Chapter 1: Decisions!

Chapter 1 – Decisions

A seven-year-old Luffy stood by the harbors, clutching a straw hat that covered his wet eyes. He was the only one standing there, the villagers having left once Shanks' ship had been out of sight. Luffy already felt lonely, even though it had been less than an hour since they left. The only thing that comforted him was the hat on his head, a tangible reminder of his first true friends. He had to remind himself that this wouldn't be the last time he would see them, if he meant to fulfill their promise. He wiped away the last of his tears before turning, intending to go to Makino's bar for some food.

Before he could move far however, everything around him went gray and silent. The seagull that was about to fly off was frozen in spot and a leaf was floating in the air motionlessly. The only visible color left was on Luffy himself.

Luffy looked around startled. "M-Makino? M-mayor? G-g-gramps?"

"Hey. Don't be scared."

He swung around to see a man standing where he had stood just moments ago. The man was wearing an open red vest and blue shorts with a yellow sash tied around them. He had a huge scar in the shape of an X on his chest. What shocked Luffy the most however was that the man was wearing a straw hat. His new straw hat.

"Hey! That hat's mine! Shanks gave it to me! Give it back, you meanie!"

The man chuckled softly but didn't move to return it to him.

"Your hat's still on your head, Luffy."

Reaching up, he realized it was true. "Oh. Sorry about that. Hey, wait, how do you know my name, old man?"

"Shishishi! I'm not old, you brat! I'm you."

Little Luffy tilted his head in confusion. "You're weird, old man. How can you be me?"

"I'm you from the future," his counterpart said.

"COOOOOOLLL!" yelled little Luffy, stars shining in his eyes. "That's why you have the hat! But wait if you're from the future, and you still have the hat..."

"Don't worry we kept the promise. Shanks let us keep it at the end. Shishishi!" Older Luffy laughed, trying to hide the grimace and final memory of Shanks.

"Oh! So, then why are you here old man?"

"Stop calling me old, you brat! I'm only 15 years from the future, not 55!" exclaimed future Luffy. His irritation soon evaporated, and he immediately turned serious. "But I'm here because I screwed up. My nakama... I let my nakama die."

"You... I lost all of my friends?" asked little Luffy on the verge of tears. He hadn't even met them, yet he was already being told he would lose them all?

"Yes... I wasn't strong enough last time. But that's why I'm here." Future Luffy took off his hat and stared at it, a frown on his usually bright face. "This hat gives its wearer a second chance. Once only, it has the power to let them relive their life from the moment they received it. That's how I'm here now. I wasn't strong enough last time, but this time we can be - if you accept that is."

"Accept? What do you mean?" Asked little Luffy, tears still threatening to fall from his eyes from the thought of being lonely again.

"If you want, I can give you all my strength and memories. That way we can be strong enough to protect our friends."

"B-but what about them? They won't remember? That's not fair."

"No. But we have no other choice if we want to protect them."

"I-I want to protect them! I don't want to lose my friends and be lonely!"

Future Luffy smiled sadly. "Along with my strength you'll also gain my pain, unfortunately. You'll have to keep this scar," he said pointing to the X on his chest.

"T-that's okay," replied little Luffy, still fighting back tears.

Future Luffy walked forward until he was just inches away from his younger self. He smiled softly and reached out to lay his hands on the straw hat that barely fit on the small boy's head. Slowly big Luffy started to fade away.

"Don't let anyone find out about this. It'll bring danger before our friends can handle it. Protect them well this time," he said as he slowly disappeared from sight. As he did little Luffy let out a bloodcurdling scream as his body absorbed the memories and anguish and pain and joy and laughter and everything his older form had gone through in seconds, almost passing out. His body grew an inch, but every single cell in his body seemed to be on fire his chest burning the hottest as the scar was carved in as if Akainu was just stabbing his molten fist. There was a price it seemed for ramming a couple decades through time and merging it into the past. Luffy fell still screaming to his knees, nearly passing out.

All of a sudden everything regained color and the noises came back. The seagull flew away, and the leaf slowly fell, leaving a boy sobbing and clutching his chest, where a painful scar appeared. But the true pain lay deeper inside. He couldn't fix the pain of the scar, but he intended to fix the other pain.