Summary: When twenty-six year old Monkey D. Luffy is given the opportunity to travel through time with the help of a Jikan Jikan no Mi user, he doesn't hesitate.
He blinked, opening his eyes, only to close them at the strong, bright sight of the sun glaring down at him. A flock of birds flew overhead, the ever present sound of the ocean somewhere close, the smell of salt in the air. The tall, raven headed Monkey D. Luffy sat up with mild confusion, his ears ringing and dark colored eyes wide. He stared down from the grassy covered hill he rested at, looking to a familiar dirt road he had not seen since childhood. Trees littered the path leading up the mountain.
He laughed loudly, positioning his fallen, aged straw hat over his choppy, neck length messy and tangled hair. The man stood slowly, using his knees for support, and began to walk, his arms swinging freely. Luffy had not felt this happy in years, his body becoming more relaxed than it had been for many months. His black, shin length captain's jacket rested on his shoulders, flowing with the wind and thankfully not flying away. The orange headed navigator would kill him if anything would happen to the gift. It had ten open gold colored hooks running down along both sides of the material, the sleeves ending with about two inches of gold fabric. Underneath he wore plain black pants and a tight, nearly unbuttoned red shirt that revealed most of his muscular, scarred chest. He wore flat sandals. His legs walked for him on the familiar, never to forget island. He could feel his gut twisting painfully as he neared the long, large yellow house big enough for only the Dadan family. His mind was beginning to feel unusually numb.
Slowly, he kicked dirt of the long Mt. Colubo road with his sandal, as if to slow his journey. His heart was beating loudly in his chest. The sound of the once hated mountain bandits reached his ears within minutes. His mind was in a trance, his stomach turning when his fingers touched the cold metal of the doorknob, slamming it open with a bang. The room was hushed when the door hit the wall, Luffy sweat dropping at his accidental display of strength. He slowly walked into the main room, each foot step loud against the old, creaking, wood floors of the home. Luffy could feel his stomach twisting in nervousness and hunger. The entire house as chaotic as he remembered. From the other room, he could feel the killer intent radiating from his foster mother, the fat, manly Dadan herself.
He could barely contain a large, mischievous grin from his rubber face when saw the confusion flash through each and every child and mountain bandit. Luffy angled his head down, keeping his face hidden with his beloved straw hat. He sincerely hoped he wasn't dreaming again. His brothers stood from where they had previously sat in the corner of the room, shocked at the intruder in their home. Curly Dadan jumped from her seated position, now standing defensively in front of her family of bandits. Fat spewed from under the tucked, white button down shirt, her orange hair long and curly. She crossed her arms, a cigarette hanging from her large, rounded mouth.
"Where the hell did you get that hat," Ace, in all of his childish, freckled faced glory yelled, pointing at the Luffy with his bo staff. His eyes were narrowed with rage, nostrils flaring, moving to run at the stranger with the young and very much alive, blond headed Sabo. Luffy laughed at the nostalgia of the situation, releasing haki as an easy defense against the entire room. Everyone fell to the floor, only Ace and Dadan able to kneel at the power of the future King of the Pirates.
"Wh – what is this," Sabo called out, panting for air, his missing tooth visible as he laid against the ground. He could barley lift his head to glare at the stranger. "Where the hell is our brother," he screamed in fear, unable to move from the floor. About twenty bandits were sprawled unconscious around him and the rest of the family.
"I'm using my haki," Luffy answered the blond, crossing his arms and releasing his power. His smile widened as Dadan shook in dread. It took several minutes for anyone to move. Sabo and Ace were sitting up with pain, each glaring at the stranger, yet both unable to fight. Luffy chose that moment readjusted his hat, his dark colored eyes now visible. His jaw was wider than it used to be, his face more developed and eyes narrower, but he was the same. The ever present scar was still under his left eye; he could feel his skin tighten near the scar as it always did when he smiled. The biggest change between the child version they were used to seeing and himself was the large, almost deadly scar on his chest and a small gold earring in his left ear that was the result of a lost bet with his first mate. He sincerely hoped his brothers did not see the hollow look that he often carried when thinking of his family. He could already feel the pain in his chest return as he watched his siblings level through several levels of confusion.
"Lu," Ace breathed, eyes wide, staring in shock. Sabo and Dadan looked just as surprised. The now physically oldest brother offered a toothy grin to the group.
"I don't have long," he said ominously, face completely serious. He breathed in deeply. "I didn't say this enough growing up," he spoke to his brothers, his tone soft, the room hanging on his every word, "but I loved you guys." Sabo raised a blond eyebrow at his wording. Ace and the bandits looked lost. Most of the unconscious men were slowly picking themselves off of the ground. The tall, muscular adult that was Luffy plucked a booger from his nose, staring towards the ground. "You guys are okay, too, for mountain bandits."
"An adult and still an ungrateful brat," Dadan exclaimed with a huff, sitting on her cushion at the dinner table. Luffy sat in his old seat between his brothers, his large family following his actions.
"Luffy," Sabo said with innocence, staring at his previously younger brother. "How are you here? Why are you so old?"
"I'm not that old," Luffy told them, eyebrows frowned. "I'm twenty-six, you know – almost King of the Pirates."
"Where's our Luffy," Ace asked with concern. "How are you so strong?"
"Wherever he was before I got here, I guess," the man said, taking off his hat and placing it onto the table. The hat, his lifetime treasure, had a large tear on the brim, the straw material fading and wearing with age. The red band that used to circle the hat had been replaced twice now. He combed his choppy, neck length raven colored hair with his fingers, blinking slowly as he did so. He released a sigh before speaking, looking towards his now younger brothers. "I trained to get stronger, Ace. You know that. I – " he breathed in deeply, his heart racing. "Without this family, I wouldn't be who I am today." He stood up, bowing parallel to the floor. "Thank you." He had never before been so respectful to anyone. "Thank you so much," he repeated. Memories of his childhood came rushing to him. He could clearly remember when he lost Sabo, when Ace died years later. When he sat back in his seat, hat placed firmly on his head, he was surprised to feel tears fall from his eyes, onto his pants cladded lap. Before his brothers could comment, he used the back of his hand to wipe away the liquid with a blush. "Ah – I'm not a crybaby anymore. I'm just…I'm just happy to see you all again." He took his brothers into a hug and smiling as they squirmed.
"What happened to you, Lu," Sabo asked in worry. The older man slowly released the children, taking in their scent for the first time in many years. The pain in his chest grew as he watched them breathe, looking at him with curiosity and worry.
"I grew up," he told them, looking to his hand. His fingers were beginning to crack, looking more and more like a broken porcelain doll. The process hurt, his breathing picking up and eyes sad. He was almost out of time.
"Wha," Ace said, looking in concern at his brother. "Your hands…"
"I have to go back now," he whispered, looking towards his family. "I have a good crew, you know – with a musician, too. I have a 900,000,000 beli bounty," he smiled widely at the surprised expressions from his family. "I'm the only one of us who became a captain."
"Why didn't we-" Sabo asked in confusion, frowning heavily.
"It doesn't matter now." Luffy's tone was serious. His legs were cracking, the noise loud, lines appearing on most of his body. He had to tell them now.
"What happened to your chest," Dadan asked, talking fast as his body broke.
"It happened when I was out at sea. My own fault. I should have - never mind." He felt light. He only had moments left. "I just always wanted to tell you both…goodbye." His body pixelated in a poof as he said the last word, smiling as he disappeared into the air.
Sabo and Ace both grabbed for Luffy as he vanished, screaming for their brother. Sabo stared in fear and confusion of where his younger but surprisingly older brother had just sat, his own stomach twisting. The strangely depressed eyes of his brother haunted his mind, the sound of Luffy speaking in past tense stabbing his ears. What had happened in the future? Eyes wide, Ace fell back into his seat, glaring at the table. The missing spot between himself and Sabo deeply bothered him.
No one moved or spoke, everyone sitting at the dinner table in a daze.
The scar on Luffy's chest tortured Ace. Had he failed as an older brother? He would not fail this time. He would protect both of his brothers, no matter what, he promised himself.
For the second time in one afternoon, the door slammed open. A small boy in a white shirt that had the word anchor printed neatly on the fabric came running into the room, his oversized straw hat falling over his eyes.
"Did it work," a young teen questioned, wiping away sweat from his brow with his left forearm. He was no older than nineteen, sitting in a chair near Luffy's bed. He had short, once shaved hair and bright green eyes.
Luffy blinked, ears once again ringing, skin tingling. "I finally said goodbye," he said simply. Slowly, he was able to sit, the white sheets wrinkling at his movements. His captain's jacket had been thrown over him for extra warmth. He was unsurprised to see the familiar white walls of the Thousand Sunny infirmary. His crew surrounded him in worry. "Thank you," he whispered to the Jikan Jikan no Mi user, his words sounding like a yell in the unsettlingly quiet room. He was finally free from his guilt, from his self doubt. He smiled freely once again.
Finished! Another old story siting in my old laptop files. This has been fun. Also, I sort of based Luffy on a picture I saw on tumblr. He looked adorable so I expanded on that. Since this was set a few years ahead in the show (I made it so he thought Sabo was dead in the future, please don't kill me) I figured I'd boost his bounty up a little.
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Thank you, all,
The Reading Elf