of thorns,” he points to Thatch, “YOU wanted to throw boiling water on her! I showed her how to get back at a bully in a nonviolent way! The WOMAN way. No one got hurt!”

“Her feelings got hurt!” said Bleheim. Izo poured a glass of wine.

“And I should care because?”

“Izo!” they shouted

“Listen, I’m not saying what I did was wrong but I did everything to right way until her cunt of a mother called me a perverted tranny and told me our home wasn’t suitable for a little a kid if I was there,” the room went silent for a few moments.

“Izo, is this true?” said Whitebeard coming down the stairs. He nodded looking a bit annoyed.

“Okay we didn’t know that,” said Kingdew

“Yeah, okay, NOW we know you had your reasons,” said Jozu

“What really happened?” said Whitebeard. Izo took a drink.

“When ________________ didn’t come home with her blanket and looked upset, I got upset. She loves that thing and she does need it to sleep at night. So while you all were talking about how she was going to get her blanket back, I decided to talk to Mrs. Horke about the situation. She goes to the same salon as I do you see and she was there. So I decided to talk to her woman to woman,”

“Hi Mrs. Horke, you don’t know me but I’m Izo Newgate, ________________, big brother? It’s nice to meet you properly,”

“Tch, what do you want?” she said looking Izo up and down. He smiled pleasantly.

“I hate to say this but your daughter, Holly, has ________________’s blanket. I know it’s just a blanket to you but it means the world to her. She can’t really sleep without it and she’s very upset. I was wondering would you please have her give it back to her tomorrow or even today if you can,”

“I don’t have to give you anything,” Mrs. Horke retorts, “She’s just a little stray and should be used to not getting things. Just because you guys cater to strays, doesn’t mean my child has to. If she wants the blanket, she’s keeping the blanket and no nasty looking tranny coming up to me thinking he’s my equal is going to change that. Now get out of my face,”

“THE HELL?!” said Namur, “She’s called you a tranny?!”

“The fuck she think she is?!” said Fossa.

“Shit I’m surprised you didn’t gut her right there!” said Rakuyo

“Oh I wanted to, then I thought something vicious. You see, after her hair appointment, she loves going to a wine bar afterwards so I followed and went in twenty minutes after she did. I know the bartender and I gave him the heads up and I started ordering her drink after drink after drink. She became drunker and drunker and her lips got her looser and looser. So I swooped in and became her drunk gal pal,”

“Gal Pal?”

“The lady equivalent of your drinking buddy,” said Vista

“Oh,”

“And what she told me was very interesting,” said Izo smirking

Both patrons were laughing and talking while they drank more and more. Well, Mrs. Horke drank and Izo just kept passing her drink after drink.

“So tell me Darling, why don’t I see Mr. Horke around the ribbon twirling?”

“W-Well, well, Weeeeeeeeeeell he’s probably with his whore,”

“Oh?”

“His fuckin’ secretary, I think her name is Rita or something…he always wanted a blonde. I was blonde but I d-dyed my hair red. Toooo many johns were recognizing me!”

“Johns you say? Sweetie, don’t tell me you were a prostitute!”

“W-Were?! I am!” she slurred, “H-He doesn’t want to touch me a-any-any-anymore! He wants to be with his slutty c-cunt! H-He kn-knows I’m a ny-nymph-nymphomaniac!”

“You don’t say!” Izo topped off her glass, “This must be difficult for Holly,”

“I-I don’t fuuuuuuuck in the house! I go to sex clubs and let men do whatever to meeeeeeee, I love butt stuff and being pissed on. I’d wiiiiish I knew which one was her father,” Izo stopped in mid drink.

“What?”

“I-I-I know my bastard husband isn’t her daaaaaaaaaaaaddy. All of his kids look like him…Rita has two of his kids and they BOTH look like him! Holly doesn’t even LOOK like him, hell she doesn't even look like meeeeeee,” she chuckled, “I’m so disgusting….it was probably that man that paid me ten grand to fill me with his hot sticky--,”

“Okay, okay TMI!” said Marco cutting him off.

“Damn, that’s just…shit,” said Kingdew

“What else happened?” said Vista.

“A man thought I was her pimp, paid me about five grand and took her out back,” said Izo, “So I went home and took ________________ to my room and taught her the art of shade. I’m treating everyone to dinner everyday next week with the money,”

“So you told a nine year old to say that?!” said Blamenco

“I have no regrets,” said Izo, “She had to fight dirty without using her fists. I understand you guys wanted her to fight but she had to fight in a different way. Yes it was cruel but she got her point across. She couldn’t beat the ever living shit out of her but that would have accomplished more problems. I didn’t want to air that woman’s business like that but she had it coming and she fought her battle,”

“I hate it when you’re right,” said Vista

“It comes with the territory of being more feminine than you guys. Listen, don’t worry about _______________. I told her when to use it and when not to. She’s a smart girl. I know she’ll make the right call. She doesn’t go looking for trouble and that’s the most important difference between her and Holly. You have nothing to worry about when it comes to out sweet baby,”

“You’re right,” said Whitebeard, “Izo, thank you,”

“Anytime! So everyone tell what you want to eat! Food and alcohol is on me!”

“You fuckin’ rock!” said Fossa. Meanwhile outside, ___________________ was eating her fourth PB&J and as Ace told the boy what happened.

“I didn’t know there were different ways to fight!” said Luffy

“Apparently!” said ________________

“Well yeah,” said Sabo, “I’ve seen noble women break up entire dinner parties with one word back at home,”

“That’s awesome!” said Luffy

“No it’s not! I made Holly and her mother cry!”

“Yeah but they had it coming,” said Ace, “And it’s not like actually hurt them,”

“I think I hurt their feelings!”

“People like that don’t have feelings. You gave them a hard truth and they couldn’t take it,”

“Still I do feel bad about it,”

“And that’s perfectly fine,” said Sabo, “And you got your blanket back,”

“And it proves you have a heart!” said Luffy grinning at her.

“But you can’t let people just take things from you!” said Ace, “I still say the guy way is better,”

“No way! She made her cry with just saying stuff!”

“It doesn’t work on you! I insult you all the time and you just take it!”

“That’s because I know you LOVE me!” said Luffy grinning

“I don’t!”

“Do too! Ace LOVES ME!”

“THAT’S IT!” Ace tackled and started wrestling with Luffy. Sabo sighed.

“Maybe the guy way isn’t always the best way,”

“Neither is the girl way if you don’t know you’re being insulted,” said _______________, “I guess ignorance is bliss,”

“Agreed,”

Chapter Text

“L-Leave him alone!” the girl said holding a frying pan in front of her. Behind her was another figure and he was cowering a bit. His face was bruised, bloody, and tears rolling down his face. In front of her were three boys, a redhead, a blue haired, and a green haired. The boy behind her was blonde. She couldn’t see their faces but she knew they were bad news. Words were exchanged and the boys came at her. She swung the iron pan hard smacking the redheaded boy across his face. He went down and held his face. The other two were stunned and then looked enraged and went after her. She glared and kick the blue haired one in the stomach. It knocked the wind out of him, allowing her to smack the green haired boy and then hit the second one with the pan. They staggered to get up. Her wrist was grabbed as she and the blonde boy ran and they hid. They heard footsteps and things being knocked over and then silence. They kept silent in their hiding spot for a long time before they came out. He looked at her.

“Thanks…”

“No prob!” she grinned happily at him. He grinned back and hugged her.

“No…really thanks!”

“Hey! I kind of have to! Three on one isn’t fair and have to protect my favorite—,”

“Don’t call me that! I don’t wanna be a prince,”

“Kind of have to,” she said

“Plus, I’m supposed to be protecting you not the other way around,”

“I can take care of myself,”

“You’re like what six?”

“Seven in a few months!” he laughed. He led her back into the kitchen and went to a cupboard. He pulled out a dessert and handed it to her, “What’s this?”

“A thank you for every time you helped me and well, for being the first fiancée ever!” she laugh and took a big bite, “How is it?”

“It’s so go—!”

“THERE THEY ARE!” she turned to see the three boys again and this time with someone behind them. __________________’s heart stopped.

“You’re in BIG trouble,”

__________________ jerked awake and sat up in bed. She’s been having this dream for years, more so lately since she moved into her new home. It always ended the same way, however this time the boys entered the kitchen after her dessert and that was the first time she saw that huge man. Whoever he was, he scared her awake. She got up from bed and went downstairs for some water. This was the first time she realized her dream has more parts to it. It was always the three boys and the blond boy. She didn’t recognize them and swore she never seen them before. She had dreams about them before. She was starting to think there were more to these dreams. She walked back upstairs with her water. She froze when someone came out of the bathroom and towards her. He stopped when he realized a tiny body was looking up at him. He looked down.

“Why are you up?” Jozu ruffled her hair.

“Can’t sleep, I had a bad dream,”

“About?”

“I have no idea anymore,” she said miserably. He took her downstairs for some milk and sat in front of her looking at her expectantly, “I’ve had the dream before but now it’s getting longer! Like at first it was really kind of funny but now…every time I dream it, I get scared,”

“How long has been having these bad dreams?”

“For about two weeks,”

“You should have told us,”

“I usually fell back to sleep. But now they won’t let me,” she said yawning.

“I’ll find a solution,” he said smiling

“Really?! Not even Marco’s blanket helps! And that ALWAYS help,”

“Don’t worry, I’ll think of something but until then, get some sleep,” she nodded. He carried her upstairs, tucked her in and went off. ____________________ felt the milk kicking in as she closed her eyes. She started feeling relaxed as she slowly went to sleep again.

***
In the morning, Ace, Sabo, and Luffy were waiting in the courtyard. Usually ____________ would be with them, usually to tell them what she thought of their plans and give a better insight as why it would or would not work.

“She should have been here by now,” said Sabo

“I know right?!” said Luffy, “She’s never late,”

“She hadn’t been sleeping well,” said Ace, “I actually saw her face plant into her cereal,”

“You do that all the time,”

“Yeah but she NEVER does it. She’s been having these really weird dreams about three boys with different color hair, her saving one with blonde hair, and eating a weird dessert with him. But she also says she remembers Sabo without his hat,”

“....but Sabo ALWAYS wears his hat like I do,”

“That’s what makes everything so weird!”

“Speak of the devil,” said Sabo. __________________ was yawning and joined them under the big tree in the courtyard. She looked exhausted and listless, “Are you okay?”

“Can’t sleep. Thatch snuck me some coffee. He said it’ll perk me up a bit but just a really small amount,”

“We heard you couldn’t sleep!” said Luffy, “That’s weird!”

“Don’t you ever get bad dreams?”

“Nah! Ace said I’m too stupid to get them!”

“I’m not lying am I?! Besides, sleeping is easy, I do it all the time,” said Ace, “Whenever I want, wherever I want!”  

“You have narcolepsy! You can sleep even if you don’t want to!” said ___________________

“True but it’s not hard,”

“I’m just trying to make heads and tails of these dreams. Like if I knew if everything in it happened or not, then it wouldn’t be so bad!”

“Well, I think sometimes, ignorance can be bliss,” said Sabo, “Maybe it’s a good thing you don’t remember,”

“What does that mean?!” said Luffy

“Well, it means that it’s best not to know something and be happy than knowing it and being miserable,”

“It’s best to know,” said Ace, “That way it doesn’t spring on you later!”

“I’d rather know, just so I can get some sleep,” said __________________ yawning, “I’ve been having really weird dreams every single night,”

“What is the dream?”

“It’s so weird! Like I’m always smacking three boys with a frying pan and each of them have different color hair and these weird hairstyles! After I smack them, a blonde boy takes me hand and we hide. The other boys are looking for us. It used to be they never found us and we go back to this enormous kitchen and he gives me this really tasty dessert! But now, the three boys find us and behind them are three people. One man is huge, the second one is a little shorter and the third is a woman. They’re dressed fancy and they look really mad at me. The shorter one raised his hand and all I always wake up,”

“That’s scary!” said Luffy

“And Pops would murder someone if they hit any of his kids,” said Ace

“I know right? That’s why everything felt so weird. Maybe it’s something from back when I was with my parents,”

“Do you remember anything about them?”

“Not really, like I can’t even remember what they look like,”

“That’s weird,” said Luffy

“You can’t remember your family either,”

“It’s just me and Grandpa, that’s all I really need and Dadan!”

“Trust me, it’s not always good to remember what your family is like,” said Sabo

“Or know who they are,” said Ace.

“I know, I mean for the longest time it was just Sister and me. Since I don’t remember my parents, I can’t say I miss them because I don’t know them,” said __________________, “It’s like one day I woke up and I just been with Sister from that moment on, until I came here,”

“Are you curious?” said Sabo

“Kind of but I figure there had to be a reason for them to give me up. Maybe they just couldn’t take care of me,”

“True,”

“Let’s not talk about this,” said Ace getting up, “There’s a lot of people we have to pickpocket,”

“At least do it during the rush hour time,” they look at her, “You know when everyone is going on their lunch breaks or going home. They’re too distracted to notice anyone,”

“….see this is why we have morning meetings,”

“Great plan!” said Luffy. They boy headed off. She decided to stayed behind. She had a lot of thinking to do.

“Hey __________________ you coming or what?” said Ace

“Nah, I’ll just stay here, I need to think about this,”

“Suit yourself, we’ll be back later! I swear girls are weird,”

“Bye ____________________!” said Luffy, “We’ll bring you back something!”

“Not a dead rat again!” she called out

“Told you she wouldn’t like it!” said Ace

“I’ll pick the gift,” said Sabo

“NOTHING DEAD!” she called back out

“OKAY!” Once out of sight, she made her way back inside and up to the garden. She’s been trying to make herself try to remember her dreams when she wasn’t awake but that hard. She remembered the feelings, the situations but like her dreams, she couldn’t see the faces of the people. She groaned and filled up the watering can and started watering the vegetables around the garden. She had to get her mind off of it. There were a lot of things she couldn’t remember. Like she knew she knew Sabo but couldn’t remember when and where. She remembered being in really frilly dresses but couldn’t remember when. She couldn’t remember a lot of things but Thatch said that was a good thing.

“Trust me kid, if you can’t remember certain things, you can’t get hurt by them,” but that’s what scared her, what she forgot about her new family? What if she forgot about Ace or Luffy or Sabo?! That was definitely be a nightmare.

“I think the cucumbers are full little lady,” she snapped from her thoughts and saw that the planter was overflowing. She quickly stopped.

“Sorry!”

“Distracted today?” she nodded, “Want to talk? I heard you’ve been having bad dreams,”

“Yeah! But that’s not the scary part. I’m scared that if I can’t remember my dreams…I won’t remember you guys someday! That scares me the most! Do people just don’t remember or is it just me?” Whitebeard grinned and sat her on his knee.

“Children tend to forget about things that happen to them before age seven unless it’s enforced. Certain moments are memorable like the first day of school, favorite class, favorite friends, and important things like that. However, no one truly remembers anyone who didn’t leave a mark on them. Unless you have a very severe accident, you’ll always remember us. And if you do forget…then we’ll help you to remember every single moment you had with us. Sounds good?”

“Yeah!”

“Memories are never lost, just put to sleep until the time comes! But until then, make new ones so you can’t be healthy and happy,”

“Okay! Thanks Pops!”

“Now that we got your fears out of the way, let’s make new memories! Wanna tag along with your old man?” she grinned.

“Yeah!”

“Let’s go!” he placed her onto his shoulders and took her downstairs to the car. She strapped herself in and they drove off. She learned very quickly that when Pops asked if someone wants to tag along with him nothing but an adventure was bound to happen.

“Where are we going?”

“To meet an old friend. He owns a restaurant and I thought about him hiring his services,”

“Ooh! For what?!”

“If I told you it wouldn’t be a surprise,”

“Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?” he ruffled her hair.

“Okay, okay, it’s for your nun, Flora. I wanted to do something special for her and I don’t think she wouldn’t mind having dinner with her sons and daughter,”

“Ooh! I won’t tell but she’s ALWAYS find out,”

“We took a LOT of precautions this time! That woman is a bloodhound. Trust me I know! NOTHING gets passed her. So this year we’re going to surprise her with a huge dinner and cake,”

“What kind of cake?”

“Probably her favorite, triple chocolate,” her eyes lit up, “We’re going to have to order a massive one. It’s going to be a special day,”

“I hope! Can I help?”

“You can decorate with Izo. But it’s not for a long time,”

“Okay!”

“And I know she’s going to want to see you looking healthy and happy or she’s going to kick my ass,”

“Climb the trees! That’s what I used to do! Then again you’re bigger than most trees! To the bell tower! I used to hide there all the time!” he laughed.

“I needed that advice the first time I felt her wrath!” he then pulled into a parking spot and they got out. _______________ skipped ahead. Whitebeard walked behind keeping a close eye on her. She was about to open the door to the restaurant when she was immediately grabbed and pulled back. She clung to him as a man went flying out the door. The man was visibly shaken as another man stormed out. He had blonde-colored hair, which was kept underneath his extra-long chef's hat. His mustache was considerably long, and braided. She noticed he was wearing a chef’s uniform, with a blue ascot, and white apron. He stalked towards the man and started yelling at him violently.

“I TOLD YOU TO GET BUTTON MUSHROOMS! THOSE WERE SHITAKE! DO YOU THINK ALL MUSHROOMS ARE ALIKE?! You better be DAMNED lucky I didn’t put it in the stew! GO GET THE RIGHT MUSHROOMS YOU—!” Almost immediately Whitebeard covered the young girl’s ears. He stormed back inside as the man picked himself up and hurried away to get the proper mushrooms. The restaurant was empty except for a few chefs and waiters cleaning the tables and preparing for the dinner rush.

“Ummm Captain…you have a visitor,” the man turned. Whitebeard smirked.  

“….Long time no see,” said the man

“Hello Zeff, still doing this restaurant thing?”

“I don’t know, still doing that family thing?” both men laughed. That was when the chief’s eyes fell to the tiny figure clinging and hiding behind his old friend, “Looks like you have a new little one? And a little girl,” he reached out. _______________ immediately hid behind Whitebeard’s leg.

“Hey, don’t be shy,” he said and gently nudged her out, “Zeff won’t hurt you,” she looked as though Pops grew two heads. Not even a moment ago she saw the man yell and throw a man out of his restaurant. Zeff knelt down and gave her a sweet smile.

“I’m only mean to knuckleheads who deserve it,” he said winking at her, “Pretty much all men,” he pats her head, “Listen; we have some leftover desserts from earlier today. I would be honored if you ate a few,” she looks at Pops.

“Please?!”

“Guararararara! Go nuts! You don’t want to hear two old men talking!” she snorts and heads for the kitchen. She’s never seen a chief’s kitchen before. It looked so clean like super clean. Everything was made from stainless steel and made the place nice and bright. It was also nice and cool compared to outside and she could smell soup simmering and bread baking. It smelt so good. She saw the table with the desserts and headed towards them. However she stopped when she someone caught her eye. A blonde haired boy was washing dishes. He was standing on a stool and scrubbing and putting them carefully away on the rack to dry. She cringed. She hated washing dishes personally but she knew with help, it’ll get done faster.

“Hey!” he jumped a bit, “Oops sorry! I didn’t mean to scare you! Need help?”

“Nah,” said the boy glancing over his shoulder but not turning around, “I got it! I’m guessing the old man didn’t want you around so he told you to make yourself scarce,”

“Yeah, to be fair so did my Dad,”

“Old man too?”

“Yep,” they chuckled.

“You sure you don’t want some help?”

“Nah I got it, besides, having a girl wash dishes is criminal in this kitchen. The old man would soon kill me but you can have some leftover desserts,”

“Really?! Awesome!” she went towards the cake and took a few bites from plate. When she spied something in a white ramekin dish, “Can I try this stuff in the white bowl?”

“Go ahead,” he said. She grabbed a spoon and took some. She felt like she had this before but couldn’t pinpoint it but she knew one thing. It was fantastic.

“….What is this?”

“Chocolate soufflé,” said the boy, “Made it myself!”

“It’s SO good! It’s so light and chocolaty! I hope Thatch can teach me how to make this!”

“Soufflés are easy! All you have to do is he whisk egg whites, add chocolate and fold it in,”

“How many eggs?” he laughed and recited his entire recipe. She scribbled it with a pen and paper she found, “got it all?”

“Yep! I’ll ask Thatch if he’ll make it with me!”

“Like cooking?”

“Yeah! Usually it’s prep work like chopping things and stirring,”

“Wow, at least they’re handling food, the old man won’t even let me help. Just dish duty for now,”

“Is Zeff your Dad?”

“Kind of, he’s better than my actual dad but he’s a jerk most of the time but I love it here,”

“You’re adopted too?”

“You can say that. You?”

“Yep! Like a few months ago! Before I was living in a convent with Sister,”

“Like a nun? Were you two able to eat much?”

“Yeah! We had a garden and people often brought us things we needed,”

“Wait…was Flora your nun?”

“YEAH! Do you know her?!”

“Zeff does! Whenever we run out of vegetables, he goes straight to her for some more. He always say,” he cleared his throat, “Flora has the BEST shit! I won’t buy any vegetable unless Flora grew it! Everything she grows tastes like it’s been kissed by angels!” _______________ laughed.  

“Her veggies are the best! What we didn’t finish she put it into a huge compost heap. That’s what keeps them tasty,”

“Compost?”

“Yeah! So we don’t waste food, we put it all into this big pile with grass and bunny and bat poop. Mainly bunny…she used to make me gather that myself. It was gross! It gets really rotten and smells terrible but we use it to fertilize the garden. It smells really bad when it gets outside hot but it made everything grow super fast huge!”

“Huge is an understatement! I remember seeing a tomato bigger than my head!”

“It’s the best stuff! It just smells REALLY bad. I want to start one with Pops for the roof garden. I think it’ll help but maybe in a container,”

“Good call,”

“Hey munchkins,” said Zeff walking in. He pats _________________ on the head, “You two okay back here?”

“Yes sir!” the boy grunted.  

“You can take the rest of those pantries if you want,”

“Really?!”

“Yep! I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and I don’t want it to go to waste,” he grinned.

“I won’t! I’m sharing it with brother and other two friends!”

“Then it’s all yours! And if you like, stop by and I’ll give any scrap dessert you want,”

“REALLY?! Okay!” the boy snorts. She must really love sweets.

“Hey, _______________ are you ready?” said Whitebeard. Something in the boy clicked. _________________?  

“Coming Pops!” the boy turned, just as she scampered out the door. His eyes widen when he saw the girl he was talking to. He dropped a dish in shock. The crash made everyone turn. He saw her face to face. The last time he saw her, she was younger, bruised, and unkempt. Now she looked like the girl she was suppose to be. She grinned at him, “It was great talking with you! Hope to see you again!”

“See you later,”

“Bye Mr. Zeff, bye umm—,”

“Sanji,” Zeff answered for him. He was too stunned to move as the pair left. He quickly snapped out of it and ran towards the door but she and Whitebeard were already driving away. He called out to her but nothing. He went after them only to be grabbed by Zeff. Sanji kept calling out her name and slowly gave up when he lost sight of her. Tears rolled down his face as Zeff took him inside. He gave him some milk to calm down. He downed it.

“Girl from your past?” he looks at him and nodded.

“W-Why did you stop me!”

“Was she the one you were telling me about?” he nodded and looked down. Zeff sighed before he gently touched his shoulder, “Sanji listen, if she doesn’t remember you, it’s a good thing,”

“WHY?! She HAS to remember me! Why did she forget about me?!”

“Because whatever happened to her, her mind is making her forget,” Zeff got up and poured him some more milk and placed it in front of him, “Listen to me and listen well, you don’t know what happened in that dungeon. You don’t know what happened to her. The human mind is a very powerful thing. In order to protect itself and its host, it seals away traumatic experiences. Whatever happened was so horrible that her mind covered it up. You know what your family is capable of, you experienced it firsthand. She isn’t family, you can imagine what happened. Especially since you even said yourself, she shouldn’t be alive,”

“T-Then what I am supposed to do?!”

“Nothing, she’ll either remember you in due time and if she does remember, then she’ll remember her past and remember what happened in that dungeon. Or she’ll remember you and only you and not her past. Who knows? Just carry on and become her friend all over again. She’s a sweet young girl, living with a greatest man and the great family she could ever want. Don’t ruin it with her past,” Sanji glared at him but realized that he was right, “This gives you a chance to be friends again. Don’t think because you two were promised to each other she has to marry you. She’s not a noble and you’re not a prince,”

“I never wanted to marry her! She’s my friend! I just…I just wanted to protect her just like she protected me,”

“Then become stronger. That’s the best and only thing you can do right now. And on that day when she does remember, you can show her that you’re no longer the boy who let her down but the man who’s going to make sure her kindness won’t go to waste,” Sanji nodded. Zeff sent him on an errand so he could clear his head. The old man couldn’t help but smile at how fate had a funny way of revealing things.

***
“SCORE!” said Luffy grabbing at the cake with Ace and Sabo, “Thanks ________________!”

“You’re seriously the best!”

“Just don’t waste it! Mr. Zeff said I can come by and get the scrap cake when he’s done every day!”

“Fuck yeah!” said Ace munching happily. Sabo took a bite too.

“We got you something but nothing compared to this!” he said

“It’s not a rat again is it?”

“Nah! We found a possum but Sabo said you’d probably freak out or something,”

“Was it dead?”

“Yeah we were going to make it into a possum hat,”

“Gross now I’m afraid what you guy found,” Ace tossed her a pair of earrings, “Wow! These are pretty!”

“Nicked them off some woman. She had like a whole bag of them,”

“I think they were going to be gifts or something,” said Sabo and pulled ________________’s hair back, “And if course you don’t have pierced ears,”

“We can pierce them, it’s not a big deal,” said Ace

“….you know how to pierce ears?”

“I’ve seen people get them pierced. All you need is a needle, towels, and earrings,”

“Let’s do it!” said Luffy

“Later though,” said Sabo, “Let’s finish this cake! Then I have to get going. Dragon gets worried when we’re out when it’s late,”

“Just crash here,” said Ace

“Can’t, if I bail on morning chores with Koala, she’ll kill me,”

“Well what about you Luffy?” said Ace

“I don’t want a fist of love!”

“Okay, okay. ___________________ don’t tell me you have plans,”

“Yeah, I got a recipe to make soufflé and I want to make it with Thatch. But before you two go, grab some desserts!”

“Thanks you so much!” said Luffy grabbed a few more and running off with Sabo running after him. ________________ nudges Ace.

“But you know we always need someone to help make things! Wanna join us?”

“I’m not baking anything! That’s so girly,”

“….you can lick one of the bowls,”

“Deal,”  when it was finally time for bed, __________ look at her room with dread. She didn’t want to have another dream like the one she’s been having for the last week. If Marco’s blanket couldn’t help her, nothing could. She opened the door and then saw something in front of her face. She stared. It was a weird circle web with a bead in the middle and feathers hanging from it. She leaned back and looks up to see Jozu looking at her with grin.

“What’s this?”

“Dream catcher,” he said, “It lets in all of your good dreams and trap the bad ones. You’ll be able to sleep tonight,”

“Really?”

“Really,”

“Promise?”

“Cross my heart,” he grinned and hung it over her bed. He tucked her in and kissed her good night. In the morning, _______________ bounced stairs refreshed and ready for the day. She gave Jozu a big hug.

“It worked!” she said happily

“Told you,”

“What worked?” said Atmos

“Jozu gave me a dream catcher for my weird dreams and it worked!” she grinned, “And it took my bad dream away and gave me a new one!”

“Oh?” said Whitebeard, “Like?”

“I was in that story Izo told me about the princess and the frog,” she grinned, “You were the king, Pops!”

“As I should,” he puffed out his chest, “Don’t tell me you were a frog,”

“Eww no but I had to kiss one and it turned into Ace, weird huh?” he snorts.

“Yeah weird,” she grabbed a piece of fruit and ran outside to meet the boys. The table was silent for a few moments.

“Ace huh?” said Curiel

“Yep,” said Whitebeard

“Think she knows why she had that dream?”  

“It’s going to hit them both eventually,” said Jozu

“Then there’s only one thing left to do,” said Thatch taking out a piece of paper, “Bets to see who realizes it first?”

“I bet they grow out of it,” said Fossa

“Nah, Ace will realize it at fourteen,” said Curiel, “________________ at fifteen,”

“Give the girl some credit,” said Izo, “________________ fourteen, Ace is clueless, I give him sixteen,”

“Don’t bet on the kids!” said Whitebeard, “Let them live their childhoods,” he said taking a long gulp of coffee, “Wait until they’re thirteen then we can create a pool,”

***
He waited until he was sure everyone was asleep when decided to sneak out of his room and headed down into the kitchen. He asked a maid if she would leave out some food for him and he was so happy she did. He took the large meal and snuck downstairs. He went to a room and armed with a key opened the room. Inside was a very nice and beautiful room but it was cold and he could smell a foul stench of pain. On the bed, she sat, holding her stomach. She flinched when she saw the door opening. She smiled at him. He gently placed the plate in front of her. He never seen anyone tear into food like she did.

“Thank you so much!” she said through stuffed cheeks. He couldn’t help but stare. She was still smiling.

“WHY?!” he said looking at her. She swallowed.

“Why what?”

“Why did you attack them?! Why did you go after them?!”

“They were hurting you,” she said simply, “Three on one isn’t fair, neither is two on three but the pan helped a lot,”

“Why did you help me?!”

“I don’t like seeing people in pain. And we’re supposed to get married right? Someone has to look out for you. May as well be me,”

"I don't want you to be my wife!"

"Why?! What did I do?!"

“You’re too nice to stay here,”

“Huh?”

“You’re too nice. I’d rather not marry you and let you never step foot here again! As soon as I’m able, I’m getting out of here and never looking back,”

“You sound like Sabo,” she said grinning, “He wants to leave too,”

“Don’t you?”

“Of course I do. Do you know how many people my parents introduced me to for marriage? You’re the first really nice one! And imagine, I can tell everyone my husband is great cook,” he grinned.

“What’s your dream?”

“Don’t know yet. I want to be free but I’m still a kid, there’s plenty of time to figure out what I really want to do someday,” he snorts. She looked at him with a smile but tears were pouring down her face. He looked alarmed, “But I know one thing for sure. I want to have a reason to smile not thinking of reasons to,” he remembered hugged her tightly until she fell asleep. He snuck her more food the next few days. Until one day, she wasn’t in the secret room. He found blood on her bed and ran to see if he could get answers. He didn’t know where she was. She looked all over the place and couldn’t find her. He learned from a maid that her family was gone. But something told him that something wasn’t right. He went to the kitchen and checked the cupboards. She wasn’t there either.

“Looking for your wife?” he turned. Her brothers were smirking at him. He swallowed a lump in his throat before glaring.

“W-What did you guys do?!”

“We didn’t do anything,” said Ichiji, “But we can’t say that father didn’t do anything,”

“W-What?!”

“Heh, well, her father wasn’t too happy with what she did to us, so he taught her lesson with Dad. Don’t know what happened in there but we kept hearing her scream and begging them to let her go,” Sanji froze. Niji snorted

“What’s the matter? Your wife isn’t around to protect you so you’re not getting cold feet?”

“Where is she?”

“Dead,” said Yonji grinning. His eyes widened, “You didn’t know? You were sneaking her food. You were her last chance. Parents told her that if she didn’t get a noble family or a royal family to betroth her, she would be dealt with,”

“SHE WAS BETROTHED! TO ME!”

“Yeah but she attacked the three Vinsmokes who were worth something,” said Ichiji, “You’re worthless and she defended you and scarred us, so she dies,” He limped to his room. He didn’t stop until he was inside. He didn’t cry until he was inside. This was his fault. If she didn’t try to help him, then she wouldn’t have been punished. She paid with her life, in the name of helping someone else. He stared at his ceiling remembering their last conversation:

“Why do you smile a lot?”

“Hmmm?”

“You smile a lot. Even when you’re starving, beaten, and hurt, you still smile. Why?!”

“Because they can’t take that away from me. Sometimes, it’s the only thing you can do. I’m not sad because I know you’ll bring me food when you can. I know I won’t be in this room forever. I know one day things have to get better for me, for you, and for Sabo! If I cried now, I’d be sad and I don’t want to be sad, I want to just be happy. You asked me what my dream was right? Well to be honest, there’s only one thing want. I want to be able to have a real smile without faking it because I’d really happy already,”

***
Sanji woke up. Tears rolled down his face. Today he saw his first friend with a huge smile on her face with a family she deserved. Even if she didn’t remember him or anything that happened, he was just happy to see her accomplish the one dream she ever had, hope.

Chapter Text

_____________________ happily walked all over the neighborhood. It was taking her awhile but she was slowly getting acquainted with her whole family. Today however, she was just going to take it easy and explore the neighborhood while getting Thatch his ingredients for tonight’s meal. Thatch was very specific in what he wanted and gave her a list and more than enough money. She didn’t know what a hot pot was but Thatch said he needed to make sure there was enough for everyone. She hummed while she walked and took her time to look around and things. She loved explore and often found cool and interesting in alleys and tight corners of the town. She always went off the path so Thatch gave her a curfew for his ingredients for dinner and she always made it home on time. She was always armed with his little backpack basket that she used to carry groceries in. She was half way to the store when she saw a man leaning against the wall.

“Hey little lady!” he said smiling at her. He opened a bag of crackers

“Hello!” she said happily. He pointed his bag at her. She looked at the crackers inside.

“Want one?”

“Sure!” she reached in and munched happily. He chuckled at her. She looked at the man curiously. She never seen such a man before and she thought she met all of her brothers. This man was tall like Marco with dark eyes and a scar across his eye. But what really caught her attention was his bright red hair. She never seen someone with that color hair before, “Are you one of my brothers too?”

“You can kind of say that,” he pats her head. She giggled, “So what are you doing out here little lady?”

“Just exploring! Thatch told me to pick up these things from the market for him!”

“Did he now? Aren’t you a big girl?” he smiled, “Since you’re going that way, maybe you can do me a favor?”

“Sure!”

“Can you pick me up something for me from a man? He’ll be dressed in black and wearing a cross. Ask if he’s Hawk, if he looks at you, say you’re here to pick up the package. Bring it back to me, okay?”

“Okay!” _______________ happily walked to the market. First she went inside and got all of the groceries that Thatch told her to get. When she was done, she trotted outside. In a corner, she saw a man standing away from the customers walking in and out. She cocked her head and slowly approached him. He wore a black hat, a long black and red coat, and had yellowish eyes. She grinned and gently tugged his coat. He looked down. She noticed his cross around his neck, “Excuse me, Father, but are you Mr. Hawk?” he looked at her puzzled before patting her head.

“I’m not a priest but I am Hawk,”

“Oh! I’m here to pick up the package!”

“…did a red-haired man send you?” she nodded. He rolled his eyes and took out a package.

“Thank you Mr. Hawk!” he nodded and she headed home. She then stopped in front of her redheaded brother with the package. He grins and takes it.

“Good girl!” he ruffled her hair.

“Hey!” she giggled.

“Wanna do something for me again tomorrow?”

“Sure!”

“I’ll give you some more of those tasty crackers and,” he took out a few beli.

“Wow for me?!”

“Yep! You earned it! Now get home before Thatch worries about you!”

“Okay!” she skipped home. Thatch grinned as she handed over the ingredients. Tonight, thanks to ____________________ they had a hot pot that night.

“I can’t eat anymore!” said Ace later in his room.

“That was too good!” said Luffy

“So glad Thatch makes enough to feed an army,” said Sabo, “With Luffy’s appetite,”

“Hot pots are so good!” said ___________________

“You never had one?” said Ace. She shook her head.

“Sister didn’t make that stuff. She made a lot stew though!”

“Hey, stew is good!” said Sabo

“It was! She only made it when it got cold! People would donate meat and he would have beef stew, lamb stew, chicken soup, I think could only make stews, that’s why we had no much of it. But that hot pot was SO good,”

“Glad you liked it!” said Thatch from the door, “Because I’m going to have something good again tomorrow and I’m going to need my delivery girl again,”

“Okay!”

“Why do you let her get ingredients for you?” said Ace

“Because the last time I send you food shopping we had enough meat to last us three months and we had to cook it all before it got frostbite,”

“Hey that was a good day!” said Luffy, “It was a meat party!”

“You mean barbeque,” said Sabo

“That’s why she does the deliveries. And because she can carry a lot in that little basket of hers,”

“LITTLE?! She’s like an ant!”

“What?” said Ace

“Ants can carry about five thousand times their weight,”

“…really?!” said Luffy, “Does that mean ___________________ can carry us?!”

“Well, probably just two of us,”

“Let’s test out that theory!”

“Not tonight!” said Thatch, “Tomorrow, she’s getting tempura ingredients tomorrow,” the boys eyes lit up, “Namur caught some shrimps and Fosse bought fresh crabs so we’re having that tomorrow,”

“_____________________!” Ace grabbed her hand and looked her dead in the eyes, “You HAVE to make sure you come back with that tempura flour! As a man you have to get that flour!”

“I’m not a man!”

“Yeah you are! Listen, tempura is one of the most delicious things EVER! If you don’t come back with that flour you’ll doom us all!”

“Don’t be so dramatic!” said Sabo, “She’ll get it and we’ll feast like kings!”

“KINGS!” said Luffy.

“Okay, off another hour then bed guys,”

“Okay!” they said in unison

***
In the morning, Thatch gave ____________________ his list, the money and her basket. She started on her journey to the market. This time she had to buy a twenty five pound bag of tempura flour, twenty five pounds of panko crumbs, and about three dozen eggs. She rounded the corner and was met with her new friend.

“Hey little one!” he said smiling at her.

“HI!” she said grinning happily. He pulled her into an one armed hug, “How are you?!”

“I’m good! You?”

“Very good! Ready for another delivery?”

“Ya huh!” he gets on one knee, “But I have to hurry home this time! Thatch is making tempura!”

“…you lucky little thing!”

“I never had it!”

“It’s best thing ever! I eat mine plain but some eat it with soy sauce. Try it both ways,”

“Okay!”

“Today’s mission is going to be very tricky. You see, there’s Marines who can’t see you giving these packages to people. If they do, they might snatch you up,” her eyes widened, “Don’t worry, if anything happened, I’ll there to help okay?” she nodded, “But I really need those packages given to my friends,”

“Okay Cracker Man!” he snorts and handed her a few small packages. He gave her an address and directions. She was to go to each area and drop off one key in certain spots.

“Wait a minute,” he took her basket, the money, and the list, “Since you’re helping me out, I’ll get the ingredients for you. That way you’re not running around with all of that weight,”

“Oh! Thank you! But I have to be home in like a few hours,”

“No worries! You’ll get home in time! I promise!” She nodded and headed off happily. The first stop was a few blocks from town in a sewer. She opened the manhole and dropped the key down.

“Thanks kid!”

“You’re welcomed!” the next stop was in an abandoned building. She looked through the window and saw another man sitting in a corner. She tossed the package at him. He caught with his teeth.

“Thanks little lady!”

“You’re welcomed!” she did this about five more times in strange locations including a portable bathroom and one location was as far as the convent. She poked her head in to greet Sister before heading back home. She scampered back fast. It was nearly almost time for her to be home! She decided to take one of her many shortcuts down the alleyways like she did with Ace, Sabo, and Luffy. She was in the final alley and few blocks home with plenty of time to spare.

“HEY KID!” she jumped and stopped in tracks. A large man was looming over her. She cowered as he picked her up by nape of her shirt. He was a tall, tanned, broad-chested, muscular old man with a beard and a scar over his left eye. His eyes were blue and his hair is gray. She struggled to get away, “Quit squirmin’ and tell me where you’re headed!”

“NO! Marco said NEVER to talk to stranger and Cracker man said to not be around Marines!”

“Marines eh? No worries kid, just come with me and I’ll make sure you get home,”

“No! I don’t know you!”

“Too bad, you’re coming with—,” the man’s face went backwards, not expected to be kicked with a foot, causing him to drop her. She ran as fast as her little legs would carry her as the huge Marine went after her. She ran through buildings, she ran through alleys, and found herself on the rooftop. She hopped from roof to roof. She looked back and saw the Marine not only keeping up but shouting at her. She got to an edge and slid down the storm drain and didn’t stop until she was back around her area. When she made it back to the redheaded man she was out of breath and panting. He immediately ran to her to see if she was okay. When she told him what happened, he and his friends ducked into a bar. He hid her behind the bar as he looked around. Satisfied with no sight of the girl, he left. She crept out from behind and sighed in relief. The bartender, Miss Makino, was super nice and gave her a tall glass of juice. She guzzled it down.

“A TOAST!” said Cracker Man hoisting her up onto his shoulders, “To this little lady who’s efforts saved us and we can finally get out of here!”

“YAY!” she recognized a few of the men as the ones she gave the package keys to.

“Did someone get the drop on you and your crew?!” said Makino

“Don’t worry Makino. We’re fine,” he said smiling, “Everyone is okay, thanks to this little trooper,”

“What happened?!”

“We had a bit too much to drink in the last town and a few of us got shanghaied. I got information from Hawk Eye and he told me where they were and thanks to this little lady I was to get to them without arousing suspicion!”

“Who is this little darling anyway? I don’t think I’ve seen her around!”

“She’s Whitebeard’s new kid!”

“OH! So that’s what she looks like! What a sweet little thing!” ________________ was too busy drinking her juice as the grateful crew fussed over her and thanked her in their own way. That was when she noticed the time. Cracker Man stood up.

“Okay men! We have to get the little lady home!” she was immediately whisked away, _________________ on Cracker Man’s back as they hurried her home. They stopped a few houses down, let her down, and put her basket on her back along with her change from the groceries. He then gave her a bag of the crackers and gave her another hundred beli.

“See you tomorrow little lady!”

“Bye Mr. Cracker Man!” she waved goodbye and walked home.

***
“You kicked a Marine in the face?!” Ace laughed and slapped his leg. Tempura night was a complete success. After dinner, as a big thank you, Thatch gave her a mini cheesecake. She shared it with Ace upstairs and told him about her little adventure.

“Yeah! It was so scary and he was fast! He chased me for awhile!”

“I have so much more respect for you now! I wish I could have seen his face!”

“It was big, scruffy and looked murderous!”

“Still! You fought a Marine and WON! I mean I have balls but I wouldn’t take one on by myself! So why did you kick him?!”

“He grabbed me! I got scared!” he snorts

“Still, respect! I owe you cake,”

“You’re the best!” they heard heavy knocking coming from the front door. It was so loud it practically shook the house. It was about nine that evening and they scampered to the hall window that was close to the entrance. A huge man was standing at the door. He was under the door light and looked annoyed if anything as he pounded louder. All the color drained from her face.

“T-That’s the man I kicked!” Ace moved her to the side and his face went pale.

“Y-You kicked Gramps in the face?!”

“I didn’t know he was your Grandpa!”

“Not just that! That’s Garp!” she covered her mouth

“THE VICE ADMIRAL?!”

“SHH! Maybe he doesn’t know you live here!” he walked into the house. The pair stayed still for a few moments. It was quiet downstairs, so quiet they could hear the adults’ voices.

“___________________can you come in here for a minute?” said Marco. The pair jumped. She started shaking. Ace gently nudged her.

“If you see a fist coming down, dodge and run!” she eased downstairs. She made it to the bottom.

“In the living room,” she crept inside. She was terrified now. She heard stories of this man and not knowing WHO he was. Flora told her about the vice admiral and none were pleasant, she heard countless of stories from Ace, Luffy, and Sabo about how bat shit crazy this man was and she learned firsthand how strong he was. Now he was sitting calmly, staring intently at her with Marco, Izo, Thatch, and Jozu as well. Marco was standing up. He put a hand on her shoulder, “_______________,”

“Y-Yes Marco?”

“Did you kick Garp in the face today?” she looked over at him and nodded. Marco seemed surprised. So did Garp.

“….the little ankle biter didn’t deny it,”

“Well she’s an honest little girl, is that a problem?” Izo snapped. Before he could retort, Marco pressed on.

“Why?” it was then, she realized and decided to sing like a canary.

“He grabbed me! He told me he wanted the package I had! Cracker Man told me to not give it to ANY Marine!” the room went silent.

“…Cracker man?” she nodded.

“…is that what he said his name was?” said Thatch

“No but he gives me crackers!”

“What kind sweetie?” said Izo.

“I don’t know but they have seaweed wrapped around them. Garp raised an eyebrow before reaching into his coat and taking out a bag of senbei crackers. Her face lit up, “THOSE!” he snorts and opened the bag and offered her one. She looked at Marco. He nodded. She crept forward and took a few, “T-Thank you Mr. Garp!” as she munched, Marco asked a few more questions.

“Okay, so you’ve been helping a man lately?”

“Yes,”

“Who’s been giving you crackers and money?”

“Yes,”

“…why crackers?”

“They’re tasty crackers!”

“How much money?”

“A hundred beli,”

“Where’s the money now?”

“In the bank Curiel gave me!”

“But you were helping him because you thought he was one of us?”

“Yes!” Marco sighed.

“Okay, what does he look like?”

“He’s super tall with bright red hair and a scar on his face and he was super happy and smelled like alcohol! And he was SUPER happy when Miss Makino came out with a barrel of sake!” Marco’s eye twitched. Izo covered his mouth and started to chuckle, “Am I in trouble?!”

“No, no just….apologize to Garp, go take your bath and one of us will meet you up there,” said Thatch. She nodded and slowly approached him and bowed.

“S-Sorry for kicking your face Mr. Garp! You were being scary!” he started laughing

“Well, I’m a scary guy! You’re a scrappy little cuss but I can respect that,” he pats her head, “Unlike my other grandchildren,”

“I heard that old man!” Ace called out. The two argued back and forth before Garp left. __________________ scampered upstairs. Izo and Thatch started laughing.

“I’m going to kill him!” said Marco

“I’ll help,” said Jozu

“Marco what’s your beef with S—,”

“Don’t utter that name in this house!” Marco glared, “And that bastard KNOWS what he did!”

“…is this because you two got super drunk and ended up with you and him in—,”

“THAT didn’t HAPPEN!” Marco glared at Thatch. He and Izo chuckled.

“From what I recalled you stumbled downstairs drunk off your ass stark naked,” said Thatch, “And crashing downstairs demanding coffee and an aspirin,”

“With Shanks coming down a few moments later naked,” said Izo chuckling, “Calling you lover and said last night was—,”

“Shut up!” he flushed, “I’m going to kill that son of a bitch tomorrow!” he stalked upstairs flustered and angry. Once out of sight the pair started laughing. Jozu sighed.

“They’re going to be at it for the rest of their lives,”

“Or Marco’s,” said Thatch laughing, “You think Shanks and him really did it,”

“We all know it happened. It was probably angry and drunken or Shanks could be fucking with him,” said Izo

“True but we can’t have him using _______________________as a mule,” said Jozu

“Let Marco handle that one. Nothing we do could ever be as bad as what Marco can and will do,” Marco tucked ___________________ in that night. She hunkered down as Marco lectured her on the dangers of talking to strangers.

“But he said he was one of my brothers!” Marco frowned.

“______________________ if anyone ever claims to be one of us, ask them to show you their mark. The moment they show one our tattoos, you know he’s legit if he does and also ask to name five of us,” she nodded, “Lucky for you, Shanks is…harmless but he could have been someone else. Promise me you’ll be more careful,”

“I promise!”

“Also…I’m proud that you stood up to a Marine. Next time one chases you, you come straight home. Lucky for you…that was Garp. I just can’t believe you got him in the face,” he smiled, “Good job,”

“Thanks!” he tucked her in and gave her peck on the cheek before leaving and going to bed, dreaming of tearing Shanks a new asshole.

***
Thatch gave __________________ her money and another list that morning. Today she was to get

“Cracker man!” she said happily. The man grinned and walked towards her, only to be connected with a fist. He was then hoisted into the air by a very angry looking Marco. The man grinned.

“Hey Marco,”

“Fuck you! You Red Haired Bastard!” __________________ gasped

“Marco language!” he looked her, then at Shanks and dragged his hand down his face.

“Sorry kiddo,”

“Say you’re sorry!” Shanks grinned at him.

“Yeah Marco, I’m so hurt right now!” Marco shot him a death glare but took a deep breath.

“I’m sorry Shanks if I hurt you,” he then looked ___________________, “Hurry onto the store, okay little lady?”

“Yes Marco!”

“Lucky Roo, you mind taking her there, just in case?” the man nodded and lifted the girl onto his shoulders. Shanks looked at him before his eyes widened knowing he and Marco would be alone. As soon as they rounded the corner, Marco slammed him against the wall, “Give me ONE good reason why I shouldn’t tear you a fuckin’ new one?!”

“ACK! Marco! I swear she wasn’t in any immediate danger!”

“Having Garp chase after her IS immediate danger in my book!” he slammed him against the wall, “AND you had her being your mule?! The HELL is wrong with you!”

“I can explain!”

“You have one minute!” he was slammed again

“Okay, okay! I swear I was passing through when a few of us got drunk and long story short, we were almost picked off one by one. I needed someone to get in and out with trying to move my crew someplace else or worse,” Marco glared, “I’m telling the truth!”

“I know, especially since it’s hard to get the drop on your or your crew. You idiots must have been smashed,”

“So smashed,”

“Whatever, just don’t go drinking in random places. You know you’re wanted like the rest of us, idiot,”

“I know, I know, lucky for me, whoever wanted to turn them in put them in your territory,”

“I’ll keep an eye out but this doesn’t excise you for what you did. You’re not to use the kis in your harebrained schemes!”

“Hey! I wasn’t going to put some kid in danger! When I saw that it was Garp on her tail I pulled her into Makino’s place. I wasn’t going to have her arrested!”

“Good!” _________________ and Lucky Roo reappeared with a huge basket of groceries. Tonight, Thatch was planning a fried chicken around the world night, “Ready kiddo?”

“Yah uh!”

“I’m taking your little mule away now,” Marco glared at Shanks.

“Wait, she’s not going to have a drink with us?” said Lucky Roo

“Yeah! Makino finished the juice!” said Rockstar

“And Mr. Yassop was telling me about the La Chupacabra!” said ______________________

“….you know that’s all fake right?” said Rockstar

“Hey! Honest to god I saw one!” said Yassop from inside

“Don’t feed the kid your wild stories!” said Lucky Roo

“Oh stop,” said Marco, “You idiots really don’t want to hang out with her,”

“What?!” said Shanks, “We really do like having her around! We were going to have a little surprised party in her honor until big meanie Marco ruined it,” Marco glared at him but sighed in defeat remembering that she carried every ingredient known to man for their food the week and other weeks. He ruffled her hair.

“Have fun without me. I’ll take the ingredients to Thatch,” Marco took the basket headed home. He felt something on his leg. He looked down. ____________________ hugged him tightly.

“I’ll be home soon! Don’t worry about me!” Marco grinned, turned and ruffled her hair hard

“Look at you trying to be all grown up! Of course I’m going to worry! It’s my job you little scamp!” she giggled and tried to escape, “Just stay out of trouble and call home when you’re on your way,”

“Yes Marco!”

“Now go inside asked Miss Makino to make you an apple/cranberry juice blend, she’s great at that!” she nodded and scampered inside. He glared at Shanks, “If anything happens to her, I’m going to hurt you down and kill you and they’ll never find your body,”

“Fair!” said Shanks holding up his hands, “No worries! She’ll be back in one piece!” Marco nodded and took the basket and headed home. He had to admit, Shanks was good with kids, though he would never admit it to his face. He had to try and put his and Shanks’ little tiff aside in front of the kids, “Hurry back soon Marco-chan! We have to finish our little bedtime romp between the sheets!” Shanks managed to duck into the bar as a rock flew with a great vengeance barely missing him. He glared. He took it all back. That redheaded bastard could go die!

Chapter Text

Whenever Ace got bored he often followed ___________________ to see what kind of shenanigans his sister often got up to, especially since it would be ages before he got to meet up with his brothers. He usually made her come with them on whatever they were going to do that day but today she seemed really excited about something.

“Yassop is going to tell us a story!” Ace rolled his eyes. Shanks and his crew were nomads who travelled a lot and they always came back with some interesting stories about their adventures, especially when they came back to town. Luffy hung on to every word Shanks told him. However, _________________ hung onto Yassop’s stories about things he’s allegedly seen. He would say that 75% of his stories were just bullshit but _______________ insisted that they were true.

“He was right about Devil Fruits! Look at Luffy!”

“That’s because the idiot ate one when he was pissed off and hungry and everyone knows about those!”

“What about the mechanical demon owls that live in the mountains?”

“I never seen them and I lived there for awhile!” at the bar, Makino greeted the pair. Ace reddened and nudged _______________ forward as Makino poured them some juice.

“How are my favorite little pair doing today?”

“Fine Miss!” said ________________.

“V-Very well Miss Makino!”

“Look at you with your manners! You’re really improving Ace!” he blushed.

“Thank you Miss Makino!”

“Yassop! You have visitors!”

“I can see!” he said grinning at __________________ and Ace. He guzzled down his drinks, “So you’ve come to listen to one of my awesome stories!” ________________ nodded excitedly. Ace huffed.

“I’m only here to see where this goes!” Yassop snorts.

“Well, I have a good one! Strap in guys! Okay, I heard this from an old drifter back when I was riding the train rails. He told me this interesting story about what happened to Engine 25. You see, the engineer of that train went mad one day and drove his train off the tracks and disappeared — he drove the train straight down to the fiery depths of Hell!” the kids’ eyes widened. Yassop chucked his beer, “So ever since then every year, the mad engineer comes back to the old train station to pick up unknowing passengers who are hypnotized by a blinding white light that lures them into the train. Once inside, they notice a strong smell of something so horrific it makes their stomach churn, which smells like rotten eggs mixed with something else,”

“How do you know?” said Ace raising an eyebrow, “Seriously, how!”

“Because because that’s what the drifter told me! Now! Back to the story, then the passengers start to hear horrible music. It’s like a cat drowning in water and glass shattering! After that the train enters the zone of darkness. They can already feel the heat of the flames until the train stops, the doors open and they are welcomed by the Devil himself!” ________________’s eyes widened. Ace looked intrigued, “And once you enter Hell, you can’t never ever leave. And tonight is actually the anniversary of the disappearing of Engine 25 at the train station on 53rd street at exactly nine o’clock!”

“Yassop is all that real?!” said __________________ covering her mouth

“Of course, would I ever lie?”

“You convinced her that if Marco ate rice he would explode,” said Lucky Roo

“I still stand by that!”

“Or that if she didn’t brush her teeth goblins would invade her mouth,” Benn laughing

“Okay, that one I would admit was false,”

“You only did once Rakuyo threatened to hang up by the—,” he covered her ears, “Cock if you didn’t tell her the truth!”

“Yeah she was brushing her teeth nonstop for a week!” said Ace.

“Hahaha I remember that one!” said Shanks ruffling _________________’s hair, “Be careful with those stories! She’s not as gullible as Luffy but she’s still impressionable Yassop and her brother can and will kick your ass,”

“Okay, okay some of my stories can be a little farfetched but this one is a hundred percent true!”

“We’ll see about that!” Back at home, Luffy and Sabo were waiting in the courtyard. The pair regaled the story to the boys. Luffy hung onto every word.

“That sounds cool!”

“Creepy more like it,” said Sabo shaking his head, “Is this one of Yassop’s stories?”

“Yep!”

“His last few ones were bullshit,”

“I think he’s due for a true one!” said _____________________

“I wanna see if it’s true too!” said Luffy

“Nine times out of ten it ain’t,” said Ace, “Remember when he said that we could get Jozu appraised and he ended up chasing us up a tree? Or the time he said that if you kicked a Marine you get a wish?!”

“I STILL have a lump!” said Luffy

“Of all of the Marines you decided to kick Luffy, the old man? Really?”

“Well there’s one way to find out,” said Sabo, “We can go tonight, since it’s the anniversary of him going mad is tonight,”

“Y-You guys really wanna go?” said ____________________

“Just to prove to you that Yassop’s stories are bullshit!”

“I wanna see Hell!” said Luffy

“You two talked it up, now I’m interested,” said Sabo, “Don’t tell you’re getting cold feet,”

“Nah! I’m curious too!”

“Okay, tonight we’ll meet out here and go to the train station!”

“Alright!” _____________________ looked a little uneasy. She grinned all the same. While Ace and Luffy discussed how to sneak him out, Sabo pulled her to the side.

“You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to!”

“I-I want to!”

“Then why are you shaking?!”

“We’re going to Hell! Literal Hell! Sister told me stories about Hell!”

“Well, she is a nun,”

“I have to visit her before our trip! I have to pack something really important!” he nodded.

“Do what you have to do!” __________________ scampered off. Ace cocked his head.

“I hope she’s not chickening out,”

“Nah, she’s getting some protection from Hell,”

“Pffft the only thing you need is water,”

“Lots of it!” said Luffy

“True but we need something just in case!”

“Okay but rest up!” said Ace, “We’ll all meet here at seven and head to the train station together!”

“Agreed!”

***
The Train Station on 53rd Street, according to Whitebeard, was a thriving train in its heyday. It used to be the primary way for people to get from county to county until there were more cars and things. He said it was still used but not much and usually shut down by seven. The quartet arrived five minutes beforehand where the trains came to load and unload passengers. Ace looked at his watch.

“Okay, it’s nine on the dot. See what did I tell you!”

“Give it time!” said ____________________, “It could be running late!”

“It’s a ghost train! If he’s running late, he’s a lousy ghost!”

“Shh…did you guys hear that?” said Sabo.

“WOOOOOOO WOOOOOOO!!!!” said Luffy from the tunnel.

“Damn it Luffy!” said Ace, “Quiet so we can hear!”

“I’m just repeating what the sound was!” from the tunnel they heard the train’s whistle, “See!”

“It’s coming! Stand back!” the train came down the tunnel and slowly stopped in front of them. They stood there silent for a few moments as the doors slowly started to open. The kids looked at the light drawing them into the train. Just like how Yassop described, the train car was vintage and abandoned. Before they could react, the train’s door slammed shut and they started on their journey. There wasn’t another living soul onboard but them and that in itself was settling.

“Okay, first part is true,” said Sabo looking around, “This is creepy,”

“It could still be fake,” said Ace, “Like going to the docking station of something,”

“But what if it’s not!” said __________________

“Awww is little sister scared?!”

“N-No!”

“If you met the devil, wouldn’t you be?” said Sabo. Ace frowns.

“Remember, I’m the son of a demon, therefore another demon can’t hurt me. Besides, there’s no proof other than the—,”

“EWWWWW!” ________________ covered her nose, “Which one of you three farted?!”

“Luffy I swear to god—,”

“IT WASN’T ME!” said Luffy

“Yeah this one smells like yours Ace!” said Sabo

“Don’t blame me! __________________ you smelt it, you did it!”

“You denied you, you supplied it!” she retorts

“Your farts are just as bad! Did you get into the raisins again?!”

“NO and don’t blame the raisins! They’re plump and sweet awesomeness!”

“That gives you the nastiest farts ever! Marco had to make a rule that she has to eat them when her balcony opened!”

“I’m impress and I actually see that in action,” said Sabo

“YEAH” said Luffy

“You jerks! These aren’t raisin farts! They smell like rotting eggs,”

“It’s the fire and brimstone!” said Luffy, “W-We’re going to Hell!”

“Now, now there has to be a logical explanation for all of th—,” Sabo couldn’t finish his sentence when the whole train was plunged into darkness. They immediately panicked.

“Alright everyone calm down! We’re almost to the fiery depths of Hell so we need a plan! First, we need to stop this train!”

“We should go to the cab!” said Sabo, “We have to get the engineer to stop!”

“HOW?!” said Luffy

“The Dead Man’s Switch!” they looked at __________________ as though she grew two heads, “Kingdew told me that on every train there’s something called the Dead Man’s Switch! Since there’s no other person in a cab, the brake is there in case the operator dies or loses consciousness! It’s there to stop the train!”

“Good thinking!”

“To the front!” Ace led the way as they all jumped from car to car in order to get to the cab. They got to the door and found it locked. Sabo and Ace took turn slamming against the door before it finally opened. Inside there wasn’t a person but just random controls and things. Sabo gulped.

“Everything is automatic,”

“O-Or ghost driven!” said Luffy

“No! It-It’s like a remote control! See watch!” Sabo went in to see if there was an override button or something. As soon as he touched the circuit board, a terrible sound filled the train. The kids cried out and covered their ears.

“ACK! THAT NOISE!” said Luffy, “MY EARS HURT!”

“IT’S THE MUSIC OF HELL!” said ____________________

“DEAR GOD IT’S HORRIBLE!” said Sabo

“DON’T LISTEN! BACK TO OUR CAR! HURRY!” they all scampered back and closed all of the door to escape the terrible music that was causing their ear to bleed. Ace closed the door and slumped into a seat, “That was horrifying!”

“W-What kind of music WAS that?!” said Luffy

“Nothing from this world! Imagine having to listen to that for all eternity!” said Sabo

“SEE! I TOLD YOU IT WAS GHOST DRIVEN!”

“I’d rather…” ________________ stopped, “That’s the last omen…that means we’re almost to Hell!” the car went dark again. They all huddled together, making sure nothing got the drop on them. Then the car was filled with light, bright orange and yellow lights. The kids froze seeing the fires and ghastly images of Hell and the Devil’s minions all toiling for all eternity. There was fire everywhere along with molten magma and metal everywhere. There were people pulling things from place to place and the heat alone was enough to make the kids move from the side of the train to avoid the heat, “Y-Yassop was telling the truth!”

“We’re all gonna die!” said Luffy

“FUCK I’m not going to let it end like this!” said Ace

“DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW TO BEAT A DEVIL?!”

“WATER! Holy Water! I brought some just in case!”

“Oh that’s where you ran off to get! Good thinking!” Sabo stood in front of the door, “Okay, when that door opens, Luffy you wrap yourself around him so he doesn’t move!”

“GOT IT!”

“Wait! Won’t Luffy burn?!” said Ace

“YEAH!”

“No! Luffy is made of rubber! Heat and electricity can’t harm him! __________________ use that holy water and shout prayers!”

“Okay!”

“LOOK WHAT I FOUND!” Ace broke the emergency glass revealing a long water hose, “__________________ bless the hose!”

“I can’t do that! I’m not a nun!”

“You’re the closest thing right now!” said Sabo. She did so as they braced themselves. The train came to a complete stop. The door opened. Immediately, Luffy wrapped his body around the legs of the Devil. Ace and Sabo held the hose and let the water loose drenching him. The Devil went down as ___________________ hopped on his chest and started chanting prayers and spraying her holy water.

“THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU! THE POWER OF CHRIST COMPELS YOU!”

“ARUGH!!!!!”

“It’s working! Keep going!”

“THE HELL! GET OFF ME!” Ace and ___________________ knew that voice and immediately stopped.

“CURIEL?!”

“KIDS?!” Luffy unwrapped himself from the “Devil” as a very wet, bewildered Curiel stood up, “The HELL are you guys doing here?!”

“Curiel? You okay—kids?!” Jozu appeared behind him covered in soot looking at the kids who looked more confused than ever.

“You both died and went to Hell!” said ____________________, “No worries! We’ll break you guys out!”

“Yeah! Just tell us where the demons are!” said Luffy. Curiel and Jozu snorted before laughing.

“Calm down. You’re not in Hell, you’re in the steel mill,”

“Steel mill?”

“Yep! Where do you think Jozu and I go at night? We work here, especially with our talents! Why are you guys doing down here anyway?”

“FUCKIN’ Yassop!” said Ace, “I KNEW his story was fake!”

“B-But what about the smell?!” said Luffy

“Sulfur, it’s not the most pleasant thing in the world,” said Jozu, “You get used to it after awhile but your first time it’s always bad,”

“Well what about that terrible music!” said Sabo, “That was enough to rip our ears off!”

“Yeah! It was torture!”

“I would have rather embraced the darkness!” said ____________________

“HEY! Calliope music is the best!” said Curiel

“See even the kids don’t like it! It’s creepy and you know it!”

“It’s uplifting!”

“What about the darkness?! We were all thrown into completely dark on our way up here!” said Ace

“This place is old, the lights are always flickering on that old train!”

“Why the hell is it still running?!”

“It’s the only way for the workers to get back to the surface when their shifts are over,” said Jozu, “We were clocking out for the night when Curiel was attacked by a rubber boy, a water hose, and a little nun throwing holy water on him praying!” the kids looked down, “Come on, let’s get home and to show no hard feelings, sundaes on us tomorrow,”

“YAY!”

***
“A water hose on the fires of hell?! That’s brilliant!” after the kids weren’t accounted for, Marco raided the bar and found out about Yassop’s story and decided to drag him to get the kids from the Train Station, only to be met with the kids shaken but otherwise okay with Curiel and Jozu. They all piled into the car to go home, “I can’t believe you guys that would work! I commend your fighting spirits and thinking!”

“Why did you tell us that?!” said __________________

“Yeah! You know how gullible _________________ and Luffy are!” said Ace

“I’m not gullible!”

“Goblins in teeth!”

“Okay, okay!”

“Yeah, there is no haunted train,” said Sabo laughing, “You had us going,” Yassop craned his head around and grinned.

“Now, I never said that,” he winks. Ace rolled his eyes and looked out the window. He was leaned against the window when something caught him in the corner of her eye. There was a bright train traveling a few feet next to them. In the cab was a figure with a deranged look on his face. He pulled the whistle causing the others to look Ace’s direction. They were all frozen in terror at the sight. The window has fogged over and letters started appearing on the window. The message made their blood run cold.

You took Train 24

Whitebeard didn’t know what had gotten into Ace and _____________________ or what they decided to unanimously sleep in his room that night and both clinging to him. Whatever they saw spooked them both good and Sabo and Luffy for that matter because they insisted that they stay over for reasons and clung to him as well. When they got home, they almost immediately ran into Ace’s room. Dragon and Garp said it was okay that the other boys could stay over. It was midnight when they all came into his room, _____________ hopped in first saying that she couldn’t sleep. Luffy followed saying the same thing with Sabo, whole Ace said as the biggest brother he had to be there in order to make sure they were all okay. He chuckled and decided not to let it worry him, kids were kids after all.

Chapter Text

_____________________ always woke up to the strange occurrence the same day and time every week. She didn’t know if it was a dream or not but it was always the same thing. She would wake to see a huge bird looking down at her. She liked the bird; he was blue and gold and always looked as though he had glasses on. It would look at her curiously, pull the blanket closer on her, nuzzle her and then fly away. She didn’t tell anyone. She was a kid and she barely believed it. She liked the bird. It was a cool bird and it’s obvious he liked her too. She tried to stay up and wait for it but always dozed off. She groaned. It had to be after nine, her bedtime but also after midnight, the longest she managed to stay up. However, she was determined to meet the bird. After the bird did his routine, he fluttered out the window. This time, she crept to the window to see where he would fly off to. She watched as he stretched his wings and fluttered up to the garden roof. She grinned, put on her slippers, and ran out her room and up the stairs. She was excited to see if he had a nest or living up there. She made it and looked around for the mysterious bird. It didn’t take long for her and saw the bird in the middle of the garden. It spread its wings and started to morph. Soon standing in front of her was a very familiar face and pineapple-like appearance. She stared in utter awe and amazement. Marco stretched and turned. He didn’t notice she was there or staring at him. He walked towards her, trying to think how he was going to explain himself.

“Y-You’re a bird!” she blurted out. He grins.

“Phoenix to be more precise,”

“H-How long?!”

“Many years,”

“Y-You ate one of those fruits didn’t you!” he nodded and it downed on him that she probably never seen him or Pops or anyone in action with their abilities. Then again it’s only been a few months. He nodded at her. She looked at him with admiration, excitement, and absolute wonder. He smiled.

“Want a ride, yoi?” the look on her face was as though she saw the face of God. He chuckled and transformed and looked at her expectantly. She grinned and climbed on. Marco stretched his wings and soon they took off. __________________ never seen the town from the air before and she loved it! They flew out towards the ocean, around the woods, she saw many things that night and she loved it. The night air was fresh mixing with the sea air making the two smells an enigma to enjoy. They were flying for about two hours before Marco took her back to her room. Once inside, he changed back, “Okay, off to bed,”

“Awww okay!” he guided her back to bed and tucked her in. She hunkered into the blanket as Marco pecks her cheek. She was so tuckered out that she promptly fell asleep. He grinned and crept out of the room and gently closed the door behind her. In the morning, he told everyone what happened over coffee.

“She saw your phoenix form?” said Izo, “Were you doing your night patrols again?”

“Yep, you know me always prepared,” he said drinking his coffee.

“She didn’t freak out?” said Thatch

“Nah, I usually visit her when I’m a phoenix,”

“…that’s kind of creepy,” said Jozu

“Yeah! Like stalkerish level of watching,” said Fosse

“Hey! I always fly around Wednesday Nights so I decided to check on her when she’s sleeping! She looks so cute when she’s in bed without a care. You’ve all seen it!”

“Actually…I haven’t,”

“Me either,” said Bleheim

“You HAVE to,” said Thatch, “It’s so cute and pure, like think of Ace sleeping and it’s the polar opposite!”

“Don’t drag me into your weird stalker crap,” said Ace coming in and helping himself to toast, “I think she looks cute when she sleeps but I’m in her age group. When you guys do it, you’re a bunch of lecherous old men,”

“It’s not lecherous!” said Izo, “I think it’s cute. But Marco is so overprotective of _________________,”

“I’m not overprotective!” the room went silent and looked at their first in command. Curiel snorts before howling with laughter, followed by Izo tittering and Jozu trying his hardest to keep it in and failing as everyone started laughing. Marco raised an eyebrow, “I’m not!”

“You watch her sleep,” said Fosse

“Because she’s so cute!”

“You told us in depth how we should tuck her in and read her a story,” said Rakuyo

“Because we’re in a Chapter book!”

“You describe how we should do the voices!” said Thatch

“Because you all suck at it!”

“Why are we picking on Marco this morning?” said Whitebeard coming downstairs.

“Him being overprotective of ___________________,” said Izo.

“I’m not overprotective,”

“Marco she follows you about like a little duck sometimes,” said Whitebeard

“So does Ace,” said Thatch.

“D-Do not! And Even if I DID it’s because Marco is awesome,”

“And ____________________ found out about Marco’s phoenix form,” said Izo.

“…I don’t think we’ve ever given her the talk. This all may be new to her,” said Whitebeard

“She’ll find out eventually,” said Ace, “Since everyone is a Devil Fruit user. She knows Luffy has an ability. For awhile she thought it just happened to boys like him and just went with it,”

“I think we should just tell her,” said Curiel, “Imagine seeing Jozu turn into diamonds? That’s enough to scare the shit out of a kid. Case in point, Ace,”

“He looks FREAKY like a diamond!”

“And what if Pops stomps really hard near her?”

“Good point,” said Whitebeard, “Well how are we going to approach it?”

“Well after she saw Marco’s form, I bet she’s going to want to know who else has an ability,” said Speed Jill, “Heh, knowing her, she probably thinks she got adopted by a family of birds,”

“She’s too fuckin’ precious!” Thatch

“So how are we going to talk to her about it?” said Izo

“We have plans today and I’m sure she’s going to have questions,”

“Curiel and I will handle it,” said Fosse, “It’s been awhile since we’ve hung out with the little ankle biter,”

“And we’ll keep protective Big Brother Marco away,” said Rakuyo

“Oh I almost forgot about that, I’ll help,” said Kingdew

“I’m not that overprotective,” Marco grumbled

“You tried making a baby leash for her,”

“God help us when she enters a regular school,” said Namur, “Marco will probably stalk the school,”

“We all will, preteen boys are just as bad as teenage boys,” said Curiel

“I can stick around to make sure everything goes smoothly,” said Marco

“Nope, you promised Ace to train today and we have it covered!” He sighed in defeat and ruffled Ace’s hair.

“Let’s go squirt,”

“Hey!”

“And we have to take him shopping for new clothes,” said Izo

“Then why is half the family going?!”

“Because it’ll take all of us to hold you little ass down and try on some things,” said Thatch

“And if you smear my lipstick I’m going to murder you,” Ace glared, resigned to his fate and left with them. A few moments late, ________________ came down stairs after her morning chores for breakfast.

“Hey kiddo we saved you breakfast,” said Curiel.

“Thanks!” she munched happily. They exchanged glances. Maybe she thought she dreamt it up? Fosse pressed onward.

“Did anything eventful happen last night?” she stopped and grinned

“YEAH! MARCO’S A BIRD! Actually a phoenix! WHICH IS AWESOME!” Curiel laughed.

“And do you know why?”

“MHM! He ate one of those Devil Fruits? Right?”

“…you know about the Devil Fruits?” said Speed Jill

“Yeah! I know about them! I thought everyone did!”

“Well we just though since you grew up with Flora she didn’t want to tell you,” said Curiel

“Nah! She told me! I used to think that energetic boys like Luffy were just born that way until she told me he ate the fruit and then I just started reading about them! But how do people find them?”

“They’re a random occurrence. Sometimes people come across them, sometimes you find one in a shop, or on the black market. They sell pretty high. Hell we find them every now and then,”

“What happens when you find them?”

“Well, the rule in the house is if you find one, you can eat it or sell or do whatever with it,” said Speed Jill

“Who else ate one?”

“Pops, Blamenco, Jozu, and you’ve seen Marco,” said Rakuyo, “Hell that’s why we don’t have Teach around anymore,”

“Teach?” Fosse shot him a look. Speed Jill and Kingdew looked livid. Curiel dragged a hand down his face.

“Guess she’s going to have to know about Blackbeard eventually,”

“Fosse told me about him!” they shot him a glare as she continued, “He said something a while back! He said not to go anywhere near his Territory and if I see anyone with his Jolly Roger, to run away and come straight home as fast as I could!”

“He was right in doing so,” said Kingdew, “Teach, aka Blackbeard, ate the Yami Yami No Mi or the Darkness Fruit. It’s a very dangerous ability. It allows the user to control darkness and its unique property of gravity. The darkness is visually demonstrated by a black smoke-like substance spreading out from the user's body. The darkness is a void that devours and crushes everything. It can absorb physical matter and attacks of any type by sucking it into the darkness. It also use this ability to irresistibly pull anyone to them, regardless of their current state. But the most dangerous is that it can stop another Devil Fruit user from using their ability,”

“That’s not fair! How can someone like him have that?!”

“Sometimes life isn’t fair,” said Speed Jill, “We gained Teach but Thatch is alive and well,”

“Yeah!”

“So if you ever find a Devil’s Fruit, you have a choice in what to do with it. Most of the time we eat it but it’s a crapshoot too. Like no one know what one can be. Once we know, it makes things easier. Look at Luffy, he ate the Gomu Gomu No Mi and made him rubber. He makes it work for him. Anyone else it would have been dead by now. So if you find one it’s your to do whatever,”

“Nah, I wouldn’t want to eat one. I mean it sounds amazing! But not being able to be around water sounds like torture. I like water. Besides, someone has to be around in case any of you guys accidentally slip into water and someone needs to save them,” Curiel snorts and ruffled her hair.

“Oh? How would you even lift Pops out of the water?”

“I have to get him to the surface to breathe! And he’s lighter in water because people are lighter in water!”

“We can’t say she’s isn’t smart,” said Fosse.

***
The family slowly started to show ______________________ their Devil Fruit powers one by one. Jozu decided to show her in the courtyard and instantly transformed into diamond. She stared and gingerly touched his arm to make sure he was still human. He grinned before changing back.

“Any questions little lady?” she nodded feverishly, “Go ahead!”

“Can people make you into jewelry?! Because if so you can’t like go outside like that! You’ll be danger!” he snorts and started laughing.

“No worries! Trust me, that’s not going to happen any time soon!” Next was Blamenco and his many pockets. He showed her how he could store and take out anything he wanted from every one. She watched as he pulled out weapons, papers, other things and showed them to her.

“Any questions?”

“Yeah! Do you have an empty one?”

“I should, under my arm,” she grinned and ran downstairs. He looked at her puzzled. She came back a few moment later with a bag of her senbei crackers.

“Can I borrow your pocket please? Ace has been pilfering my crackers lately and I have to hide them and it’ll give me an excuse to visit you more!” he lifted his arm as she stuffed them inside. She looked in the pocket, “Can I fit in there?”

“You can try,” she grinned and shuffled inside. She had to admit, it was weird but it felt like a blanket cave. Then a devious idea came into her head and she whispered it to Blamenco. He laughed.

“Oh that’s terrible! And a responsible parent would say no but I’m your brother! Let’s do this!” Ace came back into the house with Luffy and Sabo later that day. Ace was rummaging through the cupboards. He would never admit he liked those senbei crackers but for a something to munch on before dinner, they were perfect. Usually they were in the cupboard for anyone but because of Luffy’s and his appetites they were always gone. ____________ went to get a bag and discover them gone. Marco saw this and often set aside a bag for her after her market trips. She tried to hide them from the two gluttonous boys. However, no matter where she hid them, they were always found and eaten. Today, the boys looked everywhere and couldn’t find one cracker.

“She really hid them this time!” said Ace, “Luffy found them?”

“No! Ugh! Well we can always go to Grandpa?”

“I’m not looking for a fist yet,” said Ace. On cue, Blamenco came into the kitchen. He looked at the boys.

“What’s the matter?”

“Looking for _______________’s crackers, you seen them?” said Luffy

“Yeah, she told me to hide them for her,”

“Where?!” he points to his under arm pocket

“Hand them over!”

“Nope. I promised,”

“Come on, we’re starving!”

“Dinner is in two hours!”

“Hungry now!” Blamenco raises an eyebrow as Luffy and Ace tackled him. The shorter man didn’t put up much of an resistance.

“No, please, get out of my orifices!” Luffy wrapped around him as Ace lifted his arm. He opened his pocket and reached inside. A hand reached out and grabbed his wrist. He jumped and tried to pull away as __________________ popped out.

“BOO!”

“WHAT THE HELL!” Ace jumped back in horror and Luffy leapt off Blamenco. The pair laughed hard as __________________ climbed out of his pocket holding her crackers in hand.

“Gotcha! Thanks Blamenco!”

“Anytime!”

“HOW LONG WHERE YOU IN THERE?!”

“A few minutes but it was WORTH IT!” she said laughing and munching on her crackers and handing some to Blamenco,”

“That was a mean trick!” said Luffy

“It’s mean when you guys take the crackers and not leave me a crumb!”

“You should get to them faster!” said Ace, “How can you BREATHE in there?!”

“It’s like being under a blanket! And I was breathing out his other pocket,”

“That’s weird and gross! I wanna try!”

“Me too!” said Luffy. Thatch headed to the kitchen. Tonight’s dinner was going to be kabobs and he has everything premade and ready to skewer and grill. He stepped into the kitchen and was greeted to Blamenco trying to get Luffy and Ace out of his pockets with _______________trying to guide them out.

“I’m on his back!” said Luffy

“I told you to meet me at his leg!” said Ace

“Out of there you two!” Blamenco

“Let’s see if we can come out of his butt!”

“Gross you two!” said __________________. Thatch sat there and stared. The four looked at him. Blamenco rubbed the back of his neck.

“There’s a logical…explanation for all this and it involves senbei,”

“…you know what, I don’t wanna know. I’ll order out. Ace, what do you want?”

“Chicken,”

“Luffy?”

“MEAT!”

“______________________?”

“CAKE!”

“Okay, I’m on my way. Let’s never speak of this again,”

***
Whitebeard was the last one to show off his ability. He decided the best place to show her was an open field some ways out of town. Once there, he stood away from her. She looked at him puzzled and excitedly. Pops was a huge man, so he had to have something really cool that’ll fit him. He smiled at her, raised his foot, and gently pressed his foot on the ground. She felt a slight vibration. He then took a step and this time it was a lot stronger and she wobbled a bit.

“You can create earthquakes?!”

“Yep!”

“That’s so cool!”

“Let’s have some fun with this. Wanna fly?”

“YES!”

“Ready?”

“MHM!” he smirks and stomp his foot, sending the little girl flying upwards. _______________ flew up into the hair. She could see the whole landscape from the view. She had a few moments to savor it before she promptly fell back down and landed in Whitebeard’s arms, “AGAIN! AGAIN!”

“GUARARARA were you in the least bit scared?”

“No way! I knew you wouldn’t let me just fall and get hurt!” he grinned and did it a few more times, catching her each time. She laughed and cling to him, “This is so cool! Can you only make earthquakes?”

“No, I can do them on the seafloor and the air,”

“Can I see?!”

“Don’t want to harm the birds,”

“Good point! I trust you! How long have you had it? You ability?”

“Wow…many, many years, I kind of forget when I got it,”

“Does Sister know?!”

“Yep, she almost gutted me when I hoisted her into the air,”

“You caught her right?!”

“Yes and she clobbered me! I know I still have the lump,” she chuckled

“Mine aches when it gets cold!” he barked a laugh and ruffled her hair.

“Cheeky, don’t let her hear you saying that,”

“Agreed!”

***
Ace hated that it still bothered him that people talked about him. It angered him when he learned the truth and only his family knew the truth but it doesn’t get any better. He’s learned to curse his father’s name and even years after the fact, he could still hear people’s words about the legendary son of the Pirate King.

Kid should be what twelve now? He should be starting to look like him

Can you imagine what he looks like? The kid is probably wrecking havoc as we speak somewhere. He’s the son of a monster

Monster is too kind a word. He’s a demon, pure and simple. He’s plotting at this very moment to kill anyone who’s fool enough to raise him

What of his mother?

Oh you know she’s dead. That child is so evil he probably killed her on his way out or when he got old enough to walk

He glared and shook his head. He never meant to kill his mother. She died giving birth to him. She would still be alive without her trying to protect him. He clenched his fist. He hadn’t felt like this in a long time and he hated it. He got up and went to go to the courtyard when he noticed _________________’s door was opened. He glanced inside and saw her on her mini balcony swinging her legs back and forth. He nudged the door opened to see what was so interesting. He saw that she was just looking up at the sky. He clicked his teeth. She looked up.

“Hey!” he said nothing and plopped next to her. She went to say something, “Don’t ask me how I’m feeling. It’s none of your business,”

“Okay,” he heard it in her voice. She stopped kicking her legs and kept looking up.

“What are you looking at anyway?”

“The sky. It’s super pretty tonight,”

“You’ve never seen the sky before?”

“I have but Sister always made me come inside before the sunset. It always looks so pretty,” he looked up. He had to admit. It did look nice. He watched the sky with her for awhile, feeling himself starting to feel a little better. But he still had thoughts running through his head.

“Do you ever think…the world would be better if you weren’t born?” she looked at him, “Like you shouldn’t exist,”

“I think everyone and everything should have a right to exist,”

“What about demons?”

“If he’s a good demon,”

“Demons aren’t good. I’m a demon’s son. I’m curse until the day I die. I can never be good. Even if I tried,” she looked at him and cocked her head.

“You don’t look like a demon to me and if I met you in Hell, I think I’d be happy to see someone familiar,”

“Have you ever met one?”

“A few times in my dreams when I sleep,” he glanced over at her.

“People say…I have a demon’s blood running through my veins. That…I shouldn’t exist and if they find out, they’ll make me pay for it,”

“That’s not very nice. Why would you want to harm someone who’s never done anything to you? Besides, I want you to exist and I’m sure Luffy and Sabo does too and also every one of our brothers. Sister always told me that a parent’s sins shouldn’t pass on to their children. It’s even in the bible and Sister said that’s a load of garbage too,”

“So what? I’m supposed to believe an ancient book and you?”

“Nah. But I don’t think you should be held accountable for whatever your dad did. It wouldn’t be fair. Plus, you’re a kid, you shouldn’t have adult stuff on your shoulders,” Ace looked at her. She was looking at the sky, “No one asked to be here. We exist for some weird purpose, whether it’s to live or to die. May as well make the most of it,”

“Where did you hear that?”

“Sister. She’s really smart when you listen to her. I remember she told me that once. Grandpa told me this. You can either spend the rest of your life unhappy because you don’t think you should exist or you can look at these stars with me. Well he said watch the rain because it was raining,” he glared at her but sat and looked up. It was a very pretty nice that night. He glanced over at _____________________.

“Don’t you…ever think you should have been born?”

“Sometimes but I think everyone exists for something. Like Pops wanted a daughter so my parents had me so Pops could adopt me. You needed two brothers so Sabo and Luffy were born so they could be your brothers. Everyone needed someone and it was done,” Ace glanced at her before pulling her into an one armed hug.

“Why is it so easy for you to see the world like it’s a great thing?! It’s not you know!”

“I know that. But you have to look on the good side of things. Things can get better. Like I never would have thought I would have a family like this one and I love it! The girls I do ribbon twirling with says they barely see their family. Vivi told me that some of the girls are raised by servants and never even see their parents but I have brothers to pick me up. I think life is really funny that way,”

“Weirdo,” he muttered. She grinned, “If I had to choose, I guess having an annoying sister like you would be great,”

“I’m annoying?!” she whimpered

“Yes! Yes you are! I swear you’re slow when it comes to things and spacey! And you make friends with weird people, like that boy from that restaurant,”

“You’re so mean and Sanji is awesome!”

“Yeah but only I’m allowed to call you annoying! If anyone else does, tell me,”

“Okay! So do I call you big brother like everyone else?”

“You’ll call me Ace, I’ll call you ___________________,”

“Okay!” she hugged him tight. He reddened and squirmed to get away.

“Let go!”

“I love you too Ace!”

“Stop that! Stop being so weird! Lemme go!”

“Your face is completely red! It’s so cute! You freckles are darker!” Ace glared and stopped struggling. He would have to face the fact that ___________________ would never be normal and he as totally okay with that.

“So if you had to choose, which Devil Fruit would you want?”

“I don’t but if I had no choice, I want one to control plants! That way if someone get sick, I can grow something and they can feel better,” Ace snorts.

“You’re so lame. Wouldn’t you want something cool like controlling water or fire?”

“Why? That sounds awful! I don’t want to hurt anyone!”

“Yeah, seriously lame,”

“Keep being mean and I won’t share,” he looked at her. She took out a box of assorted mini cakes.

“What’s with you and cake? I mean seriously, you always have a piece on you,”

“I just really like it! I didn’t know it came in different flavors! I went to Zeff’s and he gave it to me,” he took a mini one and started eating. He looked at the stars. His existence bothered him, still bothered him but not since he came to live with his new family. He glanced over at _____________ munching on her piece. He didn’t have much encounter with girls but he hoped and wished they were all weird and annoying like her.

Chapter Text

_____________________ was in the convent’s basement one sunny afternoon trying to hide from Sister. She was bored this day and was waiting out until Ace popped around and she could leave the convent for a little bit. Today as luck would have, she found an old photo album. She grinned. She loved looking at pictures and Sister always told her who everyone was. She opened it and it was filled with Sister when she was a lot younger with a nicer looking woman who fondly hugged her with other women about. She knew this was Sister’s family and decided to go through it again when a photo she’s never seen before slipped out from between two pages. She looked puzzled. She knew one of the people was Sister when she was about her age but the other woman, she’s never seen her before. She was an old woman with a large, wrinkled face and a square jaw. She had long, wavy light hair and wears lipstick. She wore dark nun's robes that have light frills on them, as well as a similarly-designed headdress. Sister’s clothes looked nothing like this nun’s clothing. She wore black dresses with a headdress that was really a bandana. ___________________ didn’t like this woman. Although Sister could be mean, she always had her best interests at heart and was always nice to her. Her eyes were warm and sweet. The old woman in the picture’s eyes was ice cold even though she was smiling in the photo. They sent chills down her back. She looked a bit puzzled and took the picture upstairs. She barely managed to make it upstairs when Sister rounded the corner.

“There you are you little runt! Where have you been?! Don’t think you’re going to go out with Ace if you hadn’t stirred that compost!” Flora realized that __________________ looked a bit concerned and serious, “Oy, what’s the matter kiddo?”

“Sister, who’s this?” she held up the picture. Flora’s eyes widened.

“Where did you get this?”

“It was in the basement! W-Who is she?”

“Someone that you’ll never meet because she’s in Hell where she belongs,” Flora took the photo from her.

“Was she your Mom?”

“My mother was murdered by a bandit. This woman took me in and that’s it,” Flora took off her hood and sighed, “Go play, just come back at five for dinner,”

“Sister? Are you okay?”

“I’ll be fine, go play,” she nodded and headed off. Flora went back inside and took a bottle of whiskey and place in on the table. Even with that old bitch being dead, her actions still bothered her. As she downed shot after shot, her mind started to wander and soon it wandered to a place she was not ready to visit.

Flora get us out of here!

Please! We’re trapped!

HURRY UP!

Flo please! Save yourself! She’s coming!

Flora, where are you dear? Come and have some these delicious croquembouche.

W-What did you do to them?!

Come here Flora, I said come here! Listen to your Holy Mother

I’m not your kid anymore. You sold me, remember?

RUN! SHE’LL GET YOU TOO!

LOOK OUT!

KEEP RUNNING!

HIDE!

GET BACK HERE! Ugh, it doesn’t matter, it’s almost time. Linlin, your birthday gifts are on the table!

NO!

HOLY MOTHER WHY?

I DON’T WANT TO DIE!

FLORA! HELP DO SOMETHING!

Flora crushed the whiskey bottle in her hand and found herself panting and in a cold sweat. She violent shoved the glass off the table and place her face her in hands. Even years later, she could never forget those screams.

***
Sabo decided to make a quick pit stop at the convent. For the last few days, __________________ hadn’t been around to play with them. He and Ace usually try to coax Sister into letting her come out for a brief moment but they were shocked to see ______________ handling all of the convent duties herself, lighting the candles, burning the incense, making candles, and making sure the place was quiet for the people to pray. When the services were over, he approached her. She looked exhausted.

“Jeez! Are you okay?!”

“I-I’ll be fine,” she yawned.

“Where’s Sister,”

“She’s in her room!”

“Is she sick?”

“I don’t know! I’m worried. She hasn’t come out of her room for the last few days. Usually she’s up before me and has half of everything ready. I’ve been doing everything since then. I don’t know what’s going on,”

“Have you tried talking to her?”

“Yeah! But she tells me to handle everything and make her food. She has been eating but I’m just scared that she’s really sick or something,”

“What happened?”

“I found this old picture in the basement and since then she’s been acting weird! I hope it wasn’t cursed or anything!”

“Do you have it?”

“I found it in the trash,” Sabo took a look at the picture. Even he was stumped at who this woman was.

“I’ll see if I can help you,”

“Thanks Sabo. She’s been drinking more. There’s a huge bottle of whiskey on the table,” he nodded and went off. __________________ went back to the kitchen to make Sister some lunch. She was getting scared. She didn’t want Sister to die. If she died, she would miss her and she would have to take care of the whole convent by herself. She was barely tall enough to reach the church bell and she can’t conduct ceremonies either! After she made Sister some soup, she brought it to her door. Sister opened the door slightly, took the soup and promptly closed the door. She could smell alcohol in the room. She winced and scampered into the kitchen and found the address book. She didn’t know any other adult around town to go to for help but she knew one adult who would help them regardless. She dialed the number and waited. Soon a deep, cheerful voice answered.

“Hello?”

“Grandpa!”

“Oh ___________________! What a surprise! How are you kiddo?>”

“Not so good,”

“Aww what’s the matter, squirt?” _____________________ explained the best she cold, even describing the woman the best she could. He was silent for awhile, “I see. You know what, Shakky is in the area, I’ll have her take care of you for a bit. Give her half an hour,”

“B-But I don’t want to leave Sister alone! She’s been drinking a lot!”

“Trust me I know but right now, Flora is going to need some space and someone is coming over to help her with that. Just let her know and bring a change of clothes, okay?”

“Yes Grandpa,”

“Hey now don’t worry, everything is going to be okay, alright? You know Shakky isn’t going to hurt you. Flora is going to be okay, she just needs to pull herself together,”

“O-Okay,”

“After this is over, we’ll go out to the park for a week, just you and me, if you promise to be a good girl for me,”

“I promise!”

“I love you and stay safe,”

“Love you too! Bye!” she hung up the phone and goes to Flora’s room. She gently knocked on the door, “S-Sister?”

“What?”

“I-I called Grandpa. Shakky is picking me up, is that okay?”

“Send him my utter distain and tell Shakky hi,”

“O-Okay,”

“Be good and make sure you’re back for dinner. Whenever that may be,”___________________ went into her little room and packed her pajamas. She knew better to leave the convent unlocked and wrote a sign that the church and convent was closed until further notice and dead bolted both and sat politely in the courtyard. She looked at Sister’s room with worry, hoping she was going to be okay.

***
Whitebeard came to the convent at around ten that evening. He saw the notice on the door and used his spare key to get inside. He locked the door and headed towards the room. Today was a whirlwind and he knew he had to see Flora. Sabo found a photo, who showed it to Ace who was convinced that the photo had to be something that his brothers knew, Izo saw told Thatch, who told Marco and everyone instantly because worried about their unofficial mother and immediately bombarded him when he got in. Before he could calm everyone down, he got a phone call telling him he needed to go to the convent. When he saw the photo he knew exactly what got her down. He stopped at the door and gently knocked.

“If you’re the Grim Reaper come in,”

“Flora. I want to come in,”

“No, I’m fine,”

“No you’re not,”

“Yes, I am, leave me alone,”

“Florrie…talk to me,”

“Damn it, get inside Newgate,” he knew that would make her open the door if nothing else. He has known Flora since they were both kids on different crews and almost immediately liked her, from her unwavering spirit to her stubbornness. But of course she wasn’t without a soft side and he loved her for that. She was a master at not showing the outside world her vulnerable side, even when she was about to face execution, she walked to the place calmly without an ounce of fear. But tonight, she was in her bed, back turn to him, her whole body heaving up and down and being in the fetal position. He sat on the bed. He caught a glimpse of her face. Her cheeks were stained with tears and red. There were only a few she slowed her vulnerable side to and he was one of them. They sat in silence for awhile except for Flora’s sobs.

“I-I thought… I would have gotten over it by now. I hadn’t-hadn’t… even thought of that woman until I saw her picture again. I-I thought I destroyed-it years ago. What a fool I was,”

“You were a child Flora, you couldn’t have known,”

“The signs were there. Kids leaving, her always having money, some of the kids never came back. I thought it was because they were happy where they were. We were just lambs for the slaughter for her to exploit. She didn’t even care right up to the end about what happened to us! She only cared about what happened to herself!” her chest heaved as she broke down again. Whitebeard gently rubbed her back, “Wh-What if she di-didn’t manage to sell me-me when she did?! Wh-What if I go-got there ear-earlier than I did?! D-Damn it, I-I wish I just kn-knew sooner!”

“Shhh…Florrie, it wasn’t your fault that it happened. It was never your fault and you know that. Even if you got there earlier, you have met with the same fate,”

“It-It still hurts you know!” she turned over and wiped her eyes, “That old bitch, if there is an God and a Devil I know she’s burning in Hell. Thanks to her, I can’t stand to see a croquembouche without feeling sick to my stomach,”

“I know,”

“I just feel I’ll be joining her for my participation of it. I tried to tell the Government what I saw and they tried to lock me up for it! Thank God for Blume. At least she was smart enough to listen,”

“She was a good woman and captain. For as long as I’ve known you, I think that incident with Carmel was the best thing that could have ever happened to you,”

“What the hell—,”

“Hear me out,” he sat her up and smiled, “Because of her, you had to force yourself to be strong, were able to be adopted and bought by one of the most fearsome women in the world. From there you made a name for yourself and took over being just as fearsome. You singlehandedly went after the World Government when it came to that child smuggling ring and managed. You also used your power to scare any man away from your true intentions and kept hundreds of children safe until not one was left without a family. Flora, I know it hurts, and I know it the one regret you have but you have to let go of it. You have nothing to feel guilty about. You never had anything to feel guilty about. You’re not a bad person, you’re the best person. You’re my favorite person. And the fact that you’re still concerned that you weren’t there to help your fellow orphan from the clutches of a true monster tell me that you first instinct is to look out for someone else. But it’s not your burden to bear. You did the only thing you could have done at that moment. She can never harm another orphan again,” she nods.

“You’re right. I replayed that incident in my head over and over and I can’t think of anything I could have done without me ending up dead or no solution in sight. If I came early, I would have been eaten, if I took the croquembouche, there was no way for me to restore the kids back into their bodies. If I tried to fight either her or Charlotte I would have been killed. Me running was the only thing I could have done,”

“See? And if you would have been killed, hundreds of children would have met the same fate as orphans in the new world. You chose you battle wisely and there’s no shame in that,” he kissed her cheek. She smiled.

“If you leave me, I’ll never forgive you,” she scoots over. He lay down next to her. She curled up on his chest and buried her face inside. He reddened. She looked at him, “If you tell anyone about this, I’ll never speak to you again,”

“Guararara, noted! By the way, the boys are asking when is Mommy coming home?” she groaned and then chuckled.

“Not yet, I have too much business here,” they were silent once again, “…Edward, how would you feel about having a daughter?”

“A little girl?”

“Yes, kind of scrappy, full of spirit, and sharp as a tack,”

“Sounds great,”

“Okay,”

“You have an orphan here?”

“Did you see one?”

“No,”

“Then that answers your question,”

“You know you can't just pick kids off the streets Florrie,”

“Says you,” he snorts and rubs her back again. He noticed her eyes were drooping. She yawned and got comfortable, “Thank you, Eddie,”

“Anytime, Florrie,”

***
“Hey Florrie. Let’s make a promise!”

“I’m not promising anything with you Newgate,” said the young girl. He laughed.

“I promise you’ll love it!”

“What is it?”

“When we’re older, we’re going to have a family together!”

“…what do you mean?”

“I want you to be a part of my family! I mean you’re already a great wife and mother,” her cheeks went red.

“WHAT’S THAT SUPPOSE TO MEAN?!”

“Guarararara! Think about it! You have all of those animals on board and you take care of them as your own. You practically raised Popi and Fiore. And I always wanted a big family!”

“Families are overrated; I’d rather have a crew. That way you can pick the people you grow to love and care about, not being forced to like certain people,”

“A crew is a family! We take care of each other. We love each other. We’ll help each other. That’s what a family is supposed to do! Sometimes you can’t pick your family but everyone deserves a chance,”

“Until you’re betrayed,”

“Would you betray me?”

“Of course not!”

“Then why would I betray you?” the girl glared at him before smiling

“Okay fine, when we’re older and old enough to have crews of our own, I’ll be apart of your family,”

“As a mom?”

“I guess so you weirdo,” the boy smirked and took out a knife.

“Blood Oath?”

“I’m serious about this,” she took out her knife and cut her hand as he did the same. They held their hands tight looking at each other in the eye.

“I, Flora, promise that when I’m an adult and stable, I’m going to be a part of Edward’s family,”

“I, Edward, promise to be the best man and Dad I can be so my family can be the best,”

“I promise to be the best Mother I can be to this family,”

“I promise to always be there when my kids need me,”

“I promise to always be there when their father isn’t around,”

“We promise to keep their best interests at heart and not for our own selfish gain!” the pair let go. She wiped her hand on her dress. She noticed the sun and sighed

“I better go, Blume will kill me if I’m not on the ship! See you in the town!”

“Bye Florrie!” he grinned. She glared, her cheeks burning.

“See you later, Eddie,”

Chapter Text

This was _________________ first Christmas season with her new family. She personally loved the season. Sister and her used to decorate the convent together and Sister would order a bunch of cookies from a bakery and then Sister would take her around to see Christmas lights and things. For dinner, she would order chicken and would feast until they got full. Also, Grandpa would steal her away for a few days and show her shops and things and often did Christmas activities with her.

“Flora means well but that whole childhood wonder thing kind of just slipped passed her,” he said one day, “So as your grandpa, I’m making sure you at least know how to built a snowman,” She liked how people were extra nice to each other during this time. When December 1st hit, everyone in the Whitebeard home decorated. There was tinsel and garland everywhere and white Christmas lights decorated the house. Because the house was so big and old, Whitebeard had a kotatsu in every room. ________________ got one with a cute kitty futon. Downstairs was warmer because of a hot spring underground kept the downstairs toasty but everyone had a small heater in their rooms to keep everyone warm and toasty. She found herself under her kotatsu often reading manga. Ace has been staying closer and closer to home. He wasn’t too keen on cold weather. He would still play and train and hunt for dinner but would come home early because he would rather stay under the kotatsu. He came home early and saw _________________ happily drinking genmaicha, with senbei crackers and reading.

“I swear you’re an old man!”

“Hey that’s mean!”

“Come on, I got a new video game, let’s play,”

“Can I bring the tea?” he nodded and they played. Ace didn’t mind the one on one company with another kid is age. Unlike Luffy, he needed a break from people every now and then and video games were his outlet. He loved fighting games but he liked things that gave him a challenge, like RPG games. _______________ played with him but also liked just sitting and watching him. He often passed her the controller but also he listened to her strategizing but sometimes he swore she did certain things to piss him off.

“UGH! Why do you always choose Rainbow Road?!”

“Because it’s so much fun!”

“Weirdo,”

“Why are you so mean?!” But when the weather started getting colder, Thatch would ask her to go on pretty big store runs. She was armed with her basket, money, and bundled up. Sometimes she would have to make a lot of trips but she didn’t mind. After the final one, Thatch gave her some money as a token of appreciation and brought the groceries inside. She brushed the snow off her as she hung her scarf near the heater for later along with her new boots. She walked in further into house when Marco picked her up and pecked her cheek. ______________ giggled and hid her face.

“What was that for?!”

“Mistletoe,” he gestured to the plant hanging over the door frame. She looked at it curiously. She never seen a weird looking plant before.

“What’s mistletoe?”

“It’s a tradition when someone is under it; they give that person a kiss,”

“Why?”

“I don’t know, it’s just tradition,” for the last few hours, while watching TV, she watched everyone pass under the mistletoe. Izo would be the first to greet everyone and gave them a kiss. She thought the tradition was cute but silly. She couldn’t sneak attack anyone with a kiss. She was too short. She tried to sneak attack the next person who came into the house. Unfortunately it was Rakuyo who laughed and ruffled her hair.

“Kiss someone your own size little lady!” she groaned. There wasn’t anyone her size she could…she waited by the door, ready to pounce. Ace came into the house. His cheeks were burning from the cold and he was too happy to be home. He could smell the soup that Thatch was making tonight. He entered the house. Without warning, _________________ gave him a kiss on his cheek. Ace froze. His entire face went red as he turned and tried to glare at _______________ but realized he was too flustered to form a frown. He couldn’t even form words and when he finally opened his mouth, he just blurted.

“W-What was that for?!”

“It’s tradition! You were under it so I kissed you!”

“GROSS! Y-You KISSED ME!”

“Yep! I’m about to do it again!” before he could say anything, he was given another smooch on his cheek.

“Q-QUIT IT! YOUR KISSES ARE LIKE FIRE!”

“You love them!”

“H-How would you like it if I kissed YOU?!”

“I wouldn’t mind! It’ll show how much you like me!”

“STOP BEING WEIRD!”

“Love you too Ace!”

“GUUUUH!!!” Ace ran upstairs completely embarrassed. He was fuming in his room. How DARE she kiss him?! What the HELL did she do to him?! He was feeling a LOT of things! He was shocked, his heart was pounding, he couldn’t stop his face from being hot, AND felt something weird in his stomach. He did NOT like this feeling! He heart was beating fast and he couldn’t do much else than to hunker down in his kotatsu and tried not think about it. He failed.

***
“Ace calm down it was just a kiss,” said Jozu as Ace paced the kitchen back and forth in the living room after he knew for a fact that ______________________ was already gone, getting dry supplies for Thatch.

“I know what it was but WHY?!”

“You were under the mistletoe, dork,” said Thatch clearing the table.

“That doesn’t give her the right to KISS ME!”

“You didn’t like it?” said Atmos

“W-What difference does that make?!”

“Well, did you?” said Fosse grinning

“IT DOESN’T MATTER! UGH!” he ran upstairs and closed his door.

“Poor kid,” said Thatch

“He has it bad,” said Rakuyo

“Bad is an understatement,”

“You think we should tell him?”

“Hell no,” said Izo, “I’m still in for the high school pool,” Ace grabbed his coat and ran out the house. It wasn’t snowing today but the air was frigid. He hated the cold. He decided to tell his troubles to his favorite adult whom, other than Pops and Marco, often gave good advice.

“And that’s what happened,” he said guzzling down his juice. Makino chuckled

“So you didn’t like that she kissed you?”

“IT’S NOT THAT! I ACTUALLY ENJOYED IT!” Ace reddened badly.

“I see, why don’t you tell her?”

“Because she’s my sister! Well, adopted sister! But she didn’t have to sneak attack me! I don’t get why she’s so weird! Like she’s ALWAYS weird! She’s like an old man! She actually likes drinking tea and eating senbei! She stays under that kotatsu and she doesn’t even try to play video games without me or anything! Why can’t she be a normal girl?!”

“Well, she is normal, her definition anyway. Also, I guess she figures you wouldn’t want her to waltz into your room and take your game away. This is her first Christmas with a real family and she’s most likely adjusting and found a tradition she really wanted to take part in. Flora is great and all but a convent is no place to raise a little girl. She’s probably just happy to be in a warm room with something hot to drink,”

“And that’s another thing! She likes taking other people’s mugs! Like an animal!”

“Oh?”

“Yeah! Like she likes drinking tea but uses everyone else’s mugs! Why can’t she use her own?!”

“Well, does she have her own?” Ace was about to retort but realized he couldn’t. She didn’t have one to call her own. And it wasn’t like she just took it, she did ask first, then make tea and then just drink it. He groaned, “Maybe you can get her that for Christmas,”

“Where can I get one? It has be a nice one!”

“There’s a nice little pottery shop that’s in the Goa Kingdom if you’re interested,”

“Ugh, anywhere around here?”

“I’m afraid not,”

“Thanks Miss Makino!”

“Anytime sweetie!”

***
“You want to use our earnings?” said Sabo. He, Luffy, and Sabo met in their secret clubhouse to discuss their dealings and such but because of the cold, they decided to think of a way to get a space heater inside so they didn’t freeze their balls off. After that, Ace brought up their earnings.

“Like twenty beli of it!”

“What for?”

“None of your business!”

“Actually it is! We said we can’t spend it unless it was for something really important and for all three of us can agree on,”

“J-Just trust me on this!”

“We wants to buy ________________ a cup for Christmas—OWWWW!” Sabo laughed.

“So that’s it!”

“DAMN IT LUFFY!”

“But it’s true!” Sabo laughed.

“Okay, you can use it for _____________________,”

“Don’t read too much into this! I’m just sick of her asking to use everyone’s mug! The only one she doesn’t use is Izo’s mug. Marco has that one on the very top of the shelf where she can’t get to it,”

“Why?”

“It has a penis handle,”

“Why?!”

“Search me! I don’t question shit when it comes to Izo!”

“So where are we going to get the mug?”

“Miss Makino told me there was a place in Goa?”

“Oh yeah! I know where it is. It’s a fancy place but their stuff is important from experts of pottery making,”

“Let’s go then!” said Luffy. Ace personally hated traveling to Goa. It was a fancy kingdom filled with nobles, traders, and the like. It was near the ports so many people docked there. Sabo was always hesitant to go but also figured the place was so big he didn’t have to worry. They often travelled using the train to get there and it was drastically different from their hometown. Everyone there were standoffish, mean, ugly, and overall just rude to everyone unless they had a lot of money. Once they got to the town, Sabo lead them to the shop. Because it was the holiday season, many people were carrying tall packages and things and often shoving and pushing them away. They finally made it to the shop. It was a decent sized place with stands of pottery things outside to advertise. There were bowls, mugs, tea sets, tea pots, serving trays, and things like that. Inside, things were fancier with gold inlay in the items. A woman was sitting at the table. She was an average looking woman with dark skin, brown eyes, and reddish hair. She looked at them with a sneer.

“We don’t have anything for you to steal so get the hell out of here,” Ace glared.

“Actually we’re paying customers. I want to buy something,”

“I don’t sell to street urchins. Get out of my shop or I’m going to call the police,”

“FU—,”Sabo grabbed Ace’s mouth

“We’re sorry but we’ll take out business elsewhere!” he dragged him outside, “Calm down!”

“Fuck her! We actually have money to pay for something!”

“I know, here’s the plan, Luffy and I will distract her and you go in and get a mug!”

“Distract how?!” before Sabo could say anything, they heard loud crashes and things and the woman screaming.

“YOU LITTLE BASTARD!” Luffy was outside of the shop breaking and shattering things. Sabo grinned and joined in.

“Meet at the rendezvous point!” the destruction caused the woman to run outside with a broom and chase them. Ace crept back into the shop in the confusion. He looked around the shop. He had less than a few minutes to grab a mug and run for it. But there were hundreds of mugs to choose from and he had no idea how he was going to find one for ________________.He looked around hopelessly. He didn’t want to get her just any old mug; he wanted it to be semi special.

“Hey son, need some help?” he jumped. He didn’t know anyone was in the store with him. He turned around. A rather stocky and muscular old man with bald on the top of his head but with white hair on both sides were behind him. He wore a weird headdress with yellow flower petal-like things, which had purple near the bottom of them, and a white beard that splits in two parts. His lower lip is noticeably larger than his upper. He adjusted his glasses.

“Depends, you work here or something? I need to know if I have to fight an old man,”

“No, no, I saw what that bitch did. You have all rights to stiff her out of something. Whatcha looking for?”

“I want a mug for my sister. This is her first Christmas with our family and she’s the only one who doesn’t have!”

“Oh! Okay, well what is she like?”

“She’s about a year younger than me but I swear she’s an old man. No offense,”

“None taken,”

“She drinks a lot of tea. Like actually brew the stuff and drink it! She also likes using smaller cups because she says it keeps the tea hotter or something,”

“I see. I think I know what you need,” the old man gestured to a shelf with a bunch of tea mugs with lids, “These are special tea mugs with lids to keep tea nice and warm but also inside, there’s a strainer so she can brew her tea in the cup. It’s just enough for one person. It’s also made of a material that’ll keep the tea or whatever hot for about an hour or so before it begins to cool,”

“FUCK YEAH!” Ace gently took the pink cherry blossom one, “I’ll take it!”

“Meet me out back and I’ll wrap it up for you,”

“Thanks old man! Should I pay you?”

“I don’t work here. The bitch deserved it. No one would expect an old man. Get going,” Ace nodded and ran out. He lingered in the back of the shop as the man came and handed over the box. Ace peeked inside to make sure everything was in order.

“Why did you help me?”

“Because when someone is honestly trying to do something good, they should get a break every now and then,” he winked. Ace grinned and ran for it. The man shook his head. He was the splitting image of his father. If it wasn’t for his freckles, he would have been a dead ringer for him. Thankfully everyone in this town was too dense to notice who he is. Ace met up with Sabo and Luffy at the rendezvous point.

“Did you get one?” said Sabo

“Yeah! Some old man helped me!” Ace gently took it out of the mug and showed it to him, “It even has a lid and strainer so she can drink tea!”

“Awesome!” said Luffy

“Awww you gave a lot of thought to this,” said Sabo grinning, “So I guess you like, like her,”

“I-I DON’T!”

“Ace you’re blushing!” Luffy giggled

“I’m not! It’s just hot out here! Let’s go home!”

“But it’s like forty degrees!”

***
After dinner, ________________ usually went two places, her room or up on the roof. He first checked to see if her coat was still hanging up. It wasn’t there. So that meant she was indeed on the roof. He grabbed his and trekked upstairs. He didn’t understand what was so good about sitting alone in the cold in a garden anyway? He climbed the ladder and saw that Pops had white lights that hung all over, giving the place a warm glow. He found her looking at everything.

“Are you cold out here?” she looked at his puzzled and pointed up revealing a patio heater, “Oh,”

“Coming to join me?”

“Yeah I guess,” she scoots over, “What are you doing out here anyway?” she pointed to the sky. Because it was night, the clouds were moving around revealing patches of starry sky. The stars were bright and pretty. Down below he saw the countless of lights from the city.

“You can’t beat this view! Especially when it’s going to start snowing tomorrow. I want to enjoy it before the blizzard hits us,”

“How do you know?”

“Thatch and I have been stocking up on things for the last few days. The pantry is filled with food, I’ve been bringing Thatch dried foods in case we need them, and extra batteries and things,” they were silent for a few moments. Ace took out the box and nudged it on her, “What’s this?”

“Your Christmas gift,”

“But it’s not Christmas yet!”

“Open it, you kind of need it now,” she took the box and opened it. Her eyes widened, “I got it in Goa. It even has a strainer so you can make tea just for yourself and the lid keeps it hot and stuff. I mean at least it means you don’t have to keep borrow mugs! Especially when we all drink something as a group and—,” he felt something tight around his shoulders.

“T-Thank you Ace! This means a lot!” He blushed, pulled her back and gave her a kiss on the cheek. ____________________ blushed.

“B-But we’re not under the mistletoe!”

“I know that!” Ace said blushing, “T-That shouldn’t be the only reason to kiss someone you like,”

“Aww you wanna kiss me all the time?”

“N-NO! I mean when I feel like it!”

“Well I feel like kissing all of your freckles. Maybe I should,”

“D-DON’T YOU DARE!” she laughed hard. He glared but then smiled. She looked so happy.

“So…winters in the convent?”

“What about them?”

“How were they?”

“Oh! Well, Sister said the convent wasn’t that cold and other than an extra blanket, I didn’t have a kotatsu or a space heater. But the convent was made out of stone and it was cold every winter. I would have to drink tea to keep warm. Grandpa always brought me sweaters and things and scarves. Sister said that the cold built character and I needed to get used to it. Baths were the worst, the pipes sometimes froze so no hot water for baths, I had to shovel and salt the paths every day, I mean I still do it here but at least I have help now. But this was my favorite part looking at the garden covered in snow. It’s so pretty and I just sit here and think about everything,”

“Like?”

“Promise me you won’t laugh,”

“My honor as a man,”

“Well, I often wonder how life outside of the convent was. Like before I met you, Sabo, and Luffy, I thought I was the only kid in town. I wonder if I would see those places I saw in books, I wonder about the lives of people who would visit the convent. Like where did they go after they left? How was Sister’s life before I came and what if I really don’t exist but a ghost that only Sister could see?” Ace looked at her. He ruffled her hair.

“Come on, we can make tea and watch TV or something,” They trekked back inside. He was about to go into his room when he noticed ________________ walking passed him and went into her room. She came into his room a few moments later holding up a gift wrapped something in front of her, “What’s this?”

“Well, you gave me your present early, so I wanted to give you yours,”

“What is it?”

“Open it!” he took it and saw that it was a new video game.

“Wait…is this Dragon Quest 8?!”

“Yep!”

“How did you get this?!”

“I saved up and on my way to the store; there was this lady who threw it out because her son was crying or something so I grabbed it for you!”

“You’re the best!” he opened the box and it was brand new, “Play it with me?”

“I’ll watch, I like watching you play and I think it’s only a single player,”

***
Whitebeard was heading off to bed. He triple checked to make sure they all had enough supplies for the blizzard and that the generator was in working order. He yawned and noticed he hadn’t heard the kids today. He could hear voices coming from Ace’s room and gently opened the door. Ace was playing his game with _________________ under the kotatsu.

“I’m out of Mana for Jessica!”

“Use the Elfin Elixir!”

“He’s going to kill her in the next round!”

“Angelo has it! You can use Yangus to bring her back!”

“Okay, okay!” he watched from the doorway.

“See?!”

“Okay fine! She’s alive what do I do next?”

“Keep her in defense and keep healing her!” the boss was soon defeated. Ace sighed.

“I wish the monster had an HP bar,”

“I know right? Now you have to get another Yggdrasil leaf and make more things!”

“Alright, alright!” he ruffled her hair, “Here, take over while I’ll get us some more snacks,” Whitebeard quickly headed down the hall in order to not get caught, “Pops, you can watch us if you want! It’s creepy when an old man stands by a door looking at his kids!”

“Hey!”

“Please Pops!” said ____________________ from inside.

“Alright. Ace, get the snacks and sake,”

“No sake for you! Marco hid it and I’m not telling!”

“Sorry Pops, you can’t have it,”

“Fine, Fine,”

Chapter Text

Sanji limped back to the Baratie Restaurant. Every day he’s been making special deliveries and pickups for the restaurant. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that every single time he went to that area, he was met with some trouble. It was a place where nobility resided and they often had rare ingredients that he needed to get fresh. Today were golden apples. They smelt and tasted amazing. Zeff had a bunch of holiday desserts planned for these and he said only the best apples would do. However, he’s been met with a troublesome girl with a upturned nose, flat face, brown eyes, and auburn hair who has decided to make him into her personal punching bag. He’s been suffering through silence, however, that only made the girl step up her game. He didn’t want to tell Zeff, because he didn’t want him to thing he couldn’t handle it.

“Hey Sanji!” said ________________ grinning at him. Ever since she figured out she could walk to the place where there was a friend and tasty food. Especially with Zeff’s strict no wasting food policy, he often had leftovers for anyone who wanted them. She was introduced to squid ink pasta, homemade ramen, lobster, crab, even roe but endless of desserts. Zeff realized her sweet tooth and often put things aside for her. Sanji used her as his personal taste tester, especially since she’s never had most of those foods before to her knowledge. However today, Sanji looked like he had it today. But he still gave her a smile.

“Hey,” but she wasn’t fooled

“You okay Sanji?” he sighed and shook his head. She hopped off of the wall, “What’s the matter?”

“Nothing…” she looks at him. He looked up.

“Sanji….you have bruises on your arms and face. Does Zeff know?”

“NO! Please don’t tell him! I don’t want him to worry more about me!”

“Then what happened?!” he took a deep sigh and started shaking.

“Her name is Katherina. She’s a noble girl who lives in West Goa. She started hitting me after she spotted me a few times. She’s started calling me names but I was okay with that, then she started hitting me and calling me a pussy,”

“Pussy?”

“Umm…I can’t tell you what that means. But yeah. That’s why I’ve been coming home like this. I didn’t tell Zeff because I know he’ll worry about me,”

“…why don’t you hit her back?” said _________________

“Because men don’t hit women, it’s barbaric and cruel! I can’t intimidate her or threaten her because it’s not right!”

“But she’s taking advantage and hurting you!”

“I know…that’s why I’ve been taking the long route home every day. She doesn’t appear around a certain area. So I try to avoid her as much as I can,”

“That hardly seems fair,”

“I know but I have to keep the code of manhood,” he handed her one of the golden apples before pushing onward back home. ___________________ was puzzled. It was a very weird thing for her to hear. She went back home and decided to ask a few of the manliest people she knew. She trotted back home and went inside and upstairs. She followed the smells of lavender upstairs to Izo’s room. Izo was under his kotatsu watching something on his laptop.

“Hey Izo, have a moment?” he looked up and patted the other cushion next to him.

“What’s on your mind Darling?”

“Umm what if a girl fights like a boy?”

“Hmmm what do you mean?” she quickly explained the situation to him, “I see. Well, once a girl starts a fight the boy way, then all bets are off. If she decides that she want to use violence, then she must be prepared to get hit back,”

“But Sanji said that men aren’t suppose to hit women,”

“Sweetie it’s true, however if this little girl is targeting him because she knows he’s not going to do anything, then she needs a wakeup call,”

“But why are the rules different for boys than they are for girls?”

“Well it’s a tough topic but times have changed. For instance, it’s okay for girls to do things boys do. And many boys are still taught to treat girls with respect and delicately because that’s what a man do. However, you get a lot of women nowadays who take advantage of this and try to be rude saying “she’s not delicate or lesser or things like that”. It’s just mutual respect and kindness. It’s confusing I know but just remember this, be yourself, if you’re tough enough to hit someone, be prepared to get hit back, man or woman, and if someone is being nice to you, just let them be nice. It doesn’t make you weaker and it doesn’t make you inferior,”

“Thanks Izo,”

“Anytime,”

“Also what’s a pussy?” Izo froze

“It’s a umm…very mean name that people use to describe weak boys. It’s also a dirty way of calling a lady’s private area,”

“Oh,”

“Don’t call anyone that. It’s not a cute insult,” to get a better understanding of this, she decided to ask the second and wisest person about this.

“Pops, have a minute?” Whitebeard looked and then looked down. He picked her up and put her on her bed next to him.

“Hey kiddo. What’s on your mind?”

“Are boys never supposed to hit girls?”

“…did someone hit you?”

“No!”

“What brought this on?” she explained the situation, “I see,”

“And because Sanji is a boy, she says she knows he won’t fight back! I don’t think it’s fair! I mean he’s not bothering her but she’s hitting him for no reason! And Izo said that if you’re tough enough to hit someone, then be prepared to get hit back, man or woman,” Whitebeard sighs.

“It’s a very…touchy area. A man is to never harm a woman because women are considered mothers and delicate young beings but Izo is right that in this day and age, many women take advantage of that as an excuse to make men’s life miserable. Zeff and I come from a time where that’s still a law of manhood and being a gentleman, such as not stealing from mother or a woman. Men are more physical and in our world, that’s how things usually get done, in a woman’s world, they’re more emotional and in tuned with their feelings than we are. Some men like Zeff use hitting and screaming to teach. That’s why he doesn’t want a woman in the kitchen with him. However, some women aren’t delicate and want to be treated like any other person and that’s fine as well. Flora is an exception to the rule. She’s strong and will not express her emotions, unless she trusts that person completely,”

“Like you!” he blushed

“Heh yeah but she can and will stand up for herself. Whereas a woman like Makino who’s a bit more passive and delicate, therefore, someone may approach her differently than Flora,”

“Ugh now I’m confused!” Whitebeard chuckled.

“Treat a person the way you’d want to man or woman. My advice is the same as Izo’s, mutual respect for everyone. However, if a man wants to treat you like a lady, let him, however, don’t let him or anyone hurt you in anyway. And don’t buy into this “Treat everyone the same” because people aren’t the same. For instance, I can easily tell Marco to do something for me and he’ll do it, with Shanks, I have to get him drunk first. Just use your best judgment kiddo,”

“Yes Pops,”

***
Sanji had just finished picking up an entire crate of turkey eggs for Zeff. He had managed to avoid Katherina since he entered town. He got the eggs and spices and was on his way home. He was almost out of her area when a rock flew out of nowhere and beamed him in the face, causing him to fall. He landed but made sure he cushioned the eggs. He turned and glared seeing the girl tossing a rock up and down, smirking at him.

“Trying to avoid me, pussy boy?”

“W-What was that for?!”

“Punishment for thinking you can avoid being a pussy,” she snatched the eggs out of his hands, “What? Peasants are so poor they can’t even afford turkey eggs? I eat these every day for breakfast. They’re worthless to us. I can break a crate and they it wouldn’t be a big deal,”

“No please! I need those!” Sanji said as Katherina smirked and dropped the crate. Thankfully, the eggs didn’t break. She smirked and got ready to stomp on them. He looked away only to see Katherina’s face going to the side and landing with a hard thud. He looked up to see a familiar hand reaching out to him.

“You okay, Sanji? Come on,”

“_____________________?” he took her hand as she pulled him up, “Ho-How did you get here?!”

“I followed you to make sure you got back to Baratie okay,”

“W-Who the fuck are you?!” Katherina barked. _________________ looked confused.

“…Is that her? Wow, it reminds me of that saying Izo said,”

“Which one?”

“Something about makeup and pigs,”

“You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig?” said Sanji

“THAT’S IT!”

“I said, WHO ARE YOU? Answer me peasant!”

“I’m his friend and I’m here to make sure Sanji gets home safely. Then I saw you throw a rock at him,”

“Big deal! I can hit him all he wants and he can’t hit me back because I’m a girl and you need to mind your business!”

“He’s my friend so he is my business. You threw a rock at him,”

“I can do whatever I please! My father is a noble and I’m going to marry a prince someday so one day I’ll be a queen and you’ll be a pauper who can’t even afford nice shoes!”

“It’s true, he can’t hit you but I can because we’re both girls!”

“There’s nothing worse than a girl defending a boy!” Katherina retorted

“He seems okay with it,” she glared and went after Sanji again only to be flipped and slammed into the ground. _________________ picked up Sanji’s egg crate. Katherina jumped on her back. She ran backwards and slammed Katherina between the wall and her body. Katherina let go and slumped to the ground. She glared at ________________, “Now, leave Sanji alone and say you’re sorry,”

“Make me peasant,”

***
Sanji was on _________________’s back as she carried him back to the Baratie Restaurant. They missed their train and it was a ways back to their area. They took the train that took them to the closest they could and walked the rest of the way. He didn’t mind it so much, especially since she was humming cheerfully. He never had seen two girls fighting before. After _________________ asked Katherina to apologize and her refusal, she decided to get his eggs and leave. Katherina decided now that _______________ was occupied, she was going to kick her with her boot in her side. However, she had stood up, smashed one of the eggs in her face and proceeded to shoved her into a garbage can and kicked it down the hill. __________________ placed the eggs inside a satchel and then placed Sanji on her back and walked back. Sanji remember this scene all too well. Only this time it wasn’t raining and only he was injured.

“Where did you learn that?”

“Learn what?”

“That wall press?”

“Ace and Sabo. I watch them spar with each other a lot and we roughhouse from time to time. I know violence isn’t the answer but I don’t like people hurting my friends,”

“Then why do you protect me?”

“Because we’re friends, silly,”

“But I’m supposed to be protecting you! You’re always protecting me!”

“Huh? When?” he froze and went quiet, “Sanji?”

“…_________________ do you remember about anything from your past? Like your parents or anything?”

“Nah and I’m okay with that. I mean it bothered me when I was super younger but not anymore,”

“Do you remember other people from your past?”

“Yeah! But not their faces. Like I remember a blond boy that I used to hide with for some reason but I used to save him from three nasty little boys. I also remember a girl with violet hair,”

“…what about her?”

“I remember she used to put Band-Aids on me and kiss me and calling me cute. I remember a woman always being nice to me. She used to brush my hair and always called me her little doll. I wish I could remember her face. I remember her voice being really sweet and nice and for some reason not like my mom’s. I remember hair, voices, and actions but not faces. But for some reason, I can remember Sabo not having his hat,”

“What else do you remember?”

“I remember always seeing a beautiful seaside. Like crystal clear water, ships coming in, trains leaving, and just spending hours there. I used to have nightmares all the time but since Jozu gave me a dreamcatcher, they disappeared,”

“So what do you dream of now?”

“Tea and video games and things I see every day or stories everyone tells me before bed. But the outcome is almost always the same! I get my family and for some reason Ace is always there! One time he was a frog, one time he was a dirty smelly bear man, and the last time he was a nutcracker,”

“You’re a weird girl I swear!”

“Ace says the same thing!” they both laughed.

***
They made it back to Baratie at around six. The old chef scolded him for being late until Sanji told him the whole story.

“I see…Sanji, you could have told me. I would have told you to go a different route or gone with you,”

“But I wanted to show you I could handle it!”

“I know you could handle it but that doesn’t mean you have to put your personal safety on the line. I’ll see if I can find a better way for you,”

“Can _______________ come with me? She knows all of the shortcuts in Goa!”

“Okay, but I’ll have one of the chefs pick you two up after you get all of the ingredients until I find a better route,” He decided to thank _________________ with a large meal and the golden apple and pear bars helping Sanji bring the ingredients he needed and took her home when she was finished. At home, she told Ace everything while sharing the leftover bars.

“Pffft! You should have slammed her into a mud puddle or something. Noble girls hate being dirty,”

“I didn’t want to really hurt her! She didn’t leave me much of a choice!”

“Why did you help him anyway? It wasn’t your fight,”

“Pops told me that boys have enough trouble going on without a girl bullying him because he won’t fight back. I don’t think its right, so I’m going to hit them for him,”

“Why don’t you fight the girl way?”

“In this case, I can’t. Izo told me that once a girl starts a fight the boy way, then all bets are off. To be honest, I’m still confused. Sister always treated me well like anyone else. Even here, everyone does their own chores. We both do kitchen duty, I help run errands, and you do floor duty. I mean, Zeff is telling Sanji not to hit girls but Pops said he shouldn’t be taught that so what does it all mean?”

“It means you think too much. Listen, everyone is raised differently. But it means to not go after a boy or a girl for no reason. You’d have to be a real dickhole to go after an innocent girl and you’d have to be a real dickhole to go after an innocent boy. If you hit someone, get ready for a fight. If someone attacks you, defend yourself and also be prepared for someone else to do it. If someone hurt anyone I cared out about, I’m going after them and I’m sure they’d do the same. I wanted to go after Holly but Marco said it wasn’t my fight and if I just went after a girl, it would look bad because she didn’t physically try and hurt you,”

“…that makes sense! Ace you’re so wise,”

“No I’m not. Also, I wouldn’t hit you for no reason, not because you’re a girl, you’re my sister. I mean roughhousing is one thing but attacking you is another. Some girls are delicate but I’m sure they wouldn’t want someone to treat them like they’re helpless,”

“Yeah!”

“I mean, I won’t like hit you like I hit Luffy but I’ll push and wrestle you if we’re getting the last senbei, like I know you’d do the same to me. But just be warned, just because some men are taught not to hit women, doesn’t mean they won’t do it when they’re older. And no one is immune to Grandpa’s Fist of Love,”

“Or Sister’s Bop of Learning,”

“She has one of those two!”

“It hurts when it gets cold!”

“So you get it now?”

“Yep!”

“Good. Jeez and you’re supposed to be the smart one,” he ruffled her hair, “By the way, it’s easier for you and Sanji to cross through the Colubo area in order to get to the merchant areas of Goa Kingdom. It’s Dadan’s territory and she won’t bother you. Hell, just ask Magra to help you two; he’ll probably be okay with a few pastries. His sweet tooth is worst than yours,”

“Who’s Magra wait who’s Dadan?”

“He’s like well…an really cool uncle and Dadan…I’ll never admit this ever but she’s like a mom. She took care of me before Pops adopted me,”

“Cool! I thought you were like always here!”

“Nah, I used to live in Colubo about a year ago with Luffy,”

“Oh!”

“Yeah so I’ll ask. I visit those idiots every now and then,”

“They must be nice then!”

“Magra maybe. Dadan is like Garp. Pops sometimes have them watch me when he and everyone do something illegal in another town,”

“Oh,”

“Yeah he’ll probably have you come with,”

“Cool!” he snorts. Nothing was cool about seeing Dadan.

Chapter Text

Christmas was a couple of weeks away but it was starting to feel like Halloween in the neighborhood. For the last few nights, the kids of the area have been talking about a strange dark crow that’s been seen roaming the streets. No one has caught a glimpse of its face but it was said to be as terrifying as the rest of him. It was covered in thick black feathers and walked and often crouched and dove looking for small victims to eat. Ace and Sabo caught a glimpse of it and they were going to approach it but they were both smacked and beaten and when they came to, it was gone. Most adults told them to leave it alone. Some said it was their imagination. But the children knew what they saw and in Ace and Sabo’s case, felt. One day, the three brothers and one sister were discussing it. However, this turned into a sparring match between the four of them.

“Ace, take it easy on _______________________,” said Sabo

“Heh, fat chance, I won’t take it easy on her a girl,”

“That’s not what I mean!”

“Yeah! You’re really rough!” said Luffy

“Life is rough! Okay _________________ you know the rules! If you tap out, you lose, got it?”

“Got it!”

“Ready and go!” Sabo and Luffy watched at the pair tussled and wrestled around the room. Ace managed to corner his prey and went in for a blow, only to have his arm grabbed and then something made his is entire body lock up, “AHHHHHHHH! LET GO!!!”

“___________________ THE HELL?!” said Luffy

“It’s a pressure point. Does this mean I win?”

“NO YOU DON’T! YOU CAN’T USE YOUR FREAK NUN POWERS ON ME!” Ace shouted

“But I’m not! I was taught this! I didn’t even know it worked!”

“CHEATER!”

“I’m not cheating! I”ll let you go!”

“DON’T! I can break free!” However, this proved pointless as no matter how Ace moved his arm, the pain shot through his legs.

“ACE TAP OUT!” said Luffy

“SHE’S GONNA BREAK YOUR ARM!” said Sabo, “JUST CONCEDE!”

“I’D RATHER DIE!”

“Ace, please tap out! I can’t fix a broken arm! And I don’t know the long term damage of this one!” the boy glared and tried to pull again and after a few more minutes of this, he tapped out. ________________ released his arm. Ace winced and rubbed his arm.

“Jeez, who taught you that one?!” said Sabo.

“Grandma did,”

“You have a Grandma?!” said Luffy, “Is she like a Grandpa?!”

“No way! She’s super cool! But she doesn’t like me calling her Grandma. She says it makes her sound old and to call her Sh—,”

“Who cares?!” Ace shook out his arm and winced.

“Wow she got you!” said Luffy

“She has dumb luck like you idiot!”

“You have to admit it Ace, she did get you!”

“Oh? If she’s so tough then she’s going to go after the Dark Crow tonight!” they trio went silent.

“W-Wait why can’t it be Luffy or me?” said Sabo

“That’s because ______________________ is going to do it,” said Ace

“Huh, why me?” she said

“To prove you’re worthy of being our sister and a member of the Whitebeard family! Everyone else has to prove their bravery! You can’t get away from it because you’re a girl!”

“B-But it’s freezing out there!”

“So? A little cold never hurt anyone. And if you don’t go, then you’re no longer our sister,”

“W-What?!” said Luffy, “B-But—,”

“You heard me! If she doesn’t find the Dark Crow, take a few feathers and prove her bravery, she’s no longer our sister and will be ignored! You’ll go tonight after Curiel and Jozu come home,”

“O-Okay,” she went off.

“And you can’t tell anyone! You have to keep this one a secret!” she frowned and went off.

“Why are you making her do this?” said Sabo leering at him

“To prove she’s one of us,” said Ace

“Yeah but this is dangerous!”

“Life is dangerous!

“Or because she almost broke you arm?”

“Shut up Luffy!”

***
__________________ snuck out of the house at about eleven that night. She knew everyone’s schedules by now and she waited until her bedtime story before grabbing her coat and leaving out the backdoor to start her journey. She was scared but she wanted to show Ace that she wasn’t some useless girl. She had to show him that she could take care of herself if she had to. She had to do it all the time in the convent. She’s a little street smart like him but she had to show him that she was just as good. All she had to do was find the Dark Crow, take a feather and go home. She’s never been out of Pop’s Territory unsupervised before and she was scared. She kept her raincoat closer to her as she trudged on. It was pouring by this point. According to Sabo, the Dark Crow would roam the area before disappearing and reappearing somewhere. She never been in this type of weather before. Sister always made her come inside when it start to sleet outside. She only witnessed it once and she remembered it was freezing outside. It was also one of the time Grandpa picked her up for Christmas.

“Don’t think it’s dangerous to come all the way here in weather like this?!” said Sister. Grandpa laughed.

“Well everyone’s waiting to see the little lady!”

“They’re going to have to wait. Inside, both of you!” Sister made soup and they stayed in until the next morning when conditions were better. Sister scolded him the whole night about it, “I took care of her for too long for her to become an icicle!” she grinned at the memory before stopping for a few moments. It was so cold she could see her breath in the air. She shivered and thought about the icicle thing. Then she thought of the Little Match Girl story and got really scared. She didn’t want to die tonight! Maybe she should turn back. If Ace, Sabo, and Luffy won’t play with her anymore, then maybe Sanji would? She then heard something…off. It wasn’t like it wasn’t something she didn’t hear before it just sounded like something you wouldn’t hear in this weather or this time of night. She followed the sound to a cage in a dark alley. There was a person singing in the cage. She slowly crept to it and saw a young woman singing. She had blue hair, pink eyes, and was looking rather sad in the corner of the cage.

“Are you okay?” the girl stopped singing.

 

“Oh! OH! Please help me!” _________________ looked around and nodded. She looked around to see how she could help the woman, “Do you see that triton over there?” _____________ turned, “It’s the large looking fork,”

“Yes!”

“Bring it here and stand back,” she did as she was told as the woman takes it and points it at the lock making it fall. She the woman takes the triton and nudged the door opened and walked out. She smiled at down at _____________________, “Thank you so much little one,”

“No problem!”

“I owe you my life. Thank you!” she quickly went off. __________________grinned and started back on her journey but was blocked by two men. The two men she guessed who trapped the woman.

“Awww what’s this little mouse doing in the rain?” said the first man. Her eyes widened as she backed away. The men wore a symbol with three skulls and eight crossbones. She backed away, remember what Curiel told her about whose Jolly Roger that was, “Hey kid, since you were responsible for letting go our bounty, looks like someone is gonna take her place. Not a mermaid but better than nothing,” she backed away, “Looks like the little mouse is scared of us. Then again, I would be scared to if I pissed off someone from Blackbeard’s crew,” even though it was freezing outside, reaffirmation of who these guys were made her blood run cold.

“Now,” said the second man, “Get in the cage like a good little mouse and then we don’t have to hurt you,” she back away towards the case slowly, “Heh good girl. Don’t worry, you won’t be in there—,” ____________________ saw her opening and took it. She ran at the men, slipped through the opening gap between them and made a run for it. She slipped and skated across the ice but she did everything she could to steady herself until she got to someplace safe. The men swore and cursed at her tripping along the way. She saw an opening to the main road and flailed towards it. Someone grabbed her from the shadows. She went to scream but they grabbed her mouth.

“Shhhhh….” They pulled her deeper into the shadows as the men who chased her looked around.

“Could have sworn she went this way!”

“Hurry up and find her! If she gets back home, we’re dead!” they ran the other way and soon she couldn’t hear their footsteps anymore. The figure lets her go. She jumped back from them, still shaken. They soon stepped into the light. She was face to face with a huge man. He had golden-blonde hair, fair skin, and sharp, reddish-brown eyes. He was seen wearing a dark red hood from which two heart-like shapes hang from, a pair of beige jeans, a dark purple feather mantle and a white shirt with pink hearts printed all over it. She froze. The man stopped when he saw her. She was shaking like a leaf in the rain. He looked around before he got on one knee and smiled at her. Her first instinct was to run but the man didn’t make any notion that he was dangerous, not like Blackbeard. She heard the men running. She froze. He pressed his fingers to his lip and then snapped his fingers.

“Calm,” she looked around. She couldn’t hear anything anymore. She couldn’t hear the rain, she saw the lightning but didn’t hear the thunder and she couldn’t hear the rain make contact with anything. The man knelt down on one knee in order to show her his face. She clammed up but he smiled warmly at her. She couldn’t help but slowly let her guard down, “Don’t worry, no one can hear you and I’m not going to hurt you,” he took off his mantle and draped it over her, “Let’s get you home, okay?” however, the raindrops feel harder on them. She winced, “Maybe not, well come on, I’ll take you to my home so we can get you home, little one,” even though the rain was getting them both soaked, he offered his hand. She gently but cautiously took it. He smiled and gently picked her up and placed her on his shoulders. She clung as he walked. Both of them were getting soaked to the bone.

“What’s your name little one?”

“M-Marco said to ne-never give me name to s-strangers!” he smiled.

“My name is Corazon. See, I’m not a stranger anymore,”

“M-My name is ____________________,”

“Nice to meet you little lady!” she grinned.

“Thatch always calls me that too, Mr. Corazon!”

“You’re from the Whitebeard home, aren’t you?” she nodded, “Alright, it’s a bit slippery out here. I’ll take you to my place so you can call home and get at least,”

“O-Okay!”

***
He gently placed her on the couch and placed a towel over her. She wrapped up as he disappeared into the kitchen. She looked around the room. It was a very cozy room with two couches, a TV, a coffee table, and a fireplace that had a fire roaring. She felt so much better the Corazon Flamingo poked his head out of the kitchen.

“Do you like hot chocolate?” she looked at him puzzled.

“I never had it,” he went into the kitchen and she heard pots and pans banging. Then a loud crash before the Corazon Flamingo came out a large mug of hot chocolate. He placed the cup in front of her. He grinned and held up a can of whipped cream and poured it on top of the mug.

“Give it a try! I think you’re a whipped cream girl!” she looked at him and cautiously brought the mug to her lips and took a sip.

“…This. Is. GOOD!”

“I knew you’d like it!” he beamed, “Wait, I think I have something else,” he went back into the kitchen and brought back a piece of cake. Her eyes lit up.

“Thank you!”

“My pleasure! Are you feeling okay?”

“I feel better! Wait…are you fattening me up so you can eat me?!”

“Heavens no! I’m not a monster! I’m just pretending,”

“Is that why you’ve been walking in the middle of the night? To scare children?” the looked up. A boy trots downstairs. He had yellow eyes and dark shaggy hair. He had a faint shadow under his eyes and looked surprised at not only Corazon but the newcomer, “Cora-san, you can’t just pick kids off the streets and claim them as yours,”

“Law!” _________________ watched as the boy was scooped up and hugged by Corazon. The boy looked jaded as he was snuggled and cuddled and then put down, “And this is _________________! She was outside in the rain looking for me!” he eyed the girl

“Why?”

“I made a bet with my brother that I could find the Dark Crow, which I found out was Mr. Corazon!”

“…you thought Cora-san was a monster?” she nodded, “Tch,”

“LAW!!! I’m supposed to be a monster!”

“How does walking the streets in the middle of the night make you a monster?!”

“Intimidation!” Law sighed and passed _________________ a cup of tea, “I couldn’t hurt an innocent little girl and I was just taking a stroll,”

“Well she’s not trying to join any gang so she’s okay. Probably just got lost or something,”

“It’s possible…”

“…Did you not ask her where she live or anything?”

“…I kind of forgot,”

“…ask her now!”

“So __________________—g,”

“I live on the North side of town with the Newgate Family,”

“Wait, you’re a daughter of the Whitebeard Family?”

“Yep! They adopted me!” Corazon froze

“So you’re the little girl that Garp told Sengoku-san about! The way he talked you were a fire breathing little elf,”

“He started it when he grabbed me!” Corazon chuckled.

“No worries, when the rain lets up, I’ll take you home,”

“Thank you!”

“Why were you roaming the streets in the middle of the night anyway?” said Law, “And why in the rain?!”

“I like taking walks at night. It’s so soothing!”

“In the sleet?!”

“I wasn’t thinking!” Law groans

“Be more careful Cora-san,”

“I’ll do my best!” ___________________ watched on. Even though Law didn’t show it, he really did care about Corazon. He then turned to her, “____________________ do you know your phone number?” she nodded and gave it to him, “Okay, I’ll call your family. Law why don’t you two go play upstairs?” he nodded and gestured __________________ upstairs. Other than Ace, she’s never really need in another boy’s room before. Law’s room was pretty big with a bed, a desk, a window, and a book shelf, but what really set it apart was countless jars of animals in formaldehyde, a frog being dissected on his desk and a training sword against his wall. She looked at the weird animals curiously.

“This is so cool,” she said

“Thanks,” he said, “Cora-san usually find me road kill to dissect,”

“You want to be a doctor?”

“Surgeon,”

“That’s cool!”

“Why were you out in the streets like that? Walking alone in sleet isn’t exactly a smart decision,” she explained what happened, “That’s a stupid reason to risk your life like that. If he doesn’t want to being around you because you hadn’t proven your bravery in doing something stupid then screw them,”

“I know it’s was pretty stupid,”

“You don’t look stupid; don’t do something that contradicts that,”

“Okay,” he sighed.

“Want to help me dissect this frog?”

“YEAH!” he handed her a facial mask as cuts opened the frog and removed its organs, “By the way, I hadn’t seen you in town before! Have you always lived here?”

“Nah, we just moved here about a few months ago from Dressrosa,”

“That’s super far away!”

“Well, Cora-san and I had to leave some time ago and this was the only place far and safe enough for us to live. No one knows who we are and we want to keep it that way,”

“Your secret is safe with me!” he gave her a small smile.

“Thanks,” he didn’t want to admit but he could use the company. There was a knock on the door.

“Okay, the sleet finally let up. I called your folks, they’re waiting for you. Ready?”

“Yeah!”

“…you’re not going to walk there are you?” said Law

“No, no, by car! We’re near the Saint Agnes Quarter,”

“We’re near Sister’s convent?!”

“Oh you know her?!”

“She’s my mom! Well Mom figure!”

“I would say let’s visit her but I’m sure she’ll kill us both,”

“You have no idea,” she smiled at Law, “We have to play again!” she piped happily. Law nodded.

“Yeah we do,” she gave him a hug. He stiffened as Corazon hoisted her onto his shoulders and headed out. She’s like a girl version of Cora-san he thought then shuddered but then smiled. At least she didn’t trip every five—.

“ACK! LAW IT HAPPENED AGAIN!” Corazon was flailing in a rather large slushy mud puddle and was chest deep trying to get out but failing with ___________________ trying to help him out, getting muddy herself.

“Hang on, Mr. Corazon!” Law sighed and went to get the rope.

***
As she and Corazon drove, ________________ made a mental note on how to back track and get back to their place just in case. They were about five blocked passed Sister’s convent near the countryside. Soon they stopped in front of her home. She climbed out as Corazon opened the door for her. Before he knocked on the door, he knelt down in front of her.

“Okay, you have to do something very important for me,”

“Yes Cora-san?”

“You can’t let any of the neighborhood kids know I’m not a monster,”

“Aww why? You’re so cool!” he reddened and ruffled her hair.

“I know but you’ll understand when you’re older. Please?”

“Yes sir! Can I still come over and play with Law and eat cake with you?”

“OF COURSE YOU CAN!” he hugged her tight as she beamed. He knocked on the door and handed her a few feathers from his boa, “Here to prove to your brothers that you met me,”

“Thank you!” the door opened and Marco and Whitebeard were clamoring outside. They looked at Corazon and ____________________ before they could take a step forward, Corazon snapped his fingers.

“Calm,” Whitebeard was the first to grab and hug her tightly. She smiled and hugged him back. Corazon explained the entire situation.

“I see,” said Whitebeard, “That boy I swear,”

“He doesn’t know she’s here. May I?” Corazon took ________________ and ripped her sleeve off her blouse, took some dirt and smeared it all over his face and arms and skirt, and took some red lipstick and smeared it all over knees and face. He then gave her head a strong ruffle.

“Hey!”

“There we go,” he looked at his handiwork, “To teach Ace a lesson,”

“Oh he’s going to be punished for this one,” said Whitebeard, “And so are you for sneaking out,” she winced.

“Yes Dad,”

“Marco, take her inside and make sure she’s okay,” he nodded. Corazon looked at Whitebeard expectantly, “Anything to report?”

“Yeah some of Teach’s affiliates have been in your area as of late. That’s why I’ve been roaming so much. I got enough information and I was going to report soon until I saw _______________ freeing one of the merfolk who lived here,”

“So those assholes are still here. Did they recognize who she was?” Corazon shook his head.

“They just figured she was some random child,” Whitebeard looked relieved.

“Good. Is the mermaid okay?”

“She made it back to her area safe while they were chasing ________________,”

“I see. Thank you for bringing her back home safely and keeping an eye on things,”

“It’s the least I can do for not alerting anyone’s attention to me or Law,”

“But in this weather, you’re staying inside,”

“I can handle it,”

“It’s not your immune system I’m worried about,”

“Then what are you talking ab—,” Corazon turned and before he could fall, Whitebeard grabbed him and held him up, “Thank you,”

“Please just be careful in this weather. Kids nowadays I swear,”

***
___________________ and Ace’s punishments were given swiftly and justly. Ace and ________________ has to shovel everyone’s drive ways and yards alone starting at five that morning. They worked until around noon when Namur came with two thermoses of hot soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.

“Eat up you two,” he said from the back of his car, “It should still be hot,”

“Thanks Namur,”

“Any time. You only get an hour but I think I can accidentally not look at the time,” he winked. Ace looked at __________________. She was happily drinking her soup along with him. She hadn’t said a word to him since they started shoveling.

“___________________?” she ignored him, “_________________ come on I know you hear me! Listen I’m sorry okay! I didn’t mean for you to get lost and scared out there!”

“Then why did you tell me to do it or you or Sabo would never speak to me again?” she pouted, “Do you have any idea how much I really like you guys?! I don’t want my three closest brothers to not like me!”

“Well aren’t you used to being by yourself?!”

“That’s a pretty mean thing to say! You guys are the first kids my age I ever played with! I can’t play with Vivi all the time because she lives far away and Sanji is training! Other than you guys, I’m I don’t have anyone to hang out with! I thought we were at least friends Ace!”

“We are! Okay it was pretty stupid of me to make you go outside like that. Hell I thought you were going to chicken out!”

“Then why tell me to do it! What did I do?!”

“I don’t know alright! I don’t know what it was going to do! I thought you would have at least ran home crying or something not get lost and hurt! I just wanted to see you piss you pants!”

“Well I didn’t! I just got scared and lost and I don’t think I can trust you again!” he stopped. Okay he wasn’t expecting that.

“No…you can trust me. Look I can’t explain why I wanted so badly to see you scared but I didn’t mean for you to not trust me anymore. I’m sorry,” she looked at him.

“I forgive you but you’re going to have to make it up to me somehow,” he nodded and hugged her. She smiled and hugged him back. It was around eight that evening that everything was done. They came home, ate their soup and promptly fell asleep. While __________________ was asleep knew he had to figure out he was going to regain his sister’s trust in him, even if it killed him.

Chapter Text

Twice a month, ____________________ made her journey to the countryside. It started her first year when she came to the convent. Since there weren’t many places for people do services, the convent was their one stop place. There was a place for giving alms, buying candles and lighting them, and even a service called grave maintaining. She knew there was a graveyard way in the countryside and it took a day for Sister to visit there and she always did that a few times a year. She usually left _________________________ in charge during this time and it was during this time, that a man came in the last hour. Sister said never turn anyone away and he came a few moments before she had to close the doors. The man approached her. He was very tall with a wild grin. She would never forget that grin or his moustache. He wore a red cloak and knelt down when he stood in front of her. She backed away. He pats her on the head and chuckled.

“Are you the little nun on duty?”

“Y-Yes sir!”

“I see, then you can do a great service for me,”

“S-Sure!”

“I need you to go to a grave and clean it for me,”

“O-Okay!”

“I need this service done once a month for me and also put pink flowers on her grave,”

“Okay!” he ruffled her hair and gave her a stack of beli. She froze. She’s never seen that much money before.

“That’s for you to keep. I also have another request from you. Don’t tell a living soul where you go twice a month, always go alone, and don’t let anyone know you saw me,”

“Yes sir!” he grinned.

“Good girl! Don’t put that money in that donation box. I don’t want you to lie to Flora. She’ll skin you alive. I’ll be back to pay you at the grave next year. Until then, be a good nun,” she nodded. The next day, she followed the map the man gave her. The tombstone was nowhere near town and was actually in a place far off from where she’s ever been. She had to make her way through brambles and thorn bushes and soon she had a little pathway just for her. She couldn’t believe what she saw when she entered the clearing. There was a statue of a woman next to a stream. She was sitting on the bench looking serene. She couldn’t see her face or anything because of the slime and grime all over her. The area was covered with weeds and ivy. She immediately got to work. She did everything Sister showed her and it took a few hours but the grave was nice and clean. The woman sitting looked a lot better than she did. She scrubbed her face and realized that she had specks on her face. They made her look nicer. It was almost sundown when she was done. She went to the stream and filled the vases with water and placed a bunch of pink carnations in them. She noticed that the flower on the woman’s hair was red and made of a different material. She looked at her handiwork and then perched next to the woman.

“Hi! I’m _____________________! I’m going to make sure your grave is okay from now on! It must be really lonely out here, all alone. Was that weird guy your husband? I bet he was. He was really specific about making sure you have pink flowers. We have roses in the garden but they’re not in bloom yet! I went to the flower shop and got you some carnations. I really like them. They had these pretty blue ones too! But he said pink so by golly you’re going to have pink flowers,” She shined that one often. She looked at the sky and quickly headed back to the convent but was soon back two weeks later to visit the mysterious hidden grave. She dubbed the woman the Nice Lady because of the sweet smile the lady had on her face that always made her smile. As she promised, she visited the lady without fail, replacing the flowers, lighting incense and often just there to keep her company. She found herself talking to the Nice Lady all the time, who often gave her a polite ear. She continued for a few months and she was getting attached to the Nice Lady. When it was storm season, she made a small shelter over the Nice Lady’s head to keep the rain and snow off her. She changed up the type of pink flowers she could place on her grave. When it was cold, she went to flower shops and bought carnations, gladiolas, daisies, orchids, and peonies. But when the weather was nicer, she often found fragrant pink roses, lilies, and that strange one that the Nice Lady had in her hair. A year passed when she went to go her duty. She found the strange flower in her hair and plucked on and showed it to Sister.

“What kind of plant is this?”

“Hibiscus. They’re actually pretty good for tea. What’s up?”

“Nothing! I found them in the woods and I was just wondering!”

“Yeah but it’ll be a miracle to find them when it gets cold, they’re a tropical plant,” a few days later, ________________ was back at the grave with mini bouquet of fake hibiscus flowers.

“Hi Nice Lady!” she said brightly, “Sister said that you can’t find hibiscus flowers when it gets cold so I got you some fake ones! I know it’s not the same but they’re still pretty!” she placed them in the vase and sat next to her as usual and told her about the world from a child’s point of view. A year or so later, she was adopted. For the first few weeks, she forgot about the Nice Lady, trying to adjust to her new life and trying to figure out to visit her from where she was living.

“Whatcha got there little lady?” said Namur looking over her shoulder as she scanned a map.

“I’m trying to figure out how to get to the countryside,” he took the map and looked at it, “It was easy because it was so close to the convent but now its further away,”

“Well, if you go like you’re walking towards the convent but cut along this area here using this street, then you’ll get there faster and you can get back home in time for dinner,”

“Thanks Namur!”

“So what’s in the countryside for you little lady?”

“My secret place! I go there almost all the time!”

“Oh? Can we see it?”

“Nah uh, then it wouldn’t be a secret place anymore,” she stuck her tongue out. He ruffled her hair.

“Alright but if I don’t see you before the sun is down, I’m going to get you,”

“Okay!” __________________ happily followed the path to the letter and found herself in the countryside. She then noticed how close she was to her secret path and skipped towards it. Even after she was adopted, the first person she wanted to tell was the Nice Lady, “I’m sorry I hadn’t come to see like I usually do but I got adopted! Sister told me I was the longest kid she’s ever had and said that she wanted to make sure I was someplace special. She also said she didn’t mind keeping me around either but that’s why I didn’t come for a little while. I was adjusting. All of my brothers are giants!”

“So that’s why I hadn’t seen you at the convent,” said a voice. She turned. She smiled.

“Hi sir!” the mysterious man came from the shadows. He strode over and gave her a hug. She winced. His were tight like Pops. Because they were alone, he didn’t have infamous hood over his head revealing short black hair, wild dark eyes, and of course his infamous moustache.

“The grave looks great!” he said, “Every time I come to see her, I’m impressed to see her body without the weeds and vines. I also love seeing fresh flowers on her grave. Thank you little nun,”

“No problem sir!”

“So, who adopted you?”

“Oh! The Newgate Family!” the man chuckled then barked out a laugh.

“If there’s any kid more deserving of a family like that it’s you! So Whitebeard is your Daddy?”

“Yep! You know him?”

“We crossed paths waaaay before you were born. And if I were you, I wouldn’t openly tell strangers who’s your father,”

“But you’re not a stranger!”

“Oh? Then what’s my name?”

“The Nice Lady’s friend!” he laughed hard

“Clever little scamp! She’s not just my friend. She’s my wife,”

“Wow! She was really pretty,”

“You would have loved her in person,” the man looked at the statue with a large grin and tears in his eyes, “This doesn’t do her any justice,” she decided to make herself scarce while the man talked to her wife, the same way she did. She lit more incense for her and weeded the back. When he was done he ruffled her hair lovingly, “Thank you little nun,”

“No prob! I like visiting the Nice Lady! She’s great to talk to,”

“She was a great listener. The heaven broke the mold with her,”

“Did you have any kids?”

“Aye, we did but…the lad will never love me or accept me,”

“Why?! You seem really nice!”

“You honestly don’t know who I am do you?”

“Sorry, am I?”

“Nah, but if anyone asks, tell them my name is Lore Grog,”

“Alright Mr. Lore!” he ruffles her hair and gave her her yearly stack.

“I have to ask. What do you do with all of the money I give you?”

“Oh! Well, some of it goes into Sister’s donation box and to buy the Nice Lady her flowers but I asked Grandpa what should I do with the rest. He told me to save it until I find a use for it! Now that I’m adopted, I keep it in my piggy bank!”

“You weren't lying about being adopted? And you’re still doing this for me?”

“Yep! I like visiting the Nice Lady and making sure she’s okay! I mean you seem really busy and all if no one visits her, she’ll get lonely! Besides, no one else but you and I seem to know about this place. So it’s quiet. I can come here and just think and just talk to her. It’s my duty that I love doing,” he smiled at her.

“Tell me about your brothers,”

“Oh! Well, I have like sixteen of them! They’re all big and tall, well except Ace and that’s because he’s my age! Pops towers over everyone!” Lore looked up.

“Ace?”

“Yep! Ace is my big brother too! He’s really since when you get to know him. We were friends first and he thought I had weird nun powers because someone told him we did. He has two other brothers his age too! They’re Luffy and Sabo. Luffy is younger, he’s about my age but he acts way younger. Ace likes to play with them all the time! He wants to do whatever Pops does when he’s older. He and Sabo and Luffy are always in town but he likes playing video games with me at night,”

“Sounds like you two are attached at the hip,”

“Yeah! Ace is the best! I love hanging out with him all the time. But sometimes he gets really sad and mopey. I do my best to cheer him up and it always seem to work,”

“Yeah, the boy has a lot on his plate and will have more when he gets older,”

“Why? I wanna help him!”

“Well, it’s complicated but let’s just say from the moment he was born, he was hated and will probably continue to be hated until the day he dies,”

“That’s awful! Ace is awesome! Who wouldn’t like him?! Luffy loves him. Sabo loves him. Everyone at home loves him and even love to pick on him, especially Izo and Thatch and Fossa…Curiel…well almost everyone. And I love him! So what if the world hates him, he has us!”

“He’s a lucky boy then. He couldn’t ask for anything else,” Lore sat and listened to the little girl happily talk and chatting about her new family, her visits with the Nice Lady, and some of the adventures she’s been having, “Sounds like it’s more fun than the convent,”

“It is! I get amazing leftovers from Baratie, I learn a lot of things from my new brothers, and I get a story every night from Marco! Everything is awesome and speaking of, I have to go! If I’m late, Namur said that he’ll hunt me down and bring me home! The last time I was late, everyone got really worried! See you next time Mr. Lore!”

“Be careful kiddo,” he watched her scamper away and disappearing into the brush. He went back to the path to make sure she made it out okay before returning to his wife’s grave. Tears rolled from his eyes, “Hey there lovely,” he said looking at her, “I know it’s been awhile since we’ve seen each other. I’m sorry but apparently you have company even if it’s just a little while. I’m sorry I can’t make it as much as I would like, I can’t risk getting caught, even though joining you would be more than enough of a punishment for me. But I know demons like me go to hell and angels like you remain in heaven. I know you’ve heard me say it before but…I’m sorry. I’m sorry I put you through all of this. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there when you were hiding with our unborn son, I’m sorry I couldn’t even bury you in a proper cemetery but an unmarked grave in the woods where no one treads. I’m sorry I can’t even raise our son like you would have. I miss you every day and the moments I do see Ace, I swear it’s like seeing you again. Of course he’s too much like me,” he chuckled and wiped his eyes, “But it’s good to see him so…happy. He’s growing up to be a fine man. Be prepared to listen to all of the stories about him, I will never know my darling flower,” he got up and kissed the statue’s cheek, “I love you Rouge,” Lore, stood up and silently walked away from the grave.

Chapter Text

A virus was going around town with almost more than half the denizens becoming sick. House calls were made and almost everyone in town was sick. The Baratie was temporarily closed because most of the staff came down with the flu, especially Sanji. Zeff played nursemaid and had pots of his famous chicken soup and was making deliveries all over the area, even as far as the Cocoyashi area. Whatever it was, ______________ was hit hard with it. It also didn’t help that a week prior she was wandering in the rain. The doctor came and said she caught the same thing everyone else got and she would be on antibiotics for a while.

“She’ll be good in a week or so. She just needs lots of rest, lots of fluids, and soup and of course her medicine for her throat and her fever. But it’s important we keep her from other kids. She’s contagious and be sure to keep her warm and give her fresh air,” Whitebeard ordered Luffy, Ace, and Sabo to stay away from __________________ until she was better. Because everyone was getting sick, Whitebeard ordered for soup and warm things to be given to everyone in his territory to make sure everyone was safe and able to feel better, leaving Ace and _________________ alone. Atmos and Curiel make a little nest for her in the living room so she wouldn’t feel so isolated from everyone and could have company every now and then. She was curled up on the couch, watching some anime and but dozing off every now and then. Ace’s job was to keep an eye on her and make sure she was okay.

“Her medicine should be ready by noon,” said Marco, “We’ll pick it up as soon as we get home. It shouldn’t take too long,” however, it was about two and still no one has come. He touched her head. She wasn’t looking too good. But he knew he had to get her medicine or she wouldn’t get better. When it was almost four with the pharmacy closing in an hour, he decided to take matters into his own hands

“Come on, we have to pick up your medicine or you won’t get better,” he said grinning, “It’s just a few blocks away and we can get you some soup too!”

“B-But,”

“Come on, the doctor says you need air too! And it’s starting to snow outside. You’re going to love it!” He gave her his warmest coat. He knew the air would make her feel better. Now he needed to make sure she was able to get to the store with him. She still wasn’t feeling well, “Can you walk okay?” she nodded, “Alright but if you’re tired, I’ll carry you, okay?” she nodded. He grinned, “You’ll be okay, I promise,” Outside the snow was starting to barely fall as they walked. No one was out because they were sick or tending someone who was sick. He walked slower to make sure she was okay and didn’t overexert herself. She looked a little better, “Kind of sucks you can’t ride your bike yet,”

“I know! I really wanted to try it out,” she whispered. He grimaced. Her throat was still shot. She couldn’t only whisper.

“You’ll get better soon, then I can show you the best bike places,”

“You have a bike?”

“Yeah but only when we’re going like super far somewhere,” at the market, Ace went to the pharmacy and gave the woman their receipt and he got the medicine. He then bought her some water and then went back outside, “Here,” said Ace handing a pill to her, “Wait,” he read the directions and bought her some applesauce, “You’re supposed to eat it with food. Take this and you’re going to have to take another in a few hours,”

“Thanks Ace,” she took her medicine and they were on their way home. He knew she was not at 100% but at least the medicine was going to help. They lingered as she finished and they were soon on their way again. However, life had other plans. It started with _____________ yelping. Ace turned to see three men grabbing and pulling her into a red van in an alley. He took off his pipe and went after them, managing to get one man off and then the other. The third came up from behind and grabbed him.

“FUCKERS LET GO MY SISTER!” Ace caught the man in the temple with his pipe, causing him to fall. He went after the other two again but immediately stopped when he saw the first man holding a knife to _______________’s throat.

“Drop the pipe and get in. If not, she dies,” he glared and complied. The third man grabbed and shoved him into the back and ________________ right behind him. His eyed widened when he saw the three skulls symbol on their van. Once inside, he immediate attended to _____________. She was shaken but otherwise okay.

“Did those bastards hurt you?!” she shook her head, “good, I knew it had to—,” she covered his mouth. He looked at her. She pointed to the small window on the truck. The men were talking. He got in closer to listen.

“Yes, we got him. He was walking with that kid who set the mermaid free. He called her his sister,”

“Sister?” said a voice on the other end. Ace held ___________ close and glared, “What does she look like?”

“(h/c), (e/c), a small little girl or a boy,”

“Bring her in too,”

“Alright, we’ll meet you at the dock with them in twenty minutes. We’re about to park,” he closed his phone.

“Blackbeard?” said the second man. _______________ froze

“Yep. He said to bring them back both alive. Near death is okay but as long as they’re both alive. Especially Ace,”

“What about the girl? She looks a little sick,”

“Use her to keep Ace under control. He’s a tough little shit but he’s not going to put someone like that in danger. He’ll comply,” Ace thought for a few moments. His main priority was making sure she was safe and he was going to make sure of that.

“What does Blackbeard want with you?” she whispered.

“My father. I have a bounty on my fuckin’ head because of him. Okay. Here’s the plan. You stay inside. I’ll attack them and from there, we get a bus and get home,”

“Okay,”

“No worries, I’m not going to let anything happen to you. I promise,” she nodded. He looked around and spied another pipe. He grabbed it and got ready as ______________ got as away from the door as she could. The van soon stopped. The door jingled opened. The first man cautiously opened the door. He didn’t see either of them. He poked his head inside and it was met with the pipe. His face went back as Ace charged at the other two men. _______________________ watched as Ace took out the two men with everything he had. She crawled out of the van to get a better look and to be ready to run. But that was when she noticed the first man not in front of the door. She looked around and saw him crawling about and creeping up behind Ace holding a long machete. Her eyes widened. She tried to warn him but her voice was too low and he was too occupied. She crept behind him making sure he didn’t see her. Soon Ace landed back on the ground in triumph after knocking the two men out singlehandedly. He smirked.

“Well that was easy. Okay ___________let’s—,”

“YOU THINK YOU WON YOU LITTLE SHIT BRAT?!” Ace turned and saw blood splattering everywhere. The man looked surprised as _________________ fell to the ground in a heap. Ace’s eyes widened in horror before he took advantage of the first man’s shock and knocked the machete out of his hand and proceeded to beating him over and over. The only thing that made him stop was a gargled moan coming from _________________. She was still alive. He looked around for something, anything to get him and her out of there fast. He couldn’t drive the truck but spied a motorbike with a sidecar. He picked her up, placed her in the sidecar and drove away. She was bleeding out. Her face was turning gray. He didn’t know how much time she had left. Tears stung his face. They were out of danger and she was paying the price for it. Her breathing was shallow. Her vision was getting blurry. She was fading fast. Ace was running lights and everything and trying to keep steady in the rain. He had to get her to the doctor.

“______________________?” he didn’t hear a response. He looked down to see a gray face and limp heap, “__________________________!!! NO WAKE UP! STAY WITH ME!” she looked up at him and winced trying to stay up. He didn’t know how far they were from home but he saw a familiar building and went right to it, the Baratie Restaurant. He immediately jumped out off the bike and started banging and screaming at the door.

“HELP! OPEN UP! PLEASE! MY SISTER NEEDS HELP! PLEASE OPEN THE FUCKIN’ DOOR!” the door flew opened and Zeff came out. He took one look at his face and went to the motorbike.

“Move boy!” Zeff looked at her. A few of the sick chefs were looking at the door after hearing the commotion. He immediately started shouting orders, “GET THE CAR! CALL CROCUS! MEET AT NEWGATE’S PLACE! HURRY!” Within minutes, she was in a car being driven home. By the time they got home, the door flew opened and Marco and Fosse got ____________ out of the car and carried her inside. Ace followed close behind as a doctor rushed her inside into a makeshift room and closed the door. Ace stood at the door. Zeff was downstairs telling everyone what has happened. Ace ran downstairs.

“Ace what happened!” said Curiel

“I-I went to get her medicine and I-I didn’t want her to be by herself! We were ambushed by some guys from Blackbeard and—and they took us to the railroads. I fought them off but one ca-came out of nowhere and _________________ shielded me!”

“Describe them!” said Jozu. Ace did the best he could. Soon the rest of them headed off knowing they couldn’t have gotten far. Ace on the other hand was beside himself with worry. He wasn’t allowed in the room as was being worked on. He sat outside the door sobbing heavily. This was some kind of sick déjà vu. First he almost lost his little brother, now he was going to lose his little sister. The door opened. Marco stepped out. He looked down at Ace. He said nothing and took the boy into the bathroom and cleaned his face with a damp cloth.

“Ace, calm down. No one is blaming you. I’m not going to sugarcoat it but she’s in a very critical state. Crocus is doing everything he can to get her stable. Time will tell but don’t blame yourself, alright?” Ace said nothing but hugged Marco and sobbed into his chest. Marco pulled him in and let him cry it out.

***
_______________ opened her eyes and found herself in the Room again. She didn’t really mind the Room but at first she hated being in this room. Every time she was in this room, she would be by herself with no one to talk to. It was white then it became dark and every time she started talking, she saw images and she didn’t like the images. But she started liking this room because she would see her new friend. After he entered for the first time, the room was really nice. There was a table, chairs, a tea pot, and something tasty to eat, usually apples and pears and sometimes ice cream. The man wasn’t mean or scary but he always told her to wake up and when she did, she would be in some kind of a strange pain. The last time it was suffocation. She choked and tried to get away but her hands and feet were bound. She couldn’t move. She remember hearing voices and seeing shadowy figures. One voice was high pitched and very mocking, the other deep and cold.

“She’s still a stubborn one,” said the high voice, “Still alive and still fighting. Nothing seems to work on this one,”

“Is she compliant?” said the other, “I don’t care about anything else but will she follow any order anyone gives her?”

“Nope, strong will and stubborn like I said, but it doesn’t matter, if she’s alive after tonight, then it’ll because of will and it’ll be best to make her disappear,” then she remembered closing her eyes and always returning in the Room. When this happened again, she always sat down on the fluffy armchair and waited. She noticed there were two doors. One said Life and the other one said Death. She never really went to the doors because they were always locked. So she often just sat and waited for one of them to open.

“You have to wake up now,” he said gently. A tall man with short, neatly-combed dark brown hair and yellow-green eyes was looking down at her. He wore rectangle-shaped glasses, which have four decorative lines on each arm of the frames. He was dressed in a dark suit, tie, black gloves, and dress shoes. The thing she remember the most from him was his pruner he always carried. She called him Mr. Pruner.

“I don’t want to,” she said softly, “Every time I do, it hurts,”

“I know but you can’t come with me just yet,”

“Why not? You seem nice enough,” he snorts.

“Not many people say that about me. I know it hurts, but you have to wake up for me. It’s not your time to come with me,”

“Oh. When is it? The time?”

“Not for a very long time. But right now, you have to wake up for me, alright?”

“Yes sir,” she opened her eyes again. Her chest was tight and she was coughing violently but she felt better than before. She turned over to look at Sabo who was sobbing next to her, “Hey, what’s wrong? Why are you crying?” he looked up and looked as though she grew two heads.

“_____________________?”

“Yeah?” he looked her over and was shaking, “What’s the matter?”

“Y-You were dead!”

“W-Where are I?”

“You’re home in your bed. Please tell me are you okay?!”

“Everything hurts…the only thing I remember is the Judge grabbing me and smoke and a needle. I’m not in the Kingdom of Science anymore?”

“No…listen we have to get you out of here! Everyone thinks you’re dead!”

“Isn’t that a good thing?”

“NO! Everyone wants you dead!”

***
The Whitebeard home went from a living place to a somber one. Everyone was sad and scared and tried to carry on by often found themselves peeking into the room to check on __________________ every so often. Flora was a frequent visitor, staying over at night and keeping an eye on her little charge. Whitebeard was worried not only for his precious daughter but Ace blamed himself and it showed. He was constantly in the room. He watched Crocus everyday checking her and making sure she was stable and changing her dressing. At night, he would watch her sleep, making sure she was okay. There was only one time where her pressure dropped and she was dead for a few more moments and Crocus had to get him out before stabling her again. After that episode, Ace stepped up his watch. Whitebeard quietly entered the room. Ace was sitting on a chair next to ______________. He looked at her intently and shaking. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as he sobbed. She has been in serious condition, even after Crocus stitched her up. From there he’s been constantly treating her with medicine. Ace never left his side for a moment only to pee and sleep and sleep was an understatement. Every time someone went in there to check on her, he was there. Thatch managed to coax him out to eat something but he always returned to the Sick Room. Whitebeard puts a hand on his shoulder. He looked up.

“Pops…I’m—,”

“Ace, you were trying to help. No one is blaming you. You were trying to do the right thing and not even we could predict Blackbeard’s intentions. Think of it this way, if you didn’t you both would have been who knows where. Blackbeard knows you’re Roger’s son; there are plenty of people out there who wouldn’t mind having you pay for his actions. You were strong enough to get away and you made sure she was taken away as well. You should be proud of yourself,”

“But I’m her brother; it’s my job to make sure she was okay! I shouldn’t have kept a better eye on her!”

“You did. Because of you quick thinking and cool head, you were able to get her someplace you knew would help her and it was enough time to get her medical attention and diagnose the sepsis before it was too late. Yes, it’s fatal but it caught in time, a person can recover fast from it. Time will tell and the best we can do is wait. She’s a fighter but you can’t let yourself waste away and die as a punishment. Come eat and then you’re going to bed. She’ll be here in the morning,” Ace picked at his food. Usually he would devour everything in sight but not tonight. He kept glancing upstairs to where __________________ was recovering. Crocus was in the next room but he wanted to be there in case something happened and no one could hear.

“Eat up, it’s going to get cold,” he looked up. Izo was next to him with another plate of hot food. He frowns a bit. He and Izo did have a good relationship but it was pretty much the mean older brother and helpless little brother, “You can’t help _________________ when you’re weak from hunger,”

“What do you care? You always said I ate everyone out of house and home,”

“I still stand by that but I also know how you feel. It’s not easy to see someone who you love suffering in bed because of you. Even if they did it to save you and it won’t get any better until you make it right. But wasting away and letting your guilt eat you up is only going to make you sick and you don’t need that right now,”

“How would you know?”

“The same thing happened when I was about your age,” he looked up. Izo slid over a small cup of sake towards him, “Here, you need to get some sleep tonight,”

“What happened?”

“It was when me, Marco and Thatch were traveling to get here when were kids. We only had each other and Marco was of course how older and wiser big brother. In the previous town we were in, I hustled some men out of some money so we could find someplace at an inn to sleep. However, we didn’t know we were followed. We were ambushed. We did our best to fight them off. Some asshole tried to carry me off, saying I was going to get all of my holes resized. Marco stepped in and told me and Thatch to run for it. I didn’t…I couldn’t…want to go but all I remember was seeing Marco being carried off. I blamed myself for that. It was months before we found out that he escaped and made it to Flora’s Orphanage before us and was soon adopted by Pops. That guilt stuck with me for a long time. It eats away at you and it hurts like shit but the thing that got me through it was the idea that he loved me so much he wanted me to live. My life was worth so much that he wanted to protect it. I’m not going to tell you that the pain will stop, it will always be there but taking it one day at a time will help you more than you think. But I’m sure she’s not going to want you to not eat or sleep making yourself sick in the process. Eat something and get some sleep, alright?”

“…thanks Izo,”

“Any time kiddo,” Ace forced himself to eat and drank the sake. The hot meal made him sleepy and soon he was out like a light in ________________’s room. Whitebeard gently picked him up and took him back to his room and tucked him in. In the morning, he went to her room to check in on her. Crocus turned.

“Just the boy I wanted to see! She’s stable! Don’t worry, the worst part is okay,”

“What’s wrong with her?!”

“Well, the blade that sliced her had a toxin on it. So even if it was a flesh would, she would have been poisoned somewhat. It got into her blood stream. That’s why it took so long for me to make sure she was stable and given so much medicine. She was in danger of developing sepsis. If you didn’t get her help in time, she wouldn’t be here right now,” Ace froze and left the room so he could finish his work. Outside, Sabo was waiting.

“Where’s Luffy?”

“Still sick. Garp won’t let him outside for anything. How is she doing?”

“Crocus said that if he didn’t get to her in time, she wouldn’t have made it. This is all my fault! I should have been watching her! I should have just stayed at home and waited for Marco!”

“Ace calm down! She’s going to be okay now! You got her and you to safety! There wasn’t much more you could do!”

“It’s not just that!” Ace barked, “She sees the world in a way we don’t! She still sees the world as kind and wholesome place! She sees it as a regular kid! She sees it as you’re suppose to! And now she’s going to be so fucked it’s not even funny!” he buried his face in his hands. Sabo looked at him. Ace was sobbing and shaking. It was underlying reason for him being so upset.

“…Ace _______________ is not a regular kid. No matter what happens, she’s never going to be a regular kid. I understand why you want to protect her, god knows I do but never think she thinks the world is a constantly happy place. You don’t know what she’s been through. That’s why she’s so quick on her feet. Here she can be herself; out there she’s more alert when she’s alone. Trust me, she knows, even if you don’t. Just trust me on this, alright?”

“…what do you know?”

“Can’t say, please Ace, its back when I was a noble,” he raised an eyebrow

“Is she…was she?”

“I can’t say. There’s more to it than you think, just trust me,”

“Alright, alright, I don’t care anyway,”

“Just know she’s going to be okay. If she can live through what she did, she can survive anything. She doesn’t look it but she’s tough,”

“She better be. She’s my little sister. It’ll make us both look bad if she isn’t,”

***
“Hey Mr. Pruner!” she said brightly. He looked down at her and sighed at his new apparent nickname. The thing she remember the most from him was his pruner he always carried, “How are you?! It’s been awhile hasn’t it?!”

“Long time no see little one. I wish we really would stop meeting like this,” he said patting her head.

“Why? I like seeing you! But this time, I don’t want you to take me. I was just adopted and I don’t want to leave them yet,”

“Don’t worry it’s not yet your time. You still have a lot of living to do,”

“Do you want to meet my family? I’m sure they would like you,”

“I doubt they’ll receive me as well as you do,” he adjusted his glasses, his strange eyes looking at her, “But I will keep you company until it’s time for you to wake up,”

“Alright!” she happily plopped on the big fluffy chair at the table and he sat in front of her. He poured him and her a cup of tea and slid over a small jar with cookies. He looked up to see her beaming at him. He looked at the bright eyed girl before sighing. He knew what she wanted.

“Twenty questions?”

“Okay!”

“It’s my name,”

“Okay! Umm…is it after your pruner?”

“No,”

“Ummm is it a weapon?”

“Yes,”

“Is it a hammer?”

“No,”

“Is it sharp?”

“Yes,”

“Is it a knife?”

“No,”

“Is it a sword?”

“No,”

“Is it an arrow?”

“No,”

“Is it long?”

“Yes,”

“Does it have wood?”

“Yes,”

“Is an old weapon?”

“Yes,”

“Is it older than the samurai?”

“Yes,”

“Is it older than the bible?”

“Yes,”

“Is it a spear?”

“Yes, it took you twelve tries,”

“Aww man! You always beat me Mr. Spear!”

“Spears,”

“That’s a cool name! So if I do go with you, where do I go?”

“You’re not coming with me,”

“I know that but where did you want to take me?”

“Don’t worry yourself with those details,”

“Aww okay! But I like our visits!”

“I can’t say I don’t enjoy them,”

“So when do I leave?”

“When your door to life opens again,” he points behind her. She turned. There was a door that had Life above it written in crayon, “You’re not dead yet as long as that door is still visible. If it’s not, then you have to come with me to the door behind me,” she glanced behind him and there was a foreboding door behind him with no sign on it.

“Oh. Is my door opened?”

“No not yet. Give it some time,”

“How long?”

“Time is very different in this room. Minutes here are like hours out there and hours are like days. It won’t take you long, you’re fighting your infection as we speak,”

“Oh! Okay! Is that why you’re always here to keep me company? Just in case the door doesn’t open?”

“Pretty much,” he took out a chess set and arranged the pieces, “Black or white?”

“Black! You were black last time!” he moved a piece as she moved one. This continued until Spears won again.

“You’re getting better. You actually gave me a challenge,” he was about to set up the game again when he heard a click. ___________________ turned and he looked passed her to see her door unlock again, “And your door unlocked. You’re ready to go,”

“So soon?”

“As much as I love our little chats, it’s time for you to go back home,”

“Okay! Say Mr. Spears?”

“Hmmmm?”

“Thank you for taking care of me!”

“Any time,”

“Also, I have another question!”

“Yes?”

“Is the Nice Lady where you are?”

“No, I deliver souls to the afterlife. She’s in Heaven,”

“Can I see her?”

“No, but she did have me to relay a message. She wants to let you know that she appreciates you taking care of her grave for so long, that she loves your little chats with her, the highlight of her week. She also wants you to do something very special for her. Give Mr. Lore a hibiscus every April, always tell her about your day, and she doesn’t mind you sitting in her lap,”

“Okay!” he nodded and took her hand and took her to the door. He opened it. She gave him a tight hug around his middle, “Thank you for keeping me company Mr. Spears! I’ll miss you!” she happily scampered out of the room as the door locked. Spears reddened before trying to regain his composure. He tidied up the room and went through the other door, hoping to never see her as a child again.

***
Days have passed and Ace never left her side and took to sleeping in the room next to her. Dr. Crocus told them that she’s sleeping it off and time will tell if she makes it. He always had tea waiting for her by the bed. He replayed that day over and over in his head. He hated being unable to protect his loved ones. He almost lost Luffy and now he’s about to lose his sister. Tears rolled down his face.

“I-I’m sorry!” Ace was sobbing by her side, “I-I was just trying to get you better again! You were really sick! T-This is all my fault! Y-You even shielded me from that knife! I-I’m your brother! I’M supposed to be protecting YOU not the other way around! Damn it! W-Why are you so damned noble. You should have let me got stabbed! What were you thinking?! You should have got out of the way!” he took her hand, “Listen, I don’t know what Sabo meant what he said. All I know is that you’re here and you’re my sister. I mean, I get it, you want to protect us like we protect you but you could have gotten killed! Once you get better, I’m taking you out for ice cream and we’ll spend a whole week together, just you and me. I’ll even get you one of those sea salt popsicles you like so much! And unlimited ice cream sandwiches! I just need for you to wake up!”

“A-Ace?” he looked up to see ___________________ looking at him puzzled, “You okay? All I remember was being a car with you. Did something happen?” Tears rolled from his eyes as he grabbed and hugged her tightly.

“IF YOU EVER DIE ON ME I’M NEVER TALKING TO YOU AGAIN!”

“Ack! I didn’t mean to die!” she looked around. She saw weird machines and things and she saw something in her arm, “…How sick was I?!”

“YOU WERE DEAD!”

“I was?!”

“YES!” tears ran down his face, “I’m sorry! This is all my fault!”

“How is this your fault?”

“I should have kept a better eye on you! It’s my job to keep you safe!”

“But who’s gonna look out for you? That’s why I went to help! He was going to take your head off with that sword!”

“So you logically thought it was okay to get in between us?!”

“You’re alive aren’t you?!”

“YOU ALMOST DIED! HOW IS THAT BETTER?! I ALMOST LOST LUFFY I DIDN’T WANT TO LOSE YOU!”

“…what?”

“Luffy almost got killed because of me. Since then I always swore I wouldn’t let anything happen to someone I loved again,”

“…you love me?”

“Of course I do! You’re my sister! I was so scared that you weren’t going to make it! I was going to miss you! I mean who else will cover for me when I need to? You always tell me to look on the bright side of things! I hate that you know that world is shit now I CAUSED that!”

“Ace…I know…the world isn’t a good place,” she said softly, “Sister taught me that over and over again. That’s why she never wanted me to leave the convent. She said the world was a dark and scary place and that I was better protected inside than out. To be honest, I knew she must really trust Pops if let him adopt me. She taught me how to defend myself just in case but prayed I never needed to use it. I mean at least now I know I’m alive and I can live another day to play video games with you,”

“How can you still be cheerful after all of this?! You were dead!”

“Well, I’m not anymore! Besides, Mr. Spears said I had a long time before I reached Heaven,”

“Mr. Spears?” she nodded. Ace sighed and hugged her tightly, “Don’t become stupid like Luffy,” she giggled

“I won’t,”

***
After another two week in bed, the doctor gave her the okay to leave the house. Thatch took this opportunity to make her a big dinner to celebrate her good health again, especially since she was confined to soups and soft foods for those weeks. He gave her a list of veggies to get from the convent. Ace, Marco, Namur, Speed Jill, Fossa, and Jozu all insisted insisted that one of them accompanied her to make sure she was okay.

“No, let her go off like she used to,” said Whitebeard, “If we coddle her too much, she’s never going to be independent and be sheltered for the rest of her life,”

“She was sheltered with Flora!” Marco pointed out

“And she’s still fragile like a little guppy!” said Namur

“And there’s a lot of people out there that’s ready to carry her off!” said Ace

“She learned independence from Flora, that’s why I’m not worried about her,” _________________ trotted about town as usual. Many of her other brothers would stop her to see if she’s okay and things. She didn’t mind the fussing. Today’s special ingredient for Thatch was fresh veggies from Sister’s garden. He was going to make vegetable soup the next day. She knocked on the door. An elderly man of average height opened the door.________________ eyes widened as her mouth turned into a wide grin. The old man smiled down at her from behind his round glasses. His eyes and infamous scar twinkled at the sight of her.

“GRANDPA!” he laughed, picked her up and swung her about in his strong arms.

“My, my look at you looking big and strong again! I was just coming to see you when Flora told me you got hurt,”

“It’s okay! I know you live really far away! But I don’t live with Sister anymore!”

“I know! She told me! I actually want to see your new home,”

“Really?!”

“Yep! Tell me about your new family,”

“I have like sixteen brothers now! Well, even more but they don’t live in the house, they live around town! Ace is the only one who’s my age and we play once in awhile! Pops is awesome! He loves and takes care of me and tells me stories about things that happened a long time ago! Marco is like my second Dad and Mom! He teaches me a lot of stuff like how to sew things and reading maps! He almost always tucks me in at night and tells me stories! Izo is like a big sister who teaches me how to do things the woman way. Walking in high heels is hard though. Thatch is the cook!” she whispers low, “Better than Sister,”

“Oh no, I know, I’ve had that woman’s cooking every now and then,”

“I HEARD THAT!” said a voice from behind.

“Ack we got caught!”

“Get in here and get these vegetables for Thatch you little runt!” Grandpa snorts and took her inside. She talked as she picked.

“Then there’s Atmos and Jozu! They’re SUPER huge! And they love carrying me! Namur is a fishman! His room is like a giant pool! Curiel likes to teach me how to use firearms like he does! Saying that you’re never too early to experiment with gunpowder and things like that! He tells me to keep some on me just in case. It’s in this plastic container in my backpack. I don’t know what he means by that.”

“Sounds like you really love them. I feel like I’m being replaced,”

“NO! You’ll ALWAYS be my Grandpa!” he chuckled and pecks her cheek.

“I know that little lady. So, can I meet your family tomorrow?”

“Really?!”

“Yeah, it’s only right for your Grandpa to meet your new father,”

“Okay! I’ll ask him! I’m so happy! I miss you!”

“I miss you more! We couldn’t spend Christmas together!”

“I’m sure you had a great Christmas with your family. Did you get anything cool before you got sick?”

“YA HUH! Ace bought me a mug! It has a strainer for tea! And then everyone surprised me with a bicycle! Now I can visit the Baratie Restaurant faster and help with deliveries!”

“Deliveries now? Like a certain witch with a cat?”

“YEP!” he chuckled and ruffled her hair.

“You better get going, you don’t want to get home in the dark,”

“Okay! I’ll ask Pops if it’s okay for you to come over and call Sister!”

“Oh?”

“Yeah! It’s impolite to come to a house unannounced! See you later!”

“Be safe!” the man watched as the little girl disappeared in the distance. He smiled and went back into the convent. She was growing up so well and just as cute as a button. Flora looked at the man.

“The hell are you planning?”

“What? I want to see my little one’s family. Is that a crime?” he sat at the table and took out a bottle of whiskey. He poured them both a shot. Flora downed her first.

“If you and Edward were normal men with no history, yes but that’s not the case,” he chuckled.

“Come on Flor, you know I wouldn’t make trouble for the kid. And I think Newgate has the right to know her origins,”

“Why? She’s perfectly happy right now Why open a can of worms?”

“How long has she been with them?”

“About six months. He made it official and adopted her. She’s where she needs to be and happy. Don’t you dare ruin it!”

“Wouldn’t dream of it but what if there was a slight chance someone recognize her?”

“Since when anyone from those areas are ever seen here?” he looked at her and gave her a knowing smirk, “I hate you sometimes,”

“Love you too,” he downed his shot and pours another, “So tell me, how are you holding up, with her gone?”

“She’s just like every other kid who’s passed through here. They go to a loving home and my work is done,”

“Yeah but you never had a child for more than six months. She grew on you,”

“And she won’t leave! She visits me every other day to check in on me! I had her for three years, the least she could do is carry on and leave me be!”

“Oh stop Flor, you grew attached to her and love her like a mother would. She was the longest child whom you had. I’m surprised you didn’t find a family for her sooner,”

“Well, people aren’t looking for children to adopt like they used to. And those who do are looking for heirs. She doesn’t need to be thrust into the spotlight as someone’s heir. She needs to be a child and have a family who wants her because they want a child. So that’s why it took me so long,” the old man drapes an arm around her shoulders.

“It took you three years to give her to Edward, why?”

“She wasn’t ready. After you left her, she adjusted slowly. She remembers her family and her life but the more she stayed here, everything felt like it was a bad dream. She remembers things in fragments but can’t understand why. And she added memories in order to fill in the blanks. For instance, she remembers you bringing her to the orphanage but she also remembers two nonexistent parents bringing her to me. She remembers a certain long haired woman bringing her and things it was her mother. But she doesn’t remember anything about her old home, her origins, or Sanji and her relationship. Hell, I wouldn’t if it wasn’t for you,” he looked up at her.

“A Vinsmoke child is here?”

“Mhm, don’t know what happened but Zeff has him now. It’s not my business,” she took another shot, “All I know is that he knows who she is but she doesn’t know who he is. Therefore they’re safe in this place,” he poured her another shot.

“So, when are you passing down your technique?” Flora twitched a bit before downing another.

“Who said I was going to teach her it?”

“So the technique Blume taught you will die with you?”

“If need be. Who said I wanted her to become a fighter?”

“I think you knew where this was headed when she kicked Garp in the face,”

“When Edward and Bellemere told me I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard,” she snorts, “Rossi thought she was some kind of a weird gremlin. I think her being able to think on her feet like that gives her potential but when would she need it?”

“After this attack with Blackbeard, I think she will want to be stronger. Besides, I want to teach her some of my old moves,”

“I knew you had an ulterior motive!”

“You know me too well! That’s why I want her to be ready for training with me,”

“So I’m like the easy Boss?”

“Nah, if she can survive you and her family, she can last a few rounds against her Grandpa,” Flora took another shot, “Speaking of, from what I hear, no one has seen hide or hair of the three men that attacked Ace and _________________. According to my sources the men were last seen a few days ago in the Blackbeard Territory. But there is something the Marines in that area is trying to cover up. Apparently, they found the men still alive, strung up in the middle of town, but missing their arms, legs, and dicks. No one seems to know where their limbs are and when asked what happened, they refuse to talk. A classic method used by the Flower Pirates back when they were still active. Do you know anything about that?”

“Never ask me about my business,” she took a shot, “And if Blackbeard is fool enough to come back here or send anyone else, they will meet the same fate,”

“You’re supposed to be dead, Florrie,”

“C’est La Vie. Anyway, the guestroom is ready for you,”

“You’re a peach,”

“Shut it, I don’t want your drunken ass stumbling around town,” the old man snorts and after a few more shots, called it in. He sat up in bed and took out a photo from his bag. It was last Christmas at the bar. Shakky was holding _______________ and fondly nuzzling her. He was next to her nearly towering over them both. Because they never had kids, they loved doting on the little girl. ______________ was beaming at the camera holding a large ice cream cone. The bar was literately her second home. Well, probably third now. He smiled fondly and hoped he could steal her away for the summer so they can spend the summer together. He pockets the photo and falls asleep.

“So you just press here and they’ll tell you everything you want to know,” said a woman with short black hair had the man in an one armed hold down as his companion were on the ground twitching in pain. Her granddaughter, a (h/c) hair girl, looked curiously at the sight.

“Are you sure we’re not hurting him Shakky?”

“Of course not sweetie. Hey sweetheart, are you okay? My granddaughter wants to know,”

“I-I’m fine!”

“See? Nothing to worry about. He’s just a good actor. Now press riiiiiiight here,”

“Like this?” the woman placed a pillow over the man’s face to muffle his screams.

“Yep! Good girl! You got it! As a reward, how about you make us a few sundaes while I see these men to the door?”

“Okay! Are you going to do the Sarsaparilla Toss?”

“Yep! Wanna watch?”

“YEAH!” the woman proceeded to take the men, spin them around and threw them out. When she was done, she looked over at her.

“And look at that! They decided to give us a tip! I guess you’re going to get a new dress,”

“Awww you don’t have to Shakky!”

“You’re growing like a weed, kind of have to,” she pats her head fondly, “You’re probably going to be as tall as Grandpa someday,”

“REALLY?! Then that means I can ruffle you both!”

“Oh?” Grandpa came up behind her and picked her up. She squealed and laughed as he cuddled and tickled her.

“ACK! Grandpa noooooo!”

“Grandpa Yeeeeeeeeeeeees!”

“So mean!”

“You love it!” he smiled at her as she stuck her tongue out and hid behind Shakky who started on making the sundaes.

Chapter Text

Everyone in the Whitebeard home knew of the unwritten occurrences and rituals of the house. Izo always look fabulous, from the moment he gets up to the moment he goes to bed. Never be around when Atmos wants to cook dinner. Ace will eat everything in sight, therefore don’t be near him or Luffy during meal times. Pops is not to go over his daily sake intake, no matter how much he begs, Curiel practices his shooting at around one in the afternoon so either stay clear or wear earplugs. Fossa only smokes cigars. But one that was starting to pop up was _________________ was Marco’s duckling. After her morning duties, she often tag along with a random brother to learn something new or go on a little adventure but always was seen with Marco at least once a day. Marco never seemed to mind as she happily stayed close to him. He often did his rounds around town with her in tow. She tried to help in carrying things, she met her other brothers, learned about the small fishman and mermaid area in their city, and even shortcuts around town. When they came home, she was usually done and after her bath, Marco always greeted her to tuck her in.

“’M not sleepy,” she yawned. He chuckled

“Sure you’re not,” he said tucking her into bed, “But just in case, I want to make sure you’re in bed and warm. Now let’s see…a glass of water for your nightstand, your nightlight, and let’s see…am I forgetting something?”

“A Marco story!”

“You like my stories?”

“Yeah! But they’re not as cool as Pops!”

“I’ll agree with you on that,”

“But they’re still great!”

Because of their bond, __________________ had came to the conclusion that she was going to marry Marco so she could be with him always. The next morning, she made her announcement at the breakfast table with excitement.

“When I grow up, I wanna marry Marco!” she said happily and proudly.

“Awww! You wanna marry your favorite big brother?” said Curiel ruffling her hair.

“Ya Huh!”

“I thought WE had something!” said Fossa holding his chest, “Were you just toying with my emotions?!”

“N-No! I-I didn’t know!”

“He’s just messing with you,” said Rakuyo, “We know you love us,”

“Besides, you don’t want someone my age,” Marco said smooching her cheek affectionately causing her to blush, “And I can’t be your big brother Marco and be your husband,”

“Awww!”

“You have to find someone your age who’s like me,” _________________ tilted her head to the side. Rakuyo snorts.

“Not appearance wise little lady. Look at all of the features you like about Marco and find someone who has them,”

“Hmmm that’s hard!”

“Okay, okay, name all of the cool things about Marco you like,” said Curiel taking out a pen.

“Someone really nice to me!”

“Okay! What else?”

“Someone really cool!”

“Okay? What else?” by this time, Ace went into the kitchen. He was munching on some ginger cookies.

“What’s everyone doing?”

“Oh, ________________________ wants to marry me,” Marco grinned. Ace froze and then frowned, “Of course I respectful declined her proposal so now we’re thinking of someone her own age,”

“EW! W-Why?! She doesn’t need to marry an old fart! Hell she doesn’t NEED anybody!”

“Be nice you little shit,” said Izo ruffling him as Curiel wrote things down.

“What else?”

“He has to be able to reach high things like Jozu does!”

“Then get Jozu to do it!” said Ace

“He can’t! He’s always busy! I don’t like bothering him when he’s sleeping! He sounds like a bear!” the entire table laughed

“She has a point. And she’s so small, his snores probably scares the crap out of her,” said Vista.

“I’m not that little!”

“Yeah you are little lady,” said Thatch, “What else are you looking for?”

“Someone who gives out great hugs!”

“Oh that’s tough. Hugs are important. Don’t tell me Marco wins in that category too,”

“His are my favorite but I LOVE it when you hug me! But Fossa’s are the tightest!”

“Ooh! I’m in third for best hugger. Damn right!”

“Please that’s because I hadn’t even TRIED giving her all I could in hugging!” said Vista

“Nope, she made her choice. Okay little lady, what else?”

“Someone who’s always there when I need them! You all do that but it’ important when to me to have that in a husband!” she said as a matter-of-factly.

“So you want someone nice, can reach high things, really cool, gives great hugs, and around when you need them. Does anyone fit that description?” said Curiel, “Your age I mean?” she thought for a few moments and her face lit up.

“Well I know one boy like that!”

“Who?” said Fossa

“Well, it’s pretty obvious it’s—,” Ace started

“Sanji!”

“WHO THE FUCK IS SANJI?!” the table chuckled and snickered at Ace’s outburst

“My friend? He lives and works at the Baratie Restaurant!”

“…WHY HAVEN’T SEEN HIM?!”

“Because you and Luffy and Sabo always go to Goa Kingdom, I usually go pass that to the next town going the other way! Sanji can’t hang out much because Mr. Zeff is teaching him to cook but I’m the best taste tester and when he gets a break, we roam,”

“AND YOU GUYS ARE OKAY WITH THIS?!” Ace said looking at the table of men who were laughing hard.

“Well, he’s a boy who’s a friend,” said Izo smirking,

“You might even say he’s her boyfriend,” said Vista grinning. That did it.  

“HE’S NOT HER BOYFRIEND! She doesn’t NEED some asshole she doesn’t know SHIT about!”

“I do know Sanji! We met months ago! Pops knows who he is! And I introduced him to Marco and Vista and Izo and Curiel!”

“WHY NOT ME?!”

“You’re NEVER home! Besides, you can have your friends, so I can have mine!”

“Why can’t your friends come here?!”

“Vivi can’t come because of diplomatic duties with her Daddy! Sanji is always training to be a chef and Law is still new to town,”

“WHO’S LAW?!”

“Oh her other boyfriend,” said Izo laughing, “_______________ does have that adorable charm that make people love her,”

“How do you think she wormed her way into our hearts?” said Curiel, “Too bad she only has eyes for Marco,”

“NO! SHE DOESN’T! He’s OLD!”

“But so cool! But alas, I will graciously continue being her awesome big brother,” said Marco ruffling her hair, “But Sanji may be a better husband for her,”

“WHAT?!”

“He’s helpful, nice to her, and blonde,”

“WHAT DOES BLONDE HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!”

“Most blondes are awesome,” said Izo, “Maybe she’s into blondes. Hmmmm a blond Ace, I can total see that,”

“SHUT UP! I’m not making my hair blonde! It’s a weird color!”

“No it isn’t!” ______________________ piped, “It’s so cool! It’s so shiny! Like gold! I mean Sabo has blonde hair and he’s cool!”

“…I guess! Okay, Marco, Sabo, and Rakuyo! There! The ONLY cool blondes!”

“Don’t forget Mr. Zeff,”

“Oh right, yeah him too,”

“And Sanji is cool,”

“NO HE’S NOT!”

“You don’t even KNOW him!”

“THEN INTRODUCE ME!”

“NO! You might scare him off and we won’t be friends anymore!”

“What about that Law kid?!”

“What about—oh Mr. Corazon is blonde and he’s awesome!”

“WHO THE FUCK IS CORAZON?!”

“ACE LANGUAGE!” said Fossa laughing but trying to be stern

“For a moment I did forget Cora is blonde,” said Thatch, “Awww you like Corazon too?”

“YEAH! He’s almost as cool as Marco! But he falls a lot…or set himself on fire…or trip…oh and flail!”  

“Yeah, he is a clumsy one,”

“Sounds like an idiot. What kid can’t stand up without falling?” huffs Ace

“Actually I think Mr. Corazon is about Marco’s age,”

“STOP HANGING OUT WITH OLD MEN!”

“He’s Law’s Dad! Why are you being so mean?!”

“He’s jealous that you’re not hanging out with him,” said Vista

“I’M NOT JEALOUS! I’m just saying that MAYBE we should look into WHO’S she’s hanging out with!”

“Well you hang out with Luffy and Sabo all the time,” said ________________

“That’s different! I KNOW them and I’ve known them for a long time! You just met those other two!”

“That’s how friendship works Ace,” said Curiel, “You latch onto a person, form a bond and bam friends,”

“And I have to hurry! Law and I are dissecting a possum today! He’s training to be a surgeon and I love seeing him work!”

“THE HELL YOU ARE! What kind of a freak cut open animals for fun?!”

“They’re already dead! Mr. Corazon brings him back roadkill,”

“What kind of a weirdo SUPPLIES dead things to a kid?!” he looked at his brothers, “AND YOU GUYS ALLOW THIS SHIT?!”

“As long as she takes a long bath, don’t care,” said Izo, “Go play dear,”

“Okay!”

“NO! Get back here!” Ace ran close behind her with both threats and worry in his voice. Vista and Fossa were cracking up.

“The boy has it so bad it’s terrible!” said Vista

“You think he’s going to try and stalk her?” said Curiel holding his stomach and laughing

“Here’s how it’s going to play out,” said Marco, “He’s going to “forbid” her. She’s going to go anyway, he’s going to recruit Luffy and Sabo to help him follow her. They’re going to meet Law and knowing Law, scare the shit out of them and Corazon may bring them back home shaken or the boys will run back here and we’ll have to “investigate”, or they’ll try and fight Corazon,”

“How long do we have?” said Rakuyo

“I give it two hours,” said Izo

“I’m staying here to watch the fireworks,” said Thatch laughing, “Ace is so flustered, it’s really cute,”

“I say we stage a mock wedding with Marco just to really get at him,” said Izo, “Oh she’ll look adorable in little white dress,”

“No,” said Marco

“OOOH! I’ll call Ivankov and we can—,”

“NO!” the room rang out.

Chapter Text

“So….you’re upset that ____________ has a friend?” said Sabo watching Ace pace their clubhouse. Luffy was munching on a rice ball watching his brother with intrigue. ________________ had left him to meet some of her friends. He followed her to the Baratie but Sanji was on an errand run so she back tracked and came back home to rest a bit. Ace took this opportunity to get some help from his brothers.  

“No! I’m UPSET because we never met this asshole and he could be anyone! He could be some serial killer!”

“You’re not sure, right?”

“I’m POSITIVE! It’s almost like that story with the couple killing people and putting them into meat pies!”

“You mean Sweeney Todd?! Really?!”

“He could be fattening her up with cake and sweets, luring her into a false sense of security and then shoving her into an oven by the pound!”

“…You’re reading way too much into this! Ace, Sanji is about our age! And besides, why would you befriend someone you’re going to cook? Marco knows him and Pops knows Zeff! If anything happens to her, they’ll be right there!” Luffy perks up

“I know Sanji!” said Luffy grinning happily.

“YOU DO?!” said both boys

“Yeah! He makes delicious food! I asked him to join my crew when we’re older. He said no but I’m not going to take that for an answer!”

“You can’t keep asking someone to be in your crew like that,” said Sabo

“Says who?!”

“I swear you two! Ace, ____________________ can be friends with whoever she wants to, just because you like her doesn’t mean you can keep her all to yourself!”

“W-What do you mean like?!” Ace’ face went red.

“You wanna kiss her!” said Luffy and quickly dodged before Ace could clobber him.

“NO I DON’T! TAKE THAT BACK!”

“Then let her be friends with other people!” said Sabo

“NO! In face you’re both coming with me! She made friends with some weird kid named Law,”

“Law?”

“Apparently his dad is blonde and she things blondes are cool,”

“…does this mean you’re going to bleach your hair blonde now?”

“NO! It means we have to find out where this Law kid lives and see if he’s a friend or not!”

“HER friend not ours,”

“She doesn’t NEED other guy friends!”

“How come?” said Luffy

“Because that’s why!” said Ace fuming and flushing. Sabo snorts.

“Just admit you like her and you’re jea—,”

“I’M NOT JEALOUS! I’LL PROVE TO YOU THIS LAW KID IS BAD NEWS!”

“Are we stalking again?” said Sabo

“It’s not stalking!” said Luffy, “We’re just following _____________________ wherever she goes to monitor her movements,”

“That’s stalking Luffy, no matter what Ace says,”

“Are you two in or not?!”

“I’m in!”

“I guess,” the boys watched ______________________ in the kitchen. Marco made her pack a thermos with freshly brewed ice tea. Words were exchanged as she hugged him goodbye and she headed off. They lingered before following her at a short distance. Jozu watched the scene from the kitchen window.

“Are they spying on _________________?” said Marco

“Mhm, they want to see what Law looks like,”

“Do they know about his Devil Fruit?”

“Nope. How long to you give them?” Marco looked at his watch

“I still say two hours,”

***
Corazon heard a knock on his door. He got up and opened it to see a familiar beaming face looking up at him. He grinned and picked her up and took her inside. She giggled as he trotted upstairs and gently opened the door.

“Law, look what I found!” said Corazon holding up ________________. Law grinned

“Corazon stop taking in strays,”

“But this one is so cute!”

“HEY!”

“But she doesn’t eat much! And she really likes sweet things!”

“Can you bring us the cookies you made?”

“Of course! They’re almost ready! I’ll do it as soon as they’re ready!” Corazon made himself scarce. Since arriving in their new safe haven, He and Law tried to settle in. Sengoku said it would be in his best interest to keep a very low profile and since Law had nowhere else to do, he was more than welcomed to stay with him. Neither of them minded. But Corazon was worried. Law wasn’t exactly the most social child and he would rather stay cooped up in his room reading or dissecting. All of this changed when _________________ arrived at the house that night. They both thought they wouldn’t see the little girl again until she popped up one morning asking if Law wanted to play. Since then, he started to slowly come out of his shell. He needed that normalcy in his life where he wasn’t training to be a part of Doflamingo’s army; he was a normal young boy. They started rubbing off on each other. __________________ loved dissecting things with Law and Law followed her to various places in the woods. He often came back with bugs to study and things like that

“So whatcha wanna do today?” said _______________________

“I want to run some more experiments with my Devil Fruit,”

“Okay!” it took Law a good while before he trusted his newfound friend to know about his Devil Fruit and know his real name, which his preferred her to call him. He said he needed an actual human test subject and at first she was terrified but soon realized, as long as she was in his Room, she was safe. For the past few weeks, they’ve been experimenting with his abilities in his room. So far he’s learned that he could do almost anything in his Room. He could slice someone open, patch them up, and do a lot of things in his room. He did small experiments on mice and squirrels but ___________________ was his first human subject. They did everything from taking out her heart, rearranging her body, though he couldn’t do that a lot because she got motion sickness from it and barfed all over him. So he stuck to honing his skills of reattaching limbs, taking them apart, and practicing his telepathy skill his room provided. Once in the center of the backyard, he snapped his fingers.

“Room,” a weird blue dome surrounded them. _________________ looked around in awe.

“Wow! It’s as big as the backyard now!”

“Yep! I’ve been practicing! Okay, ready?”

“Yeah!” Law took out his blade and ran at her and sliced, taking her head clean off. He then catches it. She looked around as Law placed her head on a table, “Do you feel okay?”

“Mhm!” he went over to her body and pokes her sides. She squirmed, “That tickles!” he grinned

“And your body can still feel everything still. Okay, I’d thought we try something new, ready?”

“Mhm!” Law took his thermos and poured some tea. He had her drink it.

“Well?”

“Tastes great!”

“So it went to your stomach?”

“Felt like it,”

“Well your head isn’t leaking. Okay, let’s see if we can do—,”

“I’M GOING TO FUCKIN’ KILL YOU, YOU BASTARD!”

***
The boys followed __________________ to the fringes of town. At first they thought she was going to Flora’s place but she took another path, one of her many shortcuts.

“How many shortcuts does she have?!” said Ace trying to keep up with _________________.

“This town is big, she has to have them,” said Sabo, “Especially if she’s seeing friends,”

“They’re NOT HER FRIENDS! They’re trying to fatten her up and eat her!”

“…what would _________________ taste like?” said Luffy

“Well she’s kind of stringy looking,” said Sabo, “I mean with the right spices and maybe thirty minutes a pound,”

“Please with all of the cakes and cookies and sweets she eats, I’m sure you’ll get sugar shock from just one bite,”

“Or like candy!” said Luffy

“Nah, she’s not a candy person. She likes baked things…I guess with enough tenderizing, she’ll be stomachable. But she’s also agile and goes ribbon twirling. She could be pretty lean,”

“Like fish!”

“…okay this dark weird really fast!” said Sabo

“What?! It’s a valid point!” they then noticed her going into a clearing from the fringes. She skipped to the door and knocked. They crotched down as the door opened. They froze as a tall figure covered head to toe in black feathers opened the door. He looked down as he beamed and picked her up and took her inside.

“THAT’S THE—,” Ace and Sabo grabbed Luffy and held his mouth as he struggled. The door closed and they let him go, “THAT WAS THE DARK CROW!”

“WE KNOW! SEE SABO?!”

“T-There has to be a logical explanation!”

“That ___________________ was lured into a house where the Dark Crow is and he’s carried her inside?!” said Ace, “See?! They’re going to eat her!”

“I DON’T WANT ______________________ TO BE EATEN! SHE’S TOO YOUNG TO DIE!”

“Calm down! We can go see where she is! Come on!” Sabo led them through the yard and they peeked through the window. They saw the Dark Crow in the kitchen in front of a strange looking oven. He added more wood to it as he started mixing something in a bowl. He then went over and opened a large oven. Ace and Luffy stared. It was large enough to fit a kid inside!

“L-Look on the table!” The Dark Crow had a large piece of raw meat on the table that was marinating, “I-Is that ______________________?!”

“No…it can’t! We would have heard her scream or something by now!” said Ace

“And that’s roast, not human,” said Sabo

“Then where’s ___________________?!” the heard the backdoor opening. They crouched under the window and snuck to the backyard. ____________________ there with a weird looking kid. The boys observed the pair. She was grinning and smiling and the boy had a small smile and and was talking as well. This must be the mysterious Law. The boys thought that he was a bit strange looking. He had golden eyes; he wore a strange looking hat with blacks spots, and looked very bored and concentrated for a kid.

“I guess she really isn’t super into blondes,”

“Not funny Sabo!”

“He looks funny!”

“Says the rubber boy!”

“Wait…what is he doing now?” they watched on as __________________ stood in the middle of the strange dome looking as chipper as she was. Law took out a blade. Ace’s blood ran cold. Was she just going stand there?! What the fuck was he about to do?! Without warning, the boy ran at her and took her head clean off. All three stood there dumbstruck.

“H-He c-chopped off her head!” Luffy cried

“What the HELL just happened?!” said Sabo. Ace on the other hand was not about to take this standing down. He grabbed his pipe and went after Law.

“I’M GOING TO FUCKIN’ KILL YOU, YOU BASTARD!”

***
“Umm I’m okay!” Sabo and Luffy turned. _______________ looked at them. She blinked at them.

“S-Seriously?!”

“Mhm,”

“Does it hurt?!” said Luffy

“Not really! I’m just trying to avoid Ace and Law fighting!” Luffy and Sabo turned to see _______________’s body running and dodging and trying to keep the two boys from really going at each other. Law saw what was going on and immediately shoved Ace away before grabbing _______________________’s body. He was about to go after her again when Sabo and Luffy got in-between him as _____________________’s body felt around her for head.

“See? She’s alive,” said Law holding up ___________________’s head who didn’t seem to mind and grinned brightly.

“Hey guys! I’m sorry but lost my head for a moment!” they looked at her bewildered, “Come on guys, chin up! It’s not something to lose your head over!”

“Ugggh stop we get it!” said Sabo, “Enough with the puns!”

“Okay, but you guys need to calm down! Losing you head in an emergency is a no brainer!”

“STOP ACTING SO CHEERFUL!” Ace grabbed her head, “WHY THE HELL DID YOU LET SOME WEIRDO CHOP OFF YOUR HEAD LIKE THAT?!”

“QUIT YELLING AT ME!”

“And put her head down idiot,” said Law taking ___________________’s head and putting her back on the pillow. He then went over and started ticking her torso’s side. She started laughing and squirming. Law took out his notebook and documented a few things before taking ice and dropping it down her back. Her body leapt up and started shaking and trying to get the ice from out of her dress. Law snorts before documenting something again. He then gently took _________________’s head and gently placed it back on her body, “See?”

“I’m okay!”

“No excuse!” said Ace glaring at the pair, Law in particular, “You’re going to pay for doing that!”

“Doing what exactly?” said Law looking bored.

“Decapitating my sister you asshole!” Ace went after him again, “COME ON YOU TWO!”

“YEAH!” Luffy ran with him. Sabo sighed.

“She’s okay! Ugh never mind,” sighed and before ____________________ could stop them, Law raised his hands.

“SHAMBLES!” Suddenly, the boys were scattered in Law’s room and their body parts everywhere. He switched heads, connected chests together, legs together, and kept this going before putting them back together. He then grinned, “Shambles!” he let the boys drop where they were, took _____________________’s hand and went inside for cookies. Ace looked around and got up. His body felt really off. He looked around and noticed his body was standing up and looked confused. He froze and looked down at his “body”. His frame was smaller, his hands were filthy, and he touched his head and noticed a straw hat. He ran and looked into the bucket of water nearby and saw Luffy’s face staring back him. He jumped back and screamed. His body turned and looked at him.

“L-Luffy what’s wrong?!”

“I’M NOT LUFFY!” “Ace” looked at him puzzled when he noticed Sabo’s body standing up. He held his head.

“Uhhh what happened?!” “Ace” looked shocked and ran to the bucket as well.

“I-I’m in Ace’s body!”

“Ace why do you sound like—i-is that my body?!” said “Sabo” going over to “Luffy”, “B-But that’s my body!”

“I KNOW IT’S YOUR BODY YOU IDIOT!”

“ACE?!”

“YEAH!”

“THEN WHO’S IN YOURS?!”

“SABO IDIOT!” ______________________ watched as the boys freaked out and argued about their bodies. Law took this opportunity to reattach her, close his room, and took her inside for cookies and milk. Corazon happily served them.

“Are they going to be okay out there?”

“Don’t care, he shouldn’t have yelled at you,” said Law biting into his cookie, “Never thought the heart transplants would work that well. I was going to switch yours with a cat but this one’s a lot more entertaining,”

“So how does it work?”

“I did it with two dogs, a very old dog and a puppy. Switching hearts switches bodies. I didn’t think it would work so well with humans,”

“Are you going to change them back?”

“Let them suffer for awhile. I want to finish these cookies,” __________________ took a bite

“These are really good! They taste kind of smoky,”

“It’s because we have a wood oven,”

“Wood oven?”

“Instead of a gas or electric oven, we have a wood one. It’s awesome and we use it almost every day. It keeps the kitchen warm. I like it and it’s safer for Cora-san,”

“Safer?”

“Yeah,” Corazon poured them some tea, “Well when I was about your age…Sengoku-san though having a wood oven would be easier and better for me to handle,”  

“…And because you’re so clumsy an electric or gas oven would have killed you by now,” said Law

“HEY!” said Corazon, “I’m not that clumsy!”

“How do you guys brew tea and things?” said ______________________

“Special hot plates that don’t burn people only metal. Sengoku bought them for us personally. We have a full functioning Cora-san proof kitchen,”

“That’s so cool!”

“The only thing we go have is an electric kettle and rice maker, only because it’s easier….and Cora-san can’t burn himself using them,”

“Is he really that clumsy?”

“There’s a reason why we have slip guards on the stairs and on path stones and things like that,”

“Oh,”

“Yep,”

“I’m right here you know!” Meanwhile the boys outside were freaking out. Ace mastered Luffy’s rubber powers a lot faster than he did, much to Luffy’s awe. The only thing that Luffy wanted was his hat.

“I can’t believe Ace can still kick Luffy’s ass even as Luffy,” said Sabo

“No fair!” whined Luffy

“It’s not my fault you suck at everything,” said Ace, “Where’s ______________________?!”

“…I think that surgeon kid took her!” said Sabo

“Damn it! Let’s get her before the Dark Crow gets her!” they ran to the kitchen window. __________________ and Law were munching on a large plate of cookies with tea, “SEE they really are trying to fatten her up!”

“T-Then why would the surgeon want to play with her?!” said Luffy

“It’s it obvious! He was going to cut her up into pieces so they could put her in that oven over there!”

“Ace, ___________________ is way too big to go into an oven!” said Sabo

“Oh yeah! LOOK at it!” he pointed. Sabo froze.

“T-Thanks a wood oven! It’s designed for thorough cooking!”

“See! They’re going to have that kid use his weird Devil Fruit ability to make ______________ not scared while they cut her!”

“W-Why?!” said Luffy

“Because when animals are scared before cooking, their meat gets tough and nasty!”

“How the HELL do you know so much about this?!” said Sabo

“I’ve been reading this book that Speed Jill let me borrow; Tales from the Darkside or something like that!”

“Shh! He’s doing something!” said Luffy. They saw the Dark Crow put on heavy duty gloves before sharpening a knife. He then looked at it before he went over towards the kids. _______________ had back to him and Law was looking at the Dark Crow intently. He then raised his knife above his head, about to bring it down on her head.

“GET HIM!” the boys swarmed the Dark Crow, who dropped his knife, being taken off guard but soon regained himself, grabbed all three of the boys and restrained them. The boys bit, kicked, and struggled.

“Law do you know these boys?”

“____________________’s weird brothers,” said Law not looking up from his tea, “The one with freckles is Ace, the blonde one is Sabo, and the one with the straw hat is Luffy,”

“…but the blonde on is wearing the straw hat,”

“That’s because I’m in Sabo’s body!” said Luffy

“Wait…Law did you switch those boys’ hearts?!”

“Maybe, I don’t see any difference,”

“Law…”

“Okay, okay I did but they were yelling at _____________________! They thought we were going to eat her or something,” Corazon looked taken aback and let the boys go.

“Eat her?! Of course not! She’s too adorable to eat! Besides, she looks kind of stringy,”

“THAT’S NOT HELPING YOUR CASE ASSHOLE!” said Ace trying to get at Corazon. Corazon stepped to the side as Ace used his new ability to stretch, only to have it spring back onto him and right in the face, “OW! LUFFY YOUR BODY SUCKS!”

“HEY!”

“HEY! Don’t attack Corazon!” said _______________ glaring at them, “He’s the nicest person ever! He didn’t do anything to you guys!”

“YOU ONLY LIKE HIM BECAUSE HE’S BLONDE!”

“WHAT DOES THAT HAVE TO DO WITH ANYTHING?!” Sabo sighed

“Long story. Seriously, VERY long story,”

“Seriously! If you wanted to meet Trafalgar you just had to ask!”

“WHO THE FUCK IS TRAFALGAR NOW?!”

“Me idiot,” said Law, “Trafalgar is my name and Law is my last name. Only __________________ can use it and Corazon just does it sometimes,”

“But that doesn’t mean you’re in the clear! You guys were trying to fatten up ________________ to eat her!”

“What is with you and cannibalism, kid?” said Corazon.

“You were about to stab ______________________ with a knife!” said Luffy. Corazon looked confused before he remembered and picked up on of his plastic knives, “It’s plastic?!”

“Mhm, it can’t cut anything that’s meat! I was going to cut some vegetables for Law and I’s dinner tonight!”

“Oh…well explain the wood oven!” said Sabo, “No offense but only food enthusiasts has one in their homes and yours is big enough to fit a kid in!”

“Corazon is clumsy and isn’t allowed to have one or we’ll die,” said Law

“HEY!”

“It’s true,”

“Oh…well why did you cut ____________________’s head off?!” said Ace, “And why isn’t she dead?!”

“We were practicing for his Devil Fruit,” said ________________ happily

“What IS his Devil Fruit ability?!”

“It’s the Operation Fruit. As long as we’re in Law’s special room, he can control body parts and things while inside! I’ve been his human hamster!”

“Guinea pig,”

“That too! He wants to be a doctor so if he can harness his ability, he can help people with it!” the boys looked completely dumbfounded and ashamed.

“So…you weren’t trying to kill and dissect ______________. She was just helping you to train your ability?” said Ace

“Mhm,”

“So, whatever you do in your room, it doesn’t hurt or isn’t permanent?”

“Nope,”

“And we were being as stupid as Luffy,”

“Don’t know how stupid Luffy is but yes,”

“HEY!” Corazon chuckled.

“Okay, now that that’s settled, come on kids, it’s getting late, I’ll take you home. Law you can change them back when we get to ______________________’s place,”

“Do I have to? I think they need to learn a longer lesson,”

“Yes,”

“Fiiiiiiiiiiiine,”

***
“Three…two…one…” and on cue, Ace, Luffy, and Sabo came through the door with Law, ___________________, and Corazon. Sanji was in the kitchen with Zeff. Because he wasn’t home when _________________ came by, Zeff decided to bring him to the Whitebeard home. Because she wasn’t home, he decided to wait. The Whitebeard family was greeted to a very odd sight, Sabo was grinning brightly at them with stupid grin on his face wearing Luffy’s hat, Ace was wearing Sabo’s hat looking completely done with this day, and Luffy looked as though he was ready to kill without his hat. Corazon was with Law and __________________. She was covered in crumbs, Law looked nonchalant, and Corazon bowed in apologies.

“Wait, wait, we all had bets for these,” said Thatch grinning, “What happened?”

“Well these three boys crashed ___________________ and Law practicing in his room and Law switched their hearts so they’re all in different bodies,” Kingdew snorts as he and Izo took the money from that pool, “Then they tried to fight me…and lost,” Jozu, Fossa, and Curiel split the money from that pool, “And for some reason, they thought, especially Ace, that we were going to kill her!” Speed Jill and Blenheim look the money from that pool laughing. Marco shook his head and took the two hours pool.

“We’re so sorry about all of this,”

“No, no it’s okay! It wasn’t anything we couldn’t handle!” Corazon ruffled Law’s head.  

“Anyway! Get me out of Luffy’s body!” said Ace shuddering, “It’s so…ugh!”

“No offense but I can’t stay in Ace’s body like this!” said Sabo, “It’s itchy and gross!”

“HEY! I didn’t put you in there!”

“I like Sabo’s body!” said Luffy grinning, “It’s so tall!”

“Not until you apologize to __________________!” said Law glaring, “I mean you freckles,”

“Fine! I’m sorry!”

“Like you mean it!”

“Fine! _________________ I’m sorry for wanting to make sure you weren’t going to be eaten by a crow and his sidekick!”

“…yeah that’s probably the best you’re going to get,” said Sabo.

“Thank you Ace!” beamed _____________________. Law made a few gestures, “Did it work?”

“Mhm,”

“How do you—wait I’m me again! WHOOOOOOOOO!” Luffy happily bounced around in his body. Ace clobbered him and gave him back his hat

“Here idiot. Sabo what the hell did you do to my fingernails?!”

“I CLEANED them! Do you KNOW how filthy they were?!”

“They weren’t that bad!”

“Wait…you guys thought Law and Corazon was going to eat _______________?” said Vista

“Ace not me or Luffy,”

“How the hell did you come to that conclusion?!” said Fosse
“That’s most of your fault Speed Jill!” said Sabo, “Seriously what book did you let him read?!”

“…you mean Tales from the Darkside?! Ace really?! I told you to not read that at night! It’ll give you ideas!”

“I couldn’t put it down! And she’s so damned trusting! Anyone could have given her a cupcake a day watching her gullible ass get bigger and bigger and then BAM! Into the oven she goes and we would never see her again!”

“….the fuck boy?!” said Curiel

“….she’s too stringy to eat,” said Sanji coming in at the sound of food talk, “But also free range so she could be tasty with enough simmering in a slow cooker,”

“That’s what I said!” said Sabo, “I think like fifteen minute per pound could do it in an oven,”

“And certain cuts on her would be more tender,” said Law, “Mainly her thighs, arms, and probably legs,”

“The rest of her could be better if it was made into a stew and the right vegetables,” said Sanji, “Like tomatoes, carrots, and bell peppers,”  

“Or ramen!” said Luffy

“Or maybe bao,” said Ace, “Just simmer her and it’ll be enough to go around,”

“And with her eating sweets, you wouldn’t need that much honey to simmer her in,” said Sabo.

“That may be but her marrow is still young and meaty for soups,” said Sanji, “Especially since she roams a lot. ________________ eyed widened!

“HAVE YOU GUYS BEEN PLANNING THIS?!” ______________________ hid behind Izo, who scooped her up.

“You ghouls stay away,”  

“We weren’t going to actually cook her!” said Law, “Just stating the facts!”

“Are you idiots trying to scare her?” said Thatch

“No! It’s a logical point!” said Ace.

“Well, now that it’s late,” Whitebeard said coming downstairs, “How about you all stay for dinner?”

“We don’t want to impose!” said Corazon

“Don’t worry about it,” said Marco

“And we cook for an army anyway especially with Ace and Luffy’s appetites,” said Thatch, “Are you staying too Zeff,”

“Nah, I have the dinner rush in a bit, but Sanji can stay, he needs the night off. Come home when you’re ready,”

“Alright,”

“You’re okay to stay Law?” said Corazon. Law nodded.

“I would like that. You relax and I’ll have fun with these guys and ________________,” Corazon started getting teary eyed watching his son making friends. Law eyed him, “What’s with that look?!”

“YOU MAKING FRIENDS!!!!” Corazon snuggled and hugged Law close to him. Law struggled a bit but soon just accepted it before ___________________ took his hand and pulls him upstairs.

“Come on! I’m going to show you my room!”

“WHY YOUR ROOM?!” said Ace chasing after them

“Because I’ve seen his and Sanji’s plenty of times!”

“WHY WERE YOU IN THEIR ROOMS?!”  

“I swear that girl is going to give that boy a heart attack,” said Zeff laughing and taking his leave.

“Thank god Law is the cool one,” said Izo chuckling.

“Boy needs all of the charisma in the world if he’s going to have Corazon smother him and love on him for the rest of his life,” said Vista

“Like he minds,”

***

Corazon spluttered out more blood. He struggled to breath and didn’t know how long he was going to last. He had to stay alive just a bit more, just until Law was safe. He hated to admit that Doffy did give him pity after all this. He could have killed him dead but left him to either survive or die. Giving him the choice was merciful. He knew he had to stay alive just a bit more. He looked at the sky. It was starting to snow. He loved the snow. He often tripped on it but that was all weather but this always reminded him of home…before everything happened. But, even after that, he still enjoyed drinking tea with Sengoku-san and watching it with him. It was winter when he finally stopped hiding in his home and wanted to be a part of his home. Tears rolled down his cheeks as images flashed before his eyes. He could have died a lot sooner if it wasn’t for him. Although he’s faced the worst that humankind had to offer, he didn’t want to die just yet. He didn’t want to leave just yet…but he knew that with his death, everything would be okay. He smiled through his tears. He promised he would smile. He was going to smile until his dying—

“YOU SON OF A BITCH!” Corazon felt someone dragging him as he spluttered up blood, “YOUR CLUMSY ASS AIN’T DYING ON ME!” he tried to talk but he couldn’t. Every breath was agony now. He winced and was propped up against a tree. He could make out a silhouette of a Marine. They fumbled through their bag and took out a bottle. It was shoved into his mouth. He could feel the liquid pouring down his throat. His mouth was held until he swallowed it all. He fell to his side. He could feel himself starting to feel better. He could at least breathe again. Was this his second chance? Was this his this third chance? If he wasn’t going to die he knew he had to make this count!

“L-Law! I-I need to…get to—Law…”

“He’s safe. Don’t worry you’re gonna join him soon,” he was hoisted up. Before he could protest, he was carried to a boat and gently placed inside and covered with a heavy blanket, a large jug of water, and some more medicine, “If that kid had any survival skills, he’ll be on Swallow Island. We’ll collect you there when all of this shit has cleared up, just rest yourself. Your injuries are still going to hurt like a bitch but as long as you don’t disturb them, they’re gonna be fine,” he nodded.

“T-Thank you,”

“Don’t mention it, besides, remember, you’re not dying until I give you and Smoker permission, got that?” he smiled and closed his eyes, “Yeah, that medicine is gonna make you drowsy. Just sleep it off,” the boat was pushed into the ocean. The woman watched it gently and safely goes on its way to Swallow Island. She took out a cigarette and took a long drag before blowing out. That damned old bat’s herbal remedy really does work. She had to send her some sake for that one. She knew there were a few confiscated barrels and as long as she says it’s a religious donation, no one was going to bat an eye as to why she was sending it to a convent. Her gray eyes looked at the sky. Tsuru and Sengoku were going to have her ass if anyone catches her, especially since she’s supposed to have “quit”. But she knew she would be forgiven for making sure Rossi got back safe. She smiled to herself and continued to keep a look out. He was all that mattered to her at this moment. She suppressed the urge to think that she almost lost him. She couldn’t and wouldn’t think about that. The only think that mattered was that he was going to be okay.  

***
Law was on the island for days. He roamed the island trying to plan his next move and not think about Corazon. He just needed a boat and he was out of there. He didn’t care where. As long as he was away from all of this mess the better. So far he only met three others on the island and he promised he would help them get off it. He turned the corner and by luck there was a boat. It could fit all three of them with enough ingenuity. He walked towards the boat and noticed someone inside. Someone must have crash landed here like he did. Hell if anything, they could make a bigger boat with pieces of his boat. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure inside was moving. He stopped and backed off. Okay, the person was alive. Maybe they needed some help. He slowly approached again as the figure shifted. He caught glimpses of a hearts shirt. No…it couldn’t be. He ran towards the figure and stopped only a few feet away.  He froze. In front of him was Corazon, he was still injured but he was actually breathing. He slowly sat up and looked around. His eyes fell on Law. Tears rolled down his eyes as he crawled out of his boat towards him.

“Law! Oh my God you’re safe! I’m so glad you’re safe! I’m so sorry! Please forgive me! I couldn’t tell you I was working for the Marines! I was trying to bring down Doffy and I didn’t want to deceive you! But the moment I knew your name…I knew he would try and keep you! I know it’s too soon but please let me take care of you! You don’t have to call me Dad or anything but I’ll do my best to love you and take care of you like you were my own son! I’m sorry for force feeding you the fruit! It was the only way to make sure you live and survive! Oh Law I’m so sorry for all—,” Corazon caught the boy in his arms. Law was sobbing in his chest. He was just so happy to see Corazon alive and well that he just couldn’t stop crying.

“S-Shut up! You’re going to be a great parent alright?! Just stop apologizing! I just want to be with you!” Corazon hugged him tightly and picked him up wincing.

“I don’t know where home is going to be but…I’ll do my best,”  

“I don’t care, I just…I just miss you!”

“Shhh, don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere,”

Chapter Text

Smoker glared and watched the students scramble into the school. The school opened some years ago and was literately some bullshit excuse to have more unity amongst the different sides in the town. It was a good theory on paper but in action it was a bit…iffy. You had Marine cadets with kids with records and kids whose pasts were mystery to anyone along with kids from powerful families and finally casual civilians. It was a recipe for disaster if you asked him. Most of these kids were trouble the moment they stepped onto the grounds. But one, in his opinion, was dangerous. Mainly because she was so unassuming and chipper that she’s not a cause for anything other than cannon fodder but she and her brother were the worst. First offender was Garp’s grandson, Luffy. The damage that kid caused alone was enough to warrant every single Marine at school on his ass with his mini crew of misfits and delinquents. Next was his older brother and protector, Portgas D. Ace was making a name for himself with a small crew of followers and active member of the Whitebeard family. Those two idiots were enough to cause collateral damage and destruction everywhere they went. However, for the most part, those two were quiet if unprovoked. However, today he had his eyes on one person. He could never catch them in the act but today was the day. Why today? He heard something was going to go down and the moment he heard the name he was not going to let them get away.

“Morning Captain!” Her! He knew better than to trust that sweet innocent face. She was one of the biggest troublemakers in school but the only thing that set her apart from the rest was that she knew how to cover her ass and that’s what really pissed him off. She was ________________ the only daughter of the Whitebeard family and was by far the most protected but that didn’t matter. She singlehandedly was responsible for so many vacation days at the academy and her mini barrage on the Marines. He got to the point where he had Crocodile keep an eye on her but she was still able to get pass them. Then again he couldn’t care less, “How are you today?”

“I’m watching you kid,”

“Whatever do you mean sir? Have a great day!” Smoker knew this meant that she was not only up to something but she had all of the tools at her disposal. He watched her closely. Before class, many students met in the courtyard. They were all conversing and talking and things like that. He watched as she met up with Nami, Bellemere’s kid. That wasn’t out of the ordinary but still something that he wanted to observe. He listened closely.

“Yeah I forgot my homework last night,” said ____________________, “I have a study hall before then, do you have the notes?”

“Sure do!” Nami passed them over to her, “But I would talk to Robin, I’m sure she’ll understand!”

“I hope so! I don’t want my GPA to drop! I guess no shopping for me this weekend!”

“Well no shopping for anyone well until after our study group!” Smoker stopped listening when he heard shopping and left,”

“Did he leave?” said _________________

“Yep, what’s up?” The two girls sat next to each other. To the outside world, it looked as though __________________ was tutoring the infamous pickpocket, Nami but in reality, they were discussing something a bit more nefarious.

“I need a few favors done by lunch,”  

“Oh?”

“Yeah, I need to be able to get into the teacher’s lounge and out by 12:45, so if you can stage a few fights for me, I’ll be in the clear,”

“That’s it?”

“And…I need a bottle of ipecac,”

“Ooh that’s gonna cost ya,”

“Yeah I know. I’m offering two hundred beli,”

“Hmmm this isn’t like you to charge this much. What gives? What’s the stakes?”

“Two words: Festival Week,” Nami looked at her. Festival Week was just as the name suggested. It was time where businesses had sales for that week only to promote new or existing products, BBQ parties everywhere, concerts everywhere, more showing times for movies, carnivals in towns all over, family time, and it was just an overall fun time for everyone. However, examination week was taken semi seriously and because there are two types of students, as the World Government stated, they were graded differently. So if there was any chance of passing, the examination week was critical for all students. So it was mandatory for the students to come to class everyday for a week from seven in the morning to four. And because of the intensity, they got the following week off. During this time, most parents would encourage sleep and such because it was important. So anyone who wanted to enjoy the festival, would be go and fail or go to school and miss out of everything, especially the nightly activities that would be until the wee hours in the morning.

“…what’s happening Festival Week?”

“You’re aware we have exams week, right?”

“Yeah!”

“Well, word from the vine says that Akainu had made it so students from this region, South Blue and East Blue will have to take their exams that week, however, students from Goa and the noble side get to take theirs the week after,”

“WHAT?! HELL NO! I’ve been saving for MONTHS for Festival Week,”

“Exactly! So, if everything goes over well, we’ll get the week and the week after off,”

“How are you going to pull that off?!”

“The only way we can get the school closed down is Act of God or if more than half the Staff cannot attend and since I can’t control weather, the faculty will have to take a casualty,”

“…You got it. Lunch time, is yours,”

“Thanks!”

“Come by my town, I have roasted tangerines with your name on them!”

“You’re the best!” the warning bell rang and the pair hurried off to class. ________________’s first class was Chemistry with Ace, who usually slept through it. This was everyone’s least favorite class with everyone’s least favorite hard ass Kizaru. Ace wasn’t a morning person, therefore him staying in a class that he wasn’t interested made him drowsy, making his narcolepsy kick in and soon he was snoring. This wouldn’t be a problem if he didn’t sit in front of the class next to ________________. Without warning, Kizaru dropped a heavy book, causing Ace to jump out of his sleep.

“I’m up!”  

“Really? Then I guess you can tell me what’s number five on the periodic table,” Ace glared but then heard gentle taps on the floor before responding.

“Boron,” Kizaru looked bored. ________________ stopped tapping her foot.

“Number six,” she tapped her foot again.

“Carbon,”

“Seven?” he looked smugly at him. This time she tapped on her desk with her finger.

“Nitrogen. Just because you can’t retain useless information in class, doesn’t mean we can’t,”

“Alright tough shit, what are ones that are the noble gasses? ___________________ leave the classroom,”

“You sure, sir?” she said looking at him

“Yes, maybe then you can control your movements,”

“…okay, where do you want me to go?”

“Wherever you have next,”

“Awesome! Early recess!” she scampered out. She lingered by the door and listened to Ace’s answer. The look on Kizaru’s face was priceless. Then Ace came out behind her, “Detention?”

“Nah, standing outside. But fuck it, I’m going with you,”

“I’ll meet you at our table. I have to get into the surveillance room,”

“Oh? What are you planning, sis?”

“The less you know the better Nii-chan but I have to make sure a certain try hard cadet stays down here,” Ace glanced at Isuka making her rounds.

“Leave it to me,”  She snorts before heading off. This gave her a chance to get on things early. She went upstairs. The school had a surveillance room to keep an eye on things in certain areas. Because the school was a place of learning and training, they often had cadets in training to be hall monitors to keep students from fighting in hallways. There were mainly two cadets who did it and Isuka was downstairs. She didn’t care too much for her but she knew the one she could get to do what she needed to be done.  Coby stood vigilant at his post. He wasn’t as seasoned as many of the Marines he worked under but he still took his job seriously. He wasn’t afraid to dole out punishment if it needed to be done. He knew was respected and not feared because he made a vow he was going to be the best Marine he could.

“Coby…” the young cadet froze. He reddened when he saw two familiar (e/c) eyes and a sweet smile. This had happened before. As a cadet of the Marines, his job was keeping the law and order of the school as a part of his training and he was only able to do so thanks to Luffy. Even though he did have respect, there was ONE weakness he couldn’t handle and that was _____________________’s pout.

“_-_________________! H-Hi!”

“Hiiiiii, I need you to do one eensy weensy little favorite for me,”

“Y-Yeah?”

“I need to get into the surveillance room. It’s really important I get in there,”

“I-I ca-can’t! Yo-You don’t have proper clearance to go inside! I-I can get in trouble!”

“I’ll take all of the blame. It’s for a good cause, Coby bear,” She gently traced his chest with her index finger and looked deep into his eyes. His entire face went red. He could feel his heart pounding out of his chest. She bit her lip and softly whispered in his ear, “Please?” that did it.

“1-5-7-2-6-5-3!”

“Thank you Coby! You’re the best! Now keep look out for me okay?” he nodded as she popped into the room and came out about three minutes later, “You’re the best!” she gave him a hug. He blushed badly as her hair brushed against his cheek. Her hair smelt so good as he hugged her back. She went away with him still reeling over her before he realized what happened.

“Damn it not again!” he knew he had to do the walk of shame back to Smoker.

“YOU’RE THINKING WITH THE WRONG HEAD BOY!” Smoker barked as he slammed his fist on the table after Coby reported what happened, “You gave her the code again!”

“I CAN’T HELP IT SIR! HAVE YOU SEEN HER?!” said Coby

“I’m a grown man I’m not interesting in looking at a damned high school girl in that way! THINK BOY! WHAT DID SHE DO?!”

“Well, first she traced my chest with a finger, then she give me a pout! She looks so cute when she pouts…then afterwards she gives me a hug and her hair smells amaz—,”

“IN. THE. ROOM! WHAT DID SHE DO IN THE SURVEILLANCE ROOM!”

“OH! I don’t know! I can’t help it sir! Everything became a blur after she hugged me!”  

“….You need to work on that but we need her in the office now!” Smoker ran inside and looked around. Nothing in the room was missing. In fact, everything looked…normal. He checked the cameras, everything was running okay, all of the tapes were in their rightful place but he KNEW this girl and he knew if there was a reason for her to go into the surveillance room it wasn’t a good one.  

***
By the time lunch rolled around, a few of the students knew _________________ was planning something big. No one knew what it was for sure but usually it meant they were going to get a few days off if she succeeded. She got her lunch out of her locker and headed to the cafeteria. But instead of going to the front, she slipped into the kitchens. Because the school housed both gangs and nobles, the government hired thuggish chefs to make sure the students had both gourmet cooking and protection and the only cooks that checkered was the Baratie Restaurant. The cooks always alternated for the week and this week was Patty and Carne She placed a very special order in and was ready to pick it up.  

“Patty! I’m here!”

“Kiddo!” grabs her and hugged her tightly, “We just finished your order!”

“Thank you SO much!” she opened the box and grinned. It smelt amazing.

“You have to introduce the asshole who loves my cooking so much!”

“And ask if his taste buds work,” said Carne

“Hey fuck you!” _________________ reached into her bag and took out about three pounds of truffles, “I don’t know HOW you get these kid but you’re a godsend!”

“Those are for Zeff, I know I have to make deliveries for this!” she quickly went to her locker and put the food inside. By this time, her stomach was growling and she took out her lunch of spring rolls made by Thatch. She found Ace and made a beeline to sit with him.

“What are you planning, ________________________?” said Zoro

“What? Why is it whenever I am eating my lunch, you all ask me what I’m planning?! I’m genuinely shocked and appalled about these wild accusations!”

“Shishishishishi! Because we want in!” said Luffy grinning, “Come on, tell us, tell us, tell us!”

“I can’t the less you all know the better but I am going to need a distraction. Nami has the east side of the school covered but I need something for the rest of the faculty to be distracted,”

“How many days are you planning on having the school out?” said Zoro

“A week,”

“I’m in!” said Luffy

“Why so long?!”

“Do you want to be stuck here during festival week?!”

“That’s next week?!”

“YES! I’m not missing it! Sengoku-san tries his best because he wants to go to but Akainu always makes the kids from the fringe families do something extra so it’s super late for us to go! I’ve been planning this for weeks!”

“Heh, then you’re going to have to sweeten the pot,” said Zoro

“Not you too!” she sighed, “What do you want?”

“I want to get more sleep after festival week and I need Perona out of my hair during that time,” she cringed.

“What do you need?”

“Her locked in her room for a week,” _________________ thought for a few moments.

“Done,”

“Alright,”

“Luffy?”

“Meat!”

“Well, Pops is having a BBQ every night for Festival Week,”

“YEAH!” they talked for a few moments before the pair went off. She looked at her watch and woofed down her spring rolls before running off.

“Your sister is a clever one,” said Deuce watching the young girl scampering out of the cafeteria. Ace was half way through his meal.

“And loves to live dangerously,”

“Yeah, where everyone avoids Smoker like a plague, she openly has fun challenging his authority,”

“She told me she sees it as a part of her training, whatever that means,”

“I think she’s knows she’s taking down a government institution and gets a rush,”

“That and she knows Festival Week means a lot to a lot of students, especially those who come from “gang” areas,”

“Whatcha mean?”

“Well a bunch of students have younger siblings and they can’t go to the festivals by themselves so they rely on their brothers and sisters to take them. Or in our case, it brings back memories of our family having BBQs every night before we were required to go to a normal school. A lot of us are fuckin’ burned out and everyone has been griping about it and she listens. So she’s giving everyone the vacation we all deserve,” Deuce chuckled.

“There’s something wholesome about not being self serving enough to do it for the greater good. Your chaotic good is rubbing off on her,”

“You make that sound like a bad thing,”

“You literately set fire to the gym just to show how many peepholes and how unstable the place way,”

“Hey we have gym as an elective now can use that something else, like going home earlier,” __________________ went to her locker for her second phase. She looked inside and saw that Nami placed what she needed inside. She pocketed it before she took out her den den mushi and made a call. Soon a familiar voice rang out.

“Hello?”

“Vivi! Buddy, pal, friend, comrade!”

“What scheme are you doing now?”

“HEY!” the girl chuckled on the other end of the line, “I’m hurt dude! I was just wondering if you’re still coming for Festival Week?”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world! I’ll be staying at the Embassy but Father said I can sleepover your place too! It’s a lot safer anyway. Need me to bring anything?”

“Do you have any more fabric from that tailor your father hired?”

“YES! She has like twenty yards of different fabric she’s trying to get rid of,”

“Print?”

“There’s one that’s red with black Victorian looking crosses oh and a nice purple with a black candy print,”

“Can I have those?”

“Yeah! I’ll bring it with me,”

“Thanks! I owe you one!” she hung up and lingered by the teacher’s lounge. On cue, students ran to the lounge talking about five spontaneous fights that broke in five separate areas of the school. ___________________ watched as all the teacher ran out to break things up. She looked around and slipped into the teacher’s lounge. She’s been observing their patterns for awhile now and every teacher, except a few, had one thing in common, coffee. Many of the teachers were Marines so before they went back to class, they had coffee. There were about five pots brewing at once. She slipped in and took out a small bottle and poured the contents into each one along with a laxative. She then noticed a few opened water bottles and beverages at their desks. She took out the last bottle, ipecac, and slipped it inside a few of their drinks. She pockets the bottle and turned to see the door handle turning. She quickly hid behind the door and stayed still and quiet. Kizaru entered the room. Before the door closed, she grabbed it, inched towards the door and walked off before bumping into the delivery man.

“Hi! You must the delivery taker girl! Here! They’re for the—,”

“Oooh, actually, she’s just a student,” Kizaru took the burgers and looked at her, “You’re Rayleigh’s granddaughter,”

“That’s right sir!”

“I don’t like your grandfather,”

“I’m sure the feeling is mutual, sir,” he raised an eyebrow.  

“With all due respect, kid, I don’t like you,”

“With all due respect sir, I’m not fond of you either,” they looked at each other before headed off. He shook his head and bit into his burger. She grinned and went off. For the last few days, the Marines as anonymous charcoal burgers delivered to their office for lunch. They were all grateful and ate their fill. Everyone assumed Sengoku had it arranged for them and no one questions it. Phase two was complete. Now all she had to do was dispose of the evidence in the incinerator. But that means she would need a hall pass. She looked at her schedule and remembered her class was with Shanks and sighed in relief. This got easier. She waited until about an hour into the lesson before she asked Shanks for a hall pass. She went to her locker, grabbed the food and evidence and quickly ran out of the school. On the far side of the school was the incinerator. It was the main and only place to dispose the school’s garbage. All she had to do was put her evidence in, fire it up, and get back into class.

“Well, well, well, look who’s here,” ______________ cringed and looked up to see two familiar beings. One she actually liked, the other well…she was not quite fond of. One was a muscular man with pale skin and bright red hair, resembling flames. The other was tall and just as muscular with long wild blonde hair that falls down to his thighs. However was set him apart from his partner was a plain, white and light-blue full-head helmet with many holes in it and what look like modern headphones on both the sides covering his head, “What’s the little honor student bitch doing here?”

“Hey Killer how are you?” said __________________ pleasantly

“Good, can’t complain. You?”

“Things to do,”

“DON’T YOU FUCKIN’ IGNORE ME!” he barked. She looked unimpressed.

“Can’t help it Eustass, you’re so easy to forget. Speaking of, I need you two to move aside so I can use the incinerator,”  

“Oh, I’ll let you pass, for a price,”

“For the last time, I don’t swing that way,”

“…Shit this just got interesting, I didn’t know you were a carpet muncher,”

“No, I’m just not into arrogant redhaired bastards,”

“You little—,” they both stared the other down. Killer got in between per usual, “I swear to fuckin’ god you’re fuckin’ mouthy,”

“Have to be. Let me use the incinerator,”

“You have to pay the toll bitch. You have two options, suck my dick or let me pierce your nipple,”

“But I’m allergic to shrimp,”

“YOU BITCH!” Killer once again got in-between the pair, “I swear to fuck how the fuck did we get stuck being associated with you?!”

“Because you and Ace are in an eternal pissing contest and Killer and I are caught in the middle. Now move aside, I have to use that incinerator,”

“Tough shit then. I’m not playing. You should be honored to choke on my dick,”

“Nah, it’ll probably terrify me more than anything. I just got out of my nightmare phase. All pleasantries aside, you’re blocking my way, I’ve been planning this for weeks and I can’t have you screwing up all of my efforts! I’m not going to have us miss festival week because of your stupidity!”

“Stupidity?!”

“Festivals?” said Killer

“Yeah! Akainu decided to have it where only the nobles and cadets can attend the festival this year because we’ll be in school! It’s not fair,” the masked man said nothing, took the items in her hands, and tossed them into the incinerator and turned it on.

“THE HELL KILLER?!”

“Thank you Killer!”

“Don’t mention it, get back to class, besides you know what I want,” she handed him the container from Baratie before running off. Kid glared at him.

“THE EVER LOVING FUCK! I HAD HER BY THE CLIT!”

“You didn’t, you know she usually outsmarts you eventually. Besides, we’re playing Festival Week remember?”

“SO?!”

“So, if it’s a bunch of snooty noble kids, we can’t play what or how we want and swarming with Marines is never good in our favor. And if we don’t play we don’t get paid. Besides, she knows what I like,” he opened the bag to reveal Patty’s famous anchovy and crab aglio e olio and happily started eating. ________________ and hung out enough to know that only Patty made spaghetti the way Killer liked it.

“You sold me out for fuckin’ pasta?!”

“Yep. Mmmm still hot,”

***
______________________ made it back in the school. She looked at the clock. She had ten minutes to get back to class with none the wiser. She grinned at her handiwork and thought about rewarding herself with a slice of fluffy cheesecake. She drooled at the thought as she turned the corner. The halls were covered in smoke. She froze as she tried to maneuver her was through the thick smoke. She then saw a familiar figure on the other end and if looks could kill. She ran for it, weaving around the imposing man and up and down the stairs. She was almost to Shanks’ classroom when she was grabbed by the nape of her blouse.

“EEEK! S-S-Smoker sir! Ho-How are you—,”

“Cut the crap kid! I know you’re planning something!”

“Sir! I was trying to get back to class like all good noodles!”

“The hell you were! You went outside and if I know you, you were doing something out there you had no business doing! Office now!” she nodded and did the walk of shame towards the office. She noticed the clock. They had a few minutes before it was almost time for their last period. But it was also Friday. That means Marco was waiting for her and Ace and Luffy to take them home. He was done with his Friday business early. She also spied the fire alarm. The fire alarm bell and the next period bell were different. In one swift motion, she pulled the alarm, just as the period bell rang. Within moments, students came flooding out in confusion and panic. I the chaos, she ran into the sea of students, opened her locker, grabbed her bag and ran. She ran fast out the school as student poured out along with fire truck. She heard a second, then third pair of footsteps behind her. Ace and Luffy were close behind.

“Got caught?” said Ace grinning at her.

“Smoker’s like a bloodhound! Once I’m off school grounds, I’m home free!” Home free was an understatement. Smoker alerted some of his underlings to create a human barrier in front of the school and instructed to seize any student trying to run out. He was standing in front and lit two cigars glaring. That damned kid was running away, just has he predicted. Ace smirked.

“Heh, okay Luffy you know what to do,” Luffy grinned stopped and used his arm as a slingshot to launch him, Ace, and ___________________ over the barrier and landing on the other side. The trio then made a break for it. Marco was waiting by his car. Ace and Luffy booked it, ______________ straggled behind and was snatched hard by Kizaru. She yelped and went to move but she felt him squeezing her shoulder harder. She winced and glared at Kizaru. Before he could say anything, she was pulled away and whisked behind Marco. They stared each other down.

“Keep your hands off my sister, yoi,”  

“Keep a leash on her and maybe I would,”

“Just like the noose the Marines keep around your neck?” before he could retort, Smoker reached and grabbed ______________by the nape of her blouse and marched her into his office. Marco followed with Ace. Isuka looked at the sight.

“Bring me the surveillance tape now!”

“Yes sir!” he marched her into his office and plopped her on the chair.

“Do you know much many rules you broke today?!” he glared.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, sir,”

“Cut the crap kid! You think five fights just spontaneously just happened?! I know you had a hand in this!”

“Sir, I was eating my lunch in the cafeteria today,”

“You and Nami were acting chummy,”

“We’re friends sir,” she said grinning.

“You’re friends with a girl who’s infamous of bringing and getting contraband in school?”

“I don’t judge,”

“Here’s the tapes sir!” said Isuka running in. She glared at Ace who winked at her. She huffed and handed him the tape. The tapes showed ________________ in every single place she was she was and everything checked out. Even the flirting scene with Coby and stricken from the records.

“KID I SWEAR TO GOD! WHAT DID YOU DO?!”

“Sorry Smoker, looks like you can’t pin anything on my little sis,” said Ace smugly lounging back in his chair. Marco looked at the cameras.

“He’s right, she’s nowhere near the teacher’s lounge,” Smoker was about to retort when the normally calm and collected Tashigi couldn’t take it anymore and projectile vomited in a trashcan.

“Tashigi?!”

“S-Sorry sir…I’m not feeling…” she turned her head and vomited again. Then they heard the sounds of retching from outside the office. Isuka was doubled over and vomiting all over herself. Smoker ran to see half the Staff projectile vomiting all over their classrooms. Marco took the opportunity to get _______________ and Ace out of there, dodging vomit in their wake. Sengoku winced and had the hospital was called.

***
The notice came late Sunday evening that due to unforeseen circumstances, school was to be cancelled for the next week or until the staff felt better. Many were rushed to the hospital because of diarrhea, bloating, projectile vomiting, and abnormal colors of fecal matter. Not all of the staff was affected, in fact a few were scot free. Miss Robin brought her lunch from home and didn’t go into the teacher’s lounge. Shanks, Brook, and Buggy usually ate in the cafeteria. Issho was helping another student with some personal troubles and Crocodile was almost always off campus for meals. The teachers and staff that were hit hard were Akainu, Kizaru, Tashigi, and a bunch of others who were Marines. Smoker was determined to get to the bottom of this. The symptoms were all the same. He seized documents and it said that they were all diagnosed with some rare type of five day virus. Smoke slammed his fist on the table. How in the HELL did she pull off changing the hospital records?! Everyone knew that charcoal burger produced green poop and even the blue urine, the nausea, and even itching could be explained and the vomiting but HOW was she able to make the doctors think it was something else?!

“It’s a good thing that Dr. Wright found that book or they would have never know how those people had to be treated,” said one of the nurses

“And bookmarked!” said the other, “Poor teachers have to be quarantined for five days!”

“Book?” he said. The nurses looked at him.

“Yes! One of our books of unusual diseases went missing and was found just in the nick of time!”

“May I see it?” Smoker took a look at the book. It was an official book, however…one of the pages looked fairly new. Like created just for the book without anyone knowing the wiser, “…has any students come into the hospital lately?”

“Ummm no, actually we had a temp doctor a few weeks ago. He was treating a few of the children in the pediatrics ward. He went down into the archives and got the book. Isn’t that lucky?”

“…do you remember what is name was?”

“He said his name was T.W.L. He had the same name of that doctor who was killed along with his whole town some years ago. Shame really. But it’s so awesome he was able to find that book and able to get those teachers diagnosed!” Smoker nodded and left the hospital. That girl was as much trouble as Strawhat at times. She was too clever for her own good and it pissed him off to no end.

“Big Brother!” he looked up to see a little girl with pigtails running one of the boys who lived in the gang areas. The older boy picked her up and hugged her.

“Good news, I’ll be able to take you to get some roasted tangerines and take you to see Uncle! We got the week off during Festival Week!”

“Really?! You mean it?!”

“Yep!” has he walked he heard and saw teenagers making plans to meet families, see old friends, going to concerts, and saying how burned out they were getting. He couldn’t help but smirk to himself. It wasn’t for self gain, it was for every student who wanted to see their families and friends and not get in trouble for it. Even if it meant half the faculty getting sick.

***
The school officially got two weeks of vacation thanks to ___________________’s hard work and effort. Sengoku ordered the best care for his staff until the doctor’s discharged them. The following week, the noble children were to have their exams and things but until then, everyone got to enjoy Festival Week. The first thing in the morning after breakfast, ___________________ hit up every single cake and sweet shop and their deals and by early noon, she had them in her secret fridge. Around early evening, Ace, Luffy, Zoro, and her loaded into the car and got to Cocoyashi town for one of the many festivals that evening.  

“I don’t know HOW you managed to pull it off but you did!” said Ace ruffling her and passing her over (favorite drink).

“Weeks of planning,” she said downing it.

“Tell me you got some sleep over it,” said Zoro

“Yes but I had to call in A LOT of favors but it was worth it for this,”

“How much beli did you give Nami for her role?”

“Two hundred,” said Nami plopping down next to them and huggling ___________________, “But I owe her a few freebies for this one! I have a brand new wardrobe now! When’s Vivi coming?”

“Tomorrow morning! She’s bringing forty yards of fabric for Perona,”

“Thanks, she’ll hole herself up in her room sewing for days,”

“Awesome! By the way, have any of you seen Coby? I owe him a ride on the ferris wheel with me,”

“Into Marine cadets?” said Zoro laughing.

“Pffft no but if he didn’t get me access to the surveillance room, I couldn’t have gotten away with it,”

“He’s going to pop a chub isn’t he?” said Nami

“Probably poor guy,”  

“Anyway, I have to borrow my sister for a few moments, I have something to give her something,” ________________ was hoisted and whisked off by Ace. He pulled her into an one armed hug. She blushed slightly and grinned.

“Where are we going?”

“I’m taking you to get funnel cake,”

“…what’s funnel cake?”

“…you never had funnel cake?”

“No!”Ace took her to a stall. He ordered one and handed it to her, “Whatever it is, it smells amazing!”

“Yeah, they change locations every year. Like with the takiyaki cart,”

“Oh! I probably missed it,”

“Because you go on your taiyaki hunt. Here,” he went to pay but the vendor stopped him.

“Umm actually, the funnel cake is on the house for the little lady,” said the vendor

“Wait what?!”

“Yeah, some guy came by, gave me a description and told me if a girl matching your description comes to give you one every day during festival week.”

“…how did he know that she was going to get the funnel cake?”

“He said something about you’re a cake fiend, even though this isn’t technically cake,”

“Hell, free is free,” said Ace

“Oh wow! Thanks!” Smoker watched as she and Ace left, laughing and eating. He hated to admit but she deserved it. Maybe without enough sugar, she’ll become too listless to come with her schemes. But until that day comes, he’ll have to admit, the little shit keeps him on his toes but in a good way.

Chapter Text

“Get rid of her,” said her master, “Make sure that ungrateful little wretch never steps one foot back in this city. As proof, bring us her blood stained necklace. You have five sunsets, five sunrises, five days to complete your task. If you don’t come back by 11:59:59 on the final night, your sisters will die,” The woman held the little girl’s hand as she took her through the woods. They knew she would come back. She couldn’t leave without her family and they knew it. She looked down at her. She looked up at her with a smile.

“Miss Hancock, what happened to Mr. Klein?”

“He drank some foul water and it turned him into stone,” she said

“Oh! That’s awful! Say, where are we going?”

“Someplace…where you’ll be safe,”

“Are we gonna live together?!” she chuckled

“No, no, you’re going to live someplace where you’ll be okay,” She never seen so many bruises and marks on a little girl before, not even on a slave girl and with all of those marks, she still managed to smile happily. Hancock held the knife in her hands. She knew her orders were to kill this little girl but she couldn’t bring herself to it. This young thing wasn’t like the monsters that raised her and she wasn’t going to let them harm the only good thing that came from them. Thanks to their head servant, they were able to get out of the area but she still had her marking as a reminder. She griped her hand.

“Didn’t know they were going to free a few slaves in this area. Unless they know you’re coming back or you escape, either way you look like she need some help,” she pulled the girl behind her. A man appeared out from the trees. an elderly man of average height with silver hair and silver eyes. Two of his most distinguishing traits were his round glasses and facial hair, which is arranged embattled across his lower jaw. He also has a scar over his right eye. She glares and held out her knife. He raised his hands, “Wait young lady, I come in peace,”

“Who are you?! Did they send you to kill me after she’s gone?!” he shook his head.

“No, no but I am willing to help,” Hancock glared at him. He grinned at her, “All you can do is trust me and by your ability, you know I’m not after either of you,” Hancock looked apprehensive before she loosened her grip.

“I’m not letting her out of my sight until I know she’s safe,”

“I understand,” he looked at the little girl. She smiled at him, “Hello little one,”

“Hi Mister!”

“Call me Silvy!” it took a few days, mostly on a ship, the rest by train but they had some distance between them and her parents. Hancock knew she had a week to get rid of her. They were specific about her having just a week to take her far away and dispose of her and her time was running out. Rayleigh didn’t seem too worried when they arrived in an area that seemed so sleepy and calm. They got off the bus as he ushered the pair a few blocks until they stopped at a convent. The convent was huge but homey looking. He approached the door and knocked three times. A tall woman soon appeared. She was an elderly woman, about his age with grey eyes, silver streaks in her reddish hair, and looked annoyed if anything. He leaned against the doorframe.

“Hello Flora,”

“…What do you want Rayleigh? I swear if you’re bringing shit into my convent—,”

“I come in peace,” he held up his hands, “You know I wouldn’t come here unarmed especially around a dangerous woman with an equally dangerous man close by. I was wondering, do you have any spare room?”

“What for?” she looked at Hancock and the little girl, “…what the hell did you get yourself mixed up in?” he immediately explained the situation. The old nun nodded slowly, “I see, what about her?” she gestured to Hancock, “Is she staying too?”

“I can’t leave my sisters there behind,”

“I swear this is icing on a shit cake. You’re far away enough where the girl won’t be recognized or anything like that,”

“So she’s okay to stay?”

“Please Flora,”

“She can stay,” Hancock looked at the little girl. She couldn’t help but sob. She was just an all around easy going little thing and after what happened, she knew she could never be safe if anyone knew she was alive. The little girl goes to her and hugged her knees. She looked down. She looked up with her bright (e/c) eyes.

“Miss Hancock, please don’t cry! I hate when you cry! Your face gets red and puffy!” she chuckled and got on her knee and hugged her tightly.

“You’re going to be okay now! Just promise you won’t forget about me!”

“I promise!” Hancock gently took off the necklace the girl was wearing. She then told her to hold on her hand. She gently cuts it and lets the blood pour all over it. She gently cleaned and bandaged the wound. After a hot meal and making sure she had a warm place to sleep, Rayleigh and Hancock left. When she got back to the kingdom, she presented a box with the heart, lungs, and eyes of the young girl along with her necklace. Her parents were pleased and dismissed her. Her sisters were unharmed as promised. Hancock couldn’t help but think about her young charge. Yes, she was safe but at what cost? Would be happy? Would she ever see her again? Tears rolled down her eyes. She would find her one day even if it was the last thing she did. She had to know what her fate would become.

***
_________________________ happily ran home. She was in high spirits the whole week. She asked Pops on Monday if her Grandpa could visit this Friday and he said it was. Thatch was going to make tempura and she had to get the ingredients. She didn’t mind. In fact she was so happy she couldn’t contain it. Se happily told her brothers while the other brothers prepared his coming.

“Grandpa, I thought you were an orphan,” said Ace

“I am! But Grandpa was the one who brought me to the convent and since then, he’s always tried to visit me! I hadn’t seen in a while but I’m glad he’s coming to see me!”

“What’s he like?” said Luffy

“He’s huge! Not as tall as Pops but close! He has this big smile on his face and he always tells me stories about his time in his gang! He always tries to bring me something cool along with these shiny rocks called geos! He always asks me if I learned something and show him what I learned! He’s so cool! He travels all over but he lives with Shakky at a bar!”

“Can we meet him too?!” said Sabo

“Yeah can we?!” said Luffy

“Sounds a lot better than Garp,” said Ace.

“Of course you can! I want him to meet my new family! I asked Pops and he said it was okay!” the rest of the house was curious about the mysterious man who _________________ calls her grandfather. Thatch made dinner and everyone just sat and waited.

“Who do you think it is?” said Curiel

“Beats me but the little lady is over the moon,” said Rakuyo, “He told her at least twenty of her favorite stories,”

“Damn good ones,” said Vista, “Whoever they are, they’re either a seasoned pirate or Yassop,”

“She knows to never listen to his bullshit,” that was when the doorbell rang. _______________ went to the door. Soon a very familiar man of average height wearing his round glasses and strange facial hair, which is arranged embattled across his lower jaw . He also has a scar over his right eye. __________________ happily and casually referred to him as grandpa, to everyone else in the room him as one thing, the Dark King.

“GRANDPA!” The entire house was quiet. Rayleigh lifted his little granddaughter up and hugged her tightly, “You came!”

“You invited me you little imp,” he said pecks her cheek. The three boys looked at him in awe.

“Wow he IS huge,” said Luffy

“Not as big as Pops,” said Ace

“Bet he could beat up Garp,” said Sabo

“No one could survive a fist of love!” Rayleigh chuckled.

“And you must be her new younger brothers, Ace, Sabo, and Luffy. She told me all your secrets,” Ace glared at her.

“W-What did you tell him?!”

“Me to know you to find out,” he said grinning at him.

“Nothing major, she told me I could figure each of you by looks alone. So I guessed the quieter, mature one was Sabo,”

“Yep!”

“The one who’s most likely smiling and asking me tons of questions is Luffy,”

“Shishishi yeah!”

“And yes I do poop,”

“ALRIGHT!”

“WHY DO YOU ALWAYS ASK PEOPLE THAT?!” said Ace

“And the boy who’d most likely yelling and scold would be Ace,”

“What’s it to you?!”

“Grandpa is the one who tells me all of the cool stories I was telling you guys about! Like the one about the island where there’s fruit during anyone who eats it, pink!”

“Did you bring some of that back?!” said Sabo

“Working on it. I have no idea how to explain to people that the effects aren’t permanent,”

“After the poop it out right?!”

“WHAT IS WITH YOU AND POOP?!”

“And the one about him fighting the Pirate King himself!” Ace perked up at this.

“I thought only Pops fought the Pirate King,”

“There were many contenders but very few who could toe to toe with a man like that and walk away without a scratch. I was one of them, Garp was one, of course Whitebeard and Flora,”

“Did you fight Garp too?!” said Sabo

“And won,”

“WOW!” in the kitchen, the brothers were all conflicted. Silvers Rayleigh, Roger’s first mate was in their home. Whitebeard didn’t seem bothered, especially since Rayleigh long since retired but the pair did have history and neither of them knew how the other would act. During dinner, Rayleigh regaled stories and the brother remained silent. The kids were enamored with his tales.

“Tell us about the battle with you and the princess in Fishman Island,”

“I can’t believe you remember that one. Okay, okay, if was a long time ago when humans and fishmen still had a lot of animosity. My crew and I encountered were taken in by the fishman for a simple restocking and leaving. However, two lovely mermaids had fallen in love with one of our crewmembers and we had to leave as soon as we were able—,”

“Actually,” the brothers turned to Whitebeard who glared at Rayleigh from the head of the table, “It was actually not just any crewmember. It was because of Shanks. I remember it because the mermaids and fishmen almost killed us all because of him. We were docked on the island getting alliances with the Sun Pirates,” Rayleigh stopped for a few moments before laughing.

“I clobbered that little shit when it was all over! He wanted to elope with her on the spot and all that trouble and he was later flirting with another woman. We had to get out of there because no one wanted him hide or hair near the Fishman Kingdom! You saved our asses that day!”

“Even when he was a kid that damned Shanks almost causes a war,” said Marco taking a gulp of his drink. Jozu started laughing.

“I remember that! It was how Namur came to the family! The Fishmen STILL thinks Namur and Shanks are married!”

“Wait what?!” said __________________, “I never heard this part!”

“Wait! Shanks is married?!” said Luffy

“Mocked married,” said Curiel

“Yeah! We were with Pops during that time as his cabin boys!” said Vista laughing.

“They needed to find a princess worthy enough for Shanks and it had to be “arranged” so he wouldn’t be gutted and Namur was the only fishman who knew enough and was willing to pose as Shanks’ betroth!”

“I protested but the next thing I knew Izo was wrapping me in a kimono and putting makeup on me…I was the ugliest woman on the seas,” said Namur laughing.

“It was enough to get the fishmen to call off the war because technically he was already promised to another mermaid,”

“I had to forge the wedding documents and make up a new island and country,” said Marco, “Still can’t believe we pulled it off,”

“We were just lucky that no one wanted to follow up it,” said Rayleigh, “Shanks for kitchen duty for three months over that stunt,”

“And the party was amazing!” said Thatch, “And Shanks lived to flirt another day,”

“Don’t remind me!” soon old stories were emerging from around the table. Rayleigh and Whitebeard carried on like old friends telling their sides of stories that the kids have never heard before. After a long night of laughing and telling the stories, it was getting late. Luffy and Sabo stayed the night as they all got ready to bed. ______________ hugged Rayleigh and Whitebeard before scampering off to bed herself.

Rayleigh and Whitebeard sat on the roof. Both were silent waiting for the other one to speak. Whitebeard hadn’t spoken to any of Roger’s former crew since his death, with the exception of Shanks and Crocus. He knew Rayleigh was still alive. The man was too stubborn and lighthearted to kick it. But like many of his generation, he retired, still doing shady shit but retired from the life.

“I can’t say I’m not surprised that you said it was alright for me to visit,” Rayleigh broke the silence first as Whitebeard pours him a drink, “Hell I was actually surprised Flora gave the little ankle biter up. I was prepared for a fight. You could cut the tension with a knife downstairs. Then again, when old pirates relay old stories, things usually lighten up on both sides,”

“I don’t care about what we did in the past, I’m just worried about __________________’s wellbeing,” Whitebeard downed his drink, “since you’re her grandfather, then I’m not going to forbid you two from seeing each other. The look on her face alone said it all. She was so happy when she saw you and you were happy to see her. I’m not going to break that up,”

“You’re a good man Edward. Kid’s growing like a weed. She’ll never reach the height of the brother though,”

“Sadly no, she’ll always be an ankle biter,” the men chuckled before laughing hard, “Knowing Jozu, he’ll carry her around on his shoulders for the rest of his life. Or Atmos hell I wouldn’t mind doing it. She’ll be fearsome little parrot,”

“Wasn’t Marco that for awhile?”

“He’ll never admit it that he still perches there from time to time. I’ll have a duckling and a parrot. I remembered showing her my Devil Fruit ability. I thought she was going to cry because of the height. She adored it. I told her to never tell Flora. She’d skin me alive if she found out I hoisted her a hundred feet into the air,”

“Knowing Flora she knows and biding her time to strike,”

“I still have the lump. To be honest, I’m surprised Florrie didn’t let you and Shakky adopt her,”

“A bar filled with shady characters is no place for a kid. Besides, Flora knows where a kid would be a good fit. I’ll give credit where it’s due, you raised dozens of fine boys, I know you can handle a little girl,” Rayleigh gulps down his drink, “She’s a good kid, just given a bad hand. Not her fault,” Whitebeard looked at him. Rayleigh looked up at the sky, “Flora didn’t tell you where she came from, did she?”

“No, where did she come from?”

“A kingdom very far away,”

“How far?”

“The Red Line Area,”

“…you’re not joking are you?”

“I wish I was. Let’s just say, she’s safer and happier here. I only know what I was told. Truth be told, I’m glad she started slowly forget her past. Trust me, it was touch and go for awhile,” Rayleigh took another shot, “I don’t know what happened to her but the kid wasn’t suppose to leave her kingdom alive. I just happened to be in the area and I saw a woman and a little girl walking through the woods in the middle of the night. It was suspicious to say the least,”

“Why were you in the woods in the middle of the night?”

“I needed a favor from Flora and the region had naturally grown black garlic. I thought it would be perfect for her garden. It’s easier to sniff out when there’s not another person to interrupt. I saw them walking. ___________________ was covered in bruises and scratches and the woman with her looked on high alert. But the way they were both dressed and placed two and two together and knew the convent would be the best place for her,”

“Bruises?”

“Mhm, like I said, I don’t know what happened but for the longest time, she had very vivid nightmares and she couldn’t explain them. She used to sleep with Flora for awhile until she realized that she lived sleeping in the little half room because she felt safer. It took a long time but she forgot her past and since became happy and lively. She was happy when she came to the convent but I think it was a defense mechanism. Her mind actually started filling holes on its own. She doesn’t remember who brought her, so she assumed her parents did. She doesn’t remember how I became her grandpa but accepts it as fact. Not going to lie, as far as I’m concerned, she’s my granddaughter and it’s my job to spoil the hell out of her every time she visits,” Whitebeard snorts.

“I had no idea what to think. She was so excited knowing you were coming over. It’ll pain me but when I need more information about ____________________ I’ll ask you,”

“I won’t hold it against you,” As soon as Rayleigh left, Whitebeard went to check on his younger sons and daughter. He peeked in to see the three boys dead to the world. Luffy happily sandwiched between his two brothers, Ace squeezing him protectively and Sabo wrapped in his blanket. He smiled and closed the door and headed towards ___________________’s room. He peeked inside to see a light under a blanket. He chuckled and slowly and quietly made his way to the blanket and raised it up. ____________________ was nose deep in a book. She jumped when she saw him.

“Wasn’t your bedtime an hour ago?”

“Y-Yes…”

“Marco is going to get you,”

“Please don’t tell!”

“Secret is safe. He used to do the same thing when he was your age. What are you reading?”

“Coraline! It’s so scary but it’s really good! But I can stop if I’m about to get an awesome story for my Dad!”

“Persuasion now? You drive a hard bargain, kid. Alright I think know of a good one under the condition you get some sleep,”

“Okay!” she propped up on her pillows, “Say Pops, did you and Grandpa know each other? Like a long time ago?”

“Yeah, way before you were born,” he said grinning.

“Were you friends?”

“…well we respected each other,” he said, “But if you’re worried about him coming over, I’m not going to take you away from your Grandpa,” she looked relieved, “I wouldn’t take away someone you love and care about. Rayleigh and I can put aside our differences,”

“But you two are so much alike!”

“Oh? How?”

“You’re both always happy! You’re both really tall! You both tell amazing stories! And you two drink a lot!” Whitebeard snorts and ruffled her hair.

“I swear you never cease to surprise me. Tell you what, how about you and me go visit them next weekend,”

“Really?! You and me?!”

“Mhm, unless you had someone else in mind,”

“Can Ace, Sabo, and Luffy come too?! I mean I met their other families! I want them to meet my grandparents! I don’t think they have a grandma! So they can share mine! Shakky is amazing!”

“I can’t say no to such a noble endeavor,”

“Well, Ace is letting me share his bandit family and Luffy said I’m not fully initiated until I get a fist of love from his grandpa!”

“I’ll root for you kiddo but try to dodge it if you can. Now get comfortable. I have a tale about the infamous Captain Blume,”

“Captain Blume?”

“Yep! Captain and Respected Mother of the Flower Pirates back in the day. This woman was feared and respected by anyone who came across her and she ruled her territory with an iron fist and a fabled sword called the Petal blade. She could either kill or save anyone with her plant ability thanks to the Mosa Mosa no mi fruit,”

“She had a Devil Fruit?!”

“Mhm, this one had the ability to grow plants and use them as weapons,”

“Ooh! Tell me more!”

***
She was the most powerful and most beautiful woman in the city. She earned her own territory and the admiration of everyone around her. It took her a few years but she purged the area of anything involving men. It was literately a woman’s paradise. There were boutiques everywhere, salons, women friendly gyms; the whole city was sustainable with just women, including construction. But this didn’t mean that didn’t begrudgingly have alliances with men once in awhile. She had most wrapped around her finger. She was beautiful, she was powerful, and she free. Because she was beautiful she could get away and take anything she wanted. Being a woman in power meant she had anything she wanted. However, something was on her mind lately. It’s been nagging her more and more lately. It was the only loose end that she had tie up but she was afraid. Fear was no longer in her vocabulary but it now it as back again and she wasn’t ready. That would mean she had to admit something and face something she didn’t want to do, especially since it felt so long ago but in reality, it was just a few years ago. She arranged a trip and was in her private train and was soon on her way to a convent. She arrived in the late afternoon. She dressed she wore a revealing red blouse that showed much of her chest and a loose sarong that exposed her long, slender legs with the green symbol of the Kuja adorned on it. She walked to the convent and knocked on the door. The older woman answered. She looked at her and invited her in. She looked around for a lively looking young girl in the convent. She looked everywhere and couldn’t see her and then she decided to inquire her whereabouts.

“She’s WHERE?!”

“She was adopted by someone who can better care for her,”

“WHO?!”

“Don’t take that tone with me you little shit,” said Flora looking at her, “I have no obligation to tell you anything,”

“I’ll find her!”

“Go ahead, the town has multiple territories for you to explore,” Hancock rose to her full height. Flora raised an eyebrow. The pair stared at each other. Hancock stood down, “That’s better. Listen; just trust me that she’s doing okay. I can set up a meeting or something for the pair of you,”

“It’s alright, I’ll find her myself!”

“Be my guest,” Hancock stormed out of the convent. It couldn’t be this that hard to find one little girl. It was implied that she was somewhere around here. She decided to just walk about. It was a beautiful day out and the sun was blinding. She sighed. She walked around the town for hours and evening was approaching and still no sign. She glared. If that old woman tricked her, she was going to back to that convent and throw her out the wind—

“OOF!” Hancock was startled from her thoughts as she saw a small being lands in front of her onto her back. A little girl recoiled back and got up. She looked at the woman and immediately apologized.

“I-I’m sorry Miss! I didn’t mean to slam into you!” Hancock froze. There she was. She was almost exactly how she left her, sans the bruises and scars. She was older, same beautiful eyes, same sweet expression, her cheeks were fuller, and she was wearing a jumper, not one of the countless expensive dresses she had to wear growing up. Hancock shook her head.

“Oh no! Don’t apologize. It’s alright it was an accident. I’m sorry, I should have been more watchful,” she ruffled her hair. The girl giggled and ran off. Hancock snapped out of it and ran to see where she was going. She had to see who adopted her and why! She followed at a distance and watched as she happily scampered about the streets, stopping every so often to gather things or greet people before finally bounding up towards an old Hongokan. Someone was waiting for her and caught her in his arms. He swung her around.

“Come on, go wash, dinner is almost ready,”

“Okay!” she goes inside. Marco looked up. Hancock stopped dead in her tracks. He raised an eyebrow before heading inside. Hancock quickly went to the nearest window and peeked inside. She saw her young charge inside the house. There were a bunch of men inside the house, the size of giants, many of them making sure she wasn’t stepped on. He was picked up and taken to the safety of the bottom of the stairs. She scampered upstairs. Hancock followed from window and to window. She weaved around men and other obstacles. She didn’t stop until she was on the top flight where she washed her hands. She was almost to her room when a boy dragged her into his room pointing to a clock. They then went back downstairs and started watching something on television while dinner was finishing. She didn’t like this. A bunch of men raising a little girl is not natural at all!

***
Around noon, there was a knock on the door. Ace opened it and was greeted to two massive mounts. He had to take a step back to see the full person. It was a woman in a smart looking business suit that showed her authority but also her beauty. He called Thatch over. He looked at the woman with the same curiosity.

“May we help you?”

“Yes, actually, you guys have something of mine and I’m willing to pay any price for her return,” at that moment, ____________________ came downstairs looking for Ace. Hancock smiles at her. Thatch looked behind and saw his little sister looking at the woman who was smiling at her.

“Come in, we’ll discuss this inside. Kids upstairs,” the pair nodded and made themselves scarce. They went to their secret area where they could see and hear everything in the living room. Since Pops was away again, Ace and __________________ listened closely. The woman was beautiful. They’ve seen different types women around town and the area before but nothing like her.

“Her chests looks really fluffy,” said __________________, “Like really soft,”

“I could barely see her head when I was looking at her! Her chest was in the way! I wonder what she wants,” said Ace, “Pops doesn’t have anything that’s hers,”

“I ran into her yesterday. She was really nice and apologized. Maybe I accidentally took something of hers or something,”

“Shhh,” Marco, Jozu, Vista, and Izo were looking at the woman. She looked back before crossing her legs.

“Listen, I want to cut to the chase. For a very long time, I’ve been searching for that little girl you have adopted. I’ve come to take her. Vista and Jozu tensed up. Marco looked bored.

“She’s not property, therefore she’s not for sale,” he said curtly.

“Name your price,” said Hancock, “I’ll pay any price to have that little girl live with me,”

“There’s nothing you can give or have that we’ll give her up,”

“How about a hundred thousand beli?” She wrote out a check and slid it over to them. Marco takes it and tears it in half.

“The answer is still no. Listen she’s not for sale, no human is,”

“Everything and everyone has a price,” she glared. Marco frowned.

“Everyone but her,” he growled.

“A HUNDRED THOUSAND BELI?!” Ace whispered as ____________________ covered her mouth, “Is your shit made of gold or something?! That’s enough to retire on an small island!”

“No! W-why would anyone pay that much for another person!”

“Shh! She’s leaving. Ooh Marco’s pissed! Oh wait everyone is pissed. Wow…shit she wants to buy you!”

“W-Why?!”

“Hell if I know! You don’t usually see crazy people like that around here. They usually just take kids away or something!” then there was shouting. Ace covered _________________;s ears as Hancock stormed out of the house. The pair quickly scrambled back to Ace’s room and pretended they were invested in a video game. Jozu came in to check up on them.

“You two Devils look suspicious,”

“Pffft, that’s always!” even at dinner, no one brought it up. Everyone carried on as normal. Marco seemed less than thrilled. After dinner, Ace and __________________ hung out in her room to overlook the city and munching on nori crackers.

“Well its official, no one is going to tell us anything,”

“I wonder why?”

“To keep us from worrying, I guess. But we also can’t let them know that we know,”

“Why not?”

“Because if they know we know, they’re going to try to lecture us or something and board up our hiding spot,”

“But what if I see Miss Hancock again,”

“Stay away from her! She’s obviously wants you for some bad reason if she wants pay for you!”

“Maybe she wants to adopt me,”

“Well she can’t you can’t have two families!”

“You have two families,”

“Dadan doesn’t count! Anyway, you have us, you don’t need anyone else,”

“True! I mean it’s nice of her but I’m okay where I am,”

“You better be,” he said and scooted closer, “Besides, who wants to adopt an annoying and useless girl anyway?”

***
Hancock was not going to give up. She was not going to abandon her young charge so many years ago and she was determined to take her back to Kuja where she would grow up to be strong and beautiful. She watched her every single day at a distance. She did this for a week until she realized she always went to the woods for a brief time where no one in town seemed to notice her absence. The area seemed to be crawling with bandits but that was the least of her concern. She noticed _____________________ picking some red flowers and disappearing for a while. She waited her to emerge and head back to town.

“Hello sweetheart,” she said calmly. She didn’t want to scare her.

“Oh! Hello Miss!” she said politely.

“How are you?”

“I’m good! You?”

“I’m well. So umm do you remember me?” _________________ looked at Hancock for a few moments.

“Kinda…I remember your hair,” Hancock smiles. It’s a start.

“That good! Listen, you know I’m not here to harm you, right?”

“Well yeah! You’ve been like following for the last week! If you were really going to kidnap me, you would have done it by now,” she looked at the girl as though she grew to heads. The cleverness never really left, “But if you do, I’ll scream and try to fight,”

“I’m not here to fight, that’s the last thing I want. But I just wanted to talk. Is that okay?” _________________ nodded, “Oh good!” she sits down next to her, “So umm…how are things?”

“Great!”

“T-That’s good! How’s school?”

“We don’t go to school, I’m home schooled and its fun! But Pops said that he wants me to have more friends so I go to ribbon twirling,”

“Ribbon twirling is a fun hobby. Are you good at it?”

“Not as good as Vivi and Kaya! I often get tangled up in the ribbon and fall! Holly loves laughing at me when I do but Vivi is always around to help me up. She’s an actual princess! I think that’s so cool! Kaya’s father is a diplomat but she says she can’t say much or people might try to take her away too! Vivi has a bodyguard to pick her up. I’m going to be sad when they leave,”

“Leave?”

“Yeah! Vivi has to get back to her home and Kaya has to go home too! I never really had any girl friends but they’re so different from brothers,”

“Oh?”

“Yeah, like Ace and Sabo and Luffy love to fight and train! They want to travel together when they’re older! Sanji likes to cook and I love cooking with him but Law is the strangest boy but he’s also the coolest! He wants to be a doctor so he dissects things all the time! He has pieces of animals in liquid and jars all over his room. It’s awesome!”

“Sounds like you have a lot of friends, but what about your home?”

“Well there are eighteen of us all together! Our house used to be a Japanese spa centuries ago! So it’s really big with a lot of rooms!” Hancock listened as she talked about her home and her brothers and how happy she was living there. There was a look in her eyes she hadn’t seen before. While listening she made a note that she didn’t remember much of her life before the convent. She was glad for that. But that also meant she didn’t remember her. That’s the part that hurt her the most, “I just wish Pops was home more. Marco says he works a lot to make sure everyone and everything in town is okay but I like hanging around him! But, whenever he comes back, he comes into my room and drinks tea with him and I show him the cool things I learn from ribbon twirling! I still get tangled though but he says I’m getting better!” Hancock chuckles.

“Maybe the ribbon you’re using is too long for you,”

“Well, I’m using the adult one. Izo said I have to grow into it,”

“See? You can’t use it if it’s too long. Do you have it on you?” she nodded and takes it out of her backpack. Hancock took out a knife and sliced it four inches shorter, “There you go,”

“Thanks Miss!”

“Now, let’s see what you got,”

“R-Right now?”

“Mhm, come on,” ___________________ takes her ribbon and started doing the basic around the body spiral. She was able to do three spirals before stopping.

“How was that?”

“Not bad but here, try this,” Hancock takes her ribbon and started to twirl and dance around in front of her as ____________________ watched in awe. She was surprised she could still bend like this. It has been awhile. She hands ___________________ back her ribbon.

“You do gymnastics too?!

“Something I picked up when I was around your age,”

“You should do it now! You’re a great teacher!”

“I’m far too busy to do gymnastics now,”

“Awww,”

“But that doesn’t mean I can show you a few tricks to impress your friends in your class,”

“Really?!”

“Mhm. In fact I can teach you the two ribbon technique. It’s a bit advanced but I think you can handle it,”

“Wow! Thanks Miss Hancock!”

“Meet me back here tomorrow!”

“Okay! See you!” Hancock watched her scamper away until she disappeared completely from view. Tears filled her eyes. She wiped them away and headed to her hotel for the night. Back at home, __________________ ate and got ready for bed. She was tired and was dozing off. The ribbon twirling lesson really got her. She yawned as Marco came in to tuck her in before heading off. She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep but her dreams were interrupted when the blanket was pulled back and someone plopped next to her.

“Move over!” Ace snuck into her room and planted himself next to his little sister. _______________ was half asleep.

“Aaaaaace it’s late,” she said yawning, “I can’t play right now,”

“I’m not here to play. I’m sleeping here,”

“Why? You have your own room,”

“So? Maybe I miss sleeping next to someone and since Luffy isn’t here, you’re the next best thing since you don’t snore,” ___________________ moved over a little more to give Ace more room. She sighed happily and snuggled closer.

“I can see why you like sleeping with another person! It so nice and warm!”

“You had to make things weird!” he said, “You never slept next to someone before?”

“Just sister when I was younger but that’s why she gave me the separate small room near the bell tower. I felt so cloistered and safe in there but this feels just as good,” Ace glanced over at his sister, who has her eyes closed. He sighed and messed up her hair.

“Me and Luffy had to share when we were living with Dadan. It wasn’t too bad. Luffy seemed to like it. I hated it at first. It was my bed before his,”

“But you started liking it right?”

“That never leaves this room. I heard you never had to share a bed with anyone so I’m going to make sure you know how much it sucks,”

“I like it!” he growled.

“Wh-Whatever! Just go to sleep,” she snuggled his arm. He reddens a bit. He was going to make sure that weird lady wasn’t going to try and take his sister in her sleep. But if he had to be miserable with someone in his bed so was she. This was her rite of passage.

***
Hancock brushed the girl’s hair. Today, she seemed quieter than usual. Usually she would tell her about everything she’s seen or have done but today she was very somber as though she was carrying the entire world on her shoulder.

“Sweetheart, what’s the matter?”

“Nothing…”

“Are you sure?” she shook her head, “Did something happened?” she nodded, “Come on,” She took her to her bed and sat her down and knelt down in front of her, “Tell Miss Hancock what’s wrong,”

“Miss Hancock…can you keep a secret?”

“You know I can,”

“Pinkie swear?” she held out her little pinkie. Hancock latched it onto hers. She noticed she was trembling.

“T-The kids th-that es—escaped…I-I was the one who did it,” Hancock froze. A week ago…some new “cargo” was brought to the kingdom was for sale and show. However a few days ago, someone went into the holding area and the children cargo was gone. The entire kingdom was searched. They came to the conclusion that whoever let the kids out, must have led them to a merchant train or ship and the kids escaped there. But many can’t understand who or how they could have done it. Today it was announced that if anyone had any information on whom did it they were to be killed take the place of the cargo. Every citizen and called and now everyone wanted to know who would have the balls or the stupidity to do such a thing, “Ho-How?”

“I didn’t know they were cargo! They were kids! I thought they were going to be friends! I wanted to go see them and one of the older kids told me that they were taken away from their moms and dads! I got scared because I wouldn’t want anyone to take me away from you! Now everyone is going to find out and dad is going to send me to that man again and I’ll end up in that room again and—and—and—” she started talking really fast. Hancock could barely keep up. She pulled her into a hug.

“Shhh…calm down, no one will take you away from me. You’re talking a mile a minute,” she took a handkerchief and wiped her tears, “Now; tell me, how did you get them out?”

“The guard hangs up the key to let people in and out. I used a chair from inside to get it,”

“Okay, then what happened?”

“The older boy told me that they can’t walk out they needed to be unseen,”

“How?”

“I told them that we had a lot of empty barrels and told them to hide in them. Then I asked Sabo what to do. He told me that one of the merchant trains was leaving that morning and we asked a few servants to take them to the train because we wanted to play there. In the morning, the train left and they were gone,” Hancock looked at her for a few moments in disbelief. She sighed.

“You’re too clever for your own good,”

“B-But I’m scared! W-What if someone else gets in trouble?!”

“The kids are safe now. Don’t you worry and did a good thing. And don’t worry…if anyone suspects you, tell them I did it,”

“NO! Then the man in white in going to hurt you too!”

“Darling, I’ll be okay. But don’t worry; many adults don’t think children are smart enough for this type of behavior. You and Sabo just have to keep quiet,”

“B-But what about the servants?!”

“If any of them say anything, they’ll forfeit their lives as well,” she hugged her tightly, “You’re a good girl. Don’t worry, you’ll be okay. I promise,” Hancock wait until she was asleep before checking the papers. She had to make sure. The last stop of a town found a train car filled with missing children from different areas. Some were taken back home, others had no other places and were surrendered to orphanages for safekeeping. She sighed in relief. And of course the Marines turned a blind eye when they children told them who done it.

Flora was tending her garden. It was days like this that she will admit that she missed her young charge. Her little hands were perfect for digging up roots and pulling weeds and mixing the compost and picking up the rabbit shit for compost. She sighed and continued. She then felt someone looming over her.

“Grab a trowel or go to hell,” Whitebeard chuckled.

“Actually I bought whiskey,”

“…what year?”

“A good one,” she stood up and they headed towards a table with two chairs in the shade. Whitebeard placed the glasses down and Flora poured them a drink. They toasted and downed it.

“I think you know why I’m here Florrie,”

“Yeah, that damned Rayleigh,”

“Him too but Boa Hancock from Kuja came to place and had the nerve to offer me a hundred thousand beli for __________________,”

“Pfft she’s not worth that much. But all joking aside, it would make sense,”

“Flora, tell me what’s going on,” Flora shifted a bit, “Rayleigh filled me in a bit but I want to know why someone is willing to offer that much money for one little girl,”

“I can’t tell you which kingdom exactly because it’s one of those weird hidden ones but she came from there,”

“As an orphan?”

“Edward Listen….you know her well being is the only thing that I care about at this point but you have to promise me you won’t treat her any different after this,”

“Flora you know I don’t care about shit like that. But if someone is willing to pay that amount and stalk my daughter, I want know why! Especially if it could mean she’s in danger,”

“She’s not in danger. But I suppose you need to know how she came to be in this convent. I’m not going to give away Hancock’s past in this but that night when she came to the convent, Hancock was about fourteen and brought her here with, Rayleigh,” Whitebeard looked up.

“He’s a part of this too?” Flora poured another drink and downs it.

“Since when isn’t he? When __________________ came to my convent that day, you could tell she was a noble child. I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen that kid non muddy and in a dress. Hell the dress you can tell costs a fortune. It was made from spun gold and diamonds. So you can tell just high on the food chain this girl was. I don’t know what happened but her parents hired Hancock and she was supposed to kill __________________ and dispose her body. Somehow she met Rayleigh and he suggested she take her here where she’ll be safe and alive. He was at the right place and time because he needed a favor from me anyway and he was getting a few things to butter me up around that region. Hancock was very attached to her when she left her. It was like taking a child away from their aunt,”

“I see. That’s why Hancock is back,”

“Pretty much. I know for certain they all travelled days away to make sure that there was no possible way for anyone to recognize her, even so, her entire country believes her to be dead. Rayleigh made sure of that making sure they hopped from train to train and used a steam boat to make sure she the furthest distance away that would take average means weeks to get here. After _________________ arrived and stayed with me for awhile, her memories became very muddled on how she came here. It was around after her nightmares stopped. Poor thing used to be terrified in sleeping in a big opened room. I eventually placed her in a smaller one or let her sleep with me at night. I started using the techniques Blume used on me when I was her age and she slowly started to cope and finally felt better,”

“That’s why it took you so long to find someone,” said Whitebeard downing his drink.

“I had you in mind but she needed some time to just unlearn whatever those fuckers did to her. She needed some normalcy and thanks to Rayleigh, Shakky, and I, she started forgetting about the past and just wanted to be a kid. For awhile she thought her parents brought her here but she couldn’t remember what they looked like, Rayleigh came back every single week and she knew him as her grandfather and Shakky his grandmother. I thought for sure Sabo would have told her who she was by now but I think he’s trying to protect her memories as well,”

“Sabo?” she nodded.

“Shakky did some digging. Sabo is her cousin and for awhile one of the boys who were in consideration to be her husband along with that Vinsmoke boy,”

“Zeff’s son?”

“Mhm, I’m surprised he hadn’t said anything but as far as many know, she’s dead and I intend to keep it that way. I don’t even know her last name, and she forgot it. I didn’t mean to keep all of this from you. But seeing Hancock here, it brought back some things I didn’t wish to remember,”

“What is Hancock’s relationship to the girl?”

“…reluctant handmaid,” Whitebeard understood.

“I see,”

“Hancock is very attached to her, so when she was sent to kill her, she wanted to take her someplace and give her to someone where she would be face. Rayleigh and his damn observational skills knew what was going on so he intervened and brought here to the convent,”

“Her identity will always be safe,” said Whitebeard, “I didn’t adopt her because of her nobility. I adopted her because I wanted her and no child deserves to have their wild spirit contained and punished by death for it. She’s a good kid and no child should have that pressure on them,”

“No, they shouldn’t. I just hope she doesn’t ever remember any of her past. Children shouldn’t carry that burden on their shoulders. It’s hard when adult do but not kids. As long as no one recognizes her or Ace for that for matter, they’ll be safe,”

“Florrie, how do you deal with being cagey?”

“Pfft I don’t. I don’t go out as much as I used to but when I do all everyone sees is the habit not my face. As far as the world is concerned, I’m dead and I tend to keep it that way. Besides, retirement is sweet, everyone comes to me,” he snorts.

“Can’t argue with that logic. But thank you for being so patient with her,”

“Her safety and well being is all I care about. I’d rather have a well adjusted little shit than a mopey one,”

“…was she as bad as Marco, Izo, or Jozu when they came here?”

“She and Izo are about the same nightmares wise and Marco…I think you know there’s no one quite like Marco,”

“Yeah,”

“But if you’re going to approach Hancock, bring Rayleigh with you. She’s not very fond of men. It took everything in her to even offer a price but things will be far easier with him around,”

***
Marco on the other hand, did not like the idea of Hancock coming around and trying to coerce ___________________ to go back with her. Ace wasn’t too fond of it either and both always found a way to keep the woman away from her. Ace decided to invite her to play more and more in order to keep an eye on her.

“I don’t get why she wants you anyway,” said Ace, “You’re pretty useless,”

“Hey!”

“I’m serious! I bet she just wants something to dress up like a doll or something,”

“Why?”

“Sometimes people get lonely. Like maybe she didn’t have a doll growing up and thought you’d be the perfect replacement or something. Hell if I know,”

“To be honest, I like Miss Hancock,” said ______________________, “She’s so nice! She’s been helping me with my ribbon twirling in the woods,”

“STOP HANGING OUT WITH THE ENEMY! DOES ANYONE ELSE KNOW THIS?!”

“I told Pops and when I told him she never tried to make me go with her or anything, he seemed pretty okay with it,”

“She’s GROOMING to take you away! Have you told her how to get in or anything?!”

“No! In fact, she doesn’t want to know about you guys…just me. Like she wants to know what I did at ribbon twirling, shows me her moves, even this cool dance where you balance bowls on your head!”

“That sounds useless. When you can juggle bowls, then we’ll talk but still! Don’t get so chummy with her!”

“It’s kind of weird but I don’t think she wants to hurt me or anything. In fact, she kind of reminds me of this woman I used to see in my dreams! Only difference is that she’s older than the other woman and doesn’t have those pretty earrings! But she’s so nice and gentle!”

“Whatever, not until she proves it, I don’t trust her! Come on, we’re playing in the courtyard today!”

“Alright!” Hancock was conflicted. At first, her plan was to get her alone and persuading her against her new family and having her come with her but the more she talked to __________________ the more she knew she was genuinely happy. She was safe, she was loved, and she had everything she needed. The only thing she didn’t need was some ex slave woman taking her away from it. That’s the only thing she really cared about was her young charge being happy. She watched from a place she managed to sneak in of ___________________ playing/ training with her three brothers. It was stealth training using hide and seek. She was good at hiding. She was always good at hiding…whether she wanted to or not. She then felt a presence behind her. Izo calmly perched next to her.

“I’m not here to fight or throw you out or hassle you,” he said lighting his cigarette in his holder, “relax hon,” she nodded and continued to watch. Millions of thoughts were going through her head. She wanted to leave her alone but she found her again and she didn’t want to let her go. It wasn’t fair, “Want one?” she jumped, “It’s safe, its hand rolled tobacco, looks like you need something to relax,”

“No thanks…I’m just thinking and trying to wrap my mind around all of this,”

“I don’t know how you know ________________ or why you’re willing to pay and give up everything you just to have her with you but you’re fighting a losing battle,” Izo took a puff and slowly lets it out, “She’s happy here. And since she’s came here,

“You’ll never understand and I can’t tell you why. Her happiness is the only thing I care about! Why is she so happy with you?! You’re just a bunch of men!”

“True but we’re giving her everything she needs. Forcing her to leave her family at this point would be cruel. Besides Flora and Rayleigh apparently, we’re the only family she has left,”

“You’re not her family! I’m her—I was—,” she caught herself. Izo looked at her and offered her a cigarette. Hancock took it and took a long drag, “I waited too long…she forgot all about me,”

“I wouldn’t say that and if that’s the case, try to make her remember you, not your past or anything, just you. She’s very friendly towards you so she must remember you in some way. Hell when came home, she excited told us about how you helped her with her ribbon twirling. I’m not going to lecture you about what you should do but just know Pops will fight you with everything he can to keep her with us. Do you really want to fight and in the end lose and have her resent you?” Hancock looked in the courtyard and saw ___________________ running and laughing and playing with her three adopted brothers. She’s known her for years and never seen her have a smile that big without something interrupting it. That’s all she wanted, she wanted her to be happy and she was already happy. Tears ran down her face watching her be a kid, a regular normal happy little girl.

“No fair!” said Ace, “You can’t hide behind Jozu!”

“He’s the perfect hiding spot!” Jozu opened an eye before standing up, reaching behind him and took _____________________ out from behind him and held her in front of the three boys, “Jozu how could you!”

“Criss cross double cross!” Ace smirked

“So what are we gonna do to her?”

“I don’t know, she did make us run just to get her!” said Sabo

“You know what we have to do right?”

“YEAH!” said Luffy, “TICKLE ATTACK!”

“NOOOOOOOO!!” Jozu snorts and let the kids have their fun before yawning and going back to sleep, “Jozu I trusted yoooooooou!” Izo chuckled

“He’s getting her back for taking the last bit of meatloaf last week. Poor baby,” Hancock held her hands to her chest.

“…She looks so happy. I’ve never seen her smile like that before,”

“That’s because she is. I don’t think that smile has ever left that face since she finally settled in. The happiest moment was when Pops showed her the adoption papers with his name attached. She finally had a last name and a family,”

“She deserves it. Well, I guess I’m not needed here,” Hancock looked at Izo, “I have a few things you need to know about her,”

“Oh?”

“She loves when you brush her hair at night. Her favorite color is (f/c). She loves animals. She has a metal allergy to nickel and lead. She likes reading fantasy books. She loves to get muddy. She will feed the den den mushi. She loves feeding those things. She loves tea parties. She loves tea, not much Earl Grey. She likes to wear those jumpers. And…buy her a pair of red boots,” Izo looked at her and smiled.

“You know…if you’re going to leave, why don’t you say goodbye?”

“I’ve caused you all enough trouble. I’d rather her not remember me than hating me,” she turned to leave right into Whitebeard and froze, “No worries, I-I was just leaving,”

“You and I need to discuss some things, Hancock,” she looked a little apprehensive until she saw Rayleigh behind him.

***
“I didn’t mean to cause you any trouble. I made a promise that I would come back for her as soon as I was able and I was meaning to keep it. When I saw her, I was excited and happy to see her again but I also and I still think a group of men could never raise her like I could,”

“I understand,” said Whitebeard

“But…after hearing her talk about everything, I see how attached she is to you all and I know if I took her away from you, she’ll never love me as I want her to,”

“Hancock, we understand,” Rayleigh said soothingly. Her eyes flashed and she grabbed his nose.

“What did you tell him?!”

“Nothing! I told him that you were ___________________’s personal maid a long time ago,”

“That’s still too much information!”

“Umm Miss Hancock?” Hancock turned and let him go when she saw __________________ at the door frame looking at them. Memories came flooding in the moment she said her name like she used to. She bowed very low, “I just wanted to say that I’m grateful and happy that you want to adopt me into your family and be a part of your city,”

“You don’t have to say that,” Hancock got on one knee, “I’m sorry for asking such a request without even considering your feelings,” Her only wish when she was younger was that she would be happy and safe and she hated to admit but she would be safer with the Whitebeards that with her. She smiled, “I won’t pursue this any longer. I didn’t mean to try and take your family away from you,”

“It’s okay! I mean I’m happy you want wanted to adopt me! But I have a family already! But I would like to visit you! Is that okay?”

“OF COURSE!” Hancock looked at Whitebeard, who was looking at Rayleigh tend to his nose, “Only if it’s okay with her father,”

“Please?” said ______________________. Whitebeard nodded.

“A weekend every two months,”

“Okay!” the pair said in unison.

“Chaperoned visits first,” said Marco coming into the room with Izo, “And she’s to be back by eight Sunday evening. If she’s late, call. If you can do that, then we’ll stop keeping an eye on you,” Hancock glared.

“By the way you talk; you’re like her mother,”

“You have no idea,” said Izo

“I would rather prefer you, okama,”

“Izo and I don’t mind, especially since the Kuja area is primarily women. It would be a break from the testosterone,”

“Okay, then it’s settled,” said Whitebeard. Later that night, Izo grabbed ____________________ before bed and set her in his lap and started brushing her hair.

“So why are you brushing my hair?” said __________________ looking behind her.

“You’re a little princess who needs to have her hair brushed,” he said happily.

“I’m not a princess!”

“You’re our princess so you get your hair brushed and you’re going to get pampered extra hard,” she giggled.

“You’re so weird Izo,”

“So are you. How do you feel?”

“Warm and sleepy. I don’t think I ever had anyone brush my hair before,”

“You probably don’t remember but you should be pampered more. Tell you what, stop by everyday and I’ll do your hair for you,”

“Really?!”

“Mhm, just think of it as our bonding time. We’ll have tea and we can just talk about something. How does that sound?”

“Sound’s great! Thanks Izo!”

“No problem sweetheart,”

Chapter Text

It was finally the new term at school. Everyone came back from a long three month break. Some didn’t return because well, they were off doing their training or other endeavors or transferred to better schools. Ace and ___________________ didn’t have much choice in the matter. Whitebeard’s policy was everyone was to at least get some schooling. Ace wanted to drop out ages ago but making sure Luffy was safe was his main priority and wrecking havoc just sweetened the deal.  This was also the year that many kids joined or founded crews.  Some joined because of safety, some started their and to be taken seriously, they have to make themselves known by a fight or rite, and some like __________________ remained neutral. Being neutral in this case meant that they were either undecided or had no fight with anyone. In her case, she had alliances with the Spade and Heart Pirates and some affiliation with the Kid Pirates, mainly Killer and with Luffy gathering his, she decided to literately stay out it. But that doesn’t mean that she was completely innocent when it came to doing what she wanted. Her favorite thing was getting the students out of school just as much as them attending.

“Yeah this year I can’t help you as much,” said Nami sighing, “Bellemere really wants us to take the cadets seriously,”

“Oh gross! She wants you two to be Marines?!”

“Not her idea,” said Nojiko, “Smoker kind of got to her. I think it’s because Law already established himself and he doesn’t want another “promising Marine” to slip by,”

“That sucks!”

“I know right?! I hate it! But combat training is great!” said Nami

“And it doesn’t mean we won’t turn a blind eye when you commit a crime,” said Nojiko, “for a price later,”

“I swear you two are going to make me go broke! Wait! You two are on school patrol?!”

“Yep! The main perk is that we can roam the halls after lunch and able to get in and out of secret places,”

“Nice!”

“Though, Coby still has the surveillance room code,”

“Yeah and he’s been training with Garp over the summer,”

“Pfft, I’ll still get the code, I always do,” ____________________ fluffed her hair a bit, smoothed out her top, perks up her chest, “Give me five minutes,” she happily trotted upstairs.

“I swear she loves seeing that cadet pop one,” said Nojiko

“Yeah, wanna see?”

“Yep!” ________________________ went upstairs. Lo and behold it wasn’t just a few students who changed over the break. Coby has grown thinner and taller, standing close to Luffy in height. He has also gained a cross-shaped scar above his right eye, presumably earned under his training. His hair has grown longer and shaggier. ________________ froze.  This took her by surprise. She snorts and snapped out of it. This was Coby after all, all needed to do was pout, get close enough. She sauntered up to him and grinned.

“Coby! How are—,” before she could say anything, his arm was around her waist as he pulled her close into his chest. She stopped and felt her cheeks burn as he took his hand and cupped her chin. He smiled at her whispered in her ear.

“Hello kitten,” _______________ leapt out of his embrace and ran for it blushing furiously. What the FUCK just happened?! Nami and Nojiko were laughing their asses off at the now flushing and sweating and embarrassed girl.

“YOUR FACE!” said Nami laughing

“THAT WAS PRICELESS!” said Nojiko

“YOU GUYS COULD HAVE WARNED ME!”

“We just found out ourselves! But we didn’t know he would do that! Awwww did you get flustered?”

“N-No! I-I was just caught by surprise! T-That’s it!”

“Oh yeah? Here he comes again,” Coby was coming down the hall. ___________________ glared. This was personal now. He one upped her before but time she KNEW what was coming. She smirked and took a deep breath.

“Coby-kun!” he grinned, propped his hand against the lockers and leaned into her once again. He gave her a sweet smile.

“Yes _________________________-chan?” Her mind went to complete mush, “Aare you okay? Your face is completely red,”

“I-I-ack…uhh…m-mmmm,” was the only thing she could say. He smiled and touched her forehead.

“Be safe! We don’t want you getting sick!” with that he walked away again. _________________ slumped down to her knees. Nojiko whistled low.

“Shit, he works fast,”

“W-What th-the HELL did Garp teach him?!” for the entire day, _____________________ was a flustered, scared mess. She couldn’t wrap her head around what just happened. To make matters worse, Nami and Nojiko were riding her hard over it adding to the shame of her defeat. By lunch she was completely on edge to the point where she couldn’t even think straight. At lunch she decided to see if she could get some intel from Killer on the matter. From her experience, she KNEW Luffy already knows and probably told his nakama. And she needed a neutral party in this.

“Oh no you get no sympathy from us,” said Killer as a matter-of-factly as he slurped up his linguini.

“What?! Why not?!”

“You literately had him coming in his pants every single time you used your pout against him,”

“Yeah you little cocktease,” said Kid tearing into his food, “You should know better than to tease a man’s dick like that!”

“For the greater good! And why are you in school?!” he grumbled

“Killer made me go,”

“Yeah you need to stick around for a bit,”

“Whatever!”

“Besides, __________________, you reap what you sow,”

“Pffft! Just give me a few days and I’ll have the surveillance room code again!”

“Please from what I heard, you can’t get near him without your mind and legs going to mush,”

“No proof!”

“I saw you bump into him in the hall and the next thing I knew you were spacing out more than usual,”

“I don’t know what you’re—,”

“________________!” she froze as Coby pulled her into an one armed hug, “Staying out of trouble, right?” she nodded, her could feel her face getting redder, “Awesome! See you in class,” the moment he left she put her head on the table.

“Looks like he made you come in those granny panties of yours,” said Kid laughing.

“Sh-SHUT UP!” Killer laughed. During the rest of the day, Coby was making little passes and flirtations at _______________________, who was so flustered she was hiding and peeking around corners. She ran to her locker and quickly gathered her books. She had to get out of here and be home free before Coby came. She sighed in relief and turned right into him. She squeaked and jumped back.

“Where’s the fire? You shouldn’t run in the halls, kitten,”

“I-I wasn’t running!”

“True but you looked like you were in a hurry. If you wanted to find me, I’m right here,”

“Pffft, you said I wanted you?” she turned to walk away and felt his arms wrap around her from behind,”

“True, but,” he whispered softly in her ear, “I wouldn’t want anything happening to my kitten…Please be more careful for me, alright?” she squeaked, jumped and ran for it. She could have swore she heard him chuckling. She escaped to the outside of the school panting and sweating. She had to regain her composure and fast! She was almost calmed down when someone poked her.

“EEK!” Ace puts his hand on her shoulder.

“I was looking everywhere for you, let’s go home,” she nodded and went to the car, where Marco was waiting.

“How was school kiddos?”

“Awful!” said ___________________

“Oh? What happened?”

“Coby has turned the tables on her,” said Ace smirking at her

“WHO TO—,”

“Luffy and Nojiko,”

“Turned the tables? You mean from her flirt teasing?”

“Yep after these past few semesters, he finally got her back and she’s so flustered she can’t even think straight,”

“HEY!”

“Sorry kiddo you get no sympathy from here,” said Marco

“Whaaaaat?! No fair!”

“After the teasing you do to that poor guy?” said Ace, “Seriously,”

“I did it out of love!”

“Smoker tears into him after every time you flirt with him until he gives you something,”

“I don’t do it that often!” he snorts and then laughed.

“The great gym flooding? You got Coby to keep the back door opened for us to pull off that stunt. Also the Marine lounge explosion, countless times you getting into the surveillance room to disarm the cameras, which you still have my gratitude over, and using him to help you get away from Smoker. I’m surprised he didn’t retaliate sooner, then again puberty got him,”

“Yeah, no sympathy little lady. You’re reaping this big time,” said Marco. At home, _______________ trudged miserably up the stairs.  She hated to admit, but she would have to admit defeat and she did not want to do that mainly because she was good at getting Coby to do things for her. She groaned and accidentally ran into Izo.

“Huh? Hey sweetheart!” he noticed her expression, “Awww what’s the matter? C’mere,” he took her hand and pulling her into his room. She almost liked Izo’s room. It always reminded her of something straight from a Emperor , “tell big brother Izo what’s the matter,”

“Boy trouble,”

“…what happened?” __________________ told Izo exactly what happened, “He bulked up! Then he whispered in my ear! Then my mind was GONE! I don’t know what to dooooo!”

“Oh no, this mean war!” said Izo, “He wants a war, he’s got one. Here’s what you do. Tomorrow, you’re going make that little bastard cream his pants!”

“IZO!!”

“No, no you don’t understand! He started this little game and you’re going to finish it! Listen my darling sister and listen well, flirting and seduction is an art. A very dangerous art and a deadly game! But there’s one thing that no man can resist, a very pretty face. And you have that but we’re going to enhance it. With flirting there’s three aspects, the face draws you in, the charm keeps him coming, and the smell is the lingering after taste that makes him want more. You’re already confident but flirting is subtle. The hunt is better than the chase. From Coby’s profile, he’s now more confident, still a gentleman and polite. We are going to totally use that to our advantage,”

“B-But I don’t wanna hurt him,”

“Flirting is a victimless crime and if he can’t take it, he shouldn’t dish it out. Now, let Big Sister Izo show you the secret and ancient art of enhancing beauty,” he trotted to his drawer and takes out a lacquer ornate box, “I was saving this for your first date but this is a as good as any time. Your first geisha style makeup kit! Okay now follow me and I’m going to show you how to make a man crazy,”

***
Coby actually felt really good about himself. He finally had ______________________ on the ropes. So much that she was running. He grinned to himself at the thought of her losing it because of him. He made his way to his locker but that was when something caught his eye. __________________ was walking towards him, her hair bouncing up and down as she walked towards him. But there were a few things that caught his eye. She was wearing makeup, black eye shadow and red lipstick, her skirt was a little higher than normal and her chest looked bigger. She brushed passed him. He could smell her perfume, a heavenly smell. He was so occupied that he slammed into an opened locker door. He didn’t see her for the next few periods or even lunch. Good, he was home free…or so he thought. He decided to finish his around during his fifth period class. It was during the time when a lot of students were either doing their extra curriculum activities for the last two periods or a study hall. His was a study hall. He peeked into the classrooms to make sure everything was in order and patrolled the halls and no far everything was in order. Nothing out of place, this was good.

“EEK!” Coby heard a girl shriek and ran to the source, which was in the music room. He opened the door and saw her trying to balance five boxes on her own. However, she overshot the doorframe and the heavy boxes were in danger of falling. He quickly grabbed the falling boxes and placed them down.

“Got them! You okay—_____________________?!” _________________ looked breathless but happy that she finally got the boxes under control. Her face was flushed and her chest heaved lightly.

“Phew I am now! Those boxes were heavy! Thanks Coby,” he froze. ___________________ was smiling at him sweetly. He could feel himself sweating. She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and bit her bottom lip. He got a full glimpse of her. Her lips were pouty, the black eye shadow made her eyes stand out more and her perfume was making his head spin in a good way, “I knew I could count on you,”

“A-All,” he cleared his throat, “All in a day’s work!”

“I know, you’re such a boy scout strong like a big bear,” she said leaning into him and wrapping her arms around him. He was starting to sweat. Her scent was making him completely immobile. He knew he wouldn’t last much longer until he heard her in his ear, “Coby Bear…” that did it. He felt him backing away. His breathing was labored and his cheeks were red, “I need to get these boxes into the storage room, but I don’t have the key. Do you happen to—,” he quickly handed it to her. She grinned and hugged him gain, “Thanks Coby bear!” she ran off. He slumped to the ground panting in embarrassment and flustered. That was intense and he gave in…again!

“REALLY COBY?!”  Smoker berated him in his office again, “SHE GOT YOU AGAIN?!”

“I’m sorry! I-I don’t—don’t what ca-came over me!” because ___________________ had the storage key, many confiscated items were stolen back from the room and given back to their rightful owners, including weapons and things. Smoker was NOT happy and make him run twenty laps, restricted his meal that day and handed him over to Garp, who e was waiting for him back at the barracks, “G-Garp! P-Please don’t demote me! It-It won’t happen again!”

“You damn right it won’t! Smoker told me everything. I didn’t think she would have gone that far but I know that damned okama brother of hers had something to do with it and you’re gonna fight back!”

“Y-YES SIR!”

“Tell me, what are her weaknesses?!”

“W-What?”

“You heard me! She’s your enemy, what are her weaknesses?!”

“I don’t know! T-To be honest, I’ve always saw us as friends!”

“There are NO friends in The Game!”

“T-The Game sir?”

“The Game is the Game of Seduction. Love is an endless battlefield and whoever surrenders or caves in first wins! You’re not going to lose that fight to a pretty face and more importantly, a Whitebeard pirate! That’s your task, go out and find any type of cannon fodder to use against her! You have two hours! Dismissed!” Coby was resigned to his fate and prepared to face half portions of food tonight. But he wasn’t ready to give up. _____________________ HAD to have a weakness! He’s known her for years, since they started school together when he and Luffy were in other school and he was with Alvida. He knew Luffy, Nami, and Nojiko like the back of his hands. Luffy because they hung out and Nami and Nojiko because of Bellemere and he only knew Law somewhat because of Rossi.  What did he know about ____________________?! He didn’t even think she HAD a type. She primarily hung out with three boys, Ace, Law, and Sanji. She and Ace are family, nothing there. Law and her relationship was an enigma, more like the odd couple. Where Law was serious and somewhat distant, ________________ was more approachable and sociable and Law usually smiled more when she was about, even with his pirate affiliation. Finally Sanji was a notorious womanizer and __________________ was way off his radar. He was shocked about that. The pair was usually seen at the Baratie or a new place eating. He groaned that didn’t help him at all.

“Hey asshole,” he looked up to see Eustass Kid looking at him from the top of a car, “Heard Smoker and Garp digging in your ass,” he glared.

“What of it?”

“What’s with the hostility shithead? I came to give you the upper hand in your Game,”

“Meaning?”

“I know the little cocktease’s weaknesses,”

“__________________________________?!”

“Bingo,”  

“Seriously y-you do?”

“Mhm, we can tell you exactly how to get that little cocktease on the ropes. For a price,”

“No way! How do I know you’ll keep your end of the bargain?!”

“You don’t asshole, but unless you want to be demoted, you’ll listen,” Coby considered this for a few moments before sighing.

“It’s a deal as long as it’s NOT illegal!”

“Can’t promise that but I want your word as a Marine,”

“You have it! Now tell me!” Kid smirked

“Let’s just say even though ______________________ talks a big game and shit, she gets flustered and shit easily, especially around shirtless men. If you notice she looks away when there’s activities with men or what happened in sex ed,”

“Wait what? How?! She lives in a house FILLED with guys!”

“That’s family; she couldn’t care less about them. Remember when she ran into the boy’s locker hiding from Smoker and almost leapt out of her skin?” that’s right! He remembered that day! He also remembered when Kureha was teaching them anatomy that she was covering her face behind a book. Oh he could definitely use that to his advantage.

“Thanks,”

“Fuck you, just remember you owe me one,”

***
“How did it goooooo?!” said Izo waiting for her at his bedroom door. She beamed at him

“I got the key to the storage room AND he was putty in my hands!”

“That’s my girl!” he hugged her tightly, “NOTHING is more seductive than red lipstick and the smokey eye!”

“What if he retaliates?!”  

“Pfffft after that stunt?! Trust me, after all of that, he’s not going to even THINK about coming near you,”

“I hope you’re right! I don’t think I can do something like that again!”

“Oh please, teasing a boy never hurt anyone. You’ve just sending some cute little jabs across his way,”

“I have to admit, it was fun getting back at him,”

“Of course it did! What did you get in the storage room?”

“Just a few things that Smoker confiscated some time ago from certain students, like Ace’s pipe, Nami’s loot, a few DS’s, and things like that. I’m a mini hero right now and it feels awesome,”

“I swear you’re like a mini Robin Hood, I’m just so proud!” __________________ was indeed proud of herself. She managed to get missing things that’s been locked away for six months without even trying. She had one more thing to deliver, Ace’s pipe. She happily trotted to his bedroom door.  

“Knock, knock!” she knocked on Ace’s door.

“Yeah?” said Ace

“Got something for you!” He opened the door. Three things immediately attacked her senses. First, Ace’s smell attacked her senses. She started noticing the strange smell some months ago and couldn’t pinpoint it until she realized it was his weird natural musk. And once she smelt it, she couldn’t unsmell it and it always made her mind feel like it was in a fog. The next thing that attacked her was his eyes and around his nose, particularly his freckles. She always liked his freckles but lately, especially after they saw each other the first time since the summer, she really started to notice how this really accented his face, especially his eyes, his dark eyes…but the thing that got her the most was his chest. Since coming back, Ace decided to keep his shirts opened. This had NEVER bothered her before. In fact, it’s been outright distracting her since and she found herself just staring. It was hypnotic.

“Oh shit you did manage to get into the storage room! ____________ you’re awesome! Finaly got my pipe back! __________________? __________________?” Ace poked her cheek, “Space cadet,” she snapped out of it.

“H-Hey!” he snorts.

“Spacing out on me already?”

“N-No! W-Why are you wet?!”

“I just got out of the shower!” he ruffled her hair, “So done with your pissing contest with Coby?”

“NO WAY!” she said blushing, “I have to win this one!”

“Please, you can’t be flirty even if you tried,”

“I-I can!”

“Picking on a Marine, I commend it but still you’re too weird to flirt right,”

“Humph! Don’t be mean!”

“It’s true, awkward weird girls can’t flirt, they’re so awkward and too space to,”

“W-Wanna bet?!”

“Hit me with your best shot,” he smirked. She reddened before smirking. She gently traced his chest with his finger.

“Gee Ace….I wonder how hard it’s going to be flirt with someone so…you like. Especially with those deep eyes…those adorable freckles…and this broad chest—yeow!” Ace had her nose and squeezed it. She flailed as he let go.

“Told you awkward girls can’t flirt,” he said laughed

“MEAN!” he ruffled her hair

“I’m sorry,” he pecked her cheek as she reddened and scurried to her room. After homework, she decided to see Pops. He was upstairs in his study/bedroom. She loved Pops room. Everything in there was huge in order to suit him and his door was always opened for his sons and daughter to talk to him. He literately had an opening just for them to go in. She came in as Whitebeard finished up some paperwork. When he noticed her, he picked her up and perched her on his bed.

“How was your first day of school? I heard you ran into a little snag with a Marine,” she covered her face and nodded. He chuckled, “It happens to the best of us,”

“But I needed that surveillance room key. Smoker would have move the contraband at the end of the week to the Barracks and I don’t have access to that yet. I don’t know WHAT Garp did but I’m powerless!”

“Garp’s been training him?!” said Whitebeard

“YES!” the look on his face said everything, “SHOULD I BE WORRIED?!”

“Garp is the reason why Ace and Luffy are tough so I believe that’s where he got the confidence. As for the seduction…well… Luffy came from somewhere,”

“…that poor woman,” Whitebeard snorts.

“If she’s found they’re going to put her under the jail for being the person responsible for the birth of Luffy,”

“Indirect birth,”

“Trust me, Garp’s and his wife’s chemistry has created more trouble for Marine and pirate alike,”

“Ugh! But you have Sister! That means your skills trumps his!”

“GUARARARARARARARA!!!! Clever little runt!” he pats her head fondly, “Don’t let Flora hear you though, or we’ll both be in the doghouse,”

“I don’t want another Bop of Learning!”

“How are you liking the new advance classes?"

“They’re alright I guess,”

“…that didn’t sound reassuring,”

“Well…navigation is hard! I mean I can sight navigate but I can’t read a nautical map! Land is so much easier!”

“It’s a good skill to have, trust me. Ask Ace if you get too lost,”

“I don’t even know how I got tested in nautical navigation. I think it’s a fluke,”

“You worked hard. Don’t think you don’t think you don’t deserve it. I’m proud of you,” she smiled as they talked for a bit longer before she went to bed. In her room, there was a cup of hot tea waiting for her. She smiled, settled into bed and drank her tea with a book before drifting off to bed. Marco came in a short while later, took the book away, tucked her in, and gave her a kiss on his forehead before closing the door behind him.

***
“Ugh pool clean up duty?!” this was another rule at school that many of the students didn’t mind and some outright complained. Because the school didn’t have a janitor, Sengoku thought it would raise morale and citizenship if the students cleaned up the school. Many were already used to cleaning so they all took it in stride. Some children from noble families bitched and moaned and tried to hire someone to do it for them until they were threatened with expulsion, while others actually liked cleaning since they were forbidden to do it at home. Duties alternated every few days so students didn’t get stuck solely on one chore. ______________________ got her duty that afternoon. She was supposed to have trash duty but there was a last minute change of pool duty. This meant she had to check the PH balance, change the filter and mop the deck. She had a study hall her last period and decided to head over and start. No one used the pool the last period so she was in luck. She grabbed a mop, disinfectant, and a bucket and filled it with hot water. She’ll get the hard stuff out of the way before changing the filter. She mopped the deck, took the trash out of the locker rooms, and putting the soiled towels in the laundry. She was just about finished taking all of the towels into the laundry when she heard a splash. She sighed. Of course. She poked her head around the corner to see someone in the pool. She didn’t mind it but did that NOT see someone cleaning this area? She got closer and saw a familiar head. He was in the shallow end and then stood up to see her looking at him. Coby’s training was good to him. He chest was well toned with a few battle scars and no remnants of his childhood pudge.  

“Hey!” she snapped out of it.

“C-Coby?! W-What are you doing here?!”

“Well, I thought I’d take a dip in the pool before whoever cleans up!” he said grinning, “You don’t mind do you?”

“P-Pfft no! Just stay out of my way rookie!” he nods and jumped into the water. She checked the chlorine levels in the pool before changing the filter and doing the last minute cleanup.

“Leaving so soon?” Coby emerged from the water and grinned at her.

“I-I,” she cleared her throat, “O-Of course I am! I’m finished, no thanks to you,”

“Awww I’m sorry! I honestly didn’t know anyone would clean it this soon,” she looked away blushing.

“I-It’s fine! I’m finished, I’ll see you later, I guess!”

“Wait, _________ can we like talk?” Coby grabbed her. He didn’t mean to pull her so hard, she lost her balance and fell backwards into the water. She emerged with his help but spluttered in surprise, “Areyouokay?!”

“I-I’m okay! Really!” she spats out water and shook her hair out.

“Sorry about that, I didn’t mean to,” he said. She was face to face with his broad chest. She did her hardest to keep eye level at and was failing miserably.

“I-It’s fine! I-I’m just gonna go and dry off,” she went to swim off. He took her wrist and pulled her back. She instantly froze. He then turn around and looked her over with concern. He gently touched her cheek.

“Are you sure you’re okay? You’re so red right now…I don’t mean to sound so forward but you look so cute this way,”

“C-Cute?”

“Very…cute. Your hair is messy, your cheek as flushed and red, your eyes are like saucers right now. You’re so adorable,” he pulled her in closer, “It makes me want you to have all ten of my children,” he leaned in closer to her, foreheads touching, lips close, “Kitten,” he said in a husky voice. That did it.

“I-I’mfine! Gottago!!!” she ducked down into the water and doggy paddled to the closest stairs and ran out of the pool. Coby was laughing his ass off in the water. He got out and toweled off. He couldn’t believe that stunt worked or that Kid actually ad some sound advice. Though he hated the idea of him having to owe him a favor the idea of ______________ getting flustered and running scared of more than worth it. When ________________ arrived in the car, she was beat red, panting, and soaking wet. Once home, she took a shower and ran into Izo’s room and told him everything, “I was trapped!”

“Alright, he wants to play hard ball, he got it!” said Izo making a phone call, “Grab your coat, we’re meeting Iva,”

“I-Iva?!”

“Mhm, Iva will know exactly how to get him to come in those Marine pants of his! Making my little sister get flustered, he has another thing coming,” Izo lifted her under his arms and headed downstairs. The other brothers were all looking at the pair, “If not back, avenge death!”

“Make sure she has a coat!” said Fossa.

“And don’t come back without ________________,” said Jozu. Soon the pair was in a car and arriving at a nightclub. Izo whisked her inside as _______________ tried not to blush and stare at the many sexual and kinky things in this club. Many of the workers stopped and greeted her and Izo and pinched her cheeks. He brushed passed them all and went into the back and into a very feminine room where a beautiful woman was sitting in front of a vanity mirror but she better.

“Izo Darling!” said Ivankov. Ever since _______________ was little, Ivankov was the ONE person that she was absolutely wary of, even since he taught her and Ace an lesson when they were kids and she never forgot or will forget it. Iva ran a “fantasy” club in town…actually MANY towns but his favorite place to frequent was their town when he wasn’t back home in Kamabakka Kingdom or doing other work, “How is my favorite little cutie doing?”

“Not so good I’m afraid,” said Izo, “Little bastard got her head in a jumbled mess,”

“Oh? I see, I guess we’re just going to have to fix that shall we?” Ivankov guided them to the bar, “Barkeep, three Sexes on the Beach and make one a virgin,”

“You mean she hadn’t lost it yet?” said the barkeep winking at her

“Sadly no but give her another few months, if not we’ll push her into the right direction,” __________________ reddened as Izo pets her head giggling

“Don’t let Marco hear that. He’ll skin us both alive,”

“Oh don’t I know it! Anyway! We’re going to make that little cadet come in his pants for this,”

“W-What?! Ho-How?!” the barkeep came back with their drinks and a laptop. Iva cracked his knuckles and started typing.

“Sweetie, we specialize in what makes men lose their minds and it’s profitable. And as long as it’s not hurting anyone, it’s fine! Now let’s see,” Ivankov scrolled through their files, “Ooh, puberty hit him hard. It’s kind of cute. Straight laced and looks so repressed, he’s Straw Boy’s friend, right?”

“Yeah!”

“And she’s too much of a lady to drag Luffy in for a weakness,” said Izo

“That’s because she’s a good girl. So you said the lipstick worked?”

“Yeah!” said ___________________, “especially when I pout, that makes him so crazy!”

“A lip man?! Wow, this got a lot simpler! Okay, we have fire, now we get to add fuel to his little kink and trust me, for a shy, confident, Marine cadet that’s NOT going to be hard! Okay darling! Here’s what you’re going to do tomorrow!” Ivankov told her the in depth plan. _________________ face went red, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of everything and you’ll be fine! Oh I’m so proud!”

“Wh-Why?!”

“Flirting and seduction is an art that not many can accomplish or use without their bodies. You’re using pure charm and that’s something that never fades away! All we have to do is hone it and you’re going to make men absolutely crazy,” After hours of planning, ___________________ slumped upstairs and plopped down head first onto her bed the moment they came back home. She didn’t know if she felt comfortable in doing this. She groaned. It’s barely been the first week of the new semester and it’s been a weird rollercoaster of emotions and things she was NOT ready for. She couldn’t understand it. Why was Coby suddenly making her blush like a schoolgirl?! Then again she wasn’t even used to people flirting with her and she knew she was most likely too dense to figure it out. She had to get a hold of herself! She tried all summer and yet it didn’t ready her for THIS type of challenge! What was this kind of challenge?!

“Oy!” she jumped up and turned and was greeted to a broad chest. She gasped, and jumped back out of her bed. Ace peered down, “You okay?”

“What was that for?!”

“I’ve been calling you for ten minutes now! I was wondering if you wanted to play Mortal Kombat XL. Looks like you need it,”

“Y-Yeah!”

“Come on, made you tea,” he left the room. Her face was flushed as she went to her water basin and splashed her face a few times. This semester was going to be the death of her.

***
The next day, Coby saw that ___________________ avoided him like a plague. He grinned. He was going to make that girl run later that day. He had to admit, she was so cute when she was embarrassed. But he knew this time he really did have the upper hand. It cost him one favor he owed to the Kidd Pirates but it was worth it in a weird way. He was pretty much done with all of his classes but today was also some cadet training for the last two hours. This meant he had to run laps for two hours with Garp and Smoker yelling at the younger cadets. He didn’t mind being the guinea pig of how this worked. He had a good view of __________________ in the Cooking Club. This wasn’t something out of the ordinary. She always had cooking class when the cadets had training. It was taught by Patty and Carne and their teaching methods were unorthodox, such as gathering ingredients from the school’s garden, budgeting for high class ingredients, and having your meals scrutinized. Only the bravest took the elective. ___________________ was one of those few, only because Zeff refused to have any woman near his kitchen and that included her but that didn’t mean he didn’t know how to create a lesson plan for his cooks to follow. Today’s new treat was homemade ice cream from what he saw from people munching and licking the treat. He was doing his laps when he saw ______________________ at the window happily enjoying her treat. It was very warm day and it was melting fast. She was absentmindedly taking her tongue and running it across the ice cream cone to keep it from dripping. He froze. She licked her lips before continuing and then using them to bite down and suck on the top of the mound of ice cream. His face was red as she licked her lips from time to time and soon finishing her ice cream. She then took a napkin and wiped her mouth clean. Then she used the mirror glass to apply her lip. He watched as she elegantly glided it across her lips before giving her lips that final pucker. He felt her heart pounding and breath hitching. She then realized she was being watched. She looked at him and coyly bit her bottom lip, winked, and blew him a kiss.

“COBY LOOK OUT!” The poor boy didn’t see it coming until it was too late and he smacked head first into a pole. __________________ heard the smack and winced. Even she felt that one. Poor thing! Coby was in the doctor’s office as Kureha tended his face.

“Seriously kid, how in the hell did you manage to run into a pole?!”

“I-I was distracted! I-I didn’t see it!”

“You’re lucky it didn’t scramble what little brains you have! I swear kids nowadays. Chopper, take care of this for me. I’m going out for a smoke,”

“On it!” Chopper looked at the poor boy on the bed with an ice pack on his head, “So what really happened?”

“Ran into a pole…a pole I did not see,”

“You were distracted?!”

“You could say that. I seriously didn’t see it,”

“Lucky for you no concussion but to be safe,

“Coby you okay?!” he jumped when he saw ________________ who genuinely looked scared and fearful for his safety.

“F-Fine!”

“Hey __________________! I’m glad you’re here to check up on him but he needs rest,”

“Okay, does he need anyone to walk him to the barracks?”

“I-I’m fine! B-But I could use my homework,”

“Definitely!” she scampered away. Chopper placed two and two together.

“I think this little war is hazardous to your health,”

“I know! But I didn’t want to lose! I was doing so well!”

“True but I don’t think anyone wanted you to scramble you brains! Especially __________________!” Coby agreed. She actually wanted to see if he was okay after all of this, “Listen, to be safe, you’re going back to Barracks for the rest of day. You need rest and observation,” It was back at the Barracks that Coby had enough. He was going to end this in the ONLY way he knew how, complete surrender. He knew Garp would MURDER him but he didn’t care! He couldn’t take this anymore! He took the white flag and headed towards the school. He had someone send ____________________ a message and she would be waiting for him after school after her shakuhachi lessons. He was scared. He didn’t know what she was going to do. He then saw her at the door. He raised his flag. He then heard her speak.

“I come in peace I swear!” __________________ was waving a white flag just like him. They slowly approached each other. Then the pair looked at each other before rapidly talking at the other.

“Ican’tdothisanymore!”

“Ican’teither!”

“I’msorry!”

“I’msorrytoo!”

“Ididn’tmeanforyoutosmackyourself!”

“Ididn’tmeantopullyouintothewater!”

“I’M SORRY!”

“Are two idiots done yet?” said Law looking at them from a window watching the whole thing unfold with amusement, “I swear watching you two was like watching a nature documentary,”

“You saw?!” said ______________________

“Mhm, I wanted to see which of you would have caved first. You two barely lasted the week,”

“I couldn’t keep going! I mean flirting is one thing! But making him hurt himself was another!”

“I can see why you like flirting but I can’t keep doing it! It’s exhausting!” said Coby, “I don’t see HOW you do it!”

“I don’t even KNOW I’m doing it!” Law snorts

“Endearingly awkward as ever,”

“Have you and Ace been talking?!”

“It’s true, boys like cute awkward girls,”

“Mean! But Coby! I’m sorry for leading you on!”

“You didn’t! It’s okay! I mean you’re awesome and all but you’re a liability! No offense but being on Smoker’s radar is one thing staying on it is another! There’s even a school rule named after you! That’s Luffy level destruction!”

“Fair enough!”

“But…is there anyway you can get me off of Kid’s favor list?”

“Ooh no can do. Asking Killer for favors is one thing, it’s another with Kid. We’re not exactly bosom buddies,”

“…I thought you were?”

“Nah, I’m around him because of Killer. Other than that, I don’t bother myself with the Crybaby Pirates,” Coby was impressed. No one who wasn’t affiliated with a pirate group wouldn’t dare say something like that about the Kid Pirates, or Kid for that matter,” then Marco pulled up, “Well that’s my ride,” she said grinning. She then gave Coby a hug, “See you tomorrow!” she then pecked his cheek, “Be safe and get rest for your head!” she scampered to the car and Marco drove off. Coby stood there blushing and touched his cheek. Law touched his shoulder.

“D-Don’t! P-Please don’t! I’m going to come!”

“Keep it in your pa—oh…never mind. Take care of that before you start walking back to the barracks,”

“Just when I thought I was out…she pulls me back in,”

“I’ll walk you back and don’t come in your pants. If you do, tell them you peed on yourself,”

“Wh-What?! NO!”

“Then you tell them that __________________ kissed you and popped a chub,”

“Okay, okay!”

***
“Feeling better?” Marco picked up ________________ as usual, “Did you and Coby finally patched things up?”

“Yep! We both called a truce! I can’t believe I made him smack into a pole! I didn’t want it to go THAT far! I don’t get it! I mean I know I’m not remotely attracted to Coby but when he was flirting, I just felt my mind going to mush,”

“That’s because you’re so innocently adorable,” said Marco ruffling her hair, “You’re not used to seeing boys shirtless or saying something like that to you that you on default just became embarrassed,”

“Ugh! Having emotions suuuuuck,”

“I know, kiddo. But it makes you human and more adorable,”

“No it doesn’t!”

“Yeah it does! You’re a good girl and if you’re not comfortable with something, it’s alright to feel embarrassed,”

“I have to get over seeing a shirtless boy though…and girls. I was so embarrassed in health class,”

“Trust me, no one likes health class but you don’t have to force yourself to be okay with something you’re not unless you’re ready,”

“When did you get over it?”

“When I was a little older than you. So don’t worry,”

“You’re right!” she grinning, “It’s okay to be shy if one day I’ll get over it!”

“That’s the spirit!” he parked and the pair made their way inside. __________________ scampered up towards her room. She noticed Ace’s door was opened and decided to peek in and say hi.

“ACE-nii! Want me to beat your freckled butt in—,” Ace turned. __________________ froze. Ace had just stepped out of his shower and forgot to close his door. All she remembered was her face getting hot, her cheek burning, and then nothing.

“________________________?! _____________________ wake up!” Kingdew and Curiel looked inside the room to see Ace trying to wake up a passed out ___________________.

“What happened?!”

“I don’t know! One moment she was at the door calling me and the next thing I knew she was on the floor passed out! I’m worried because her face is completely red!”

“Pick her up and put her to bed,” said Whitebeard, “And make her some tea and get a cloth for her head,” Ace nodded and ran downstairs. The men couldn’t help but chuckle before laughing.

“Poor thing!” said Curiel holding his sides

“She can go toe to toe in her training with us and Flora, actively challenge the authority of the Marines and pretty much all budding pirates but can’t see a naked boy without turning to mush,” said Whitebeard, “Such innocence,”

“Didn’t help that Fire Boy shot her with two barrels,” said Kingdew, “If it was a gun, she would have been dead,”

“Friendly fire,” said Curiel

“Don’t give the boy that much credit. The boy has enough of ego,”

Chapter Text

“See? This cow has been like this for like days,” said ________________ pointing to a cow that was grazing in the meadow. She told this to Ace, Sabo, and Luffy and later Law. The quintet traveled to where the cow was and there it was, unmoving and unresponsive. Law looked puzzled and poked it.

“…it’s warm,”

“Is it dead?” said Luffy

“It wouldn’t be standing now would it?” said Ace

“Well, there have been recordings that cows died standing up. How long has it been here like this?”

“Like a week,” said __________________, “I hadn’t moved from this spot,”

“Maybe it’s just sleeping,” said Law. Ace smirked.

“There’s only one way to find out. Let’s tip it over!”

“Why it’s sleeping!” said ________________

“It’s hilarious when they wake up from it! Besides, they’re not hurt or anything,”

“Come on! I wanna tip it!” said Luffy

“Never did that. I actually want to try,”

“I’m in,” said Law, “I want to see what happens,”

“Four against one, sis,” said Ace

“Okay, okay,” they all got into position.

“One…two…three!” the cow fell over. However, unbeknownst to the youngsters, cows do indeed die on their feet but that’s not what got them. It was the idea that once a cow dies, methane gas collect in its stomach. The moment the cow fell, it was like popping a methane filled balloon with rotten guts and flesh and feces. The explosion was loud but they all met with a very nasty surprise.

“IT GOT IN MY MOUTH!” said Ace

“MY EYES!” said Luffy. _____________ vomited from the smell and Law sat there bewildered and shuddered. Sabo was blown back into the cow’s last bowel movement. Corazon drove the kids back home, trying his best to be sympathetic but actually laughing his ass off. Law was back at his home scrubbing himself while Corazon took the others home with all of the windows in the car down. They sat there in collective, gross silence until they got to the Whitebeard home.

“OH DEAR GOD!” Izo recoiled back at the sight of all four kids, “WHAT THE HELL DID YOU GUYS GET YOURSELVES INTO?!”

“They tipped over an already dead cow and it exploded it’s unholy fury upon them!” said Corazon.

“UGH! Baths now!” Izo picked ________________ up as the boys were all ushered into the other bathroom. Whitebeard chuckled. They were discovering this world on their own.

***
Marco got a phone call at about noon and he and Izo went to Corazon’s place to check things out. They knocked on the door and he opened it. The first thing that was unusual was well, Corazon. Usually the man was seen wearing his signature make up but today he wasn’t wearing any and he was in his Marine uniform but nevertheless he looked very sad and on the verge of tears.

“Marco it’s terrible! Law and ____________________ won’t come NEAR me!”

“What’s the matter, dear?” said Izo. Corazon was about to explain when Marco noticed the two kids leering at him from upstairs. Corazon turned and both ran away again. He burst into tears, “Come on Cora, let’s get you some tea,” Izo made tea and while they waited for it to steep, Corazon explained the situation,”

“Sengoku-san came for a visit yesterday. He was wondering why I was still wearing my Joker makeup. To be honest, I grew rather fond of it. I think it suits me,”

“It does,” said Marco

“It brings out the friendliness of your face,” said Izo. He reddened.

“It does! But…Sengoku-san thought it would be a good idea for me to try and return back to my regular self and that Law should get used to it and show him the real me. So…I took off my makeup and put on my Marine uniform,”

“I’m guessing it didn’t go well,”

“NO!” the man started crying again, “And ___________________ decided to visit us today too and when they were in their room and when they saw me, they freaked out ran and hid! They keep leering at me! Even when I told them who I was they said I was lying!” Izo covered his mouth and chuckled.

“Did you tell them who you were?”

“YES! They don’t believe me! Can you talk to them?!”

“I’ll do my best. __________________, Law, can you two come down here for a moment?” soon both kids emerged. Once downstairs, they kept their distance from the new Marine, “What’s the matter guys?”

“He did something to Cora-san!” said Law

“And acting like HE’S Corazon! He’s not my Corazon!” both glared. Corazon held his chest looking as though he was about to cry again. Marco sighed.

“It is Corazon,”

“No it’s not!” said Law, “He doesn’t look anything like him! And those fake tears aren’t working!”

“And Corazon is nice and kind and has a sweet face!” said _______________

“It is him, he’s just not wearing his makeup,” said Izo, “It’ll almost be like me not wearing my makeup,”

“You only wear lipstick!” said Law

“And you always look pretty Izo!”

“Awww babies!” Corazon sobbed and tried his best to reason with the kids.

“It is me! I’m just no wearing my makeup and I’m in my military uniform! I’m still the same lovable Corazon!”

“Don’t say his name!” growled Law

“Don’t turn this house into a den of your filthy lies!” said __________________. Marco pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Such a dramatic child,” said Izo. Corazon was resigned to his fate.

“I-I’ll change back. Marco do you mind watching Law for me until I do?”

“Yeah, he’ll be okay. Law go back a overnight bag. I’ll bring you back when Corazon comes home. Law nods and went upstairs. ______________ stuck around glaring daggers at the “Imposter”. Law came back down moments later and Corazon watched with a heavy heart at they headed to the car. He knew this was a bad idea. He lit a cigarette when he suddenly tripped and fell backwards and ignited himself on fire. He flailed as all four of them rushed to get some water to put him out. Corazon laid on the ground and sat up before being tackled by two smaller beings. Law and __________________ hugged him tightly.

“Only Cora-san is that clumsy,” said Law

“I’m sorry Mr. Corazon!” said _____________________, “Forgive us?”

“I ACCEPT!” he hugged them both as they all cried. Marco snorts. Izo chuckled.

“Poor guy,”

“Yeah but he’s back in their good graces,”

***
______________________ happily skipped through a new place. This was a river that went through Goa Kingdom that was pretty close to home. She followed the river as far as she could until it reached Gray Terminal. She often saw a few things in the water that sometimes escaped the filters, beli, toys, metal, anything really, however this time, something caught her eye. There was a bag that floating down the river but with noises coming out of it. She hopped on a few stepping stones and pulled it out of the water ad untied it. She froze. There was a tan cat inside with three small kittens that looked just like him but with face makings. The kittens were crying and the larger cat wasn’t moving. She quickly took the cats to Law, the closest house.

“Where did you find them?”

“In the river! C-Can you help them?”

“I think so,” Law opened his Room and cleared the water out of the cat and kittens’ lungs before putting them back together, “Okay, that’s as much as I can do. I don’t know much about animal anatomy yet,”

“You’re the best!” by the time she took them home, the kittens were mewling and the cat was licking them and trying his best to comfort them. When she got in, she ran to the kitchen.

“Thatch I need your help!”

“What’s up little lady?” he looked at the little girl holding a sack of cats and looked confused.

“I found them, in a river, in a bag!” Thatch froze. The kittens look very weak and straggly and old enough to have weaned off their mother. He didn’t know what kind of a sick fuck would do this .

“Fossa, grab your truck, we have to get to the vet. Grab your coat little lady,” the veterinarian took one look at the family of cats and put them on IVs, impressed that they didn’t have fluids in their lungs but saw that they were very exhausted. After a few weeks, the kittens were ready for adoption but the father was very leery about who adopted his kittens. ___________________ often visited with Thatch or Fossa. The father cat would immediately perked up when he saw her and meow and purr when she came to him and pet him. She smiled at the vet, who pats her head.

“Well, sweetheart,” said the vet, “How about you find homes for these kittens for me?”

“Really?!”

“Mhm, the daddy is a little protective but he seems to be okay when you and your brother come, something that unusual itself. How about you find homes for them? ” she looked at Thatch. He nodded and ruffled her hair. Early the next morning, __________________ had the kittens in a box as father cat followed her around town to look for homes. Every time someone the father didn’t approve even looked at his kittens, he’d hiss and drive them away. By early afternoon, _______________ popped into Makino’s bar for some juice.

“Awww aren’t they adorable?” the woman gently picked one up. Kitten 1 mewed and purred at her as she pets him fondly. Father cat hopped onto the counter. Makino pets him too as she goes to get him and the other some milk. Father cat purred and when Makino placed the kitten down, he nudged his kitten forward.

“I’m giving them away Miss Makino! Do you want one?”

“Really?! Well there has been a few mice about the bar,” Makino smiles and took the kitty. The father cat looked on in approval before going off with _________________. She traveled some more until a man comes out of his home. Father cat cocked his head as the man silently went to his mailbox to check his mail. He did the same thing he did with Makino. The man looked down at the kitten. Kitten 2 meowed and purred and rubbed against him. The man smiled, picked him up and took him inside. The last kitten meowed as she continued her walk. Finding the last kitten a good home was going to be a challenge. So far they traveled all over the area and so far nothing. On their way back, Father Cat took off. She ran after him. He then stopped in front of a very old and decrepit looking house. The cat looked at her expectantly. She nodded and placed Kitten 3 and the box in front of the door and ran the bell. He pulled her skirt and they hid behind the gate. A very old noble woman opened the door.

“What do you want?! Whatever you’re selling I don—,” Kitten 3 meowed. She looked down. She read the box and gently picked him up, “Damn moocher, that’s what you are. But you’re the only kind of moocher I’ll accept. I guess you stay here. You better be good at listening because I have some stories to tell!” she closed the door. ___________________ grinned.

“Well, you’re the only left,” she said smiling at the father cat. He however, jumped into her arms and purred. The father, who was only six months old himself, took a very strong liking to ____________________ and the Whitebeard home. He followed _______________ everywhere and often moseyed inside and made his way to her room and curl up on her bed or the balcony. He gradually became a normal fixture in the Whitebeard home.

“Can we keep him? Pleeeeeeeeeeeease?” she pleaded her case to Whitebeard, who sighed and pats them both.

“Does he even have a name?”

“River! Because that’s where I found him,”

“And he literately just eat and sleeps,” said Izo

“Just keep it out of my room,” said Namur, “Not fond of cats,”

“Tough little,” said Kingdew, “He sounds like one of us,” Pops sighed.

“Okay, okay, just be sure to give him a bath and a collar,” while ______________ tagged along with Marco, River latched on to different residence of the house from eating Vista’s roses to keep Thatch company in the kitchen to getting into Curiel’s gunpowder. Ace at first wasn’t too fond of it.

“Actually he kind of reminds me of you, Ace,” said _________________ grinning, “He didn’t have a family and now he does! And he randomly sleeps! Just like you!”

“Don’t compare me to a cat!” Ace grumbled and got ready for bed.

“We already have a pet! We have Stefan! We don’t need a cat,”

“Older cats are harder to adopt,” said Whitebeard

“Really?”

“Sad truth, once a cat is no longer a kitten, they’re harder to adopt…then they’re euthanize or sent to a no kill place if they’re lucky,” Ace frowned

“He didn’t ask to be born!”

“No one is. Poor guy almost didn’t mind it. ______________ found him in the river, someone didn’t want him to be alive anymore. He’s only lucky little thing,” that night, Ace curled up in bed. Why would anyone try to hurt a cat anyway? Cats were small and yet useless but to kill it?! He was starting to doze off when he felt something fall on his bed. River was looking at him curiously before walked towards him and rubbed against him. Ace pets him absentmindedly.

“At least no one tried to kill me, yet,” said Ace petting River, “You want to exist and you fought to exist. Now you’re somewhere where someone loves you and wants to take care of you,” he scratched behind his ears, “You didn’t even attack anyone like I did. Heh then again you’re close to _________________ and you’re just happy to be alive. I guess it’s my job to make you a smart cat not a weird one,” in the morning, Ace decided to go with _______________, Vista, Izo, Marco, and Curiel to get some shopping down and a few things for River.

“He’s NOT wearing a red collar!” said Ace

“But the red one looks nice on him!” said __________________

“He’s a boy! Let him have a boy’s color!” said Ace

“But the red one brings out his fur!”

“Blue is the best!”

“I thought you said you didn’t like River!”

“He’s alright but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be manly!”

“How about purple then?”

“No!”

“The way they talk, you’d think they were an old married couple,” said Vista

“I don’t think Ace would mind either way,” said Curiel laughing

“They’re like parents fighting over what to give their child,”

“How about a dark red? See? It’s manly,” said _______________________

“No blue!”

“Fine, LIGHT blue,”

“NO! Okay, okay, dark red then!”

“Kids, grab both!” said Marco, “In case he loses one,”

“Okay!”

Chapter Text

“The coast is clear!” Ace and __________________ decided to do their favorite heist of all time, biscuit raiding. Every few months, Thatch makes a delicious batch of chewy honey cookies. They were strictly for dinner but that didn’t stop everyone from casually taking one every now and then. The main culprits were anyone who was tall enough to get them…until there were cookie patrollers to make sure the cookies would remain safe until after dinner. However, the brother and sister duo had a plan. They waited until the coast was clear when they got to the kitchen. Ace climbed to the top of the counter and ________________ got on his shoulders and was now face to face with the cookie jar. She grinned and stuck her hand inside. She was almost to the chewy goodness when she felt something on her shoulder. She froze as she felt a familiar presence on her shoulder.

“What’s going on up there?!” said Ace

“M-Marco,”

“Shit! Where?!”

“On my shoulder!” Marco craned his neck and towards Ace.

“Hello Ace,” the boy froze. The pair were soon on the ground with Marco holding their ears taking them upstairs, “Those were for after dinner, yoi,”

“Owww! Come on Marco!”

“I’m sorry!” Marco took them to Ace’s room and closed the door, “How did he know?!”

“He ALWAYS knows,” said Ace holding his ear, “Because he’s Marco! Can’t believe we didn’t get a cookie,” she grinned and took out two cookies, “How?!”

“When he looked at you!” she giggled. She passed his over. After dinner, ______________ trotted upstairs because Izo wanted to brush her hair. She loved her new nightly routine with Izo. It always made her feel calm and happy. She knocked on his door.

“Come on in dear,” she slides opened the door and was face to face with what she could only describe as a monster. ___________________ screamed and RAN behind Marco. Marco looked over to see a familiar man at the door to Izo’s room. He was a large man with an afro of blue/purple hair, and has long eyelashes; he also has a noticeably-odd shaped chin resembling an arrowhead.

“Hello Ivankov,”

“Marco darling! Oh dear I hope I didn’t scare that poor thing!”

“I think you did,”

“Oh sweetheart! Come here!” Marco felt her cling to his clothes. Izo peeked out.

“_______________ sweetie! It’s just Ivankov! He’s not going to hurt you!”

“Unless you—,”

“She’s nine!” said Marco.

“Oh right! Can’t do innuendos until ten,” he cackled. She shrank further.

“It’s okay, Ivankov won’t hurt you,” she still look apprehensive, “Trust me,” she nodded. Ivankov chuckled.

“So this is the little cutie who wants to marry Marco,” she blushed and nodded, “Aww and no denying it either,”

“Yes and Ace is about to have a natural born fit,” said Izo

“Why?” said __________________

“Because when a boy likes a girl, sometimes it’s hard for him to admit it. Especially a cutie like you,” said Ivankov, “When she’s older, I have to let her work for me! I know there’s certain…clientele who would love having her serve them drinks,”

“No,” said Marco

“Aww come on Marco, she’s perfect! Especially when her assets come in,”

“No,”

“You’re no fun,” Ace poked her head into the room.

“I’m taking my sister back,”

“Not now, she’s getting her hair brushed,” said Izo

“Why? It’s only going to get matted again!”

“Girls like getting their hair brushed, Ace,”

“Only weird ones do but right I wanna play video games with her!”

“Why are you calling her weird?” said Ivankov.

“That’s because girls ARE weird! Seriously! Especially __________________!”

“I’M weird?! Mr. Don’t worry Luffy, I don’t think that snake will miss one egg!”

“Hey! Those were delicious!”

“She chased you two for five miles!”

“But we had a huge Omelette for breakfast! At least I know where to get food! You just run errands and find plants in the woods!”

“It’s foraging and it’s fun!”

“Is not!”

“Is too!”

“Is not!”

“Is too!” Suddenly they both felt a prick on their sides. They immediately started feeling funny. Ace’s hair few longer, his frame became smaller and his features became softer. ___________________’s hair became shorter, her body twisted and morphed into something a little heavier and sturdier and her features harder. Ace ran to a mirror and screamed. ________________ stood in silent shock.

“I-I’m a girl?!”

“Yes and ____________________’s a boy. Since you two have so much trouble disagreeing on what you two should do in your respected genders, maybe this will help. I’ll return in a week or two to change you back,”

“A WEEK?! I’m stuck being a girl for a week?!”

“Mhm!”

“NO WAY! Change me back!”

“In a week I will and if you get on my bad side, I can make it into a permanent change! YEEHAW!”

***
Ace was having a natural born fit over his new transformation as a girl. It didn’t help that everyone started calling him Anne, he had to wear ____________________’s clothes or had Izo adjust them. He hated he couldn’t go shirtless and he felt super embarrassed all the time. ___________________ couldn’t stop looking at her weird body. They both realized that even though it was their bodies, it was tailed to the way the other’s body was. Ivankov added an extra day just so they could adjust a little more. The weekend was tough as the pair briefed the other on their week. Whitebeard decided to have _____________________ and Ace switch each other’s lives just so they can learn a lesson out of this. Ace was to go to ribbon twirling and _______________ was to train. Ace had to wear a leotard and after a lot of help, threats, running, screaming, and tackling, he finally put it on. __________________ decided to show him some basic moves.

“How can you bend like this?!” he said

“…I’m more bendable,”

“More like high maintenance! I don’t see why you actually have a schedule or HOW you can wear clothes all the time!”

“How can you just SMELL like you hadn’t washed in years!” she retorted

“I don’t really get the lesson in this…I don’t feel any different,”  

“Me neither. Why do you keep saying girls are weird?!”

“Because you guys just are!” said Ace, “Ribbon twirling? Who does that?!”

“Anyway! Tomorrow, you have to go to the market and get the groceries for the week. After that, you have breakfast then ribbon twirling. At ribbon class, Vivi and Kaya are awesome! Hang out with them, you know about Holly, and Penny and Plum are very skittish so please don’t yell at them! When you get home, you can do whatever!”

“Okay. Tomorrow, Sabo and Luffy and I are going after a boar tomorrow, then we’re going to spar. By the time you’re finished, I’ll be done with ribbon twirling,”

“Okay! We’ll regroup tomorrow!”

“Yeah,”

***
Ace woke up at the crack of dawn. He slumped out of bed and got dressed. He yawned and grabbed his coat and ______________’s shoulder basket and headed to the market. According to her, the list was going to be huge this time. Mainly because that day was the “Month Restock” meaning everything they usually eat for the month had to be replaced before it ran out. He looked at the list. It was rice, eggs, different types of noodles, tofu, miso, and vegetables. Thatch had the money waiting and he went off.  He went to the market and got everything. He was actually surprised that she could carry this much. Once home, it was time for breakfast, where ________________ was already eating her fill. He ate and got ready for class. Izo drove him o school, disguised as another woman. He rolled his eyes and ran to the building. The teacher introduced him as a temp student and announced that ________________ would be out sick for a week. The girls looked at the new girl. She was a very pretty girl with long hair, freckles, a thin frame, and dark eyes. Their teacher introduced her as Anne and that she would be joining their class for a week and that their friend, __________________ would be out for a week because she took ill. Ace was standoffish towards them but Vivi and Kaya and two other girls welcomed him happily and actually tried to help him with the moves. He was having a hard time because he was getting tangled in the ribbon and he movements weren’t as graceful.

“We weren’t that good when we first started,” said Vivi, “Everyone is like this when they first start,”

“Yeah, _________________still gets tangled in hers,” said Kaya giggling, “Poor thing,”

“___________________?”

“Yeah, she’s not feeling well so she’s not here. But you’re only here a week!”

“So she’s your friend?”

“Well yeah! She’s so cool and nice!” said Vivi, “We’ve been trying to have a sleepover for ages but my dad is super protective. I want to meet all of her brothers! She talks about them all the time! I don’t have any siblings,”

“Me neither,” said Kaya, “So lucky! And she has an older sister too!”

“Izo?”

“I was talking about Miss Hancock,” Ace cringed at the name, “She’s been taking her for extra lessons,”

“Yeah! She’s been taking fighting gymnastics with ribbons,” he perked up

“What?”

“It’d fighting you can do with a ribbon! It looks so much fun! Miss Hancock and some of her friends gave us a demo and asked who would be interested. __________________’s Dad was the only one who signed the permission slip but she still showed us a few things. In fact, she’s going to have her first match this Friday…well was,”

“Humph! She’s going to get ass handed to her,” sneered a girl. Ace looked at her. He knew who this girl was well and he wondered if he could give her a good punch to the face now that he was a girl.

“That’s Holly, you really don’t need to talk to her,”

“What’s that suppose to mean, Vivi?”

“That you’re a mean girl who loves nothing more than to try and bully _______________ because she’s an orphan,” Ace frowned

“Nothing wrong with being an orphan,”

“She just got lucky. Her mother was probably a prostitute who sold her and her father didn’t want her,” Ace clenched his fist but stopped and thought of what would Izo do. He then smirked.

“So pretty much like your mother?” Holly’s face went white

“Excuse me?”

“My mom goes to the same wine bar that your mother goes to. She said she got super drunk and told her that your father doesn’t love your mother and only stayed because she got knocked up and had you. Also that she loves—,” Kaya and Vivi covered their mouths as Ace continued what _________________ told him causing Holly to run off crying.

“Wow!”

“That’s was mean but effective,” said Vivi, “At least we don’t have to worry about her for awhile,”

“Is she like this all the time?”

“You have no idea and it’s usually geared towards _____________,” said Kaya sighing.

“Last week, her mother bought her a dress and we all complimented on it. ______________ told her it was a nice yellow color and Holly went off saying she insulted her honor or something. She’s always like that,”

“But enough on her! Where are you from?!”

“Oh umm I’m visiting from South Blue near Whiskey Peak,”

“Wow, you’re far from home! What brings you here?!”

“My mother is on business and she didn’t want me to be cooped up all week and enrolled. I’m staying with Mr. Newgate and his family,” the girls’ faces lit up.

“That’s __________________ Dad! How is he like?!” said Vivi

“Is he handsome?!”

“Is he nice?!”

“Have you met __________________?!”

“Umm yeah but she’s super sick so everyone told me to stay away from here,”

“Awww!”

“But Mr. Newgate is huge, he’s nice I guess but he loves all of his kids more than anything,”

“Awww!” he was about to ask them about the questions when he heard a scream outside. He ran outside with Vivi to see Penny and Plum running and cowering as a girl. Penny was a small girl with large red eyes, fair skin, and her hair in pigtails and Plum was a girl with purple hair and brown skin but taller than Plum and often wore it in a bob. But the first thing Ace gathered when he met them was that they were very quiet and passive. Though Plum was more out going, she kept close to Penny who was very fearful of everything. The girl in question who was chasing them was a girl with wearing a green leotard, with ice blue eyes, and a short black ponytail. Ace grabbed a gymnastics club and ran towards them. The girl cackled and laughed whipping the pair in a corner but was smacked away by the club. Ace knelt in front of them.

“Are you two okay?” they needed and quickly got up and hid behind him. The girl glared at him. Ace glared back.

“Who are you?” said the girl

“Who the fuck are you?” growled Ace, “And why are you messing with them?!”

“Such language for a girl!” she gasped, “Kiss your mother with that mouth, honey?”

“I’ll show you a kiss,” Ace said stepping forward. Vivi ran towards them

“Kodachi go home! _________________ isn’t here!”

“Oh? Absent?”

“She’s sick! So leave us alone until she gets back!”

“If she’s going to take the coward’s way but her being sick isn’t going to change out fight this Friday,” Fight? Ace thought

“She’s sick!”

“All’s fair I love and war,”

“If you want someone to fight on Friday, then fight me,” said Ace, “Trust me, I’m more than a challenge than you,”

“You?”

“Anne, no it’s—,”

“I went to see ___________________ about being her replacement because she can’t forfeit, she asked if I was willing to fight in her place,” Kodachi thought for a few moments.

“I’ll think about it,” with that, she disappeared, leaving black petals behind. Ace didn’t know what the hell is going on, but he didn’t like this…not one bit.

***
____________________’s day was a little more different that she was used to. Usually after she woke up, ran a few errands and things, she would eat then go to ribbon class but Pops said she had to train like Ace would, that meant she would have to hang out with Luffy and Sabo. She woke up later than she did, freshened up and ate and soon in the woods with them. The boys gawked at her as she explained the situation. Luffy circled her. It was weird to see her as a boy.

“I know it looks weird,”

“So we have to take you with us for training, right?” said Sabo

“Mhm,”

“Usually Ace is the one that finds something!” said Luffy

“We do too. Like I found some wild boars near Dadan’s place. We were thinking of catching one and splitting the meat,”

“Okay!” they went off to the woods together. They didn’t stop until they were in a part she didn’t know of. Sabo gestured her over to see about group of boars all together running and fighting with each other, “So what’s the plan?”

“Luffy is going to lure them out and when they’re stampeding towards us, I’ll grab one and you finish it off,”

“W-What?! How?!”

“With the pipe and aim between its eyes,” she swallowed a lump in her throat. Luffy went on the other side and started waving his arms and making a scene. The boars scattered in fear. Sabo jumped from a tree onto one. It started to wildly buck and squeal to get him off. Sabo lead it towards _______________ who was shaking with the pipe in her hands, “NOW!” she raised the pipe, closed her eyes and struck. She heard the boar squeal loudly, “_______________! OPEN YOUR EYES AND HIT IT AGAIN!” she started hitting it until it finally laid motionless, “See? Was that so bad?”

“Y-Yes!”

“Don’t worry! I mean you eat meat all the time, right?”

“Yeah. I-I didn’t realize that Ace’s body was this strong,”

“YEP!” said Luffy, “________________ is super strong because his bones are strong! Just like the one in his head,” Sabo smirked.

“Don’t let him hear you say that,”

“It’s true!”

“Imma tell him,”

“DON’T! He’ll kill me!”

“So now what?” said __________________

“We split it,” said Sabo, “We’ll all take some home. And it’s your turn to slice it up!” _________________ came back home with a large bag of bloody meat and covered head to toe in bloody. Sabo said they were done for the day and would train some more tomorrow. She found herself taking a shower after giving Thatch the meat. By the time Ace got home, ___________________ was on the couch clean and exhausted but relaxing. He went to her and did the same. He was so sore.

“I hate your body,” he groaned, “Why are you so flimsy?!”

“Me?! You’re heavy! I can’t run as fast in this body! It’s like weighing me down,”

“At least you don’t feel like the wind will take you down any moment and why did you shower?!”

“I was covered in blood!”

“You should have rinsed off in the ocean and continued!”

“It was Sabo’s idea! I had to clean a boar!” he grimaced

“Okay, okay I thought blood splattered on you or something,” her stomach growled. So did his, “Dinner is like in four hours…Baratie?”

“Yeah!” Ace grinned and went to a large jar that looked like a pumpkin and took out a few beli. It was the family money jar and it was mainly for anyone who needed food money or quick cash. No one knew exactly how much was in there but everyone puts in and takes out all the time. They took one of _________________’s many shortcuts and they were at the restaurant in no time. It was empty, almost a two hours before closing for dinner swap. Sanji came out with two menus and welcomed them both.

“Welcome to the Baratie! Here’s our menu and I’ll be back in a few moments for your orders!” he went away as Ace looked at the menu. ________________ never really sat in the front as a customer; she usually waited out back until someone let her in and hung out in the kitchens. She looked at the menu with some confusion.  

“What the matter?”

“Well I never knew the names. I just usually just describe something and Sanji or Carne knew and gave me whatever it was,”

“What was the last thing you had here that you really liked?”

“It was this cake that was really soft but had sticky apples on top! Sanji gave it to me with cinnamon tea and it was amazing!” Ace looked down the list and nodded.

“Leave it to me,” Sanji came back to take their orders.

“Je voudrais du tarte tatin, s’il vous plait,” Sanji looked at him for a few moments but snapped out of it and wrote it down.

“Que est-ce que voulez vous bois?”

“Thé à la cannelle. Merci,”

“M-Merci!” Sanji hurried to the kitchen, slamming into a table on the way.

“…I didn’t know you spoke French!” Ace grinned

“Well, my mom was French, so I want to learn it so I can carry on her legacy,” Patty placed a tea set in front of them, looked at the pair for a moment before going back to the back.

“So cool! Wait…you knew your mom?” he nodded and poured her some tea.

“Well, not personally, she died giving birth to me. She carried me for a very long time to keep me safe but…she died in the process,”

“I’m so sorry!”

“Me too but I’ve heard a lot of stories about her from Garp. He kept her safe. In order to repay her, I took her last name and I wanted to learn her language,”

“Who taught you?”

“At first Garp taught me a few phrases, then I tried learning on my own, and then when Pops took me in, Vista started teaching me then Thatch and Pops and Curiel. I can read books in French now and I’ve been studying like crazy,”

“You’ll teach me too right?”

“Yeah consider it payback for this ribbon thing,” she grinned as Sanji comes up with their desserts. ________________ never seen him making the face he did before. He had this weird goofy look on his face and was staring at Ace longingly. Ace looked at him and cocked his head.

“What are you looking at?”

“A radiant beauty!” he took Ace’s hands into his. Ace looked genuinely confused and before he could respond, Sanji kisses his cheek, “My radiant beautiful sunflower! Kiss me and be my—,” Sanji was knocked into a table, still with his love struck grin as Ace pounced on him.

“Ac—ANNE NO!” ________________ grabbed Ace as he stomped and kicked at Sanji

“Kiss me again, bitch! I DARE YOU!”

“Such fire! Kiss me my love!!!!!”

“DIE!!!”

“Hit me again my rose!”

“I’ll do more than hit you!” Soon Zeff came out to break up the fight and started to yell Sanji stupid who was still smitten with Anne. _________________ apologized over and over as Ace paid the check and ran out ranting the entire time.

“Flirting with me like I’m a girl!”

“You ARE a girl,”

“Does anyone flirt like that with you?” she shook her head, “The day it happens TELL ME!” at home, the pair headed to the kitchen. Thatch wasn’t quite done with dinner so they raided the pantry for some senbei crackers and headed upstairs.

“Oh there you are,” said Kingdew, “Here, I got a bento for a Miss Anne,”

“Not funny!”

“Seriously Ace, it has your name on it. We found it on the doorstep and brought it in,” Ace opened it to reveal the most intricate bento lunch he’s ever seen. It was filled with tempura, tamagoyaki, chicken, sandwiches, rice balls, and even a few mini cakes.

“Wow it look delicious!” said _________________

“Yes it does! I’m about to dig in! Let’s go!” they hurried to his room. A note fell out of the sleeve. _________________ opened it and glanced through it. Her eyes widened as looked at the bento box before smacking it out of Ace’s hands. It spilt all over the floor.

“What was that fo—,” she points to it as they both watched it sizzle and pop and produced a very strong odor. Stefan walked into the room and took a sniff before passing out, “The HELL was in that bento?!”

“A Kodachi Special. She left her calling card,” she showed Ace the letter with a black rose stamped at the bottom.

“Wait…you know that girl?!”

“Kodachi was at school?!”

“Yes! Look for you! Wait you mean the fight you’re suppose to fighting this Friday, right?!”  

“What?! That’s this week?!” Ace saw that she looked panicked.

“So you’re really in a fight?!”

“Yes! Ugh! I can’t believe it’s this week! And I can’t forfeit!”

“What the hell is going on?!”

“Well, we got a new teacher at the school. Her name is Miss Aphelandra and she’s really nice and SUPER tall! She’s one of the ladies that Miss Hancock has in her town and she wanted to teach us rhythmic combat with our ribbons and other abilities. I was the only girl whose parents gave them permission. She’s really nice but she’s really tough. I’ve been getting pretty good at it but then this girl confronted me named Kodachi and she said that I was to challenge her. I said no and she left. I thought that was the end of it until my classmates were running and screaming and she was chasing them with a ribbon! I stepped in and because I attacked her, I “Accepted” her challenge! But I can’t go looking like this!”

“Then reschedule,”

“No can do, it’s fight or forfeit. If I forfeit she wins and I’ll have to let Holly shave my head and be her slave for a week,”

“What?! FUCK THAT!”

“So I can’t back out of it! I can’t allow her to harass MY classmates! So it’s either fight or get the ever loving snot beaten out of me but I CAN’T! I’m in NO shape to fight!”

“Then I’ll take your place!”

“Ace you can’t!”

“The fuck I can’t!”

“You don’t know the FIRST thing about girl hierarchy OR ribbon combat!”

“I have four days! And I already KNOW how to fight!” she sighs.

“Okay, training starts tomorrow bright and early, you CAN’T mess this up!” Ace knew that _____________ was hardwired to wake up at the crack of dawn. However, this morning, she had him up by five in the morning to work on his new combat skills. Thanks to watching her practice and Vivi and Kaya’s help, Ace got the basics down.  Ace has seen her practice plenty of times. They had four hours and he knew this wouldn’t take long. She was handed him a ribbon and stood away from him. She looked at him expectantly.

“Heh, this is gonna be easy!” he ran at her waving his ribbon. She moved aside as he ran by. He turned as the ribbon wrapped around him. He was them hoisted into the air and slammed on the other side of her in the grass. __________ tugged the ribbon and unloosened it back to her, “W-What the HELL was that?!”

“Lasso Toss. Get up, let’s go again,” Ace glared at went at her again. He saw her ribbon at him. He dodged and saw it coming at him again and he dodged again. Then he felt a smack to his face, he stopped as another one hit him, then another, then he felt the lasso around his waist before being slammed down again, “The Whipping Maiden! Now are you ready to be taught or are you ready to be slammed again?” Ace glared and went at her again. For the next few hours, Ace went after her with everything, waving the ribbon before eventually mimicking her movements. He noticed that he was faster than he’s been and used that as to get closer and close to her. _________________ also realized that her boy body was slower when she was a girl and nowhere near as flexible. She had to keep a distance from Ace so he couldn’t land a hit on her from close range. He had to learn to keep his enemy at a distance because it was a very advantageous strategy. Ace was slammed over and over again.

“AGAIN!” Ace went after her again. She stood still and timed it just right to use his body as a ground and leap over him. He stopped and turned right into her ribbon again as she proceeded to whip him with it.

“OW! Shit! Lay off!”

“Do you think Kodachi is going to take it easy on you?!” WHIP! “Do you think she’s going to just roll over?!” WHIP! “NO! AGAIN!”

“Stop whipping me!”

“Pain is the best teacher!” by the time it was time for Ace to go to ribbon twirling, he had ribbon marks all over his body. Vivi looked concerned.

“Are you okay?”

“Mhm, I was roughhousing with my brother this morning,”

“Tell him to be a little for delicate with you,” said Kaya, “You look like you bruise easily,” she gently takes his arm, “Your skin is so soft,”

“A delicate maiden!” they giggled

“I’m not delicate!” he blushed.

“Nothing wrong with that,” said Vivi, “It just means you bruise easily,”

“Doesn’t mean you can’t do things though. By the way, did you want to come with us to the bakery down the street for lunch?”

“Yeah! And we also wanted to grab something for _________________ since she’s not feeling well,”

“Yeah! But since you two’s dads are protective, I can deliver it for you,”

“Are you sure?”

“We don’t want you to go out of your way!”

“Nah, it’s okay! Besides, I’ve wanted to meet her for awhile!”

“It’s a da—,” their conversation was interrupted by screams. Ace and Vivi ran outside as Kaya went to find a teacher. Penny and Plum were running away from another little girl. They cowered in a corner as Kodachi took her ribbon and proceeded to smack the poor girls over and over with her ribbon. Ace glared, grabbed his ribbon and ran towards them. He did the Lasso Toss that ________________ showed her and wrapped Kodachi and tossing her away from the two frightened girls. She landed a few feet away as the two girls sobbed and cried. Ace knelt in front of them.

“Are you okay?” they nodded. The two girls were sniffling and sobbing. Ace glares at the girl.

“What the hell is your problem?” Kodachi laughed

“I see you have trained in ribbon combat. I guess you are worthy to fight on Friday,” she held out her hand. Ace glared and went to shake it. Vivi smacked her hand away from his. He saw tacks flying out of her hands. She giggled

“Oh my how did those get in there?”

“That’s dirty!” said Ace glaring at her, “What’s your deal?!”

“It’s not fighting dirty unless you get caught and I make the rules here, honey. Not some nobody,” she then heard the teaching running towards them, “I guess it’s my cue to leave! Ta ladies! We can settle this on Friday!” later that day at the bakery, Penny and Plum offered Ace some cake as a thank you for rescuing them.

“Guys its okay, really,”

“No! You saved us again!” said Penny

“We want to thank you for being so nice to us,” said Plum

“Please let us buy you some cake!” Ace grinned

“Buy it for ______________________. I bet she’ll appreciate it more,”

“You’re going to see her?!” she smiled and started rummaging in her backpack and takes out a Get Well card, “Can you bring this to her for us?”

“We want to do see her!” said Penny, “But our fathers want to meet her family first,”

“We told her she has brothers but they want to make sure her family isn’t any dangerous people who may try to ransom us,”

“Why would they? She sounds pretty cool,” said Ace not liking this conversation.

“Well, it’s a common practice,” said Kaya, “Girls from noble, royal, or rich families have to be careful because many pirates and other unsavory people like to kidnap us for money,”

“Penny was kidnapped,” Vivi whispered, “Kaya was almost kidnapped,”

“This is the only safe place we can go without having bodyguards. You and ________________ are so lucky! But if this continues, we may have to leave ribbon twirling,”

“What why?!”

“Because it’s becoming unsafe. ____________________ was always around to keep Holly from threatening Plum and Penny and she was the one who challenged Kodachi. The terms of that were that she was to leave us alone so we can continue coming here,” Ace looked at the girls. He didn’t realize that girl hierarchy was so much different but also that well off girls had it this bad. He knew many were spoiled little brats but these girls here were honest and genuinely liked _________________ and she wanted to protect them, just like he and Sabo protected Luffy.

***
_________________ ran through the woods with Sabo and Luffy as they just finished going after wild boars again. Using sheer strength and strategy, they managed to defeat and catch one. After that, Sabo told her this was usually the time they started training. She cocked her head.

“Training?”

“Yep!” said Luffy, “So we can become stronger and be great pirates someday!”

“So that’s what you guys do all day,”

“Yeah, we’re planning on getting out of here the moment we turn seventeen. Luffy has to wait longer,”

“Shishishi I don’t mind!”

“So what do I do?”

“Make sure to beat the living tar out of us,” Luffy however looked above and behind excited

“What’s wrong?” said _________________

“This is going to be the first time ever I’m going to kick someone like Ace’s butt!”

“Please, if Ace won’t let you win, neither will I!”

“That’s the spirit!” said Sabo getting ready. She grinned as all three went after each other. Using Ace’s strength, she was able to not only keep up but take and land some damage on her other brothers.  Even flipping Luffy backwards as always. They went at it for hours before they stopped. She was panting and fell backwards. Sabo and Luffy stared down at her. Sabo got her some water. She guzzled it down, “You held out a lot longer than we thought,”

“Why were you picking on me?!”

“Would Ace have let you get off easy?” She said

“…no,”

“There you go,” they made their way back towards the Whitebeard home when they noticed a small ball of cute anger coming at them.  Ace was coming home fired up, found ___________________ with Luffy and Sabo and dragged her out. Before she could protest, he had her out in the training dojo. He gave her her ribbon. She looked puzzled. He looked determined.  

“We’re training so I can beat her at her own game!” she smiled.

“Are you ready? She doesn’t play fair but I do, we’re going to do this in the Kuja way, with honor. Are you prepared for that?” he nodded, “Let’s begin,” The brothers watched from their rooms as the two kids trained over and over for hours, only stopping to refuel and going right back at it. Both had made their new bodies their own. Ace was appreciating his new flexibility and balance __________________ liked her new strength stability. She had to adjust to keep up and make sure she trained Ace right.

“Look at them go,” said Speed Jill, “Never thought in a million years I would see Ace ribbon twirling,”

“It’s a matter of honor,” said Thatch, “I guess Ace realized that _________________ does have things in her life going on just like him,”

“I think he’s more impressed that she’s using ribbons as a weapon,” said Fossa, “Never thought he would take it this seriously,”

“There’s more to it,” said Kingdew, “Whatever it is, it’s going down on Friday,” around nine, they were both dead tired on the ground looking at the sky.

“…why didn’t you tell me this was going on? I’m your brother. It’s my job to protect you,” she turned to look at him. He continued to look up at the sky, “Just because I don’t show it, it doesn’t mean I don’t care you know! Stop hiding things from me!”

“…I thought you didn’t like it because you act like you never listen to me!” she said.

“I do like listening to you! How do you think I knew your forest spots? Why didn’t you tell me about all of the cool things you do and see every day?!”

“Me?! You, Sabo, and Luffy are always on adventures! You guys fight snakes and boars and always doing cool things together!”

“Yeah but…you know the entire town and explore everything! I can see why you go out into the woods! I didn’t know there was a mushroom farm or anywhere where you can pick things and do people just not know you’re watching them?!” she looked at the sky.

“Well many people tend to not pay much attention to things that don’t actively affect their lives. It’s easy for me to watch people every day because I’m not their main focus. When I’m made to be aware, then I become the focus. I learned that in the convent when people who came in to pray and get cleansed not remember me or Sister when we used to go to town to get things. That’s why I love exploring so many different things! It was a rare treat back in the convent,”

“…You’re not in the convent anymore. Exploring shouldn’t be your only hobby,”

“I like hanging out with you guys at night after practice! It’s my way of winding down. Sabo and I hang out a lot,”

“Really?”

“Mhm! He explores with me before he hangs out with you and Luffy. I just thought you two didn’t want a girl around,”

“No we don’t, but you’re not some girl! You’re our sister! Another brother!”

“R-Really?”

“Yeah! We like when you tag along! But…we kind of don’t know how you’ll feel about it,”

“I would love to but…after practice,” he nods. The pair went to get up. Realizing they were too stiff to move and called for help. Marco hoisted them both up and took them inside.

“A hot bath and bed will loosen up those muscles,”

***
On Friday, Ace was fired up and couldn’t wait to beat the smugness out of that girl. ________________ and him sat across from each other in the yard. She presented him her ribbon.

“For luck and it’s made of a very light but strong and flexible metal. It’s still regulation, believe it or not. Also be very careful. Kodachi will do anything to trip you up. She’s sneaky. I’ve been observing her movements…just use your best judgment,”

“Got it,” Ace ate a hearty breakfast and headed off to class. __________________ tagged along to give him some moral support. The fight was to start after lessons. Ace was calm and collected and when the clock chimed for noon, the girls knew it was finally time. They ventured to the back of the school where the practice ring was. ________________ was waiting. Ace trotted to her.

“Any sign of her?”

“Not yet. Still have three more minutes,” the girls all stared at the boy with curiosity, caution, and awe.

“W-Who’s this?”  said Vivi blushing

“This is my…brother River,”

“Nice to meet you, River!” said Kaya shaking his hand. _______________ grinned.

“Likewise! Have you guys been taking care of my sister?”

“Mhm, we were planning a farewell party for her but we didn’t want Kodachi sabotaging it,” said Vivi, “So consider your victory your going away party, Anne,”

“You guys don’t have to!”

“We want to!” said Plum

“Yes! It’s the least we can do since _________________ is away!” said Penny, “Please don’t think ill of our school or us!” he smiled and ruffled her hair.

“I don’t and don’t worry, after I’m done, Kodachi isn’t going to bother you guys again,” an ear splitting cackle rang through the air. Ace winced as the girls covered their ears. Kodachi appeared in the center of the ring grinning at them.

“So Anne, do you think you’re ready to—oh my,” she stopped mid sentence looking at _______________, “And who might you be?”

“_-River, I’m Anne’s brother,”

“I don’t see the family resemblance but I’m sure you got the looks,” Ace glared

“Leave my brother alone and let’s do this!” Kodachi smirked  

“Do you think such an ugly girl like you can beat me?” said Kodachi, “And your handsome brother isn’t going to be able to save you either,”

“Don’t listen Anne!” said Vivi

“Yeah! She’s just trying to get under your skin!” said Kaya

“You’re very pretty!” said Plum

“Your freckles are so cute!” said Penny. Ace reddened. Girls are so weird.

“The rules are simple, the first person out of the ring loses. We can only use our ribbons and other things to push the person out but not any body contact. Meaning you can’t be a Neanderthal and hit me,”

“Fine,”

“Let’s go!” almost immediately, Kodachi went after Ace with everything she had. Ace smirked and ducked and dodged effortlessly. Thanks to his sister’s training, he was able to adapt to his new body’s flexibility as he maneuvered his way through her ribbon. All he had to do was get close to her and he was going lasso her out of the ring. However, Kodachi’s ribbon shot out and smacked him in the face. She winced as another came, then another, then another. He grabbed the ribbon. She smirked and started spinning, taking Ace him for a ride before letting go. Ace immediately caught his balance to keep from stepping out of the ring. He was now dizzy and disorientated. Once he got his bearings, he saw a shadow of something coming down at him. He dove and saw a two pound dumbbell falling in front of him, then another, then a log. He looked up to see Kodachi lassoing items in order to drop on him. Ace dove and dodged all over the ring trying to dodge falling objects. Between Kodachi’s laugh and the girl cheering him, he couldn’t think straight. The he saw a few huge balls coming at him. He moved and dodged out of the way of them, keeping his distance from the incoming bricks, poles pretty much whatever she could grab with her ribbon. He kicked a few out of the ring in case he tripped but his eyes left for a moment and that was when something smacked him, causing himself to bounce backwards. He looked up to see another ball coming at him, getting him again. This time he steeled himself and prepared for the final ball. He was almost out of the ring. He used the last ball as a ground and bounced on top of it, then to the second and third one.

“You really are resourceful!” said Kodachi, “Be lucky I didn’t bring four,” she then proceeded to throw batons at him.

“You’re cheating!”

“All’s fair in love and war!” she cackled. Ace used balls as his way of staying in the ring and bouncing away from the incoming batons. But he knew he wouldn’t be able to keep this up for long. As he bounced, he noticed ______________ who was gesturing to a very large tea kettle behind Kodachi but in front of him. He smirked and lassoed it, making the contents fall all over the girl. She was distracted enough for Ace to hop off the ball. He smirked and took the first ball and smacked Kodachi backwards with it. Before she could recover, she was smacked with the second and Ace used all of his strength to use the last one to completely knock her out and into the building. The girls cheered as they ran and hugged Anne.

“You were amazing!” said Vivi

“That was so cool!” said Plum

“You’re a natural!” said Penny.

“Nah, I just had a great teacher,” Kodachi glared at Anne but knew she was defeated. She extended her hand to him. He frowned and shook his wrist instead. She smirked.

“Clever,”

“Not falling for that again,” she laughed

“I guess I just have to try harder next time,” she lets the tacks fall to the ground before turning to Holly, “This is where you give me my fee,”

“You didn’t fight ____________________, you fought some street girl who got lucky,” she sneered.  

“You hired her?!” said the girls. Kodachi looked genuinely surprised.

“Of course she did. She told me that this little upstart in her class has been causing trouble and insulted my clan,”

“__________________ did no such thing!” said Vivi, “In fact, she doesn’t even know about clan stuff!”

“Miss Aphelandra is from the Kuja just like Miss Hancock,” said Kaya, “And that’s all we know!” Kodachi looks over at Holly then to everyone else.

“Do any of you know who my family is?” they looked a little puzzled. Kodachi frowned.

“I see, then none of you sent a open challenge note like this,” she took out a piece of paper. ____________________ took it and looked it over.

“Do any of you have ______________’s handwriting?” Plum ran inside and retrieved a birthday card everyone signed for her. She held the note to the writing, “Yeah it’s nothing like m—that girl’s writing. However, it looks a lot like Holly’s writing,”

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” Ace snapped at Holly. All of the girls were glared at the girl who backed away.

“She started it by insulting my honor!”

“What are you on about?!”

“She said my new dressed was yellow! Not goldenrod,”

“Not this again!” said Vivi, “That was two weeks ago!”

“And it was a yellow dress!” said Kaya

“Are you really that stupid?” said Ace

“You were willing to have your classmates terrorized for two weeks, sent out a fake challenge, just to have another girl lose a fight just because she called your obviously yellow dress, goldenrod?” said ____________________, “Grow up!”

“Cute and takes charge,” said Kodachi hugging ___________________, “too bad I lost, I would have claimed you as my prize,”

“The hell you are!” said Ace pulling ________________ away from the girl.

“So you were hired Kodachi?”

“Mhm, I only took the job when I saw that the opponent would have given me a challenge. If she wasn’t worthy enough I wouldn’t have accepted. But when I got the challenge letter, it piqued my interest and Holly offered me a substantial amount for getting her riled up enough to fight me. It gave me an excuse. The Kuno Clan is wealthy enough to not have to do anything demanding. Anyway, Adieu and River if you’re still around, you’re going to be being me more and more,” Kodachi ran off. _______________ shuddered as the other girls were yelling at Holly who looked nonchalant.

“I don’t see why you’re all defending that orphan girl! She doesn’t belong here. It’s obvious her parents didn’t want her if they abandoned her,”

“Lay off,” said Kaya, “There are a lot of reasons why parents abandon their children! But what is important is that _____________________ has a family that loves her now,”

“So leave her alone!” said Vivi

“I’ll lay off when she gets out of this class and wear something that doesn’t look like her family got from a secondhand store,” Holly was backwards hard into the wall. _______________ froze and the other girl gaped at Anne holding Holly by the neck against the wall. The girl looked terrified as Ace squeezed.

“Listen and listen good! If I find out that you’ve been bullying and terrorizing everyone here again I’m going to make you regret it! I will personally come back here and beat the living shit out of you. I tracked ________________ and if she tells me about some of your petty ass shenanigans I will find you and you’re going to regret it. Do I make myself clear?” Holly didn’t say anything. Ace squeezes harder, “Well?”

“Y-YES! P-Please let me go!” Ace dropped her as she ran away.

“Coward,”

“Anne, you okay?” said ____________________. He nods.

“Yeah,” he bowed to the girls, “Sorry you had to see—,”

“No, she deserved it,” said Vivi

“But please don’t be mad like that again!” said Plum, “That was scary!”

“And we like nice Anne not scary Anne!” said Penny

“And I want to see Party Anne!” said Kaya, “Come on! It’s your last day! We made a mini going away party just for you at the Bakery!”

“R-Really?”

“Yeah! We wanted to wait until after your fight!” said Plum, “What way if you won, it would your Going Away/ Victory party, if you lost, your At Least You Tried/ Going Away party! Please say you’ll come!” he blushed

“Please?” said Penny

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world,” the girls cheered. Kaya sheepishly went to _________________

“We’re sorry but…we kind of reserved it for five girls but we-we really won’t mind if—,”

“Anne, I’ll come back to pick you up in two hour,” she ruffled Kaya and headed off as Ace was whisked away.

***
Ace and _________________ walked home. They both were grinning as they bantered about the fight.

“You were amazing out there!”

“Well I had a pretty good trainer! I didn’t know ribbon twirling can be combative! I didn’t even know you were using it to fight!”

“It was Miss Hancock’s idea and I love it! It’s a lot easier than actual ribbon twirling,”

“Easy my ass! I’m still sore!”

“Your body isn’t used to it! I was sore for a month before my body got used to the maneuvers!”

“Yet you still tangled in the ribbon, clumsy girl,” he said shoving her. She shoved back.

“So how does it feel being a girl to you?”

“…to be honest, I don’t feel any different, only that I’m faster and flexible and can’t walk around without a shirt. You?”

“Same! My body is heavier but I’m stronger but I like that I can take my shirt off,” she said grinning, “I still play video games and things like that,” they both reached the door and walked in. Izo greeted them.

“Soooo…”

“Ace won!” said ________________ happily, “My pupil made me proud!”

“Pupil? Isn’t that cute?” said Namur laughing.

“Really! Ace beat her! It was so cool!”

“Not without your help. You found a use for ribbon twirling!”  

“What about you little lady?” said Kingdew

“I had SO much fun with Sabo and Luffy! They actually hunt things and train together to get stronger! Though I don’t feel any different, other than my body being a little slower and heavier,”

“So there’s no real differences?” said Fossa

“Well I’m delicate in this body,” said Ace, “But flexible and graceful but I don’t feel different, like I still love video games and training,”

“Same here, I still love cake and ribbon twirling as a boy and can still do it and Ace still has my back even though he’s a girl,”

“And she’s still spacey, boy or girl,”

“Hey!” all of a sudden, the pair were punctured from behind. They yelped and turned as Ivankov beamed at them.

“Now THAT’S what I wanted to hear from you two! You two can still everything you wanted in your bodies but can appreciate the advantages and disadvantages that you both get from being the opposite genders. I hope this was a good lesson for you! YEEHAW!” They were both happy to be back in their original bodies again but ran away from Ivankov as fast as they could outside, __________________ twirled.

“I’m so happy to be me again!”

“At least I can be shirtless again,”

“What did you want to do now?” Ace looked thoughtful before grabbing her hand and taking her back inside. They snuck into the kitchen and looked up at the covenant cookie jar. Ace took out the ribbon and in one swift motion, lassoed it and yanked it down. _________________ caught it. Ace then grabbed the water kettle and _________________’s mug and they scampered upstairs with their prize. Whitebeard watched on before shaking his head.

Chapter Text

“This is hard!” said Corazon looking at all of the clothes in the shop, “Is her favorite color still orange?”

“Mhm, but I think she would like this sunflower dress,” said Law holding it up, “And No likes cool colors,”

“Right, right, thank you for tagging along with me Law! And no dresses for her, right?”

“Right, she doesn’t really like dresses but okay with jumpers! Don’t forget to buy soy milk and ground chicken,”

“Alright! Do they need new shoes?”

“Mhm, they can’t survive on sandals…and we need a gift certificate for the bookstore with lots of pens and paper,”

“Okay. Oh that reminds me, I need to buy a little more than usual this time,” Law eyed him.

“Why?”

“Well, the girls are staying for three weeks this time,”

“…What?”

“Yeah, she just called this morning! So when we get home, we have to clean out the storage room. That couch isn’t okay for her,”

“Used to be,” Law grumbled. Corazon pats his head, “And its pull out,”

“It’s okay, you know she’s going through a lot at the moment,” Law nodded before he looked over the list. He then groaned at the idea of how the next few weeks were going to play out. He can handle most things but he did NOT want to be HER for any longer than two weeks. He looked at Corazon worrying about their monthly food budget while looking at his list. They had more than enough but she ALWAYS did this.

“Oh! You can introduce ___________________ to—,”

“She’s leaving next weekend to the Kuja Territory. She’s not going to be home,”

“How about during the week? I’m sure the girls would be happy to see town and—,”

“They’re pretty busy during the week. And Ace isn’t much use around other girls and Luffy…is just Luffy and Sabo lives too far. Also, I can go fishing,”

“Really?”

“Yeah, it’s no biggie,”

“Law you’re the best! By the way, don’t let me forget I need to beef to make rice burgers for you! I know they’re you’re favorite,” he nodded as they continued their shopping.

***
Law arrived at the Whitebeard home at about seven that evening. He packed is things about two days ago and finally made it before it got dark. He didn’t know how _______________ walked everywhere. He politely knocked on the door with a backpack. Kingdew answered the door and looked down at him. He noticed a few things about the boy, he had a backpack that looked bigger than him, he looked exhausted and he didn’t see Corazon in sight.

“May I stay here for awhile? Please?” he nodded and ushered him inside. The family had just finished dinner and Thatch managed to scrape up some leftovers for him. Marco came in shortly, saw Law, placed two and two together and had a room ready for him, “Thanks,”

“No prob, did you leave Corazon a note?”

“Mhm, he’s going to call soon,”

“What’s the matter?” Law took a deep sigh

“She’s back in town,”

“Who?”

“Bellemere,” Marco winced a little and pats his back

“Take all the time you need,” _____________________ on the other hand was excited that Law was staying with them for awhile but worried because he wasn’t saying much as to why he decided to runaway. She and Ace helped preparing one of the spare room as Law unpacked a few of his things.

“Technically it’s not running away when you leave a note,” said Ace rolling out the futon, “And why did you leave anyway?”

“Bellemere and her daughters came,”

“Who’s Bellemere?” said _____________________

“The worst person in the entire world,” Law said glaring as he arranged his books.

“What did she do?”

“She always comes over when she needs money or something from Cora-san. She, Nami, and Nojiko, they’re her daughters, always stay for a month sometimes and then they’re gone again. I don’t mind it but every time she’s there she just makes excuses! I just want her gone,”

“Sounds like a mooch,” said Ace

“What’s a mooch?” said ____________________

“Someone who goes into a person’s home, eat all of their food, sleep on their bed, and then just leave without helping them with anything,”

“Oh…that’s mean,”

“Yeah it is,” said Law, “But with her, it’s a little different, she and Cora-san have been friends for a very long time. I don’t know how long though,”

“Have you told Corazon how you felt?” said Ace

“I can’t. He doesn’t have any friends as it is, so why should I take away his only friend? It’ll be like saying I can hang out with you guys anymore because they don’t like you,”

“Pfft, that would never happen. I’m fuckin’ awesome and ________________ is adorable and pet like,”

“Hey!”

“It’s true! All someone has to do is pet our head and give you cake or cookies and you’ll be fine,”

“Mean!”

“But you should at least tell Corazon about your feelings, Law,”

“I can’t. I don’t him to start crying or look hurt. It’s like a bullet to the chest and trust me, that hurts,”

“It can’t be that bad,” Law looks at Ace

“Remember that time ___________________ came home when that Holly girl took her blanket?”

“…you told him about that?”

“She did but that’s beside the point. Remember the devastation and sadness on her face? Remember how she just looked so hurt and scare and sad? Multiply that by ten,” Ace winced and touched his chest.

“Okay, okay, yeah you can’t tell him,” he looked at the clock, “Alright, _________________ you have to get your hair brushed. Law and I have to talk,”

“Wait, what? Why can’t I help?!”

“It’s a boy thing!” Ace ushered her out of the room. She looked a little confused but thought nothing of it before she headed off. It was Izo’s turn to put _________________ to bed that night. His first routine with her was brushing her hair before wrapping it up for the night.

“I swear if we keep brushing that gorgeous hair of yours, you’re going to be beating men and women alike off you,”

“Girl too?”

“Mhm, girls can like other girls or like things about other girls,”

“Like Vivi’s long blue hair!”

“You want blue hair?”

“Nah but it’s pretty!” Izo carried her to her room and tucked her in.

“I know I’m not the best tucker inner but I did my best!”

“You’re the best pillow fluffer!”

“Better than Marco?”

“Mhm,”

“Damn right I am!” he said proudly

“Hey Izo, do you know anything about Miss Bellemere?” Izo slightly cringed a bit but shook it off.

“We’ve…crossed paths, why what up?”

“Is she a bad person?”

“Why would you think that, sweetie?”

“Well, Law doesn’t like her. He said to just avoid her but I never met her before. But Law’s never steered me wrong before,”

“You shouldn’t judge a person just because one person doesn’t care for them,” said Izo petting her head, “That’s how people get misinformation and have unwarranted hated against people or groups of people and species,”

“Oh,”

“For instance, a lot of people don’t like fishmen or mermaids or merman,”

“Why not?! They’re so cool! Namur can even unhinge his jaw! And mermaids are so pretty!”

“I know but there are many people who don’t like or trust fishmen because of rumors about them from others and because they’re “not human”,”

“That shouldn’t make a difference! Some humans don’t look like humans and some human don’t even look like their genders!”

“See? And how would that be any different from you and Bellemere?”

“Ohh…I get it!”

“Good girl. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t heed warnings about people. For instance, what if Ace told you that Law ate little girls?”

“That’s a lie because Law would have eaten me by now!”

“Okay, what if Ace, Luffy, Sabo, and Vivi told you that Law ate little girls?”

“Still not true!”

“Okay, what if they told they saw Law eat Vivi and Vivi disappeared,” her eyes widened.

“DID LAW REALLY DO THAT?!”

“No, no sweetie but now you understand! There’s a difference between jumping to conclusions, unwarranted hated, and knowing when to trust and not to trust. You know Ace, Luffy, and Sabo would never lie about something like that. Therefore along with the evidence, it must be true,”

“Ohhh! Like Blackbeard!”

“Exactly. If it wasn’t for some quick thinking, Thatch wouldn’t be alive today,” he kisses her forehead, “Just try and give Bellemere a chance. I’m sure you’ll be okay with her,”

“I hope so but I wonder why Ace wouldn’t let me help? Law’s my friend!”

“Well, sometimes boys need to talk. Since you know Corazon, it may be easy for you to be bias about something. But at Ace is a neutral party so having him and Law talk things out may be a little better. Not to mention, Ace may have a better solution in this and he may want to get to know Law better so it’s a win win because Ace is a stubborn little shit but he does want to try his best to be of help to a friend,”

“Oh, okay,” ________________ yawned, “Thanks Izo,”

“Of course! I swear kid, you’re going to wear me out with these questions. By the way, can you do your big brother Izo a favor?”

“Sure!”

“Since you’re going to the Kuja area in a bit, mind picking me up a few things? Please?”

“Okay!”

“There’s a shop called Angel’s Beauty that sells very rare make up skincare and I need you to get me a bar of Tea Rose perfume soap, charcoal honey facial scrub, and Madame Terra’s makeup,”

“Got it!”

“You’re such a good girl! I’ll give the money but you’re so sweet!” he gave a tight hug and left. _______________ yawned and hunkered down into bed and finally fell asleep.

***
Early the next morning, Law got up and got freshened up and dressed. It was Thursday so that meant tomorrow ________________ would be going to Kuja Town for the weekend with Miss Hancock, much to Ace and Marco’s chagrin.

“I don’t see why you have to!” said Ace, “Tell her you’re sick or something!”

“But I like hanging out with Miss Hancock and her friends!” _______________ piped, “We go shopping, she does my hair, we watch movies, and sometimes we just talk,”

“Sounds boring and you always come home smelling weird like soap and flowers! It’s disgusting!”

“Miss Hancock said it’s hygienic!”

“Ugh,” Law snorts as he went through his back. Then his amusement turned to panic, “What’s the matter?”

“I forgot my experiment back at home!”

“What experiment?”

“My dead frog,”

“…what’s wrong with it?”

“It’s going to explode if it’s not exposed to air in the next few hours,” he said, “I mean I don’t mind it exploding but you know what happened last time,” _________________ winced. Ace shuddered.

“If it’s anything like that cow, you better get it out of the house,”

“Yeah, Cora-san cleaned up the last one and that was an adventure but I can’t go back into that house, not with her there,”

“I can get it!” said __________________

“…okay, just be careful and slip in through the back. It’s on the top shelf in the hollowed out book,”

“Okay!”

“Wait, wait have you ever broke into a house before?!” said Ace

“No!”

“Okay, so here’s what you do. Bring River as a distraction. He’s perfect for things like that. People can’t resist going after a kitten cat,”

“….have you been using River in your crimes?!”

“He followers orders better than Luffy,”

“Meow!”

“See?”

“Okay, okay, come on River. I’ll be back soon Law,”

“Just be careful and open the book to let the methane out,” She scampered away with River following close behind. Ace looked at him.

“You really don’t like her do you? Bellemere right?”

“It’s…complicated. Like I just can’t put it into words,” he said

“Pops is coming back home tonight, you can talk to him about it,”

“That’s the same thing ____________________ said,”

“That’s because the old man is smart. He has centuries of wisdom and knows how to deal with things. Even problems you didn’t even know how to approach,”

“You sure”

“Yeah and his door is always opened when he’s home. Just give it a try,” _________________ snuck into the house. There was something about sneaking into a friend’s house that felt a little dirty but she had to get Law’s book. Exploding frog guts did not smell pleasant and it’ll take ages for Corazon to clean it up. According to him, it was on the top shelf of his bookcase. She saw Corazon in the kitchen talking to someone. She placed two and two together to assume that the other person was Bellemere.

“Okay River, I need you to run around in the backyard and make sure no one comes in, alright?” River meowed and ran for it. She then heard two girls giggling and footsteps. There she crept upstairs and headed into Law’s room. She knew his room like the back of her hand so she knew where the book was. She climbed the bookcase and made it to the top and found the large book and opened the book slowly as the gas came out. She winced at the smell. She tucked the book under her arm and started climbing down, being careful about keeping the bookcase from toppling on her.

“HEY! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!” _________________ jumped causing her loose her balance and falling backwards only glimpsing an orange haired girl. She landed with a thud as Law’s books landed on top of her. She heard running and shouting and within minutes, footsteps came towards her and she was pulled out of the rumble.

“__________________?!” Corazon scooped her up, “Are you okay?! What are you doing here?!”

“Owww….” Corazon took her downstairs and gave her an ice pack for her head and making sure she was okay.

“What happened?!”

“We saw a girl in Law’s room!”

“Nami yelled at her and the books went flying!”

“Shit! Ross is she okay?”

“Yeah, nothing’s broken and she doesn’t have a concussion. I think she just needs to rest a bit,” there was a sigh.

“Girls go play. We’ll take it over from here,” Corazon gave her some medicine to help with her headache that he knew would be coming. _______________ laid on the bed and finally got a good look at the mysterious Bellemere. She had long fuchsia hair tied in a ponytail, grey eyes, and a really weird haircut. She wore a green shirt with the word “MOM" on it, brown pants and brown sandals. After an hour, she sat up. Corazon grinned.

“How are you feeling?”

“Better! I’m sorry for breaking into your home,”

“About that, why in the world did you sneak in? That’s not like you at all!”

“Law asked me to! He didn’t want his experiment to explode all over his room again!” Corazon cringed.

“I appreciate the sentiment but why didn’t he come himself?” __________________ looked down.

“I promised not to tell,” she said. Corazon sighed. Bellemere smiled and pats her head.

“Rossi, it’s okay, you know how friends can’t break promises to their friends. So if _________________ can’t tell you why Law is acting strange, then we can’t force it out of her,”

“B-But!” she pressed her finger to her lips and went into a bag and took out a large tan teddy bear with brown button eyes and wide stitching. She took Corazon’s hat and placed it on his head and gives it to her.

“But I’m sure Cora-bear wouldn’t mind hearing what’s going on,” she looked at the woman. She never talked to a stuffed animal. Even she knew that they couldn’t talk back and it would be like talking to something that couldn’t respond…then it clicked. She winked, “So Rossi and I will be in the kitchen making tea and something to eat and you can just tell Cora-Bear everything, alright?” Corazon watched as ___________________ spilt her guts out to Cora-Bear. He listened patiently as she tells him that Law wasn’t mad at him, why he was avoiding the house, why she snuck into the house, and what has been going on with her friend.

“I can’t believe that worked,” he said

“It usually does if the kid is smart enough. I use it with Nami all the time,” Bellemere took the oranges out of the oven, “So it is me, isn’t it?”

“No, no!”

“Dude, I get it, I ain’t mad. I know it’s probably something that he’s not used to, especially since I appear and disappear every time I need something,”

“I owe you my life, Bell,”

“That doesn’t mean I’m suppose to take advantage of that,” she said sighing and placed the oranges on a tray, “Maybe I can reason with him when he comes back,” she walked into the living room and sets the candied oranges in front of __________________. She looked terrified. Bellemere grinned.

“I know they don’t look good but I promise you they taste pretty decent,” ______________ cautiously took one and ate it.

“They’re tasty! Thank you!”

“No prob kiddo. So Rossi, did you adopt another kid or something?”

“Me? Oh no, this is Law’s right hand man!”

“Law has a bestie now?! That’s cute! Wait, is this girl you were talking about? Marco’s little duckling and vanquisher of Garp?”

“Hey!”

“Mhm! This is __________________! I’m sorry, kiddo but this is Bellemere an old friend of mine,”

“I-It’s nice to meet you Miss Bellemere!”

“Pfft don’t call me Miss, it makes me sound old and not hot,” she ruffled her hair fondly, “Just call me Bellemere,”

“Yes Mi—Bellemere,”

“_________________ I know I shouldn’t be asking you this but, did Law say why he doesn’t like Bell?” she shook her head.

“Well, Law never said anything bad about her…he just said you were the worst person in the world,”

“Shit if that’s not bad I don’t want to know your definition,”

“He said it was complicated, I don’t know what that means. Whatever it is, I think he needs some time alone,” Corazon sighs

“You’re right; he tends to sort things out on his own eventually. I know he’ll come home. Especially since he came when you’re going to the Kuja territory,”

“Mhm! But he and Ace have been talking a lot! Ace can be really wise when he wants to be!” Corazon grinned

“Well, I’ll take you home,”

“Okay!” outside _________________ saw the two girls again. The orange girl was holding River and the taller girl was next to her, both looking at her curiously and with suspicion. She smiled at them and whistled. River promptly leapt out of the girl’s arms and ran to her and onto her shoulder. She climbed in and buckled up smiling at them, “I’m sorry we have to go! Law will tell you everything! Next time I’ll bring River so you guys can play with him again! See you!” Corazon drove off. The girls exchanged glances.

“Weird girl,” said the orange girl

“I know right? But she’s Law’s best friend so she can’t be all bad,” said the taller girl

“Does this mean that he won’t have time for us anymore?”

“Doubt it! I think he just wants a break from us, everyone gets like that,”

“I hope he introduces her to us!”

“Of course he will! We’re his sisters he has to!”

***
Law looked at the room that was slightly opened at the top of the stairs. ________________ came back with his book and she looked a little banged up and she explained what happened. He forgot for a moment that Nami and Nojiko were probably there. But he was actually surprised that they were making sure no one was in his room. He was about to retreat to the rooftop garden when he saw the room. ________________ said that was where Whitebeard slept. He imagined the room to be closed and locked and intimidating but it was normal, sans how big it was so Whitebeard could go in and out. Whitebeard came home late last night but still checked on everyone before going to bed. Early that morning he had breakfast and everyone greeted him happily. He sat and watched how he interacted with everyone, right down to ________________, who was excited to show him the new trick she taught River. He even saw her off when Hancock came to pick her up. He noticed Marco eyeing Hancock from his window as _______________ got into the car.

“Don’t mind him,” said Ace snorting, “This is Hancock’s first unsupervised visit with _________________ and Marco’s worried. Pops made him promise not to follow her or anything. He was still going to when _________________ made him pinkie promise and now he’s honored bond unless he wants her to be angry with him,” Law was about to ignore the room when he remembered Ace’s words. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

“Hello?”

“Come in son,”

“Thanks but I’m not one of your kids,”

“As long as you’re under my roof you’re one of my sons, except for ______________ who is a girl therefore my daughter,” he snorts. He was not expecting one of the most dangerous men in existence to be so dorky. Whitebeard took a drink from his sake jug, “What’s your poison?”

“Milk,” he poured Law a glass of milk, “Looks like you have a lot on your mind, son,” Law nodded. Whitebeard pats picked him up and placed him on his bed, “Want to talk about it?” Law downed the milk and took a deep breath.

“It’s Bellemere, I just want her gone,”

“Why?”

“I don’t like her!”

“Where is that coming from? I’ll admit, she is a bit…much, but generally likable,”

“She annoys me! Every time she comes to stay with is, I’m usually stuck making sure Nami and Nojiko are okay. That means going shopping with them, taking Nami around the lake or something, fishing, or even making cookies or something. They go out, Cora-san gives her money, she tries to win me over with food and then tease me, and then they leave. It’s a vicious cycle! I’m not jealous or anything because Cora-san and I still do things but I think I would be a better adult but…it’s complicated!”

“Have you ever told Corazon your feelings?”

“No, he always looks so happy when she comes to visit. That’s why I don’t mind it when she comes over. They catch up and things. I don’t know how Cora-san ended with friends with someone like her,” he sulked.

“You think you would be a better adult?”

“Yeah, I mean I know being a kid and an adult are different things but she act more like a kid! She sleeps super later, she doesn’t eat properly, she can’t mend anything, Nami’s clothes are almost falling off of her because she’s wearing Nojiko’s hand-me-downs, and she falls on Cora-san so much. It’s weird. I wonder if he’s just being friends with her out of pity,”

“Rosiante and Bellemere were in the academy together when they kids. Neither of them had much of a family, well Rosiante had one until a lot of bad choices happened but the fact f the matter he ended up with Sengoku but they were in the academy when they became old enough to be cadet. Rosiante because he wanted to make a difference like his father and I think Bellemere wanted structure and didn’t want to be the eldest child in an orphanage,”

“How do you know all of this?”

“When you’ve been around as long as I have, you learn about new things, that and she lived in Flora’s orphanage when her mother dropped her off after her father had one too many and slammed her into a dresser. Her mother thought it was the safest place for her because she didn’t even know how to take care of a kid. Bellemere actually does try, so far as she hadn’t given up on those two girls,”

“That’s what pisses me off! She HAS done a lot for Nami and Nojiko but if she keeps doing things like not eating, she can get sick and die and they will be all alone!” Whitebeard poured him another glass, “I don’t have anything against Nami and Nojiko…to be honest, I just stay clear because they laugh too much and when I have to watch them, they want to dress me up and Nami is a liability because she’s always stealing but that’s not entirely her fault. Not to mention…I think they don’t mind me tagging along because they don’t really get out much at their place,”

“Oh?”

“Well I know you won’t say anything that’ll harm them. Nami was kidnapped for a long time and I don’t know the details but since then, people see her as a bad curse and Nojiko by association who gets into fights to protect her sister. Nojiko told me that she always gets into fights in order to protect Nami and Bellemere and them are always isolated in town with their oranges. Whatever happened, Nami got a tattoo from the incident and Nojiko and Bellemere are trying to get it removed. That’s why I’ve been practicing with __________________ so I can find a way to get it off,”

“Sounds like you really care about Nami and Nojiko,”

“Well, yeah I guess, Corazon always makes sure they have new clothes and things. I tag along to make sure he gets the right colors and styles because he’s terrible at it and Bellemere tries to make them stretch by mending them herself and she can’t even do that right,” he sighs, “Why can’t she just go away?” Whitebeard pours him another drink.

“Law, when it comes to being a parent, making mistakes and learning from them is a common thing. There’s no guide on parenting but our goal as parents are to do everything to keep our children happy, healthy, safe, and into well functioning human beings. And being a parent opens you up to other people questioning your parenting style, from raising a little girl with a bunch of men, not being married and raising a child on your own, raising a boy with a bunch of girls, raising a child without television, or even letting a child learn things on their own by going off on their own. But if the child is happy, loved, and safe, then leave let them be. You’re a smart boy and way more mature than many your age. It can be difficult to be on a level where you feel isolated, especially when you’ve been through a lot as well. You may be more mature but you don’t know what she’s going through either. I think you two should sit down and talk. Not for your sake but for Rosiante and the girls,”

“…you really are wise,”

“It comes with the territory of being a Dad to hundreds of kids,” Law left the room and headed back to bed. Ace was right. Whitebeard can make any problem seem like something small and manageable. He crawled into bed and hunkered down. He guessed he could talk to her tomorrow.

***
Law had breakfast and thanked everyone for his hospitality before heading back home. Thatch offered a ride and dropped him off where Nami and Nojiko peered out the window. The moment he touched the doorknob, he was tackled and hugged tightly.

“Where have you been?!” said Nami

“Corazon was worried sick about you!” said Nojiko, “WE were worried sick!”

“There was a weird girl in your room!”

“Your books almost squashed her!” he hugged them both. Then the door flew opened again and Corazon appeared at the door.

“LAW YOU’RE HOME!” he scooped up his boy and hugged him tightly crying and nuzzling him, “I’m sorry for being such an awful parent! Thank you for leaving me a note! Are you okay?!”

“I’m fine Cora-san, Nami, No. Tell Bellemere I’ll be fishing at the lake if she wants to talk,” the girls ran inside. Corazon looked at him and nodded and ruffled his hair.

“Just catch some big ones, alright! We can have them for dinner!” Bellemere cautiously went to the lake with her fishing pole. She didn’t know what to expect. Law was looking out across the water with his pole in the water. She sat next to him. He refused to look at her as he continued looking at the water.

“Hey kidd—Law, listen, I know you will never in this or any lifetime will like me. Hell liking me would probably be a stretch and for that I’m sorry. But listen…come back home, alright? If Nami, Nojiko and my presence really upsets you that much, we can just leave or something. I don’t mean to infringe on you two like I do but…I forget sometimes that Rossi has his own life now. I mean we go way back but that doesn’t mean I can just insert myself everywhere…We’ll be out of there by tomorrow,”

“Why? You’re not going to leave with a reason,” he reeled in his line and took off a fish and tossed it into a bucket, “…I don’t hate you, alright? I came back home but before I do, I need to get a few things off my chest about you. But only if you want to hear them,”

“Okay kiddo, I’m here, let me have it,”

“You’re just the worst adult ever! Seriously I can’t believe you’ve made it this far with your dumb luck!”

“Hey that hurts you little shit!”

“You are! You’re irresponsible, you’re careless, you starve yourself, making yourself underweight, and act like a teenager! Being underweight isn’t healthy for you because you can get sick easier and that’s not good because Nami and Nojiko need you! Cora-san may not have noticed that a woman your height and size is teetering on underweight but I do! You get thinner and thinner every time I see you and that’s not good! Tangerines are not a healthy food source! You have to be a better adult for everyone’s sakes! Seriously! You’re an ex Marine! You can work behind the scenes like Cora-san! He and Flora said you were really good back in your day! Why don’t you make your roasted oranges and candy to make some money or something?! You can’t have two people live on oranges! Your orange sauce is the best! You can SELL that! It’s that tasty!”

“…you like my orange sauce?” he nodded

“Every time you make some or bring it over, Corazon makes orange fried rice with it, makes duck with it, and it’s really good with chicken. Also your orange curry! You’re the worst adult ever because you won’t do anything to help yourself and I’m okay with that but you’re a parent!”

“Dude…I actually thought you were going to say something like “You hate me because I’m trying to take Rossi away”, but it’s because you actually in your weird ass way care about us,”

“Before…I was scared that Corazon would marry you or something then I would have to be stuck with you three forever but…I’ll admit, you’re doing your best, in the only way you know how. You really love and care about Nami and Nojiko. If you didn’t you wouldn’t ask Cora-san for money for food and have them live with us when you guys don’t have heat or anything. I know you have to deal with adult stuff but…you’re an okay person, you can do a lot better if you tried!” they were both quiet for a few moments as Law reeled in another fish. She took a drag from her cigarette.

“Damn it, I guess it does take a child to be brutally fuckin’ honest with you. To tell you the truth I’ve been really thinking about it lately and when I saw your little friend under all of those books and finding out she was only there just so you wouldn’t have to be there made me really think. For awhile I thought about Nami and Nojiko getting a better life with you and Rossi but even I know neither of them would have it. Rossi even offered his home but still it’s a big change, especially since it’s my responsibility, not his. Tell you what, help me with the things you said I can and the faster I can get on and only visit you and Rossi for social calls. Okay?”

“Okay, just make me three batches and we can go from there,”

“Why three?”

“One for me, one for Corazon, and one for ____________________. I’ll explain later,”

***
When Monday came, Law gave ____________________ a jar of the sauce, who gave it to Thatch who made a few recipes with it. It was a big hit at the Whitebeard home. However, when he tried to make it with fish, it wasn’t nearly as good, so she took what was left to the Baratie with one of Thatch’s recipes for the sauce. It was a strange code with chef’s and ingredients. All she knew was that Thatch had to give Zeff one successful recipe with the orange sauce before he could get a recipe from him. Zeff looked the orange sauce before sending her away. She knew this meant that Zeff was going to do a lot of swearing and everyone knew that an adorable little girl was just the thing to make him lose concentration and keeping himself from swearing. She came back sometime later with a dish waiting for her. She grinned. Zeff knew a recipe was good if it passed the two most critical critics he had, Sanji and _________________. Sanji was ready and she sat next to him as Zeff revealed his creation. He knew if it passed their tests, it was good. He grilled a tuna filet with special spices with the sauce as its main point and he made a tuna salad with the sauce as its base with bits of sliced oranges. The pair tried it and cleaned their plate, asking for more. Zeff gave her the recipe. He then got on one knee and looked her dead in her eyes.

“Okay little munchkin, where did Thatch get the orange sauce?”

“Who said Thatch made it?” he grinned.

“Oh you’re going to be difficult aren’t you, munchkin? Patty, show her what we do to little ladies who won’t talk!” Patty placed a piece of chocolate cake in front of her. She grinned.

“Wow my brain is working again,” she said grinning, “Law gave it to me to give to Thatch! Miss Bellemere made it!”

“Bellemere?”

“Mhm! She’s a lady who makes it with the oranges she grows! She makes candied oranges too!” Zeff wrote another letter and hands it to her.

“Does Miss Bellemere have a husband?”

“Nope but she has Corazon!”

“…better than nothing, give this to him,”

“Yes Mr. Zeff!” she hurried to Corazon’s place and promptly handed him the letter. Law was in the living room and Bellemere and the girls were making orange raindrop cakes. Corazon opened the letter.

“Bell! The Baratie restaurant wants to buy your orange sauce recipe!”

“What the shit are you serious?!” she said poking her head into the living room. She looked at Law who didn’t break his gaze form his book.

“Told you I can handle it. All I had to do was give it to __________________,”

“But he said he wants to negotiate the pricing,” said Corazon, “And would rather I do it not you directly,”

“Why the fuck not?!”

“Zeff is hardnosed. He’s ruthless and will do this just as harshly, but if he knows you’re a woman, he’s going to go easy so he doesn’t deal with women when it comes to his restaurant,”

“Got it, you better get me a good deal with him. I don’t mind selling it but I have some stipulations,”

“Write them down and have Corazon take them to him,” said Law turning a page, “And type it out, your handwriting sucks,”

“Stop being mean to me ya little shit!”

“Nope,”

“It’s great on tuna!” piped _______________. Law grimaced.

“Don’t be weird,”

“It’s true!” she reached into her bag and took out a container, “Mr. Zeff said to be sure you have some,”

“Still sounds weird,”

“Hey don’t knock it until you try it,” Bellemere opened the container and takes a bite, “Holy shit this is good!” Soon what little of the container was gone and Corazon was sending ________________ back with another note. Zeff read it over and grinned. A meeting time and day was set. _________________ got back home and handed Thatch the new recipe. He looked it over.

“Okay little lady, you think you’re up for a tuna run?”

“Awww look at her, I think she’s tuckered out,” said Jozu, “I’ll get the fish near the ports. Come on kiddo, you’re going for the ride,”

“Okay!

***
Corazon and Law looked at Bellemere’s new home. From all of the money from selling her orange sauce recipe, decided to find a new place. After about two hours of negotiations, the Bell Orange Sauce was a huge hit at the restaurant. So much that people wanted the recipe for themselves. Soon Bellemere was making jars to sell at the restaurant, making the Baratie and Cocoyashi Village the only place to get it. Bellemere added more to her place and finally got Nami and Nojiko their own rooms and more clothes and things. She was so excited to show them her place. The moment Law stepped in, Nami and Nojiko grabbed him to show him their rooms.

“My room is COVERED in navigation books charts!” said Nami happily, “Bellemere even got me a sextant and some things to make maps! Isn’t my room cool?!”

“I like it,”

“Mine just have nature things,” said Nojiko, “I think it fits since I like being outside,”

“It does, I think the hanging of lanterns is a nice touch,”

“And the best part is Bellamere got a motorboat!” said Nami, “That means if we ever want to visit you and Cora-san, we’re two hours away!”

“We used to take the ferry but it got expensive since you’re at the edge and you’re here!”

“That’s cool,” he said looking around, “Your rooms are really nice,”

“We have you to thank!” said Nojiko, “You helped Bellemere with her orange sauce,”

“I didn’t do anything, it was her recipe, not mine,” he said simply. Nami hugged him.

“She told us everything! You really do care about us!”

“He just doesn’t show it,” he reddened a bit before taking Nami’s hand.

“Come on, you’re getting that tattoo removed,” she froze, “I don’t care about the details, I just know as long as you have it on your body, you’re not happy. If you’re not happy Nojiko will get involved, and if you two get hurt, Bellemere is going to go after someone too. And if she does, Corazon and I will get involved and I am far too busy to kill someone because they’re hurting my sib—,” he stopped himself. Nojiko smirked.

“What was that Law?”

“Nothing! Let’s go!”

“Awwww! Law loves us!” said Nami, “He just won’t admit it!”

“Like a true Big Brother!”

“Don’t call me that!” he blushed and glared as the girls follow him outside, “You’re family but you’re not my sisters! You’re my weird bratty little cousins who are like siblings!”

“I swear you can’t just make things simple,” said Nojiko, “Big Bro,”

“I’d never thought I would ever seen you back here again,” said Sengoku looking over Bellemere’s paperwork, “Or that you want to come back,”

“Well…you know, things changed. And I have a family to support,”

“I’m aware. You knew you could always come back if need be,”

“Yeah, yeah but I need to proper protocol and shit,” he rolled his eyes as he looked over the packet.

“You have three recommendations, you completed your test, and looks like you passed your physical tests. Welcome back,”

“Save it, Sengoku, I know this isn’t the regular branch of the Marines, are you turning rogue?”

“Not rogue, I still stand by my beliefs of justice, however, with more and more corruption happening in the ranks, I need a few good Marines to work in the shadows to make sure everyone gets the justice they deserve,”

“Look at you; you’re going against the system,”

“I’m not going against any system, Bellemere. Everyone deserves a second chance and fair justice, pirate or Marine,”

“I’m in. I’ll take care of shit on my end,”

“How is Nami by the way?” Bellemere wasn’t prepared for that question. Sengoku noticed her body language change and the air around her became dense and serious.

“She’s better than when she was rescued. I don’t know how Rossi did it but I still owe him my life for that one. I thought I would never see Nami or Nojiko again and when Arlong grabbed Nami…I felt my entire world shatter ad I vowed to never let another Arlong Incident happen to the village or my girls. It took Nami a long time to recover from it. But thanks to fucker, Nami became a black spot on the town. It became so bad that no one wanted to even see her in the village. It took a toll on her as well but thanks to Rossi and that kid of his, I hadn’t seen her look so happy,”

“Rosinante has a knack for children. It’s quite endearing,” said Sengoku

“It was his idea for me to come back to the Marines and under you this time. I’ll do him a solid and come back,”

“Please, I knew you’d be back. You were one of the best cadets I trained. So are you in for the long run?”

“Mhm,” he reached under his desk and took out her rifled. She grinned and took it.

“Welcome back, Commander,”

Chapter Text

Nami and Nojiko did NOT like Law’s room. They were actually amazed that someone was crazy enough to go in there willingly. They watched __________________ and Law practice inside, taking off her head, reattaching it, taking off her limbs, and such. When he was done, he lets her down.

“Okay Nami come here,”

“W-What for?!”

“I’m getting your tattoo off. I just showed you I have control and it’ll be easier to take it off than surgery,”

“A-Are you sure it won’t hurt?”

“I’ve been practicing with ____________________ for months. It’s safe and you’ll be okay,”

“Alright but at least reattach her head to her body! It’s freaking me out!” Law snorts and puts ________________’s head on her neck before Nami entered. She was sweating bullets as Law took her arm. She closed her eyes and looked away before Law lets go of it.

“Done,”

“Done?!”

“Mhm, see?” she looked down at her arm. Her tattoo was completely gone. No scar no anything just her arm again, “You were worried about nothing,”

“It didn’t hurt!”

“Wasn’t supposed to. My room is painless,”

“You’re the best!” Nami said hugging his tightly. He stiffened and tried to get her off but she clung tighter

“Freaky but painless, that should your slogan when you’re a doctor,” said Nojiko. He dispelled his Room and sat down on the grass. He invited ___________________ over for moral support for Nami but also to introduce his sisters cousins to his best friend. The three girls were apprehensive for about a few seconds until he summoned his Room and saw that she made terribly bad puns and broke the ice.

“Or ‘Two heads may be better than one but I’m always a cut above the rest!’”

“Stooooop!” said Nami laughing

“Did that one not make the cut? I think I just butchered another joke! I thought I was ahead but I didn’t even have a leg to stand one!”

“I’ll take away your mouth! Don’t think I won’t!” said Law

“I’ll be good!” the girls laughed

“So how did you and Law meet?” said Nojiko

“Well Mr. Corazon brought me to his place because I was out looking for him because I thought he was a monster,”

“….nothing about that sentence made sense,”

“_________________ has three big brothers who live with her that’s her age,” said Law, “Two were dumb enough to try and fight Cora-san in the middle of the night,”

“Why was Rossi walking around at night anyway?” said Nami, “He probably scared dozens of people because he looks like a giant bird with his cloak,”

“Exactly!” said ___________________, “Ace thought he was a big crow! So he dared me to get some feathers from him and I did, almost getting killed in the process, but I found Mr. Corazon and he took me back to his place and there’s where I met Law!”

“She was soaking wet and never had hot chocolate,”

“What! Blasphemy!” said Nami

“Well, I like tea better! Before I was adopted, that’s all Sister would make,”

“Sister?” said Nojiko

“Mhm, Sister Flora! She lived in the convent a few miles away,”

“You mean the scary nun?!” said Nami, “the one responsible for messing up Bellemere,”

“Please, Bellemere was messed up way before that but that doesn’t mean that nun isn’t scary,”

“She is! She has the Bop of Learning!”

“We thought that was a myth!”

“It isn’t! I’m glad it was Mr. Corazon who found me and not Sister or would have gotten a bop! He may look scary at night but Mr. Corazon is the best and coolest adult ever!”

“He is! He’s so cool and nice!”

“How did you two meet Mr. Corazon?” said __________________. The trio looked at each other and exchanged looks. Nami and Nojiko looked a little apprehensive.

“Guys she’s okay, I promise,” said Law, “I wouldn’t have introduced her if she wasn’t okay, you know that,”

“Mhm! And you guys hadn’t teased me about being adopted so you’re okay in my book!”

“…who the hell would that?” said Nojiko

“Idiots she know but I’ll explain that later,”

“But before I start the story, Nami can you go get us some snacks or something?”

“But Law locked them up,”

“The key is in my book on the third shelf towards the window. The book is green,”

“Why did you hide the key there?!”

“Because Cora-san has been sleep eating again!” she sighed and went inside. The pair waited until they saw her disappear. Nojiko sighed.

“Sorry about that, we just don’t want t upset her, especially after she got her tattoo removed. But you see, we met Corazon after the Arlong Incident,”

“Who’s Arlong?”

“Captain of the Arlong pirates. They’re a group of fishmen who are pirates and Arlong is the cruelest one of all. He came to our village when we were kids about two years ago. He was going to kill everyone who didn’t pay his tax; children had to pay one price, adults another. Nami and I were in town when it happened and we quickly went to warn Bellemere. By the time we got there, she was running towards us, telling us to both hide. We could have gotten away but-but…we didn’t know we were followed. Be-Bellemere sa-saw and she grabbed us and pulled us to her and turned a-around and he…and he…and he-he shot Bellemere. He riddled her body with bullets. She shielded us, just to protect us. We cried…and the next thing I knew, Nami was grabbed and taken away. I was grabbed and held to keep from going after her. I just remembered crying and crying until I heard Bellemere groan. She was rushed to the hospital and I stayed with her. The village and someone took care of her bills. When she came to, she tried to look for Nami for months. She was going to lose all hope until Rossi came to the village, holding Nami in his arms. Nami was okay and alive and we were so happy. She didn’t tell us what happened but Arlong made her wear his mark. She ran to Bellemere and apologized over and over again and since then, we were a family and started visiting Rossi,”

“Wow…” said ________________, “I’m glad everything is okay now!”

“Not everything. I don’t know the details but…everyone saw Nami as a traitor and especially with that tattoo on her arm. Every time Nami or I stepped into town, everyone just closed their businesses and left. Even some of the neighboring areas wanted nothing to do with us. Bellemere felt terrible and tried to reason with everyone but nothing. That’s when we started coming to the town,”

“Got the snacks!” said Nami running towards them

“Thanks but _________________ has to get, her brother is waiting for her,” said Law taking her hand.

“Aww so soon!”

“I didn’t realize the time! Yeah I better get going! Marco gets really worried if I’m late! See you tomorrow!”

***
Marco placed _________________ on his shoulders as they went home. She clung to him and buried her face in his hair. Law took her to the main road and waited with her until he saw a familiar pineapple shape coming towards them before going back to Nami and Nojiko.

“Did you have fun today?”

“Mhm! Law finally introduced me to Nami and Nojiko!”

“How are they?”

“They’re pretty cool! They’re from an actual island! It takes hours to get here on land, but not too long by boat,”

“That’s because there’s islands everywhere. Hell there used to be a time where the only way to get from point A to Point B was through boat,”

“People still use boats and ships, right?”

“Oh all the time but if you’re living in a city or village primarily, car is best, but if you want to see the world, you use a ship,”

“Like Uncle Shanks,”

“Exactly, or if you want to go from place to place without exploration, you use train,”

“I like the train, it’s so relaxing! That’s how I get to see Grandpa and Shakky,”

“Oh? What about ship?”

“I only had been on once with Pops! He said there’s a bigger ship and I really wanna see it!”

“Yeah, that’s the main ship. One day we’ll take you and Ace out on it,”

“Sounds like fun!” he smiled.

“What else did you talk about today?”

“That Sister raised Bellemere! Did you know?!”

“Yeah, I was kind of there,”

“You too?!”

“Mhm,”

“How?!”

“It’s a long story, I’ll tell you someday as an epic bedtime story,”

“Awesome! You always tell the best stories, other than Pops!” he chuckles

“I can’t compete with that. So what did you want for dinner today?”

“Whatever Thatch makes!”

“Well, Thatch isn’t making dinner, it’s Atmos’ turn,” she cringed then felt her tummy getting very sore, “Yeah we’re all picking up something on the way and whatever he makes just takes it the compost heap and no cake isn’t dinner,”

“Awww okay! How about (favorite meal)?”

“Sounds good!”

***
Law was determined to get to the bottom of this story. ____________________ offered to help in any way she could. Today, Corazon was out at the market sales with Thatch and Izo. Law was waiting for her at the door.

“Where’s Nami and Nojiko?”

“I sent them on an errand to get a nice rock for your collection,” he said.

“Aww Law!”

“Well, they like you and I think becauae I’m their big brother, they want to make a better impression or something,”

“I already like them! I was thinking of inviting them to a sleepover with my class…if their parents will finally allow it,”

“I don’t see why not. You’re awesome,”

“Well their parents want to make sure we’re okay, I guess,”

“Ah say no more, I get it. It’s not you. Noble girls just have to be careful,”

“Can’t they take care of themselves?” she said as they walked inside.

“Not all of them have sixteen brother bodyguards to protect them like you do,”

“Hey! I can take of myself if I have to!”

“Damn right! Just ask Garp!” said Bellemere laughing, “Rossi told me that you got him right in the face!”

“He scared me!”

“With a face like that, he could scare anyone,”

“You two talk a big game but what if he was right here right now?” said Law

“We’ll shit our pants and get the fuck out! Or just throw _______________ at him!”

“No way!”

“Yeah I wouldn’t do that to ya,” she noticed the serious looks on their faces, “Oh shit, what’s up?”

“We need to talk,” said Law

“Oh?”

“It’s about you and Mr. Corazon!” __________________ piped

“Alright, alright, we’re not getting married, trust me, I know it’s for the best. I mean he’s a great guy but I love him platonically like a goofy brother or something. I mean seriously, you two,” they looked at her as though she grew two heads.

“There is no way in hell would I support that,” said Law shuddering

“Why the hell not?!”

“Cora-san is clumsy enough by himself, he doesn’t need to have his head in the clouds while being clumsy!”

“And he’s married to raising Law and being a Marine!” said ________________, “And you just started your business!”

“You’re too abrasive for him,”

“And all of that cigarette smoke is enough to take out three kids!”

“Okay, okay! Shit! At least you didn’t say I wasn’t god enough or vice versa. So what’s up?”

“What happened with the incident with Arlong?” she stopped mid drag and started coughing.

“W-What brought this on?”

“Nojiko got us curious and we’re going to piece it all together so Nami won’t have to relive it,” s

“If it wasn’t for Rossi, my ass wouldn’t be here,” Bellemere downed her drink and sighed, “And I don’t know what would have happened to Nami or Nojiko. The day Arlong was on his way, I got a call for Corazon, telling me that they were on their way to our village. I knew I had to get the girls and by the time I noticed they were gone, it was too late. The girls came running and I saw Arlong getting ready to fire, so I ran and got in between them. Those shots would have took me out but I put on my vest in time. It missed all major organs thank god but I still got shot in the shoulders and legs and was bleeding out and went into shock and was bleeding out. I just remembered holding them before I passed out. When I came to, I was in the hospital and Nami was gone. Nojiko wouldn’t leave my side and told me everything that happened. I tried everything to get back. I wanted to hunt her down and kill the asshole that took my child. I did everything I could, I searched islands for Nami. I turned up nothing. My signal was always thrown out of whack out just disappeared. I never gave up but tried to carry on for Nojiko’s sake. But then one day, it happened. Corazon came back to the island, holding Nami in his arms, he was covered from head to toe bruises, and scratches and Nami was clinging to him crying and sobbing. Neither of them will talk about what happened but the village was safe. I found out later than Nami made a deal with Arlong, I don’t know what but apparently she kept her end of the deal. But most of the village…still saw Nami as a traitor and wouldn’t let her near the town or Nojiko for defending her. It’s been tough for them since. Arlong never came back,” she lit a cigarette and blew the smoke away from them, “Still don’t know but he saved my family and I can’t think him enough,”

“Mr. Corazon is so cool!” said ___________________ with shiny eyes

“Damn right he is! Rossi looks like a goofball on the outside but he’s like a phoenix, he’ll come out from the ashes…and most likely crash into a tree,” Law and ___________________ laughed at the thought.

“I’m going to get something to drink, you two want anything?” said Law

“Tea please!” said __________________.

“Beer me!” Law disappeared into the kitchen.

“So why did you stop being a Marine Miss Bellemere?”

“Meh, a lot of shit that went on when the Marines changed and started getting political. Though now I’m with Sengoku’s Branch, he’s a pain in the ass but he’s always been a good man and I’ll gladly take orders from him than others. No thanks to them, Rossi could have been dead,”

“Dead?!”

“Nothing to fret over, when he was on a mission, no one was there to cover his ass and he was confronted. I stationed myself on the island just in case shit went down and I’m glad I did. He was bleeding out in the snow when I got to him,”

“…You were the one who saved Cora-san?” they turned. Law was at the stairs looking at her. He was shaking, remembering that day, the day he almost lost the only father he knew.

“Well more like I was at the right place at the right time. He radioed in that he had the evidence and I was one of the first at the scene. I immediately went to find him and…that was when I saw him in the snow gasping for air. Thank god I had some of that Yggdrasil tonic on me. It was just enough to get him back on his feet to civilization to get a proper patch up. By the way, __________________ mind picking some up for me from Flora?”

“Yeah!”

“Good girl,”

“Why didn’t you say anything?!” said Law looking at her.

“Why? I saved him because he’s my bestie and fellow Marine,” she shrugged, “He would have done the same for—,” Bellemere looked thoughtful for a few moments, “Me. I need to find his goofy—,” Law hugged her tightly. She looked down. He was holding her middle tightly as tears ran down his face. She gently help him close and rubbed his back.

“Th-Thank you! T-Thank you so much,”

“Hey, hey…it’s okay! Shhh don’t cry kiddo,” _______________ quietly left the house, right into Nojiko. She heard the crying and saw the pair. She saw Law with his head in Bellemere’s stomach and she was rubbing his back but looking both comforting yet far away at the same. She wanted to investigate but _______________ shook her head.

“They need a moment,”

“Ah, got it. Though I know that look, she’s going to confront Rossi tonight about something,” said Nojiko.

“It’s about what happened with Nami,”

“You and Law are trying to get answers, aren’t you?” she nodded, “I want to know what happened too,”

“Nami never told you?!”

“Nope and nothing I tried got her to say anything. Only she and Rossi knows about it. I guess Bellemere realized this and is going to confront him later. You can stick around if you wanna,”

“Okay!”

“I wonder where he went,”

“He’s at the market sales with Thatch and Izo,”

“Market sales?”

“Mhm! Every once in awhile, the market has extra meats and things and they need to get rid of it for inventory in Terminal Gray. Which is great but chaos, he’s going to be there awhile. Every time Thatch goes, we don’t have to buy things for a long time and we still have things we hadn’t eaten yet,”

“So it’s going to be awhile. Alright, I’ll tell Bellemere, she’ll probably order a pizza or something,”

“Okay! But I have to call home. Everyone gets worried if I don’t call,” she went to the back and took the den den mushi and called home. Marco said it was okay and said he’ll meet her at the main road at around nine. Nojiko looked at her, “What?”

“I’ve been meaning to ask. How many brothers do you have?”

“Living with me? Seventeen, not including Luffy and Sabo,”

“I bet your house is always crowded,”

“Sometimes but it’s really nice! I like it. It’s nice and peaceful sometimes,”

“You’re lucky you know that? You have a big family and they all love each other and a mom and a dad and brothers. I mean Nami and I have Law but we don’t have a father to be honest,”

“You have a dad, it’s Mr. Corazon. I mean he’s Dad-like,”

“…we don’t see him every day,”

“I don’t see Pops everyday either but when I need him, he’s right there! And he tries to spend as much time with us as he can. Sister is my mom but she doesn’t live with us but she raised me. Marco said that parents don’t have to live with their kids, just like Grandpa and Shakky doesn’t have live with me in order for me to know that they love me,”

“HEY ____________________!” said Nami running up and grabbing her wrist, “Come on! I found a rock for your collection!”

“WOW thanks!” Nojiko watched the pair scurrying away. She thought about her words. She and Nami wondered about Bellemere and Rossi never lived together. But she and Nami were okay with just Bellemere and she was sure Law was okay with just Rossi. It was a weird system but it works for them. If they needed guidance, he was there, so did that mean he was their Dad? She pushed the thoughts out of her head and waited until Law went upstairs to tell Bellemere about his estimated arrival.

***
Corazon finally got home around eight that evening. The big super market sales were over and Thatch was right, he did get enough and all he needed. He personally wasn’t aggressive about getting groceries, neither was Thatch but Izo was, making him the perfect partner to get sales for them. He was ruthless with the middle age housewives, restaurant owners, and even servants and cooks for noble families that would cut you for a deal that it was almost an art form.

“Bitch if you think you’re going to take those carrots away from me, you’re as stupid as that tacky ass hairstyle! Try and grab my meat again and you’re going to be wearing that chicken broth! That pocky is for my babies! How DARE you try and steal from a mother?! Skank unless you want to lose that fuckin’ arm you better give him back that rice! I’ve killed for less!” he snorts to himself as he fumbled with his keys. He and Law would have more than enough to eat for awhile, even a few fifty pound bags of rice since he wasn’t too partial to bread. He’ll put all of the meat into the chest freezer, and store the veggies in the morning. Right now, he just wanted to sit back and get some rest. He opened the door and saw that the living room was dark. He flipped on the light to see Bellemere looked at him smoking a cigarette. He jumped.

“Hello Rocinante,” she said

“B-Bell! Hey! What’s going on-on?” she stood up and waltzed towards him. He stiffened and backed away and hustled to the kitchen to put the groceries on the counter. He quickly placed everything away and tuned away to see Bellemere in front of him. He froze and shuffled to get away. He was in the living room before he was tackled onto the couch.

“Okay buster, you’re going to tell me everything!” said Bellemere pulling Corazon’s cheeks. The man flailed.

“Ow! What did I do?!”

“What really happened with you, Nami, and Arlong?! What did you do?! Tell meeeeeee!”

“Ow! Okay, okay stop pulling my cheeks!” she lets go. He rubbed his face sitting up and taking a deep breath before promptly running for it, “GET BACK HERE!” Corazon ran outside, but didn’t get far as he slid across a mud puddle and landed in a pile of leaves. He tried to run only to trip again and landed in a puddle. She picked him up and dragged him back inside, “And you know your ass is too clumsy to try and run away from someone!”

“Oww! Stop manhandling me!” unknown to the adults, Nami, Nojiko, Law, and _______________ were listening and watching from the stairs. Nami and Nojiko were giggling and Law placed his hand on his face.

“Really Cora-san,”

“Poor Mr. Corazon,” _____________ covered her mouth laughing

“He only made it a few feet,” said Nami

“We all know he wouldn’t make it that far,” said Nojiko

“He thought he could,” said Law sighing

“Oh I’m gonna manhandle you! Rossi what the hell happened? I just want closure just in case one day Nami wakes up with some weird ass memory and I have to explain to a shrink that my daughter was out of my sight for a year in a half and I have no idea what happened! I’m a shitty mom but I don’t need this shit!”

“You’re not a bad mother! Come on Bell just drop it!”

“No I won’t! And trust me, I can make you talk!” he eyes her. She smirks at him before pouncing on him and getting his ribs. He flailed and helplessly tried to get away laughing and crying.

“NO! Stop please!”

“Tell me what happened!”

“Okay, okay! Just stop tickling me!” she smirked and stopped, “And hand me that whiskey,”

“Whiskey? Shit this must be serious,” she handed it over. He poured her a cup and he drank deeply from the bottle. He then lit a cigarette. She dumped water on him and he began his tale:

“Well…after I got the report, I rushed to make sure you and the girls were okay. By the time I got there, Nojiko told me everything that happened so I decided to find her. I went to check on your condition and you were still recovering, especially since you were shot so many times. It took me a year but I managed to find a way to safely get Nami off the ship. I purposely threw off your signal to find her, mainly because I didn’t need you rushing in and ruining everything getting you, me, and Nami killed in the process,” she was about to retort then nodded.

“Fair enough,”

“It didn’t take me a lot to find her but it was getting her alone from Arlong, who had by that time branded her and she was…just so numb. She thought you were dead and she thought something happened to Nojiko and she went into a survival numbness just to get by. I waited until she was on an island and approached her, telling her that you were very much alive and looking for you, she explained the debt and said she didn’t care and wouldn’t leave until it was repaid for the village’s sake,” he lit another cigarette and took a drag, “So that’s what we did. I helped her rob pirates and bandits alike to get enough money to get her out of debt. It took us a full year to do so with my help. During that time I kept in close contact with her meeting at different villages and areas to get money and running. I even stowaway on the ship from time to time but thanks to my Calm, I was able to keep quiet in Nami’s room and keeping a close eye on the little scamp. I was gone for weeks at a time but thankfully Sengoku-san kept an eye on Law for me,” he sighed, “The day we finished with the debt, Nami presented her village’s debt but I was found out and Nami was about to be killed for treason, so I grabbed her and we fought our way out and managed to escape not before burning all of Nami’s hard made maps, leaving them stranded where they were. Nami insisted we got to a doctor to get healed but I just wanted her to get back home to you before anything. We hitched a ride on a train and then took a ferry to the village,” he downed an entire bottle of wine. She looked at him with tears coming down her face, “Arlong got his blood money and Nami kept her word,”

“You-You did all of that for us?!”

“Mhm,”

“WHY?!”

“You saved my and Law’s life. Nami didn’t need to have that debt on her head and she and Nojiko needed you. I’m just returning the favor. We’re friends Bell you know we’ll always have each other’s backs,”

“You idiot, come here!” she hugged him tightly.

***
Nami and Nojiko were crying and Law sat in silence after hearing the entire story. Nojiko hugged her sister tightly. Law grinned at the thought and wiped his eyes quickly.

“Stop crying and go downstairs and hug him already,” he said and that’s what the girls did. Corazon was taken by surprise when two girls hugged him tightly

“Girls? Law? How long have you been here?!”

“Long enough!” said Nojiko sobbing, “Thank you so much for saving my sister!”

“I’m sorry I never thanked you properly for your help!” said Nami hugging him. He smiled and gently dried both of their eyes.

“Shhhh, it’s okay girls. I never seen you two as anything else but family so no need to thank me or feel like you’re indebted to me. Just live and be happy, that’s all I want. Bell is like my mean horrible loving sister,” he said grinning, “And since you’re her daughters, you’re automatically a part of the package of my little nieces,”

“You’re like a weird Dad Uncle!” said Nami smiling

“Dancle!” said Nojiko laughing, “You’re too goofy to be a dad but not cool enough to be a uncle but you’re still the best!”

“So what are you?!”

“Whatever you two want me to be,”

“Unad!”

“Dancle!” he smiled and hugged them tight.

“And I claim Law as my own,” said Bellemere hugging him. He reddened but immediately struggled to get away.

“Offfff!” ________________ grinned and slowly crept out of the house and closed the door. She made it to the main road and looked around. When she saw the girls and Law go downstairs, she called home and walked to the main road. She sat in the usual spot patiently trying her best to not cry herself. It was so heartwarming happy that she had a warm fuzzy feeling in her chest.

“Whatcha looking for?” she turned. Sabo was behind her.

“What are you doing out this late?”

“When I found out where you were. I’d thought I’d walk you home,”

“Someone is picking me up. You can come too!” he nodded and stood next to her. She told him about the emotional day she had, “I think it’s so amazing that Law has a bigger family now. He, Nami, and Nojiko look really happy and I think it’s so cool,” Sabo grinned, “And to make things better, Nami and Nojiko didn’t even care I was adopted,”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Well, because of Holly, I learn that anyone who judges me for being adopted isn’t a nice person. Families don’t always come with a full set of members, sometimes you have to build one from scratch like a cake,”

“…leave it to you to make family seem like something as easy and simple as cake,”

“It is! It has layers, the sweet parts, the bitter parts, the sticky parts, and dry parts. And separately, it’s just a bunch of things but put together and baked with warmth, it becomes a delicious cake!” Sabo laughed, “It’s true! I want to think I’m flavoring. Like no one needed me, but they put me in anyway and now I made the cake tastier!”

“…can’t argue with that. But…have you ever…thought about your real family? Like your real parents?”

“Why? I have a big family with multiple brothers and sisters and aunts and an uncle and grandparents and a mom and dad already! Asking for more than that would be greedy! I mean I do sometimes wonder what they look like but that’s it. I’m happy with my family,” Sabo grinned, “Aren’t you?”

“Well, I’m happy that you’re happy,”

“Why?”

“Well…it’s well…”

“You’re a noble on the run,”

“How did you know?!”

“Luffy,” Sabo groaned, “It’s okay, I kind of knew,”

“How?”

“If you were a kid like Ace would probably act like Ace or Luffy but you’re Sabo,”

“I swear…you make things way to simple,” he snorts, “And you don’t mind?”

“Well, Vivi and Kaya are nobles and they’re great! As long as people are nice to me and my family and friends, I don’t care where they come from! But I’ve been meaning to tell you something. It’s like I’ve known you my whole life! I know I can trust you just like I trust Ace and Luffy and Law. You and Sanji are different. Like I’ve know you two for years! That’s why I love hanging out with you two! It feels like I’m making up for some lost time,” he smiled, “But neither of you will tell me,”

“Nope, not now at least,”

“But we were friends at least, right?”

“Mhm! And just know, I’ll always be on my little sister’s side!” Fossa’s car arrived in front of the pair. Sabo opened the door and helped her in before getting in himself and driving away back home.

Chapter Text

Strange things have been happening in the Whitebeard home. Food has been gone missing. Usually Thatch keeps a meticulous record of what was in the pantry and was needed to be restocked. He had everyone mark on a list of alphabetized things if something was low or all out. Because everyone had to be fed, the pantry itself was the entire basement with things stocked for emergencies, things that were always needed and even a huge freezer filled with meat and things. However, many things were going missing, crackers, nori, leftovers, cookies, fruit and even some of the preserves. No one knew where they’ve gone. Even with Ace’s appetite, it was more food than usual. Thatch started making rounds to get to the bottom of the person ruining his system but to no avail. At night, footsteps could be clearly heard. Small, rapid footsteps that everyone thought at first was _______________ only realizing that the steps were heavy compared to a tiny little girl’s feet. Not to mention once or twice someone spots a figure at the corner of their eyes only to turn and it disappearing. ______________ was getting a little scared to sleep at night because of growling noises that she could in the halls at night when she had to tinkle. It scared her so much that she opted to use another bathroom at night and running back to bed as fast as she could. When she couldn’t take it, she usually slept in someone’s room until she was sure the growling was done and ran back to her room. Autumn had finally hit the area and today in particular was a cool autumn day and the air was crisp and biting. _________________ personally loved the season and was happy to explore more things in town because everything was changing and when things changed it looked amazing. She was on her way out but today, Thatch had a special request.

“Hey little lady. I need you to get some apples for me,”

“Apples?”

“Mhm, it’s the perfect time of year to get them and I’ve been planning on making apple pies,”

“Like last year?!”

“Yep! So I need you and Ace to get some for me,”

“It’s about time you woke up,” said Ace with a huge basket on his back and walking out the door, “Let’s go,”

“Coming!” she grabbed the other basket, “Is Sabo and Luffy coming?”

“Sabo maybe but not Luffy. He’ll eat them all before we have a chance to get them home,” she snorts, “And you don’t know where the secret apple place is,”

“Secret apple place?” he took her hand and dragged her out the door, “Yeah, it’s the only place where you can get apples. Only locals know about it. The ones you buy at Goa are imported from other places and nowhere near as good,”

“Ahhh Like the mushroom farm,”

“Now you’re getting it,” Ace led her into the woods. She recognized the area where the Nice Lady was buried but it was farther and deep and passed the area. He guided her for about half an hour. There was a clearing with trees and one in particular had apples, some were ripe and some were on the ground but she noticed there were golden and red apples all over this tree.

“I never seen apples like these before!”

“Yeah it’s a hybrid tree. Magra told me there was a person who wanted to make a tree that could have the sweetest apples you can find. So he combined golden apples with red and this was the end result. The only thing is that once snow touch the apple, it’ll hibernate until next year but it produces like every week,”

“Fascinating!”

“Yep! Come on, let’s pick them!”

“So you’re here already,” Sabo was already next to the tree with several burlap bags around, “And you brought the human ant,”

“Hey!” she pouted

“It’s your fault for being able to carry stuff around like a little ant,” said Ace climbing the tree followed by Sabo. They started tossing apples down and _______________________ ran about catching them in her sack. They filled about five sacks in one go. Every time one was filled, she would tie it up and toss it into the basket.

“How many more you think you can fit?” said Sabo

“About two more!” she said

“Okay! Want to switch? You look tired!”

“I’m good!”

“Hey get away from my tree!” the trio looked up. A little girl with unusually big, round eyes, thick light pink hair that were fashioned into two pigtails with black and white flower hairpins appeared. She wore a red crown with a black cross on her head and was holding a parasol. She causally floated upwards. Ace and Sabo hopped down as she perched on a branch.

“This isn’t your tree! Now move your ass off of it!”

“You rude little boy! How could you say that to a princess?!”

“Princess my ass! Leave us alone while we pick apples!”

“Humph! Don’t tell me what to do!”

“You should listen to him,” said Sabo, “That branch you’re on it about to break,”

“HA you think I’m going to fall for—EEK!” the girl landed with a thud, causing Ace to snort.

“Some princess, you’re not graceful like one,” _______________ went over to help the girl up. She glared and jumps away looking at them with both embarrassment and contempt.

“I’ll teach you to mock me! Negative Hallows!” they didn’t know what was going on until three ghosts came from the girl. Before they could react, they came at them. Sabo was hit first, then Ace, and finally __________________. Sabo went down. He was shaking and fell to his side holding his stomach. __________________ went down the same way. She felt a chill through her body and then terrible. She felt as though the weight of the world was on her. Tears poured from her face. Old feelings took over her body. She hadn’t felt this year in a very long time. She felt scared, she felt sick, and this time she couldn’t recall why. She was sobbing and shaking. Ace, however was fine but immediately was concerned over his brother and sister.

“Sabo?! _________________________?!” He glared at the other girl, “WHAT DID YOU DO TO THEM?!” The girl looked shocked,

“H-How?! Yo-You don’t you feel depressed and empty inside?!” Apparently not she realized as Ace was within hitting range. She quickly floated up into the air and few away. He was about to go after her when he turned to see Sabo getting up and ________________ staggering up.

“I’m the worst person in existence…I don’t deserve anything in life…I don’t even deserve a family like this one…”

“DON’T SAY THAT! Come on!” he managed to get them up and took them back home. Sabo recovered in a spare room and __________________ in her room. Ace ran to Marco and told him what happened. He checked to see if they were physically okay before he told Ace to leave them alone for awhile. Ace paced, wondering what the hell just happened. Soon Marco told him to just find way to cheer both of them up. Sabo recovered within a few hours, ________________ however had her door closed with all lights off.

“Sabo what happened?!”

“I don’t know what did…but I just felt really sad all of a sudden. Like every single feeling of happiness and joy was shoved out of me!”

“Shit!”

“Is ________________ okay?”

“She’s recovering in her room. She keeps saying she’s worthless and I’ve been yelling at her that she’s not,”

“Don’t yell at her, just cheer her up. She doesn’t need you yelling at her after experiencing something like that,”

“He’s right Ace,” said Marco coming in, “Sabo, you can stay here as long as you need to but Luffy will be coming over. If he doesn’t cheer you up nothing will,”

“Thanks Marco!”

“Ace, whatever happened, ___________________ was hit harder. But I want you to keep an eye on Sabo and I’ll keep an eye on her, okay?”

“Okay,”

***
Ace peeked into the room. _________________ was wrapped in her security blanket. She’s been like that for two days. When he told everyone what happened, everyone tried to make to make her feel better and give her space. Ace, however, knew what to do to make her feel better and got to work. When _______________ woke up, she was in a pillow fort but still in bed and with her favorite things all around her and Ace looking at her.

“What’s all this?”

“Things to make you feel better,” he said, “I bought cake, a copy of that manga you like, flowers from the convent and I made a pillow fort. I know you don’t want to get up so I built it around you and I’m going to prop you up,” she smiled

“I can handle it,” she sat up as he gave her cake. She took a bite.

“I didn’t know which one to get so I asked Law what you liked and went to the Baratie and got you something. I made you cinnamon tea too. It’s really dark with a lot of sugar,”

“I like it that way,” he grinned as she sips the tea.

“Yeah I know, I’ve seen you make it like a hundred times. Feeling better?”

“A little, thank you,”

“Yeah you better hurry up and feel even more better! I have to take you out to get more of that weird manga series you like! Since you’ve been behind, there’s more volumes and I got you the latest of when you stopped!”

“Hey!” he grinned at her.

“And you have to help Thatch make the cider and apple pies! You’re the only one who can be trusted!”

“Why?”

“Because I may have eaten a whole bushel of apples once. No regrets,” Fossa that night decided to make his famous stew for her that night to help her feel better.

“She’ll be fine! She’s a little trooper! In order to get her right again, she needs a manly soup!” Ace grinned. She was smiling again. He then decided to tell Pops about it, who came in to give her one of his infamous stories that night. He smirked. He had this big brother thing in the bag.

“Ace did you eat all of the apples?!” said Blenheim

“The hell are you all talking about?” Ace peeked in the pantry. Every single apple they picked day before yesterday were gone. The only thing left were the cores, “Do I look like Luffy to you?!”

“Was he in here last night?!” said Thatch fearing for the rest of his pantry

“Nah, there’s cores left, if it was him, there would be nothing left,” Thatch looked at him, “I didn’t do it! We caught a bunch of deer so Dadan cooked them up last night! I filled up on deer meat!”

“Every last one?” they turned. _____________________ was out of bed. She was going to ask for an apple. She peeked in the pantry and lo and behold every single apple they picked was gone. Her face fell. It was really looking forward to the apple pie feast. Ace adamantly denied that he ate the apples.

“NOW you made her upset!” said Izo holding his little sister close, “Shame on you, you little glutton!”

“Why the fuck would I eat them after I picked them?! Damn it!”

“Because you’re a little glutton!” said Curiel

“Hey! I’m not the only one who likes apples here!” this was true; Atmos and Jozu were prime suspects in this but both knew that this was pie season and resisted the urge. Ace, however, had no loyalties when it came to his appetite, making him the prime suspect. He was banished from the kitchens for the rest of the night. By late evening, __________________ didn’t feel as though everything was suffocating her and managed to sleep peacefully. Tonight Kingdew tucked her in, staying extra longer to play secret video games with her to make her feel better and tire her out. The house was night and quiet. _________________ curled up in her bed. She had her little balcony opened so she could have some of the warm air coming in. Personally she loved seeing the browning leaves and sounds of the wind blowing. She felt so relaxed and safe. She dozed off only to be woken up by something in her closet. She sat up hearing some rustling but then an ungodly sound. Like a monster growling. She swallowed something in her throat. She eased out of bed and towards the sound. She could wake up Marco or Ace or Fossa or Jozu but this thing might eat them too. Then the sound stopped. She steeled herself and slowly opened the door. She sighed in relief until she heard another sound and something rising from her pile of blanket and clothes. Speed Jill ran towards the room followed by the rest of the brothers at __________________’s screams. They burst through the door to see her hitting something, rather someone with her pillow while calling for help. Speed Jill turned on the lights.

“OW! Stop hitting me!” the figure in question was holding his head and running away from the little girl who showed no mercy as she chased and fought the monster.

“NO! You were trying to eat me!”

“I wasn’t trying to eat you! I filled up on the cake I found in your closet!” Her eyes widened and leapt on the boy and started beating his back.

“THAT WAS MY CAKE YOU FIEND! ACE BOUGHT ME THAT!” she beat the “monster” as Whitebeard calmly walked in and took her off the monster with one hand, “Let me at him!”

“Wow…she just got braver,” said Atmos

“You don’t steal her cake,” said Izo chuckling

“Who touched ____________________’s cake?! Seriously she’ll fight you!” said Ace said coming in and seeing the boy, “Who the fuck is this idiot?”

“That’s the monster in my closet!” The “monster” in reality was a young boy. He was a scrappy little thing with green hair, a lanky build, and had two bokken strapped to him, “He was snarling and growling! I thought he was going to eat everyone but he was trying to eat my cake!”

“He’s not a monster, he’s a scared kid. How long have you been in here son?” said Whitebeard

“About a week! Your house it like a maze!”

“A week?” said Marco, “Have you eaten? How have you been eating?”

“I usually find the kitchen once a day and started loading up on something to eat. You guys have food just lying around in the basement,”

“Like apples?” said Marco

“Those were good! Were they for something special?”

“Yes they were!” said Ace, “I got blamed for eating them you asshole!”

“HEY! I was hungry, Freckles!”

“Where are your parents?” said Whitebeard.

“I don’t have parents…but someone does take care of me, but he’s not going to come and get me. I just know it. And I failed in my task, so I’m not going back,”

“You got a name?”

“Zoro,”

“Well, you can stay here until you get everything sorted, son,”

“Thanks!” Speed Jill and Blenheim prepared a room for Zoro who managed to find and slept there for the rest of the night. For the next few days the weird boy just randomly popped up in the house. The first day, he appeared in Marco’s study, from there almost getting blown sky-high from Curie’s gunpowder tests, and somehow managed to end up in Namur’s room and nearly drowned. They started leaving meals in their rooms so he could eat during his wanderings.

“It’s like we have two cats now,” said Blamenco, “I’m surprised he hadn’t appeared in one of my pockets,”

“At least River makes his presence known,” said Kingdew, “And doesn’t sleep in random corners,”

“Where is he now?” said Fossa

“Who knows. Last time I saw him he was in Izo’s room, who chased him out. He went into ___________________’s room again but she considers him public enemy because he stole her cake and chased him out not before tossing a bento box at him. Poor guy,”

“She fed him at least,” Ace decided to get some more apples. He didn’t tell, _____________ mainly because he didn’t want her to go, just in case he saw that other girl again and she did something else again. He went to get a twice as much and called Sabo to come along and then decided if Law wanted to go. He obliged and tagged along.

“So there’s a secret orchard?”

“Mhm, only locals know about it so it’s my duty to make sure you and Corazon know about it,”

“Thanks, he’s been wanting to make apple cider since September but wanted the apples to be in season,”

“He makes cider?” said Sabo

“Mhm, it’s really good and with Bellemere’s oranges, it’s the best thing ever,”

“Damn now I want some,”

“Help me bring a sack over and I’ll make sure we make you some,”

“Dude, we can just give you pies,”

“Really?”

“Mhm, does Corazon make pies?” Law sighed.

“He tried…he hadn’t tried since we had the woodstove but the prep work almost killed him. He wants to try again but I have to make sure I’m around to make sure everything goes smoothly. By the way, where’s ________________ and Luffy?”

“Luffy is forbidden to ever go apple picking with us again,” Sabo snorts. Ace glared.

“He knows what he did!”

“What happened?”

“Well, we spent an entire day picking apples and we all carted at least seven bags of them. By the time they made it back to Dadan’s place, they were gone. Ace never forgave him for that,”

“Damn right I didn’t! It took us ages to get them back to Dadan!”

“Who’s Dadan?” said Law

“She used to take care of us before Pops took Ace in,” said Sabo, “She’s a bandit that lives around the outskirts of town,”

“So Whitebeard adopted you?”

“Mhm,”

“Yeah after Ace tried to kill him for a full year,” said Sabo laughing

“It’s not funny!”

“You’re an idiot if you tried to kill someone like him. He looks like he can and will kill you,” said Law

“You don’t know half of it. Ace would sneak into the house with knives, axes, his pipe, everything to slay Whitebeard and failed miserably each time,”

“I got ONE hit,”

“A pity hit,”

“SHUT UP!” Law snorts.

“And he was so impressed with your tenacity that he adopted you?”

“Kind of,” said Ace, “He adopted me because he realized that if a kid is literately obtaining weapons from somewhere to kill an adult, something was wrong so he made me take him back to Dadan, they talked, and the next thing I knew I was living in the Whitebeard home,”

“She does sound irresponsible,”

“She’s the worst but…she can be nice sometimes,”

“Does Luffy still live with her?”

“Yeah but he goes back and forth between Garp and Dadan and Pops takes care of him too,”

“What about you Sabo?”

“Oh, I live on my own and with someone named Dragon and a few other kids. He appeared one day and he’ll disappear again, I know it,”

“Are you going with him, if he does?” said Law

“Nah, I’ll probably ask Whitebeard if he doesn’t mind one more kid,”

“Pops likes you, he’ll let you stay!” said Ace, “It’s either him, Dadan, or Garp! And we all know they’re not the best,”

“Garp? You mean the Vice Admiral?”

“Yep, he’s my grandpa. You know him?”

“Not personally, half of Sengoku’s gray hairs came from Garp and I respect anyone who can do that,”

“You know Sengoku?!” said Sabo

“Yeah, technically he’s my grandpa from Cora-san,”

“Is he trying to force you to be a cadet?” said Ace. Law cringed.

“You have no idea,”

“Yeah Garp already decided he was going to beat it into us every time he sees us,” said Sabo, “But we should have ___________________ be with us again so she can kick him again,” Ace and Sabo laughed. Law chuckled.

“I heard about that. The way Sengoku tells it, Garp was overpowered by a tiny monster with a hundred legs,” the boys laughed again, “Speaking of, where is she?”

“At home, I didn’t want her to come because I found a strange ghost witch girl at the tree last time,”

“What did she do?”

“I don’t know. Like she used some weird magic and ___________________ and Sabo both went down. ________________ was sobbing and shaking,”

“Oh?”

“It’s the strangest feeling,” said Sabo, “Like she summoned these ghosts and they went through you and you just felt…empty. Like the entire world on your shoulders and chest and thoughts of worthlessness filling you. It was horrible,”

“I don’t know why it didn’t affect me,” said Ace

“…I have a theory but I need to meet her myself,” the boys were almost there but they heard screaming and crying. They ran to see what was up. The strange girl was in the tree sobbing and screaming as some boys were surrounding the tree and taunting her with something in their hands. As much as Ace wanted to make her fend for herself, the look of terror and fright was all over her face.

“Hey, leave her alone!” said Ace approaching the boys. The boys were no threat, just some petty thugs from Terminal Gray. He couldn’t blame them for coming out this way out away from Goa, they were probably desperate for food and foraging but still don’t terrorize someone. The boys turned.

“Hey fuck off peasants,” said one boy

“Who the fuck you calling a peasant?” Ace growls

“You! Mind your business!”

“You’re in MY woods so I am minding MY business!”

“Oh? You want to fight?”

“Heh, you know it!” Ace ran after the head boy. Law watched on with Sabo.

“You’re not fazed by this are you?”

“Nope, you want in?”

“Three on three is fair,” The boys made short of the boys who ran for safety. Law looked up at the girl. She was sobbing and shaking and waved something away from her.

“Hey, you can come down now,” The girl shakily came down the tree. She sobbed.

“I-I can’t! N-Not with those things running around! Please get them away from me!”

“What the hell are you talking about?!” said Ace. Sabo then noticed the cockroaches swarming the tree trying to get the some of the rot and things off the tree.

“Those boys had them in their hands! That was nasty!”

“Jump down!” said Law

“No please!”

“One of us will catch you!”

“You promise?!”

“Mhm,” she looked freaked out but obliged and jumps. Law caught her and sets her down. She looked a lot better and hugged him tightly.

“Thank you so much!”

“You’re not off the hook yet. What’s your Devil Fruit?”

“…Horo horo no mi,”

“That explains it,” said Law

“What does it do?” said Ace glaring at her, “What are you?!”

“I’m a ghost person! I can create and produce ghosts,”

“And you use them to hurt people!”

“NO! I defended myself!”

“Yeah right! No thanks to you my sister at home, feeling like shit! If it was up to me, I would have let the cockroaches eat you!”

“Please don’t! I’m sorry! Is she okay?! It should wear off soon!”

“What did you do?!”

“I used my negative hallows! That’s all I swear!”

“What are they supposed to do?!”

“Well, it’s suppose to make someone feel terrible about themselves! Usually it works but so far you’re the only one who’s ever been immune to it!”

“Then what didn’t you use them on the boys who were bothering you?!”

“I was too freaked out to! Listen, I didn’t mean to make you angry or make your sister that depressed!”

“The hell you didn’t!”

“Ace, that’s enough. Listen is there a reason why you’re terrorizing the woods?” said Sabo

“Yeah, what do you want?” said Ace glaring at her.

“I’m not here by choice! I’m only here looking for my brother! He wandered off from home a few weeks ago and never came back! We don’t know where he is! I told Daddy I’d find him and I hadn’t yet! He could be anywhere!”

“How do you know he’s here?” said Law.

“We have a tracking device on him so we always know where he is!” Law, Ace, and Sabo looked at her suspiciously, “Don’t look at me like that! He gets lost in our house ALL the time! He seriously got lost once on the way from the market then got lost IN the market! The signal is strong here! I know he’s here! As soon as I find him, I can call Daddy and we can go home! I just want to get out of these woods! I hate living in a tree!”

“What does he look like?”

“You can’t miss him! He has green hair, tanned, and nowhere near as cute as I am!” Ace looked shocked

“Does he eat a lot and in sleep in weird places?!”

“Yeah!” he sighed.

“If you help us carry some apples and buy some cake, I’ll take you to him,”

“REALLY?! THANK YOU SO MUCH!” true to her word, the girl helped them all gather apples and Ace took her to get some cake and they were soon on their way to the Whitebeard home. Ace made her stay in the living room while he and Law and Sabo take the apples to the pantry. The girl looked around. Their place was nowhere near as lively as her place.

“Yeah, that’s for my sister,” Ace said taking it, “It’s the least you could do. It’s one of the main things that can cheer her up no thanks to you,” the girl pouted.

“God you’re mean!”

“Yeah I am. Let me get your weird ass brother,” the girl sat there patiently before she heard swear, a struggle and then Ace dragging a struggling Zoro downstairs.

“GET OFF ME!”

“NO! Go home with your weird ass sister!”

“HEY!”

“…Sister?!” The moment the pair looked at each other, the house went from quiet to chaotic. Zoro ran upstairs with the girl flying after him.

“GET BACK HERE!”

“GO HOME PERONA!”

“I’M NOT LEAVING WITHOUT YOU!”

“THEN YOU’RE NOT GOING HOME ANYTIME SOON!” Zoro went from room to room with Perona close behind, both shouting at each other.

“DADDY’S WORRIED ABOUT YOU!”

“HE’S NOT MY DAD!”

“HE TAKES CARE OF YOU DOESN’T HE?!”

“STOP ACTING LIKE YOU ACTUALLY CAN READ HIM!” the pair went from room to room causing destruction in their wake. The brothers thought quickly and locked their rooms to keep the pair from destroying them. Everyone stayed out of their way and camped in the living room, listening to the pair running about upstairs.

“Whoever adopted those two as to have the patience of a saint,” said Vista, “Look at them go,”

“None of us are going to be getting sleep tonight,” said Izo sighing. By nighttime, the pair finally wore themselves out. Perona was more than happy to sleep in a regular room that night. Ace fished out some pajamas for her to sleep in.

“Ewww those are ugly!”

“You get what you get!” he barked

“What’s your deal?! I’m a girl! I want something cute!”

“Too bad!”

“You have a little sister! You should have something cute for me to wear!”

“If you didn’t make her sad, I would have found something cute for you to wear!”

“You’re so mean!” he tossed it all at her and closed the door. Perona huffed and looked at the shirt with a grimace. She couldn’t make herself shuffle into it. She just wanted to do back home so she could be with her cute things again and away from this mean boy who just yells at her all the time. Zoro yelled at her too but this was more malicious. She was resigned to her fate until she heard the door open. ____________________ walked into the room carrying a pair of pajamas with bunnies all over them. Perona’s face lit up.

“Eeeee! These are adorable! Are you sure I can wear them?!” ______________________ nods. Perona hugged her.

“Thank you! I owe you one!” she nodded again and was about to leave, “Hey, what’s the deal with your brother?!”

“You attacked Sabo and me, his brother and sister, how do you expect for him to react to you?”

“I didn’t mean it! I got scared and defended my tree!”

“We told you what we were there for. You shouldn’t attack someone especially with someone like that unprovoked,”

“Well how do you think I feel?! I was wandered the woods for weeks looking for my idiot brother who wants to make Daddy take him seriously! I mean yeah I taunted him but I didn’t know he would actually go after Redhaired Shanks! Then when I thought you guys were going to chase me from my tree I panicked! I didn’t think it was going to put you out for days and not affect your brother!”

“…are you trying to say sorry?”

“I guess! I didn’t mean for you to get hit that hard! Maybe you’re super positive or something,”

“There you are,” Marco opened the door, “Ready for bed kiddo?”

“Mhm! Oh! Perona said that Zoro wanted to go after Shanks,”

“…Shanks?” said Marco, “You two know Shanks?”

“Mhm! Well heard about him. Daddy came home some time ago angry about someone named Redhaired Shanks and hw he had to fix one of his messes again. Then he went into the kitchen, poured some wine and was quiet for the rest of the day,”

“…what does your father look like?”

“Oh so uncute but nice I guess. He’s had gold eyes with black hair and his hair and beard grow together in a circle! He always wears this red coat and this red hair and wears a cross! He doesn’t say much but you can read him when you’ve been around him enough!”

“I think I can get him to come get come you two,”

“Really?! Thank you!”

“Come on little lady. It’s getting late,” she nodded as Marco picked her up and took her to bed. When everything settled down, Marco took went to the Den Den Mushi and waited until someone picked it up.

“Mihawk…if you’re looking for someone…or two someones. I think I know where you need to look,”

***
The monster siblings became a fixture of the Whitebeard home for the last three days. Between the bickering, Zoro getting lost, hollows darting from room to room looking for Zoro and and Perona making scathingly mean remarks about him getting the lost, everyone was on edge and mentally weary. Everyone opted to sleep with earplugs and wore them all day, Ace joined __________________ and her errands to escape the pair. Then one day, they were saved. The knock came in the early afternoon. Someone pounded on the door. Fossa answered.

“I believe you guys have something of mine,” said Mihawk

“Yes! Please come in,” the moment he stepped inside, it became apparent just how contained and loud the bickering was. He looked up at the stairs and made his way towards the source of the yelling. Whitbeard greeted him on the third floor.

“How long have they been bickering?”

“Two days. They only stop when they’re eating and sleeping,”

“I see, they’ll be out of their hair soon. Which room?”

“Second door on the right,” he opened the door and was met with the sight of the pair at each other’s throats, Zoro waving his bokken around trying to hit Perona’s hallows who were taking pleasure in taunting him.

“COME ON!”

“NO! I’M NOT GOING!”

“STOP BEING STUBBORN!”

“I’M NOT BEING STUBBORN! I’M NOT COMING HOME UNTIL I’M GOOD ENOUGH!”

“YOU ARE! I DIDN’T MEAN ANYTHING I SAID!”

“Ahem,” the pair immediately stopped. When they saw Mihawk looking at them, Perona called off her hallows and Zoro sheathed his bokken. He looked at the pair expectantly. Before he could anything, Perona started talking.

“ZORO RAN AWAY BECAUSE HE’S WANT TO BE A SWORDSMAN WITHOUT YOUR HELP!”

“SHUT UP!”

“HE SAID HE CAN BE BETTER WITHOUT YOU! I TOLD HIM HE COULDN’T BECAUSE HE WAS PATHETIC!”

“SHUT UP!”

“Perona, I want the truth,” she sighed

“Okay, maybe I teased him a little…”

“A little my ass you jerk! You hyped me up to find and go after Red Haired Shanks!”

“Did you find him?!”

“Yes and he handed my ass to me! I couldn’t go back home after that defeat! I couldn’t come home to you looking at me and blaming for everything I did wrong! I knew Perona was going to reminds me how much I suck and you’re going to remind me that I’m nowhere near your level! I’m not going back to that after my defeat!” Zoro was breathing hard, clearly upset. Perona looked troubled.

“Zoro…I was only teasing! I always tease you!”

“Doesn’t mean I like it all the time!” he barked. Mihawk gestured them both to sit down.

“I’m only going to say this once and only once so both of you shut up and listen. If I didn’t want either of you around, you wouldn’t be around. As far as I’m concerned, I have two cats that appeared on my doorstep and refused to leave. Does that mean I drown them? No, I’m going to raise them to survive on their own someday when I’m dead and gone and at this rate it’ll be sooner than later with the way you two constantly bicker over nothing! I know I’m not the best parent but you two seem to do better when I’m hands off and I tend to keep it that way unless you two are in danger of killing yourselves or someone after you! Just because I don’t constantly hover over you two doesn’t mean I don’t care. I know everything about both of you. I know about Perona liking anything nice and cute so I cut everything into hearts and bunnies and kittens so she could be happy. I know about Zoro’s bad sense of direction so I have a tracker on him at all times so I can find him and bring him home. I know you don’t like cockroaches Perona and I know Zoro will sleep anywhere. Just because I don’t say anything doesn’t mean I don’t know anything. Perona, you shouldn’t have teased Zoro to this point. He couldn’t gotten himself killed over your foolishness and you should knew better. Stop asking like a brat and remember he’s the only brother you have and if this continues, he’s going to resent you for the rest of your life and I know you don’t want that. Zoro, you are supposed to be a man, criticisms like that shouldn’t have bothered you. You made progress but you have a long way to go if you want to be on my level. And fighting someone like Shanks will not make you stronger. If Shanks was a different type of man, you would have been killed without mercy. Your commitment to learning the blade isn’t enough, you need to know when to use a dagger and when to use sword and when to run away and when to fight not go looking for trouble. And if you two are done bickering, we’re going home,” he got up, “And no I don’t mind you calling me Daddy, Perona and yes it’s okay to just call me Mihawk, Zoro,” he walked out the door. The sat there for a few moments. They exchanged glances. They then got up, gave a nod of understanding and joined their father downstairs. The Whitebeard family were in the living watching the stairs. The house was quiet, too quiet and they wondered what was going on. A few minutes passed before Mihawk calmly walked down the stairs with Perona and Zoro behind him. He looked at Whitebeard, “Thank you for taking care of them for me,”

“My pleasure,” The pair bowed lowly.

“Thank you for your hospitality,”

“You’re welcome kids,” And without another word, the trio went outside. The family followed them out and watched as they scrambled into a car and drove off. Perona and Zoro waved as the car disappeared. Everyone stood there in silent for a few moments, savoring the peaceful sounds of autumn. It’s been so long. Then someone finally spoke.

“What a weird family,” said ____________________, “I’m glad they’re gone,”

“No kidding,” said Ace, “Seriously!”

“Now, now you two,” said Marco

 

“I think we all deserve a vacation after dealing with that for three days,” said Vista

“I’ll make an order list, everyone tell me what you want to eat and we’ll have that for dinner,” said Thatch, “We’ll restock the pantry tomorrow little lady,”

“Okay! Think we’ll ever see them again?”

“Don’t jinx it sweetheart,” said Rakugo,

“Yeah, it’ll be our luck they move in,” said Speed Jill shuddering

“Okay, a three hour quiet time is now in place,” said Whitebeard, “Whispers only, headphone mandatory, and peace until dinner,”

“Agreed!”

Chapter Text

The two boys appeared out of nowhere. It was like they just came into town and inserted themselves into everyone’s lives and terrorized. Many said they came from Gray Terminal but were kicked out but all Ace knew was that they needed to get out of HIS territory. The pair was vicious, often robbing and attacking nobles right and left, making off with the good stuff, often leaving him, Sabo, and Luffy with leftovers. Every day, Ace would slump home despondent because there was nothing to bring back or bruised up from his scrap with the boys. He took it like a man when Marco was there to patch him up.

“I think you need to stop this, yoi,”

“It’s a matter of principle!” said Ace, “Who the fuck does he think he is coming into MY territory!”

“You’re getting way too sloppy and destructive,” said Fossa, “Makino was talking about you and Sabo going into her bar causing trouble,”

“THAT WASN’T US! Miss Makino is off limits! It was that redheaded fucker and that blonde fucker!”

“Language!” said Vista

“I think the other person is a girl! ____________________ you should come along to fight her for us!”

“I’m remaining neutral on this,” she said

“What?! Why?!” said Ace, “this is a matter of pride!”

“I’m not going to pick a fight with someone I don’t know!”

“And stop dragging her into you weird ass pissing contest!” said Izo

“I WON THAT CHALLENGE!”

“Did you really piss yourself?!” said Curiel

“I pissed on him, does that count?”

“The fuck boy! Seriously!” because of those two and all of the destruction they’ve been causing, people have been hyper vigilant for pickpockets and things like that. Ace had to stop for a few moments and this really upset him, along with Sabo and Luffy who couldn’t get enough saved for their ship. _________________ however have used some of her free time in a constructive way: learning to ride a bike. She recently got one from Pops and Hancock, who thought that it would faster and easier for her to get from point A to point B faster. She only used it to travel places she couldn’t easily walk to. It was a new hobby of hers to map out everything around her just for further references. So far she mapped out Goa and the surrounding islands and other areas. She realized that everything was on islands but thanks to trains and ferries, everything felt closer. Pops’ town and area seemed to be the largest with the woods and everything connected with Luffy’s area. It took her awhile to figure out that the Baratie was a massive boat ship. She had spent most of the day finishing her map before she headed home. She was almost home when she was knocked from her bike. She fell and landed with a thud. She looked up to see who the culprit was. The boy was a redhead with a mechanical arm his hair was spiky and fanned out similar to a lion's mane. He wore goggles and blue sleeveless shirt that had a sewn patch, like his striped yellow pants.

“Hey that’s my bike!” __________________ tried to get it back only to be pushed into the mud by the redhead. She glared and tried to go after the boy again, he smirked and handed her bike over.

“Sorry about that,” he smirked, “Here, take it,” she huffed and took it. She mounted and went to ride off no matter how hard she peddled, she wasn’t any close to leaving. She turned to see the redhead holding his hand out. He smirked as her bike flew backwards. She clung as she kept balance before she was flung off her bike. She skid across the ground as the boy laughed and mounted it. She whimpered slightly but chased him. He was fast on the bike but she knew all of the shortcuts in town. She gave chase across town, down the dirt path and across a very thin dirt path. From what she heard, she knew where he was headed. She didn’t like going there, but she was going to head him off right before so she could get him before he got any further to Gray Terminal. She used another one of her shortcuts and waited. She didn’t see any bike marks on this side of the road. So she waited and planned. She knew she probably couldn’t fight him. Especially if he had a Devil Fruit ability. She would have to outsmart him somehow. He reminded her of Ace, only meaner but Ace’s biggest weakness was taunts. Luffy always trash talked and always got his butt handed to him by Ace. If she could get this boy to come to her, then she could subdue him and get her bike back. She hid until she heard her bike coming down the road. She timed it just right when she tackled the redheaded boy off her bike. He went down as she gathered up her bike. He glared at her.

“You’re going to pay for that bitch!” he said and went after her. She got on her bike and tried to peddle when her bike was hoisted into the air. She clung to her bike and once again thrown off. She landed in the river. She glared and got up. The boy smirked.

“Not bad for a girl. You want it; you gotta fight me for it,”

“I would but Pops says not hit girls,” he stopped.

“THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME?!”

“You heard me! Don’t forget to pull up your frilly stockings before challenging me!”

“FUCK YOU! I’M GOING TO BASH YOUR FACE IN!”

“Before or after you get your diaper changed?”

“RAWR!” he went after her. She grinned and moved aside and took out her ribbon. The boy went at her one more time before used her ribbon to tie him. He fell backwards as she went to her bike. She heard the boy yelling and shouting behind her. She was about to untie him when another boy appeared. She jumped back. Before she could do anything, he grabbed her and held her in a Full Nelson.

“HEY! Lemme go!”

“Get the bike,” he told the redhead who was already untied and running to her bike. He let her go the moment they had control of her bike. The boy with him was a blonde with his hair covering his eyes. He was the taller of the two and wore a white t-shirt and a blue pants.

“Killer, slam her face in the ground!”

“No. Let’s go,”

“WHY?! She insulted me!”

“Leave her alone, Kid. She’s just a girl,” with that the pair ran for it and disappeared into the confines of Gray Terminal. ____________________ limped home. Izo was surprised that she was covered in cuts and bruises.

“Jeez, you look as though you lost a battle!” he said as Marco healed her cuts and scrapes, “Are you okay kiddo?”

“Mhm!”

“Just be more careful! We don’t want our delicate little princess to get ass bruised,” he then whispers low, “Because Marco may go into a rampage,”

“I wouldn’t!” __________________ was determined to get her bike back. She did NOT want to ask Ace for help or get in the middle of this feud between him, Kid, and Killer. She rather liked Killer, Kid not too much. She sighed trying to think how she could even the playing field. She had to do this the boy’s way. But that meant she had to be a little stealthier about it. She decided to ask for some help.

“HE STOLE YOU BIKE?!” Luffy as she grabbed his mouth

“SHHH! Keep it down! I don’t want Ace or any of my brothers to know!”

“Why not?!”

“Do you really want Ace to start a war in Gray Terminal over a bike?! …don’t answer that! But I need you show me how I can get in and out fast!”

“There’s one opening that Ace and I used to get out of Goa when we have to do it fast. It’s right next to the far wall near the ramen shop alley,”

“Okay got it! Remember; don’t tell Ace or ANYBODY about my bike!”

“But what if you get hurt?!”

“Avenge my death!”

“WHAT?!”

“Just tell Marco if I’m not back for dinner,”

***
Kid woke up and stretched. He finally had a good night’s sleep since it was Killer’s turn to stand guard for the night. They arrived in this area a few weeks ago and they both actively hate it. It was always smoggy, it was dirty, and it wasn’t even suitable for rats. But until they found a place that they could call home permanently they were stuck there. He went to check on Killer, who was at the door. He gently touched his companion.

“You can sleep, I can take care of things from here,”

“It’s okay,” he yawned, “I’ve been out already getting food. Yours is on the table,” Kid grinned seeing the plate of cabbage rolls on the table.

“You’re fuckin’ awesome!” Killer smirked

“Yeah I know and once we sell that bike, we can get more things before we leave this dump,”

“How much longer? I’m sick of moving around,”

“Just until we find that convent to stay in until we find a place or something,”

“Are there anymore islands?”

“Just this one. I don’t see anything else on the map. We have to find somewhere soon,” Killer didn’t want to think about not finding a place. The ideal place would be as far away from the World Government as possible and someplace for them both to live in peace. After traveling around this place, he realized that they were literately in a junkyard where rick people trashed everything. they found appliances that were just old, nothing wrong with them, just old. They even found clothes and shoes and things. It wasn’t bad since they had new things to wear now but it also meant there were nobles around and neither of them liked nobles. So they decided to search for something better. They decided to take the bike into town that day and see what they could get for it. Even a little beli would get them to the next area or at least some better food for their journey. After Kid ate, they headed to town with the bike, avoiding certain areas. This place had a lot of poor people but what made things worse were the petty thugs and bandits who also called this place home. They were almost mugged their first night until they found a place to sleep. As extra precautions, they took turns keeping watch until Kid found a lock. He figured out how to use his devil fruit to manipulate the inner barrels inside to get it to work. They would try it out officially that night after they got money, “After we sell it, let’s steal it back and give it back to the girl,”

“Fuck that!” said Kid, “She insulted me! That’s death!”

“We steal what we need and I told you to not steal something we don’t need,”

“But we need beli and that bike was in good condition! We should get something for it! Besides, why do you care if some girl gets her bike back?”

“Saved my life once, kind of owe her,”

“Huh?”

“Long stor—,” he stopped, causing Kid to stop. A boy in a dark hood was standing in front of them. They couldn’t see his eyes.

“Oy kid what’s the get up?” said Kid. The boy pointed to the bike, “Fuck you! You ain’t gettin’ it!”

“Yeah get lost!” said Killer. The mysterious boy looked at them and cocked his head to the side. Killer didn’t even see him move as he ran at him, moved to the side and clocked Kid square in the face. The boy then mounted the bike and peddled away not before leaving something behind.

“SON OF A BITCH! THAT HURT!” Kid said holding his face. Killer attended to his friend’s face making sure he was okay.

“Come on, let’s go home and I’ll get some ice for your face,”

“That bastard! Now we lost our beli money!”

“It’s okay, I’ll think of something,” the mysterious boy peddled hard and fast and didn’t stop until he was on the other island in the woods. ___________________ took off her hood and started panting. That was the coolest, most exciting, and most fun thing she’s ever done! Not only did she get her bike back but she actually punched someone and she LIKED it.

“No! No, no! Hurting people is not a good thing! I didn’t even want to punch Kid…no matter HOW much he deserved it,”

“Yeah you did,” she jumped. Law was watching her from a tree.

“HOW LONG WERE YOU THERE?!”

“Long enough. See you got your bike back and you punched a guy. Good for you,”

“That doesn’t make me less horrible! I mean I punched Kid in the face! With my fist,”

“Of course it should feel good; you were defending your property from someone who took it. So it’s perfectly okay,”

“It is! I mean…I wanna do more cool things like Ace, Luffy, and Sabo,”

“Then do it,”

“Wait what?!”

“I’ll go with you. Just to get it out of your system,”

“Okay!”

“Just stay disguised and I’ll stay with you,”

“Awesome!”

***
Law and _______________________ made a great team. She had to admit, piracy ruled! The only treasure she actually wanted was cake and sweets and Law went along for the ride. Together they went from area to area town to town raiding cake shops of their cake. She would come home and they would divide it up. Thanks to ________________ cute face and innocent looks no one really noticed her casing out the bakery until she came back later in her cloak with Law to steal as much as they could and ran for it. River often joined in as a temporary distraction so she could make off with the cake better. Of course she wasn’t going to tell anyone about this. It was actually talk of it at dinner that night.

“Are you finally done with your little pissing contest with Kid?” said Vista looking at Ace.

“FUCK THAT REDHEAD BASTARD!”

“Guess not,” said Blenheim

“What’s a pissing contest?” said __________________

“When two people usually boys argue with each other with no resolution,” said Izo

“Why is it with pee?”

“Because boys pee differently than girls,”

“Ah,”

“Girls can do it too if they tried harder!” said Ace and mashed his potatoes in anger

“Hate that guy. Did he ever give you back your bike?” she froze, “You know Luffy can’t keep secrets,” she grinned.

“YEP! He just gave it back willing!”

“…willingly?” said Curiel, “Did you threaten him little lady?”

“PFFFT! She’s too puny to be intimidating!” said Fossa laughing

“Hey! I can be tough!” she said poking out her chest.

“Sure you can,” said Rakugo poking her tummy. She giggled and deflated

“Mean!”

“But there’s another asshole coming into my territory too,” said Ace glaring, “I’ve never met him but everyone has been talking about a hooded boy going into cake shops and taking cakes and sweets! He has a partner too but he wears a surgeon’s mask and there are even rumors of a cat working with them!”

“Why are you getting worked up about cake? You don’t have a sweet tooth,” said Thatch

“That’s not the point! __________________ eats cake! If this idiot keeps stealing it, then she can get any!”

“Aww Ace you care about your little sister that much?” he froze

“N-No! I’m just saying! If someone takes all of the cake, then she’s going to all mopey and sad and I don’t want to hear that all the time,”

“Hey!” after dinner she decided to call Law about one last heist before they called it quits.

“Finally got it out of your system?”

“Mhm and I’ve been hearing about this new cake shop that opened up on the next island. Let’s do it,”

“Alright, want to make a calling card for the other idiots?”

“Mhm. Let’s do this early in the morning,”

“Okay, I’ll be at your place at five,”

“Okay!” she yawned and hunkered under the covers. Thatch came in to tuck her in that night, “Hey Thatch, I have a question!”

“Oh! My first __________________ Question! What’s up little lady?”

“Like is it okay for kids to get into trouble? Like even the good ones? I mean if Ace gets in trouble no one seems to mind, but what if Law or even I get into trouble?”

“Pfft you? You’re too puny to get into trouble and even so, you’re a kid. Getting into trouble is just a thing kids do. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, kids will be kids, being a robot as a kid isn’t great. You have to learn how to make mistakes, cause trouble mainly because when you grow up; you can’t do it as much anymore,”

“Oh! Okay, so it’s okay to get into trouble?”

“Once in awhile, kiddo,” he ruffled her hair, “I mean you didn’t murder anyone, did you?”

“NO!”

“Then you’re fine! Night little lady,”

“Night Thatch!”

***
Ace, Luffy, and Sabo were on the new island as soon as they were able. Ace received the graffiti message telling him to come to this place so they could finally know who the better thief was. Sabo pointed out the obvious trap.

“It was from that redheaded dick!”

“Seriously what’s with you and Kid?”

“He’s a fuckin’ asshole!” said Kid getting walking towards the designated place. They both got a message graffitied all over the floor in front of where they were living. Kid immediately ran out with Killer close behind.

“He is but seriously you’re more high strung than usual,”

“Something that bastard really pisses me off, he acts like he fuckin’ OWNS this area,”

“No you don’t,” said Sabo

“I practically do!” said Ace, “We all do!”

“And he took _________________’s bike!” said Luffy

“THAT TOO! HE NEEDS TO BE STOPPED!”

“By the way, of all of the things to steal for money, why did you take that girl’s bike?” said Killer

“Because I wanted it!” said Kid, “And what could she do? Whine and cry to his big brother?!” then Ace turned seeing Kid and Kid realizing Ace was looking at him.

“I’m going to fuck you up!”

“I’d like to see you fuckin’ try!” the pair ran at each other. Before anyone could stop them, they were both attacking and actively trying to beat the shit out of each other. Sabo and Killer tried to break them up but stopped when they saw the hooded boy they’ve been hearing about coming towards them. In one swift motion, he had wrapped them both in a black rope. He looked at them and with his hands up to their comrades.

“YOU WERE WORKING WITH THE HOODIE GUY I KNEW IT!” said Kid

“FUCK YOU I DIDN’T! I WOULDN’T TIE MYSELF UP!” said Ace, “UNTIE US ASSHOLE!”

“YEAH YOU FUCKIN’ BASTARD!”

“No,” the boy said simply, “I called you two here as a call for ceasefire. I know I’m not one to talk but this disharmony in town and it needs to stop. Mainly because many innocent people are getting the brunt of your stupidity and both sides are being blamed and victimized. So here’s my solution, Kid, you stay in the Gray Terminal area and one half of Goa, Ace you can continue with the other half. Does that sound fair?”

“As long as he stays the fuck away from home I don’t care,” said Ace

“Then I want more of Goa!” said Kid

“FUCK YOU!”

“Wait, wait, how about equal parts but on certain days? As long as you two don’t meet each other, will everything be okay?”

“Well…Kid and I are just passing through until we settle someplace,” said Killer, “So we’ll leave if we find a more permanent place,”

“Ace, your rebuttal?”

“…fine, the only thing I want is _________________’s bike back,”

“That’s in my possession and I’ll be more than happy to give it back,” said the boy, “Anything else?”

“I’m okay,”

“Fine,”

“Okay,” the boy tucks the ribbon as he falls to their feet, “Thank you for your corporation boys. Now I can take off this hood,” he took off his hoodie revealing familiar (h/c) hair and (e/c) eyes. Law then joined her at her side.

“__________________?!” said Sabo

“You were the mysterious asshole?!” said Ace

“That’s the coolest thing ever!” said Luffy grinning, “Where did you get your hood?!”

“Oh this is the one that Makino made me!”

“I thought it was a purple and pink?!”

“It is!” she took it off and turned it inside out revealing the colors and cute bunny print, “See?”

“WOW!”

“You mean all of this time it was you?!” said Ace

“A useless girl?!” said Kid

“A girl that kicked your ass and made off with more,” said Law making his appearance

“YOU WERE IN ON THIS TOO?!” said Ace, “Does Corazon know?”

“Nope and if you say anything, Jozu is going to know what really happened to his wooden doll collection,”

“Okay, okay!”

“Pansy,” said Kid

“FUCK YOU! KEEP TALKING AND I’M GOING TO FUCKIN’ KNOCK YOUR TEETH OUT!”

“BRING IT FRECKLES!” Sabo and Luffy grabbed Ace while Killer grabbed Kid.

“Enough you two!” said Law, “You idiots are acting like a bunch of kids,”

“We are kids!” said Luffy

“Fine, asshole kids! That’s why ___________________ and I did this so you two would stop this petty shit,”

“Of all of the places though!” said Ace, “Why here?!”

“I’ve been stealing cake here,” she said proudly, “And today was my last job,”

“…seriously of all of the fuckin’ things!”

“What?! My secret fridge has been fully stocked now! I’m so happy!”

“You know, I’ve never seen this area before,” said Sabo

“Me neither,” said Ace.

“Has anyone seen anything that would remotely tell us anything?”

“I saw a weird smiley face skull!” said Luffy

“Smiley skull? You mean a jolly roger?” said Sabo

“Yeah but I never see it before. Here’s a picture!” He took out a piece of paper.

“It’s kind of cool!” said _________________

“What kind of Jolly Roger is that?” said Ace

“Dunno but it’s weird,” said Kid. Law moved them aside and instantly his face went pale. It wasn’t just any smiley jolly roger and it was one that would haunt his dreams until he died.

“We have to get out of here, NOW!” he said looking around apprehensive, “MOVE IT!”

“Law what’s the matter?”

“COME ON!” Suddenly a cage fell on top of the kids. They jumped and tried to get out but to no avail. However the way the cage fell, ________________ was on the edge away from the boys. She regained herself and quickly ran to get some help just as another cage fell on her. She screamed and tried to get out. Then they heard footsteps. She saw a shadow cast over her as the bars from above were ripped opened. Before she could escape, she was hoisted out of the cage. Law froze as she was set down.

“Fufufufufuf, so…you were the little pirate who stole from my sweetshop,” ________________ couldn’t move. Her limbs were bonded as she was dragged towards the huge figure. The boys froze from their cage. The man was standing over the frightened young girl. He was a light blond-haired, very lean and muscular man with tan skin. He was dressed in black with only the only color being his red shirt. What really made her notice him was his light pink feather coat. It reminded her of Corazon’s but this man was nothing like him. She couldn’t see his eyes because of a pair of curved, thin white sunglasses with red lenses.

“Y-Y-Yes! I-I’m sorry! Pl-Please! I-I’ll give it all back!”

“Hmmm…or I can make you pay for it by being my little marionette for a few months,” he raises his finger as once again her little body couldn’t move on its own. The boys watched in horror as the man made her dance around him and her begging him to let her go. She tried her best to resist but she wasn’t strong enough.

“LEAVE HER ALONE!” Ace said rattling at the cage.

“YOU BASTARD LET HER GO!” said Kid

“Oooh, seems like your little friends want me to let you go. I wonder how much I can make you dance until you collapse,” _____________________ started dancing around but she couldn’t stop herself. She tried to force her body but couldn’t. Tears rolled from her face as she pleaded for him to let her go.

“Luffy, how far can you stretch?!” said Law

“Pretty far!”

“I have a plan! Stretch your arm back as far as you can and make sure you grab something sturdy!” Luffy stretched for as far as he could until he was able to grab something.

“Okay!” Law watched intently. He’s been around Doffy long enough to know he was toying with his victim before doing whatever punishment he had planned, “When I tell you to, grab _______________ and don’t let go!”

“GOT IT!” Law watched and waited until Doflamingo had her just close enough and facing them so Luffy could get a good grip.

“Steady…one…two…NOW!” Luffy stretched and grabbed __________________ and pulled. The man frowned and chuckled latching onto her. ____________________ screamed feeling her body being pulled, “LUFFY DON’T LET GO!”

“We’re going to rip her apart!” said Sabo. Ace thought fast and grabbed a rock and flung it. It was just enough for Doflamingo to be distracted allowing his hold on _________________ to waver. The cage, along with the kids, was flung several yards through the air and soon out of sight. It soared through the air. _________________ clung to the bars for dear life as the force not only made them fly far but fast across the sky. The cage down hard and fast as the kids braced themselves. Then they hovered in midair. Luffy and Ace opened their eyes. Law looked around. Kid had his arm outstretched, repelling their metal cage from colliding with some metal beams. Law used his room to break the cage and the kids all sat down thinking about what the hell just happened.

“W-Who was that?” said _______________________

“Never mind that,” said Law, “Are you okay?”

“Y-Yeah,”

“What happened back there?!” said Ace

“I don’t know! It was so weird! I couldn’t move my body, no matter how much I wanted to! Like I tried to keep myself from walking but I couldn’t,”

“That’s his ability,” said Law

“How—,”

“Listen I can’t give you guys the details at the moment but trust me on this. We stay away from that area, got it?”

“Don’t have to tell me twice,” said Ace

“Whatever,” said Kid.

“Let’s get home,” said Sabo, “Where are we now? __________________ any ideas?”

“Nah uh, I’ve never seen this area before,” Luffy looked around before grinning

“Ace we’re home!”

“….you mean YOUR home,”

“Luffy’s home?” said Law

“Yeah, he lives with Dadan,” Ace cringed, “I got out of that area when I had the chance,”

“That’s because you kept challenging Pops until he took you in,” said Luffy, earning a clobber from Ace, “OW!”

“I thought I heard someone,” a man appeared from the trees. He resembled a chicken with a waddle like beard and hair, “Oh! What are you kids doing here? Don’t know it’s dangerous in the—oh Luffy, Ace, Sabo! It’s not to see you all!”

“Hey Magra!” said Luffy

“It’s been only a week!” said Sabo

“It doesn’t mean I don’t miss you! Oh! There’s more of you! It’s so nice to see you boys making friends!”

“Only Law and ________________ are friends, the other two can fuck off,” said Ace

“You wanna say that again Freckle Bitch?” Kid barked

“Yeah I do shithead!”

“Now, now no fighting you two!” Magra pulled them apart, “I’ll take you all home. I’ll just let Boss know! You’re lucky, we were going to head in before the storm hits,”

“Storm?” said Killer

“Mhm, a storm is about to pass over here and it’s going to be a few days. We just found out and have been gathering food to wait it out. I had to go into town anyway. Luffy, you’re more than welcome to stay with Whitebeard, I think you’ll be better fed there,”

“YEAH!”

“It’s nice that you brought your friends over! I can identify everyone except of the extra two boys,”

“You know about me?” said Law

“Mhm, Luffy says you don’t say much but really cool and always wears a white and black hat and _________________ is the only girl in the group and his big sister,”

“I’m a big sis?!”

“Yeah! You’re older than me!” said Luffy, “And someday you’re going to be my official big sister when you and A—,”

“STOP SAYING STUPID THINGS!” Luffy flailed as Ace had him in a headlock. Sabo tried pulling him off.

***
Magra dropped Law off first at his place before taking the remainder of the kids to the Whitebeard home. Whitebeard was waiting as they all scrambled out of the car. Maga bowed.

“I know it’s short noticed but can Luffy stay until the storm let up? Boss almost murdered him after almost eating the entire storm rations in one day,”

“You don’t need to ask,”

“Thank you sir!”

“What about you Sabo?”

“I wanna stay!”

“Get inside,” Whitebeard looked at the sky. It was getting dark and it wasn’t even sunset. He looked at the other two boys. He could smell the moisture in the air and knew they were in for a few big ones for the next few days, “Listen, it’s going to pour tonight and I’m not sure where you two are headed but you won’t get to the next area in this weather. You’re welcome to come inside out of the rain and stay here until it lets up,” Kid looked apprehensive. Killer looked up at the sky and then down at his little brother. He just got over being sick and this was a new town.

“Come on Kid, we can stay until the rain lets up. It won’t be long anyway,” the boy looked apprehensive but followed inside. Knowing people like this, they were going to make them sleep in a basement or something. However, he was actually shocked that they were given a guestroom with two beds, warm blankets, and even a place to have a bath. For the first time in ages, the pair felt safe enough to actually let their guards down, even if it was with a rival’s family. They could hear the rain pounding against the window. Kid knew it would have been impossible to try and find a warm place to stay with the weather like this. The old man even let them eat at the table. He and Ace glared at each other and Killer sat next to ___________________. After dinner, they both went upstairs. The room had a kotatsu and both went under it.

“We have to get one of these when we get our own place!” said Kid hunkering down contented.

“I know it’s so warm under here!”

“Okay boys,” said Izo coming in, “Ground rules, if you want something, ask for it, they bathroom is down the hall and you two get baths, no exceptions to that rule,”

“Fine, fine!” said Kid. It’s been ages since they even had a bath. Killer watched as Kid and Sce fought and argued the whole time while Luffy laughed and Sabo tried to break them apart. After the bath, there was hot tea waiting for them. While they drank and relaxed, ___________________ came in.

“Hi! Pops said to make sure you two have warm blankets! Also, I have books if you want to read and Ace, Luffy, and Sabo are playing video games and could use a fourth!”

“Tch

“Girls are the weirdest creatures on the face of the earth!”

“Love you too,”

“FUCK YOU!”

“Goodnight!”

“YOU’RE STUPID!”

“Aww thanks! I think you’re adorable too,”

“KILLER, MAKE HER STOP!”

“Just shut up and go place video games!” she said, “If you need anything, I’m across and a few doors down, Ace is about three from you,” Kid looked at Killer.

“Go on, just remember we’re guests here,” Kid beamed and went off. Killer decided to relax a bit. He didn’t like video games much but decided to take a few moments to breathe. Kid needed to have a stable place. He didn’t care either way but this was for him. He needed someplace where he was safe. He decided to scope out the house. He got up and peeked into each room. There were around eighteen people in the house living together and a dog and a cat. Everyone had their own rooms and rooms to spare. He silently observed everyone. Everyone was civil towards each other. The house didn’t have a creepy vibe it had a welcoming vibe. He hadn’t experienced that in awhile. Downstairs, the kitchen was huge and had leftovers on the table for anyone to eat. He sat at the table and started eating a bowl of pasta. Even the pasta was decent. He was in heaven and even though he was happy ad Kid seemed happy, he knew they couldn’t stay here.

“Looks like you have a lot on your mind, son,” Killer jumped. Whitebeard was in the kitchen, helping himself to the food, “Are you okay?” he nodded. The old man was nice good vibes about him but his cheeks were stuffed with pasta. He swallowed, “Where are you two boys headed?”

“No idea. We’ve been traveling for so long and we just don’t fit anywhere. My primary goal is to be someplace that accepts us both and someplace where we’ll be safe from the World Government,”

“Fugitives?”

“You have no idea,”

“I’m not going to tell you what to do. Especially since you two seem to have a plan,” Killer shifted a little bit. He looked at the old man before just sighing, “But you’re more than welcomed to stay here if you want,”

“We need to find our own place. We don’t need anyone, I promised Kid’s mother and him that I’ll watch over him,”

“I see…well I do know of a place that’s some ways but you can get there in on the train or ferry. It’s a dead island. The residents there can’t pay to have their protection so they stay there and fend for themselves and each other,”

“Dead island?”

“Mhm, it’s place where a lot of people who need to disappear go. It’s not on any map and no one really goes there except the residence. It’s the end of the line for the ferryman as well,”

“…Is it safe?”

“There’s people protecting the island as much as they can. There’s even retired pirates and bandits who call the place home. It’s something to think about,”

“It is,”

“But neither of you are going out in this weather. It’ll be a few days. Stay here until then,”

“Thanks old man,” after dinner, Killer went back upstairs. He could hear Kid and Ace arguing and cringed a little before taking on the book offer. _________________’s door was opened ad he stepped in. He’s never really been in a girl’s room before and he had to admit, he was a lot different from a boy’s room. Everything had soft colors, was cleaner, and she had rows of books on a shelf. He saw ________________ on her balcony looking at the rain pouring down from the sky and the roof. He went over and looked at all of the books. There were a lot of them, even school books. He cocked his head. Were they homeschooled? That would explain a lot.

“You want to borrow one?” he jumped. She was beaming at him from her perch.

“Yeah, this one,” she looked at the cover.

“Oh, you can have that one if you want,”

“…you’re going to let me have it?”

“Well, yeah! I have a copy already!” she said grinning, “the first one I found at a bookstore and Sister bought it for me. This one Atmos gave me, not knowing I had it already!”

“Wow…thanks, umm bring you back a book one day as a thank you,”

“Thanks!” he then joined her looking at the rain. He felt so relaxed for the first time in a long while. The last time it rained like this, he and Kid were hiding and the rain was pounding against their hiding spot and it was just enough to drown out the sounds of Marines and nobles alike. The wind was warm and the wind blew violently as but thanks to the weird way the house was built, it went over them. He found himself leaning against the bars. He glanced at the girl next to him. She had her eyes closed, just savoring the sounds of rain.

“Are you used to the rain?”

“Kind of. It always makes me feel peaceful. It was the only thing that helped me to sleep when I was younger, Sister said,”

“Sister?”

“Yeah, I used to live in a convent before Pops adopted me,”

“Nah, Kid and I used to live in a place far from here. After his mom died, he wanted to find somewhere else to stay. We were in Gray Terminal for awhile but realized it’s not really for us. I would say this place but Kid and Ace will tear it apart in a week. We just want to find our own home, preferably not with the World Government,”

“Where are you two from?”

“South Blue. It took us a long time to get here. We heard about an orphanage here where an old nun takes in kids but we don’t want to be separated so we decided to find ourselves a family that wants us both but it’s either one or the other so we decided not to risk it with the nun,”

“Sister would have gave you the perfect family! I mean she was the one who gave me to Pops!”

“We want someplace to live together without worrying about anything,”

“Maybe you two should stay here! I mean two more brothers would be awesome!” he shook his head

“Kid and I need somewhere for us. Don’t get me wrong, this place is awesome but…just not for us,”

“Awww. Just be safe, okay?”

“But here,” he dug into his bag and took out a book, “I’ll let you borrow this. When we find a place, I’ll come back and we can trade again,”

“Alright!”

***
When the storms finally let up, Corazon made his way to a large manor that was just one on the edge of well everything. He drove about half an hour before stopped in front of the house. He took a few deep breaths before he knocked on the door. A woman dressed as a maid with a large bosom, blonde hair and green eyes opened the door. She grinned when she saw him.

“Corazon! How are you?!” she flung her arms around him and nuzzled his cheek.

“I’m fine, Perv. Is he…busy?”

“Actually no! He’s been expecting you! Come in, come in!”

“Thanks,” he blushed badly when he came into the large manor. As he walked, the maids all greeted him with both shy and sly looks. He kept walking. The maids were all the new and exclusive employees of the Donquixote Family. Although they all had looks ranging from innocent to sweet to confident he knew better. They were all trained killers, every single one of them. Their old caregiver was the one who screened and hired them and when he had to go into hiding, they acted as his enforcers when needed. Each of them preferred their nicknames in their old roles, Perv Maid was the shameless one, Cook Maid was the cook, Cleaner Maid was the main cleaner, Lesser was the less compassionate one of the group, and so on. He walked up the stairs and to the third room on the right. Inside, a familiar face was grinning at him.

“We need to talk,” Corazon said steeling himself.

“Oh? About what, brother?”

“Doffy! You know you're supposed to be incognito since Kaido is after you so please do not terrorize the kids who live here! Only this area knows that you’re here and we kind of need to keep it that way,” Doflamingo looked at his brother before getting up and walking up to him.

“Oooh? So you’re telling me to stop?”

“A-All I'm saying is to please keep a low profile. The little girl you scared is Whitebeard's new daughter. You're already on one Yonko’s bad side. Do you want to be on another one's?”

“Yer right I suppose~ fine I'll keep in check not ta harm her but you know when someone is so close in damaging my business, there is no mercy,”

“I know, I know. That’s why I came; I want to reimburse you for whatever she took,”

“Appreciate it, brother. By the way, how is Law?”

“Fine, you know the stipulations of you staying in this area, right?”

“No contacting the boy, I know. Am I doing harm in asking?” Corazon looked at him and raised an eyebrow, “Fair enough,”

“Remember, you can do whatever just as long as you don’t bring attention to the town,”

“Okay, okay. By the way, still on for Sunday?”

“Mhm,” Corazon headed out. Lesser Maid froze when he passed and reddened slightly as he walked to the door.

“…I didn’t know Corazon was coming,” said Lesser Maid she said as Doflamingo walked to see him out.

“Fufufufufu! He just dropped in,”

“Oh. Next time….let me know,”

“Will do,”

“He looks so good both coming and going,” said Perv

“I know right?” said Cook, “That ass can stop a war,”

“I wish I can put him on a hook and just play with him,” said Dom biting her finger

“You guys know better,” said Doflamingo laughing, “He’s off limits until he initiates it,”

“Fine!”

“You can’t stop us from fantasizing though,”

“Fair enough,”

***
Sometime later, ______________________ was roaming around town and going to her old haunts and things. It was a whole month since the storm and the cake heists and she was just glad to explore and pay for her cake again. After ribbon twirling, she decided to head to Makino’s bar when she saw a familiar blonde leaning against the wall. She beamed.

“Killer!” he looked up.

“I was scared you wouldn’t have come around here. But I came with some news! We found a place!” said Killer grinning at her

“Really?! Where?!”

“Come on, I’ll show you. That’s why I’m here,” they traveled a few areas away from her town. She knew the area was big but they actually had to really travel out to get to the place, just like they had to for Goa. They caught a ferry and stowaway on a train before arriving in a completely different area all together. She never travelled this out before but had to admit, it was kind of nice. The town looked a little rough and frankly scary, “Don’t worry, it’s all show. Everyone is pretty okay, that’s the main reason we decided to stay here,” he passed a small house where a woman was lugging in some groceries. Killer quickly ran to help her bring everything in. __________________ inched towards the house as Killer emerged a few moments later with the woman smiling and he carried out some groceries for himself. She was a tall, slender woman with shoulder-length black hair. Her eyes were dark with wide pupils and a long, thin, and defined nose. She looked at ____________________ and gave a friendly wave. She smiled and waved back. Killer beckoned her to keep going until they were at a large brick building.

“Wow! It’s huge!”

“It’s an old mechanic’s shop. Like when we found it nothing was in here and it was boarded up and things. So we went inside and this place is huge! We waited and no one around the area comes near it and it’s perfect for Kid than a junkyard,”

“So you two weren’t kicked out of Gray Terminal,”

“Nah, Gray Terminal wasn’t so bad but we had to constantly keep on guard, so this place is will suit us better for awhile. It’s an actual house and things. And it’s not a dump so Kid can breathe easier. He doesn’t like to admit but he gets sick from time to time. He didn’t need that smog in his lungs,”

“I can help you guys clean up if you like!”

“Thanks, Kid got most of the heavy things out of the way but we need to actually clean it before the next storm hits. The lady said it’s going to be in a few days,”

“Let’s get to it then!” The pair spent the next few days getting cleaning supplies and things to sweep and mop and disinfect the house. ___________________ made a list for Kid to find things in the junkyard for their home, including a portable shower, kotatsu and how to make a den den mushi. Since the place was a brick building, not much painting had to be done but made the place look livable. Killer even made room dividers for their kitchen, living room, and their bathroom. They did the same thing with his upstairs for his and Kid’s room.

“So how do you guys have power?”

“That’s the awesome part!” Killer took her outside and they walked a ways and pointed to a large brick device that was almost as big as a large van, “That’s a generator! The person who owned this place used it to power his shop. So we have lights and hot water all the time. Kid can fix anything, he’ll never admit it though so he figured it out and we filled the generator with like a ton of diesel. It should last us a very long time,”

“This place is huge though, what are you going to do with it?”

“For now nothing, we have a pretty big kitchen, we have a functioning bathroom, a place to watch TV and play games and things and rooms to ourselves. Though I’ll probably make a room a guestroom for when you come over and want to stay or something,”

“Me?!”

“Yeah you’re cool enough to visit for a little while,” When they were done, the place looked homey. Because many rich families threw almost anything away, they had a refrigerator, microwave, five hot plates, couches, beds, and an electric oven. Kid was too happy to curl under the kotatsu he found as Killer walked _________________ back to her area where he showed her a place where the nice woman would give him pasta and other scrap foods.

“Her name is Miss Ribbon. I think she knows that Kid and I are alone so she wants to make sure we get something to eat every day. We leave her beli and anything we have extra sometimes but she’s really nice and brings us more. She was the one who installed the shower and oven for us. She’s really smart and really nice. Kid is out looking for a fridge or something for us in a junkyard. I found a microwave that works great and a few hot plates so I can cook for Kid and thanks to you, it’s nice and clean. I think we can manage now,”

“Awesome! Let’s go get some food! My treat!” by the time they reached the Baratie, it was almost the dinner rush, meaning the staff was prepping in the kitchens. The front entrance was closed so she went to the back and knocked. Zeff answered and looked down at the pair. Both were disheveled and dirty and sweaty. Killer looked hesitant. She beamed at the old cook. He snorts.

“I’m not going to ask but did work hard today?”

“I helped clean an entire mechanic’s shop!”

“Oh? Hands!” they presented two pairs of dirty hands to him, “Get in here. We have a bunch of leftovers for you and your friend. Or did Whitebeard adopt another kid?”

“Nah this is Killer! He’s a friend of mine!” Zeff looked at the boy. He looked thin for someone his age. He pats her head.

“Alright. We have a bunch leftover from the lunch rush. And son, if I give you these leftovers to take home, will you eat them?” he nodded, “then they’re yours,” after they ate, Killer walked her back to the house carrying a huge basket of food from the Baratie.

“Okay, here’s your stop,” said Killer grinning, “I have a journey ahead of me so I better get going!”

“Okay! If you need me to help, let me know!”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Killer pecks her cheek. She froze, “Thanks for dinner, I owe you one,”

“N-No,” she cleared her throat, “No prob! Let’s keep our book exchange! Promise?”

“Promise!” he turned and left. She lingered for a few moments before running away flushed and didn’t stop until she was home. That night, Whitebeard tucked her in tightly and got ready to tell her one of his epic stories. However, this time, she had other plans.

“Hey Pops, can I ask you something?”

“Yes?”

“It’s about boys,” Whitebeard looked at his innocent little girl. He swallowed a lump in his throat. He knew this day would come…and he had to be ready.

“Yes?”

“Why are they so weird?!” he snorts

“Why do you say that little one?”

“Well, Ace always acts like he doesn’t want me around but he always does! Kid insults me and get mad when I say something nice to him! Sanji always acts weird when he’s around other girls and never like that to me, Sabo and Law treats me regular…if that makes sense, Luffy…I’m his big sister so it’s my job to make sure he’s okay if Sabo and Ace isn’t around, and Killer…he reminds me a lot of Ace but usually just wants me to go places with him. He’s really nice to me. But they’re all boys but they’re so weird sometimes,”

“Guararara! Boys and girls are different and there’s no shame in being interested in boys at your age,”

“I’m not interested!” she said covering her face blushing, “I’m just trying to understand them! Like is there a cheat code? I demand to know if there is one!”

“Nope, there’s no code. It’s a part of growing up. Being interested in boys, or girls, dresses, wanting your space and everything like that is perfectly normal,”

“Really?”

“Mhm, we all went through it. Even I did when I was a little boy. When I first met Flora I thought I was coming down with a disease that punched my gut,”

“You were a little boy?!” ___________________ tried to picture Pops as a little boy that was like her and Ace are they are now.

“GUARARARARA! Of course I was a kid! Nowhere near as small as you but I was child,”

“so you and Sister knew each other as kids?!”

“Mhm, times changes but being a kid and going through stages are universal and sometimes hopes and dreams remain the same. Like as long as I could remember, I knew I wanted a big family and I got one,”

“That’s because you’re the coolest Dad ever!” he chuckled

“True and it’s my job to remember what it’s like to be your age and help you get through whatever comes your way,”

“I thought adults always remember their childhoods?”

“Some not all. Times are different but that doesn’t mean awkwardness, body changes, and things like that does,”

“Oh okay….so what if a boy gives you a weird warm fuzzy feeling? Is that natural?”

“Mhm, you’re going to have to figure that one out on your own,”

“Awww,”

“Where is the feeling?”

“Mah gut!”

“That’s good! Your gut never fails you! How does it feel?”

“Like there are butterflies in it but they’re punching me every time they land! Like I can feel them flying but when they land, gut punch!”

“Ohh…when did this happen?”

“Well, when Killer gave me a kiss,”

“…a kiss? Where?”

“My cheek! He kiss attacked me! I never felt like that before well not since Ace did it!” Whitebeard snorts, “So it’s normal to feel this way?”

“Mhm, don’t worry your pretty little head,”

“Oh okay! I am ready for my story!”

“Story? I don’t think you want one!”

“Awww pleeeeeeeeeeeease?” he smiled.

“Okay, okay, here’s one I know you’re going to love. It’s about Captain Blume and Captain Atlas, my old Captain when I was a cabin boy,”

“What’s a cabin boy?”

“Young boy or girl who goes all of the earning and errands on the ship. They’re pirates in training,”

“Oooh! Tell me more!” after the story, ___________________ fell fast asleep. Whitebeard yawned and got up and headed to the door. He was about to leave when he spotted something on hanging on her closet door. He gently took it and realized it was a hooded cape. It was the one that Makino made for it. He had a hunch and turned the thing inside out and saw that it was dark with traces and smells of whipped cream and sweets. He chuckled before taking it to get washed. Kids nowadays needed to learn how to hide their evidence.

***
The little girl glared daggers at a very large crying little girl. She glared at her with both contempt and anger. The large girl let go of the kids she was holding as they ran to safety. The smaller girl landed on the ground in front of her. She had reddish hair that was hidden by a bandana, green eyes, and freckles across her nose. She was a very annoyed expression on her face and even though she was smaller than the large girl, the larger girl seemed very frightened of her angry face.

“Oneesan is always so mean to me!” the girl cried and rubbed her eyes.

“That’s because you’re a brat and needs to be disciplined! You constantly terrorize everyone! Can’t you just stop and think for once?! It’s your own damned fault that all of the kids are afraid of you!”

“S-Stop y-yelling at me, big sister!” the girl whimpered and sniffled. The other girl didn’t let up. She then took out a large bed sheet and gave it to her.

“Stop crying!” the large girl nodded and rubbed her eyes with the sheet and blew her nose, “Kids aren’t toys for you to play with!”

“I-I was just trying to help!”

“You’re not the same size as everyone else! And you’re only going to get bigger! So learn that you can’t use that as your excuse! Why were you crying and rampaging anyway?” the girl gestured her skinned knee. The girl looked at it before going into the house with sheets and things and rubbing alcohol. She cleaned the wound before bandaging it up, “There, better,”

“BIG SISTER!” The girl was hoisted up and cradled. The girl struggled and tried to get out of the giant’s grip but couldn’t. She was resigned to her fate, “Do you forgive me?”

“No,”

“SISTER!”

“Not until you apologize to everyone!” the younger girl wiped her tears. The older girl looked at her sternly, “Until then, I won’t forgive you,”

“Okay, Onee-sama!”

“Now, now Flora, we have to forgive Linlin,” the girl turned and leered. An old woman with a large, wrinkled face and a square jaw appeared. She wore dark nun's robes that have light frills on them. The large girl smiled while Flora glared, “Linlin didn’t mean what she did,”

“I won’t. She needs to learn that forgiveness has to be earned! I’ll never forgive her for hurting any of my friends!” Linlin sobbed and cried. The nun scolded her.

“FLORA! Stop being so mean!”

“You can’t tell me what to do! You’re NOT my mother!”

“I WANT to be!”

“THEN PROTECT US NOT EXCUSE LINLIN’S ACTIONS!” Flora stalked off into the woods. Linlin ran after her.

“BIG SISTER COME BACK! Don’t be mad at me or Mother Carmel!” Carmel watched the pair. She’s been thinking of selling those two for awhile now, Flora especially. Since the girl arrived at her orphanage, she’s been a willful young thing who lashed out at anyone who came towards her, well mainly her. It took her a long time to get used to the kids and vice versa, to the point that they saw her as their unofficial leader, being the oldest. She bonded with all of them, especially young Jin, a prince from a destroyed kingdom. Placing her would be hard. Marines would turn her back in and she would have to give the money back and she hated to admit it but she was sharp and observant. She was also the one who found Linlin near the river that fateful day. Because of this, Linlin took a liking to the girl and often followed her about like a little duckling when she wasn’t with the other children. Another thing that worried her was the way Flora had some level of skills and strength to protect the rest of her merchandise from Linlin. If it wasn’t for the idea that she knew Flora would turn on her, she would make her her second in command. She needed a few more months before everything would be finalized and she could get profit from them all. All she had to do was wait. That night, after supper, Flora yawned and curled up in bed. Well a makeshift bed away from everyone else. She preferred her solitude away from everyone. She often set up camp in a separate building near the window or near the fire. Tonight it was near the window. The summer nights were always warm and the nights were clear. She always found comfort looking at the stars in the sky. She hunkered in bed and said her prayers to her mother, her nightly ritual, before closing her eyes. She was a few minutes into her sleep when she felt the floor vibrating in front of her.

“Big sister!” Flora opened an eye to see Linlin looking at her with worry and tears in her eyes.

“What?”

“Ca-Can you sleep with me?! I-I’m scared,” she looked at the girl who was sobbing and looked terrified. She resigned.

“If it’ll shut you up and let me sleep,” Flora was hoisted in the air and taken back to the huge bed in the main house where Linlin cradled Flora happily. The smaller girl got comfortable and yawned as Linlin nuzzled her happily.

“Flora-chan is my favorite!”

“I know that. You always say that,”

“Flora-chan brought me to Mother and Flora-can always lets me sleep with her!”

“I don’t have much of a choice. If I don’t you’re going to cry, whine, and you’re going to go on a rampage and I’ll knock you out to shut you up and I’ll be too tired to do anything at all for the rest of the day,”

“I love you so much Big Sister! You always protect and take care of me!”

“Someone has to, I suppose,”

“You’re going to be my Big Sister forever!” Flora looked over at her. Linlin looked at her with large shiny eyes, “Right?!”

“Forever is a long time,”

“Can we be sisters forever?” Linlin looked at her with hopeful eyes and a big smile. Flora sighs, “Please?”

“If you let me sleep. I promise to be your big sister forever,”

“REALLY?!”

“Mhm, someone has to take care of you,” this seemed to make Linlin satisfied as she nuzzled Flora even closer.

“Okay! Goodnight Big Sister!”

“Goodnight Linlin,”

Chapter Text

______________________ was excited! Because Pops was always busy, he never really got to do things like pick her up from Ribbon Dancing classes or things like that lately. But after some business deals, he promised he would pick her up from practice this week and then they would go on an outing. She was so happy! Especially since Vivi and Kaya’s dads always came to pick them up and never got to see her father. And because Vivi’s Dad was super protective, he didn’t want Vivi to come over to ________________’s place until he met her father. In fact, all of the girls’ parents wanted to meet hers before they had their sleepover. They explained the circumstance that she was an orphan and didn’t have traditional parents but they insisted on meeting her guardians. They met Marco, Izo, Thatch, Jozu, Fossa, and Vista when they picked her up but they wanted to meet her father, Mr. Newgate. And since Pops had some time off, he wanted to pick ___________________ up from school. She was so happy and excited because they had a mini field trip and then they could meet her father.

“What’s your dad like?” said Plum

“Yeah! We never get to see him!” said Penny

“He’s the greatest person ever!” said _________________, “He’s so awesome! He’s really big and tall! Like taller than a tree! And has a big white moustache and his hair is wavy and blonde but he always has a bandana on it! He looks scary but he’s the nicest person EVER!”

“I can’t wait to see him!” said Vivi grinning, “This means we can finally sleepover your place if my Dad likes him!”

“Same here!” said Kaya.

“He’s not her REAL father,” sneered Holly, “She’s a foundling, therefore her real father could have been a pirate, drug dealer, or prostitute, oops, I mean that could have been her mother,”

“Holly don’t be sad because your father doesn’t care enough!” said ___________________, “You always have sitters picking you up,”

“And they can’t deal with you so they quit after a week,” said Vivi. Holly glared.

“That means we have money to burn to hire someone! You have to be poor to let family pick you up,” before they could retort, their teacher appeared.

“Ready to go girls?”

“YEAH!” Because winter was approaching, the school thought it would be a good idea to have the girls go out on a little field trip together. They asked their parents to give the girls twenty beli have a signed permission slip. Their teacher excitedly told them that they were going to going to a fall festival near town. . Each girl had a special dietary lunch to fit their needs and restrictions, along with snacks and drinks. Everyone scrambled into the bus. Vivi sat next to __________________, Kaya sat in front of them and Penny and Plum sat together. Holly opted to sit alone. The girls were so excited that they failed to notice that their teacher wasn’t on the bus when the driver started driving away. _______________________ looked out the window. She noticed a lot of things. They were passing Sister’s convent, then a mile away their passed Corazon’s area, and then they went around the Mountain Terrain where Magra was. Soon, they were going further and further away. It was then she felt something a little wrong. According Marco, they would be going to a smaller village on the other side of the mountains and a few miles away but they didn’t. They actually went straight; they were actually closer to Hancock’s area, though no one really went there uninvited. They kept going before stopping as another man entered the bus. The girls then realized that this man wasn’t supposed to be there and went quiet. He smirked.

“Alright ladies, your parents are going to pay a lot of money to make sure you’re all back to them safe and sound. So if you all know what’s good for you, you’re going to keep quiet and do everything we say, got it?” they immediately realized the situation they were in and they just silently nodded, “Good, now you’re all going to put your cell phones into this bag,”

“Y-Yes sir,” they uttered. __________________ watched the guard go to Holly first. She dropped hers inside as he went to Penny and Plum. They were fishing theirs out slowly. This gave her enough time to think of a plan. She didn’t have a cell phone but she did have her den den mushi. She gently took him out.

“Vivi, hold still,” she whispered. She waited until the man’s back was completely turned and took down her hair and gently placed her snail inside and tied her hair back again. The den den mushi sank inside as the guard turned to her and Vivi. Vivi surrendered hers.

“Hand it over kid!” he growled at ____________________

“I-I-I don’t have one,” she stammered

“She doesn’t have one,” said Holly, “Her parents can’t afford one!” he looked at her. Most of the girls were all from powerful or influential families. They had stats and everything on each one. But this little girl, they didn’t know anything about.

“Hey, who’s this kid?” said the Second Guard

“Don’t know,”

“She’s a charity case!” said Holly, “Her family is poor and she’s an orphan!”

“I-It’s true,” said Kaya, “___________________ doesn’t have parents. She just attends classes because of her brothers,”

“Tch, we can probably sell her or something,” the girls remained quiet until they arrived at a place in the middle of nowhere. The bus parked and the man took out his gun and ushered the girls out of the bus. They lined them all up and placed blindfolds over their heads and made them walk. __________________ observed the temperature and smells. They went from a cool place to indoors. Therefore they must in the house they saw when they pulled up. She remembered hearing a door opened and one by one, footsteps. Cool air touched her, cooler than outside, and the smell of mold and dust. She heard the creaking of stairs and heavy footsteps upstairs before the door slammed shut. She waited a few moments before taking off her blindfold. She saw that the other girls have done the same. She started looking and walking around. Penny was sobbing, Kaya and Vivi huddled together and Plum was shaking, and Holly was doing what she did best, complain. _________________ stomped her feet on certain areas before she touches places on the moldy looking walls. She then looked around and moved things around.

“Stop kicking up dust will you?!” said Holly, “Unlike you, some of us aren’t used to having our lungs filled with dirt!”

“______________ what are you doing?”

“Looking for a way out,” she said looking around. Fossa said that there’s always a way out of someplace. You just have to look,” she looked around until she found something abnormal on the wall and gave it a pull, revealing a window. It was high but she knew with some teamwork, they could get out. She looked at all of their heights. Penny and Plum were the smallest, then it was Kaya, then herself, Holly, then Vivi. If they did get out, they could pull the last two people out but Penny and Plum wouldn’t have the strength but she and Vivi could easily do it. She grinned, “Okay, I have a plan but you have to be quiet and listen to me,”

“Why should we?” snapped Holly, “No one is going to be looking for YOU anyway,”

“Knock it off!” said Vivi, “It’s either leave or die,”

“Well I’d rather die than to deal with her!”

“As much as I want to, it’s either come with us or you’ll never get your nails painted again,” Holly considered her options.

“Fine!”

“Good. Vivi, you and I are going to have to go the majority of this. I have to carry you on my back and you have to carry everyone to the window and from there, we’re going to have to squeeze through that window,”

“What about you?!”

“You’re going to have to pull me up. I think I can jump so far up,”

“Why don’t I carry you?! I’m taller!”

“Exactly but I don’t think you can carry everyone’s weight like I can,”

“Fair enough. Okay, you heard that everyone?”

“Yeah!” the girls said

“Okay Penny, you’re first,” Penny stepped on a chair and got on Vivi’s shoulders. ___________________ crawled under Vivi’s legs and lifted her up. She quickly but carefully walked to the window. Penny held onto the window. She had to really push for it to slide up. She then squeezed out. Then Plum got on Vivi’s back and did the same. Kaya was next but was slightly too big for the window until she realized that the window could be easily removed and pulled it out. She then came out.

“Okay Holly you’re—,” Holly didn’t bother waiting for them to lower and climbed up the human tower, causing Vivi to falter, ___________________ the balance via the wall as she scrambled through the window. When she saw how dirty her dress was, she let out a scream. Kaya immediately grabbed her mouth. The girls went silent. No one could hear anything the signified the guards and they resumed their escape. Vivi reached the window and went through. She then turned and leaned through the window as __________________ took a running start, ran and jumped, grabbing her wrists. She pulled and soon, she was out.

“Now what?” said Kaya.

“Everyone press again the wall and walk along it. That way no one sees us,” they nodded and followed ____________________ to the right. She then stopped, “Kaya do you have your mirror?”

“Mhm!” she took it and used it to look around the corner. Nothing. No one was guarding the perimeter on that side. But there was also a lot of open spaces. Meaning they could be spotted. She crept to the other side. Same thing but they were closer to the woods there. She then noticed a shed.

“Okay, here’s what we have to do. We have to go and stop at the shed then run up that path into the woods. No one would find us there,”

“Why stop there?” said Penny

“Because it’ll decrease our chances of being spotted in case someone comes and I think we should do this by twos to help each other. Everyone pair up,” Penny went to _________________, Kaya and Vivi paired, Holly grabbed Plum.

“______________ you go first,” said Vivi, “We’ll follow you,”

“Okay, ready, Penny?”

“MHM!” _______________________ took one more look around the corner before running, being careful not to pull and drag Penny. They stopped at the shed. She looked around corner and her suspicions were true. Someone was guarding the front but not the side or back. She then inched towards the other end of the shed and then they quickly and swift went up the path. She walked Vivi and Kaya to the same. Holly grabbed Plum and yanked her. Plum winced and tried to jerk away, causing her to fall and Holly to abandon her. Plum was in No Man’s Land as Holly ran to the others without stopping at the shed. She was too scared to move. ____________________ quickly went to the shed. She peered around the corner and saw the guard had heard Plum’s foot scraping and went to investigate. Plum was terrified. _________________ quickly grabbed a rock and threw it far. It landed in the brush next to the guard. He turned to look as _____________ went and gathered Plum and they ran into the woods. She motioned everyone to keep quiet as the guard went to investigate the shed area. Finding nothing, he went back to the front. She motioned the girls up into the trees where they could be hidden.

“Whew, that was close,” _______________ said learning against a tree. Vivi shoved Holly

“What the hell is wrong with you?! Plum could have gotten caught!”

“She should have kept up!” said Holly, “And Little Orphan Annie saved her so she lived,”

“That’s not the point!” said Kaya, “We could have all been caught!” as the girls bickered; __________________ got her den den mushi from Vivi’s hair. She contacted Marco. The snail appearance changed to a familiar face. She beamed.

“Marco!”

“_________________? What’s the matter? Did you guys make it to the festival?”

“We’ve been kidnapped! We were going on our field trip and the bus driver took us off course! We traveled a few miles, I don’t know where we are now but we passed Corazon’s area, then Magra’s area and we drove through the pass and now here’s near some other area I’ve never seen before. There’s nothing but woods and a desert! They were planning on ferrying us to another island when the sunsets,”

“I got your location. Where are you now?”

“About a mile from the house! We’re out of the cellar and hiding in the woods!”

“Stay there and stay hidden and keep moving, we’ll be there in a bit,”

“Okay!” she hung up. She beamed at her friends, “Don’t worry, Marco is coming to get us!”

“How do you know?” Holly sneers

“Because Marco will always come to rescue me when I need him! I’m too far to yell for him, so he’s coming because of my den den mushi!”

“And yours is small, that means we’re still in the range,” said Kaya.

“Exactly, but if we are escorted to a ship, we won’t be able to communicate. So we have to keep moving,”

“Lead the way,” said Vivi. They all kept their voices low and walked on. They walked for about twenty minutes before they stopped at another clearing to rest. Because of the trees and the weather, they had to tread softly because of the crispy leaves. They rested for ten minutes before getting ready to walk again. Then she heard something fall in the leaves. Penny stumbled. __________________ stopped as the girls all tried to help her up.

“Pen what’s the matter?”

“I-I don’t feel good,” she said weakly, “Please I need to sit down and I need some water,”

“Get up crybaby!” Holly snarled, “If we can’t rest, neither should you!”

“Lay off!” said Plum, “Penny, what’s the matter?”

“I-I don’t feel good,”

“Do you have your meter?” __________________ cocked her head.

“Meter for what?”

“Penny has diabetes. If she doesn’t get insulin, she can get sick,” Penny took a device out of her pocket and Plum did the rest, “It’s over two hundred! She needs her insulin!”

“Insu—what?”

“Don’t you know anything, stupid?” said Holly

“You don’t know either!” said Kaya, “Its special medicine to make her blood sugar go down! If she doesn’t get it down she can faint and get worst from there,”

“Where is it?”

“Probably on the bus,” said Plum

“You guys wait here, I don’t think they’ll know where we are but I’ll get her insulin from the bus,”

“Don’t be crazy!”

“What else does she need?”

“Something to eat and some water,”

“You guys wait here. I’ll go get them,” __________________ slipped away into the trees. She crept around and saw the bus. She quickly and quietly scurries down the hill, stopping and hiding every so often. She stopped just as she got to the bottom. She held her breath and listened. She couldn’t hear anyone or anything and silently went to the bus. The door was opened. She went inside and searched the seats and found Penny’s pouch. She then went to the back of the bus and found their duffle bag of lunches and things that the teacher packed. She placed Penny’s insulin in her pocket and picked up the bag. Suddenly the bus shook. She hid under one of the seats. She heard footsteps. She held her breath again and then calmly breathed through her nose. She could smell a very strong smell coming front this man. She winced. It was foul. He took something out of the seat and went back out. She used the backdoor and eased it open and slipped out, clicking it closed. She then inched around the bus perimeter, avoiding the smelly guard before climbing her way back the way she came to the girls. She quickly gave Penny her insulin. Plum took it and did the dosage before injecting her. Penny curled up as ___________________ gave everyone sandwiches and things. They had to rest. The girls were all whispering and silently eating. ________________ nibbled on (favorite sandwich). In reality, she was tired too. They traveled about an hour and a half from where they took them. But that could also mean they used hidden paths and shortcuts. They only been there forty five minutes at the most and she knew it would take Marco awhile to find them.

“We have to keep moving,” said ____________________ getting up

“Why?” said Holly, “No one is going to find us here!”

“Doesn’t matter. If we keep moving no one is going to know exactly where we go. We’re leaving tracks and the more track movements, the least likely someone will find us,”

“But what about Penny?” said Plum, “She needs to rest!” ____________________ gently leaned down as Penny climbed onto her back.

“I got her, let’s go,”

“Are you sure you can carry Penny?” said Vivi

“Mhm, I carry things heavier during errands,” she piped

“You carry things on your back?” said Plum

“Yeah, almost every day! Since I have a big family we eat a lot so certain things we’ll have to get every day because we run out!”

“Like what?”

“Eggs, snacks, vegetables, and things like that. So I get five dozen eggs, and tons of vegetables. I have to also bring in the milk when it gets delivered and that’s about twenty bottles. Then Speed Jill always have me race him through town and around the house free running. We usually do that in the afternoons,”

“You do that every day?!” said Vivi

“Pretty much! Usually before coming here,”

“Why?”

“Builds character and I like doing it! And when winter rolls in, I can sleep in and keep warm and I can rest a bit under the kotatsu,”

“Humph, I knew you family was so poor they can’t even afford heating,” mocks Holly

“I’m not poor! We all have a kotatsu in our rooms! And space heaters because everyone’s preference is different,”

“You don’t have to explain yourself,” said Vivi, “Lay off!”

“How do you know so much about this stuff?” said Kaya

“My brothers! Ace told me to never stay in one place if I’m being followed. Blenheim told me if I’m ever hiding to breath out my nose, that way to one can hear, versus through my nose, and Kingdew always said to look before you run into something. Curiel always observe your surroundings. Speed Jill always told me to never run straight. Always make sure you cover yourself when running and Thatch showed me how to divert attention from what you’re doing,”

“Wow! Your brothers are so cool!”

“Yep! I just hope it’s enough,”

***
Thanks to ____________________ skills, the girls managed to stay hidden and out of site for a long time. However, when the guards went to check on the unusually quiet girls, they soon realized that the girls were all gone and immediately went searching for them. _________________ heard the footsteps and quickly had the girls run for it. The men followed their girl’s footsteps and sounds. She made the all keep quiet until she found something.

“Here!”

“What?!” said Vivi

“It’s a fox hollow! We got in and got out! They’re too big to fit!”

“My dress will—,”

“Forget about your dress!” Kaya snapped at Holly, “_________________ lead the way!” she crawled inside the hollow followed by Penny and Plum, Kaya and Holly, and Vivi bringing up the rear. They could hear footsteps above. She remembered what Blamenco said about hollows. Because foxes were clever and stealthy animals, they made hollows that had multiple openings. She just needed to find the other one. The girls crawled holding the skirt or blouse of the girl in front of them. ________________________ followed the light to the other end. She eased out and looked around. The coast was clear. She guided the girls out. The woods weren’t safe anymore.

“We have to get to the bus! We can hide in there!”

“Won’t they find us?!” said Plum

“They did a clean sweep of it! They’ll assume it’s empty and it’ll give my family a little more time! We have to stay low and hidden,” they made their way silently to the bus. Thankfully, the hollow and the bus were just few yards away. They quickly ran, not seeing the First Guard still lurking around. He turned and got caught of Plum’s fleeting form. He turned and quickly grabbed her. She yelped, causing the other girls to turn.

“THERE YOU ARE! OVER HER! FOUND THEM! Heh, gotcha you litt—ACK!” the man doubled over, dropping Plum, before going down onto his knees. ________________ stepped back, retracting her elbow. She winced. That really hurt. Plum looked at her with admiration and awe.

“GET TO THE BUS!” the man looked up and was elbowed again but this time in the face. First Guard’s grunts caused another to come quickly. ___________________ took out her ribbon and wrapped it around the man and pulled with everything she had. He lurched forward and slammed right into First Guard. She looked at them and walked backwards, ready to go again. But then she heard something click behind her. She turned. Third Guard had the girls in front of him. He had his gun pointed to Holly’s temple. Tears were streaming down their faces.

“Drop your weapon kid!”

“What weapon? I’m just practicing my ribbon twirling,”

“Don’t fuck with me kid!”

“I don’t even know what that means,” he pressed the gun harder to Holly head.

“Don’t think you’re all not expendable!”

“Go ahead, she doesn’t even like me,” Guard Four however, didn’t realize that __________________ was looking at Vivi. Vivi returned her gaze. She darted her eyes to the man’s foot and back to her. Vivi looked confused before realizing what she meant. Without warning, she stomped as hard as she could on the man’s ankle. He howled in pain as ____________________’s ribbon shot out slapping the gun out of his hands. Then slapping his face, and then wrapping around his throat as the girls scrambled away to safety. She unloosed her lasso and went to join the girls in the bus but was grabbed from behind. She yelped as First Guard held her by her scruff. She looked at her face. A bruise was forming where she hit him.

“I’m going to skin your little ass alive and sell THAT to the highest bidder you little bitch!” she struggled and tried to get away his shook her violently. She was dizzy but tried in vain to pry his arms off. Vivi, Kaya, and Plum went to aid their friend. First Guard pulled out a knife and held it to her head, “Don’t be fuckin’ heroes, girls. Now get back to the cellar or I may or may not paint this ground with your friend’s blood,” the girls back away. ________________ however was thinking. She had to think of a way out. Then she saw something in the distance. The glare was blinding but the glimpse was unmistakable. She decided to use her flawless and best attack that never failed. She took a deep breath and shouted as loud as she could.

“POOOOOOPS! MAAAAARCOOOOO!!!! HELP!!!!!!” Suddenly the ground started to violently shake. The girls held onto each other. The man toppled and grabbed onto something for balance. The girls all huddled and hung onto each other. The cars seemed unaffected as they pulled up and surrounded the compound. Someone emerged from one of the cars. The man walked calmly to the men, who were now shitting themselves when they saw him. The moustache alone commanded respect and reverence and now they were terrified, trying to figure out which kid belonged to him. He stopped in front of First Guard.

“Get your hands off my daughter!” the man calmly and ever so gently, placed _________________ on the ground. She ran to Whitebeard who hugged her tightly. The young girls gaped at the larger man who was beaming and spinning his little girl around. He sets her down and pats her head before bowing to the little girls.

“Are you okay, kiddo?”

“Yep! Nothing I couldn’t handle!” she smiled.

“Are you hurt?”

“Nah uh,” He pats her head and looked at the five girls.

“You girls must be the friends ______________ has been telling me about! I am very sorry that we all had to meet like this but please allow me to take you back to your homes. I know your parents must be worried sick,” the girls nodded as he escorted them to two cars waiting for them. He took _________________, Vivi, and Kaya in one and Penny, Plum, in another with “Anne” waiting for them, and Holly in the last one. Marco waited until the cars were completely out of site before nodding to Thatch, Jozu, and Blamenco to take out the men.

***
The parents were frantic when the girls arrived and told what happened. The teacher explained what happened and there was a manhunt waiting for the girls. The school got one phone call about the girls being held hostage. The parents were ready to give anything for their children to come home intact. To their surprise, four black cars came to the school. The cars stopped and their daughters immediately ran out of the cars into their parents. The reunion was tear jerking and heartfelt as the girls frantically told them everything.

“__________________________ RUINED MY DRESS MOMMY!” said Holly

“THESE MEN KIDNAPPED US!” said Penny, “They made us give our phones and things to them!”

“They blindfolded us and locked us in a cellar!” said Plum, “But ________________’s Dad brought us back!”

“_______________________ saved us!” said Vivi, “She hid her den den mushi in my hair and then used it to call Marco!”

“Marco is her big brother!” said Penny

“Then she found an opening in the basement and guided us out!” said Kaya

“Then she hid us in the woods and while she went and got the lunches from the bus!”

“And Penny’s insulin!” said Plum, “Penny’s blood sugar was super high! Then when the men found us, she guided us to where Mr. Newgate told her to meet him and she shielded us from them!” the parents looked __________________, then Whitebeard and then to their daughters. They have heard stories about their daughters’ classmate. Each of them wanted a play date with the young girl but they were waiting to meet her family, especially since they were told that she lived with a lot of brothers, all of whom took turns picking her up from school. They looked at her father knowing obviously she was being raised morally.

“I would be honored if Kaya slept over her brave young friend’s home,” said her father

“Same here!” said Penny’s father.

“I don’t want that little tramp near my daughter and her things! She’s so ratty! That’s why she ruins people’s clothes because it’s obvious she doesn’t have any home training!” said Holly’s mother. Whitebeard frowned and took out his checkbook and wrote the woman a check.

“This is more than enough to pay for whatever that dress costs,” the woman takes a look at it. Her eyes widened as she slinks off with Holly without a word.

“Let’s discuss a play date,” said Plum’s mother smiling at Whitebeard, “Kids, go play,” the girls scampered into the building. They weren’t playing but in reality listening in to their parents’ plans. Soon they saw Mr. Newgate coming towards the school. He scooped up ______________ and hoisted her on his shoulders.

“See you guys later!” she waved back at her friends who happily waved back and cheered and thanked her. She didn’t stop waving until she was out of sight in the car. Whitebeard ruffled her hair while driving.

“Me and the other parents talked and we all agreed to finally have you girls have a sleepover at our home when the new term begins,”

“REALLY?! POPS YOU’RE THE BEST!”

“Guararara! You’re the one who won the parents over. I can’t say I’m not proud of you for thinking on your feet. You saved all of those girls’ lives,”

“Well…of course! I have to protect my crew,” she said smiling at him, “That’s the same thing you would have done or Grandpa or Marco or Sister or Blume! I want to be great just like you guys someday so I have to train to be just as good as you all! Even though Holly is always mean to me, I didn’t want her mother to never see her again, no matter HOW much I don’t like her,”

“Heh, spoken like a true Captain. That’s surprisingly very wise of you kiddo,” he looked a little thoughtful, “You know, since it’s still pretty early and everyone is probably tying up some loose ends, how about we get some tea and cakes?”

“Really?! You like cake?!”

“Everyone likes cake! I know a place that serves the best, we’ll go there,” that night, everyone came back super late but Thatch came home first and immediately started on __________________’s favorite dinner. When everyone came home, they congratulated her on her victory and quick action.

“I taught her everything she knows!” said Curiel ruffling her hair

“Yeah but who taught her how to stealth run?!” said Speed Jill, “TOLD you the morning races were a good idea!”

“She just likes running with you,” said Vista

“We do more than run! It’s free running and it’s bonding experience!”

“But Blenheim breathing technique really helped!” said ____________________, “I was so quiet they couldn’t hear me!”

“I’m so proud! She can be a little spy someday!” he said laughing

“Not until she’s seventeen,” said Marco

“But she did the best and final defensive weapon she had, calling Pops and Marco from wherever she is until they come to help her,” said Jozu, “We heard her over a mile away. We had to literately stop Marco from flying over and taking care of things right then and there,”

“Pops wasn’t better. He got out of the car and went over causing earthquakes. Let’s just be glad those idiots didn’t think about hurting her,” upstairs, she and Ace were munching on her victory cake as she told him everything that happened. He listened as she excitedly told him about the girls and how now their parents met Pops and how she can finally invite them over.

“But I couldn’t have done it without Ol’ Silvy,” she waved her ribbon.

“You named your ribbon?!”

“Had to! It’s literately an extension of my arm at this point,” she said proudly, “But in reality, I was terrified,” Ace turned. The tone of his sister’s voice changed, her shoulders stiffened, and even her demeanor changed, “I didn’t know if we were going to make it out, okay. Especially when Plum fell because of Holly and I was lucky that I found that hollow and that bided us some time. I held off the guards just long enough. I wish I had a pipe like you and Sabo. I think it would have been better,”

“Tch, don’t be stupid. You’re loads smarter and stronger than you look. You could have easily made it out and you proved it. And why the hell do you need a pipe? You have your ribbon and that’s the best weapon for someone like you. And plus, you’re my kid sister. You have to be cleverer than anyone otherwise it’ll make us both look bad! Imagine if I had a sister that’s on the same level as Luffy? I won’t accept that!” she giggled.

“I’m just glad everyone’s parents said it was okay for them to finally have a slumber party here!”

“What’s a slumber party?”

“Vivi told me it’s when a bunch of girls sleep together at another girl’s house. Since my place is the closest before they leave, it’s going to be my house!”

“Ugh, great, being trapped with a bunch of girls all night,”

“If Anne wants to come, she can,” she grinned

“NO! Not in a million years! ….unless Penny and Plum want me to come, then I’ll make the exception,”

“Aww you love them!”

“They’re so defenseless and weak! Someone HAS to protect them!”

“That’s why they got me!” she grinned.

“True, someone has to. I don’t think they would survive long without someone to lead them. They follow you like a duck. And you follow Marco like a duck, ergo, Marco is the leader of you ducklings,”

“Hey!” she playfully shoved him over. He smirked and shoved back.

“Come on, heroes get to pick the movie,”

“Really?!”

“Mhm,”

“Any movie I want?”

“…what did you have in mind?”

“The second Care Bears movie,”

“GROSS! FINE!”

“And you have to do the Care Bear stare with me!”

“UGH! I’m never forgiving you for this!”

“Love you too!”

***
“She was guiding those girls like they were her crew. It was the cutest thing,”

“Crew? The hell she knows about a crew?”

“Guarararara enough apparently!” Flora and Whitebeard were laughing and drinking sake that night on the rooftop.

“I don’t know where she’s getting that weird sense of morality from,” said Flora pouring him another round and topping off her drink, “I would have love to have seen her leading her little band of nobles,”

“The two younger ones one follow her around like little ducks,” Whitebeard chuckled, “The two older girls seem to be able to take care of themselves. That other child still has some kind of vendetta against her. According to ___________________ the entire time she found ways to put a wrench into her plans,”

“Jealousy is terrible thing. Maybe she’ll grow out of it. Or maybe she just need a swift kick in the face,”

“Now, now,”

“What? Sometimes that’s all someone needs to leave someone alone. And all of this because she wanted you to pick her up,”

“First time in ages since I was able to settle down for awhile but I got to talk to the girls’ parents who finally agreed to let their daughters have a sleepover,”

“They know, don’t they?”

“I don’t know. I introduced myself as Edward Newgate, not Whitebeard,”

“I would have liked to see that reaction,” both laughed as Whitebeard poured them more sake, “Can’t believe you found the good stuff,”

“I had to buy the good stuff! Marco hid it better this time. By the way, do you have plans for New Years?”

“Nope, why?” he looked at her knowingly, “We’re going to Wano this year?”

“Mhm, I hadn’t been back in awhile. It’s good to see the old place again. Thanks to that blizzard, we couldn’t get the ship through the ice, even with Curiel navigating,”

“We better get the kimonos for the kids. Ace probably outgrew his and I know _____________________ doesn’t have one,”

“They’re going to look adorable,” he grinned

“Make sure we have a camera snail,”

“Marco already has one exclusively for growing up pictures,”

“You spoil those two way too much,”

“I spoil everyone. Dads are suppose to be fun and moms are suppose to be strict,”

“This is going to be her first time seeing the ship and where you grew up,”

“Ace too. I can’t wait to bring them along. I’m thinking of kidnapping Garp’s brat and Sabo and convince Corazon to bring Law,”

“Bad idea,” said Flora, “Sengoku, remember?” he groaned

“Better not risk it,”

“Exactly. Though I need to kidnap her for a little while for Rayleigh. Every year she goes to their place for two weeks or so. I’m sure Shakky and him would love to pick out one of her kimonos,”

“He’s really attached to the little tyke. I’m surprised actually,”

“You have no idea; he actually kidnapped her for a month because I was too busy to return his calls about her coming over. He and Shakky really took to the little girl,”

“Alright, Rayleigh gets to buy one and I’ll see if Hancock wants to help her get the other,”

“Hancock?”

“Mhm, she has unsupervised visits now. That surprised me the most. I half expected _________________ to come home, spoilt rotten and acting haughty and being unbearable but Hancock is raising her right. I asked her and she says she has the same rules that she has at home with Hancock,”

“Even so, she has a strong bond with you all. She wouldn’t leave or change,”

“You’re coming with us, you know,”

“I know, if not you would have told the boys, then Jozu would come in with Marco and most like Kingdew, pack everything, and manhandle me to the ship,”

“Nah my new tactic would be to have Garp’s brat stay with you at the convent for a few days to “help”,”

“…Psychological and internal destruction of my convent and my food storage. You are a cruel man, Newgate,”

“I will always use force when necessary,”

***
Flora froze. The news hit her like a ton of brick. The reason why she was vomiting, felt nauseous and even why she wanted fondant potatoes, tuna with orange sauce, and marlin sashimi. She didn’t even like marlin. Her acute sickness was the reason why she was with Gold Pirates in the first place. She was on a recon mission when suddenly she started to violently wretch and literately needed someplace to vomit in peace. She was weak and carried out her mission and was almost spotted when she went to a ship to hide. She thought it was a merchant ship and didn’t realize until she as staring at Roger. She had no only fallen asleep but the moment she got up, she had to vomit again. He asked Crocus to check her out. It was then he realized exactly what was wrong with Flora. Crocus looked at her with a smile.

“So, do you know who the father is?” she covered her face

“I do,”

“It’s Newgate isn’t it?!” said Roger grinning from the door.

“How long have you been here?! And have you NOT heard of patient confidentiality?!”

“Shishishishi, Flora is going to be a mommy!”

“Shut it!”

“What is the little tyke Crocus?”

“A little girl,”

“Newgate is going to have a little girl?! Cute! You have to let me see her when she’s born!”

“Will do,” she said

“When are you going to tell him?

“As soon as we meet again and that could be weeks!” she said miserably. Roger gave a very knowingly look. She eyed him. She knew that look. That’s his signature “I’m-going-to-do-something-I-have-no-business-doing” look, “Don’t you dare!”

“We’re coming up on Atlas’s island. We were in the area anyway,”

“HOW COULD YOU?!”

“We have to get supplies,”

“You know DAMN well there’s nothing there!”

“I’m a senile old man,”

“THE HELL YOU ARE!”

“I can be convinced if you join my crew,”

“No!”

“Then suffer!” when they arrived, they saw Atlas’ crew who greeted them. During this time, many new up and coming pirates were starting their crews. Rumors had it that one of Atlas’s crewmates was thinking of going off on his own. Flora herself was going to take over the Flower Pirates when Blume retired. Many of these old dogs had enough to gracefully live out their lives and many chose successors or just passed the reins. In Roger’s case, he was self made and had a small crew but they were proving themselves more and more. He escorted Flora to Atlas, a large imposing pirate who was in alliance with the Flower Pirates for years. He was on his deck enjoying his sake and relaxing with his crew when he saw a familiar ship with a familiar idiot’s face but also a deadpanned face.

“Though I don’t want this grinning bastard near my ship, I’m surprised to see you here, Flora,”

“Oh umm…Roger brought me back. I got into a bit of trouble on the way,” she said looking away.

“Aye no worries then! We’ll get you back to Blume as soon as possible!”

“Thanks! I really appreciate it!”

“Since you brought Flora here, you can stay too, idiot,”

“Thanks Captain! We’ll be out as soon as we can! See you later, Florrie!”

“Go die!” the moment she was on the ship, many of Atlas’s crew took notice.

“Uh oh…oy Newgate, Flora’s here!” said one

“What did you do?!” said another

“The last time she was here with you, she almost gutted you for keeping her rosary for too long,”

“I mean she did leave it in his cabin, what did she expect?” Edward came out of the ship. He looked around and saw the smaller woman waiting.

“Florrie? Hadn’t seen you in awhile!” he studied her expression. Flora was surprisingly easy to read if you knew her. She looked a little flushed, embarrassed by the way she averted her gaze from him. She was fiddling with her hands behind her back, another sign she was nervous and this did not make sense to Edward, mainly because Flora wasn’t shy about anything she had to say to him and often gave him a tongue lashing when he deserved it, “Florrie? What’s the matter?”

“I have something to ask,” she shot a look at his crewmates, “In private,” the men ran for it leaving the pair alone.

“Hmmm?”

“Alright, remember that night about a month or two ago?” Edward looked a little confused. She sighed, “the night Atlas and Blume raided that Marine base and we freed everyone and we had that big party and we decided to have some…“quality time”?” he smirked

“Yeah I remember that night…” he wrapped his large arms around her and kissed her cheek. She blushed badly before sighing.

“Well, you left a souvenir,” he froze, then stiffened. He looked at her. She looked embarrassed looking away, “I went to the doctor and I’m about two months along. I won’t be showing for another month or so I beliv—,”

“WE’RE HAVING A BABY?!” he swung her around and cuddled her close, “D-Do you know what it is?!”

“A little girl!” the look pure happiness was on his face. He then took her hand.

“Florrie, you know I’ll do the right thing by you! We can get married and sail the seas together!”

“Please, you’re too you to want to get married. Besides, you know I’m not—,” he took her hands into his and looked into her eyes. She was about to protest and he gently stroked his cheek with his finger. She pulled her hands away and looked away embarrassed, “Alright, alright you twisted my arm! Stop looking at me like that you weirdo!”

“I-I’m just so happy! I’m going to be a father! More importantly I’m going to have it with you!”

“Don’t say such things!” she said flustered and covering her face. He laughed and hugged her tightly

“You’re going to be a great mother!”

“I hope! As long as she make it to adulthood and take care of herself, I don’t care!”

“We have to have a tutor on the ship! And a small room just for her when she’s older,”

“And a playroom,”

“The entire ship will be her playroom! Every island will be a place for her to explore! She’s a kid after all! That’s how they become strong!”

“True…but we have something very important to discuss. She needs godparents,”

“Godparents?”

“Listen, I know we both are too stubborn to ever die or let anything happen to our child but things have happened. I want to make sure that if anything happened to us, she’ll be okay. We need someone whom we’ll know she’ll be watched over and protected in our absence,” both thought about this for a few moments and looked at the other. They knew their Captains were getting up there in age, either of them had living relatives. They knew countless of people who would fit the bill but they needed someone that would do the right thing by everyone, even if that person and them were an enemy or rival. They looked at each other. Flora spoke first.

“Roger?”

“Roger,”

“Let’s never tell him he was the first choice,”

“That’ll go to my grave,” the both chuckled at this, “It’ll go to his head enough, we don’t need it to be any bigger,”

“No, it doesn’t. Also…did you have any names you wanted?” he shook his head.

“You?”

“I never gave it much thought but I have been thinking a lot the moment I found out,”

“Florrie…you don’t have to worry,”

“I know that! I mean…if you weren’t an honest man, I wouldn’t have told you anything…but this just changes a lot doesn’t it? Starting a family and crew this soon…with a baby already. I’m just scared. What if something happens on the ship and she gets hurt? What if WE get hurt! I don’t want her to see us die!” he gently brought her into his chest.

“Shhhh…she’s going to be okay. She’s going to grow up strong and we’ll be right there every step of the way to make sure she’ll be okay. We also have Blume and Atlas if we need help. She’ll be fine because she’ll have two of the most powerful people with her. Three including Roger. She’ll be okay, I promise,” she took his thumb and brushed the a tear from her cheeks.

“Damn it…I hate how you know how to make everything okay,”

“It’s my job as Daddy,” he grinned, “Come on, let’s something to eat. Any mood for anything?”

“Marlin,”

“You don’t like marlin…”

“I know I don’t. Proving this kid HAS to be yours,”

“Guararararara! That’s my girl!”

Chapter Text

Kuja City was a city ran by women, ruled by women, and no man in the entire world was foolish enough to enter without special permission from the Supreme Leader herself. There were a few exceptions such as Rayleigh, anyone from the Kamabakka Kingdom, and male children who wonder in looking for help of any kind. Everything in the city was scented and was utilized to make women feel comfortable with themselves and however they wanted to live. There were shops for everything with women clerks and workers and even a hospital where all women from anywhere can go to get treatments of all kinds in a safe, welcoming facility. Boa Hancock ruled her city with a gentle but iron fist. She made sure all of her residences were safe and happy. Because of her strong personality, only her sisters could read what she really meant most of the time and she liked it that way. She didn’t want to get too close to anyone. Many of the citizens loved their leader but many were intimidated by her until one day a new resident came to their city, well more like Hancock brought her into the city. Everyone was told to treat the little girl kindly but it wasn’t hard considering she was a very sweet disposition child.

“Miss Hancock!” Hancock smiled and scooped up the little girl into her arms. From the moment she was given permission to see her young charge again, Hancock had made it her duty to make sure that the girl was treated like a little princess from the moment she woke up and went to bed. It took a lot of grinding and convincing but soon Whitebeard let _________________ take for weeks if time allotted. This gave Hancock the freedom she wanted and needed to pamper the little girl all the time. She had her room specially made with a canopy bed, a bookshelf with books, a lot of beautiful and tailor made clothes, pens and paper, and she had a tutor to teach her when she stayed a week or more. But other than that, ______________________ had full range of exploring the town and the outskirts. The Kuja women were very nice to her and she always made sure she was home before sunset to help Miss Hancock with dinner.

“How were your lessons?”

“Great! Marigold taught me how to use the chui again! Then after that Sandersonia showed me where everyone trains! Miss Aphelandra was there and she wanted to teach me a few more things! But Sandersonia said that we can do that in a few days so I can practice better!”

“You really like your ribbon martial arts don’t you?”

“It’s so fun!”

“Are you hungry? It’s almost time for dinner,”

“YES!” she chuckled, “What are we having today?”

“I was thinking chicken fried rice. I need my favorite little girl to pick some herbs for me,”

“Okay!” after dinner was Hancock’s favorite ritual with her young charge. After dinner and some resting time, she and _________________ would take a bath together. _________________ loved it because she never got to take a bath with anyone at home. She loves when Miss Hancock washed her hair and when they got to just soak in the water. After their bath, she usually took her to her room and tucked her in. She was always so relaxed that she almost always went to sleep immediately after her story. Hancock loved watching her sleeping. The picture of innocence. She always just wished she would stay like that forever.

***
____________________ was up bright and early. Hancock was still sleeping but knew that as long as she stayed in the city, she would be okay. Everyone knew she was her young charge and knew that if anything happened to her, there would be hell to pay. Because _________________’s favorite pastime was exploration, she always found something to get into, whether it was the training areas or the shopping areas. But she was usually home by noon for lunch for lessons with Marigold and Sandersonia who were also fond of the little girl. Hancock wasn’t too worried and did her usual routine of freshening up and having breakfast ready for her. She decided to make lobster ravioli for dinner today, since __________________ found some fresh wild basil. She then started on her morning business and was just about finished when there was a knock on the door. She sighed and went to answer when she was greeted to the last person she thought she would see.

“Marco, what a pleasant surprise,” she said coldly

“We need to talk, yoi,” Hancock and Marco learned how to begrudgingly respect each other. Both were headstrong and neither of them wanted to back down from the other but they had one thing in common, ________________ growing up to be a well adjusted human being. Marco will admit that Hancock did give _________________ stability, having rules and boundaries just like they did but that still didn’t mean he wasn’t always nervous about the woman. Hancock’s feelings were mutual. If anyone knew the proper way to raise __________________ it was her! She raised the little one since she was five and considered her one of her own. She wanted nothing more than to protect her. But she knew that this family was the best for her. She rose to her full height.

“Yes?”

“For New Year’s, we’re all going to Pops’ hometown for a few days,”

“Okay,”

“We’re going to be in the Wano area and __________________ is going to need something to wear. We thought it would be a good idea for you to help her buy a kimono,”

“…really?”

“Yeah, especially since it’ll be snowing and cold this time of year. She’s going to need something cute and warm. We’re taking care of the family kimono for New Years, but she does need something for just walking about,”

“What are you asking, Marco?”

“I want you to take her to find something nice, Hancock,” she looked at him. He looked at her. The tension in the room was thick.

“Are you sure you’re not going to accompany us to make sure I can do a simple task like this?”

“I wouldn’t have asked if I didn’t,” she was about to retort when the door opened.

“Miss Hancock! I’m back from—MARCO!” he grinned and opened his arms catching __________________, Hancock pursed her lips at the sight. It sickened her. Marco sat her back down, “What are you doing here?!”

“I had to ask Hancock something but I’ll be going,”

“Aww so soon?”

“Yeah, I was just in the area. I’ll come get you when you’re week is over,” he said.

“Aww but can you stay a little longer? It’s super far and you just got here!” Hancock didn’t like where this was going.

“It’s not up to me. It’s up to he—Hancock,” ____________________ looked at her with her large (e/c) eyes

“Please Miss Hancock?”

***
Hancock wasn’t exactly thrilled. Those big (e/c) eyes always got her. Now she was in the car with the last person she wanted to see with the one person she was always delighted to see. ___________________ sat in the front looking out of the window. She liked looking around Kuja because the whole place was just interesting but she hadn’t been this far out before. Marco was in the back, absentmindedly looking at his phone. Hancock. drove through the city, passing shops until finally stopping at a dress shop.

“Wow!!!” _______________ looked at the shop with both awe and curiosity. She’s never seen so many beautiful dresses and clothes before. The store smelt like fabric and it was nice and warm inside. Hancock grins at her.

“__________________ go and pick out two of the best shades of your two favorite colors and a print you really like, okay?”

“Yes Miss Hancock!” __________________ has never been in a dress shop before. All of the dresses were gorgeous and she wanted them all. They looked like some of the dresses in the books she read and she and Killer did have a standing theory that it was possible to fight in a gown without injury if it mid leg. Then something caught her eye. It was her two favorite colors but the print wasn’t very nice but she still grabbed it. She then searched for a print and that was pretty. She found cherry blossoms on a dress and immediately grabbed it. It reminded her of Sister’s necklace and that always looked pretty. She happily trotted back to the adults, “Oh? Did you pick out something?”

“Mhm!” she held out a pretty sakura blossom print with (f/c) trimming.

“Good eye!” she looked at it, “Come along,” she guided them to the counter, “Rain, I want you to make a kimono with this fabric for _______________________,”

“Yes Snake Princess!”

“She’s going to need the following, the under kimono, the kimono itself, and a hakama. Make it a dark color with cherry blossoms,”

“Yes Snake Princess!”

“Get her measurements,”

“Of course! Come along dear!”

“Coming!” Rain took her hand and guided her to the room. Marco could hold his silence any longer.

“Why did you order a hakama with her kimono? Wouldn’t that be cold for her?”

“I chose the hakama because she’s active and she loves to run around and the hakama would be the best for someone like her. And I know you don’t care if it’s for a male or a woman. Her brother is going to be wearing a hakama, why shouldn’t she? You did say casual. This is casual enough for someone who runs and plays but can be formal in case she’s meeting someone important and wants to look presentable. She’ll be extra warm because the kimono is long and the hakama is long so she’ll be okay from head to know. This will be easier to wash than an entire kimono. Therefore this one is perfect for her. Anymore questions or am I not competent enough to help her choose a kimono?” she glared at him

“Oh…okay. I was just wondering,” __________________ soon emerged and went to the pair.

“Ready?”

“MHM!”

“I have everything I need and it’ll be ready for her in about a two weeks, Snake Princess,” said Rain

“Make this your priority,”

“I-I would but I have a couple of order that I have to be finished within the week,” Hancock sighed.

“I can bring her when it’s officially ready,” said Marco, “That way you can finish your orders,”

“As long as it’s finished a week before New Years,” said Hancock. Rain sighed in relief.

“That’s doable. I’ll need her for a fitting so that’ll be perfect,”

***
“Excited for you kimono sweetie?” said Hancock

“MHM! I know it’s going to look amazing!” she grinned holding her and Marco’s hands, “Where are we going now?”

“Well, since you’re going to Wano and you’re going to be wearing a beautiful kimono, I’m going to make a kanzashi for your hair,”

“What’s a kanzashi?”

“It’s a fabric flower. I used to make them with my sisters when I was your age,”

“Can you show me how?! Please?!” Hancock chuckled

“I showed you already,” __________________ cocked her head.

“Really? When?”

“I’m surprised you don’t remember. It was when you were about—,” she stopped. The little girl looked up at her with a confused look. Hancock looked a little nervous. Memories came back into her mind of her did teaching her how to make them…out of pieces of her dress that she wore when she was…captured. She swallowed a lump in her throat.

“I think she’s mistaking you for someone else,” said Marco, “Right, Hancock?”

“R-Right, it was Sandersonia I taught, not you,”

“Oh! Okay!” she beamed.

“Heh, why are you smiling for little one?” said Hancock

“I’m just so happy!” she said grinning

“Oh? Why?” said Marco

“I’m with my two favorite people! And I get to learn how to make hair flowers! Maybe I can show my crew how to make them at our slumber party!”

“Crew?! What do you know about a crew!” Marco shook his head as ______________________ regaled her tale about how she protected her crew a couple of weeks ago. Soon it was getting late and time for dinner. Hancock decided to be civil once again to Marco.

“Well were about to have dinner and you do have a long trip back. Want to come in for dinner or something?”

“I’d like that. What’s on the menu?”

“Miss Hancock’s specialty, lobster ravioli! She always cooks in this herb to make it taste really good!”

“Basil, sweetie,” she said ruffling her hair, “And since you’ve brought back so much wild basil, I decided to put it to good use,”

“…so you cook,” said Marco

“Just because I have servants doesn’t mean I don’t,” she snapped

“I didn’t mean for that to come out that way,” he said, “Let me help,”

“I don’t nee—,”

“Miss Hancock, we’re out of ravioli sheets,” said ____________________. Hancock sighed. She was going to pick some up but forgot and it was HER turn to make dinner. She was about to as ________________ to go on a mission but she saw Marco and ___________________ whispering and soon he was putting eggs and flour on the counter and mixing it before he started kneading. He smiled at her.

“You know how to make pasta dough, kiddo,”

“Yeah but my hands are tiny!”

“All the reason you should practice,”

“…you can cook?” said Hancock watching him knead.

“MHM! Marco can do ANYTHING! Even though Thatch cooks everything but Marco knows everything about everything!”

“Not everything,” he chuckled, “But certain things,” after the dough was incorporated and smooth, he rolled it out as _____________________ cuts it into the ravioli pieces. Hancock stuffed them and boiled them before sautéing them. Dinner was ready just in time for Sandersonia and Marigold to come home. As usual, they were greeted to their little unofficial little sister. However they were both very surprised to see Marco back.

“What’s he—,” Sandersonia started.

“It’s alright, he’s a guest,” said Hancock, “He’s staying for dinner and then leaving,” After the table was set everyone sat to enjoy their meal. Marco’s presence used to be a tense presence for the three sisters but now he was seem as more or less a slight hindrance than a threat, “What did you learn today little one?” said Hancock

“Well, Marigold wanted to show me how to fight with a chui!”

“Again?!” said Sandersonia, “You know that thing is too heavy for her!”

“If we train her little arms now, she can be very powerful when she’s older!” Marigold retorted, “She has little girl arms!”

“She IS a little girl!”

“A strong little girl! She can handle it!”

“Yes, she’s strong for her age but she doesn’t need something to damage her joints! She’s just fine with a hundred pounds, not one hundred and fifty!”

“Shampoo from the other tribe can already do near one hundred and seventy!”

“That’s a completely different tribe!”

“Really you two,” said Hancock rubbing her forehead, “Marigold, go back to the one hundred pounds. All of that strain can’t be good for her. What else sweetie?”

“Sandersonia showed me how to extract snake venom!” Marco raised an eyebrow

“Oh how much did you two collect?”

“A lot! Then she showed me the medicine you can make with it!”

“She’s a natural at it. I’ve been showing her how it can be in medicine and in cosmetics. She’s very bright,”

“And that’s why Miss Hancock is so pretty! She uses snake venom because she’s the Snake Princess!” Hancock chuckles

“Please, my beauty is natural just like your cuteness,”

“’M not cute!” she said hiding her face, “I’m manly!”

“Manly? Please you’re as cute as a little garden snake!” Hancock pinched her cheeks.

“Noooo!”

“What do you do with the snake venom, kiddo?” said Marco

“Give it to Law! He likes making things with it! The rest is in my room,”

“…is it labeled?”

“…no,”

“Sweetie, always label things like that,” said Hancock, “You could accidentally poison someone who doesn’t know what it is! It’s not fatal if they drink it, but if it gets into their or even YOUR blood stream, it can be fatal,”

“I’m sorry! It’s in a special jar though!”

“It’s okay, just be more careful. It doesn’t matter. Accidents happen,” Marco made a mental note to get it out of her room the moment he gets home. After dinner, he decided to take his leave.

“Okay kiddo, I’m going on home,”

“Awww so soon?!”

“Mhm, don’t worry, I’ll pick you up in a few days,”

“Do you at least wanna tell me a Marco story? Please?” he considered it for a few moments but shook his head.

“No, it’s Miss Hancock’s time to visit you. I can tuck you in when you get home,” she nodded

“Okay!”

“And I’ pretty sure Miss Hancock has a lot of stories that are just as good as mine,”

“Yeah! Miss Hancock has great stories!”

“See? Thank you for the meal, Hancock,” he said bowing.

“Anytime…” she thought for a few moments, “Sandersonia, Marigold get _________________ ready for bed and I’ll take Marco to the border,”

“Of course Sister-sama,” she said and scooping ___________________ up, “Come on cutie patootie,”

“Hey!”

“You mean bratty brat,” said Marigold ruffling her hair

“Nooooo! Don’t call her a brat!” said Sandersonia

“Stinky brat, mini brat!”

“Noooooo! She’s a cutie patootie!”

***
She didn’t know HOW Marco made it from the border of the city to her place without detection but she wasn’t going to question it. All she did was get Marco into her car and they drove the ten miles. They were silent for a moment. She could feel his gaze on her as she drove. She glared and tried to ignore it. So far, he was one of the few men who didn’t succumb to her Devil Fruit. Either he was very strong or he had no interest in her whatsoever and because of whom he was and his reputation, she couldn’t tell which. But she knew she was tired of him glancing over at her.

“If you have something to say, then say—,”

“I just wanted to apologize for intruding on you like this, yoi. I didn’t mean to make it seem as though you’re not competent enough to take care of ___________________,” she was not expecting that, especially not from Marco, “I just want to make sure she’s always safe. I know I tend to smother her but…there’s so much shit in this world that I just want to make sure she sees the world with childlike innocence than her seeing the constant cold reality it is, yoi,”

“…I understand. Of all people, she deserves something like this for her,” she didn’t know why she said that. She glanced over at him. He was looking out the window. Did something happen to him as well?

“She does,”

“You have no idea,” they were quiet for awhile.

“I know you don’t owe me an answer but….did you know her before she came to the convent?” Hancock gripped her steering wheel.

“Yes but we were both completely different during that time. I’m not discussing this any further,”

“I don’t care how you were in your pasts, yoi. Everyone deserves a clean slate and a new beginning. If you and your sisters are happy, then that’s all that matters. Yes, I was worried about you and ________________ but it was only because you were blatantly trying to buy her from us. We didn’t buy her from anyone, why would we sell someone we love and care about,”

“I’ll admit, I was wrong in doing that. I just…wanted to be a part of her life again. Every day with her almost felt like I was escaping my Hell just for a few hours a day. I can’t thank her enough for that short time. I promised myself that the day I saw her again, I would treat her like a little princess until she died,” she looked away and wiped her eye, “I just want to make her happy and give her everything she deserves to be a strong lady,”

“I know and you’re doing very well. And I’m sorry that I made you feel so threatened about it,”

“So the great overprotective brother apologized again?” she smirked, “I’d thought I’d never see the day,”

“What right is right and wrong is wrong. The only reason why I came into your territory was because I was in the area and wanted to relay the message. Pops thought it would be a good idea for her three families to each buy her a kimono for New Years,”

“Her kimono will probably be ready by next visit but this means we can get her some cute things to wear. She’s fond of skirts and dresses,”

“And she’s adorable in them. But she does tend to get them—,”

“Muddy,” they both laughed, “I swear she attracts mud more than a boy. Then again, she’s always been like that. When she was younger, I had to quickly get her back inside, clean her up, and make sure she looked presentable again,”

“She loves exploring the woods. She has a knack for foraging. I think she loves the idea of collecting things and getting dirty at the same time. She’s a miniature pack rat,”

“Still collects rocks?”

“Mhm. We have them up stairs in the garden and courtyard. But we also have to make sure she’s not hoarding anything in her pockets. Between her and everyone else, we’re going to break that washing machine,” Hancock arrived at the border where Marco had parked, “That was a nice chat,” he said, “I’m sorry again for infringing,”

“It’s alright. Just fair warning, she’s going to be a little princess when she gets back to you,”

“And fair warning, Izo is going to pick her up and treat her like one from the moment she enter the threshold,”

“Poor thing. Just take a photo for whatever he does to her,”

“It’s a promise,” Hancock came home. She never felt so reassured in her life. She now knew that __________________ was in good hands. When she arrived, she was already asleep in her room.

“Welcome back sister!” said Sandersonia.

“Is everything okay?” said Marigold

“Everything is fine. Marco and I just had a long chat,” they looked a little worried, “No, no, we just found some common ground with each other. Did she finally go to sleep?”

“Yes!” said Sandersonia chuckling, “I didn’t know which story to tell her. I think I told her every one I knew so I told her about the second Amazon tribe. She seemed to like it,”

“I think she’s happy with just any one we tell her,” said Marigold, “She was disappointed that she couldn’t take her bath with you. We tried to make her feel better but she insisted that you bath with her,” Hancock smiled.

“We can take a longer one tomorrow. She has a million stories to tell and I tend to hear them all while she’s still young enough to bathe with me,”

***
Hancock washed the little girl’s hair. This was one of her favorite times of the day, taking a bath with _________________. It was a commodity and it happened every day since she did tend to get dirty from playing a lot. However for her, it meant a lot more. Because of some of daily duties when she wasn’t around, a nightly bath was something that helped her feel clean again. It was beginning to feel that even this wasn’t enough to make her feel clean. After scrubbing her down, they soaked together. The water now made her feel sick and weak. But she didn’t let __________________ see this side of her, her nasty side…her dirty side. They usually soak for about an hour before it was time for bed. She has only seen her young charge throw a temper tantrum once and only once and that was to have her Hancock sleep in her room and her sisters would sleep in the adjacent room so her Hancock wouldn’t be lonely. To appease her, the servants did it without questioning. Hancock knew it was a ploy because __________________ was more than capable being on her own. However…there were days, she feared for that little girl more than she imagine. Being taken for days, coming back covered in bruises and scars, vomiting, so frail and weak that the only thing she could was carrying her everywhere. The few moments they had at time, were outside. She loved being outside. She loved looking at the beauty of nature.

“She has frightened away almost every suitor. The brat is more useless to me more now. Every single as failed and now it’s more of an inconvenience having her around. I can’t just get rid of her,”

“I did to mine. She wasn’t even good for him. So as punishment for that amongst other things, he’s been in under my castle since,” Hancock was serving the men wine and food and was making herself scarce but couldn’t help but overhear the conversation.

“So she didn’t take to any of the experiments?”

“Not a one, she’s more of a disappointment than your son,”

“Heh at least she can produce an heir of needed and he has the stamina to hold her own against my other three sons. I was thinking of just giving her to one of them but after that defeat, she has way too many morals to want to help out a weak link. I don’t need emotions in my home,”

“That’s why we’re terminating and starting over. Can’t believe we wasted six years on a failed experiment,” Hancock froze. The only man laughed

“Just your luck every single one failed and you’re left with worst than nothing,”

“Whatever, I’ll deal with the problem later,” he grabbed and pulled Hancock’s chain. She whimpered, “More wine and see to it that our cups aren’t empty again you worthless cunt,” after the meeting she quickly went to check on _____________________. She was relieved to see her alive. She was sitting at the window of her room. She turned and smiled at her.

“Hi Miss—,” Hancock scooped her up and hugged her tightly before pulling her away.

“You’re okay, right? Please tell me, did anyone give you anything strange to drink? Do you feel sick? Are you okay?!”

“Mhm! I’m fine! I wanted to go outside but…Mother said no. But that’s okay! I get endless window privileges! Isn’t it amazing!” Hancock looked outside. She smiled and perched her in her lap.

“Yeah…it does,” they silently looked out of the window, enjoying the view. She was so quiet that she thought she fell asleep until she spoke again

“Miss Hancock?”

“Hmmmm?”

“…I know you’re not happy here…I know you don’t want to live here. I just hope I can be so happy so it can go to you so won’t feel as sad. I’m only pretending but the more I smile, the happier you smile. I hope it’s working. Is it? If not…I’ll smile more, just for you,” the woman looked at the little girl. She started to shake. Tears poured from her eyes as she hugged ___________________ tightly. She was shaking, she was sobbing hard. The little girl wiped her tears away. Hancock took her hands into hers.

“We need to get you out of here. I don’t care how long it takes, we have to get you out of this place,”

“But I don’t want to leave you! You need to be happy too!”

“Don’t worry about me! Just…don’t ever worry about me!”

“I have to! You’re like my mom! I’ve been reading a lot of stories and you act just like the kind ladies in the stories! Or maybe my aunt or big sister!”

“…I’m too young to be your mother, but no matter what, I’ll always be your big sister,” she hugged her tightly.

“I love you Miss Hancock,”

“I love you too little one,”

Chapter Text

A man in an expensive business suit came to the Whitebeard home. He’s made the trip many times before and he always said it would be the last time but he knew he wasn’t. He sighed and knocked on the door. He straightened himself up. He was young man, around thirty and CEO of his company. He had everything going for him but he was also a very lonely man. He came at the usual time and the door opened. He looked down to see a little girl looking at him with large (e/c) eyes. He stiffened. She smiled.

“Hello! May I help you?”

“Er umm…yes, umm is your big brother in?”

“Which one?”

“Izo?”

“Mhm—Oh are you Mr. Lin?!”

“Why yes! Is he in?”

“YES! He told me to bring you to his room! Please come in!” He’s been to the house before but most of the time it was empty. He didn’t know that Izo had a little sister. She guided him to the room, “Here we are!” she knocked on the door, “Izo! Mr. Lin is here!”

“Thank you, darling!” Izo came out in a back and red yukata with his hair down. Lin looked him up and down and grins.

“Make yourself comfortable Linny-chan. I’ll be there in a minute!” he looked at ________________ and ruffles her hair before taking but some money in his yukata, “Okay sweetheart, I need you to stay away from this room for a few hours, okay?”

“Yes Izo!” ____________________ kept herself busy and a few hours later, Mr. Lin came downstairs. She hopped up from her position to see him out because it was good manners Speed Jill always said. Mr. Lin smiled at the little girl and pats her head fondly.

“You’re such a sweet little thing! Here you go,” he went into his wallet and handed her twenty beli

“Oh wow! Thank you!” she beamed

“If you continue being a little sweetie, I’ll make sure you get money every time I come!”

“O-Okay! But are you sure?”

“Mhm, see you later kiddo,” he left and she went upstairs just in time to see Izo go into the bathroom. She trotted to her room and placed the money into her bank. She then peeked into Izo’s room.

“Darling come here!” she smiled and trots over as Izo snuggled her close, “Thank you for being a little joy today! You’re my little sweetie,”

“Mr. Lin is so nice! I didn’t know you had a boyfriend!”

“Boyfriend? Lin?! Pfft, no, no sweetie, he’s my sugar daddy,”

“What’s a Sugar Daddy?” Izo giggled.

“Well, a sugar daddy is a man who gives a woman or younger man money for dates and other things,”

“Oh! So you’re dating Mr. Lin?”

“Yes and many others but you have to keep this between us because I can only have my special dates when no one’s home,”

“Why not?”

“Oh just an incident that happened when you weren’t here. Don’t worry, everything is okay now,” and true to what he said, more and more mean started coming to the house asking for Izo and she would escort them in and escort them out. They all adored their little host and often gave her little presents. Mr. Tanaka worked in a town in East Blue and always brought back something cute and adorable for ____________________. Asa, a wolf man came to pick Izo up on Wednesdays and always brought sweets for always making sure Izo was ready at the time he came. Strain, a shark fishman arrived on Thursdays. For extra instructions, she was to leave the house and not come home until noon and Izo had to fast. For her cooperation, he always brought back cake for her and beli. Izo after his session always took a shower and took _______________ out someplace for them to hang out. Today, they went to a day spa. _________________ liked the day spa. Her favorite part was the hot mud bath where she and Izo would be in separate tubs and be neck deep in mud.

“Izo, do you like the people you’re dating?”

“Of course I do but like everything else I have to keep it professional,”

“Does everyone have a sugar daddy?”

“Nah, not everyone is cut out for that kind of life. You see, usually men who are lonely or too busy to find a wife or girlfriend or get bored in their marriage become sugar daddies,”

“Bored?”

“Well some men, when they marry their wife out of convenience, especially noble families, they tend to not like their wives, so many of them try to find someone else just for some kind of attention. It’s usually an ugly or average looking man with an extremely beautiful woman. They care about their sugar babies and knows that if they keep them happy, they’ll given them sugar,”

“Sugar baby?”

“Mhm, a sugar baby is a sugar daddy’s companion, it’s a usually a young beautiful woman,”

“…are they made of sugar?” Izo chuckled

“No, sugar is what a sugar baby gives to her daddy,” ______________________ cocked her head.

“Sugar are services and things the man want and in return, the sugar daddy gives her everything she wants like clothes, jewelry, beli, anything they want,”

“Wow but why can’t the sugar baby just work for the things they want?”

“Oh sweetie it is work! A lot of work! As long as you keep your sugar daddy or sugar mama happy, they give you everything for you and your family. Hence why every now and then I get you those adorable dresses and Ace his video games,”

“Ohhhhh!”

“See? Now I don’t want you to ever be a sugar baby. You have a good head on your shoulders and smart and sweet. You can use that head to get ahead in life because you’re clever. And you’re way too honest and adorable for this type of thing,”

“Oh okay!”

“With that being said, you need to do big brother a big favor tomorrow,”

“Sure!”

“Tomorrow, I need you to be out of the house until three. I’ll give you some beli but you can’t return until then. Tomorrow is going to be a special day and I can’t have you being at the house,”

“Okay!”

“Don’t worry, I’ll make it up to you sweetheart,”

***
_______________________ decided to venture out around Goa today. She didn’t mind going to Goa Kingdom, it was easy to slip in if you knew where to go. Izo asked her to stay away from home until three o’clock and she just wanted to see Goa for some reason. When she was about to leave, all of the men that usually come over arrived. They handed her beli and little gifts before going upstairs. She hid everything in the fox statue’s mouth and headed for Goa. She liked the outside of the city more. The people were nicer but Sanji and Zeff went in to get supplies and that was where she found small shops that people often overlooked, like a family ran tea shop that served tasty tea, a tiny used bookshop that had tons of books, especially comics for Ace and Luffy, and a place that had these beautiful dresses. She never goes in there. She decided to get some cake and ate happily and just people watched. Pops always said anyone could see more if they just watched. She always saw women dressed in beautiful clothes or pretty women dressed in plain clothes. The nicely dressed women often shoved anyone who didn’t look like them away. Same with kids. Some kids reminded her of Killer and Ace and kids who dressed like Sabo but nowhere near as nice would treat them badly. She didn’t like that. Even shop owners were like that. She always observed before making her way into a shop. Some shop owners were very nice, the bookshop in particular always had books on hand for her. Another bookshop was very mean to anyone who was dressed plainly. She didn’t understand it. She was just about finished with her cake when something caught her eye. Two people she’s never seen before was in town. She looked at the woman. She was super pretty, almost as pretty as Hancock. She was a tall and slim woman with straight, waist-length pink hair. She had dark brown eyes and wears red lipstick and smoking a cigarette. Next to her was a man that looked very gruff and scary. He was muscular with white-haired, with two cigars in his mouth. He was wearing a large thick white and blue jacket with greenish fur lining the neck, wrists, and hem. Many cigars are strapped to the jacket. Her eyes widened! She’s NEVER seen a sugar daddy with his sugar baby in public before! She cautiously followed the pair. She really was very pretty. But she was dresses really nice too! That meant he must REALLY take care of her. ___________________ decided to follow the pair at a distance. Maybe she can know what kind of sugar Izo was talking about.

“We have to cross through the market and get to the gate and then we either watch walk or call a car or something,” said the man, “Why can’t they love closer to the barracks?”

“They invited us. Since Belle live closer to Rossi, they wanted us to visit, especially since you didn’t come to her house warming,” said the woman

“How is her new place?”

“It’s actually very nice! The girls have their own rooms now. She even has a guest room for Rossi and his son,”

“That’s nice I guess. Can’t believe those two idiots are parents. Rosinante gets too attached to children,” the man grumbled, “To anyone to be honest,”

“That’s because he’s a big, clumsy kid,” said the woman, “Hina thinks it’s cute,”

“Thank god that boy is self sufficient. Rossi is a good man but he’s spacey,”

“Well it’s a good thing the boy isn’t directly Rosinante’s, we don’t need another one running around,”

“We could weaponize it,” the woman smiled a little, “Just put him with some pirates as a cabin boy and wait a few days. Rossi would have decimated that whole ship as a child,”

“You got that from Garp,”

“Still funny. By the way, you keep looking back. What’s wrong Smoker?”

“Some kid has been following is for the last fifteen minutes,” the woman glanced and although she didn’t notice at first with people everywhere, there was indeed a little girl following them as a very silent but close distance. They silently agreed to get this little bit in a semi secluded area so they could speak to her without looking as though they were about to interrogate her. They found a park, knowing they wouldn’t suspicious talking to a kid. They turned.

“We know you’ve been following us kid,” Smoker said leering at the little girl, who looked surprised but very excited, “What gives, runt?”

“I’m sorry! I just…it’s because I’ve NEVER seen a Sugar Daddy out with his Sugar Baby! It’s so cool! How did you two meet?!” Hina’s face went red and Smoker was at a loss for words.

“W-What did you say, sweetheart?”

“It’s because she’s your sugar baby! Izo told me that when a really pretty lady is with an older looking man, most likely she’s his sugar baby and he’s a sugar daddy! And since you’re very pretty, that means he takes REALLY good care of you!” the little girl said proudly. Hina and Smoker looked at the little girl as though she grew two heads.

“What the hell kid?!”

“Hina does not know what to say!”

“Is it true?!”

“NO! Damn it, where are your parents?!”

“My—,” she them realized something that she didn’t notice before. Their marine coats. She froze and backed away slowly. She didn’t know if they were nice Marines like Corazon and Bellemere or like Garp. They looked more like Garp…well one did. She gulped and ran for it, “SORRY!”

“Get back here kid!”

“Smoker let her—,” Hina watched Smoker ran after the little girl, “—go. Hina doesn’t know why she even bothers?” ____________________ ran for it, running and jumping and landing on buildings and things with Smoker in hot pursuit as she ran through Goa. She knew she had to get back to her town, where she could get someone to help her. She found the secret opening and squeezed through before high tailing it through the woods, following the river and getting back to familiar territory. She looked behind her and realized she was alone. She sighed and pants. That was closed. She gathered herself and managed to get back to her area and went to get home as fast as possible. She reflected on her encounter today. It looked like she lost the sugar daddy Marine in the process but he was fast. She let her guard down a little and headed for home. She had just passed Makino’s bar when she was grabbed from behind. She yelped in surprised.

“Gotcha!”

“L-Let me go! I didn’t do anything!”

“Why did you run, kid?! If you don’t have anything to hide why did you run?!”

“LET ME GO!”

“Smoker let her go!”

“No! She’s guilty of something!”

“I didn’t do anything! Let me go! I wanna go home!”

“WE'LL take you home!”

“NO!”

“Stop squirming kid!”

“MAAAAAAARCO!!!!!” suddenly ___________________ saw familiar blue flames landed nearby. She immediately wiggled out of Smoker’s grip and ran to Marco, who emerged from an alley. She ran behind him and peeked from his legs. The trio stared at each other. Marco kept _______________ behind him.

“What’s the trouble?” Smoker was about to speak but Hina stepped forward, shooting him a glare.

“Forgive our intrusion. We didn’t mean to frighten her. Are you her guardian?”

“This situation feels more like an interrogation than a friendly enquiry,” said Marco

“Rest assured we’re not here to arrest or do anything to the one. We just want to know if you’re her guardian and nothing more,”

“Yes I’m one of her guardians, I’m her older brother. What happened?”

“Listen we were just in the area on some completely different business when your little sister followed us, pretty well I might add because it took a long time before we realized she was following us. We were more inclined that she was spying on us. It’s the reason she fell under the suspicions of my partner. Then when we…inquired as to why…well I think it’s best that she told you,” Marco raised an eyebrow and looked at _________________.

“What happened kiddo? Were you following them?” she nodded, “Why?”

“Oh! Well I thought Mr. Smoker was Miss Hina’s sugar daddy!” Marco looked at her. Smoker grumbled and Hina kept a stoic face. Marco looked dumbfounded.

“…why?”

“Izo told me whenever you see a very beautiful woman with a not so handsome man it’s because she's his sugar baby!”

“…did Izo tell you what a sugar baby was?”

“MHM! A sugar baby is a pretty young woman or young man who gets paid to be with a sugar daddy!”

“…pay how?”

“With sugar! Lots and lots of sugar!”

“Sugar like what?”

“Kissing and dates and under the table and behind the door things! I don’t know what that means but every time someone visits Izo they come back REALLY happy!” Marco’s face went red.

“My apologies Hina. She didn’t mean what she said. She doesn’t know,”

“What about me?” said Smoker

“What about you?”

“None taken,” said Hina, “Hina and Smoker will let this go. We know who you are but we don’t know the business you have here and we don’t want to know. We know this is a complete misunderstanding and wanted to make sure she got home safely,”

“Thank you for bringing her back. I have an idiot to sort out. ____________________ you need to apologize to Miss Hina for calling her a Sugar Baby. She’s a Captain and does not deserve that type of stigma,” she nods and bows.

“I’m sorry Miss Hina,”

“Hina accepts,” she sharply nudges Smoker. He grumbled.

“Sorry for grabbing you kid,”

“I-It’s okay Mr. Smoker!”

“And to show no hard feelings,” he flagged down a man selling ice cream and bought one. She looked at Marco. He nodded. She gratefully took it.

“Thank you Mr. Smoker, Miss Hina,” Marco watched the pair leave before he guided her back towards the alley and transformed. She grinned and climbed on. Marco flew around and landed at home. He knew that if anyone knew where they lived it could mean trouble. He circled throwing anyone off track before landing in front of the house. She looked at him.

“Am I in trouble?”

“No, but Izo is. Is he at home…with someone?”

“Mhm! Izo told me today was orgy day and to stay out of the house until three!” Marco frowned, took some wax from his pockets, and placed it in her ears before they went inside. She couldn’t hear a thing as Marco made the gesture of her staying on the couch downstairs as he went upstairs taking out an air horn. __________________ couldn’t hear anything as she perched at the front door and Marco going to Izo’s room, breaking open the door and blowing the air horn. She watched as ten men ran from the room, many of them covering their privates as they gathered their clothing and ran towards the door. She happily waved them goodbye.

“Bye Mr. Lin! Bye Mr. Tailor! Bye Mr. Asa!” She was about to take the wax out of her ears as Izo ran downstairs. She covered her eyes because she saw that his kimono was falling off. Marco was chasing after him. Then she saw Thatch and Vista coming home. Both grabbed Marco as Izo ran to the door and hid behind Jozu who was right behind him. Marco was shouting something. Thatch and vista then noticed her on the couch watching all of this unfold. They let him go and Jozu moved to the side as Marco ran after him again. Later that night, Marco tried to explain the best he could about everything.

“So you’re saying that it’s NOT okay to be a sugar baby?”

“No, it’s not for everyone. Some people it works for some people it doesn’t but that does NOT mean that if you see an attractive woman with a not so attractive man they’re in a sugar relationship!”

“I’m sorry!”

“I’m not mad at you kiddo, I’m more mad at Izo for telling you all of this. You’re too young to know this and of course you would assume that. Listen, relationships are a strange thing but you’re too young to know about a sugar daddy and sugar baby relationship. What Izo said is true but don’t automatically think that about people you see,”

“Yes Marco,” he sighed

“Good, listen, we all need to talk to Izo AGAIN tonight, so I’m going to need you to eat in your room tonight,”

“Okay!” he kisses her forehead. That night she and Ace had pizza in her room.

“I don’t know WHAT you did but if it means getting pizza in our rooms like this, do it again,”

“I still don’t fully know what’s going on!”

***
Corazon and Bellemere were laughing so hard that they were holding onto each other. Hina and Smoker did not look amused and just downed their drinks. The four friends had a very unlikely friendship that no one could really understand other than all four smoked like chimneys and they were all cadets at the same time. Bellemere and Corazon invited their two good friends to dinner and drinks to catch up and when they were told the story about their strange encounter with a certain little girl, they pair lost it.

“To be a fly on the wall for that!” said Bellemere

“See this is why we don’t tell you idiots things!” said Smoker

“I-I’m sorry but I’m just trying to picture you as a Sugar Daddy!” said Corazon

“Fuck if anything, Hina would be the Sugar Mama and Smoker the Sugar Baby!” this caused the pair to laugh even more, which earned them both a clobber from the pair.

“Hina swears this is why she never tells you anything,” said Hina pouring herself some more wine.

“Poor ___________________ was probably fascinated by you two since you two just came into town,” said Corazon rubbing his head

“Damn brat,” said Smoker and downed his beer.

“Was that the infamous _________________?”

“One in the same,” said Bellemere, “The kicker of Garp and the best friend of Law,”

“She’s a bad influence if you ask me,” said Smoker

“She’s just a child. She didn’t know any better,” said Hina, “I think it’s sweet, she’s filled with innocence,”

“She has the potential of being a great Marine if she applies herself,” said Bellemere, “But that kid does her own thing which may not include Law showing her how to do things. Most kids are supposed to be freaked out by guts, Rossi,”

“Hey! She still does I think!”

“She and Law were dissecting frogs the other day. The smell was horrendous,”

“Speaking of Law, have you given him the cadet talk?” said Smoker, “He’s almost the age to start training,”

“Well…Law still doesn’t particularly care for Marines,” said Corazon lighting another cigarette. Bellemere dumped water on him and lit one herself, “I don’t want to force him either,”

“He knows you’re a Marine captain, right?” said Hina. He nodded, “So he’s dissociated himself from you being the very thing he hates. Interesting,”

“That and he wants to be a doctor. I think he’s more suited for that and I encourage him every stop of the way,”

“Marines needs ship doctors,” said Smoker ordering another round, “What about your girls Belle?”

“Heh, Nami is way too much like me. She’s on the other side of the law but she has a good head on her shoulders. She wants to be a navigator. Nojiko, well, I think she wants to just do her own thing. They look up to Law and they’ll probably do whatever Law wants to do,”

“That’s what I’m afraid of. We don’t need another generation of fuckin’ pirates,”

“Nami hates pirates, especially after that episode with Arlong. I just hope it didn’t extend to fishmen,”

“Well it’s going to take a lot of well…guidance. What happened was a traumatizing experience,” said Hina

“Law got her tattoo off and her entire personality changed. She still has nightmares though but we’re working through that,”

“Good. Hina’s glad, just remember if you need any more help, just let us know. But speaking us, Rossi, your brother,”

“He’s good! I promise! He’s not doing anything…unsavory like he was. I’ve been keeping a close eye on him with unexpected inspections and drop ins,”

“What about those damned maids?” said Smoker

“What about them?” said Bellemere, “Just some maids right?”

“Those maids are all killers in their own rights, some of them were involved in some shit that even the CP9 wouldn’t touch. They’re a branch of their own and when their services were no longer needed, they were let go and Doflamingo snatched them up,”

“Still doesn’t make sense,” said Hina, “If they’re as bad as you say they are, why would they even follow Doflamingo or even be maids to him. Is it blackmail?”

“No, the maids…they’re just…well the maids. There’s no way to describe them. All I know is that they keep everyone in the Doflamingo family in line. Doffy doesn’t have to do much. I think it’s because he doesn’t really care what they do as long as they get the job done. He doesn’t even call them by their given names; they’re called by their codenames,”

“Interesting, what do they look like?”

“Well, they look like normal everyday women. That’s the terrifying part. I heard Vergo tried to step up to them, demanding them that they refer to him and respect him as Mr. Vergo and Vergo-san. Didn’t end well,” Corazon downed his drink.

“…what did they do?” said Bellemere

“Beat the living tar out of him. They only stopped when Doffy stepped in. But that’s what I just heard but I don’t think they mean harm, they have their own moral code and Doffy in his weird way, respects it,”

“Tch, still kep an eye on him,” said Smoker

“At least he takes his Shichibukai duties seriously,” said Hina sighing, “Someone tell Hina some not work related news,”

“Law is making friends! I’m just so happy about that!” said Corazon happily, “I mean it was touch and go because for the longest time, he has such a hard time connecting with other kids! Now he has tons!”

“With that damn girl,” said Smoker

“Oh leave her be. If she’s getting Law out of his shell, it’s okay,” said Hina chuckling

“At least you didn’t get a kick to the face,” said Corazon

“Hina would have liked to have seen that. It would have made up for all of the Fists of Love,”

***
Vergo was about to get up when a boot slammed down on his face. He was surrounded by five women all wearing the same maid uniform. The unofficial leader had his boot slammed into his face and the force alone was enough to keep him down. The other four looked casually at him.

“What should we do with him?” said the maid from above. She was a dark haired woman and ice blue eyes. She was Lesser, “He did fuck with Corazon,”

“Hmmmm I say we slice off his arm and make him eat it,” said Cook. She was the tallest with green eyes and auburn hair and tanned skin. Her arms were thick from using her cleaver to hack through things.

“Didn't we do that last time?” said Perv

“My favorite method,”

“I say we hold him under water with a belt around his neck and make bets to see which he'll die from first,” she chuckled.

“Nah, if I wanted to see him strangled I would have done it myself,” said Lesser

“How about we take turns on him them flay him to death? We hadn't done a good flaying,” Dom was big and busty no matter what she wore, it accented anything she was wore and the maid outfit was no exception. She had dark hair,

“It-It’s m-messy! I'll have to clean!” Cleaner was the mousey one who wore big thick glasses, had large dark eyes, dark skin, and dirty blonde hair. She was the quietest of the group and often clung to Lesser, who didn’t seem to mind, “Can’t we just have Lesser crush his skull?”

“Hey yeah! We hadn’t seen that in awhile!” said Cook

“This is going to be awesome!” said Perv, “It took her three minutes the last time to crush a man’s skull!”

“Let’s go for two,” said Lesser, “Cleaner, time me,”

“On it!” Lesser started pressing harder on his skull. Vergo struggled feeling his skull being crushed. He could feel something pop as Lesser kept going as the other maids cheered her on.

“Fufufufu, that’s enough girls,” said Doflamingo from upstairs, “Leave him alone, he’s learned his lesson,”

“Got off lucky,”

“Okay Boss!” said Cook

“Coming upstairs Boss,”

“Call a doctor,” said Doflamingo

“Okay,” said Perv

“Cleaner, be a dear and clean up this mess,”

“Yes Boss,” she cut Vergo loose and flung him over her shoulders as they all headed upstairs from the cellar. Doflamingo couldn’t help but smirk. Those damned maids really did have a hard on for his brother.

Chapter Text

“Hey Shakky! I found a stray kid near the convent, wanna spoil her rotten?” _________________ heard a chuckle from inside.

“I don’t know, I mean I have a nice warm bed, hot (favorite food), and lots of cake in the bar,” she heard other voices, mainly groaning, “I just have to clean up this mess in here,”

“Are you gonna do the Sarsaparilla toss?!” she said excitedly

“Mhm, just stand back you two,” Rayleigh picks her up and moved to the side as one by one five men were tossed out and landed at the bottom of the hill. When the last man landed a woman emerged from the bar. She was a slim and tall woman with short black hair, with two tufts pointing upwards. She immediately ran to her.

“SHAKKY!”

“HEY! C’mere you!” _______________ ran into the woman’s arms as she lifts her up, taking her inside, “Look at this little weed that’s come into my bar,”

“I’m not a weed!” she pouted

“Hmmmm wait, wait I should say Captain,”

“You heard?!”

“Mhm, I’ve been hearing rumors about young girl who saved her classmates from some very bad people. Then again I’m not surprised, I heard you’ve gotten a lot stronger since we’ve last met. Then again, I hadn’t seen you since you’ve been adopted,” _________________’s eyes widened. Has it been that long?!

“I’m sorry!”

“Oh honey it’s okay! I know you’ve been super busy and you were settling in!”

“Kind of! But I REALLY missed you and Grandpa,”

“I know and we miss you terribly,” she started taking out bowls and things for ice cream. Shakky always made the best sundaes, “How are things? I hadn’t seen you since you were a little ankle biter,”

“Since? She’s still an ankle biter,” said Rayleigh picking her up

“Mean!” she giggled and wiggled out of his grip, “But you know everything Shakky!”

“Do I?”

“Mhm! I bet you can tell me everything you know about me!” she gave her a knowing look.

“Hmmmm let see… you go ribbon twirling every day but you’re currently on break. You’re friends with four girls from noble backgrounds. One in particular is a princess from Alabastor. One is a noble whose father is a very well off businessman who lives on an island not too far away. The other is a girl whose past I can’t seem to find any information and the last one is just as mysterious but her family is the attendant to the previous girl’s family. They’re close in that since,”

“Attendant?”

“Well, it’s complicated by years ago, there was a practice where noble families had servants but the servants were families of servants and usually if they’ve been in service for years or more, they consider them family. The practice died out but some are still close to this day. It’s not an obligation or a job at that point,”

“Ohh like close friends!”

“Yes, something like that! Speaking of, I know but I also know you’ve been making a lot of friends outside of your classes,”

“Yeah! You already know about the girls! Around home there’s Sanji, Law, Killer and Kid…kind of,”

“Oh?”

“Yeah he’s a jerk! But he and Killer are brothers! They came from a far place and talk kind of funny but Killer is really nice to me! They live on a small island where not many people go to. They live alone but Miss Ribbon takes care of them by bringing them food and making sure they’re okay! Killer is so cool! He knows a lot of things and loves playing the drums! Kid and I found a set at the dump and we fixed it and cleaned it up for him. He was so happy! Sanji is training to be a chef at the Baratie! His dad is the head chief! His name is Zeff. He’s really nice but he doesn’t like me in the kitchen when everyone is cooking. I came in once and he was screaming and saw me, covered my ears and guided me in the house area and got me cake! He knows a lot about cooking! He can speak fluent French! He said that he came from a place where everyone spoke it a lot! Ace is teaching me but Sanji says I can pronounce things right! Law is super cool! He has a devil fruit! He can make this weird space called a Room and operate on anything without hurting anyone!”

“The Ope Ope No Mi?”

“YEAH! How do you know?!”

“There’s a book with all known Devil Fruits that’s been recorded. It was a good read. You can have it if you like,”

“REALLY?!”

“Mhm, tell me more about your friends,”

“Oh! And he’s super smart! Like he has these big thick boring books in his room and he’s always reading them. But he stops when I come over and we go play! Mr. Corazon says it’s good for him to do out and play more. He has two sister, Nami and Nojiko! He doesn’t like to admit but he really likes them or Miss Bellemere!”

“Wow, looks like you have a lot of friends. What about Ace, Luffy, and Sabo? Aren’t they friends?”

“Well that’s different! Ace is my brother! My cool awesome big brother but Law is my best friend! We hang out all the time and he usually gives me advice. Ace usually runs off with Luffy and Sabo and not come back home until around dinner. Then we play video games together and Luffy goes back home with Magra and Sabo goes too but sometimes he goes off on his own,”

“Do you hang out with your brothers?”

“MHM! When I don’t have ribbon practice, Ace takes me along hunting with them! He tells me to forage because I made friends with the animals and he says that’s a liability but we go fishing. He tries to keep Luffy away from water because he’s a Devil Fruit user too!”

“You really have a ragtag team of friends. I’m proud of you,”

“You are?”

“Mhm, friends are very important for development, especially for a young girl. And it looks like you’re introducing your friends to your new friends, that’s good,”

“Yeah! Luffy likes Law and Sanji! Ace and Kid…they hate each other. Sabo, Zeff, Thatch, and Vista called it a pissing contest. Sanji and Sabo are friends and that makes me happy because they’re really alike! Killer and I usually hang out alone or with Law. It’s so much fun!”

“That’s good! So let’s celebrate with this delicious sundae,”

“YAY!” Shakky went into the cupboard and looks around and looked a little disappointed.

“Oh, I forgot to get to the chocolate for some sauce. _______________ be a dear and get some for us,”

“Okay! Anything else?”

“Hmmmm how about some cheesecake and some potatoes,”

“Potatoes?”

“Mhm, I was going to go fishing later and I need my fishing buddy,” said Rayleigh. She beamed and ran to the door

“Okay! I’ll be right back!” she grabs her coat and ran out. Rayleigh chuckled

“She has her entire life all figured out. And of course she wants to tell us everything,”

“That’s because we’re her cool grandparents. She’s a bundle of energy, I love it,” Shakky went under the table and pulls out a large trunk. Inside was a beautiful blue and purple kimono with a bunny print on it, “It’s almost finished, I just need a few finishing touches on it,”

“You really outdone yourself, hon. It’s gorgeous. Can’t believe you went through the trouble,”

“I know but some patrons had some fabric that they didn’t want to part with. I thought a few little girl clothes could made with it,” Rayleigh laughed

“I think she’s happy with anything that isn’t a nun’s habit,”

“I think Hancock is on to something with the hakama. With the way she runs, it’ll be better than a skirt and freer than pants,”

“Can’t believe that’s the same little girl at times. I remember when she first came here. She hid behind my leg and refused to come out,”

“She didn’t even say much. I didn’t think she would ever be okay. But there’s nothing food and love can’t fix. She warmed up to me but it took awhile and I’m glad,”

“Well you as a likable woman,”

“Now, now you’re making me blush,”

“I can make you do other things,”

“Tonight, tonight, I don’t think we want her to walk in one us doing it,”

“True!” Rayleigh laughed.

***
________________________ smelt something delicious as she got to the secret stairs to Shakky’s bar. She’s smelled things before on the island but usually it came from Shakky or Grandpa but this was something different. Something savory and mouthwatering. She followed the scent to the ocean. She saw a fishman making something on the shore with what looked like a young boy. She got closer cautiously but curiously and saw that he was an octopus fish-man with six arms and two legs. He had pink skin and grey hair styled with five spikes. He had a muscular build and has suction cups on his six arms and had a tattoo in the shape of a sun on his forehead. He was flipping over something with a toothpick. The boy next to him looked eager about the food. He was a skinny boy with long, unkempt brown hair with large and round eyes. He was beaming at the food. He had on a dirty, short-sleeved collared shirt, which he wore under dark overalls and a smudge on his cheek. It was about noon and she noticed a boat on the shore and very small camp. The octopus man gave the boy where the smell was coming from and he happily gobbled them up. The man looked nervous and kept glancing up the hill.

“Hatchi, you really outdone yourself!”

“Thanks!”

“Finally work up the nerve?”

“Hey!” he looked down, “No…” the boy was about to say something when he heard rustling and then saw a girl looking at them. The boy stood up and stared at __________________ who took a step forward.

“I come in peace but I have a simple request!”

“State your business!” said the boy standing in front of the octopus man, “W-What do you want?”

“Whatever you’re cooking! It smells delicious! Please!”

“Oh…”

“Come over then!” she scampered over as the fishman placed a few of the balls on a carton and passed it to her, “Careful, they’re still hot,” she nodded and blew on one before popping it into her mouth. She munched.

“IT’S GOOD!” she popped another into her mouth.

“It’s takoyaki,” said the boy

“It’s so good! I’ve never had this before! What’s in it?”

“Thanks!” said the fishman grinning at her, “It’s my own recipe made of octopus!” She froze.

“AM I EATING YOU?!”

“NO! NO! Of course not!” the boy started laughing, “I’m an octopus man not a regular octopus!” she sighed in relief, “I didn’t mean to scare you! Forgive me for being so nervous! I hadn’t been in this area since I was no taller than the two of you,”

“Why are you here?”

“Some old friends of mine live on that hill and I need their help but…I’m not even sure if they’re still up there or if they want to see me,”

“Who is it?”

“My friends Shakky and her husband Rayleigh,” __________________ beamed!

“Yeah they do! I was just heading back up there!”

“You know them?!”

“Mhm! They’re my grandparents!”

“I didn’t even know they HAD kids! Wow! Let’s go!” she helped the two pack up and guided them to the less step staircase. She ran ahead of them and knocked.

“Shakky! Grandpa! I found someone!”

“Oh? Who?” said Shakky, “Do I need to go out there?”

“Nah uh! He’s really nice! He says he knows you!” she opened the door, getting ready to pull _________________ and beat the living shit out of anyone who would deceive or use her granddaughter to cause trouble but she immediately soften when she saw a familiar face and suction cups.

“Hatchan! What a surprise!”

“HEY!” they embraced, “Long time no see!”

“It has hasn’t it? I’m sorry for not visiting as much as I should,”

“No, no come on in! What brings you here?”

“I’m sorry for coming out of the blue and short notice but…well, Fisher asked if I could get some school books for our young charge? Fisher and humans don’t really and told me to handle it and I don’t want to let him down. We’ve been to five islands within the last few days and well—,”

“Say no more, we have the best person for the job,” said Shakky glancing over at ________________, “You have you mission captain!”

“Okay!” Hatchin gave her the money, “What do you need Mr. Hatchan?”

“No, no please Hatchi! And well, we’ve never homeschooled a human before and we literately don’t know where to begin and we’re just well lost,”

“Leave everything to me!” she grinned and smiled at the boy, “Ready?”

“Want me to tag along?”

“Mhm! And I think they have some adult catching up to do. No worries, this shouldn’t take long!” they boy nodded and they were soon off to town. They were silent for a few moments. He glanced over at the girl who was absentmindedly walking.

“Hey…ummm were you adopted by fishmen too?”

“Umm no why?”

“Well, many of the places we go, people don’t seem to like fishmen or run away to alert everyone they know. You didn’t,”

“Why? They’re regular people right?”

“Yeah! But…people are usually afraid or hate fishmen!”

“I don’t see why. They’re pretty cool! One of my brothers is a fishman! He’s really smart and usually teach me how to go into stealth mode. He says being able to walk around without being noticed in plain sight is a good skill to have. He’s also teaching me to swim because no one in my family can really do that anymore,”

“Ohhhhh okay! So why did your mom send you to get the books?”

“Shakky is my grandma!”

“She’s WAY too young to be a grandma!”

“That’s what she says! That’s why I call her Shakky! It’s because I’m homeschooled at home too! So I know what you need! So we have to buy a lot of books so you can learn all the time! Knowledge is the best and great thing you can have that no one can take away from you. At least that’s what Kingdew always says,”

“Is you another brother?!”

“Mhm!”

“How many brothers do you have?!”

“About sixteen!”

“That’s a lot!”

“So do you! You’re on a ship with a lot of brothers!”

“But they’re not my brothers,”

“Do they take care of you?”

“Yeah!”

“Watch over you?”

“Mhm!”

“Teach you things?”

“Yeah!”

“Pick on you and tease you but really nice later?”

“UH HUH!”

“Then they’re your brothers!” the boy grinned and followed ___________________ all the way to the bookstore. The shopkeeper gave them a smile as she went to the educational books. The boy watches her grabbed multiple books on math, history, languages, writing, grammar, navigation, and reading. She then froze.

“Y-You can read, right? I don’t want to make any mean comments!” the boy snorts

“Yes I can. I know it doesn’t look like it. I wasn’t allowed to but Hatchi and Fisher Tiger wants me to,”

“Is he your Dad? Fisher Tiger?”

“Yeah! He adopted me and the greatest person ever! He saved me from a bad place and I can’t thank him enough for that. Some of my family left but…as long as I’m with him, I’m okay with that,”

“That’s great! I’m glad you’re happy with your family! I got adopted last year and I love my family too,”

“Are you a noble?”

“No, why?”

“You kind of look like one but you’re way too nice to be one. Do we have to just get school books?” _________________ looked at the books she got for his lessons. She grinned and guided him towards the fiction books.

“Weeeeeeeeeell technically all books can teach you something! So if you find a bunch of books you just want to read for no reason, I don’t think I can stop you or object to it,” he giggled and started rummaging through before tossing a few inside. They checked a few things out. The boy eyed that she had some comic books. Once outside, she gave them to her

“For me?!”

“Mhm, Hatchin said you needed school books so we kept that promise buuuuuuuuuuuuut I bought some comics that I really didn’t want so I’m giving them to you,”

“WOW! Thank you! They’re huge!”

“Yeah! They’re Omnibus comics. There’s like three comics in one so it’ll take you awhile until you can get to the next place you’re going. I hope you like them! My brothers like this one, it’s about a monkey boy who’s traveling with a girl or something. The other one is my favorite, it’s about a girl who used to be a duck, who’s now a ballerina, trying to find the pieces to a prince’s heart. The last one is a friend’s favorite, it’s about a mermaid who’s travels from island to island with her android as a traveler, stays for three days to learn something from the island and leaves! It really makes you think, but then again, Law likes to think a lot,”

“…I can’t wait to read these! Thank you!” the boy watched as she packed all twenty books into a cloth and strapped it to her back, “Are you sure you can carry all of—,” he watched her walk normally as _______________ cocked her head, “Never mind,” back at home, the pair ran through the door, books in tow.

“We’re back—wow! That’s a beautiful kimono!” said ___________________

“I’m glad you like it,” said Shakky, “Now come put it on so I can put the finishing touches on it,”

“YOU MADE THIS FOR ME?! WOW!!! THANK YOU SHAKKY!” she ran and hugged her knees. The boy looked at her with shock and awe.

“You ARE a princess!”

“No I’m not!”

“No regular person gets to wear something that gorgeous!”

“Well, she’s going to her father’s hometown and this is her formal kimono. I know it looks darling on her. But ________________ is in no shape or form a princess,”

“Not in the royal sense at least,” said Rayleigh laughing.

“And don’t worry!” said Hatchan, “You have new clothes too! Fisher has been getting them made for the last few weeks! Jinbei is going to pick them up since he’s in the area!”

“Y-You guys got me some clothes?”

“Fisher told me to not say anything. PLEASE act surprised when you see them! Yeah! Just like that!” the boy was sobbing and wiping his face as he hugged him tightly.

“I-I don’t deserve them!” he said sobbing

“Oh sweetie don’t cry!” said Shakky hugging him, “And of course you do! You’re a part of the family therefore you’re family,”

“Yeah! Don’t worry!” said Hatchan but please promise you’ll look surprised! Fisher has been making sure everything goes off without a hitch!” he nods and wiped his eyes. Rayleigh was looking at the books carefully.

“Nice selection, even comic books,”

“Oh! Before I forget! Here’s your change Mr. Hatchan!” said ________________, “The comic books were gifts so please don’t get mad!”

“You kiddin’? We’re at sea for weeks at a time! This will be enough to keep boredom away! Thanks! Seriously Shakky I can’t thank you all enough!”

“You’re most welcomed! You want to stay for the night?”

“Nah! We should hurry back! Fisher gets worried because…you know,”

“Understandable. Don’t be a stranger now,”

“Don’t worry! We’ll come visit again!”

“Awww! Well at least we got to hang out!” said _________________ grinning at the boy, “I hope we get to meet again!”

“Definitely! I hope I can stay longer next time!”

“Next time I hope you can meet my brothers!”

“I want to! They sound cool! And maybe I can show off my dresses!” she cocked her head

“Wow! You wear dresses?! If I try to get Ace to wear one, he would kill me! You’re the first boy I know who wears dresses!” Hatchan and the boy froze. The boy reddened.

“I’m not a boy!” _________________ looked at the boy closely. He took rag and wiped his face. She covered her mouth and bowed over and over again.

“I’m so sorry!”

“How did you not know?!”

“You don’t look like a girl!” the adult laughed. The girls hugged and parted ways. Hatchan claimed that as soon as she got back on the ship, she needed to be her new clothes immediately.

“Don’t feel bad, ________________,” said Shakky, “It was an honest mistake,”

“I mean, if I knew! I would have asked if she wanted to try on my kimono. It made me feel special, I know it would make her feel the same way,”

“That’s very kind of you sweetie,” the clock chimed four, “And I think it’s a bit late for you and Rayleigh to go fishing. I’ll cook up something after I get this kimono fixed. Do you like it?”

“It’s beautiful! I meant that with my whole heart! But it’s different from the one that Miss Hancock is making for me,”

“That’s because this is a formal kimono. You have to wear it during special occasions only,”

“Aww but it’s so pretty!” she said

“I know. But if you’re a good girl at Sphinx, I may have enough fabric to make you more pretty things,”

“Really?!”

“Maybe a few more hakamas,”

“Thanks Shakky!” she said grinning, “How many kimonos do I need?”

“Three. One for everyday wear, a family kimono where you’ll wear when you’re with everyone in the family, and a formal one for meeting special people and attending special ceremonies,”

“I hope I made a good impression!”

“Oh you will! You’re a smart and adorable young lady,”

“Thanks! I’m just glad I can be pretty AND strong!” she said grinning, “Izo said there’s nothing wrong with being pretty and wanting to be strong like everyone else!”

“That’s a very good lesson. And you’re clever and that’s a very good skill to have in life,”

“But I’m nowhere near as clever as you are! If anything I want to be clever like you, strong like sister, and pretty like Miss Hancock!”

“Don’t be like us, be the best you you can be that’s right for you. Bt my advice is always have information. Knowledge is a great weapon that many people would kill to know or die to keep. When you have that sort of power, you can rule the world or make a profit,”

“I’d rather make a profit,” said __________________ grinning

“I’ve raised you too well,” she said laughing, “You don’t want to rule the world?”

“Nah. It seems to be doing fine without messing with it. I don’t want to rule the world, but I want to make it fair for everyone,”

“Spoken like a true leader,” Shakky took off the kimono and gently placed it into the trunk, “Come along, I need my helper to make macaroni and cheese,”

“Okay!”

***
Shakky poured over the notes. The booklets came into her possession a few months ago. She didn’t think anything of it until she met her little granddaughter, now sleeping in her room, dead to the world. The contents made her sick to her stomach. It got to the point where she couldn’t finish them and had to take a break. She pours herself a drink and sighed.

“Shakky? You’re still up?”

“Yeah, I’ve been looking over those notes that was found in the rubble of that place that Fisher Tiger raided. The contents…are very heavy and I can’t continue to read them,” Rayleigh looking at the chard booklets on the table and picks them up. He flipped through them, “There’s another thing that’s troubling. According to the newspapers, in the raid, there were a few causalities but one death. That death was one of the nobles who resided in the area and a young child. They found a mangled corpse of a young child in their room with nothing to identify them, just a necklace confirming it was the child of the house. It added more to his bounty,”

“So convenient,” Rayleigh glared glancing at the papers, “They were ill and sickly for years and couldn’t escape the fire chaos. And everyone is too stupid to question why didn’t this child’s parents try to save them or was taken prisoner. Of course a fishman would be the perfect cop out. What did you find?”

“The project was named Arma Virum. It was six years in the making and it was subjected to drowning, burning, beatings, months of isolation, starvation, exposed to the elements and had chemicals injected into it for days and weeks on end to see what kind of effects would happen. Most of the effects on some of these chemicals were either burned or undocumented. But after six years, the project was deemed a failure and ordered to be terminated. All of those bruises on her match to many of the notes. Even her fear of darkness and enclosed spaces,”

“That and they probably couldn’t break the positive spirit she has,” said Rayleigh, “Children usually have high moral compasses when they’re younger, if they realize what is right and what is wrong. She probably observed a lot and had empathy for everyone she’s seen hurt. If they continued, she could easily have turned against them. Therefore, termination was the best route. That’s why Hancock was taking her someplace safe,”

“I can only imagine what Hancock and her sister endured. And what’s frightening is that she didn’t care about her safety, she just wanted __________________ to be someplace safe,”

“Hancock is very close to her. But it’s obvious she’s been taking care of her as a guardian. The reason she’s alive is because of Hancock,”

“I know. It’s just stomach turning that ____________________ was subjected to all of that only to be thrown away. Who knows what’s going to happen to her when she’s older,”

“Time will tell. She must have someone Up There keeping an eye on her for her to be alive and well,”

“True and she has us and Flora and whatever life throws at her. She’s going to need a lot of help when she’s older and I’m sure she’s going to have many on her side,”

“She deserves it,” said Rayleigh, “She’s a good kid. She’s made a lot of progress,”

“Flora is very good with kids. Whether she openly admits it or not,”

“Believe it or not, this is good for her and Flora. Flora doesn’t keep little girls around for so long. She tries to find them a good home as soon as possible. Even with Bellemere, who really wanted to be a cadet when she was a younger. I don’t know HOW she managed to get here into the Marines,”

“She called in a favor from Tsuru using an alias. Tsuru knew it would be a service to Flora’s memory. She is suppose to be dead after all,”

“And still making sure children get into good homes and safe. For awhile her convent was empty until I brought ___________________ in and that was months ago. I noticed a change in them both. Flora was more flustered than usual and had life back in her and _________________ looked more lively and outgoing. I don’t think she wants to give her up, just yet,”

“Mhm, and it’s harder to adopt girls this day and age, especially since many are talking about passing their fortunes and things to sons,” said Shakky putting the notes away, “Who are we kidding, Flora doesn’t want her to leave. She would have asked if we wanted to adopt her. We have everything a child needs. A place to run around, a roof over her head, and the like, she doesn’t want to part with her just yet. We can always ask,” Rayleigh looked away, “You asked?!”

“Mhm, Flora gave me about ten excuses as to why I couldn’t. None was because she didn’t trust me. I think it’s because she reminds her of Marina,” Shakky froze and turned. Rayleigh poured another drink

“You think so?”

“It’s a possibility. I think she finally came to terms hence why she’s stayed for so long. When a girl comes into the convent, she tries to get rid of them as fast as possible. Bellemere was a different case until she expressed she wanted to be a cadet. Flora wasn’t going to just dump girls anywhere. She wanted to make sure they had a safe and forever home. She’s never made excuses before. And she knows we would take care of her, since having a little one of our own is out of the question,”

“But it’s not like we didn’t have fun trying,” they laughed, “But I do like having a granddaughter to pamper and love on,”

“Me too. Hopefully she’ll remember when we’re old and gray,”

“Of course she will. Knowing her, she’ll make sure we don’t ever want for anything. But we have to make sure she lives her life and be happy as well and pass on all of our life skills,”

“But under no circumstances will her past be discussed, not until she’s ready and it doesn’t interfere with her happiness,”

“Agreed. In the mean time I’ll gather more information to see just what they were planning to do with her but until then, she’s just our adorable little granddaughter who we spoil rotten,”

“Rotten is an understatement,”

Chapter Text

For the last week, everyone in the Whitebeard home had been preparing on going on a trip. ______________________ was caught in a whirlwind was Izo making sure she was packed and had everything she made need including new pajamas, her kimonos, her blanket, her tea cup, and books and comics to last her for a long journey. He did the same for Ace who was just happy that he and his brothers were going to go someplace as a family. With that being said, Whitebeard told her and Ace to get ready. Ace went to see Dadan and he and Sabo got Luffy ready. ___________________ was packed up and decided to deliver a few things. Christmas was a few days away but Fossa said they’ll have to spend Christmas someplace else.

“Don’t worry kiddo, New Years is better but go and give your friends their gifts,”

“How did you know?”

“Because a weird little fairy left ours in some of the strangest places. Seriously, in my cigar box kiddo?”

“Hey you found it!” River walked along the side of her as they went off. He usually tagged along with her when she ran errands and today was no exception. The first person on her list was Law. He and Corazon was getting ready to leave town themselves. She noticed Corazon had packed their suitcases in the backseat. Law greeted her at the door.

“So you’re leaving the whole holiday?”

“Well just until after New Years,” she said

“Need me to watch River?”

“Nope he’s coming with us!” she grinned. River mew as Law pets him, “Pops wanted to invite you too but Corazon said you had plans!”

“I wouldn’t mind going,” said Law, “But Cora-san and I are going to Sengoku’s place,” he frowned, “Hate going there,”

“Why?”

“He wants me to be a Marine and I told him I’d rather staple my balls to my stomach. I got in trouble for that. But he fully supports me being a doctor and always get me medical things. Then after that we’re going to Bellemere’s place. Before when they didn’t have much, we used to come over and stay for a day or two. This year Bellemere is insisting on a week,”

“Nice!”

“But it’ll give me a chance to finish Corazon’s sweater,”

“Finished?”

“Yeah, I made him a sweater,”

“You knit?”

“Mhm, my mom taught me a long time ago. I hope he likes it,”

“I’m sure he will!” he then handed her a wrapped package, “I made you something too. Merry Christmas,”

“Thanks! Here!” Law looked at the huge wrapped gift. It was bigger than her and she handed it to him.

“Medical book?”

“Actually it’s an anatomy book with lots of diagrams and things! Like it shows you how to identify tumors and things!” he smiled.

“Thanks,” next on the list had her travel to the Dead island and to a mechanic’s shop. She could hear drums going from inside. Miss Ribbon was standing outside. She smiled at her. She took a step back. Miss Ribbon was a nice woman but there was a very trusting but cautious air around her that made her feel both comforted but nervous. She pats her head and reached under the door and opened it for her. She quickly scampered in where Killer was on his drums and Kid was blaring on his guitar. She waved her hands causing Killer to stop.

“Hey! Didn’t hear you!” he said standing up. He walked towards her and gave River a pet, “What’s up?”

“I know it’s short notice but did you want to come with us to have Christmas? We’ll be gone for about two weeks to Wano. Want to come?”

“Sorry but we actually have someplace to stay this year,” said Killer, “Miss Ribbon doesn’t have any family so we decided to keep her company for the holidays and New Years. She seems to know about our New Years traditions so it’s pretty cool. We even saved up and sold a few things and got her something nice,”

“Whatcha get her?”

“I got her a book. She has a ton of them in her house. Kid got her perfume. She even made us mince meat pies,”

“What are those?”

“Something we used to have back at home-home so it’s good to have it again. Want one?”

“Sure!” he ushered her into the kitchen where some miniature pies were on the counter. He gave one to her and River helped himself.

“By the way,” Killer hands her a package, “Since you’re not going to be here and all,”

“Awww thanks!” she reached into her bag and handed him an envelope. He peeked inside.

“Score! Gift certificate!”

“And I got this for Kid,”

“I don’t want anything with your girl germs on it!” Kid said glaring at her from the other room.

“Love you too! You sure you don’t want it?”

“NO! …what is it?”

“I don’t know. I went into a music store and I said my lame friend wanted to be a rock star. Sooooo he told me to make sure you have enough of these,” she handed him a bunch of replacement strings and a case for his guitar. He glared at her before taking them.

“Thanks you useless fart!”

“Love you too, Kid,”

“ACK! Killer! Take your friend home or something!”

“She’s your friend too,”

“Pffft like I would make friends with a weird girl,”

“You’re too scared to come back to my place because Ace would kick your butt again,”

“THAT’S IT!” Kid ran at her. She moves to the side and pecks his cheek, “GAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!” she laughed bade Killer goodbye and ran to the ferry.

***
The last one on her list was Sanji. She had NO idea what to get him. Zeff gave him any and everything he needed to become a chef. He had knives and utensils that stores didn’t even have. Because of this, she knew it was going to be hard to get him anything. But by some weird dream, she figured it out quickly.

“For me?!” he said grinning at her holding a tiny turtle in a carrier, “You got me a turtle?!”

“Mhm! I had a weird dream that you had one and I realize you didn’t so yeah! Merry Christmas! Do you like him?”

“I love him!” he said grinning, “Where did you find him?!”

“A girl was selling her turtle. Her parents wouldn’t let her keep him. I assured her he would have a good home,”

“You’re the best! Thanks! Come here we have something for you!” he took her wrist and guided her inside. The restaurant was closed for the dinner rush. He went into a cupboard and pulls out a book.

“What’s this?”

“You wanted to learn shorthand right? We all chipped in and got it for you,”

“THANK YOU!”

“You’re leaving after Christmas, right?”

“Mhm,”

“Want us to watch River?”

“Nah he’s coming with us! But now I can practice while we’re going to Wano!”

“Still don’t know why. It looks pretty useless to me,”

WHACK!

“OW! What was that for old man?!” Zeff walked in smiling at ______________.

“Because as a chef you have to learn how to write order quickly and shorthand is the quickest way to do that!”

“Still boring!”

“And that’s why I’m passing my knowledge to __________________! To make sure that when you get your own restaurant, she can teach your crew shorthand!”

“I thought you said no ladies in the kitchen!”

“I know what I said but you wouldn’t yell at _____________________ in a hundred years,”

“Touche,” Zeff ruffled her hair.

“Tell Newgate to have a safe trip and we’ll keep an eye on things,”

“Alright!” she scampers away. Sanji looked at Zeff

“We’re watching the house?”

“Mhm, Corazon too. He said to make sure no one is foolish enough to break in,”

“…he has the house booby-trap doesn’t he?”

“Anyone who even thinks about it may not make it out alive,”

***
The day after Christmas everyone woke up super early. The kids were all ushered into a car and they drove. They dozed off in the car but after about an hour were woken up. ____________________ got out of the car.

“We’re at Wano already? She yawned. Marco chuckled

“No little lady but we going there by ship,”

“Ship?”

“…are you saying we’re going on your SHIP?!” said Ace perking up, “THE ship?!”

“It’s the only way to get to Wano,” said Rakugo, “it’s just around that—,” the boys ran off. __________________ looked confused and still trying to wake up as she followed. When she turned the corner to see the shore she was greeted to a massive pirate ship. It looked like a huge white whale with three masts and a crow nests. She was complete awe.

“Woah…” Marco ushered her aboard. It was still pretty early so Flora took her to bed in a room. She was surprised that she instantly fell asleep when they started moving. When she woke up, they were already out in sea. She bundled up because of the cool winter weather as she walked to find something to eat. Thatch came out and waved to her where breakfast was. After eating, she went back to the deck and just wandered around. The Moby Dick was massive. It took __________________ awhile to get from one end to the other. She liked it though. It seemed that Ace, Sabo, and Luffy had the same idea of exploring. They were enjoying every second of it. All three of them wanted to be pirates someday. She on the other hand didn’t care about that. She just loved being on the sea. She loved the smell, the gentle rocking of the ship, and the beautiful scenery. She had to keep bundled up. Even though it was amazing, it was still very cold because of the snow. She couldn’t really find anyone on deck, just the boys, Marco, Flora and Pops. Pops picked her up and put her in his lap.

“Do you like my ship little lady?”

“YES! It’s so big!”

“Everything is big to a little kitten,” said Flora smiling, “Do explore. I know you want to,”

“Find Marco, he’ll tell you all of the details,” Marco was heading towards the lower deck. She quickly ran to talk to him. He looked down at her. She beamed at him.

“Tell me about this ship!”

“Demanding today aren’t you?” he grinned, “Everything?”

“Ya huh!”

“Well, for awhile we were all raised on this ship,” said Marco, “Except for you and Ace,”

“Really?!”

“Mhm, if things were different, you’d probably be sailing with us and living on the ship,”

“Why isn’t anyone on ships anymore?”

“Well, after the Pirate King was executed, many out of respect, decided to do things on land. Some stayed out on sea but technology had some hands in things. We’re still pirates but do our main things on land. But if anything happens, the ship is always here and ready for action,”

“Yeah but it’s a ship! It’s not an island! I bet I can get it explored in at least a day!” he grinned

“Oh really? There’s about sixteen spots on this ship that are hidden to all but me and Pops. You think you can find them all?”

“Challenge accepted!” he handed her a map.

“When you find everyone, mark it off and report back to me,”

“Got it!” She started on her exploration. It looked easy enough but she soon realized that unlike home and outside, the ship was one giant maze with several layers. She started down and realized that everything was also hidden down stairs. She started her exploration and stumbled across the library. From there, according to the map, she had to go up a spiral staircase for another area and downstairs for a different one. She decided to go downstairs and landed in a workshop. Fossa was pounding away at something on his work bench. He looked up to see a tiny little figure looking at him.

“So you’ve found my little hideaway,” he grinned. She looked around. The area looked liked a smaller version of his workshop at home with a bunch of tools she wasn’t familiar with. He had a burner with his black coffee with plenty of cigars on hand and a hammock for him to sleep.

“What is this place?”

“My workshop and bedroom,”

“Sorry!”

“Why are you apologizing. You ain’t done nothing wrong,”

“Why do you have a workshop here?”

“I’m the shipwright, kind of have to have my tools with me,”

“Shipwright?”

“A shipwright is a person who fixes the ship and when you live in a behemoth like this. Always remember, if you become a Captain of your own ship, know your ship. That way you’ll know how to fix her when she needs help or what pieces she needs to keep going,”

“Got it!”

“And never—,”

“Trust a mechanic who quotes you a price without you being there because they’re all a bunch of effing crooks,”

“That’s my girl! Good thing you’re here. I’m going to need an assistant to help me and it’s a two man job, I know a little girl would be ever better, especially since you know the tools. Wanna help?”

“YES! But I need your help! I need to find these places!” Fossa looked at the little map and beams.

“Come along. We’re going to the first one first,” Fossa weaved her around many areas of the ship until they came up to a placed filled with light. Inside, there were rows and of boxes and vegetables that were ready to be picked. The room was large and everything in it was wall to wall vegetables, “Welcome to the garden,”

“We have a garden on the ship?!”

“Mhm, it’s not easy feeding a house full of people, you can imagine how it would be a ship. It was made for the ship. It’s self containing with an irrigation system, different sources of light for each plant, and system for when you pick them. Once picked just toss them down the chute for Thatch. But today, were working on the irrigation system to make sure everything is watered and maintained without human help, other than occasionally weeding it and making sure the veggies are picked. And it looks like everything is in order except for this damned chute. Okay kiddo, hand me the monkey wrench, some WD-40, and a screwdriver,”

“Okay!” it took them the rest of the morning but their task was finished. After they were done, Fossa asked Thatch to send up two meaty sandwiches and a beer (juice for her) and ate their lunch together.

“Good job kiddo,”

“Thanks!”

“It’s always good to know how to fix many different things. That way, when you know you’re beat, give it a Viking funeral and get a new one,”

“How do I know if I’m beat?”

“If you’ve done everything humanly possible to fix something and you can’t fix it, even with duct tape, you’re done,”

“Got it! Say, Fossa, where does the water come from to water the plants?”

“Our bath water, dishwater, and thing like that. You see, in order to keep the ocean clean, many ships have the water recycled. It goes through filtration and used to give the garden it’s water and only for that. So with that being said NEVER drink the water in the irrigation system,”

“Got it!”

“Now that that’s done, I’m taking my ass to bed but I’m going to take you to the next hidden place,” he guided her through the ship and didn’t stop until they were below down a hallway covered in soot.

“Can’t take you in there kiddo,” said Fossa, “As much as Curiel and I love to wreck shit with each other, one spark from my cigar and I’ll take out the whole ship,”

“Then don’t smoke,”

“Been telling him that for year little lady,” said Curiel from other side, “He’s stubborn,”

“You know I can’t live without that stab to my heart,” he said laughing and ushering her into the gunnery where Curiel was making various explosives. He handed her a pair of goggles.

“What can I do you for, little lady?”

“Looking for sixteen points on the ship. You’re one of them!”

“Without a doubt! Welcome to the gunnery!”

“What’s a gunnery?”

“You know what I do at home, right? Well, for the ship,” he said grinning, “I make weapons so if we’re ever under attack, we can keep the enemy at bay. Here I can make bigger attacks and better ones, especially with some help from nitro,”

“Isn’t that dangerous to use on the ship?”

“Not unless you know what you’re doing,” he said grinning, “Why do you think I make sure you and Ace know your chemistry?”

“True!”

“Got your goggles on?”

“Mhm!”

“Good! We’re going to do some experiments in here today and there’s going to be a lot of trial and error! Are ya ready?!”

“YES!” it took her the rest of the day but the

“The world is a big place especially for a little kid. Knowing how to have and use something that will save your life is crucial. That’s why I always tell you to keep gunpowder on you at all times. That way you can at least cause an distraction to get yourself out of any situation,”

“I know!”

“But learning to make anything out of a firearm is useful. Izo and I have to show you how to do that,”

“Oooh! When!”

“Probably when you get back! I need to pass my legacy on so when I’m old and gray I can know my genius went with it!”

“You’ll find someone to settle down with someday!” she piped. He chuckled and pats her head. After a couple of explosions and ducking and covering, the pair soon emerged covered in soot. Curiel proudly holding up a tiny ball, the size of a marble, that easy fit into ______________________’s pocket.

“What the hell did you two make?!” said Vista glaring at the pair

“My latest invention! A mini!”

“Mini?”

“Yep! It’s tiny explosive that packs a big punch! If the little lady ever needs to let’s say get out of a room. She can tape it or place it inside and give it three taps. It’ll explode giving her ample time to escape through a screen of smoke!”

“…what if she accidentally falls with that thing in her pocket or worst?”

“It’s under a mechanism that it’ll only detonate in three taps, nothing more, nothing less. She can bang it around it’ll be fine!”

“It’s like a grenade! Only with taps!” she said grinning

“See?! She gets it!” said Curiel ruffling her hair. Vista sighs.

“Just clean her up. Dinner is almost ready,”

“Okay! We’ll pick this up later, little lady!” After dinner, Ace grabbed her as he, Sabo, and Luffy took over a crow’s nest to see the night snowy sky. ________________ was in awe that the stars looked even more beautiful and brighter out at sea.

“That’s because there’s no light pollution like you have in a city or town,” said Sabo, “You can see them like this in the mountains,”

“Or at the convent. Now as bright as this but where Sister lives, there’s no one really there,”

“Those losers at Goa can’t even imagine how awesome this looks,” said Ace grinning, “Where were today anyway?”

“Yeah we were looking for you!” said Luffy

“Oh I was helping Fossa and Curiel! Fossa was showing me how the ship works and Curiel was showing me how to make explosive that you can use on the ship,”

“See how can’t you be a normal kid and train with us?!” said Ace, “There’s an actual dojo in here!”

“Really?!”

“Mhm! Namur was training inside! He was showing us a few things!”

“So you were inside all day too!”

“Yeah but if you were NORMAL you would have been playing with us, then you would have found the dojo!”

“She is normal! Learning how to fix a ship and explore it fast is a great skill,” said Sabo

“Oh right, it would be useful when she’s on my ship,”

“YOUR ship?! No way, ___________________ is coming with me!” said Luffy

“The hell she is! She’s going to be traveling the world with me!”

“WHY YOU?!”

“Because I’m her big brother and someone has to make sure that Marco doesn’t smother her to death!”

“Yeah right! You just want to keep ___________________ to yourself! She’s my big sister!”

“If you join MY crew then you can have your big brother AND sister!”

“NEVER! And you just want ___________________ on the ship so you can smoo—ACK!”

“Knock it of you two!” Sabo and ___________________ got the boys apart, well more like stopping Ace from clobbering Luffy more, “And it’s her decision! Maybe she wants to sail with me or maybe Law,”

“WHY LAW?!”

“Because Law is her best friend,”

“WHAT?! HOW AM I NOT HER BEST FRIEND?!”

“You can’t be her brother and best friend,”

“The hell I can’t!” he raged. _________________ covered her mouth.

“To be honest, I don’t understand the allure of a ship. I mean it’s a confined space. Once you explore it, it’s done,”

“Are you kidding?!” said Luffy, “You can travel ANYWHERE you want on a ship! You don’t have to stay on the ship if you don’t want to!”

“A ship is ultimate freedom,” said Sabo grinning, “Imagine all of the places you can see for the rest of your life! You can visit towns you’ve never seen before, eat things you’ve only heard about and stay for as long as you like and leave whenever you want!”

“In your case, eat all of the cake you could want everywhere,” said Ace

“True! But when you guys go, I’ll miss you all!”

“We’ll use den den mushi!” said Luffy

“And write!” said Sabo, “Or do joint custody like you do with Miss Hancock,”

“She won’t be a kid forever to do that to her,” said Ace, “We’ll think of something!” they looked at the sky again savoring the stillness before they became completely quiet. Marco went to check up on them and saw all four of them sound asleep. He gently one by one took them to bed and tucked them in.

***
In the morning, Ace decided to join ______________________ in her exploration. Sabo decided to stay in and make sure of the library. Luffy joined him after finding the carefully placed comic books that Thatch placed on board. Ace decided that exploring with his little sister would be more fun than being cooped up in a library. And he was determined to help her find the hidden places Marco challenged her to find.

“We have to beat that bird!”

“It’s not a contest!” she said

“The hell it isn’t! We all know that Marco has some insidious plan brewing in his head!”

“So far I gather everything is always connected to each other in some way,”

“That’s how most ships are,” said Ace, “Mainly for the crew to get out of one area as fast as possible in case of an attack or emergency. And that why a lot of these places are hidden so that no one can stowaway without being noticed or picking off the crew without detection,”

“Wow you know a lot about ships!”

“Well you have to know that stuff if you want to be a pirate someday. I want to be good at it, you know,”

“Touche,”

“What about you? Why do you want to know a lot?”

“Well I like learning new things! That way I’m prepared for anything! And it’s fun learning how to do things. Shakky always says that information is the best tool you can have,”

“For extortion, right?”

“That too,” he snorts as they ended up in a quiet hallway. According to the map, there was a room there but they couldn’t see one. Ace groans.

“It’s hidden somewhere. It must be a valuable room,”

“Like a treasure room?”

“Nah, that place has to be locked to be split up later,” _________________ looked around before noticing something out of the ordinary in the hall. The ship was very maintained. In fact, it reminded her of home with smooth walls and things. However, there was a hole in this wall, enough for a large finger.

“Boost me up,” Ace raised an eyebrow and did it. She easily stuck two of her tiny fingers inside as pulled. Ace managed to keep balance as a door opened. Inside they saw maps upon maps, globes, charts, different sizes of spyglasses, telescopes, sextants, astrolabes, and quadrants on a large table. Jozu looked up to see the pair looking at the room in awe.

“Two little spies found my room,”

“Jozu?! You’re the navigator?!” said Ace

“You seen surprised. I’m more than just a pretty face,” _______________ giggled.

“True!”

“How long have you been doing this?!” said Ace

“Hmmmm….I would say probably a little younger than ____________________. I’ve been making pretty accurate maps since then. Hell I was the one who made Marco his first map,”

“Marco needed a map?!” the two looked at him

“I’m surprised that he’s never told you the story. When he was about your ages, he came to my island searching for a town where it was rumored that a nun took in children and found them perfect homes. Marco was smart for his age but the people in my village scoffed at him and laughed because the island was said to be a rumor. All he had was coordinates. So, he came to me and asked if I could make him a map. I agreed under the condition that he come back and take me to the island too. He agreed and I made the map. About three months later, he came back with Flora and we went back to the convent before we got adopted by Pops,”

“Wow!”

“Was Marco just born to be badass or did it just happen?” said Ace

“A little from column A and a little from column B,” said Jozu, “Point is, I can make a map from everything with right coordinates and if I was there before,”

“That’s so cool!” said ____________________

“Lemme guess, he gave you a task to find all of the hidden places?”

“Yep!” said Ace, “________________________ found a few yesterday and I helped her find your place!”

“So far I found the garden, library, Fossa’s workshop, Curiel’s gunnery, the kitchen chute pantry, and now this!”

“Maybe a spyglass will help us,” said Ace looking at two on the table, “Can we borrow these?”

“You two can have those. I have plenty I’ve been collecting for years,”

“WOW THANKS!”

“Go have fun you two!” Ace grabbed her and they went out onto the deck, temporality abandoning their exploration to see if they find anything outside. Ace went up to the crow’s nest and she was looking at things closer to islands. So far she couldn’t see a thing…until shr reallt focused and noticed a ship coming towards them. She quickly ran and told Whitebeard.

“What flag did it have?”

“It looked like a sun!”

“That’s an ally ship. Don’t worry yourself, kiddo,”

“You sure?”

“Mhm, those are the Sun Pirates. They won’t bother us,”

“Oh, okay!” she went back to her post. As the ship got closer she could see a crew and as it got closer, she noticed a familiar face. She beamed. She knew that face!

“HIIIIIIIIIIII!!!” the girl looked around for someone. __________________ grinned laughing, “LOOK UP HERE!” looked up and saw _________________who waved wildly. She beamed

“HEEEEEEEEEEY! HOW ARE YOU?!”

“I’M FINE?! HOW ABOUT YOU?!”

“GOOD! WHATCHA DOING UP THERE!”

“VISITING FAMILY! IS THAT YOUR FAMILY?!”

“YEAH! WE’RE JUST PASSING THROUGH TOO! DID YOU READ THE COMICS?!”

“YEAH!!!! I LOVE THE MONKEY BOY!” the men listened as __________________ talked over the boat. Marco peered over to see her talking to girl about her age on a ship below theirs. He froze when he recognized it as the Sun Pirates. He was about to grab her when Whitebeard showed up and stopped him, “HOW ARE YOU?!”

“I’M FINE! YOU?!”

“YEAH! WE’RE PASSING THROUGH! I’M ON BREAK FROM LESSONS!”

“AWESOME!” she noticed a fishman appearing next to her, “IS HE YOUR DAD?”

“NO! THIS IS ONE OF MY BROTHERS! DAD’S SLEEPING! HE TOLD ME TO PLAY ON DECK!”

“NICE TO MEET YOU SIR!”

“PLEASE IT’S JINBE,”

“NICE TO MEET YOU MR. JINBE SIR!”

“WERE YOU THE ONE WHO BOUGHT HER THE COMIC BOOKS?”

“YES SIR! I HOPE I DIDN’T OFFEND!”

“NOT AT ALL. THANK YOU FOR YOUR KINDNESS LITTLE ONE! WHITEBEARD, IS THIS THE DAUGHTER?” she looked up to se Pops next to her.

“YEAH! MY SWEET DAUGHTER!”

“THAT’S THE LITTLE THE HELLRAISER THAT TRIED TO KILL YOU?!”

“THAT’S ACE!”

“HEY!” __________________ snorts when another fishman came out. Pops looked at him. ______________ looked at him curiously. He had round eyes, salmon-pink colored skin, a flat nose, wide lips with slight peach fuzz, a thick dark beard and sideburns, and a spiky dorsal fin on the back of his head, sprouting from under his long, curly hair. The girl smiled

“THIS IS MY DAD!”

“NICE TO MEET YOU SIR!” the girl said something to him. He looked at her, then to Whitebeard and then back to his daughter. He glared at _________________ a bit before nodding and walking back inside.

“HE’S NOT MUCH OF A TALKER BUT HE SAYS HI AND HE’S VERY GLAD THAT GOT ME THE BOOKS!”

“ANYTIME!” the pair talked for a few more moments before the ships when in different directions. It was then __________________ covered her mouth, “Awww man! I STILL hadn’t gotten her name!”

“Scatterbrain,” said Kingdew ruffling her hair. Marco looked thoughtful.

“I wonder if we can get a playdate arranged,” said Marco

“Nah, you know Fisher Tiger isn’t going to let another human on his ship. Even as a guest. It’s a miracle that he has that adorable kid on the ship,”

“Yeah, maybe if they dock or with Hatchi or Jinbei,” said Speed Jill

“We have a better chance of getting a playdate if we ask either of them,”

“Still, ask Fisher first,” said Whitebeard, “It’s his young charge and he has final say in the matter. How on Earth did you meet that child, kiddo?”

“A few weeks ago” she said grinning, “When I was with Grandpa and Shakky, I met her! I still don’t know her name and that really sucks! I thought she was a boy at first but her big brother, Hachi, was making some takoyaki and I followed the smell! But don’t worry! He’s not making them from his arms!” the men chuckled.

“Don’t worry little lady, no one would purposely make food out of themselves,” said Thatch laughing, “I’m just jealous because Jinbei has raved about Hatchi's takoyaki but no one has had it. He’s been thinking of opening a cart,”

“He should! They were so tasty!”

“And then?” said Whitebeard

“Oh! Then Grandpa asked if I could get her some books because she’s being homeschooled too! And I bought her some comic books because she didn’t have any of her own and she was going to be at sea for a LONG time so comic books and fun books are a crucial thing,”

“Very important! Well, hopefully we can get you two to hang out again,”

“I hope so!” she said scampering away, “Gotta run!”

“Where are you going ”

“I’m almost finished with my exploration! I’ll be back by dinner!” she disappeared below the deck. Flora shook her head.

“Damn that child,”

“She is learning and experiencing the world on her own,” said Whitebeard laughing, "Who knows what else she’s seen and know,”

“True but at least she can’t get herself killed on a ship…but knowing her,”

“Don’t jinx it, Florrie. She’s on a mission. The only thing that’ll stop her is gravity,”

“Her little ass will find a way around that! Give it another few years!”

***
Because she couldn’t take her bath the first time because of awesome stargazing, she decided to roam and find the baths. She followed the map. So far she’s found seven of the places Marco was taking about and the baths would be her final one until tomorrow. She went downstairs and the place was slightly warmer than the rest of the ship. She opened the door and gaped. The baths were enormous but as big as the hot spring at home. There were about twenty small tubs and a great big one that was for Pops. She inched down and saw a place where everyone could shower before going to the tubs.

“Finally found the baths,” she jumped. Namur emerged from the showers in a towel. She covered her eyes.

“Sorry!”

“No worries, let me just get into this tub,” she nodded. She heard water moving and then a deep sigh, “Alright you can look,” she opened them, “Come on in closer. You can’t see anything,” she scampered through and looked inside an empty one. They were deep cedar wood tubs that were very deep, even for her.

“Wow…does this mean I can finally soak with you all?!”

“Probably,” he chuckled, “This is the only place in the ship where it’ll be hot all the time because of the water,”

“Yeah, it’s nothing like the hot spring at home but this is the next best thing,”

“What are they?”

“Soaking tubs,” she said Namur, “For soaking after you take a small shower. Like the hot spring,”

“Ohh!”

“Yeah the ship for awhile only had one big one for Pops and a few small ones. But when our crew grew, Fossa installed more,”

“Really?!”

“Mhm for a long time we used to all live on this ship,”

“Really?!”

“Mhm but after the Pirate King was executed, many people took their piracy to land and stayed there since. It’s been like a sort of truce and sign of respect. And since technology got better and the like, it’s easier to be pirates on land but that doesn’t mean we don’t miss the sea,”

“Especially you since you’re a fishman! The sea is your home!” he chuckled

“My family is my home so home is here,”

“…Namur can I ask you something?”

“What’s up?”

“Did I do anything to make Mr. Fisher Tiger glare at me like that?”

“It’s not you personally kiddo,” said Namur, “Many fishmen don’t trust humans and vice versa,”

“Why?!”

“It’s…a long complicated story,”

“But you like us, right?!”

“OF COURSE I DO!”

“That’s good! I hope I get to see my friend again!”

“You will but just don’t count on being on their ship any time soon,”

“Oh…”

“But him having a human on the ship and letting her call him her father is a big step for him. But who knows. He may warm up to other humans eventually. But don’t take it personally little lady. You’re most likely going to find a few fishmen like that and you’re going to find a lot of humans not liking you or hostile towards you for liking a fishman,”

“You’re my brother and a fishman so that makes me double awesome! I’ll make sure I’m strong enough so they won’t mess with me! Besides, who else is going to teach me how to swim and hold my breath for a long time?!”

“True. But you’re still a little guppy,” he said ruffling her hair.

“Hey! You’re the guppy!” she stuck out her tongue and ran away. She then poked her head around the corner, “Not really, you’re really big shark man it makes you even cooler!” she scampered off. He chuckled and finishes gets into his bath. He sighed thinking of his new little sister and brothers. He thought for the first moment she saw him, she was going to run away in terror. In reality, she was terrified of everyone. He thought they both wouldn’t have accepted him but he remembered Ace just watching him, asking if he would show him how to do martial arts like him. __________________ asked if he could teach her how to swim so she could swim with her brothers, sans Luffy and of course he agreed. Both often had questions for him with Ace it’s how can he become stronger, _________________’s questions were…odd and adorable from if he lost a tooth would his grow back faster, could he eat fish, and how could he breath without water. Sabo asked him more about fishman history and how did he join Pops. Luffy asked him the universal question that would always be on his mind: did he poop? He chuckled to himself. They were good little guppies. He knew Fisher Tiger would never really accept humans, he didn’t blame them but raising a little girl was a step in the right direction and learning to trust them. After dinner, he decided to show the boys new abilities in the dojo.

“Wanna come little lady?”

“Thank you but I have to take my bath!”

“Okay. But I’ll tuck you in later,”

“Okay!!!!”

***
Bright and early the next morning, the kids were ushered into the kitchen to eat breakfast. Thatch made everyone a huge breakfast of bacon and eggs and oatmeal and omelettes. After breakfast, Izo whisked her away upstairs and took out the kimono Shakky made her. Even River was being given the treatment. Mainly a bath and afterwards a little collar with a Japanese mon on it. Izo took out the formal kimono and started putting on the first few layers.

“How so early?” _______________________ asked.

“Because you and I have so many layers, it’s going to take you, me, and Flora about an hour to put everything on. The boys only half the time which sucks but you’re going to be all toasty and cute when you’re finished then tomorrow you can wear your hakama one that Hancock got you,”

“YAY!”

“After this, we have to do your hair and you get to wear that kanzashi as well,”

“We’re meeting someone really important right?”

“Mhm! So you have to make a good impression!”

“I’ll do my best!”

“I know you will,” Flora was ready, gotten up very early to get her kimono on. She wore a dark blue kimono with roses. Her hair was tied up. _________________ didn’t see Flora without her bandana much and she liked it. Her red hair had a long gray streaks and it made her look really distinguished. In her hair she wore a rose kanzashi flower.

“Sister did you make yours?”

“Nah, I can’t make things like this. Edward made this when we were kids,”

“Pops can make them?!”

“Mhm, he also knits in his downtime,”

“So cool! And you look so pretty!”

“You think everyone looks cool,”

“That’s because they are!” Flora snorts as Izo finishes her up.

“There you go. Now sit down so I can do your hair,” the boys were waiting outside. The three brothers had never in their lives wore a kimono and the whole thing felt weird to them. Ace never wore one, especially being raised by bandits. But he remembered Dadan forced him to give back a wedding kimono he stole from a woman because it was an heirloom thing. He didn’t understand until Magra told him that a kimono that old may be valuable but it’s something that cannot be replaced and probably the only valuable thing she had. Sabo came from a noble family and no one ever wore a kimono. He liked it. It was comfortable and better some of the things he’s worn at formal dinners and things. Luffy thought it looked cool and was bouncing about in his kimono. Theirs were like the rest of the men, black with a yellow hakama. ________________ soon emerged. The boys looked at her.

“How do I look?” she twirled. Ace stared. He hated to admit but she looked so adorable in her kimono.

“Useless as ever!”

“Hey!”

“You look adorable,” said Sabo

“HOW IS SHE GONNA POOP IN THAT THING?!” cried Luffy

“IS THAT ALL YOU THINK ABOUT?!” said Sabo

“IT’S IMPORTANT! Why does she gets a really nice fancy one?!”

“Because this is what girls wear,” said Jozu

“No fair! It’s so cool looking!”

“But heavy! There’s like ten layers of this!” said __________________

“AND SHE GETS WEIGHT TRAINING?! NO FAIR!”

“You wanna wear it when I’m done? You just can’t dirty it!”

“Alright! _____________________ you’re the best!”

“You wanna wear a girl’s kimono?!” said Ace

“Izo wears girl’s kimonos and he looks awesome all the time!”

“Damn right I do,” said Izo coming up in a beautiful blue kimono with a cherry blossom print.

“Why do we have to dress up all fancy, anyway?” said Ace

“Well, we’re about to meet Pop’s pop,” said Jozu

“…Pops have a dad that’s still alive?”

“He must be hundreds of years old!” said Luffy

“Pops isn’t that old you little shits!” said Fossa

“And you most likely already know him. We know him as Grandpa, but the rest of the world knew him as Atlas,”

“THE Atlas?!” said Ace and Luffy. _____________________ and Sabo looked confused.

“Who’s Atlas?” said Sabo

“Yeah never heard of him!”

“Don’t you two know anything?! Atlas was Captain of about ten fleets and the unopposed leader of the Eclipse Pirates! They’re one of the most famous crew in the world! They’re a part of the Golden Era that ended well when the Pirate King was still alive. It was five crews that reached that status, the Rumbar Pirates, the Flower Pirates, the Eclipse Pirates, the Golden Lion Pirates, and finally the Roger Pirates, however, each of them slowly faded out…until Roger was executed,”

“What happened to the others?” said _________________________

“The Rumbar Pirates…no one has ever seen or heard from them again, the Flower Pirates retired after a major final battle with a few deaths, the Eclipse Pirates…the retired as well not before taking heavy losses and disappearing, the Golden Lion Pirates suffered a lost and then just backed off, and we all know what happened to Roger,”

“Wow…you really know a lot about pirate history!”

“Yeah Ace is a practically a walking, talking pirate historian,” said Sabo

“Ugh now you made it sound boring,” said Ace

“It makes him sound smart!” said Luffy

“Ugh!”

“Alright kiddos, we’re just about here,” said Flora, “Remember, mind your manners and be polite as you can. Got it?”

“Yes Sister!”

***
Atlas has been waiting for this day for months. It’s been almost two years since Edward and Flora have visited him with his grandchildren. But thanks to constant phone calls from them both, it revealed that their family has grown within the last few years. First came a child who was obsessed in taking Edward’s head to the point of getting his little ass handed to him on a daily basis before he accepted his offer to become his son. Flora’s convent for the last three years only had one child, whom she talked about constantly and rather happily from learning new things, getting into something, to just being mouse to cat to rabbit until she revealed she gave her to Edward, but the little girl came back almost every day to make sure she was okay “Like a no good cat that won’t leave”. He knew it was a ploy. He knew for sure it was four of them. Three close brothers and their little sister. He’s always wanted a granddaughter and now he had one. He watched the ship dock with his last members of his crew and their families. The village had thrived for decades since he and Edward claimed it in their youth, especially after the World Government stopped protection. It was the only home Edward knew at the time and eventually it became Flora’s, especially after she became the captain of the Flower Pirates. The pair soon emerged from the ship. Everyone lined up behind them. Both bowed at him.

“Good to see you again,” they said.

“Tch, stop it you brat and raise up,” he said hugging his son and then his daughter. He looked at his grandchildren. They were beaming at him. Happy to see him again. He walked along commenting them, calling them brats and greeting them like old friends. He then stopped, his eyes fell onto Ace, Sabo, Luffy, and ____________________. He noticed the freckles on Ace, something very familiar that for the moment he couldn’t recall, a familiar grin on Luffy, the mannerisms of Sabo, and the observational look on __________________ along with River sitting next to _______________. All four bowed.

“It’s nice to meet you, sir!”

“Don’t be so formal,” he said smiling, “Don’t call me sir! Call me Grandpa!” the boys beamed. River meows. He scratched his furry head, “Whatever you said you can call me that, cat,”

“Ummm actually… I-I already call someone close to me Grandpa, is there anything I can call you?” Atlas looked down at the little girl. She looked at him wide eyed as he got down on one knee to look less frightening. He grinned at her.

“Oh? I guess that is a bit of a problem. How about this, you call me Oji-chan?”

“Okay!” he pats her head. He had an adorable little granddaughter. Everyone headed inside. Flora ruffled her hair on the way in.

“Come on you little brat. There’s enough food that’ll fatten you up,”

“YAY!”

“Unless Luffy and Ace eats it first,” Marco calls out. ____________________’s eyes widened and ran towards the house. Flora shook her head and prayed she wasn’t right about this.

***
Fisher spluttered blood. He wasn’t going to make it out of this alive. He just couldn’t accept that blood…not in a million years could he do it. He requested his crew to let me die with dignity and in complete silence. His chest was heaving, his moth was dry. He wasn’t long for this world…he made his mark. He was just happy to have an impact…

“I-Is he going to be okay?” Jinbe looked very uncomfortable.

“…time will tell Koala…don’t worry, he’s suffered worst and pulled through. Just, get some sleep okay,”

“Let me stay here…I just want to make sure he’s okay. Please?” Jinbe looked uncomfortable at this. He sighed

“Alright but stay out here, alright? He needs rest and you might do something in there to damage the equipment. Okay?”

“O-Okay,” Fisher leaned up slightly to see Koala’s back against the door. He groaned. He knew getting Koala to go to bed now would be pointless, especially after her seeing him the way he was. He couldn’t do that to her…she’s suffered enough. But she was also a human…he couldn’t and refused to like humans…but she was…his guppy, his little Koala. His little one…so what if she was human? He cringed to himself. Where would she end up if something happened to him now? Her village and home was gone, her mother left…probably a slave too…who would she sleep next to when she had a nightmare? He was in a lot of pain and he had to make a decision, fast. Aladine walked in to be with him during his final moments.

“Aladine…listen, tell no one about this, please…give me the blood,”

“Captain?”

“I don’t care…what happens to me but…she needs me. I don’t want Koala to see me die like this. Tell everyone you fo-found some fishman blood and never tell a soul,”

“To my grave Captain,” he would never forgive himself for this. But he just needed to stay alive just a bit longer, just until he knew he could find a place where she could live and KNOW she’ll be okay. The younger generation…they had different ideals, they have different ways of thinking, especially since Roger died…the world changed, everything is changing. He would be a relic but he knew that she’s been through enough as it is. Having him die just feet away from her…he’ll make sure she gets to a place where she’ll be accepted and cared for but for now…he’ll take on that duty. A few weeks later, he was out and about walking about. He saw Koala on Jinbe’s lap learning something. When she saw him, she hopped up and ran to him. He caught her, wincing but not letting her see. She hugged him tightly.

“How are you feeling?! Are you okay?! Want me to get you something?!”

“You shouldn’t be worried about me. I should be worrying about you,”

“But you’re still in pain,”

“I’ll be fine! I don’t need you to worry about me!” he pats her head, “Learn as much as you can and become stronger. It would be embarrassing if you didn’t become as strong as me someday,”

“I promise!”

“Good!” she scampered back to Jinbe. He noticed her clothes.

“…Hatchi…I want you to find her some new clothes and things. She’s going to be here awhile, she needs to looks more…like a girl,”

“Yes Captain!”

Chapter Text

______________________ was awaken early by Izo, who helped her put on her casual kimono from Hancock before going back to bed. The process took less longer and according to Izo, it’ll be easier for when she officially got up. She slept for another two hours before she headed downstairs. This house was completely different from home. It was bigger with a lot of rooms. It reminded her of the castle in some of the old samurai manga that Sabo let her borrow. River was close behind as he walked with her trying to find someone. She hoped she didn’t miss breakfast. Everyone had a big dinner and was so tired that they all dropped off after their baths. She peeked outside and there was a pond outside that took up half of the big yard. Because of the weather, it was frozen solid. There were still fish inside and River decided to have some fun and chase them across the pond as she continued her search for breakfast. Meanwhile, Atlas woke up and realized everyone just up and left him. No one was there. The house was quiet. He knew they didn’t do it maliciously. Marietta, his housekeeper, probably told them he was still hung-over from the night before. She wasn’t wrong and she probably made breakfast before going off to see her family for New Years. This meant he had to fend for himself. That was when he noticed that __________________ was left behind as well. She looked like a deer in headlights when she saw him. Soon she realized it was just her and Oji-chan. She was intimidated by the man. He was as tall as Pops, built like a mountain and had piercing eyes. He got down on one knee and looked at her.

“Everyone took off this morning and I’m about to have breakfast. If you like, I don’t mind having company but if you really want to go off on your own, I won’t stop you,” Atlas smiled at her. She looked at him cautious before her stomach growled giving her away. He ruffled her hair and motioned her to follow him. She perched next to him as he made tamagoyaki. He made two pretty large ones and put them aside before grilling three pieces of fish and making more miso soup. She set the table as he came out with breakfast. He set her breakfast in front of her and placed the fish in front of River. They ate in silence for a little while. Atlas glanced at the little child who was eating silently trying not to make a sound.

“So…umm how’s the food?”

“Very good! Thank you for making me something to eat!” he smiled.

“No prob! You have to grow up to be big and strong at me!”

“I don’t think I can grow that much!”

“Believe it or not I used to be a small just like you,”

“REALLY?!”

“Mhm,” he fished out a photo of himself and gave it to her. It was a picture of him when he was about her age and indeed he was just as small and scrawny but he was surrounded by a crew of men and women.

“Who are they?”

“That’s my crew, well, the Globe pirates. I was their cabin boy when I was younger,”

“You lived on the sea too?”

“Lived on a ship for most of my life. The sea is my home, hell it’s everyone’s home. I remember being your age and exploring the ship like it was a world all of its own, until I got taller and had to squeeze into places. From then I vowed to have the biggest ship in the seas so when my cabin kids came, they would get lost in the sense of wonder as well just to pass on the wonder. Savor your tininess. It’s the best advantage you can have,” she nodded.

“That’s how I find all of the great places I find!”

“Really now? Like where?” she grinned and told him about the hidden places on the ship, “But Marco said I’m not even close!”

“You’re not and some you can’t find without help but luckily, Oji-chan is here to help!” she beams, “Let’s clear the table and get your map,”

“Okay!” they cleared the table and after drying the dishes, ____________________ went to retrieve her map. She proudly showed the places that she found. He looked at them and grinned.

“Good start, little lady but these here are going to take some finesse, especially Marco’s hideaway,” he showed her the easiest way to get there from the deck including how to enter.

“You’re the best!”

“Of course I am. And if Marco asks?”

“I did it all on my own because I’m super clever!”

“Very good! See? There’s perks to being tiny,”

“Well, sometimes. Like I think it would be cool if I knew how tall I’ll be when I’m older!”

“You’ll be tall enough. As long as you’re happy with yourself, you’ll be fine!” then the clock chimed. It was noon. He didn’t realize how late it was, “Hmmm we have a little while before everyone comes back and my errands, do you know how to play Shogi?” she shakes her head, “Come on, it’s usually a man’s game but I know my granddaughter can handle it,” she grinned and nodded. After half an hour of explanation and strategy, __________________ soon got the hang of the strange game, “With practice you can become a great strategist and gambler. You have an innocent face, you can easily hustle a few men out of their money. We’re teaching her mahjong next,”

“Okay! It kind of reminds me of chess!”

“You know about chess?”

“Mhm! Grandpa taught me chess!”

“Shogi is a lot like chess but an older form,”

“Do you play a lot?”

“Just after I retired from the pirates’ life. You see when old farts like me retire, there’s nothing much to but relax and play shogi, dominoes, and chess with other old men and catch up and of course take care of the village,”

“You’re retired?!”

“Mhm,”

“Do you like it? Retirement?”

“It’s fulfilling. All I have are my stories and memories and that’s good enough for me. Old dogs either retire or don’t make it to see another sunrise. Not exactly the perfect life but retirement is amazing,”

“Why did you retire?”

“Edward was the one who forced me into it along with my crew. Said it would devastate the seas if I continued and he was right, the world didn’t need three powerhouses and of course, after Blume died…I just didn’t want to fight anymore,”

“You knew Blume?! Pops and Sister tell me stories about her all the time!”

“Heh, Blume was…something else. She was about your age when she as a cabin girl and sailed the seas then she formed the Flower Pirates and the rest was history. She ate the Mosa Mosa no Mi fruit. She could control any plant from making healing medicine to making a weapon that could torture you before you died. She didn’t allow men on her main ship. Not because she didn’t like or trust them, she knew a lot of her crew members had very…touchy when it came to men. She commanded and gained respect. She had the love and respect of her crew, who she treated like daughters and anyone whom she called friend,”

“Wow! She’s amazing!”

“Was…amazing,” he looked down. __________________ covered her mouth. He smiled and pats her head, “No, no, you didn’t say anything wrong. Blume died a long time ago…still hurts like I know to some she was probably just an old pirate but she’ll always be one of my closest friends. She died doing what she loved and protecting someone close to her. After that, I knew I should step down and retire, seeing just how hard her crew took it when she fell. Her Second in Command took over and reign the seas before well…becoming a legend in her own right,”

“Who’s she?”

“That’s a story for another time,” the clock chimed, “We’re going to have to cut this short kiddo. We’re going to town to do a few things,”

“Really?!”

“Heh, it’s the perks of hanging out with Oji-chan. Come on,”

***
____________________ perched on Atlas’s shoulders as he walked through town. She looked at the village in awe. Sphinx was covered in a soft blanket of snow, lanterns glowed in the foggy sky, and everything felt so still and quiet. A village was very different from a town and she actually liked this better. It was quiet, with trees and places for her to explore and get into. They went into the shopping area where everyone was preparing for New Years, buying and selling last minute things, getting flowers and decorations, and of course getting their food and snacks. Everyone greeted Atlas when he came through. He bought a lot of tea and ordered barrels of sake for the festivities later. He did the same and got plenty of fish and things delivered to the house. When he was done, he took a turn away from the village and towards a small house. _____________________ could smell bread and other baked goods there. A young woman was finishing putting some cakes and breads on display. When she saw Atlas, she beamed.

“Grandma! Atlas is here!” she comes out and smiled at him. She then spied ___________________, “Oh! And who’s this?”

“My granddaughter, ___________________!” he gently takes her off his shoulder and sets her on the ground, “She’s a little tiny,”

“Compared to you, everyone is tiny,” the woman chuckled. An old woman came out of the house. She was in a light yellow kimono, her hair tied in a bun on her head. She stopped in front of __________________, “Wait, is this the little girl Whitebeard adopted?”

“One in the same,”

“Flora and Edward’s daughter? My, my…that is a surprise,” she said smiling at her. _______________ smiled back and bowed.

“It’s nice to meet you, Miss,”

“And polite! I’m Tetsu Sakura but you can call me Oba-chan if you like,”

“Okay!”

“Here to pick up your order Atlas?”

“Mhm and a very last minute request,” he said sheepishly. Sakura looked at him

“…how last minute?”

“Tomorrow,”

“Atlas really! Tomorrow is the eve!”

“I know, I know but it’s very important and I have an explanation!”

“This better be a good one!”

“Hanna, I hate to ask but do you mind showing _________________________ the inside of your Bakery? I’m sure she’ll love it and I don’t want her to see me like this,”

“You’re going to grovel are you?”

“…yes,”

“Okay, come along sweetie,” Hanna took her hand and took her inside. The house was bigger than it looked on the outside. They had a brick oven, much like Corazon’s but larger. All of the baked goods were all lined up neatly and the cakes were under glass. ___________________’s mouth watered but then something caught her eye. There were boxes of fruits that smelled sweet but advertised as cakes. She tilted her head in confusion.

“What are these?”

“My specialty, fruit shaped desserts! They’re mini cakes that are made to look like fruits with the fruit filling inside.

“Wow! They look so real!”

“Thank you, take me forever to make a few batches but worth it. Would like one?”

“Yes please!” she takes out the apple and gives it to her on a napkin. She grinned and bit into it. Her eyes widened and realized that even though it had a soft shell on the outside, it was soft and spongy on the inside. Hanna chuckled at her expression.

“Like it?”

“It’s SO good!”

“I thought so. I found the recipe around the North Blue area about a year ago. The baker there took me on as his apprentice and passed on the recipe to me,”

“That’s cool! Do you have a crew too?” Hanna smiled

“No, no, but I do sail out on my tiny boat until I get out of Wano then I use trains,”

“Why?”

“It’s easier than trying to sail everywhere with my equipment especially since I travel all over once a year and find recipes and new methods to help me with my baking. So the village always get the best the best the world has to offer without traveling outside to get it,”

“That’s really cool! Pops said that he grew up here a long time ago!”

“He did! But Sphinx was very different back then. I only heard stories from Oba-chan but this place used to be very harsh to live in. Because we’re a village, the World Government doesn’t support it because well, there’s nothing to get out of it. Oba-chan said she remembered people running away to the Capital to try and get food or steady work and selling their organs and limbs in order to keep their families alive. All of that changed when Atlas appeared. Mr. Newgate saw this man and he was ready to defend his home and it’s citizen from this pirate, knowing that everyone suffered enough and a pirate pillage would just destroy the village. Atlas saw his determination and said he would support the village under the condition that Mr. Newgate would come with him and he agreed. Since then, the village thrived and when Atlas and his crew retired, they settled permanently in the village and Mr. Newgate still supports us because we’re his home and roots,”

“Wow!”

“Amazing isn’t it? It’s my favorite story,”

“What about Blume?” Hanna smiled

“Thanks to her, our countryside and woods are forever in bloom, pun intended but she’s the one who got the vegetation back all over, just stopping at the Capital and created a permanent and strong barrier to keep outsiders out, then again, everyone thinks anyone from Sphinx are poor farmers and just avoid the area and other villages all together. Works fine since we all help and support each other,”

“That’s great!”

“HANNA!” Oba-chan walked in looking slightly annoyed but had a smile on her face, “Box up two cakes for the little lady and we have a big order to fill by tomorrow,”

“Okay! What kind of a cake?”

“Enough to feed two armies!”

“Both crews?”

“And three boys who can eat more than an army!” Hanna looked a little defeated, “Don’t worry, we can do it! He paid and owes us a huge favor for this,”

“He wore you down?”

“Yes unfortunately,” she said, “________________ dear, pick out any two cakes you want sweetie,”

“Yes Oba-chan!” ___________________ settled on a large chocolate mousse cheesecake and a half dozen of Hanna’s fruit desserts with the assortment of two pears, two peaches, and two apples. Hanna gave her the order and she happily trotted outside. Atlas hoisted her up when he saw her and placed the two boxes in his back basket. He looked up her.

“Hungry?”

“Mhm!”

“Let’s go! Thanks Sakura!”

“Leave you terrible man!”

“Bye Miss Hanna! Bye Oba-chan!”

“Bye sweetie! Keep him out of trouble!”

“I’ll try!” they were soon back on the main road. Because it was getting late, he decided to order something from a yatai shop. While waiting, he noticed she was eying the cake. He chuckled.

“Not until we get home, kiddo,”

“Awww,”

“Edward told me you were a sweet fanatic. All that candy will rot your brain,”

“I don’t like candy much. I really like cake though,”

“Oh that’s okay then. Cake is your favorite food?”

“Mhm!”

“For how long?”

“About a year in a half now! Even since I was adopted!”

“Oh?”

“It was the first thing I ate my first night with Pops! So ever since, it was my favorite food! It makes me happy!” he chuckled. It was probably the first really good thing she had after living with Flora for so long.

“Well, since you like sweet things, let’s get you some taiyaki,”

“What’s taiyaki?”

“You’ll see,” after he got their order, he headed to a taiyaki cart. Soon they had two piping hot fish shaped waffles. She got chocolate, he got red bean paste.

“Chocolate now? I swear, back in my day it only came in red bean paste and fruit. Chocolate wasn’t never an option,”

“I never had red bean paste. Is it good?” he broke his in half and hands it to her. She takes a bite, “Like it?”

“Mhm! But I like chocolate better!” She split hers in half and gave it to him. He grinned and ruffled her hair before popping it in his mouth.

“…okay it is good with chocolate,”

“SEE?!”

***
Once home, Atlas got ready for his bath. He showed _________________ where she could bathe and showed her the ofuro where she could soak. She took her bath and went to soak in the hot water. Atlas was already in the water soaking in his tub.

“Oji-chan! I’m coming!” he closed his eyes as she scampered to the tub and eased into the water. Her body was submerged up to her neck, “Okay!” he uncovered his eyes and they soaked. The pair had a long day together and just savored the water taking every little kink out of their bodies.

“Oji-chan?” she said softly

“Hmmm?”

“I really enjoyed out outing today. It was fun!”

“I did too,” he smiled. Marietta came back with groceries. She checked the baths to see the pair having a bath, “Marietta, a favor, get her dressed and ready for bed,”

“Of course Boss!”

“Stop with this Boss crap. Also, prepare the kotatsu and hot sake and genmaicha,”

“Okay!”

“Close your eyes kiddo,” After her bath, she went to join Atlas back inside. There was tea ready for her and hot sake for him along with peach dessert for her, the apple dessert for him and a slice of the cake for the both of them. She snuggled under the kotatsu and gently sipped her tea. He chuckled to himself. She drank her tea like an old woman.

“Sister used to bring in tea all the time,” she said pouring another cup, “I like it so much I started making and brewing it before bed. But it kept me awake sometimes so Sister told me to drink it a few hours before bed,”

“You don’t call Flora, mother?”

“Nah uh, Sister sounds more right. I don’t think she likes the word Mom,”

“True. She’s not fond of it. Have you ever thought your own mother? Do you even remember what she looks like?” she looked thoughtful for a few moments and shook her head.

“Well…the thought never really crossed me. I mean it did a long time ago but now…it doesn’t. Like I don’t even remember their faces, what they looked like or anything. Before I did but now I don’t. Every time I think of a Mom, Sister comes up, when I think of Dad, I think of Pops and I’m okay with that!” as it was getting later, he told her story after story and soon she was starting to doze off. Around ten, everyone came back home from their various adventures around town. Marco, Izo, and Thatch were the first ones home, followed by Jozu, Curiel, Vista, Kingdew, and Speed Jill. They came in talking and still hyped up, making their way to the living room.

“Shhhhh….she’s sleeping,” said Atlas pointing to the little girl in his lap. _________________ was sleeping soundly looking outright exhausted.

“She’s been here the whole time?!” said Izo

“Mhm, when she saw everyone gone, she was a little upset until I offered her to keep me company,”

“What did you two do all day?” said Flora

“Well, we had breakfast, I taught her how to play shogi, then we went into town and helped with the festival preparations, went to the bakery and got some cake, then we had taiyaki before we realize how late it was so we went and got curry and a crab hot pot before going home, taking a bath and I told her stories while we had tea and sake and some of that cake we bought,”

“That sounds like fun!” said Speed Jill

“Seriously! You never took us out like that!” said Kingdew

“That’s because you all ran off before I suggested it,” said Atlas, “She was the only one left and I asked if she wanted to hang out with Oji-san and she said yes. I had a whole day planned and when I heard you all talking about what you wanted to do in the village and Wano, I decided to just stay. Tomorrow we’re going to the Capital so I can show her around,”

“Can we come?!”

“Nope, it’s for me and my granddaughter who didn’t abandon me!” he said gently picking her up and taking her to bed. It’s been a very long time since he’s tucked a child into bed. He gently placed her on the bed before tucking her in tightly. He pats her head as her cat curled up next to her. He smiled, turned off the light and decided to turn in as well.

Chapter Text

It wasn’t the idea that Ace hated his birthday. It’s just that, no one ever made a big deal about it. In fact, no one really knew when he birthday was. Garp knew because he was there, after he killed his mother, according to many, and so no one really celebrated it. He took the New Year as fate wanting him to be alive for the next year and usually people were so hung up on the New Year that no one really noticed it was his birthday. However, this year, New Years was different. They were up bright and early, got dressed in the family kimonos, and went to the Shrine in the village before watching the sunrise. Everyone cooked for days in order to not cook on New Years and after a huge breakfast, the only think he wanted to do was hang out with his brothers and sister. However, everyone was busy today. Pops wanted to catch up with Atlas, Marco and Thatch was playing some old man game, Izo was preening ________________ and everyone was either drinking, laughing, or relaxing. He wasn’t bored but he knew this day was for everyone to be together. Sabo and Luffy went off without him and now he was just alone….as usual. After breakfast, he just wanted to go someplace and sleep this entire off.

“Aaaaaaace!” he turned. ____________________ was grinning at him with River following at her feet sporting a black collar with the same family crest. He reddened slightly. She, Izo, and Flora were up earlier than everyone getting their kimonos on. The Whitebeard kimono was back with golden flowers along with the family crest on the back. Izo tied her hair up in golden flowers making her look so cute.

“Yeah?”

“Wanna go on an adventure with me? Please?” he knew he couldn’t say no to that face, especially that bright smile.

“Okay, where are we going?”

“Around Sphinx! There’s something I want to show you!”

“Let’s go then,”

***
Ace followed __________________. He couldn’t believe that she managed to find a bakery or someplace where she could satisfy her sweet tooth already. He wasn’t surprised. She always knew how to explore an area in a little amount of time and her hanging out with Oji-chan was a big help. He looked around the village, he didn’t even remember this area with Luffy and Sabo. Then again, they went into the woods and ended up in Wano with the others. This was nothing like anything at home. He liked it. The shops were all closed for New Years but there was a festival that he couldn’t wait to attend the next day. He had to admit, he’d never thought he would see a place like this at this age. He liked it. It was quieter than a town or a city. He could see why everyone around here were so happy and layback. Since arriving, everyone seemed to be happier and less worried about everything. The snow added to the calmness of this place. He was kind of glad they were going to stay there for awhile. Even Luffy and Sabo liked it, then again, Luffy loved everything. Sabo never been to a village and the idea of so many people living in a small area with everything they need and just happy to be with each other, especially since there’s no Marines and the absence of nobility. He watched ____________________ turn off the path and turned to make sure he and River was behind her.

“Meow?” River looked up at Ace.

“I know, I know but just go with it,” soon they came up to a house in the woods. A woman with light brown hair, tanned skin and specks on her face was in front of the house. She was in a beautiful blue and red kimono with goldfish. She seemed to just relaxing against the house when she heard _______________’s trots.

“Oh! ________________ what a surprise!” said Hanna smiling at her, “Happy New Year!”

“Happy New Year! This is my big brother, Ace!” Ace looked at the woman. She had a kind face and very sweet aura. He bowed politely

“Nice to meet you,”

“It’s so refreshing to see such polite children!” she said smiling

“And this is River!” she looked down and knelt down petting him fondly.

“Nice to meet you too, River,”

“I wanted to show him your bakery! I’m sorry it’s so short notice!”

“Nonsense! Come in!” Ace looked around and realized why she liked this place. It was a bakery, off the path, in the woods that had pleasant smells coming from it. He looked around at all of the desserts and bread. River pawed at the case where there were a cute fish shaped pastries.

“You can’t eat those. No matter how good they look,”

“Meeeeow,”

“I’ll sneak you some fish later,” then he felt a tap.

“Come on! We have to find the hidden treasure!” he looked at __________________ as though she grew two heads.

“What?”

“This is the first stop! Miss Hanna gave me the map and it’s not too far from here! Let’s go!” he shrugged and followed her. He often wondered every single day were all girls like _________________? He WAS a girl for a short time. Penny was a passive girl, Plum was passive but a lot more outgoing when it came to Plum, Vivi was headstrong and Kaya was quiet but still sociable. They were normal girls to him, ________________ was just…_________________ he supposed. Then again he didn’t mind her being the way she was. Sometimes she was like one of his brothers, could be naïve like Luffy but usually she thought in the most sage like way that he wondered if she really was an old man. She hummed sweetly and trotted through the woods, with River hopping from rock to rock to avoid the snow before just hopping on him to just be carried. Finally she stopped and lifted up a boulder. She grinned and took out a box of pears from it.

“Here!” Ace looked at the pear.

“What are these?” he said curiously

“Try one!” he looked apprehensive as he looked at the pears in the box and took the one from her hands. It felt too light to be a pear but visually it was a pear, or so he thought. He shrugged and took a large bite, only to find it to be spongy and really…tasty. He looked at it and it was indeed a dessert with pear filling, “Like it?”

“Yeah! How the hell did you do that?!”

“I didn’t! Miss Hanna did! She travels all over the world for new recipes for her bakery and came across this!” he finished it up and grabbed another one.

“This is my new favorite thing ever!” They happily ate their treasure. He’s never had anything that tasted this good before and when he got his crew, he was going to make SURE they would stock up on these every time they were going out to sea. Miss Hanna soon appeared.

“You found your treasure?”

“MHM! Thank you so much Miss! How much do I owe you?” said ________________, “For everything?”

“You’re Atlas’s daughter and the sweetest little ravioli I’ve ever seen! They’re on the house, it’s the new year and it looks like Ace genuinely like them,”

“Yeah! We don’t get many pears at home so he likes to stock up on them when they’re in season,” Ace blushed

“H-How do you know that?!”

“I help pick them remember?” they left two pears in the box and wrapped them up, ready to go, “Thank you again Miss Hanna! Ready to go Ace?”

“Mhm,”

***
“Did you have fun today?” she asked. It was starting to snow again. Ace carried the box and _______________ carried River. It was about noon, it felt longer since they’ve been up off and on since midnight.

“Mhm, thanks for taking me out,”

“Anytime!”

“No, seriously, it’s rare you take me around and well I’m glad I came this time…well I when you do it anytime,”

“You like hanging out with a useless girl?” she stuck her tongue out. He ruffled her hair.

“Only when it’s my weird little sister,” when they made it back, the house was quiet with seemingly no life inside, “Looks like everyone is gone. But that’s okay, we can do something together,”

“Sounds good!” ____________________ trotted ahead and ran inside. River wiggled out of his arms and ran after her. Ace followed behind and saw the kitchen door opened. He snorts and headed towards the living room. He slid opened the door. The room was dark so he flipped on the light.

“SURPRISE!” Ace jumped and promptly fell asleep. When he came to, he could see party decorations above him. He slowly sat up on the couch to see __________________ panicking and crying along with Luffy. Thatch, Fossa, Kingdew, and Vista were laughing hard. He looked around and saw gifts, a large cake, lanterns, and a bewildered Atlas and Flora.

“He’s awake!” said Sabo, “Ace are you okay?!”

“Ace is alive?!” said __________________ looking over. Her face wet from crying. Luffy ran to him and hugged him tightly.

“Get off me! I’m fine!”

“WE THOUGHT YOU DIED!”

“You just dropped dead!” said ____________________ sobbing.

“What the hell just happened?!” said Atlas, “Did he faint?!”

“No, no, Ace has narcolepsy,” said Whitebeard, “When we surprised him, I guess it triggered it,”

“That was hilarious!” said Thatch

“S-So he didn’t drop dead?!” said ____________________ sobbing

“No! Your hands are clean little lady,” said Marco sniggering, “Sorry Ace, didn’t mean to scare you,”

“So you all planned this?!” said Ace

“Mhm, getting your birthdate out of Garp was like pulling teeth,” said Whitebeard, “We knew it was around an important holiday, just not which one. So we decided to throw you a party along with out regular New Year’s festivities but we had to get you out of the house,”

“Why didn’t you ask me or Luffy?” said Sabo. Whitebeard raised an eyebrow, “Okay, just me then,”

“Needed you to keep Luffy distracted,”

“HEY!”

“Sorry kiddo, you would have gave away the party the moment you saw Ace. So we asked _________________ to show him around town while we get everything ready,”

“And we know you don’t mind hanging out with your little sister,” said Kingdew

“W-What’s that supposed to mean?!”

“Nothing, why are you getting defensive?”

“I-I’m not!”

“I’m just saying it’s because you like going on a _____________________ Adventure,”

“Oh! Yeah! Her adventures are pretty cool! You see shit you’ve never seen! Seriously! How did you find a cake that looks like fruit?!” Ace never actually had a real birthday party before. Back with Dadan, it was usually a casual offhanded happy birthday and everyone just ignored him as usual. He never even gotten a gift…well Magra did try to get him something, usually new clothes and that’s about it. He didn’t even know people celebrated birthdays until he witnessed a kid in Goa having one. Then he realized that his birth would and should never be celebrated and just forgot about it until today. There was a party celebrating the day he was born. He couldn’t help but smile. He even got a present from Pops and Flora, navigation tools including a compass.

“F-For me?”

“Seems like you have a knack for navigation,” said Whitebeard, “So we got you this,” Ace gingerly took it. Te rest of his brother gave him things too including a new game console, games, and clothes. He held back years. This was very new to him and it made him feel warm and happy inside, even though he knew he didn’t deserve it. He did nothing to deserve any of this.

“Because you’re so damned secretive, Luffy and I couldn’t get you anything for your birthday,” said Sabo

“Yeah! You’re always so mean Ace! We wanted to get you something too!”

“You two can share in my gift,” said _____________________ handing Ace the box of pears, “Happy Birthday!”

“You got me the pears?!”

“Mhm! I know you like pears over apples so I asked Miss Hanna if she could give me a batch for your birthday!”

“These are…cakes!” said Luffy who went to grab them. He then saw Ace’s murderous expression and backed down.

“Touch one and I’ll murder you! We can have one later,” he leered at _______________, “but how did you know it was my birthday?!”

“Well…when Oji-chan ordered the cake and when it was delivered, it had your name on it. So I just thought your birthday was close. Then Pops asked me to show you where the bakery was and I put two and two together. So while you were looking at everything, I asked Miss Hanna could have two boxes. She hid one while she got the other one,”

“Stop going through a lot of trouble for me!” he said putting her in a headlock and ruffling her hair. She flailed and tried to escape.

“Yeah! Get her good Ace!” said Luffy

“Overachiever!” said Sabo

“But it’s your birthday! You should always feel happy on your birthday!” after the cake and dinner, Atlas finally stood up.

“Okay rug rats, here’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for,” said Atlas. The kids looked at the old man with confusion as he took out twenty small envelopes. They were decorated and looked adorable and cute. He gave them each five. They looked puzzled but thanked him and opened them. The look on their faces were as though they have seen the face of God.

“T-This is five thousand beli!” said Ace, “In each one!”

“W-WAIT! WE GET MONEY?!” said Luffy

“Seriously?!” said Sabo. Atlas sighed

“It’s traditional. Seriously Edward what have you been teaching these kids?!”

“It’s been awhile since we’ve had children and I just forgot,”

“Flora?”

“Same, it’s been a rough two years,”

“But yeah, you each get money from me, Flora, and Atlas and which ever adult who’s close to you. It’s your New Year’s Money,” they all looked confused. Atlas snorts, “It’s to bring you all luck for the New Year,” They had five envelopes each. Sabo, Ace, and Luffy got an additional one from Dadan with the words “I have done this against my will”. But Luffy got one from Shanks, Sabo got his last one from an anonymous donor, along with Ace. _________________ got hers from her grandparents and Miss Hancock. It was five thousand beli each. The boys contemplated this in their rooms.

“So…what do we do with it?” said Sabo, “I mean we’re saving for a ship,”

“Yeah but…we’re working for that,” said Ace

“So…do we keep this?” said Luffy

“Well…it’s impolite to give away a gift,”

“How about this, we each pitch in 5000 beli each for our ship,” said Ace

“Sounds fair!” said Luffy.

“We can all go into the Capital tomorrow to see if there’s anything we can get,”

“________________ you coming with us, right?” she poked her out from her room.

“Huh?”

“We’re going to the Capital tomorrow, wanna come?”

“Sure!”

“They had these really cute cloaks and things that you can wear when it’s cold!” said Sabo

“She doesn’t want that girly crap!” said Ace

“What do they look like?” said _________________

“There was this yellow and white one!” said Luffy, “Red and white, red and black, blue and black, and pink and green!”

“I want those!”

“Lemme borrow one!”

“Okay!”

“Stop wearing ______________________’s clothes!”

“Izo wear things like that all the time! And he’s super manly!”

“There’s nothing manly about Izo!”

“If someone can fire a gun into the air, hit a dime straight through and catch it, that’s a man,” said Sabo

“Fine!”

“Well, it’s almost the end of your birthday,” said Luffy, “What do you wanna do?” Ace smirked

“I know the perfect way to end today,” Atlas stumbled towards his room. New Years was just beginning and of course he was going to drink every little upstart under the table. He was going to get an earful from Marietta when she gets back. He passed by the kids’ rooms. He noticed they were all empty until he got to Ace’s room. Using the futons, blankets, and pillows, they made a little pillow fort. He walked inside and peeked inside. All four of them were sound asleep. He saw the pear box empty, limbs everywhere and blankets covering them all. Ace had the most peaceful smile on his face surrounded by his brothers and sister with River on his head. He silently closed the fort and silently left the room and slid it closed.

***
The Eclipse and Flower Pirates were celebrating their latest victory against the World Government that evening. It happened suddenly and was soon over right after it started. The battle all but an day before the Marines surrendered and retreated, leaving them to escape. They escaped to Sphinx, deciding to lay low until they could treat their wounds and restock and food and supplies. He insisted that Blume and her crew docked and stay and she happily obliged. Winter had came and everyone would ceasefire anyway. What better way than to spend it with old friends and allies? He then noticed something. Edward was acting strange and strange was an understatement. He was peeking around the corner on deck. Atlas stood up and looked over to see. Blume’s cabin girl was on his deck looking at the sky. She just joined Blume some time ago. According to Blume she bought the girl from a trader, mainly to keep her from being sold off to the World Government and Marines. He then told me that not only was the child trader dead but she witnessed what happened with her own eyes and it added on to other trauma that the young girl witnessed. Thanks to Blume, she was finally adjusting quite nicely with the Flower Pirates. He hoped that Edward wasn’t planning on trying to challenge the girl, who did have an aura of trouble around her. But the look on his face told it all. Atlas sneaked away and ordered two very hot sweet potatoes. He pulled his cabin boy to the side and gave them to him. He was about to protest.

“Ask if she wants one. No one can say no to a hot sweet potato,” Edward nodded and cautiously went to the young girl. Atlas made himself scarce but watched on in secret. Edward slowly approached the girl who didn’t seem to notice him. He gently stood next to her. She turned. He swallowed a lump in his throat.

“Want one?”

“What is it?”

“Hot sweet potato. It’s really good and tastes great when it hot,” she takes it and slowly unwraps it. The steam was coming out of the potato. She cautiously bit into it. She winced at the heat but then relaxed, “How is it?”

“Good, thank you,” she said softly

“You’re welcomed. Want company?” she nodded. He stood next to her. They started making small talk, ending with them laughing. Atlas grinned at the sight. Edward was the only cabin boy he had and always felt the need to protect everyone his age and make friends, especially now since he was far from his family.

“I’ll show you around!”

“You live in this village?”

“Mhm! Come on! It’s not good to be cooped up on a ship all the time! Kids needs to stretch their legs and have a little fun!” she looked apprehensive but soon agreed taking his outstretched hand. He pulled and soon they were off the ship to explore a bit. He grinned. Was there nothing a hot sweet potato couldn’t fix?

“Thought I would never see the day that Flora decided to cut loose and be a little girl again,” he turned. Blume was watching as well from the crow’s nest.

“How long have you been up there?”

“Awhile, waiting for you to bring up that sake,” he snorts as she came down. The pair sat together in his Captain Quarters with hot piping sake and yakitori. They were old friends, first rivals but they knew that the other would have the other’s support in anything or be the one who knocks some well deserved sense into the other. They were quite the pair, he was large, muscular, dark skinned man with tribal markings from his village. He was imposing and intimating to all but he was in reality a big softie when it came to anyone who couldn’t defend themselves. Blume was a tall, ample woman with dark hair and soft, noble features but would still gut you with a smile, “Seems like Edward has taken a liking to Florrie,”

“So that’s her name,” he said downing his sake

“Mhm,”

“What’s her story?”

“Let’s just say she had two paths she could have gone down, one where she would have been an uncontrollable monster lashing out at the world or a tamed monster who followed what she knew was right,”

“Basically the same thing,”

“Mhm. She’s a sweet girl but she can size someone up pretty quickly. She knew what Caramel had in store for her and the other children. She protected them like they were her own,”

“Why did you buy her then?”

“I adopted her. Humans aren’t items to be sold. Behind all of that anger, cold eyes, and aggressive aura was a frightened little girl who lost everything and just wanted some stability in her life back. It was the only way she knew how to protect herself as a child. No one deserves to be treated as a monster without anyone knowing just how hurt they are and how much they were suffering in silence,”

“I see. So this is progress?”

“Yep! That and she does like your little cabin boy but she’s not going to admit it. She’s already thinking she’s gone soft because she’s not so angry anymore and expressing her emotions like a normal little girl,”

“I won’t tell him. He has to work for it,” they laughed as she pours them another round.

“We’re lousy parents,”

“Please! We’re the best damned parents on the seas!

Chapter Text

______________________ woke up, got dressed, and went to get her breakfast. She noticed a few things, like Izo was especially in a good mood, but mostly Pops. Downstairs, everyone was getting breakfast but she also noticed everyone was looking at the mail. Soon Blamenco came in with a larger than usual stack of mail and packages. Izo had the most and happily took his upstairs and everyone got at least one letter or package. Marco promptly tossed his large package in the trashcan.

“Shanks?” said Jozu

“Mhm,” she gently tugged on Kingdew’s shirt. He looked down.

“Hey kiddo,” he grinned at her and hands over her breakfast. Thatch went all out, making heart shaped pancake, omelettes, eggs, toast, and things like that.

“Why do we have heart things everywhere? What’s going on?”

“Cynical already?” said Curiel laughing, “It’s Valentine’s Day,”

“Valentine’s Day?”

“Yeah. You’ve heard of it, right?”

“Yeah but…I always thought it was just a regular boring day,”

“Oh? How come?”

“Well, Sister always treated it like a normal day! I didn’t even know it was called Valentine’s Day until last year. I just knew on February 14th, Sister would always leave late afternoon, made me something for dinner and lock down the convent telling me to not leave it until she came back and it was usually the next day and she would be a great mood for two weeks,” the men all fell silent and gave a collective shudder.

“Well Valentine’s Day is a day where people give people small gifts of love to show someone you care,”

“…oh,”

“So don’t feel bad if you don’t get anything, sweetheart,” said Atmos

“…but you guys give me things all the time to you care! We don’t need a special day for that!”

“Jeez kid, my heart!” said Vista clutching it dramatically

“Can’t say she isn’t logical about it,” said Thatch chuckling

“Oho, looks like you got something, little lady,” said Blamenco shifting through the boxes and envelopes.

“Me?” he hands her a small box with a red envelope.

“Oooh~ does our little sister get her first Valentine?” said Atmos, “Who’s the lucky guy?”

“Probably the freckled weirdo who lives here,”

“It came from Killer!” she said reading the card. Then she opened the little box, “AWWW! It’s so cute!!!” she squealed looking at mini figurine inside.

“Pretty Solider? I thought that show got cancelled ages ago,” said Izo

“Nah, still going strong around the Wano area,” said Blenheim, “And she got Tsuki in a kimono,”

“They’re making toys now?