I started writing this story years ago and wanted to write it years before, it's a simple concept but one I immensely enjoy writing. This is one of my first fics and my first longfic in the One Piece fandom. It's an OC perspective on the creation of the Spade Pirates, following an original journey from East Blue to the Grand Line and further, based on the incredibly small amount of information I had on the Spade Pirates at the time. Because of this, some things are different and some things are the same.

When I first started writing this fic my writing style was very different from what it is now, and while I have gone through to edit it to a more... reasonable display of my abilities there are still some things I would have changed and some that I believe its too late to. And so, I hope that you all will give this story a chance to grow.

As always, I love recieving reviews, they help me get immensely motivated and keep me writing, so if you have any thoughts just shout them at me if you want.


Prologue.

Living for Today.


It began with a bang.

A shattering noise that had her throwing her hands up to cover her ears and shrieking at the sheer amount of sounds reverberating through her skull. Whatever aches and injuries were pushed aside in favor of shutting her eyes and retching out pain filled moans and screams. The cacophony leaving her mind swaying and tears running down her face.

It was- decidedly, not a good day.

"Aaarrg-!" Yeah, that was her. Letting out such a pitiful moan that it would make even serial killers wince in sympathy.

"Who is that?!" Voices screamed and, had she been more aware, she wouldn't have accidentally ended up elbowing somebody in the face. But, no, the fact of the matter was, she wasn't doing anything but squirming around on the ground in something akin to seizures. Any hands that came close were snapped away by her teeth, fingernails or struggle, and whoever was around her had to step back a fair distance in her ensuing chaos.

The noise seemed to wane in her head for one long last eternal moment before the assault finally subsided and she was left; a deafening numbness that throbbed and pulsated. Alive.

"Huh?" And she stared up at the sky.

This was not a good day.

...

...

"So what's your name?"

He looked up from his papers, fiddling with his pen. The room was a cluttered mess and the woman standing before him was letting her eyes roam around listlessly. The days since she first arrived had long since passed but the ravenette had failed to insert herself into the village properly or leave.

So here she was.

"Quinn." She answered quickly, sharply, and he had to scowl at her. "Um… You're Roddie, right? The doctor said you had a job opening…"

She was mumbling. A quiet noise that he had to strain his ears to hear.

How annoying…

Quinn shifted from foot to foot at the attention that was suddenly focused on her. The room felt claustrophobic, and a tightness settled in her limbs, not doing anything to help her sudden anxiety.

He narrowed his eyes at her, face scrunching up. "Greeeaaat…" He drawled, "You're the new chick aren't you?"

Roddie tilted back in the chair, hands hooked behind his head and feet resting on his desk. Quinn wrinkled her nose, trying to curb the sudden sharp, uncontrollable annoyance that pierced through her at his amusement.

"'...Yeah?"

"Freaking weird look you got on your face." He pointed out. Tactfully. "Looks like you've been through quite a bit. Get any sleep recently?" He flicked a finger under his own eye. Successfully bringing her attention to the dark rings that had begun to circle around her eyelids.

She snorted. Like he was one to talk about being a disaster.

Roddie had blue hair, a nice distracting color that looked like it would fit in well among crayons. And, while combed, still looked like a mess. His jeans were faded and worn, his boots clunky and stained, and the cleanest part of him was the crisp white uniformed shirt with the Marine crest on the breast and even that was rumpled and old looking. He didn't look like the kind of guy that was trustworthy.

She chewed on her lips bitterly, the skin cracked, bleeding, and sensitive, but it didn't stop her from continuing. "Yeah…"

"Is that all you can say?" He raised a brow.

Quinn noted that, unlike his hair, it was a dull shade of brown. So, not natural like it had looked at first glance- weird. There was a few people on this island with hair just the same crazy coloring as his, only they vehemently attested to it being natural when she asked. One had even sworn at her, calling her an idiot.

(It had been the Doctor. He was an ass.)

"Now, tell me," he tapped the tip of his pen to his temple, "what's your full name? You won't get anywhere being picky with what you tell people."

"Varela." She scowled. "Quinn Varela. How bout you tell me what your real name is then? I seriously doubt that Roddie is it."

"Rude much. Somebody's snappy." He chuckled, grin on his face. "Hey, you're the one coming to me for a job."

She huffed at the reminder. Her time on Saigen was a mess of confusion and the desperate need to do something distracting. Since her impromptu arrival her days had been spent being nursed back to health by a small cranky doctor with a hunchback.

Busying herself by retching out her lungs, all the while her body decided it didn't want to be alive and dealt out pain every waking moment. Particularly around her neck.

She rubbed the aforementioned appendage lightly.

"So…" He rocked back and forth, "What can you do?"

She found herself shrugging, lips pressed together in a thin line. "Whatever I need to. I guess." Her hands dropped lifelessly to her sides. Roddie paused, running a hand through his hair, and gave her a look-

"You don't actually know what I do here, do you?" He deadpanned.

It was more of a statement than a question. And at first she didn't answer, thinking it rhetorical, but after a long and awkward staring contest, where she fiddled with the ends of her sleeves, she awkwardly answered.

"Not-" She coughed into her shoulder, a stinging running through her chest and around her neck.

"Not really." Quinn admitted. "After I… dropped onto the island, you could say… the village doctor just kinda… tossed me over here? I guess because he figured out that I couldn't pay him anything and my injuries were healed enough that he didn't have to do much more."

"Of course he did."

Roddie groaned audibly and waved a hand at her.

"Don't tell me more, I don't want to hear it. Damn it, this is just like him!" Roddie seethed, rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I run a mail station here, in the East Blue… The East Mail! I take care of messages and figure out where they need to be sent. From the South to the North, to the Grand Line or even the New World. So long as it needs somewhere to go or is sent here I make sure it goes right where it needs to." The explanation was quick and short. Said with a sort of sarcastic flamboyance.

A moment later he added in an afterthought, "The old man who used to run this place was struck down with double heart attacks and I took the job 'cause I needed to do something that would keep me away from prying eyes… I guess he got a great shock!"

"Double heart attacks…?" Quinn mused and was subsequently ignored.

"Of course they would throw you over here. The doctor is a money-grubber and this place is freaking horrible with new people…"

Quinn opened her mouth but closed it as he continued on rambling.

"Send me the crazy looking weirdo-" She fixed him under a purposeful glare. "-Because I'm technically the new guy, even though I've been stuck on this crap-hole East Blue Island half a year already. And I took over the stupid failing mail business because the Marines were too incompetent for anything that takes brains and the old guy died…! So, yeah, of course, they had to throw her at me!"

"I'm…" She felt like a scrap of unwanted paper. "I'm still here, ya'know?"

He waved her off, "Let me rant."

"Mn..." Both her eyebrows shot up. "Hmmm…?"

"I don't even have a job opening. I work better alone- it was always one of my study habits and this is no different." He pursed his lips, "But they're gonna make me take you just to get you out of their hair. And because you dropped out of nowhere and clearly have no idea what the hell is going on-"

She rolled her eyes and sat down on the floor, pushing litter out of the way with a wide sweep of her arms. She figured this was going to take awhile.

"Gosh. Shut up," Quinn pulled a face. "You whine a lot, don't you?"

He glanced down at her, incredulous. "Whatever Quinn. We both got screwed in this. Me much more so than you."

She disagreed, but whatever. She was the one currently sitting in a pile of garbage thank you very much. She would take the 'got properly screwed today' bragging rights off his hands joyfully. Even if only to throw it back in his face.

"Are you going to continue having a crisis or can I leave?" She thrust a thumb back over her shoulder at the door. It was rusted and looked like it was going to fall off its hinges if she so much as touched it. "Clearly, you're not going to hire me."

Maybe she could get an award for being the Master of Shitty Interviews to go along with her bragging rights.

He paused abruptly, thoughtful look coming over him, "You good at running a long time?"

"Yeah…? I used to run track and be crazy into parkour… why?"

Her body ached just thinking about it. The running and thrill was fun, the bruises… not so much.

"Then congrats! I have a use for you. One that'll keep you out of my hair and make a mess of the islanders," he seemed to swoon at the thought, hands clasping together tightly. "You're my new gofer."

There was a long pause. She was unsure if she had heard correctly.

"...gofer."

"Or courier, if you prefer." He shrugged, grinning. "But the title doesn't really matter. You'll basically only be running deliveries all day and that's about it. Nice, sweet, simple, and keeps you out of my way and thrown into others. The Marines have plenty of crap they want carried and, being unfortunately considered part of their organization at the moment, I can just get you to do it! This is a supply island after all."

Quinn found herself rolling her eyes, "So, great! I get to be the one to do your chores because you're too lazy to do them, is that right?"

He stared at her blankly.

Quinn raised an eyebrow when he waved his hand in the air, "Psh-nawww~ That's not it."

"Sure not."

Roddie ignored her, "Congrats, gofer, you got the job."

Quinn ran a hand over her face, "Don't call me that."

"Well, maybe, just a thought, you shouldn't talk back to your boss."

As if to add onto the fact, he repeated it with a sneer, "Gofer."

...

...

Quinn realized, coming to a sudden halt and practically throwing a package at someone's face, that there was probably something wrong with her.

Fundamentally. Not having to do with the chronic neck pain and the standard issues that she was used to dealing with. There was just something wrong with how quickly she had jumped into work on an island that she had never heard of before and gone on without much of a thought as to where she was or what was actually happening.

There was just so much... wrongness. Everywhere she stepped, she was overwhelmed with an immense feeling of the world just not being right.

And she had just gone on with her life, despite it.

Just an overall lack of caring. And awareness.

She felt like there was a word for it. But she couldn't put her finger on it exactly.

"You damn bi-" Oh, she was being cursed out. That was fun.

She sighed. What she would give for some good noise canceling headphones right now. Yeah, that would be wonderful. It'd fit right in. Wasn't like she paid attention to anything going on around her anyway.

Wonderful.

...And this guy was still making noise.

Geez. Did he even breath?

"I'll tell your boss about this!"

"Sorry." She mumbled loosely, eyeing the shattered parcel on the ground by their feet. It hadn't had fragile written on it anywhere so it wasn't like it was her fault.

"Good luck with that. He won't care."

He'd probably get a good laugh out of it in all honesty. Roddie made it a point to piss people off or poke fun, especially with the Marines. He seemed to have some extreme passive aggressiveness towards them and spent his time making everything as difficult as possible, and the islanders were often caught in the middle of the war.

Actually, her eye twitched, when she last saw him, just that morning, she had walked in on him carefully looking over papers and pictures of misshapen fruit and, when she'd asked, his response to it had been: "Just forging documents. Nothing too illegal. Wouldn't ask any more if I were you, otherwise they could get you for conspiracy or something. You should try and keep your plausible deniability." Which she had shrugged at. It didn't sound like he was lying either.

Oh, complete apathetic indifference. That was the word she was looking for.

The guy turned beet red.

"Sayonara." And she left before he could so much as send another curse her way.

Quinn sighed. She had been doing that a lot lately.

The jog was easy enough and, in fact, a quiet thrum of exuberance resonated through her lungs. Even her legs, which had initially ached throughout the first week working for Roddie, seemed to bounce under step with a renewed giddiness that she hadn't felt in a long, long time. The job was… healthier for her than she would admit. But, while the running and exercise was great and did wonders, she was much, much, much less enthusiastic about the people. Case in point the guy running after her.

"Get back over here! You owe me for that package you destroyed-" he shouted, "I expect repayment!"

She gritted her teeth, "Go- away!"

This island was not happy with her presence. And, well, she couldn't exactly blame them.

She rounded a corner.

"AH!"

"-gyeh!"

There was groaning and grunting. And pain.

It felt like she had just run face first into a wall.

"Well, that was rude!" A voice, high pitched and loud, announced.

Quinn winced as her elbow dug sharply into the ground, scraping against the concrete. Her hoodie now covered in dust and dirt as she slammed down. "Damn it…" She muttered. That was going to sting later.

"You okay there?"

"Well, I'm being chased. So yeah. Might as well call it an okay day."

Brown hair cut in a bob, dark eyes and contrasting bright clothes that blinded and grated on her eyes. She stood with her hands on her hips, lips pursed and her cheeks puffed out. Looking as if she was about to give a damn lecture. Quinn couldn't help but shoot the woman she had plowed into an incredulous stare.

She was built like a rock wall if she hadn't so much as budged.

"Aren't you…?" The woman stopped short, mouth closing before opening again, looking curious.

"Aren't I…?" She returned dryly.

There was blood on her knees and her leggings had been ripped. Great. There went her only pair of proper clothes.

"HEY! Where'd you go-?!"

And that guy was still on her tail!

"What the-"

Before she could so much as begin to pick herself up off the ground a hand was wrapping around her bicep and shoving her into the space between a fence and a building. Her exclamation was cut short by the heavy breathing of the guy rushing by in a hurry and the woman blocking her view with her own body. A few moments passed and the brunette stepped away, letting her crawl out and blink in confused surprise.

"I- thanks?"

She went ignored.

"Ooh~ that was the bar owner. He has temper issues." She laughed, incredibly loud. "That must have been scary."

Quinn, again, didn't even get to move.

She was already in her face.

"Uhhhh-"

"Anyways, I'm Dahlia! It's nice to meet you!"

It sounded like she was almost screaming - her voice boomed and reached high octaves that Quinn would liken to shrieks over a normal speaking tone. The woman didn't seem to be aware of her own noise though, clearly she had been born with an outdoor-voice, and simply smiled like she was the happiest person in the world.

"Sorry," she winced. "And-Uh… yeah… nice to meet… you too."

Quinn finished lamely.

"So why was he after you?"

"...He didn't catch his package and it broke."

"Do you make a habit of destroying your clients stuff?" Dahlia mused, "Because, if you do, that doesn't sound like a rockin' business deal, not for the customers at least. Maybe not for you either- unless you got some wicked sadistic side and get off on that sort of thing." She pursed her lips, tapping her chin.

"...I don't think so."

"Like Roddie!"

"No. Definitely not."

Dahlia laughed. Not believing her for even a second. "No wonder all the others talk about you behind your back!"

Quinn made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a grumble.

"Oh? How nice."

Somebody was shouting again. Probably the guy with the temper.

"I wouldn't say so! It sounds really mean," Dahlia frowned, "What are you? An idiot?'

She stared.

"...no."

"What's your name by the way? Vallie? Ella?"

"Quinn Varela."

"Oh, I was close!"

No. No she was not.

"So, Varela, how's Saigen been treating you so far? Besides the obvious!"

The obvious being the guy with the temper.

Quinn dusted herself off. "Just swell."

And the shouting was getting louder and louder. It was beginning to become pretty bothersome too. She narrowed her eyes, looking over Dahlia's head, yeah, something was definitely going on over there. "Is that... normal?"

"Hm?" Dahlia turned her head, "What?"

She chewed on her lip distractedly, face scrunching up. It… looked like a fight?

At the point where her vision began to blur- and, yes, she probably needed glasses- she could make out a large group, or rather, two large groups who seemed to be in the middle of what looked like a full-blown turf war. Marines on one side, she guessed because white uniforms weren't all that common outside that line of work, and what looked to be the most sorry bunch of stereotypical pirates she had ever had the displeasure of seeing. A few even had feathers and plumes coming out of their hats.

"Damn, I think I really need glasses." She rubbed at her eyes. Either that or she was going crazy...

"Oh no…" Dahlia moaned, cupping the side of her cheek. "What is it now that's got them wrecking even more havoc?"

"Does this happen often?" She asked, voice incredulous and wincing when she caught sight of the downed forms of a few people. Quinn pointedly ignored the screams and groaning.

"Mn."

Dahlia seemed to wilt, her once cheerful disposition falling away to a sort of weariness that didn't suit the smile-lined face. "It started quite a few months ago. Maybe half a year or so? We think they're just fighting to fight."

Quinn blinked at the explanation, taking a deep breath in through her nose.

"That's a…" she feels her mouth pull tight, "A lame reason."

"Heh- Yeah, let's just hope we don't get caught in the crossfire."

"...I kinda need to go that way."

"...Me too."

Great.

Yeah, her lack of interest for this whole situation was far outweighing her sense of self-preservation at the moment.

"We could just walk by them?" Quinn tried.

"Won't that get us killed though?"

"They seem pretty preoccupied with each other. It's not like we're their target."

Dahlia eyed her thoughtfully before nodding. "Alright, let's go!"

Quinn made a face as Dahlia tugged her along by the wrist. She couldn't help but grumble under her breath, taking a moment to watch the groups as they shuffled on by. Now that she was getting a good look on things the fighting was more of a tumbling match than an actual sword fight- Honestly, she saw at least three people trip over their own shoelaces within the first ten seconds of her staring. It was awkward and centered around something that she couldn't quite make out.

Well, not until she managed to pull her head out of whatever delirium it was in and actually focused for once.

"Are…" she paused, incredulous, "Are they fighting over a box?"

That was less surprising than she thought it would be. Still, terribly disappointing.

"How-" she grimaced, "Stupid."

Her hatred for humanity slowly increasing aside, well, Quinn really didn't want to know what was so great about some box that got people in the streets fighting each other for it. She clenched her hands together, very nearly throwing her head back with the force of her groan; was this really what she had been thrown into?

How sucktastic.

"I don't care!" Dahlia declared loudly, a quirk of hers that Quinn was beginning to notice and quickly deciding it was aggravating. She was just… real loud. "So long as their attention is not on us- or any of the natives- it's just fine!"

Quinn agreed easily enough, "If nobody gets it in their head to play hero or whatever then everything should be okay. They'll probably stop once one side runs off with the box or everybody's dead." Dahlia flinched at her bluntness. Despite that, she didn't backtrack, instead continuing with the same dry tone, "Either way it's pretty much a win-win for us, in the end. If they just kill each other then we won't have to worry about anymore fights breaking out, ya' know?"

She snorted to herself.

Well, she was trying to look at the bright side of the situation at least. For once.

Though she seriously doubted they were actually any good at killing each other.

The moment one got punched in the face they were laid flat out on the ground squealing like kicked puppies and it wasn't like anybody was going in and finishing anybody off while they were out of commission.

Quinn flinched at her own line of thought. Okay- so maybe she really did have a sadistic side.

"You are… scary, Varela." Dahlia shivered, wrapping her arms around herself.

"Remind me not to get on your bad side."

Quinn made a vaguely offended noise.

As they inched by Dahlia whispered, "Are you sure about this?"

"Not at all. But I mean," she quickly retracted when Dahlia's mouth fell open, "it's not like some kid is gonna run over and start antagonizing them."

"Ah- haha, yeah. That would be silly."

Of course, the world had to go and ruin everything.

"Hey, you!" Quinn felt her entire body stiffened at the sudden shout behind her.

Face frozen in the content smirk. "Yeah, I'm talkin' to you dum-dumb! Fight me now you cowards!"

The world had a cruel sense of humor.

"Oh my god, this is actually happening right now."

"A dumb kid appeared?!" Dahlia exclaimed in horror. "She's challenging the scoundrel's to a duel?!"

"I jinxed us. I somehow, totally, and irrefutably jinxed us."

Quinn facepalmed.

"You guys hurt my brother in your last fight!" A little girl in distractingly bright clothing on par with Dahlia's snapped. She couldn't be a day older than twelve. "And you destroyed his favorite book! That was our Uncles, y-you assholes!"

As one, the group turned to greet her. With less than happy faces.

The little girl flinched backwards, sent reeling, but remained rooted in her spot. Fists clenched awkwardly and thumbs tucked beneath her fingers- she didn't even know how to throw a punch properly and yet she was screaming at a group of grown men to fight her.

Feeling an incredible urge to roll her eyes Quinn groaned.

"What is this world?!" She exclaimed under her breath in a broken whisper. "Do you purposely raise imbeciles with no sense of self-preservation?" It wasn't like she was one to talk but- But she didn't act like that!

"Ah, what about what we're doing?"

"We don't count." She growled. They were at least trying to mind their own business.

"Get out of here brat!" A marine hissed, frozen mid swing. And Quinn had to actually facepalm this time because- why the hell weren't they taking advantage of the fact that their enemies were distracted?! "You're gonna get yourself killed!"

One of the pirate-looking fellows gave a sleazy grin, walking over to the little girl with his hands on his hips, "C'mon. Why don't we indulge the little kiddie? Go on brat, throw a punch. I'll even give you a free shot!"

The girl stared up at him with wide frightened eyes.

And, in response, the hopeless girl got a determined look in her eyes, puffing up pridefully- as if she was even close to big and tough. "You. Stupid. Little. Brat." She bit out sharply. The girl was an idiot.

"Ah-ah-" Dahlia tutted, looking like she was about to run forward, "Someone needs to- I need to- We need to- Somebody has to step in!"

The little girl raised her hand and punched him as hard as she could in the leg. The man laughed as she tore her hand back and whimpered loudly. Quinn groaned, it was from having held her fist wrong and ending up smashing her thumb beneath the force of her own hit. She looked to be holding back tears. The man's grin turned wicked.

"Alrighty, little kiddie, I think it's my turn now."

The girls mouth fell open and she curled backwards. "B-B-But-!"

He raised his fist and flung it downwards. The skin-on-skin contact leaving a bruise that was bound to stay for awhile. It looked painful, it felt painful. Ow. "That must've hurt." Quinn said nonchalantly.

And her earlier realization came back to her in full blown force.

It did seem like there was something wrong with her. A big, fundamental problem with her personality. A kind of flaw that she was born with and had never grown out of. Mostly because her reaction was not to run ahead and help the kid, or to think about helping her, or anything of the sort. No. Her immediate reaction was to have an introspective session. Which said a lot actually.

She pursed her lips, looking at the sky.

It was blue. Of course it was. Seemed like a blue kind of day.

The kid wailed, holding onto her face, tears and snot running down her cheeks in a disgusting showmanship of just how much she could cry. Drops of blood smeared onto the dirt. The marines all looked on in horror at the sight. And yet, despite their so-called justice, they didn't appear to be running forward to offer any help anytime soon or even to lift a finger. No, instead they ducked their heads and shuffled their feet.

The sight sparked an annoying twinge of recognition.

"Oh," Quinn blinked coldly, her brow furrowing together. "Is that what I look like?"

She mused, why, wasn't that just pathetic?

"One for beating up kids, asshole?" Quinn called, and she barely withheld the shock at how steady and calm her voice sounded.

And then the shock that she had even spoken up at all hit like a train.

She cursed at herself. Of all days to be impulsive.

"What was that you…" he raised his head. "Oh, it's the foreigner chick! Come to try and play hero or something? Trying to make yourself look good, are you?" He spat out. Ooh, tough guy, isn't he? Even though he had flinched when the little girl punched him.

"Is the talking with a foot in your mouth a fetish or is this a new thing you're trying out?" She quipped.

Wow, that was... terrible.

Taunting was not her strong-suit.

"It's not a good look on you. Not that you would know what good looked like."

She stepped forward to drag the attention away from the still sniveling girl, even as every muscle in her body stiffened and bent under the focus. Ready to bolt the moment she got the chance. Oh god. What was she thinking? Biding her time. Just- trying not to look at the girl… don't look at the girl…

Shit! She glanced at her.

"Oh hey," she announced loudly- mocking Dahlia's voice while she was at it-and forced attention back on her, dragging the pirates gaze away from the girl. Just in time too, otherwise he would have seen the surprisingly stealthy Dahlia scurrying away with the girl under arm. As soon as Dahlia combat-rolled out of the scene, Quinn was stabbing a finger back in the direction of the box. "Look! The Marines are trying to get away with that box you guys so desperately want!"

Which, they weren't, they hadn't moved. But they didn't need to know that.

"Wha-! Hey!" He shouted, "Stop them!"

Quinn slunk away before he could realize she was gone. Hiding away and letting out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. That went far better than she expected. Luck must be on her side today.

"Varela!"

"KE-!" The resulting scream was cut short.

"Oh, sorry. I didn't mean to scare you."

Dahlia certainly didn't sound sorry. She looked rather pleased with herself actually and was holding onto-

Quinn growled.

"You brought her with you?!" The disgust dripped like acid from her voice.

The kid squeaked.

"Well what was I supposed to do?" Dahlia scowled back, "Drop her in a trashcan and tell her to be on her way?"

"Hell if I care!"

Dahlia narrowed her eyes at her thinly before replying cheekily. "Oh yeah- I bet you're actually a super softy on the inside, aren't you, Varela? You talk all that scary an' horrible stuff but you're secretly a teddy bear."

Her eye twitched. Quinn ignored the spew of bullshit, "Brat, you cool?"

The girl shook her head, squeezing her eyes shut.

"So long as you're not crying, you're fine." She pressed her lips together then, "And don't you dare take that as an invitation to start making noise and bawling. You're lucky you weren't killed, you little shit, and you almost got us in trouble too. Hope you're proud of yourself."

Was she being petty? Probably. Was she currently seething with rage and not caring at this point? Most definitely.

Her apathy-streak had been ruined beyond repair.

The girl closed her mouth with a snap of her teeth grinding together.

Quinn peeked over the edge of their little hidey hole. Nothing more than a couple of barrels they had ducked behind. "Okay, it looks like they're distracted. We can probably make a run for it now and get the so-called 'kiddie' to the doctor." She was holding her arm. Her wrist and face bruised. Quinn wouldn't be surprised if she broke her thumb and twisted it.

Quinn didn't notice, or would care if she did, the way the girl flinched at the title of kiddie.

"Okay, let's go."

Dahlia and the girl hadn't moved still. They simply stared up at her with wide eyes.

"What-?"

That seemed to snap them out of their stupor.

"Well, chop chop!" She motioned with her hands, "Freaking move! Are we going or not?"

Dahlia jerked to her feet, pulling the girl along as they jogged away from the current battlefield. Kiddie stumbling with each step, sniffling all the way. Quinn grumbled under her breath, taking the brat under her arm and taking most of the weight off of her limp. She ignored the wide, glistening eyes staring up at her in something akin to admiration.

"Oh, thank goodness." Dahlia huffed, "I think we're gonna be okay now."

Quinn let out a light laugh at that.

"Kehehe~ Of course. I mean," she grinned widely for the first time in what felt like years, exhilarated. "It's not like the entire object of their attention is gonna fall directly into my hands and screw us all!"

Oh.

There's the instant regret.

...

Ah, was she hit by a train? Because it sure as hell felt like that.

Quinn stared down at the broken box on the ground. Hands curled around the horrifying and odd fruit that remained, having been flung up into the air and directly down into her grip. Really, she should know better by now than to go around opening her big mouth. Once was a coincidence, twice was… damn it, whatever god there was must really have it out for her.

That 'got screwed' award definitely had her name on it.

She twitched, eyes casting away from the sky and down to her surroundings.

Or, rather, cough, those who surrounded her.

"Give the fruit here girl!"

Scoundrels jeered and threatened. Marines pleaded and bribed. Quinn stood frighteningly still.

"Today. Today," she announced. "Is not a good day."

The swords in her face got dangerously close.

She turned to the nearest Marine, ignoring his outstretched hand trying to swipe the fruit away, "This is called a Devil Fruit, isn't it?"

A cold sheen of sweat seemed to cover him and he nodded numbly. Huh. The name tickled something in the recesses of her mind but she couldn't properly get a hold on it. Even though she was the one who said it. There was just... some thing keeping her from understanding. In fact, the whole island felt like it. Like there was something about the entire place that her mind just refused to comprehend. Overwhelming her with a sense of deja vu. And she was about done with the feeling. Really, she was about done with it all.

"Is it poisonous?"

He hesitated here, stuttering. "U-Um… w-we don't kn-know. I-It... could be?" He barely managed to squeak out.

His fellow marines eyes widened. And a blonde marine with a sick mask on, who just arrived at the scene, seemed to realize what she was going to do before even she did.

"Wait-"

"I see." She bobbed her head along, as if clearing up some grand revelation. Which, in some way, it did. "That's good enough for me then."

"No!"

She eyed the fruit. "Well, I never did believe in second chances anyways."

And Quinn took a bite.