The thunderously loud bellow has Rosinante flinching, scuttling to hide behind Sengoku's chair. In the boy's defence, it is the first time he'll be exposed to all of the boisterous riot that is Monkey D. Garp.
If he could get away with it, Sengoku would quite like to run and hide too.
The Vice Admiral barges his way into Sengoku's office as per usual; smashing straight through the paper wall as if it weren't even there. Yes, the paper wall. One can only go so long with rebuilding the usual sturdy walls, can only go so long with Garp continuously forcing his way through it, before one throws in the towel and switches to paper. Easier to 'rebuild' and cheaper too.
"Sengoku, Sengoku, look! This here's my little girl!"
And without further ado, a tiny human is thrust right up into Sengoku's face. And she is a tiny thing, perhaps three years old.
She hangs from between Garp's large hands with no protest, what is undoubtedly Garp's old Marine cap thrown over her head and far too big. It tilts to a side, visor exposing only one half of her upper face as it slips to the left.
It's not enough to cover the little licks of what has to be a birthmark running down the left side of her face, halting at the hollow of her cheek. It seems like a big mark, from what little Sengoku can see of it.
Her features are soft, nothing like the hard edge Garp has and that has to come from the man's wife.
That beaming grin is all Garp though.
"Hi! I'm gonna be a marine!"
Head cocking back, the girl stares at Garp as if checking she'd spouted the right thing.
Garp... Garp looks like all his birthdays have come at once.
"She's so cute and adorable and she's gonna be a marine! Just like me!"
Good lord, Sengoku hopes not. One Garp is already too much.
Dressed in knee length shorts (the white material stained green by the hems that indicate the girl has spent more than her fair share of time kneeling or skidding along in the grass) and a thin sleeveless shirt (the navy blue colour doing nothing to hide the stains of food that hint at an appetite to rival Garp's) the girl waves her hands happily in greeting.
Sengoku can all but feel Rosinante's incredulous stare. He feels quite the same.
"Well," Sengoku begins, scrambling for the words that'll get Garp and his spawn out of his office as fast as humanly possible. "She's certainly cuter than the last one." And that isn't even a lie.
He'd first met Monkey D. Dragon when the boy was three nearing four years old, oddly solemn for a child of Garp's. Right up until that creepy ass grin stretched his lips wide and bared pearly white teeth. For a just out of toddlerhood child, that expression had been as threatening as bloody Gol D. Roger and his manic grin.
The comparison doesn't bode well for Garp's brat, but like hell if Sengoku's gonna point out the similarities between the Vice Admiral's oldest and the World Government's biggest headache.
Speaking of potential headaches...
"And her name?"
Garp opens his mouth, but he's cut off by the brat he's still presenting to them both.
"I'm Monkey D. Kitsune! Remember it, 'cause I'm gonna change the world!"
Oh dear Lord.
Monkey D. Dragon stares at the little infant clutches in his mother's arms, mind still wrapping around the facts. His mother's stomach had swollen with a child, and now that child is out in the open, all wrinkly and pink and screaming. She's dreadful, he thinks with a grin.
Rising to his tiptoes, the dark haired boy stares into the baby's little face, at those flushed cheeks that seem more mush then flesh, at the watery, hazy eyes that are still baby blue. His mother insists they'll darken as time passes, much how his own did. Dragon cannot remember looking into a mirror and not seeing coal black eyes, but he'll take her word for it.
"What's her name, Garp?" Mother looks to father, her honey eyes wide and warm, her lips tilted in a smile.
His father is not a small man.
It always seems strange, looking upon his parents as they stand side by side. Mother only comes halfway up father's chest, short and slender. She's like a flower, and all that long Golden hair doesn't help towards making her appear stronger. She's fragile and delicate and must be protected.
Perhaps that is why she married father, father who is muscle upon muscle, strength showcased in his every movement.
Dragon may not agree with a lot of things father does, certainly doesn't agree with the idea of such a strong man taking orders from those Celestial Dragons who are just so much weaker (who are just so wrong, everything about them is wrong and why can nobody else see it?) but his strength is undeniable.
Dragon hopes his future physique favours Father's, as much as he hopes this baby (his dear little sister, his only one) will favour their mother. He will be a good big brother, Dragon decides. He will protect his sister from all those that threaten her, even if he must split the continent in two, even if he must overthrown the world.
She is his to protect now.
"Kitsune. Monkey D. Kitsune."
Dragon sounds the name out in his head, staring at the little infant who's name seems far too big for her tiny form. The shameful connection between their names (mythical beings, how grand) is noted and stored away for later consultation. Now is not the time.
"My little princess to spoil," Father continues, cooing rather ridiculously at the infant. It's a miracle he's managed to get the time off work as things are.
The pirates on the Grand Line are a rowdy, rambunctious bunch and father seems more than happy to spend his time pitching cannonballs at them in efforts to skin their ships. More than once he's returned home, grumbling all the way about Gol D. Roger, his main target who always seems to effortlessly slide out of reach just as Father thinks he's got him.
He'll never say it aloud, but Dragon rather looks up to Gol D. Roger, a man who does what he wants and damn what the rest of the world thinks of it. Or how they suffer for it. Dragon doesn't understand why the Marines get so upset about it; is his attitude not exactly the same as that of the World Nobles' attitudes? Why does blood, why does birth parents dictate a right to be morally excluded from what is just and what is inequitable? These are questions that spin about in Dragon's head, that linger and persist; he just cannot ignore them. He thinks on them constantly and perhaps that is the reason it is rare to find a smile upon his face.
Thinking about these kind of things, it leaves him very little to smile about.
He gives up leaning over the side of the bed and instead climbs right onto it, ignoring the way Father frowns at him.
This is his little sister, his only one, and he will not be stopped from presenting himself before her.
"Here, Dragon. Hold her."
And Mother is pressing the tiny human towards him, swaddled in blankets as she is.
She's so small, so fragile and delicate in his arms. Is he suppose to feel the little flutters of her ribs so clearly? Hear the tiny wisps of her breathing, sense the palpitations of the little heart beating so furiously? Blurry blue eyes flutter open, failing to true focus on anything at all.
It doesn't stop Dragon from smiling down at her, doing his best to not expose his teeth. Everyone says his grin is a bit crazed (he may or may not have brought the neighbour's baby to tears last year after smiling at him), even Mother has pointed it out to him. Dragon's smiled into the mirror before, and though his face does look a little unsettling, he wouldn't say it's manic.
Very carefully, he balances the baby in one arm, lifting the other so he can dance his fingers before her sightless eyes. How much can a baby see? Dragon doesn't know, it's not information he's ever needed before.
Kitsune doesn't respond to the motion of his fingers, so Dragon settles for stroking one long line down the side of her cheek instead. She has a birthmark, a large thing that begins above her exceptionally fair eyebrow and stretches halfway down her face, thickest in the middle where her eye rests. It looks like a loose flame, a wisp.
At least if she's stuck with a birthmark, it's not an ugly one. It's just there, present on her face.
"Don't you want to talk to her, Dragon?"
"What is there to say?" Kitsune won't comprehend what he says to her. She's a baby, she doesn't understand the language they speak, words are a forgiven concept to her. It would be a waste of his time to speak because Kitsune can say nothing back, won't be capable of saying anything for a fair amount of time now.
He says as much to his mother, while Father nods sagely in the background.
"Men," Mother grumbles beneath her breath, accepting Kitsune back into her arms. Dragon's little sister is fast asleep now, though her eyelids twitch occasionally.
"How else do you think she'll get used to your voices? You'll be strangers if you don't talk to her."
It makes sense. Kitsune may not be able to comprehend what he's saying, but she will come to recognise his voice. Understandable.
"Hello, Kitsune. I am Monkey D. Dragon and you are my little sister."
She doesn't respond, doesn't even twitch, but Dragon can feel himself grinning.
This is his little sister. His. She is his to look after, behind Mother he was the next to hold her, she is his.
And he will protect her.
After a week, Father returns to work.
Dragon stands upon the deck, Kitsune strapped to his chest in a sling and he watches the Marine ship catch the waves, watches it disappear from sight. The sun sits high in the sky, spring steadily reappearing in the world, washing winter away with its showers of rain.
His little sister naps against his chest, one tiny hand wrapped up in the thin cotton of his jumper. Her fingers are no longer as red and wrinkly as they had once been, though they are still so very feeble looking. It would not take much effort for them to be snapped.
The very thought has Dragon watching everything, cataloguing all possible threats, from the travellers he doesn't recognise to the birds that could peck their beaks at his delicate little sister's face.
There is so much to defend her from, Dragon realised. It is a good thing indeed that Father's strength lingers in his own limbs, coiled and ready.
Unlike Father though, Dragon does not yet know what he wishes to do with his strength. The core principles behind the Marines, the concept of upholding justice, does not sit right with the ten year old.
Who decides what constitutes as justice? Who gets the final say upon what is right and what is wrong? Why is it that the World Nobles, these Tenryūbito, hold so much power over every other being in the world? They so rarely interact with the world at large, and Dragon has never once heard of them performing what most would consider a good deed. All he has heard of them is of their rights to have whatever it is they desire, even if it ruins others, even if it tears others apart until they are considered less than human, nothing more than property.
Dragon does not understand.
He's not quite sure he wants to.
Dawn Island may be segregated from the vast majority of the world, but that does not mean Dragon cannot look out there and witness what is occurring.
It is a tentative idea, but he wonders what would happen if someone were to bring about change, if someone stood up and said enough was enough.
Pirates, pirates do whatever it is they please, but they are selfish in their actions. They only have regard for what they want, for what benefits them and theirs.
It is only small, not even a spark, more like a bundle of kindling with a piece of flint close by. It's there, but it's not burning, there is no reaction.
When Monkey D. Dragon is ten years old, he is a big brother and he is a boy with questions. He is a boy with a skeleton of an idea, a newly built 'what-if' that sits in the back of his head, lingering but never pushing for realisation, for substantial existence.
Monkey D. Dragon is ten years old and he does not know what he will do with his life.
Then, Monkey D. Dragon is three months older and he is motherless.
Her corpse is still warm, lying in her sickbed, lying in the town hall where all those who are ill have been moved to, quarantined so as to stem the spread of disease. There are no doctors, though the village had two.
Three weeks ago, a Celestial Dragon had been sailing by. Three weeks ago, a call was made for all doctors upon the surrounding island to leave and head for this World Noble's impressive boat. Three weeks ago, the village doctor and his apprentice left.
Two weeks ago, disease had hit Dawn Island, and it had hit it hard. Dragon's mother had been one of the first to contract it, though not the first to breathe her last as a result of the disease.
Had the doctor been here, had his apprentice been here, then maybe Dragon's mother still would be.
Dragon is sat on the porch of their house (his house now, his house for Father is never home and now Mother never will be) and the world around him feels numb.
He is ten years old, he is five months off of eleven. He is without a mother now. Her pale pink lips will never twist up in a gentle smile again, her honey eyes will never gaze upon his face again. He will never hear her voice, never again be told to set the table, to try and keep his trousers clean as he goes off into the forest and wrestles bears to increase his already impressive strength.
She will never again tell him to speak to Kitsune, that she must know the voice of her big brother. Now she will never know the voice of her mother.
For their mother is dead, and Dragon is not incompetent, he knows who is to blame.
Five days later, he will learn all of the doctors were summoned to deal with a man's simple head cold.
As things stand, Dragon recalls he is not the only one who has lost a mother today, he is not the only one who has had a parent ripped away by the cold clutches of a death spurred on by the World Nobles.
Though he feels no desire to, he rises to his feet, stumbling into the home that will soon be devoid of his mother's soft scent, of her gentle voice and warm presence.
When he finds Kitsune, she is right where he left her, lying upon the plush rug on the floor. Unlike before, her eyelashes are not dusting her cheeks, she is wide awake and stares up at him with steadily darkening blue eyes.
He feels weak as he lies beside her, this tiny being that is so much smaller than he. She has thrown one of her pudgy arms up, placing pressure upon one cheek flushed with the heat of summer, her fat lips smushed together. She looks at him now, an improvement from those hazy glances when she was a newborn. More aware, though Dragon wishes that wasn't the case.
"Mother is dead," he says. Just like that, it seems unquestionable, void of all emotion and nothing more than a simple fact.
The sky is blue. The ocean wet. Mother is dead.
Mother is dead, and with Father never home, Dragon must look after Kitsune who cannot yet look after herself. She is fragile, helpless, completely dependent upon him. Mother would never forgive him if he were to allow her to just fade.
"You will need feeding," Dragon realises, recalling the formula that Mother had taken to using whenever she was 'sore'. Dragon didn't pay too much attention when Mother was feeding Kitsune, it'd been too strange a sight, but he has fed her before with the formula stuff, even prepared it. He knows all about sterilisation, about germs and ensuring Kitsune and her weak immune system is not exposed to such things. He's ten but that is no excuse for idiocy.
Preparing the formula, utilising milk kept cool in the fridge and then warming it by use of the bottle sitting in a sink full of warm water, it's familiar. Not as easy as breathing, but after these past few weeks he can recall the steps without checking the instructions the neighbours left him.
Kitsune latches into the rubbery nipple of the bottle as soon as he presents it to her, one small hand on the side of the bottle, the other grasping at his own. Formula milk is not as good as a mother's milk, the neighbour had warned him. Dragon has no other option now though, mother is no longer here and there are no other women in the village who can supply a mother's milk for Kitsune. The body cannot produce on demand, only if set conditions are made. And Kitsune is the youngest child in the village by two years.
Dragon will make do with what he has, and pray that it is enough to keep his little sister alive.
It is days, days of settling into a routine that centres around keeping Kitsune alive, before he allows himself to consider what he has lost.
Monkey D. Dragon is ten years old when he learns of rage, when he learns of a fury that burns white hot, that licks at the kindling of an idea within his head and ignites it.
Monkey D. Dragon is ten years old when the flames of revolution first burn in him.
It is a blaze that shall never go out.
The village has no way of contacting his Father- of contacting Garp, Dragon corrects himself. Perhaps if the man was a little less dedicated to the job, and a little more concerned with his family, he would have been here sooner.
Perhaps he wouldn't have arrived when Dragon is eleven years old and the only familiar figure in Kitsune's life.
Kitsune who is now nine months old, crawling and babbling incoherently. She follows him everywhere, she stay silent when he speaks and watches him with eyes that are now as dark as his own.
Despite the occasional visit from the neighbours to ensure they are still alive, Dragon is all that Kitsune has, just as Kitsune has become all that Dragon has. Only her... and the roaring flames of an idea, a burning determination that has only grown stronger as the months have passed.
He is sitting on the living room floor when Garp returns, Kitsune in his lap as he reads to her. The newspaper isn't exactly a children's book, but the infant in his arms, his little sister, pays him all of the attention she can. Her gaze is unnervingly focused for a baby, though her grin bright and warm.
It reminds him of Mother (Mother who is dead and buried now, a tombstone to mark her final place on this earth though her spirit has long since disappeared) but at the same time, Dragon can also see his own grin in her.
Because it is not gentle like mother's, instead filled with a boisterous kind of laughter, a dazzling appreciation for all that is housed within life itself. Kitsune smiles as if all is right in the world, as if her whole life is complete.
As if just Dragon is enough for her.
She does not yet know, the casual cruelty, the selfishness of the World Nobles that ruin so many lives. The corrupt government that their own father (brash and bull-headed but with good intentions) works for. She is ignorant and Dragon will see to it that she remains that way just that little bit longer. Things will not change while she is an infant (there is no one to start this change, no one there to be the wind that first buffers a wave and leads it to crest upon the shore. There is no harbinger of this storm. Not yet) but Dragon will protect that childish wonder as long as he can. His own eyes are open wide. Though he will never wish them closed, he misses the ignorance rose tinted glasses once brought.
When Garp stands at the entrance, it is clear that he has already been informed of all that has occurred. His shoulders are slumped and devastation moulds the features of his face.
For all of his faults, it is clear he loved Mother, loved his wife. For all that love is grand though, not even that can conqueror all, no matter what the tales say.
He looks upon them with heavy eyes, with sadness an ocean he's swept adrift in, and Dragon discards the thought of detachment. Monkey D. Garp may never agree with what curls like smoke and thunder in the edges of Dragon's mind, but the man shall always be his father.
So despite his anger, despite the bitter fury that boils within his stomach, Dragon allows Father to hide his smaller frame with his massive arms, just as he himself shelters Kitsune within his own embrace. There will be time to discuss and injure each other's pride later.
Right now, they just share their grief, with even Kitsune silent and sorrowful as she clings tight to his arms.
Father sends them to living with a middle aged woman, moves them to a village that, while still being on Dawn Island, is a world away from what Dragon knows. It is unfamiliar, with people he doesn't trust, people he doesn't know, and he holds a great dislike for it all.
Kitsune, standing upon shaking legs and clinging tightly to his hand, stares from around her fist at the people of Foosha Village, thumb firmly docked in mouth. Dragon does not trust the other children, does not trust the other adults, and begrudgingly puts up with the woman in charge of their care. Even then, it is only because Father's money goes to her now, no longer just arriving at the house as it did when Mother died.
Dragon could care for both himself and Kitsune on his own, has been doing so with no real problems. Neither of them are dead yet, so it is not as if he's incapable.
It takes him a moment to realise Kitsune has removed her thumb from her mouth, staring up at him.
She is trying to pronounce brother.
The grin that spreads across Dragon's face in that moment successfully scares away every other child in the village. Every child but his little sister, who giggles with delight and tangles the fingers of her free hand (thumb still damp from its stop within her mouth) into the material of his shorts.
"Yes, little sister," Dragon agrees, scooping the girl up into his arms to stare challengingly at the woman Father had entrusted their care with. He does not know her relation to them, her association with Garp, nor does he care.
The look he graces that woman with is not a challenge so much as a declaration.
We do not need you.
We can get by just fine on our own, and we shall continue to do just that.
It is a statement, that he is Kitsune's brother, he is her protector. He will shelter her until she can stand upon her own two feet without his aid, and then he shall bring a storm down upon the world.
Monkey D. Dragon is eleven years old.
He is a big brother.
And he knows what he will do with his life.
Monkey D. Kitsune is one year old and she doesn't have a clue what is going on.
The first six months had been spent in a terrifying haze of sleep, eat and sleep some more. All of her senses betrayed her, all but her hearing.
The voice of a boy (and he is a boy, his tone soft and without the edge adulthood holds) a constant echo in her ear, speaking of corruption, of right and wrong and what could possibly be classed as justice.
For those first six months, all Kitsune knows is that the boy is Brother and he knows her as Kitsune. So confused and disoriented, it is Kitsune she becomes.
By her sixth month here, she has come to accept things, though she questions why Brother (whom is actually younger than his words and rhetorical questions had hinted at) is the one looking after her.
Kitsune is nine months old when Father returns and realisation strikes her like a lightning bolt.
It is one thing to fail to recognise the thirty or so years younger Monkey D. dragon when he is missing his most distinctive marking (that tattoo), his impressive height and intimidating figure. It would truly be shame on her to look upon Monkey D. Garp and not have an epiphany moment.
Monkey D. Kitsune is twelve months old, is one year old, and she is nowhere near the story line she knows.
For all that is holy, there hasn't even been a Pirate King yet; Garp had still been muttering about catching Roger as he'd left them here in this village, in a Foosha Village she doesn't recognise beyond its sparse collection of windmills.
Dragon (Monkey D. Dragon, the Revolutionist, the most wanted man in the world and her eleven year old brother) had carried her down to the docks to see him off, his hand clasped in hers. It is a warm, strong hand, a familiar one. Kitsune knows it, for it has been the one to protect and nurture her for so many months.
Dragon is familiar, she has heard him speak of all that is wrong in the world (and wow did his crusade start out early) weaving tales of what he would like to see in the world's future as if they are nothing more than bedtime stories.
To be so entangled within a world where slavery exists, where there is no set safety unless you are born into the most powerful family in the world; it is a terrifying thing.
To realise life as you know it could be ripped from beneath your feet, stolen away on the whims of some being that has power only because they were born to it…
Kitsune clutches tighter to Dragon's hand, far too much of an adult in mind to permit fear to cross her features.
Her brother shall become a Revolutionary, that much is evident.
It burns bright in his dark eyes, eternal fire, fuelled by all that he sees, all that he hears and thinks upon.
Dragon will change the world, Kitsune realises, or he shall die trying. He has made that explicitly clear. And she…
What more can she do to repay her brother, but then to help him?
There is little she can do now, little she can help with as nothing more than a one year old.
But she can start laying the foundations, she can wiggle her way into things simply because others will not expect her to understand, to recall and remember.
Watching Garp's ship disappear into the horizon, Kitsune realises what she will do.
The Revolutionaries will stand against the World Government, will refuse to bow to the might of the Marines' Forces. To fight a war though, one needs to know what they are up against.
It is painfully obvious where Kitsune can best situate herself to be helpful.
She will become a Marine.
Unlike Tell it to the Marines, I have zero idea where I'm going with this, though I have already decided there's actually going to be a pairing in this one and I know who it's going to be. Though obviously nothing of the sort will occur for a while, not until Kitsune is 20 anyway.
Dragon trains to grow stronger. He goes out into the jungle of Dawn Island and much like his future son once did (will do?), he hunts the larger than life animals that call the forest home.
Some days he returns filthy and with nothing to show for it, tells her tales of how he has spent his time wrestling with a bear, fighting with a tiger to prevent it from capturing its prey. Just because he can.
Some days he returns home with one of the beasts casually slung over his shoulder, providing bountiful meat for them to eat for days on end.
Kitsune is glad to be past relying upon formula milk, for it tastes foul and the humiliation of having to be bottle-fed lingers deep in her bones.
Even now Dragon cuts her food up into bite size pieces first, given she has yet to develop the motor controls to do so herself. There is little Kitsune can do to improve her situation right now other than wait. Wait and practice with her grasp and grip.
Drawing, a crayon in hand and sheets and sheets of paper before her, moving as slowly as possible, with as much control as possible. All those years of drawing, portraits and sketches; it is painful to be deprived of that skill. Her eyes are not developed enough to allow for a good understanding of proportion, of scale and depth when it comes to the world around her.
So Kitsune draws what she knows. Tigers and bears, dragons that flick about in the sky. It is all painfully inferior to what she used to be capable of.
Dragon still smiles whenever he sees his namesake upon the papers though.
Once he implored her to draw a kitsune alongside one of her dragons, and she had bunched that paper up and thrown it away when her arm refused to cooperate, when she proved incapable of drawing a simple fox with nine tails. Her emotions in this body are all over the place, she has little to no control over her body's reactions, starting once again from scratch. It is frustrating and just serves to anger her to the point of tears. A vicious circle.
They are approaching summer once again now, though Kitsune remembers little of her first summer. She remembers little of her mother too, just a warm voice. Mother is dead, she knows that, but having come from a life where she had perished before her mother, she still half expects the woman (which one, she doesn't know) to sweep in through the front door as if nothing has happened.
Instead she finds herself sitting in the back garden of this small house they now live in, watching as Dragon works his way through a series of sit-ups and steadily moves onto push-ups. There's sweat upon his brow, his face (how rarely does her brother smile, even that intense grin would be preferred to grim silence from a boy that feels so strongly, so acutely) painted with the hard brush of determined.
Wobbling up onto unsteady legs, Kitsune plods over towards the boy, letting herself fall down onto his back. Her arms are not yet long enough to curl easily around his neck, so she settles for gripping at his shoulders instead.
"Brother." And she has taken the time to forcibly pronounce that right. The lisp of childhood still lingers, no matter how much she fights, how much she tries to free herself from him.
Dragon stares at her from over his shoulder and Kitsune smiles, lying upon his back as she is.
This is her big brother, and though she does not know if he will be a good man, she knows he will be a great one.
This is her brother who says no to piracy, despite the freedom it promises him. Instead he will stand up to the world, will fight it all to try and make the future a better and brighter place. Maybe selfless isn't quite the word to use, she does not yet understand him enough for that. But to wish to inspire such positive change… Kitsune isn't sure about what anyone else will think, but she believes Dragon is a good person.
That is enough for her.
"I will never join the Marines!"
Dragon's voice thunders through the house, a roar not unlike those of his namesake. She can picture him, despite not being present in the room where this argument takes place. His hands will be curled, not quite into fists but so that his fingers resemble powerful claws, his teeth will gnash together and his eyes will burn with dragonfire.
She wonders what Garp sees when he looks upon his only son. She wonders what he sees when he looks upon her.
At three years old, Kitsune has had a lot of time to think on what to do with her life.
The years have only proven how immensely difficult a task she has, even if she just tries to live her life without butchering the entire timeline. Maybe her presence has already screwed it all up anyway, after all, there had been no Monkey D. Kitsune that she can recall, there had been no aunt for Monkey D. Luffy.
Maybe he won't be born now, maybe Garp will never take Portgas D. Ace in. Maybe with her in his life, Garp will falter in his chase of the Pirate King. Maybe Gol D. Roger won't contract whatever disease prompted him to favour execution over a slow death Maybe there will be no Great Age of Piracy. Who knows.
By now she is past the point of trying to pussyfoot around things. Why should she stick as close to the story as possible when it is shot to hell already?
No, Monkey D. Kitsune is not as good a person as her brother, is evidentially a bit more selfish than that. She will live as she damn well pleases, care for those around her and only look out for them.
That is the damning evidence right there that she is undoubtedly related to Monkey D. Luffy, she thinks with dark amusement.
"I wanna be a Marine." She's stumbled up to the door, staring at Monkey D. Garp even as Dragon's head snaps around to stare at her. It's not quite betrayal upon his face, but the blankness of his expression makes Kitsune uncomfortable. So, with the brutal honesty that childhood dictates, Kitsune smiles as brightly as she is capable of and continues. "I can tell brother all of the important things so he can follow his dream."
That dangerous grin, that grin that had seemed so very freaky the first time she saw it but now fills her with nothing but warmth has broken across Dragon's face now, like the sun cresting over the ocean. It has Kitsune's own smile widening to see Dragon so happy.
She recalls all she knows of attachments formed by children, knowledge brought on by psychology, a subject she'd studied in her previous life. She knows that because Dragon has been her primary caregiver that she's attached, but she doesn't have a problem with that.
He loves her without question, just as she loves him. Before Dragon she had never had a big brother.
She cannot imagine life without one now.
"Tell this brat Marine secrets?!" Garp splutters, staring down at her with wide eyes, his jaw hanging open and pulling at the tight skin around the surface of his trademark scar. "You can't do that if you become a Marine!"
"Then I won't tell him," Kitsune declares, jamming her finger up her nose and channelling her future nephew as best she can.
Behind Garp, who has taken a step forwards as closer proximity will push his words further into the recesses of her mind, Dragon's grin remains. He knows she would tell him anything, tell him everything. He is her beloved older brother after all.
"Dragon can't be a Marine if he wants to follow his dream," Kitsune states sagely, removing her finger from her nose and flicking the booger on the end at Garp.
Her father scowls, brushing the new addition to his pants to the floor, narrow eyes flicking over to Dragon.
"You're not going to become a pirate, are you?" The low threat in Garp's voice is blisteringly clear.
"No." I have no desire to be a pirate."
What goes unsaid between both Kitsune and Dragon is that what he will become is something perhaps even worse. Pirate chase after their own goals; Dragon will become is something that actively fights against all that the World Government, all that the Tenryūbito stand for.
Her brother is the bravest person she knows.
"I will not go to the Marine base. If you take Kitsune, you will look after her properly."
"You brat, who do you think you are to tell me to look after my own kid!"
Kitsune watches them go head to head with wide eyes. She means that in the most literal way anyone can; Garp is bent in on himself in order to press his forehead to Dragon's, who meets the gesture just as fearlessly, teeth bared in a mean looking snarl. For a thirteen year old, he's fearless.
"I'm her big brother! I'll tell you what the fuck I want!"
"Don't you speak to me that way! Fist of Love!"
Garp's ship is huge. She's not quite sure what his rank is right now, is he already a Vice Admiral, or does he have to climb the ladder yet? She's not sure, but the ship is big. It's not just a perspective thing either, even Garp looks like a regular human when standing on deck. His crew scuttle around after her, loading the small bag that she and Dragon had packed her clothes into on board.
Garp had asked what kind of toys she wished to bring along, at which point both Dragon and herself had stared at him in blatant confusion. It's only after a moment of real thought that Kitsune had recalled almost all children her age had toys to play with. But she is not a child, not really, more a child with an adult's perspective, with memories that are not her own that make her so much smarter than other children her age. She is content following Dragon around, listening to him speak of all that he has found wrong with the world. She is content asking him questions, exploring his thoughts with him. She is content without toys, just with her brother to pass the time.
Blissfully warm, the summer sun brushes gently upon her neck, the air around them so deliciously warm. Kitsune likes the heat, she despairs the drop in temperature that winter brings.
"Ah, Garp, sir?"
"There's… The child, sir?"
Kitsune swings around from where she'd been waving down to Dragon, peering up at the man that stands before them. She can feel Dragon's eyes on her, even though he's all the way down there at the docks. He'll probably remain there until they're long gone from a human's line of sight.
"Bogard, look at my precious little princess. Isn't she the cutest little thing?"
Kitsune finds herself lifted into the air, presented before the other marine. She has no idea who he is, though clearly Garp likes him a fair amount, gets along with him well enough. Which must mean he's okay then.
"Hiya, I'm gonna be a marine!" Kitsune sticks out one tiny hand towards the flat-footed marine, who blinks in surprise before gingerly taking her hand. Her own tiny fingers clamp down upon the appendage and she doesn't miss the way he winces. Oh, she might have the build of her long dead mother, but that strength is all from Garp.
"She's certainly your daughter, sir," Bogard mutters, shaking his hand out when she releases her death grip.
Garp laughs, clearly delighted with his proclamation and jostles Kitsune about until she's half leaning over the railings.
"Now say goodbye to your no-good brother, Kit."
Kitsune likes the shortened name, it's cute, light and flows off the tongue. She'll make sure Dragon starts calling her that instead of Kitsune, but only Dragon. She can let Garp call her it too, because he is family after all.
"Bye-bye, Big Brother! I'll be back soon!"
Dragon grins, wide and manic and a grand total of four marines flinch back at the sight.
"Be safe, Little Sister."
Yeah, Dragon can call her that over Kit, that's a good alternative.
Kitsune smiles, waving exaggeratedly until Garp finally sets her down, barking orders for everyone to get to positions that that he wants to be at the base in ten days, never mind that the journey should cost them a fortnight of travel at sea. Still, it is her first time at sea in this body, her first time scenting the salt water from somewhere other than the beach, from the docks, from land. The steady rocking motion inspires a queasy sickness in her stomach, but she cannot stop smiling regardless.
"Now, cup your hands, yes, like that."
Looking at the giant hands that are showcasing her the proper hold, Kitsune adjusts her own palms, fingers not quite sprawled but not uniform and remaining together either.
Garp nods his head beside her, squatting so that she's not having to near break her neck to look up at him. The man has to be at least seven feet tall, though maybe that's just her short stature playing with her mind. He hums, a low growl in the back of his throat but the sound friendly enough to her little ears.
A cannonball, perhaps the smallest one on board, is pressed into her hands and Kitsune's arms quiver with the weight of it. She flicks a glance up to Garp, who just smiles encouragingly at her. While part of her is aware that he has a long history of throwing cannonballs faster than an actual cannon can fire them, to see it in action had been surreal. It seems to be a skill he's determined to pass onto her too.
Letting her fingers curl around the object in her hands, Kitsune tests the weight of it, tests the strain it places upon her muscles. her biceps clench, but she has no trouble holding it. She wouldn’t have managed to hold this in her last life, even in an adult's body. Here, it is no more difficult that picking up a carton of unopened milk. The weight is there, but it is doable. This is just with her inherited strength, it's incredibly to think of what kind of power she'll be capable of with training.
"Now just throw it, like Papa did."
Tongue poking out from between her lips, Kitsune focuses on one of the rocky outcrops that protrudes from the ocean's surface, eyes narrowing. While she may be capable of hefting the cannonball up, her arms are not yet powerful enough to throw it with one hand, so she settles for two. The projectile is nowhere near as fast as what Garp managed (as showcased by the smoking mess just off the horizon, the one that'd been his demonstration for her) but it does manage to land on target and oh boy does it explode.
"Did you see that?!" Kitsune bellows, hopping up and down in excitement. She'd never had a body that worked so well, such brilliant hand-eye coordination, such raw strength in her fingertips… it could get dangerously addictive.
"Did you see that?!" Garp echoes, grabbing the nearest marine to point proudly out to what remains of her former target, his pride evident on his face. "Look at what my little princess if capable of! She's gonna make a damn fine marine!"
She would probably make a good marine, Kitsune admits, if that's where her interest laid. But Dragon had got to her first, and effortlessly secured her loyalty even if that hadn't been what he was aiming for at all.
Kitsune may become a marine, but it will be like slipping on a coat, to wear for the occasion but just as easily shed when the weather required it. She will wear her role as a marine, just until Dragon brings the storm, then she will dance in the rain, a revolutionary at heart. She doesn't know Garp, for all that he is her father.
And while he may have a loyalty for that simply blood-tie, but trying to teach her right here an right now, Dragon is the one she will follow.
That is that.
Donquixote Rosinante stares at the man that has burst into Sengoku's office, entirely unsure of what to make of him. He's heard tales of Vice Admiral Garp, a man with no Devil Fruit that is on the same scale as Sengoku when it comes to power, but in his two years following after the Vice Admiral he has never met him before today.
He certainly didn't expect to witness him powering through into Sengoku's office via wall, completely ignoring the door that was present and functional. He's seen a lot of the world since his father (and there is a wound that still stings, that still bites even now two years later) took them away from Mariejois, but this is one of the stranger things. Right up there with Sea Kings and Devil Fruits.
Does Vice Admiral Garp have a Devil Fruit? Is that why he can walk through walls?
"Damn it, Garp! Fix that wall!"
Sengoku points at the large, human shaped hole in question and Rosinante watches in awe as the offender just scoffs, folding his arms (and dropping the girl he'd been holding up in the process) in order to look petulantly away.
Thankfully the girl lands on her feet, though she does shoot a very unimpressed look up at her father. Rosinante has not interacted with any other children his age, not since he left North Blue with Sengoku. They had all be horrible, and vicious and mean. They had made him hurt, just because of what he had once been. As if he had any power over his life at that age. He barely has any right now.
"Crew, fix the wall!" Vice Admiral Garp snaps, only for one of his crew (stood in the hallway and looking very exasperated by this point) yell at him to do it himself. It's blatant insubordination but Vice Admiral Garp goes to the cupboard to fetch the necessary materials regardless.
Rosinante watches in awe, though still quite aware of the little child in the room. Her hair is dark, feathered and falls around her face in a halo of choppy locks. She's also unnervingly focused on him.
Rosinante shrinks back at the startlingly loud tone, warily watching the girl's every move. Her hands are not balled into fists though, her eyes are not angry. She seems exuberant. Just like the man that barged in here carrying her. He can see the resemblance.
"My name's Monkey D. Kitsune!"
That does have Rosinante flinching back.
His mother's worlds swirl in his brain, remembering how she would whisper that bad children are eaten by D's. Reason catches up with him mere moments later though. Even if she is a D, a descendant of that feared family…
She's so tiny and small.
If she's a D… Does that make Vice Admiral Garp a D too? Do the Tenryūbito know this? Rosinante remembers all that his parents told him of the D's, remembers all the warning to watch out for them.
But… this little girl seems so incredibly harmless. Big brown eyes stare up at him, round and set in a chubby little face, with a wispy birthmark stretching over the left side of her face.
"Ah… I'm Rosinante." He doesn't use his family name, the wounds still there, still raw and burning. He remembers Doflamingo, remembers Father, remembers feeling the strength leave his arms. Donquixote Homing may not have been a good father. But he had tried, he had loved them. He cannot understand why such evil had been born to such good people.
"You're really nice!" Monkey D. Kitsune declares, reaching with one tiny hand to curl around his own, smiling as she locks her fingers between his. They're tiny in comparison, but her grip is unbelievable tough.
"Show me around? I'm gonna be a marine!" She grins and it is such a bright thing.
It's been so long since someone looked upon him with such a smile, Rosinante is struggling to recall the last time such an expression was directed at him. Still, he doesn't know if he is allowed, Sengoku was quite insistent when they arrived here that Rosinante stick close by.
"Can Rosi show me around, please?!" The child of D purses her lips, eyebrows lifting as her eyes stare imploringly not at Sengoku, but Vice Admiral Garp.
Rosinante does his best not to scowl over the shortening of his name. His mother gave him that name, and he likes it. He does not like this butchered version that has come from the D's mouth.
"Of course he can, anything for my little princess."
"Hey, Sengoku, let's have some okaki!"
At the mention of Sengoku's favourite snack, Rosinante resigns himself to tour-guide, knowing he'll get no further help from his guardian now.
What did he do to deserve close contact with child of D? Surely it should have been Doflamingo that deserved this, not him?
As soon as the thought crosses is mind though Rosinante is quick to banish it. No, he would never curse another person by wishing Doflamingo's presence upon them. Inheritor of D or not.
Monkey D. Kitsune pulls him out of Sengoku's office, through the hole her father has effortlessly created, her hand a vice grip upon his. He has no choice but to go along, though his Sengoku doesn't seem so worried about the little girl half of Rosinante's size, then he will try to showcase the same kind of confidence.
No sooner has the thought passed through his mind does he trip over his own two feet, face slamming into the floor.
Monkey D. Kitsune has stopped walking, her hand still clutching tightly at him.
"Are you okay?"
Turning his head to a side, Rosinante peers up at the girl that grins at him. She's crouching down, her head tilting to a side and she doesn't look away from him in the slightest. She doesn't laugh at his fall either though, enquires about his health like it is a normal thing. She's nothing like the others from North Blue were. She does not know he was a former Tenryūbito though. Things will remain that way.
"I didn't trip," Rosinante protests, climbing back to his feet and watching the little girl just smile up at him.
"Okay, you didn't trip. Food now?"
Rosinante regrets bringing her to the cafeteria. It is an all you can eat, as he has found most Marine bases are. He has never met a anyone that has taken such a thing as a personal challenge though.
Monkey D. Kitsune's plates (for she has multiple that she'd suckered one marine into helping carry to the table) are steadily being licked clean, yet the pace at which she devoured all of the food placed before her never slows.
"Where does it all go?" One marine whispers in awed horror and Rosinante finds himself wondering the same thing.
The daughter of Vice Admiral Garp licks eagerly at her lips, stuffing a handful of carrots between her lips and crewing thoroughly. At least she has the manners to eat with her mouth closed.
Slowly shovelling a helping of mashed potatoes into his own mouth, Rosinante watches this child of D steadily inhale all of the food she possible can and recognises his previous thought on her inability to eat him based on her size. It is actually quite possible she could manage such a thing, though from the looks of her, he doesn't think she has much of a taste for human flesh. Sengoku wouldn't let her eat him anyway. Reassured, Rosinante pushes his tray of food away, no longer hungry.
It is soon snatched up by the little girl sitting to his left and that is the last Rosinante sees of it.
"Vice Admiral Garp's daughter, eh?"
"Yeah!" Choking down her latest mouthful, Monkey D. Kitsune grins at the marine addressing her, hastily scrubbing at her face with the hem of her tee-shirt, wiping it free of food but smearing it all over the fabric instead. She's really not the fearsome being he'd pictured a D to be.
"I'm gonna be a marine! Rosi is showing me around!"
"It's Rosinante," Rosinante corrects, no longer quite capable of ignoring it, damn the consequences that'll come of reprehending the girl.
Monkey D. Kitsune pauses, twisting her head around to look at him and disregarding the marine completely. She meets his eyes for a moment, face expressionless even as her eyelids flutter, blinking rapidly.
"Rosinante is showing me around," she parrots, correcting herself on his name and then grinning as if she has something to be proud of. "And we're gonna be best friends."
It's been three days and finally the two Monkeys are leaving when evening comes. In that time, Rosinante has seen exactly where that phrase comes from, that a D who declares their name to the world will bring a storm.
Monkey D. Kitsune is insane. Pure and simple.
It's not a bad kind of insanity- no wait, that's not quite right. It's not an intentionally bad kind of insanity that is. She doesn't go out of her way to harm others, physically or emotionally. It's just that she doesn't consider the harm her actions could bring, past how they affect both her and those she considered friends (how Rosinante has found himself in that category, he doesn't have the slightest idea).
Sometimes she doesn't even consider her own mortality in her actions, so it's hardly surprising that people get caught up in the mayhem she creates.
Like right now.
As she's lobbing cannonballs into the ocean.
Calling it training.
Rosinante has an idea of just why Sengoku-san always looks so exasperatedly resigned when he has to deal with Vice Admiral Garp. If he's anything like his daughter, as the hole in Sengoku's wall on that first day indicates, then it's obvious why Rosinante's guardian has developed such an expression.
"Rosinante?" That's one good point for her though.
As soon as he'd requested (more like stubbornly pointed out he prefers) that he be addressed by his full name, Rosinante had been the only term of address Monkey D. Kitsune had used.
Those wide black eyes focus on him, only capable of seeing his physical self. Not the trail of expectations, the disdain and fury that come attached with the Donquixote name.
No, Kitsune knows him only as Rosinante, just like all the other marines. But almost all the marines (certainly all the ones Rosinante has met so far) have to answer to Sengoku. Kitsune... doesn't. For all of her declaration of becoming a Marine, she really doesn't seem like the type to follow orders. Much like her father in that respect.
"Rosinante, would you like to have a go?"
And there she is, this tiny little three year old, standing as tall as her measly height can manage. Her arms are extended, presenting him with a small cannonball. Just like the ones she has spent the past ten minutes launching off of the battlements.
"It's not exactly my style," Rosinante says slowly, puzzling over if the girl can even understand what that means. But she doesn't seem confused, only nods with her little lips pressed together.
"It's not my style either," she agrees sagely, her tiny fingers curling a bit more around her would-be projectile. "It's Papa's style. But he taught me so I'll get better at it, because then it'll make me strong." And she beams, white teeth reflecting the glare of the sun above. With her old Marines hat, knees covered in half healed scabs and dirt (or is it gunpowder?) smeared across one cheek...
Rosinante doesn't have a clue what exactly she looks like. It's unique, not like any person he's ever seen before. Not a World Noble certainly, but nothing like the mean children from North Blue either. Is this what normal children look like? He highly doubts it.
Kitsune takes one more look at him before she nods decisively, lobbing the last cannonball into the sea, clearly putting all her effort into the swing. It sails through the air, landing with a splash and a boom, sending water cascading up and then down, raining across the choppy ocean surface.
Cautiously, almost as if he can't quite believe the sight before him, Rosinante edges closer when he notes that Kitsune has sat herself down. Right on the edge of the battlements, legs swinging back and forth; she has a little smile in her face. It's deceptively serene a scene for the child who'd been causing explosions not a minute ago.
Ever so slowly, Rosinante joins her, allowing his legs to dangle in the open air. The ocean stretches out before them, clear and blue, brilliant and bright. It looks like freedom, for all that it tastes of salt and fish in the back of his mouth. The height of midday, the sun beats down on the back of their necks, sensationally warm and Rosinante has no problem admitting this is so much nicer than sitting inside all day.
It's quiet as they sit there, watching one of the Marine vessels approach for docking. It looks like a cargo ship, carrying either food or weaponry, one of two options. By the way Kitsune leans forwards, sniffing the air as she goes, Rosinante would put his bet on food, though how she can smell such a thing from all the way up here remains a mystery to him.
However, the child of D is leaning far too forwards to do anything other than topple right of the battlements and Rosinante panics. Reaching out, he snatches at the back of her shirt.
Only, he's misjudged the distance and suddenly it's him falling forwards, tumbling head first towards the ocean.
He doesn't even get time to scream in surprise before something snaps around his wrist, holding tight and forcibly halting his descent.
"You're very clumsy, Rosinante," Monkey D. Kitsune muses, a cheery smile on her face as if her tiny three year old hands aren't the only thing keeping him from a very large drop. Her arms tremble a bit, one foot still planted on the wall, and with strength no toddler should have, she hauls him right up, letting out an exhausted exhale once she's done.
Heart still thundering about in his chest, Rosinante lays upon the stone of the battlements, one arm thrown out to the side as the other rests over his fluctuating ribcage.
"I almost died," he gasps, eyes wide and staring up at the clear blue sky. There wouldn't even have been a cloud to witness his death.
"Wouldn't say died," Kitsune points out and then suddenly she's leaning over him, curious big eyes staring right at his own, cheeks flushed from the effort and a smile on her lips. "Maybe got seriously injured, but you seem too sturdy to die from a fall."
Great. If she assumes he'd survive then at least she didn't bring him up here with the intention of pushing him off the edge to get rid of him. Hey, she was a D, and he has the blood of the Tenryūbitos running through his veins, it'll probably pay to be careful. She did save his life just now though, so-
"Thank you, Kitsune."
"Bah, too long, call me something shorter," Monkey D. Kitsune insists and Rosinante grimaces. She thinks her name is too long? It's significantly shorter than his. Still, there's no way he's shortening her name to 'Kit', the implied 'kitten' is both a pet name too much and the implication of this girl being harmless as such a tiny little creature is laughable at best. But...
"Thank you, 'Sune." 'Sune', the pronunciation reminds him terribly of monsoon, a torrential rainfall said to occur during certain climates. Yes, an unstoppable force of nature, relentless and seemingly everywhere at once; it fits the girl to a tee.
"'Sune, huh?" Kitsune repeats, testing out the shortened version for herself before her face lights up. "I like it!" She declares, beaming brightly and finally disappearing from his line of sight, taking the shade she'd provided from the sun with her. "Okay, Rosinante, you can call me Kitsune and even if I'm going home today I'll write you letters and pass them on to Sengoku so they'll always get to you and you have to answer them okay?"
And then she's back in his face, unnervingly close and Rosinante can't suppress a flinch this time. When had she so boldly invaded his personal space? More importantly, why?
Wait, can a three year old even write letters?
The blond decides to not question it; this is a Child of D after all. If there's a will, there'll be a way. Even if the descendant has to forge their own path, has to smash through wall after all. Just like her father.
Rosinante knows blood doesn't always sing true though, one only has to look at his own brother for perfect evidence of that. He hopes he's at least in tune with his father though, that he can be as kind and good.
So, to start that-
"Okay. I'll answer your letters."
The two Monkeys are gone and now Rosinante's haven of Sengoku's office is once again safe territory, no longer all but taken over by Vice Admiral Garp. There's wrappers piled up in the bin from their constant snacking, though Rosinante gets the feeling that Sengoku's was eating more to distract himself from Garp's overpowering presence.
It's unusually quiet and Rosinante is startled to realise in these few short days he's become so used to Kitsune's rambunctiousness, her loud personality and bold exclamations, that he's actually a bit off-put by her absence.
Discomforted, he shifts about in his seat, long legs curls up so he can rest his chin upon his knees. There are stains on the desk that hadn't been there before, tea or coffee, he's not too sure. Maybe a bit of both. Going by the paperwork scrunched up in the waste bin, it's obvious the desk wasn't the only thing the drinks landed on.
Come to think of it, the floor so nowhere near as clear as it had been before the Monkeys visited. At least now that they're gone the canteen won't be running low on food anymore.
"What are your opinions on the two Monkeys then, Rosinante?"
"I- I didn't see enough of Vice Admiral Garp to really give you an opinion," the blond admits and it's true. Monkey D. Kitsune had demanded all his attention, from her 'training' to her many inquiries on what he knew of the Marine base, to even just asking him pointless questions. He doesn't have a favourite colour, should he? Is that something normal people have? Which colour does he like best?
The Marines wear white, but then so do the Tenryūbito, so that's out right away. Red, red reminds him of the blood that'd run between his fingers as he'd held his father's corpse, and pink is the shine of Doflamingo's glasses. Green is the mould on the food from the trash, yellow is the tinge his mother's skin took with her sickness, purple the colour of lips that no longer allow breath to pass between them. Blue is the sea that they traversed as a family, Blue is the colour that surrounded and engulfed them until it threatened to drown him completely.
All the colours, they all remind him of something horrible, something he'd rather forget, rather pretend never happen only if he does that then he won't be able to fight back, to change things for the better. There's only one really, one he can really consider.
Black, black is the colour he'd prefer.
He'll tell Kitsune when he next sees her, or if she actually manages to write him a letter.
At the thought, Rosinante freezes, wondering just how she'd managed to pull him into her friendship so efficiently. He'd never really agreed to it, had he? Yet he's already considering writing her letters.
"What do you think of little Kitsune then?"
"She's really bull-headed," Rosinante blurts out the first thing that comes to mind, and though it's damningly true, it's like someone describing him as 'clumsy' and nothing else. It's correct, but it's not everything. "She's nice though, friendly. And determined to become a Marine."
"She's going to be as big a problem as Garp, I can see it already," Sengoku's murmurs, rubbing at the flesh of his forehead as if to relieve a Monkey induced headache.
Given the Garp shaped hole in the battlements, Rosinante can't really argue with that. He gets the feeling the after effects of the Monkeys' visit will linger for a long time.
Time passes swiftly since Father took Kitsune and went off to a Marine base, and she is still quite set on becoming a Marine. Not for the sake of doing the job, not out of a desire to see Justice done or even to help people.
Well, the last might be wrong, because Dragon certainly falls under the label of people.
His little sister is exceptionally weird, but she is his little sister. She could spend her free time blowing spit bubbles and Dragon would still love her. He'd be exasperated by her, surely, but he'd love her. That she's so intelligent, so bright and curious, it just makes things easier.
She's old enough now that Dragon doesn't feel it necessary to leave her behind when he goes to the forest to train. Far from stupid, Kitsune knows to stick close to him, to keep an eye on their surroundings as they move. She's remarkably sharp eyed when it comes to spotting danger, even if she doesn't point it out until it's almost upon them.
There had been one time where the brat had just watched one of those massive pythons sneak up on him, laughing as he'd been forced to wrestle his way out of its deadly hold. He'd bopped her on the head for that one, lightly so as not to cause any real damage, but it'd worked enough as a reprimand.
Kitsune has never allowed another beast to sneak up on him, even if Dragon has since been paying far more attention.
No, instead she attempts to fight them on her lonesome. With a knife, she's remarkable efficient, though the furious glances she sends her weapon shows she's not particularly happy with it. Admittedly a knife doesn't really suit what fighting style Dragon has witness his little sister start developing. In anything, she seems to lean more towards punches and kicks, seems to prefer a complete lack of blade when attacking.
Only she doesn't yet have the strength to her body to make those hits really efficient yet, so it is a blade she's stuck with for now.
"What are we hunting today, Big Brother?" Big Brother, he likes that.
Kitsune has one hand wrapped up in his, the other scratching lazily at her cheek, lips pulled down in a frown. She's waiting patiently for him to answer, Dragon realises.
"Bear. We'll catch a bear, and then I shall begin teaching you the techniques that our father taught me."
Eager and excited when it came to his first child, Garp had beaten all six secret techniques usually only shared with the upper level marines into his head. Though Dragon doesn't quite like using them himself (it's a little too close to being like the Tenryūbito's attack dogs for him to be happy about them) perhaps Kitsune would like them more.
That is not to say she'll be capable of using them in the near future… More like in five or ten years. She'll be prepared though, and she'll have the edge if she carries through with her promise of becoming a Marine.
"Okay!" And Kitsune beams at him, all teeth and wild joy barely leashed in the expression.
Dragon's own lips lift into a frightful grin, free hand ruffling his little sister's soft tresses.
Flecked with blood, the bear's fur is still warm between his fingers, the majority of its massive bulk resting upon Dragon's shoulders as leads the way back home. Parading along beside him, Kitsune lifts one of the bear's large paws above her head, looking incredibly proud of herself for 'helping'.
Admittedly she had got a few good shots in before he'd taken the bear down, but when it comes to carrying the beast home he's not about to let Kitsune drag it along in the dirt. They might be able to get some use out of it after all.
"Dragon? Are you still gonna change the world?" He has a smart little sister. Smart enough to not speak openly of his desire for change, of his wish to witness the regime of the Tenryūbito crumble, out in public where anyone could hear.
They are, at their very core, words of treason after all.
By just labelling it a desire to 'change the world', it could imply anything. Such as joining the marines to spend his time catching pirates. Lips pursing,
Dragon adjusts the bear upon his shoulders, glancing at the only other Monkey on the island who barely stands at half his height.
"Yes." It needs to change.
That slavery is allowed, that there are humans upon this planet that can stand so high above others simply for their lineage; it's wrong. Fundamentally so. He doesn't understand why the vast population of the world just haven't revolted, haven't attempted to throw off the shackles that they willingly allow to bind them. If they all rebelled, all at once, there would be no stopping it.
But they are all afraid, too beaten down to rise up, too used to looking upon the walls of their containment that they have forgotten what lies beyond.
Dragon is not caged by his fear, never has been. He stands upon the other side of that prison, dares to be the only one to lift an axe to begin chipping away at those bars. Perhaps it is an impossible dream, but even if it is, Dragon shall still chase after it, shall still run it down until exhausted, it can continue on no longer.
Someday the world will be free, and even if it never comes to fruition while he lives and breathes, even if it is just the first battle in a long war, the end will someday come. He is a D and his will burns white hot, a scorching sun within his stomach. There will be those that inherit it, inherit his will and drive, who aspire for the same things that he does, that long for the taste of freedom, to know a world where there is no cage for the masses, where there is equality.
For that, the Tenryūbito must be destroyed, the world order must be re-established.
A revolution must occur.
"I wonder what it will be like, to live in a world where there are no threatening higher powers," his little sister whispers, giving up the pretence of helping to carry their prey, dropping the leg to the earth with a muffled thump. She scampers along speeding up so that she may stride before him, walking backwards so that she can keep him in her sights.
The others of the village watch her pass by with frowns on their faces, one old woman in particular grimacing.
Ever since their father had decided Dragon was old enough to act as Kitsune's caretaker, they'd been pretty much devoid of adult influences on their life, which is perfectly fine with both Dragon and Kitsune. The adults of the village don't seem too happy with that, but there's little they can do in the face of a Vice Admiral's decision.
It doesn't stop them from glaring, doesn't stop the heavy weight of their stares resting upon Kitsune's shoulders, demanding she start acting like a young lady, as if that is all she is good for. To go on and marry some man, to be nothing but a baby making machine.
Not while Dragon draws breath.
So he takes the burden of their judgemental stares, meets the eyes of anyone who looks at Kitsune wrong, challenges them until they back down. No expectations will be forced upon his little sister, she will not be forced to bow to the system, not when Dragon is going to tear it all down.
"It'll be different," Dragon decides. "The world will be different, and we struggle to imagine it because oppression has run rampant for far too long."
"I like Big Brother's idea. A world where there's no chance a person can become the property of another human being, where a son won't be blamed for the father's mistakes, where there's no injustice… There are marines that try to do good, like Papa, but there's corruption… Why can only Big Brother see that?"
"Because the world is full of idiots. There are some that see it, some that are aware, but they feel as if they're fish before a shark; inconsequential and incapable of making a difference. So they'd don't bother. They never consider that just maybe if enough of them banded together, they'd be able to make a difference."
"So Big Brother is going to lead the fight," Kitsune concludes, looking quite pleased with herself.
Tiny hands clasped in front of her body, she smiles at him as if he hung the moon, as if the sun rises and falls by his command. He hopes that the stars in her eyes stay that little bit longer, hopes she doesn't realise he too is fallible, that he too can err, just as any other human.
Kitsune pushes open the door of their house, helping him stuff the bear through the doorframe, their strength no match for the dead animal. They'll be having bear stew for the next day or two, there's enough to last.
"I think that we need to see it though, that you need to see it all before you really commit yourself to this, Kitsune." She startles at the sound of her name, though that is no surprise. Between them, it is always 'Big Brother' or 'Little Sister'. Actual names are only ever used when the topic is serious, when it needs to be paid due consideration.
"I… need to see what?" Head tilting to a side, Kitsune stares up at him with huge dark eyes, the baby blue he'd first seen there long gone. No longer are they a clear blue sky, now they house a rumbling storm, just waiting to burst with the first fork of lightning. Just like Mother had promised.
"The world. You need to see it before you make a decision."
Dragon has already seen it, has witnessed the escaped slaves being dragged back by marines, has seen executions of those that unknowingly helped pirates or just committed a 'crime', or so the Tenryūbito said. He knows all that is wrong with the world, knows it as surely as he draws breath, as surely as he feels the blood roar in his ears.
Kitsune does not.
She has seen the Marine Base from beneath the shelter of Father's protective form; were she stripped of that security, her experience would have been a very different thing indeed.
"We're… leaving the island? But I'm only five."
Squinting, Kitsune peers up at him, a suspicious set to her frown, as if she's looking for the punchline, waiting for the other shoe to drop, all the while presenting him with five raised fingers, as if to remind him of her actual age. It is as if she expects him to say Father will be coming with them, or that he's bartering with pirates for safe passage.
But no, it is neither of these things.
He has found a merchant ship that delivers office supplies to a Marine base in the first half of the Grand Line. In a stroke of luck, the vessel has been assigned a marine battleship for an escort, not become it carries important cargo, but simply because the warship was already due to make the journey and they might as well travel together.
There will be no better opportunity to get out unless they spend several more years training.
By that point, Dragon wants to be able to start building the foundations of his Revolution, so it really is now or never. He knows the six Marine techniques, and while perhaps not as efficient as an actual marine, it'll be enough to get by, that's for certain.
"As long as you listen to my orders when I give them, we will be fine." Of that, Dragon is sure.
He's a strong, capable swimmer, as is Kitsune. It comes with living on an island, they have no other choice but to be able to tread water at the very least.
"…Okay. You can show me what's wrong with the world. And then we'll figure out how to change it. Because that's what Big Brother wants to do. And I want to help Big Brother do it."
Lips stretched wide, Kitsune bares her teeth in an animalistic grin, running a hand through her hair.
What else is there to do, other than grin back?
A spare pair of clothes, several sets of underwear and socks, along with other necessities have been forcibly stuffed into one sturdy backpack, leaving her with nothing else to pack.
Slinging the bag onto her back, Kitsune stands, hands curling around the leather handles. She's ready to get out of this village, to see the world. It's strange, being suddenly faced with the world she knows and informed that it is about to expand. That she is about to leave this small pond and drop right into the ocean. It's going to be a shock, she's not going to pretend otherwise.
But right now, it isn't the Great Age of Piracy, there is no legend of the Pirate King and the Marines hold the four Blues between their tight fingers. Only the Grand Line slips through, and even then they are scrambling to grab hold of it. It won't work, Gol D. Roger and his pirate age will ensure that. But the Marines are trying, and that has to be acknowledged right now.
The current state of the world cannot be ignored simply because it is not what she expected, not what she likes. While it is a bit scary that the 'bad' side control the vast majority of the world, is that not how all tales start out? A big bad evil for the hero to take down?
After all, Luffy is not exactly a hero. If anything, he's chaotically neutral, looking out for what he considers his own interests. It's only fate that he comes to be upon what can be considered the 'good side', and isn't every character a hero from their own point of view?
If they were to be sectioned off, then pirates would be neutral, the Marines and Tenryūbito would be the evil, and the Revolutionaries would be the good. Because they actively oppose the injustice that the Tenryūbito inflict upon the world. Or rather, they would.
When Dragon gets it all set up and going that is.
"Come along, Little Sister. We're going."
Snatching up Dragon's large hand in her own, Kitsune, tucks the other one into the pocket of her shorts, staring at the small boat that will be meeting up with the actual merchant ship they'll be travelling on.
As it turns out the upper echelons of the Marines import special golden pens for signing documents, one of the few things the Goa Kingdom produces. Luckily, this presents them with their ticket out of here for the new few weeks.
While part of her is cautious, another couldn't care less. Dragon is strong after all, he's going to become the most wanted man in the world and he'd can't do that if he dies here. Luffy'll never be born without him; they're going to be okay.
Reassured, she bounces along beside Dragon, the wood of the docks creaking under her feet. They won't need replacing for a while yet, the sea here is too calm to cause them much damage; she wonders what the sea will be like when they actually leave the safety net of Dawn Island.
"Are you ready, Kitsune?"
They've stopped just before the gangplank, Dragon holding their tickets in his free hand, dark eyes heavy as they rest upon her head.
Kitsune swallows, looking back out towards the village, at the people that peer cautiously after them. They're strange people, the occupants of this Foosha of the past. Kitsune wonders if she'll run into Makino at some point, the girl should be somewhere between her and Dragon's age, shouldn't she? She's the only person Kitsune feels she'd recognise on sight, given her distinctive hair colour. Everyone else… They're just people filling the space.
She wonders where her future nephew's mother is; does she come from Dawn Island too? Or does Dragon meet her when he's off travelling?
Still, she's had enough of pondering over all of this. It's time to go see the world.
"I'm ready, Big Brother."
Even in the life before this, Kitsune had never really been on a ship. She'd built a raft one year, floating out into the centre of a small pond and then had to swim back to shore when it'd collapsed under her. She'd been eleven at the time, water-logged trousers clinging to her legs like a second skin and she's pretty certain she'd kicked a fish when she'd been making her way through the water.
That was all in another life though; here she's never done much more than splash about in the river, kick at the ocean waves as they crest upon one of Dawn Island's many beaches. Standing upon this vessel, looking in every direction and meeting nothing more than endless blue, it's another thing altogether. The fish here are probably the kind that'd respond to a kick by eating her, she thinks with shallow amusement.
Not to mention the Sea Kings.
"So we're going through the Calm Belt?" Kitsune asks, eyeing up the other ship, the battleship, that's accompanying them.
Rumour has it there's a marine onboard with a Devil Fruit power and that's what's going to get them through the Calm Belt so quick. That some poor sap had eaten a Fruit which gave him the power to keep an object's movement consistent and then got lumped escorting merchant ships to Marine Bases… Well Kitsune's not too sure what to think on that. Other than it sucks to be that guy. Still, being able to move ships through still waters, through a sea that lacks any kind of wind is pretty cool.
Not a power worth giving up the ability to swim for of course, but it's alright.
"Will we see a Sea King?"
Dragon flicks his eyes to a side, glancing down at her and Kitsune stares up into his face, waiting for a response.
Humming low in the back of her throat, Kitsune tears her eyes away from the older brother to instead look towards the horizon, staring out at the endless background of blue. Blue sky, blue water, blue dolphin... giant blue dolphin.
"Look, Dragon, look! I think it's a Sea King!"
Tugging at Dragon's sleeve to get his attention, Kitsune points out after the spot where the creature had disappeared into the ocean, eyes scanning the surface on the chance its re-emerge for her older brother to see. After all, Dragon has only ever been out to sea when Papa took him to the Marine base when he was a kid (long before she was born) and he'd refused to go back since. If he did spot a Sea King, he's probably forgotten what it looks like by now.
"Kitsune," Dragon murmurs, one big hand running through her hair, fingers scratching at her scalp as he forcibly stills the excited motion of her head. She allows it, letting the momentum of her bouncing leave her, loosening her limbs and falling pliable beside her older brother.
"I'm excited," she admits petulantly, bottom lip jutting out and glancing away. "The sea's an adventure."
She'd not gotten to go on an adventure in her old life. It'd been the daily grind back then, constantly jumping through this hoop and that hoop to get by. Exploring lands, fighting incredible battles, sailing upon the open seas; these is the kind of thing adventures are made out of. The kinds of plot-lines she'd have read about in books before heading off to another day at work.
Right now, Kitsune finds herself in the ultimate daydream, the perfect example of escapism, a wonderful, glorious place that is already so promising despite all its faults. If she's excited, then who can blame her?
"Someday the sea will be safe from the Tenryūbito," Dragon promises in a low tone, resting one elbow on the railing of the ship, the other receding from her hair to instead curl around her shoulder, pressing her close.
She's not yet tall enough to see over the railings so Kitsune instead peers right through them, tiny handles curling into the wooden beams, thankful the shipwrights had decided to go experimental with the railing design instead of sticking with the usual solid wood fencing. At least she gets to see the world go by now, instead of just watching the glaring sun steadily roll through the cloudless sky.
"I'll make sure of it."
"Why does it have to be Big Brother that starts the fight though?" Kitsune already knows, she knows exactly why Dragon has taken it upon himself to set off a revolution, to spark the flames of a kindling that's been building for centuries.
"Because no one else will. I refuse to sit back and ignore it. Perhaps it is what I was put upon this earth to do," the elder Monkey murmurs, lifting his hand from the railings to cradle his chin instead, a bastardized version of the thinker pose.
Lips twitching up at the sight, Kitsune steps closer to dragon until she can get a good handle on his shirt, climbing up his tall form until she's hanging from his shoulders. Automatically his arms curl around the underside of her thighs, allowing her to ride piggyback. She can see a fair bit more from up here, at the actual height an adult can achieve. And Dragon still has a few years left to grow yet, Kitsune recalls.
"I think Dragon will be a great leader," Kitsune avows, resting her chin atop his shoulder forehead pressing into the sharp angle of her older brother's jaw. "You can do anything. Just like Papa, just keep bulldozing over everyone who tells you anything different."
"I will, Little Sister, if you never let anyone tell you what to do as well. We will be free as the wind and nothing, no Marines or Tenryūbito will ever be capable of controlling us." Tilting his head up, staring at the burning sun that rests in the sky, Dragon grins, ferocious and proud. "I'd soon die than fall at their mercy."
The Spartacus of their world, the first great Revolutionary is carrying her upon his back, Kitsune realises. Ready to lead an uprising, the likes of which the world and the controlling empire that is the Tenryūbito's World Government have never seen before. Only she gets the feeling he will be far more successful than the original Revolutionary, because she cannot see Dragon ever being cornered, ever being stopped.
Perhaps in the early days he will only be labelled and agitator, as Lenin and Trotsky once were, but Kitsune is well aware of just how that particular tale ended. With successful revolution, even if it had been twisted into Stalinism after a few decades. While she may have been born much earlier than the actual plot of the manga she remembers, she has been born into a time where she will be able to witness the rise of a new Fidel Castro.
Will this make her Dragon's Che Guevara? Something worth pondering over, Kitsune acknowledges with a little frown. Though there will be no betrayals between them. It's just not a fathomable idea.
"I don't like slavery, I can't stomach the thought that there are people in this world that are considered nothing more than the property of another person. I don't like that some people have that kind of power, especially since they're the exact opposite of people that should be in power."
There's quiet as they look out over the ocean, Kitsune's dark hair burning hot beneath the heat of the midday sun.
"We are very alike, Little Sister. But I will not allow you to aid me until you are older. Not in an actual fight."
"That's okay. I can gather information for now. I'm a kitsune remember? Kitsunes are good at tricking others."
Dragon laughs and the sound puts her at ease, tension leaking from her shoulders as she slumps more into the sturdy form of Dragon's back.
"That I do believe, Little Sister."
A fortnight passes as they travel upon the ship, and despite a few sightings of Sea Kings (along with one attack, though the Marine battleship had quickly taken care of that) their journey has been quiet. Almost ridiculously so.
Kitsune finds her skin itching, her limbs twitching. Perhaps that burning desire for adventure is genetic, perhaps Luffy's questionable sanity is driven by this feeling. Kitsune's not sure; maybe it didn't skip Dragon at all, but because he has already found his calling in life he's capable of ignoring it. Who knows? Certainly not her, that is for sure.
Chewing on her lower lip, the brunette adjusts her stance as Dragon eyes it, loosening the joints but keeping the muscles ready to spring to action. Not relaxed, but not tensed. Somewhere between, something reactive.
Just because they are not at the island anymore, just because they cannot hunt and fight the large than life wildlife, does not excuse any form of slacking.
Instead she spars with Dragon, despite the clear difference in their height and weight, despite the fact that should he put forth the effort he could wipe the floor with her. She's young, her body weak, Kitsune knows. But that doesn't mean she cannot be as effective a fighter as possible. It doesn't mean she cannot use the underestimations others will have of her physical appearance to her advantage.
Kitsune springs forwards, quick as she can, and slams a roundhouse kick into Dragon's thigh with all the strength she can summon up. He doesn't budge an inch from where he's standing, but his lips do curl up into a pleased smile. That has to mean she's making some kind of progress, right?
It's just irritating that he's such a hard-assed taskmaster.
Inhaling, Kitsune settles low onto the balls of her feet again, tiny hands clenching into fists. She can't wait until she's back to normal, until she's an adult again. Being trapped in a child's body, no matter how much she feels like a child sometimes, sucks. There's just so damn much she misses. Being talked down to by everyone that isn't Dragon is one of the major things, though not the only one.
Weight shifting onto her back foot, Kitsune tenses her muscles to spring forwards.
The sudden rocking motion of the ship has her sprawling across the floor mid-motion though.
Lifting her head from the parquet and working her jaw back and forth (she can all but feel the friction burn that's forming on the underside of her chin) Kitsune shoots a questioning glance to Dragon who's gone tense.
His hand is on her shoulder mere moments later, hoisting her up. Kitsune makes no protest about being handled like a sack of rice, especially given the hostility and stress that seems to be radiating off of her older brother in thick waves.
"The ship is under attack," Dragon finally concludes, features expressionless and voice giving away even less than his face.
"Under attack?" Kitsune repeats numbly, head whirling. On one hand, this is the adventure she'd been waiting for. Yet, she's woefully underprepared for actual battle.
"We'll head for a row boat and get out during the chaos."
There's no arguing with Dragon's plan of action, and though part of her stings at the thought of fleeing, it is the most sensible thing to do. She can't fight and Dragon can't fight and defend her at the same time. Their priorities are their lives and each other, no matter how ruthlessly their condemning those on board by leaving them. There's a Marine battleship floating right beside them, they'll be fine, surely.
Guilt subverted, Kitsune wraps her arms around Dragon's neck and her legs around his waist, clinging like a limpet mine, though she has no plans to explode all over her already stressed brother. It frees up his limbs, just in case he needs the use of his arms to get them out of the firing range.
They don't so much as burst up onto the deck as they slink out from behind the door.
The complete opposite of his future child, Dragon stealthily edges them along the wall, hiding in the shadows that's cast by the setting sun, retreating away from the port side where the source of the explosions come from. Kitsune watches the men in marine uniforms storm towards the threat with wide eyes. They're clearly outmatched, the fact this attack hasn't been dealt with in the two minutes it's taken Dragon to get the out of the hull is proof enough.
That it's only gotten worse shows they're going to end up trounced, no matter how hard they fight.
They're just not strong enough, Kitsune realises, and neither her or Dragon fighting would have made much of a difference. Plus if they joined in, Papa'd kill them even more brutally than he's already gonna do for daring to leave Dawn Island.
They're almost to the boat, almost to what promises to be freedom, when it hits.
Like a physical force only there's no painful impact. Instead it's like shock; her whole body feels weak, skin clammy and each breath she takes feels far, far too shallow. Her chest hurts, Kitsune realises as Dragon stumbles and she's falling. It takes her a moment to realise Dragon hasn't dropped her (can't have dropped her, he hadn't been holding her so it's her own limbs that gave out?) and that she's fallen of her own accord.
As if to make things worse, so much worse, the pressure blasts into her again, stronger this time and it feels like her whole body is shutting down, as if someone's pressing the power button and watching the screen turn black.
She chokes on something; it's cold, why is it suddenly so cold? Kitsune tries to voice her question, eyes flicking to Dragon who's been forced to one knee by the pressure, but still holds his head high, still faces the figures that're making their way towards them, a solid wall between the attackers and her.
It's the last thing Kitsune see's before the beast of unconsciousness sinks it's sharp fangs into her neck.
Rosinante slaps at the underside of his jaw, praying he hasn't just gotten bitten by another mosquito.
This base (in South Blue, as far away from the last sighting of Doffy as he can possibly be) is nowhere near as pleasant as the last one that Sengoku had taken him to. It's humid, it's a paradise for what seems to be half the world's population of insects and it's horribly humid.
Did he mention that already? Well that just proves how god dam awful it is.
He can't remember too much of Mariejois; he'd not even turned six before they'd left, but the weather had always been pleasant, he recalls that much.
South Blue does have one thing going for it though; no one knows the name Donquixote. Nobody recognises it, nobody looks upon him as scum, as a thing to be treated with hate and disgust because they do not know his past.
It's the first time in years Rosinante has been able to use his family name and he's still undecided on how he feels about that.
Running a hand through the thick blond locks that are sticking to his forehead, plastered there with clammy sweat, Rosinante grapples for the brim of his official Marine hat, removing it from his head to use as a substitute fan instead.
He's nothing more than a chore boy right now, but given that he's only eleven it's a miracle he's been allowed to enrol at all. He's rather certain it has something do do with Sengoku's heavy-handed character recommendation, but Rosinante isn't about to complain given he's got what he wanted.
From what he's been able to gather of the whispers regarding Doffy's movements, his older brother is making significant headway on becoming a pirate.
Rosinante absolutely cannot become a pirate, cannot become what his brother has chosen to be. He has to stop the evil that is his only blood relative, and becoming a Marine will mean gaining the strength and resources to do just that. He'll be able to stop his brother... and make Sengoku proud. He owes that man so much, a man that's looks after him and cares for him these past few years...
It's almost like having a father again.
Snapping to attention, Rosinante salutes the petty officer stood before him, trying to stem the pride that wells in his chest, a sensation that comes from wearing a uniform and being able to officially salute someone.
"You've got a letter, kid."
Accepting the brown envelope that's pressed into his hands, Rosinante barely waits for the man to leave before he's opening it.
As promised, Monkey D. Kitsune has been writing him letters ever since they first parted ways and though he's on good terms with his fellow chore boys... Kitsune was the first.
His first friend, the first to look at him and see someone worth keeping around. It's silly because she was a little brat, only three years old, but he still likes writing to her even after two years have passed by.
She's a lot smarter then he'd been expecting too; it's more like talking to someone his own age, if not older. That's not a bad thing though.
The penmanship is far more fluid than the first letter he ever received, something that has clearly come with practice.
Slapping his hat back atop his head, Rosinante makes his way to the corridor leading to the battlements of the base. He's off duty now, having finished his tasks for the day, so he'll find someone peaceful and quiet to read.
Not quite secure in his balance yet, Rosinante (rather wisely) decides to not sit upon the edge of the walls, instead leaning back against one of the cannons, sat upon the stone floor as he unfolds his correspondence.
Kitsune's letters are often long, rambling things, filled with what adventures she's been on (which mostly consists of hunting and fighting the wildlife found on her home island) to pondering what kind of madness she might one day find upon the Grand Line.
She speaks of helping people, of saving them from tyrants and those that abuse their powers. She wants to be a good marine and Rosinante can respect that.
After living with Doffy and his growing resentment, Kitsune's bold innocence and hope is always uplifting to read about.
Which is why the end paragraph of the letter send him into a spiralling panic.
Is this what a heart attack feels like?!
Chest tight and mouth dry, Rosinante stumbles to his feet, scrambling for the enterance to the base before he recalls Sengoku is no longer here, has set off for the Grand Line after whispers that Shiki the Golden Lion was growing restless. He knows his guardian has his heart set on catching that pirate so Rosinante hadn't protested, hadn't demanded to be brought along where he could get in the way. He wishes he down otherwise now though, because-
'Big Brother and I are off on an adventure! Don't tell Papa, but we're leaving the island for a bit! We'll be back before he knows we've been gone though, so don't be surprised if it takes me a while to get your next letter. I'll tell you all about it when I get back. -Kitsune'
God damn it, where did he put that Den Den Mushi Sengoku gave him?! This is unquestionably an emergency! Vice Admiral Garp's five year old daughter roaming the seas?! Anything could happen to Rosinante's friend and his parents were right.
Children of D are nothing but trouble.
Rosinante forces his mind to slow, fingernails biting into the meatly flesh of his palms. Focus. Think.
The Den Den Mushi will be in his quarters, so that's where he needs to go.
Spinning on the balls of his feet, the former Tenryūbito overbalances and slams his face into the floor, long limbs sprawled hazardously out in all directions.
God damn it, he won't be stopped from warning Sengoku's of Kitsune's M.I.A status because of his inability to not be a complete klutz.
It takes him a moment to get his feet under him again, but then he's off.
"I've put up with a lot of your shit throughout the years, but are we really doing this?"
Sitting on the deck with one of their captives in his arms, Gol D. Roger just grins, looking as free as ever. Sometimes, Rayleigh wonders why he decided to follow this man, why he allows Roger to lead him right into the jaws of the first monster they come across, only to snatch them back to safety at the last second, to pull them free as the teeth snap shut an inch from their faces.
It's madness, shear madness, and yet he still follows him without question. It's gotten to the point that, with most things, Rayleigh will just go along with the flow. Because by some miracle, by some grace of god, it always works out in the end, Roger always ends up on the winning side.
Yet, there's a handful of times in recent years when Rayleigh just cannot allow his tongue to lie still in the face of Roger's crazy antics. This is a prime example.
Because there's a epochal difference between constantly battling a man, and then kidnapping his kids.
"We've attacked a lot of marine ships over the years, why is this any different?" Of course his fool of a Captain can't see it though.
Taking off his glasses, Rayleigh rubs at the bridge of his nose, trying to pretend like the whole crew isn't there, isn't going about their jobs in a way that brings them as close as they can get to their little gathering because they're all nosy idiots.
Instead, he forces himself to focus on the two children they'd, ahem, liberated from the marine ship. Which is now at the bottom of the ocean.
On the plus side, Rayleigh now has an extensive collection of beautiful pens to write with. A small silver (or gold?) lining in the thunderstorm Roger has once again whipped up. Speaking of storms…
Rayleigh eyes the teenager they'd brought onboard, the one he'd had to physically knock unconscious because he'd refused to go down, even in the face of Roger's Conqueror's Haki. Truly this brat'll be a force to be reckoned with when he sets out on his dream. He's Garp's son, he can't be anything other than another Child of D.
Just like Roger.
For the sake of his sanity, Rayleigh hopes not, or hopes in the very least the kid'll pick a dream that doesn't lead to much interaction with him. No, the kind of iron-will that it takes to not fall unconscious before Roger's Conqueror's is insane. For a boy not that much older than Shanks and Buggy to have such a thing…
Well Rayleigh hopes the kid isn't set on becoming a marine. One Garp is enough, quite frankly.
It appears at the moment though, the boy cares for nothing more than protecting his little sister. The small girl that's all but dwarfed in Roger's lap.
His Captain has one arm around her back, the other steadily working a handkerchief across her mouth, wiping away the Conqueror's induced foam. She's a hell of a lot softer in appearance than any child of Garp's has a right to be, almost waiflike. Though there's every possibility that she'll grow into a tall, long-limbed beauty. Rayleigh doesn't know, he's never met Garp's wife before. Hell, the Vice Admiral might not even have a wife, they might just have been born from a lover for all he knows. The brats look too identical (despite the hard/soft gradient to the features) to not have had the same mother though.
"Roger, you can't just go around kidnapping children. Especially these children." Because Garp is already always chasing after them. How much more ferocious would he grow in his hunt if he learns the Roger Pirates have both his children on board?
"We're not kidnapping them. Just borrowing them." And dear god, his captain actually looks genuinely confused.
Why is he following him again? Rayleigh is really starting to question his life choices. Again.
"Captain! They're Garp's kids! He's gonna run us down getting them back! Throw 'em overboard!" Buggy has both hands held by the sides of his face, not quiet clutching at his skull but only a few inches off of doing so. The panic on his features is near comical and Rayleigh feels a smile twitch at the edge of his lips. He'd questioned Roger when he'd brought a kid on board, another one only a week later. But for all that they fight, for all that the argue like cat and dog, Shanks and Buggy are good kids. Even if the one with the unfortunate nose does tend to get a bit hysterical every so often.
"Aw, come on, Buggy! It'll be fun to have some other kids around!" Shanks declares, eyeing the teenager and then the little girl in Roger's arms with open curiosity in his eyes.
"They're not staying, Shanks. But we won't be throwing them overboard," Rayleigh affirms. Even if Roger wants to keep them forever, it doesn't matter.
Garp won't allow that, and that's not even taking into account the opinions of the two children they've acquired.
"They're interesting brats!" Roger suddenly declares and it's a wonder the volume of his bellow doesn't wake them both up.
Done cleaning Garp's little girl, he shuffles her about in his arms, cradling her close and Rayleigh is struck with the image of his captain with such a small child. The nagging thought of if Roger ever had a child forms in his mind and the First Mate of the Roger Pirates tries not to think too hard on it. The world would not be ready for another as free and determined as Roger. They struggle enough with one as it is.
"That one," Roger continues, waving one hand to the unconscious teen, "wants to lead a revolution and tear down the Tenryūbito."
But Roger, despite his mad grin and with his eyes burning with the fire of life… Roger is completely serious on the teenager's dream. Rayleigh doesn't quite understand the whole 'Voice of All Things' that Roger has going for him, but his captain has not been wrong so far.
"Tear down… the Tenryūbito?" Shanks whispers in disbelieving awe, Buggy's own jaw having physically detached in his shock, floating a few inches below his breastbone with the power of his Devil Fruit.
"What a ballsy brat," Rayleigh mutters in surprise, eyeing Garp's oldest with refreshed interest.
So this kid wants to start some kind of Revolution? That's even more against the World Government than any pirate so far has managed. All the Roger Pirates do is whatever their captain wishes, damn the consequences. This kid… he wants to actively fight the entire government.
No wonder he hadn't crumpled beneath the weight of Conqueror's, his willpower for that dream… Incredible. What an impressive brat.
Rayleigh highly doubts Garp knows the kid's aim though, because otherwise the marine would spend as much time hammering the ideas out of his son's head as he does chasing Roger.
"And the girl?" Hey, if one of Garp's kid's is a big dreamer, then it's quite possible the other shows just as much promise.
Roger pauses, looking down at the little form he's manoeuvred about until her face was resting against his chest. Were it not for the fact he'd been present when they retrieved the two kids, he'd have thought the girl had fallen asleep in the arms of her favourite uncle.
Not her father's sworn 'nemesis' after said man had forced her unconscious with what basically equates to a bomb of Conqueror's Haki. Two bombs in actuality, as she hadn't gone down after the first one.
His old friend's face is oddly solemn as he looks down upon the girl, one hand brushing the hair back from her face to stare at the birthmark that mars the her features.
"Her voice is out of place," Roger finally admits, a frown smearing across his lips. He looks as if he's finished a puzzle, every last piece in place, only to find one more had been stuck to the underside of his arm and that it doesn't fit in anywhere in the completed picture. Like a school child who's snuck out the answer sheet for a test paper, only to find it far more in-depth than he'd been ready for.
Which makes no sense what so ever.
Nothing has ever stumped his captain, nothing has ever made him frown in such a.. contemplative manner before. It creates a very uneased feeling in Rayleigh, looking at that expression Roger wears.
"If life were a play, this is like the audience dropping in when they've already read the plot overview in the programme." And that makes no sense whatsoever.
Of course it doesn't though, this is Roger, why would he have expected his captain's childish whims to be anything other than impulsive?
"We're not keeping them, are we?" He's getting that vibe, but Rayleigh just wants to make sure.
As always, Roger reads him perfectly, face brightening as he reels his gaze away from the little Monkey in his arms.
"Nah, they're going in other directions. The pirate's life isn't for them." He laughs, laughs like it all makes perfect sense. To a halfwit, it probably does.
Roger dances a fine line between idiocy and intellect though; sometimes what he comes out with is downright insightful, other times… Rayleigh thinks that just maybe Roger's only made it this far through life because no one has been able to give him a 'no' as forceful as whatever demands he made.
Both boys snap to attention as their captain addresses them, suddenly looking so much more focused, so much more determined.
"You two are in charge of looking after our guests. No buts!" He cuts them both off before they can protest what is basically a glorified babysitting job, going to fold his arms across his broad chest before remembering he's holding a child. "It's important they're treated well but that they don't run off. I need to talk to this one."
While Roger looks towards the teenager, while Buggy and Shanks follow his gaze, Rayleigh doesn't miss how he taps at the girl's head.
Now why would Roger want to talk to the younger Monkey? Is she even five years old yet?
"You can count on me, Cap'n Roger!" Buggy snaps off a bastardised marine salute, getting to his feet and clearly eager to look after the girl. No wonder, Garp's son already appears to be taking after the marine with his height if not his outright bulk. Certainly a five year old girl would be easier to subdue if it came down to the fight.
But after watching how ferociously the teenager had fought off Roger's Conqueror's Haki, he doesn't doubt that the kid would tear right through Shanks and Buggy to get to his little sister.
"It's probably best you boys look after them on deck." The 'where we can help you' goes unsaid, but Roger nods in agreement.
Looking disgruntled, Buggy mutinously folds him arms, a deep scowl on his face. It last for all of five seconds, right up until Roger hands the little girl over to the cabin boy and Buggy all but flails.
"Wait, Cap'n, I don't know how to hold a baby!"
"Dahahaha! I've got her!" Shanks effortlessly scoops the little Monkey from Buggy's arms and though his movements are slowed by his unfamiliarity with holding a person so much smaller than him, he is confident in his hold. "And she's not a baby, Buggy. She's probably about five years old, I'd guess."
"Let's leave them to it, Rayleigh," Roger chortles, rising to his feet.
There's so much energy to him right now that no one would be able to tell he's ill, that he's not got much time left. Roger has always seemed so much larger than life, so wild and free it almost seemed as if he'd be able to outrun even death. It's not the case though, so Rayleigh will make the most of the time he has with his oldest friend. Even if in that time Roger seems happy to-
"Gaban! We still on course to meet Shiki?!"
- meet one of his most powerful rivals in battle.
Damn that man.
Accepting a temporary truce with his rival (as if he had much of a choice in the matter), Shanks watches Captain stalk off in Gaban's general direction, adjusting the way his hand rests on the back of his little dependant.
The slow rise and fall of her ribs is easy to feel through the thin fabric of her shirt, little breaths puffing against the side of his neck. They tickle but Shanks' isn't about to hand her back over to Buggy. He'd probably drop her, the redhead figures.
He'd panic and drop her and Shanks'd been there when Captain had tried to drop the two Monkeys without touching them. The younger had gone down, but Rayleigh had been forced to hit the other one with a Haki coated hand, he'd been that determined to not let anyone touch his little sister.
It makes Shanks wary of approaching the other, who's still face down on the deck where Rayleigh dumped him. Shanks doesn't exactly have a lot of practice at making himself appear peaceful and friendly (the fact he's a pirate usually outweighs all efforts he makes otherwise) but he'll certainly be trying here.
Beside him, Buggy eyes the girl cautiously and the redhead doesn't miss the fact that he's been strategically placed between his fellow cabin boy and the stranger.
Monkey D. Garp's oldest child, his only son, according to Captain. Meshing the concept of Garp, the scary marine who's chased them everywhere since Shanks'd joined the Roger Pirates, with the father of these two children (even if the boy's clearly older the Shanks) just isn't working. Maybe when they're awake he'll be able to see it, but right now-
The question makes him jump and it takes him a moment to realise it came from the little face tucked into his shoulder.
As if to prove it was indeed her who spoke, the girl pulls back from where she'd been pressed against his collarbone, sitting back onto his arms and Shanks almost drops her, almost trips forwards himself at the sudden shift of weight.
Dark eyes, huge and round with youth, stare right him for a second. And then she beams.
Yeah, that smile is all Vice Admiral Garp.
"You're very pretty and your hair's great. Hey, wanna get married when I'm older?" What?
"What?" Shanks chokes out as Buggy breaks down behind him, laughing manically.
Garp's crazy daughter just keeps looking at him, keeps smiling at him as she takes a hold of one of his red tresses with deceptively delicate fingers.
"You've got very pretty hair, I bet redhead babies'd be cool. Though not until I'm like, way older than now." She squirms and, too shocked to really consider what to do otherwise, Shanks releases his hold on the girl.
Landing on her feet, she scuttles over to the other Monkey (that's probably crazy too, given that the two Shanks' now seen in action are clearly off their rockers) who is suddenly very much awake. How exactly has he lost control of this situation so quickly?
"Buggy!" Shanks spins around to look at his fellow cabin boy, who startles at the sudden motion. "They're both awake! What do we do?!"
"How should I know?!"
"I like 'em, Dragon. They're funny." Huh?
Spinning back around, Shanks watches as the older Monkey (is Dragon his actual name, or is it a nickname? Oh what the hell, at least Shanks has something to call the older one now, even if it is incorrect) sits up and pulls the younger close to his chest. They check each other, the little imp still grinning and Dragon emulating his namesake with the fiercely protective aura he's giving off.
"Little Sister, are you well?"
The 'little sister' nods quickly, wrapping her arms around broad shoulders and rubbing their cheeks together. After a moment she pulls back, pressing both her hands to Dragon's cheeks and comically smushing his lips together.
"We're on a pirate ship. An adventure." There's stars in her eyes as she says the words and Shanks grins, pushing the whole marriage proposal away for the moment. He'll stumble over what the hell that was later.
Right now he has to follow through with Captain's orders and that means making their guests feel welcome. Not that Shanks' ever had to do that before. The Roger Pirates rarely have guests, and they've never taken prisoners; they've never had a need to.
"Hi, I'm Shanks and this is Buggy. We're cabin boys and this is the Oro Jackson."
The two Monkeys stare at him, one obviously more hostile than the other. Dragon has one arm wrapped around his younger sister's waist and it is the only thing that prevents her from approaching them again.
She pauses for a moment, as if not quite sure why she's making no progress towards them, before she peers down at the iron bar that holds her still.
"Dragon, let go," she whines, tiny hands trying to push the limb away and after a moment's pause, the teenager does just that. The release of his arm is accompanied the scariest glare Shanks' seen in a very long time. As if daring them to harm the little girl. Not that Shanks wants to. She might not be playing with a full deck of cards, but the lass seems nice enough. So Shanks squats down until they're at even level, offering his hand out.
"Hey there, I'm Shanks."
"I'm Monkey D. Kitsune, and that's my big brother Dragon. We came out to sea to see the world."
"Not to lead a revolution?" Buggy chokes out and that does have Dragon's head snapping up, his eyes narrow and heavy and God, how the hell is a child of Garp the Fist so serious and severe?
"How do you know about that?" It's growled out from beneath clenched teeth and something most show on their faces, some indication that the other male is sending fearful shivers down their spines because the guy grins. And holy shit is that grin scary as fuck.
"Dragon! I hardly think pirates are gonna snitch on you!"
Then there's Monkey D. Kitsune, still with her hand in his, still half way through a handshake with a grip that's something like what Shanks imagines Whitebeard's handshake would be like. Near crippling, it'll be a wonder if he can move his fingers after this. Yeah, this is no doubt Vice Admiral Garp's daughter.
The glare lessens, as does the pressure in the air, but the tension remains. Kitsune doesn't let go of Shanks' hand, but she does loosen her death-grip, lacing her tiny fingers through his and grinning. It's so much cuter, so much more pleasant than the terrifying version her brother just showcased and Shanks opts to focus on her, no matter how much his instincts scream for him to watch the biggest threat to his health on the ship.
He trusts the rest of the crew would be capable of stopping Monkey D. Dragon if he decides to go for his throat.
"Have you got a kitchen on board, Shanks? I'm starving."
The two Monkeys go at the food much like Captain Roger does; as if it is a battle to be won, a war to be conquered, a victory that cannot occur unless every last scrap of food has been chewed and buried into their stomachs.
Shanks watches with wide eyes as the two tear into the dishes, throwing different pieces (a chicken leg here, a rack of ribs there) to the other depending upon their preferences. Despite their different tastes, they eat with the same terrifying efficiency, leaving nothing but bones stripped clean in their wake.
Even the poor cook seems a bit stunned at the sight.
At least Dragon eats tidily; Kitsune doesn't seem to care in the least, sauce and juices smeared down her front, staining the fabric of her shirt. Though that might be more to do with her age; she is only five after all.
She'd made sure to inform them of that, declaring that her 'Big Brother' was fifteen, ten years her senior. It's clear to see the utter idealisation she has by the glimmer in her eyes, looking upon the older Monkey as if the tides rise and fall by the command of his hand. Shanks' seen more than his fair share of sibling relationships throughout the years, but this is certainly at the top end of the scale for unquestionable family love.
Huh. It almost makes him want a baby sister too.
"So, er, why a revolution?" Shanks asks, for lack of anything else to say.
Now finished devouring all that is upon the plates, Dragon sits back in his seat, allowing Kitsune to climb into his lap so that she may sit higher than what her short form would otherwise allow her.
"Yeah, not a lot of treasure in that," Buggy grumbles, though Shanks can tell his friend is pleased that there won't be anymore competition for the pricy sparkles that come with the life of a pirate.
Given how hellishly intimidating he is, Shanks' reckons Dragon'd make a pretty good pirate.
"That you even need to ask is a prime example of why," the oldest among their little quartet grunts, tucking Kitsune's head below his, chin resting upon the crown of her hair. "The Tenryūbito run unchecked throughout the world and what they do would be considered monstrous if committed by another. I don't believe being born to a set bloodline should dictate an absolution from the code of morality that binds us together as sentiment beings."
Holy shit, Shanks barely followed any of that.
Once he's translated it into terminology he can actually understand, it makes perfect sense. Revolution sounds good, it sounds like something the world needs but... Shanks can't be shackled to a cause like that. He needs to be free, free as the wind; it will always be a pirate's life for him.
This guy though, he's got guts, that's for sure.
And the lass has brains too; she doesn't look confused in the slightest by her brother's word waffle, though it's possible she's heard it all before.
"So you're not after treasure?" Buggy asks, clearly dead set on getting that clarified.
"Only as much as it would take to kickstart a revolution."
Yeah, fighting the whole world, fighting against the hundred odd countries that make up the World Government? That's gonna take some serious funding.
Buggy probably realises it too because his face scrunched up, looking like he wants to protest viciously. The absolutely scorching glare Dragon sends him kills any threats before his fellow cabin boy can even begin voicing them, especially when Kitsune flicks her eyes between the two of them, openly curious.
"Hey, Big Brother, are we still gonna train on here?"
"Let's ask our... gracious hosts, shall we?"
Okay, so the elder Monkey is clearly quite unhappy in regards to their 'kidnapping', even if the Captain doesn't consider it as such.
Well, Shanks has been told to keep them happy, so he already knows what the answer to this is going to have to be.
"I don't think Captain'll mind if you practice on the deck... you're not Devil Fruit users, are you?"
"Nope," Kitsune replies, popping the 'p' with a smack of her lips.
"Why are we here."
Shanks fumbles, hands searching, waving through the air as if he can physically grasp the answer and present it to the scary teen. Yeah, he can picture this guy waging war against the government. He's got the right disposition for it, that's for sure.
"Honestly," Shanks says with a smile and a shrug, "I don't have a clue. Captain's orders and all. I don't think he's gonna keep you hostage though. Said he wanted to talk to ya."
Both Monkeys frown at that, sharing a glance that speaks volumes. Well, at least to each other; if they're communicating then Shanks' gone deaf, because he can't make heads or tails of the conversation given that it's based solely on their physical interactions, the way they look at each other, little ticks in their expressions that Shanks has no hope of picking up on.
"That's worrying," Kitsune finally whispers, rubbing at one of her cheeks while she licks the leftover sauce from the fingers of her other hand. "He knows we've got no chance at reeling Papa back in, right?"
"Like Cap'n would need your help dealing with Garp."
There's a still silence as they all acknowledge the very true words, Kitsune slouching back into her brother's chest, lips pressed together into a pout.
"Well if we're not here for that... they why does he want to see us?"
And isn't that the billion Beri question?
"Dinner?" Kitsune repeats brusquely. She blinks, once then twice, and then thrice for good measure.
But still, Silvers Rayleigh remains a stand before her, still with that half smile and still appears to be inviting her to join his captain for dinner.
She's aware of Dragon bristling hostilely at her back, no doubt rising to his full height with his broad shoulders squared. He's probably frowning, probably looking like the embodiment of fire and brimstone. Probably trying to kill Rayleigh with nought but the burning heat of his eyes.
She wonders what Shanks and Buggy see as they look upon her brother and her. Shanks is exactly as she'd have expected him to be; all joyous and carefree, but surprisingly enough it is quite possible to shock him, to pull the rug out from under his feet and watch him panic as he loses his footing. It's entertaining; his face when she proposed marriage was a picture.
Sucking in the flesh of her lips to prevent them from curving up into a smile, Kitsune's eyes flash over to look at Buggy. He's exactly as she expected too; selfish and obsessed with treasure. But he's pretty cool.
Flicking her gaze back to Rayleigh, Kitsune drums up her biggest smile, bouncing forwards.
"Will there be sandwiches for dinner? I like sandwiches. I'll have dinner with Captain Roger if you feed Big Brother too."
The low call of her name has Kitsune pausing, cocking her head back to look at Dragon with wide eyes.
Her older brother is frowning, face stern and he's worried, she realises. It's strange to see Dragon worried. Her big brother is always overflowing with confidence, but it seems even he is aware of what he can and cannot take on by himself. The usual run of the mill pirates are no problem for him. But the Roger Pirates? The man who will someday become Pirate King? That's another thing altogether.
"They'd have hurt us already if they wanted to," Kitsune says slowly, keeping eye contact with Dragon, hoping he sees the clear intent upon her face. That she wholeheartedly believes Roger will not harm her. And even if he does, it doesn't mean anything in the end.
There was no Monkey D. Kitsune in the original timeline, maybe this is where she dies, if this is canon. Maybe this is all how it's suppose to happen, but Kitsune's going to go with her gut instinct and have dinner with the future Pirate King. For what a tale it will be to tell in the future.
Surely Luffy will appreciate it, should he come to exist in this world, should she get to even meet him.
"Scream and I shall come."
With his piece said, Monkey D. Dragon stalks over to the railings of the ship, hands curling around the wood as he grips at it. She can almost picture the metaphorical dragon's tail lashing about, swiping back and forth in a visible display of his agitation.
"So, dinner," Rayleigh murmurs, reining in her wandering attention until it is all once again focused upon him.
Considering the Dark King (the future Dark King? Does he have his title or not? She can't remember) Kitsune scratches lazily at the side of her cheek.
"Yep. I'm hungry, are we gonna eat now? Where are we gonna eat? I wanna eat on deck so do you have a big umbrella for if it rains?"
Glancing up at the very clear blue sky, Kitsune reminds herself that they are indeed on the Grand Line (as if the salt in the air, the ocean mist kissing her skin and the thrum of excitement in her bones could ever let her forget that fact) and that a sudden weather change is so common to the fact it's accepted at the norm. In the blink of an eye the gentle caress of the warm sun could be replaced by a sudden avalanche of snow.
"Captain was planning to eat on deck," Rayleigh confirms, lips pressed into a worn smile. It's the kind Kitsune hasn't seen before, a reluctant happiness. Spending so much time with Dragon, who despite his stern composure , expresses his emotions freely and happily, it strikes her as particularly odd.
"That's good, eating on deck sounds fun. They frowned at it on the Marine ship."
"That's cause the Marines don't know how to party," Rayleigh shares, as if he's exposing a particularly dirty secret and not a fact that is common knowledge.
Stepping closer to Rayleigh, Kitsune reaches up, grabbing the older man's hand with her own, swinging their joined limbs back and forth.
"Take me to the picnic, Ray-man."
Her first sighting of Gol D. Roger, future Pirate King and scourge of the Marines, is as he comes tumbling down the deck, laughing boisterously at something Buggy has said to him.
Kitsune watches the man that will kick-start an entire era with wide eyes, trying to take everything in, to commit it all to memory. He's not a small man, not by regular standards, but it's the same kind of 'big' that Garp is. Humanly big, not unnaturally so. Imposing, she's instinctively aware of his presence despite the fact he clearly means no threat to her. The moustache is weird, but perhaps that's because it's the first one she's seen in this life.
Who knows, maybe she'll change her mind when she gets to see Whitebeard and Red Leg Zeff and all those other strange-moustache sporting men.
His eyes light up when he sees her waiting by the little picnic basket the cook had obligingly brought up, one hand patting warmly at Buggy's head before he comes almost bouncing over.
"Little Miss Monkey D. Kitsune," he muses, squatting down until they're on eye-level, a wide grin on his face as he presents her with own hand. "I'm Gol D. Roger."
"I know. It's nice to meet you, Mr Roger."
His hand feels huge wrapped around hers, tough with drier skin than she'd have expected a weathered sailor to have. Shouldn't he constantly be brushing the ocean spray from his form? The internal visual isn't showcasing itself in the real world and Kitsune finds that rather upsetting.
"You're a cute kid. Eat your sandwich." Roger drops onto the deck floor, long legs folded beneath him with one elbow seated upon a knee. He rests his chin in his palm, the other digging around in the picnic basket before it surfaced with a sandwich that is promptly presented to her.
It's ham and cheese, her favourite filling and Kitsune accepts it gingerly. It's even missing butter, exactly how she prefers her meal.
"You're voice told me that's how you like sandwiches," Roger shares, pulling forth his own meal which seems to be every possible sandwich filling piled together upon one slice of white, topped with another single piece of bread. It's a big sandwich for a man who's bigger than life itself.
Or that's the impressions Kitsune's getting from this guy.
"My voice," she parrots, trying desperately to recall any information she has upon that. It's ringing a bell, something about the Voice of All Things, but she can't remember anything particularly in depth. "And it told you I like ham and cheese?"
Roger laughs, nodding his head before removing his hat and deposits it atop her brow instead.
Spluttering as the huge mass of fabric all but engulfs her, Kitsune hoists the hat up, peering out from beneath the warm brim just in time to witness the future Pirate King inhale the entirety of his monster sandwich. When he reaches into the basket and pulls out its twin, she quickly realised exactly where Portgas D. Ace will get his large appetite from.
Nibbling gingerly at the crust of her sandwich, Kitsune forces herself to not speak, to not break the silence. She's not particularly bothered by what this man thinks of her, it's not like his opinion of her will change things. Eyeing the monster sandwiches of Roger's again, Kitsune winces as her stomach gives a loud gurgle, a clear indication it is not satisfied with the sole offering it has received.
Jolting at the familiar (far too familiar) address, Kitsune eagerly catches the picnic basket when Roger pushes it towards her, flipping back the lid. The entirety of the insides are filled with nothing but ham and cheese sandwiches, the last two monster sandwiches removed by Roger's own hand a moment before he sent the container her way.
Giving up all pretence of self control, Kitsune stuffs the entire second sandwich into her mouth, chewing swiftly before she makes a grab for the next one. She hadn't realised how hungry she was until she'd found herself presented with a little mountain to go at.
"Your brother's voice is a strong one, the drums of war, the thunderous rhythm, his will burns brightly."
Tongue lapping at her lips to get the last few crumbs, Kitsune turns her attention to her company, blinking slowly as she waits for him to continue. Because it's not like she doesn't know this already.
She doesn't need to hear voices, she knows Dragon as well as, if not better than she knows herself. Why Roger feels the need to tell her this, to speak of her brother's drive and ambitions, that she doesn't know. She doesn't know why this would mean anything to her, this forceful acknowledgement of information already known to her. It makes no sense, but she gets the feeling she won't understand Roger, will never be able to understand everything about this man. She does comprehend that he's trying to tell her something though.
"Everything has a voice, and your voice told me lots more than it should have for a six year old." His grin is a fearsome thing, unnerving to the point Kitsune feels a dire need to fidget. As if his words haven't already done that to her, haven't electrocuted her nerves to the point they're fried. Suddenly, having dinner with Gol D. Roger no longer seems like such a good idea.
"…my voice told you?"
"Playing dumb doesn't suit you," Gol D. Roger declares decisively, reaching for his bottle and draining half the rum in one gulp.
Kitsune watches it happen in detached wonder, still trying to wrap her head around the fact she is here. Sitting upon this figurehead, sharing a meal with the man that would become the King of the Pirates.
Who knows far more than he should.
"You've got the whole future in your head there, Kit."
Kitsune hastily stuffs half her sandwich into her mouth, nervously eyeing the man that would soon be declared the Pirate King.
He knows it all and she wouldn't be surprised if he could feel her resignation, her reluctant acceptance that she is now at his mercy. How else will she possibly keep this a secret, possible stop everyone from using her for her knowledge if people can just… read it off her?
"Don't look so down," Gol D. Roger insists, ruffling her hair with one giant hand. "What is the point in being a pirate if you can't do what you want, right? Not enough people seem to understand that."
The hand not on her head, the hand curled around the neck of the bottle, waves dismissively back and forth at his words, drawing Kitsune attention once again.
"Use what you know however you want," the pirate insists, grinning out over the horizon.
And for that one moment, Kitsune thinks that it is a genuinely heart-warming moment. That even though he knows, knows she's not really a five year old child in anything but body, knows that she is a soul older than she has any right to be… he's not going to rat her out. He's not going to expose her, not going to present her before Dragon and Papa and declare her a lie. Declare that none of it was real, that she doesn't really have a father or a big brother just like they don't really have a daughter or a little sister. For a moment, Kitsune starts to believe she can actually trust this man at his word.
It all comes crashing down though, because Roger's grin grows fiercer.
"Just like I will do that now. Look after my boy, make sure he doesn't die for my blood, or I'll tell everyone about you."
When she glares at the man, Gol D. Roger grins back at her, shamelessly unapologetic.
"Pirate," he says in way of an explanation and despite herself, Kitsune feels a grin working its way onto her own face despite her bubbling resentment.
"Is this how everyone else feels, when you slip out of their net just a moment away from being pulled ashore?"
"It's probably something like that," Roger agrees, leaning back on the hand he removes from his chin, savouring her reaction as if it's finer than the rum he swigs. "This isn't the place you think you know, because you don't know who Monkey D. Kitsune is. And until you figure that out, any plan you make is just going to…" he pauses, gesturing passionately, as if the movement will call forth the correct word.
"Collapse? Fall through? Disintegrate?"
"Yeah, that." Nodding at her half-heartedly offered words, Roger peers into the rim of his rum bottle, a sad frown crossing his face when he realises it is indeed empty. "I'll keep my mouth shut about your 'before life', and in return you'll look after my boy, you got that?"
"I'd have looked after him anyway." It goes without saying that in the before she'd cried like a baby at Portgas D. Ace's death, and as stupid as it is to be attached to a book character, to an idea of a person she is years and years away from meeting… she's still going to try and save his life. If she lives that long.
"Look after my Ace, not that two dimensional character," Roger insists, accepting the ham and cheese sandwich she throws him. He stares at her for a bit longer, still with that proud grin, that expression that states he could take on the world and win, solely because he's got the guts for the fight. "He might never appreciate it, but if he ever grows up to be anything like what's in that head of yours, I'm proud of him."
Her chest feels tight, the words hitting somewhere right beneath her breastbone. That's… that's… that's the last thing she was expecting Roger to say.
"I'll tell him, someday," Kitsune manages to choke out, clenched hands far too tiny for how old she actually feels in that moment.
"You do that, Kit. Right now though, we're getting some ice-cream!"
It feels as if surrealism is invading reality, warping all that makes sense until she's not sure in the least where she is.
It's the only explanation as to why she's sat upon Gol D. Roger's shoulders as he strides through his ship, one hand by the side of his neck to steady herself, the other holding a wafer-cone filled with simple vanilla ice-cream.
There's one massive hand wrapped around her left shin, ensuring that even if she does loose her balance she won't hit the floor, the other holding a matching frozen treat, just doubled in size. And it's not exactly like Roger's portion is small. It's melting quickly, sticking to her fingers and just generally getting everywhere, no matter how much she tries to lick it off, to lap it up and get the sweet mess from her hands.
"Problem?" Roger huffs with a laugh and Kitsune doesn't need to see his face to know he's smiling, that he's laughing at her.
Childishly, she lets the next lot drip from between her grasp to land on his captain's coat.
"Ah! Not the coat!"
Kitsune laughs, free and without restraint and that is exactly how Dragon finds them. Her attempting to remain upon Roger's shoulder's while the future Pirate King hastily scrambles out of his coat, shouting frantically for Shanks or Buggy to fetch the stain remover.
They both pause at the emergence of her older brother, the one sleeve Roger has managed to wiggle out of flapping about uselessly by his side.
The silence drags uncomfortably, so Kitsune says softly, "hi, Big Brother."
It doesn't quite snap the duo out of their trances, but it does have Roger straightening, giving up on his lost cause of a coat and just allowing it to hang, half-on, half-off his form.
"Good, Spitfire, you're here. Come on, I've got gifts for both of you."
"Gifts. Why would you have gifts for us?" Dragon has his lips pursed, a scowl set across his face as he obliges and follows after Roger. But only once the older man has removed her from his shoulders to settle her upon Dragon's back instead.
Kitsune is extra careful to not smear ice-cream all over her brother, well aware he won't appreciate it. She does offer him a bite though, not in the least bit surprised when he declines. He doesn't have the biggest sweat tooth, after all. Or, one at all.
"Because they suit you," Roger decrees, pushing open the door to what has to be a storeroom. It's small, with shelves full of bits and pieces, probably all momentums from the many adventures of the Roger Pirates. It's also a huge mess, there seems to be no order to it at all. Especially given the way Roger goes rummaging through it all, muttering under his breath, scowling and frowning when he doesn't find what he's looking for.
Dragon shoots her a glance through one of the shiny vases that wobbles on the edge of one shelf, something that's not quite worry upon his face but can certainly be classified as apprehension.
"Here they are!" Snapping back from where he'd half climbed into the shelving units, Roger waves two brightly coloured objects back and forth before their eyes.
One is round, a rich dark blue to the point it almost appears like an overgrown blueberry. Just with swirling lengths of golden yellow curling across its surface in an almost wisp like pattern.
The second is, hilariously, exactly like a dragon fruit. Oh sure there's a pattern to it, and it's primarily. green with the emerald shade fading into fuchsia pink at the 'tips' of the fruit, but still. It's a dragon fruit.
As if that’s not enough, Roger holds that exact fruit out to Dragon, pushing it into his chest until her big brother has no choice but to accept it.
"That one's yours," he says, as if his gesture hasn't made that clear enough already. "And this one is for you, Kit."
The dark blue fruit replaces the unfinished half of her ice-cream cone, deceptively light for all that it looks like a heavy weight.
"It's the Yako Yako No Mi; Model Tenko."
"You're giving Kitsune a Mythical Zoan Fruit?" Dragon barks out. His tone is strange, like he can't quite decide if he wants to be tempestuous, disbelieving, or astonied.
"Urg, it tastes awful!"
Dragon's head snaps around to stare at her with horrified eyes, dropping his own fruit and Roger only just manages to catch it, though she only just catches the movement the two produce.
It tastes foul.
Kitsune wants to scrape it all off of her tongue, wants to vomit it all back up, to get it out of her system. It's the taste of poison, of mould and rot and all the other disgusting things not even toddlers think a good idea to put in their mouths. Vile and rank and it tastes like ash and regret. Soul deep regret.
She will never complain of another's attempt at cooking now, not when this is her bar for just how bad food can get.
"Kitsune! Don't just eat what a stranger offers you!"
Dragon has pulled her from his back, both hands grasping her arms as he shakes her back and forth. Kitsune goes along with the motion, despite the fact it makes her feel exceptionally dizzy.
"Hey! I'm not a stranger. Kit and I have a deal."
"Mr Roger is gonna do something for me and I've made a promise to him too." Her words come out in a tumbled wash, flowing into one another as she tries to focus her blurry vision. Being shook around had not helped in the slightest.
She only half pays attention as Roger declares her fruit is not the only Mythical Zoan he's got on board, that the one he's presented Dragon with also falls under that category. Something about the Dragon of the Storms, she's not paying too much attention.
"Why would you give us such useful fruits?" Her big brother finally asks, voicing the very question that Kitsune herself wants the answer to.
She could understand why he would give her a power boost; she's made a promise to protect his future son after all, given that Roger won't be there to do it himself. Making sure she's strong enough to protect his progeny isn't exactly a stupid idea.
But why would he offer such a rare fruit to Dragon too?
"How did you even find them?" The question nags at her, because a fox fruit, a dragon fruit, they're two very specific things, to the point it seems as if they were tailor made for them. Or where Dragon and Kitsune tailor made to someday consume these fruits?
"How I found them? I just listened for them," Roger says with a lazy shrug of his shoulders, as if the whole concept is of no importance, no matter how Dragon's brow folds at his obscure words. "And why wouldn't I give them to you? They're yours, aren't they?"
All that's coming out of Roger's mouth makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, even for Kitsune who has more knowledge than she should. Then again, as much as she follows her own whims, she does try to think about things. Gol D. Roger can be nothing more than a creature of impulse, sent to torment the Marines who know nothing other than cold, hard planning.
"Eat the fruit, you'd have found it on your own, Spitfire."
It goes unsaid between both herself and Roger than the Yako Yako Fruit would never have been found by Kitsune without the future Pirate King's interference. It's for his own selfish reasons, but she has no problem with that at all.
Giving up the ability to swim is a pain, but she's traded it in for something that will no doubt be quite useful. She only recalls two mythical fruits from her before life, and both of those had been badass. If Dragon got his fruit regardless of Roger poking his nose in, then that's another badass fruit, because nothing else would have suited Dragon. Things look promising for her, that's for sure.
"Captain! We've got a sighting on Shiki!"
The bellow of one of Roger's crew breaks the tension, the Captain of the Roger Pirates straightening with an eager glimmer in his eyes.
"The world won't wait for you, little Revolutionary."
And then he's gone, leaving the two of them there, one a newly created Hammer and the other holding the Fruit that could strip him of the ability to swim too.
Ah, he's missed it.
Monkey D. Garp inhales the sharp, crisp scent of the ocean mist, large arms folded across his broad as a barrel chest as he stares out across the open sea.
Roger had done it again, had somehow bested the odds and claimed victory. Against Shiki's entire fleet, and over half those boats had been sunk in the sudden storm, disappearing into the fathomless depths of the ocean below.
It's exactly what he's come to expect of his rival, that's for sure.
His fingers itch with the sheer eagerness to capture the pirate, to bring him to justice for his crimes, for his shameless life of piracy.
"Vice Admiral, sir! Roger Pirates, off the port bow!"
Anticipation thrumming through his veins, Garp shrugs off his jacket, rolling up the sleeves of his shirt as he strides to the front of the ship. The scout is right, the Roger Pirates are right there. He can see the blazing red head of hair that belongs to the little scrap of the boy Roger had picked up at some point. Sharp or Shinks or something; Garp doesn't care for the damn brat, it's not like he'll ever cause the Vice Admiral any problems, now or in the future.
No, it's Roger he wants, and it's Roger he'll get.
He's going to catch the bastard this time, Garp can feel it in his bones.
The sun shines down form overhead, it's golden rays promising him that this time his rival won't slip away from him.
"Vice Admiral Garp, sir! It, it seems like Roger's going to throw someo-"
Something does indeed come sailing towards them and Garp scowls. Roger has never, never thrown any of his crew at them before, he's always face Garp head on. So what is the-
The figure flying towards him is familiar to him. Intimately familiar.
Mouth wide open, Garp can only intercept the small form in empty shock, barely having the piece of mind to catch the second figure that follows up not too far behind the first one.
This one is much taller, much grumpier, but unquestionably as familiar as the first.
One child in each hand, Garp stares down into the coal black eyes of his kids, his fists shaking.
What the fuck-
Huddled neatly into the crow's nest of the Oro Jackson and secured to the mast by a tie of rope around her waist, Kitsune edges closer to the railing, peering over the top to watch the aftermath of all that is going on around her.
Both Dragon and Roger had refused to let her anywhere near the battle that had just occurred, though when Rayleigh tried ordering Dragon to safety as well, her big brother had just given Shanks and Buggy a very obvious look and refused to so much as budge an inch.
Really, they'd needed his help. It'd been Dragon's new storm powers that'd whipped up the big hurricane, typhoon, monsoon (and whatever other weather he'd thrown in there) that'd taken down so much of Shiki's fleet after all. The Devil Fruit had made her big brother even stronger.
Kitsune's pretty sure there are stars in her eyes as she climbs over the side of the crow's nest to drop down to the desk, but they're stars planted there by Zeus himself. Purposeful in their positioning, that's for sure.
The tie on her waist doesn't let her go all the way down though, winding her in the process.
Gasping for breath, Kitsune hangs helplessly from the rope, Buggy and Shanks too exhausted from the fight to even drum up the courage to laugh at her.
"Help me down!" She insists, scowling fiercely when they find the willpower to smirk over her situation.
"Little Sister, you were supposed to remain hidden until I fetched you."
Dragon has caught the rope in one hand, lifting her up until they're at eye level. There's a splatter of blood over his face that, with her new and improved sense of smell, Kitsune can tell does not originate from her brother. Though he does have a doozy of a bruise stretching across his left cheekbone.
Kitsune stares at it quite blatantly, unable to tear her gaze away. While she'd not been able to keep her big brother in her sights the entire time, she hadn't realised he'd been without the weight of her gaze long enough to gain such a corker of a bruise.
"The idiot elbow me," Dragon explains, gesturing to both Buggy and Shanks. She's not quite sure if he's referring to them as a collective unit or just can't remember which one it actually was that hit him but Kitsune doesn't care enough to even try and figure it out.
"Okay, they both suck, got it. I don't wanna marry you after all, Shanks."
The redhead chokes alongside his big-nosed friend, flapping his arms about uselessly until the ship doctor slaps him atop the head and tells him to calm down if he wants to be attended to. They both look quite silly, slouched out on the deck as they are, all bloodied and bruised. Dragon's barely injured; her big brother is already such a badass.
"Big Brother, what's it like having storm powers? Why didn't you fight as a dragon? You could have sunk so many ships!"
Kitsune could see it already; Dragon's huge scary Zoan form (probably in a colour as dark as his demeanour) tearing through ship after ship. Dragons can fly, can't they? They sea wouldn't bother him in the slightest. Her big brother probably looks so incredibly graceful when flying, he's sure.
"I want you to take me flying!" Kitsune declares, thumping her closed fist down on her brother's arm as he finally undoes the knot holding her waist hostage, pulling her into his hold instead. He smells rather sweaty, though that's no doubt because of the battle. That's why the scent gunpowder and blood and steel clings to him, the sweat is his own though. Dragon sweat.
"If I fought as a dragon, then when I next used the ability the marines would link us to Roger, Little Sister. I will take you flying when I feel confident in it myself."
One large hand pats at the top of her head and Kitsune smiles, tucking herself into Dragon's wide bulk. His gait is smooth; for all that he's tired from fighting Dragon isn't injured, not that she could ever picture her beloved big brother getting injured.
Dragon nearly doesn't halt at Roger's voice, she has to pull on a lock of his shoulder length hair to halt his progression.
Roger looks a fright; his hat is absent and in the terrible Dragon-induced weather his hair has suffered something awful. It's sticking up and flung in every direction; it looks like he's been struck by lightning and then pelted with hail and rain and then thrown into a hurricane. Which, despite all those weather phenomena that'd hit, surely all couldn't have happened to him.
"Yes, Pirate King?"
At that, Roger grins, bright wide; it's the signature 'D' grin, Kitsune's seen it on Dragon's face, felt it on her own.
Dragon shuffles her about in his arms and Kitsune clings a bit tighter to his shoulders, still peering at the man who will become the Pirate King.
"Let's talk later. You're an interesting little squirt and I have stories I'll want you to share."
Later turns out to be the very next day. The weather is blissfully pleasant, no hail the size of her head raining from the sky. Dragon is slowly working through a series of exercises, flexing his Devil Fruit at the same time by transforming his skin to scales and back. He's a fetching shade of midnight green; it suits him.
Sitting on deck, Kitsune eagerly fidgets in place as Roger dumps a picnic basket down between them, dropping onto the deck a moment after. He's got a bandage around the side of his neck where a stray bullet got a 'near miss', but that's the only injury she can see he's been wrapped up for.
"So, stories. I love stories, Dragon stopped telling me bedtime stories when I learnt to read," Kitsune declares, eagerly pulling open the picnic basket to find her favoured sandwiches inside.
"If that were true, he wouldn't have been telling you any stories at all, Little Kit." Well, the man has a point there, Kitsune concedes.
Chomping down into the fluffy white bread, she chews something fierce, the meat a burst of flavour across her tongue, the subtle aftertaste of cheese drifting in once the ham disappears.
"What kind of stories do you want to tell me then, Mr Pirate King?" It feels good to not have to really watch her words. Roger knows all that she knows, after all, there's nothing here that she could possibly spoil, that much is obvious.
"How I met Rouge. I fell in love with her right away, you know. But she's stubborn. I asked her to marry me as she said no!"
Kitsune cocks her head to a side, considering the captain of the Roger Pirates. Yes, she could see him proposing, wanting to claim Portgas D. Rouge in any and every way he could.
"Why would she say no?"
"Because this idiot proposed the moment he laid eyes on her," Rayleigh mutters as he passes by them on the way to the mast, shaking his head and Kitsune laughs from her belly. She could certainly see that; Roger falling head over heels for the beautiful blonde woman, the woman who probably didn't have a clue who this great big gorilla of a man was. No wonder she said no.
"Did you ask her again?"
"I ask her every time I see her," Roger murmurs with a wistful sigh, planting his chin onto the meat of his palm, elbow on his knee and a fond smile on his face, "and I'll ask her every time I see her until she says yes. Even when we're dead, I'll not let the issue rest."
Roger's smile is full of love and adoration and hope and he's completely gone on that woman.
It has Kitsune smiling, cheeks full of food but still rising with the force of her smile.
"Tell me all the stories! I wanna know your love story, Mr Pirate King."
"And then you'll tell my boy how I won the heart and mind of the most amazing woman I ever encountered. So pay attention, Little Kit, for you'll have to remember it all."
She'd walked away from their little picnic with more tales of the Pirate King than she'd ever hoped to have collected, probably with more tales of him than anyone outside of his crew would ever have.
She'd also walked away with her hair pulled into cute little ponytails that hung before her collarbones (the Pirate King had tried plaiting her hair, but turns out he failed miserably at it so he'd made-do), and Roger's declaration she'd make a fine god-parent for his little Ace.
It's a title she'll wear with pride, Kitsune decides.
When the brat's born, anyway.
Hanging from her father's fist, Kitsune stares up into appalled eyes set in an aghast face and does her best to smile.
Garp looks... lost. As if his brain can't quite work out what is happening around him, as if it's about ready to throw out attempting to figure out what's going on and just start blasting through walls.
Flying through the air from one ship to another had been pretty cool, though come to think of it there had been a fair portion of that flight spent over the ocean, the ocean she could now drown in given that she's consumed a Devil Fruit.
But hey, it's passed now, she's on a ship and not in danger anymore. Or rather, not in danger from anything other than Garp's temper.
Speaking of temper, Kitsune flicks her gaze to Dragon. He too hangs limply from their father's grasp. Well, limp might not be the word for it; he's got his arms folded across his chest, a scowl on his face and a flash of determination in his eyes.
The marines could say whatever they wanted about Roger, but he was unquestionably the most inspiriting man Kitsune had ever had the opportunity to meet. She's glad that he ruined Dragon's trip. Not only has she walked away having devoured a rather powerful Devil Fruit, but she's got plenty of stories about the future Pirate King that she'll be able to tell her future god-son and nephew about.
Garp's voice draws Kitsune back to the present, her father's arms giving a minute tremble of rage.
"Vice Admiral, sir! Roger, he's..." Kitsune only half recognises the subordinate that trails off at the sight of them, because for all that she only sort of recognises him, the man clearly knows exactly who she and Dragon are.
"Father," Dragon grumbles in greeting, the sound much like Kitsune would imagine his dragon-voice to be like. Come to think of it, Dragon does have a very dragon like presence, all tall and dark and intimidating. He has the kind of voice that you'd expected a dragon to have too, the kind that would rumble like thunder, the kind of noise that'd tumble across the slate grey stone that leads to the beast's lair in a mountainside cave.
"What are you two doing here?!"
Shaken back and forth, Kitsune has to physically hold her head for it feels like the force of Garp's movement would knock it right off.
In a panic, Kitsune turns to Dragon for answers, pressing her own lips together because what is she supposed to say to that?
"Damn brats!" Garp bellows throwing them both over the side of the ship to 'cool their jets' in the ocean. Which at any other time in their relationship, hadn't been a problem.
Now that neither she or Dragon can swim however...
Garp personally drags the two of them out of the water.
Huddled beneath a thick, adult-sized blanket that wraps thrice around her tiny body with excess material to spare, Kitsune can only watch in open mouth awe as her father hurls cannonball after cannonball at the retreating Roger Pirates. Each one misses, and Roger shouts his goodbyes to them over Garp's near incoherent bellows of rage.
It turns out Garp is not impressed by their consumption of Devil Fruits, even more so when he realised that those fruits had been given to them by Roger himself.
Drawing the blanket tighter around her form, Kitsune peers out from the fleecy fabric, pressing deeper into Dragon's side as he too watches their father.
"He doesn't seem to be taking this well," Kitsune notes, puffing out her cheeks with a mouthful of air, lips pursed together in order to keep them inflated.
Dragon hums, one of his big arms curling around her back in much the same manner as she imagines a dragon's tail would move. stealthily, strong and imposing. Oh, and Greedy.
Big brother has no intention of passing off her care on anyone else; that's a good thing. Kitsune doesn't want anyone else looking out for her, she has Dragon after all.
"Are you hungry, Little Sister?"
"Always. There's food on board Papa's ship, isn't there?"
Forcing her feet to steady and take her weight, Kitsune pushes herself into standing, the blankets dropping to the floor and swallowing her tiny form as it pools upon the deck. She pouts. That's going to make walking infinitely more difficult.
"Little Miss Monkey?"
Looking up at the figure that'd (or tried to at least) announced that Roger was escaping, Kitsune brightens.
"You know where the food is, right, Suit-Guy?"
A large hand clamps down on the excess material of her blanket burrito, hoisting Kitsune into the air once again before Dragon balances her against the side of his hip. This luckily requires no help from her, a good thing given that her legs are still trapped in her cocooned like state. She wiggles her toes, but they are still very much there and very much mobile, so she hasn't lost those yet. That's good.
"Lead us to the food. He'll tire himself out eventually and come looking for us, and I would rather this chat happen with full stomachs."
Dragon throws a glance to Garp over his shoulder as he speaks, watching the man lob cannonball after cannonball, despite the distance between each exploding projectile and the Oro Jackson growing further apart with each instance.
"...Of course. Please follow me."
Just as Dragon predicted, as soon as Garp had given up the ghost he'd come storming into the cafeteria, grabbed Kitsune by the back of her shirt and Dragon by the ear, and then he'd proceeded to turf them from their seats and march them to his own cabin. There, well-
"You idiots! Eating Devil Fruits! How could you! Why would you! How did you even leave the island?!"
Kitsune sits on Dragon's lap, his arms wrapped around her waist, her hair still pulled into the styled-by-Roger pigtails, and she wonders if Garp even wants those questions answering.
When the silence persists, she considers answering them because he's clearly waiting for it, but Dragon beats her to the punch.
"Seeing the world from outside the safety of the marines is a good idea. How else are we supposed to understand the world around us?"
Garp's face begins turning a fascinating shade of red.
Kitsune observes it with wide eyes and parted lips. Why he's turning red she has no idea. Dragon's thought process all seems perfectly fine to her. What's wrong with wanting to see the world through glass stripped bare of any falsities? To see nothing but the truth?
"You damn brat! Do you realise what could have happened had it been any other pirate?! Roger's a bastard, but he's not one that'd hurt kids just because you're related to me. Other pirates aren't like that! You risked your life and your sister's on this damn adventure!" Garp slams his fist into Dragon's head, not even bothering to declare it a Fist of Love (though really it might be a Fist of Punishment or Retribution or something) as he does so. Kitsune flinches, mouth popping open in horror and her arms coming up to defend her own noggin, but Garp makes no move to lay one down upon her. It would see she has escaped with the excuse of her 'innocent age', and if she can get away with it she'll play that up for all it's worth.
"You damn brats! Sit in here and think about what you've done! I need to, to go-" Garp cuts himself off with an unidentifiable noise that can only be made from pure rage and frustration. He's so angry that he actually uses the door to leave instead of powering through the wall as normal, and Kitsune can only stare at the door that swings shut in honest surprise.
That, that she hadn't been expecting.
She can sort of see why Garp is so upset, but at the same time, she can't. This world is full of danger, and now they're learning about it properly, travelling and adventuring and she knows Dragon is right. Revolution is needed in this world, that is an unquestionably truth.
How will they be able to learn the real state of things if they're only observing through the marine approved vision of the place? They'll never get to see the gritty underbelly of things that way.
Admittedly she might be a bit too young for this, but Kitsune doesn't care about that. She's young in body but old in soul. Maybe young in mind too, she's not sure anymore.
What matters is that Dragon had thought it a good idea and they've both come out of this little journey better off for it, what with their new powers and her somewhat tentative alliance with the Pirate King.
Even if it's just a simple 'I'll keep your secret so you keep mine'.
Regardless, that's enough for her to consider the adventure a true success.
Standing at the railings, Captain Kuzan stares at the approaching ship with a strange sensation of eager trepidation.
He'd already received a transmission over the Den Den, so he'd been well aware that Garp would be stopping by. All he'd been able to make out through the man's furious grumbling was that he would be entrusting Kuzan with precious cargo that he was to return to Headquarters with and hand off to Sengoku who would 'know what to do', to use Garp's own words.
Never mind that Sengoku himself is still out there, probably cornering Shiki the Golden Lion as the pirate limps off to lick his wounds from Roger. Or something to that effect.
Flexing his fingers, Kuzan allows them to shimmy from ice and back again, the beautiful colouring shivering beneath the light of the sun.
On the Grand Line it's a blessing to have a sunny day at all so he's not about to complain about the fine weather. But a little more wind would make travel that much quicker. Oh well, there's nothing that can be done for that as things are, so right now he should probably best focus on accepting whatever package Garp is about to entrust him with.
What he is not expecting is for the marine he so looks up to storming onto his vessel with a face like thunder.
Were it any other day, Kuzan would assume it was because the man had failed to capture Roger. The man's like an eel, slippery and has an awful tendency to disappear back into the ocean at just the moment you think you've got him grappled into submission. The devil himself, Garp sometimes whispers. But even then he speaks with a light in his eyes, bright and full of life, the thrill of the chase.
Right now, Garp's eyes are full of something alright, but it's more a divine righteousness than anything else. It has Kuzan straightening despite his lazy posture, despite his lacklustre tendencies.
Now is not the time to try Garp's patience, not that he would ever do such a thing. The man's a legend and Kuzan's not stupid.
The fact his name is barked without the usual warmth is indication enough even if he hadn't noticed all the other differences. Speaking of differences...
The marine captain tries not to allow his eyes to linger on the duo following after Garp but it's difficult. One with the mood and temperament of a thunderstorm, the other a bright bundle of sunshine all but bouncing along beside the stormy one.
Kuzan knows who they are instantly, can recall the whispers and the gossip from his fellow marines from the visit he'd missed.
It would appear that he'll be meeting Monkey D. Kitsune after all. Along with her older brother, Garp's eldest. Though really, they're rather different. One soft, the other hard. One storm-clouds, the other as bright as the sun.
"Get them both to Sengoku!" Garp snaps, pushing his teenaged son forwards, who snarls back and pulls a fierce face, near mutinous in his actions. Clearly irritated or upset about something.
In contrast, the little girl launches herself up into Garp's arms, tiny limbs wrapped around Garp's thick neck as she presses a slobbery kiss to his cheek.
"I love you, Papa!"
Garp the Fist, feared Vice Admiral of the marines and unstoppable force of nature crumbles like a soggy biscuit.
"Papa loves you too!"
With his arms folded and looking entirely unamused at the spectacle before him, the teenage boy that Kuzan actually doesn't know the name of scowls something rotten.
"Papa! You gotta hug Dragon too! He needs a hug."
Dragon, as the boy is apparently named, attempts to scold his sister, but Garp is clearly putty in the little girl's hands because he pulls his son in for a back-breaking embrace that the boy doesn't even try to fight. Probably realising how futile such a thing would be, Kuzan theorises.
"Be good for Kuzan, Kit. And Dragon-" Garp trails off, matching his son's scowl with one of his own before. Like a bolt of lightning, his famed fist descends upon the boy's head.
Kuzan's mildly impressed the kid's still standing after the impact.
"Don't you dare do anything that stupid again, you damn brat!"
"Watch me!" The snarl rumbles through the air, a Grand Line storm rolling in as if sensing the mood.
Kuzan's brow lifts at the sight but he says nothing more. This is a D he's going to be dealing with, a D that carries himself as if he's already set his goal. From the looks of it, the kid's not going to be as dedicated to the Marines as his father, though Kuzan's struggling to picture the teen as a pirate. Something about the label just doesn't fit.
But if he's not going to be a pirate, then what has the kid decided upon?
A short tugging at his pants leg has Kuzan looking down, second brow rising in surprise to see the little girl, Kitsune, staring imploringly up at him.
"Hi. My name's Kitsune and I'm going to be a marine. You got any food?"
Well damn. If he'd known he was to be accommodating two Monkeys, he'd have had the stores stocked accordingly.
So much for a smooth trip back to base.
I have no excuse.
The male Monkey is a terribly over protective thing.
As soon as he realised little Kitsune had approached him, the teen had been scooping her up into his arms and glaring with all his might. Kuzan will give the boy his due; he's got one of the darkest glowers that he's seen in a long time.
Monkey D. Dragon only released his little sister when they've sat themselves down at the table and proceeded to affirm Kuzan's fears for the food-supply.
The teenage boy ploughing through plate after plate of food isn't as jarring a sight as the little sister a decade younger than him somehow managing the keep up with his pace.
"It would appear we'll be making a quick stop before reaching the base."
Both Monkeys pause, chins stained with smears of meat juice as they simultaneously stare up at him, frowns on their lips. It's eerie how they move in synchrony; what kind of brats is Garp raising?
"A stop? Why?"
What is strange is that it seems Monkey D. Dragon is more than happy to allow his little sister to be the more vocal of the two of them.
She fearlessly asks her questions, not even balking at the sight of his very obvious marine uniform. Gutsy, though she's Garp's child. Of course she'd charge in without thought. He'd like to think the elder one would balance that out, but given where Garp had found his two children, that can't really be said with any semblance of truth.
Still, they look no worse for wears, despite being kidnapped by Roger. While the man is a force of nature, unstoppable no matter what they try, it can be said that he's not completely cut-throat.
Gol D. Roger looks out for his own first, but he won't go out of his way to hurt others. Certainly not children.
Kuzan rather suspects that the man respects Garp; it'd explain why both kids have come back seemingly uninfluenced. He'll be keeping an eye on the regardless, but for now, everything seems okay.
"We don't have the food supplies to accommodate for the two of you." They don't have the kind of food supplies to sustain D level appetites.
The little Monkey squints up at him, face showcasing her clear suspicion before she mutinously folds her arms and scowls.
"I wanna go home. Marine ships are boring."
"Do you not have a chore boy she can go pester?"
It's the first time Monkey D. Dragon has addressed him and Kuzan can only present the boy with the meat of his palms, a mocking surrender.
"There was a chance," small as it was, "we'd be helping subdue Gol D. Roger. There was no way we'd be bringing a cabin-boy into that."
The Monkey siblings share a quick glance, something passing between them.
Kuzan is an only child, has always been an only child. As such he has no idea what this silent form of sibling communication is, nor can he possibly begin to interpret the outcome. The Monkey siblings seem to have come to a conclusion though because Dragon ruffles the younger's hair in a surprisingly violent motion, pulling it free of the cute little pigtails it'd been set into.
In response, the girl bites at one of Dragon's fingers.
"I liked it!"
"Well I don't."
Then he's walking off, taking a piled-up plate with him as he goes, leaving Kuzan alone with the youngest Monkey.
Has he just been approved as safe around the girl?
Stretching out his Observational Haki proves that false; the elder Monkey is still lingering in the shadows, watching them.
Oh my, such a lack of trust. Is this really Vice Admiral Garp's child?
"There, that's better!"
Returning his attention to Monkey D. Kitsune, Kuzan finds the pigtails have been hastily redone, the hair secure and draped over her collarbones.
"Hey mister, you got any cool powers? Devil Fruit or Haki or the Marine techniquey-things Papa knows?"
Kuzan blanches when the brat brazenly climbs up and over the table, pausing by his plate to stuff a handful of meat into her mouth.
It doesn't stop there though; the girl approaches him without even a hint of fear and before Kuzan can gather his bearings, she's climbed up and onto his shoulders, perching there like a fluffy little bird.
The audible chewing as she works through his last portion of meat is irritating.
"Eh? A Lady? Where?"
It'd be cute if she weren't seriously looking around the room for the sudden appearance of a genuine lady.
Forget it. Maybe Garp's crazy child only responds to her name.
"Kitsune. What are you doing?"
Best to be direct. He has a lot of respect for Vice Admiral Garp, owes the man a favour. Looking after his brat (because it's clear the older one can look after himself) shouldn't be too much of a problem. Kuzan's a marine captain after all.
"What am I- you're really tall."
What does that have to do with anything?
Cocking his head back, and irritatingly enough having to tilt his neck to a side so as not to dislodge his unwelcome passenger, Kuzan stares at the girl who stares right back.
"Why are you sitting on my shoulder?"
"You're tall. I'm not. Now I am." She grins, then stops, the expression falling off her face as she stares at him. Before he can stop her, Kitsune presses two gravy-stained hands against his cheeks, forcing his lips up into a smile against his wishes.
"There, that's better. Smiling make you look friendlier and you're a marine. You're supposed to help people which means you're supposed to be approachable. See, I'm practising my smile so I can be an approachable marine. Because if I smile like Big Brother no one will dare come ask me for help."
Quite frankly there's only one bit of truth in that sentence, but Kuzan won't crush the girl's dreams by pointing that out.
"I have duties to perform."
"I'll pay a lot of attention; that way I'll know what I'm doing when I become a marine."
If it becomes common knowledge that Garp's daughter observed him working, then every last tick, every last action she makes in the future will be linked back to him. Which means if he lazes about here and then she goes on to laze about Kuzan'll be blamed for it.
No. God damn it, he's actually going to have to do some work now, isn't he?
What a little menace; it's no wonder the older one has 'left' her in his care. He didn't sign up with the marines to entertain children. Hell, he's not had any plans to ever take on an apprentice or even teach someone a single procedure. How has this ended up coming about?
"Er, Mr Marine?"
The little fist tapping against his head passes right through his skull and Kuzan makes a conscious effort not to freeze the little Monkey at the contact.
"Wow! So cool! Tahahaha, I made a punny. No wait, focus Kit, focus! What's your name, Mr Marine?" A
very deep sigh escapes from between Kuzan's lips. He gets the feeling it won't be the last one he produces in the coming days.
"Oh. I like Aokiji better." Blue Pheasant? No.
He is not a bird, has no relation to birds, he will not answer to such a name. It has nothing to do with the fact it was gifted upon him by a child barely out of her toddling years.
"Kuzan," he stresses even though he knows it's already far too late.
This is a D, a Monkey D at that. There's no way the child will be changing her mind.
As if to verify this, Kitsune jabs a finger into his shoulder which dissolved into ice at the unexpected pressure.
"So cool. Maybe I should have waited for a Logia fruit instead. Oh well, mine'll probably be cooler anyway. No wait! Not cooler 'cause you're ice. It'll be... er, errrr," she drags the sound out and it pains Kuzan to get involved, it really does, but if he doesn't that noise is all he's going to be listening to.
"It'll be better? More impressive?"
"It'll be awesome!" The girl shouts right down his ear. "My powers will be far more awesome than yours!"
She puffs out her little chest, clearly quite pleased with herself before her face crumples once again. Oh, what now?
"...once I work out what they are."
The Marine ship is nowhere near as fun as the Oro Jackson.
Kitsune slouches further back against the table top she's lying on, watching Aokiji work.
He doesn't seem very pleased by her presence which is a shame because she's very pleased to meet him. He's the coolest (hehehe) marine she can think of at the moment.
No wait, second coolest.
Rosinante might be a marine right now and he's her best-friend. As such he's the coolest by default.
So Aokiji can be the second coolest then.
Though he doesn't seem to like that name at all. Which is strange because that's his name.
She can understand Rosinante disliking Rosi, Rosinante's his actual name and he doesn't want it shortened. Aokiji is a nickname and it's gonna be his epithet so it's practically his name anyway. Is that double standards? Kitsune doesn't think so, but she doesn't really care if they are or not.
"What'cha working on?"
Rolling over so that she's lying on her belly, Kitsune peers at the document Aokiji is busy scribbling away on.
"My report on the current situation."
Kitsune blinks, looking around but it doesn't appear as if anything is happening at the moment. Is she missing something? Is Aokiji sensing something with that Haki stuff that she can't right now.
Kitsune closes her eyes, nose scrunching up in an attempt to focus but she can't sense anything funny. She's not entirely sure she can sense at all yet. She can smell the thick ink that's freshly etched onto the paper, can feel the slight breeze coming in through the not-fully-closed porthole, but she can't sense anything funky going on outside of the room.
She imagines she can sense Dragon's presence though. Not that she can pin it down to an exact art, but he's somewhere nearby.
Though maybe that's more a sibling sense thing; she's sure he's nearby, he wouldn't leave her on her own, especially not after what happened on the last marine guarded ship they were on.
Even if they have Aokiji here and he's strong (he'll be even stronger in the future, an Admiral, though Kitsune doubts he'll ever be strong as Papa. Hell, maybe Dragon will become even stronger than him?) Dragon will still be worried about her.
It's nice having an older sibling look after her, she didn't have that in the before. But this is her life and she has her big brother. Kitsune wouldn't trade that for the world.
Even if she has no idea what's going on right now, even though she knows she's going to completely and utterly destroy the future with her lumbering footsteps all the way back here in the past... she has Dragon.
Kitsune isn't scared. What will come will come, what will happen will happen.
She'll just make sure Dragon's dream thrives, make sure it never dies. Dragon wants a revolution and Kitsune wants to help him with that. As such, that is exactly what she is going to dedicate her life to.
"I have to inform Headquarters that neither yourself or Monkey D. Dragon have been influenced by Roger."
"Oh. But we have been influenced. I even managed to steal a sip of alcohol."
Rayleigh had hit the roof at that, not yelling over a minor drinking but more over a 'Monkey' drinking on board the Oro Jackson. The ship was made of tough stuff, but apparently the first-mate hadn't wanted to risk it.
Both she and Dragon had been under the stinky-hawk eye for the rest of the post-battle party that night.
"...I think it's safe to say you are totally unaffected by your time there."
Now that was just rude.
Roger gave her a badass Devil Fruit and made her a godmum. Even if that last bit wouldn't be coming into effect for a while. She's gonna be the best god damn godmum there is. Like, ever.
"I need to train! Aokiji!"
"When are we gonna be at land!"
"Do you mean when will we be arriving on land?"
"Urgh!" She knows what she meant, he knows what she meant, Kitsune doesn't understand why he feels the need to correct her. She's still a child, she should be able to get away with bad grammar while she still can.
"I thought you were cool, but you're really not!"
"I'm made of ice, I cannot get any cooler," Aokiji deadpans, not even bothering to look up from his sheet.
He still seems to realise when she snatches up a pen to start doodling on his desk though. Before her pen can make contact with the wood a sheet of paper is shoved between the two.
Glaring at the marine, Kitsune turns her attention to the paper, only to pause.
It's a photograph and she's not forgotten enough to not recognise that face.
She scrunches her face up at the sight of him.
The big threat to her future godson.
"I feel like that every time I'm forced to interact with him." Hmmm? Oh, right, Aokiji doesn't like him either.
"You don't like Akainu?"
"Red dog... I like that one. And let's just say our opinions on justice vary."
"Everyone's opinions on justice vary, but some are more stupid that others," Kitsune confirms with a nod, squinting down at the picture.
Tongue poking out from between her lips, she sets to work of 'fixing' the photo.
They leave the ship later that day, having spotted Sengoku's own vessel an hour's ride away.
Aokiji pins her masterpiece to his cork-board and they part ways on good terms.
Sengoku is as impressed with them as Garp was, which is to say not at all.
He too spends a good portion of his time ranting at them, all the while grumbling under his breath about how Shiki got away. Then, they get set to work.
Kitsune is seriously rethinking this whole marine thing if she must play chore-girl for more than, say, an hour.
The only plus point is Dragon is right here beside her, scrubbing away at the deck and looking just as mutinous.
She glances over at Sengoku, the man barking orders at his crew to get them back to whatever headquarters they're getting dropped off at (it appears they're heading for South Blue, but Kitsune isn't completely certain; she's no navigator) and then her eyes meet Dragon's.
"We could take him."
Her elder brother snorts.
She's a bit surprised there's no smoke curling out of his nostrils and a little disappointed too. Where are all the dragon features he's supposed to get from his fruit? She wants to see them all, wants to test her own powers.
Only they can't test them here.
It's like Dragon said, their powers will be linked to them via marine information network. Not very good for undercover work. Which sucks.
"Not right now, Little Sister."
"We could punt him overboard at least," Kitsune grumbles, dropping her scrub and childishly folding her arms.
God why does the deck take forever to scrub?! Why have the marines even let it get this dirty? It should be clean, it'll take the two of them hours to clean the entire thi...
Kitsune's thoughts trail off, finding herself staring at the suddenly very clean deck. What happened? Did she black out? Had she and Dragon cleaned the entire thing while she'd not been paying attention?
She peers suspiciously up at the sky but the sun has barely moved. So what-
"You ate the Yako Yako no mi fruit," Dragon whispers under his breath, a grin on his face as he upturns the entire bucket over the deck, "the Tenko model. And kitsunes are known for their illusions."
Her whole being lights up.
She can cast illusions?! That's so cool!
"Do not dare try another until we are alone."
Urgh! This sucks!
Dragon's so smart but that pulls everything down. Why can't she be a big picture person too? That way she'd be able to cool her jets and plan for the future like her Big Brother does.
"Kitsune, can you cancel this illusion?"
Sucking her lips in, she looks around the deck, trying not to wince.
"Big Brother... I don't know how..."
Dragon's scrubber hits the floor with a wet slap, hand cradling his chin as he looks seriously around the deck.
Kitsune stands too, nudging the edge of the empty bucket with her foot. She wonders if the rest of the marines can see the large puddle of mop-water that Dragon has tipped everywhere. She hopes not.
"Well, there's nothing for it, Little Sister."
Kitsune wraps her hand in the one Dragon holds out to her, leaving her muscles loose so he can swing her up onto his shoulder.
"Maybe they won't notice?" she chirps, looking around at the 'clean' deck and the marines scurrying around upon it.
Is there a time limit to her illusions? Will the deck appear clean forever? Or will the marines just blink at one point and find the image shattered the second all eyes are off it? She kind of wants to know.
But not as much as she wants to avoid getting chewed out by Sengoku again. He's scary; mainly because her cute little pout doesn't work on him like it does on Garp.
"Let's go find a hiding place," Dragon muses, stalking over towards the mast. Maybe they'll spend the rest of the journey in the crow's nest, only popping down for food and other necessary supplies. Like hot chocolate. Does a marine ship have hot chocolate? Aokiji's hadn't, but Sengoku's a higher rank, so maybe his will?
"A hiding place sounds good," Kitsune agrees, folding her arms atop Dragon's head and placing her own upon them. A totem of Monkeys. All they need is Garp to put Dragon on his shoulders and they'll be three tiers. Like a cake.
Oh, she's getting hungry.
"Big Brother, can we get some food first?"
They climb up the crow's nest just in time to witness a marine slip on the mop-water puddle.
Turns out it was hidden by her illusion.
Sengoku doesn't drop them off in South Blue, she'd been wrong on her guess. They are in fact back in East Blue, right by Loguetown where they're being handed off to another marine to complete the last leg of their journey home.
Pouting fiercely (she wanted to see Rosinante, damn it), Kitsune hangs without a struggle from Dragon's firm hold upon her.
Sengoku is listing off orders and instructions, both to the marines and to them but Kitsune's not really listening. If he says anything important Dragon will catch it. Hopefully. Maybe.
Okay, so Dragon probably isn't listening either.
She knows her big brother well; he's planning to steal a boat and get them back home himself.
Kitsune has zero problems with this plan. She's had her fill of the marines right now.
It sucks; she's gonna have to spend so much time with these idiots to get their secrets from Dragon. They've got all these rules and it only gets worse the higher your rank gets.
No wonder Garp never accepted a promotion past Vice Admiral. It's made Sengoku into a complete kill-joy that's for sure. She can see why Papa just ignores all the rules and ploughs forwards; she'd probably go crazy if she had to listen to them all too.
Jolting at the suddenly bellow of her name, Kitsune stares up at Sengoku with her mouth hanging open and her eyes bulging wide in surprise.
"Don't ignore me!"
"Don't yell at her!"
"You damn brat!"
Kitsune hits the deck with a thump, rubbing at her rear. Her rough landing gives her a front row seat to the short fight that is Dragon vs Sengoku.
It doesn't end well for her big brother.
When Sengoku leaves, his ship sails towards the darkest gathering of storm clouds Kitsune has ever witnessed in the sky.
When they leave the other marine ship in the dead of night, they too seem to be heading into the worst storm East Blue has ever seen.
Dragon sits by the rudder of their stolen dingy with an evil little smile and a glower in his eyes.
During their time away, Dawn Island doesn't appear to have changed one bit. They get back in the early hours of the morning, Dragon ringing Garp's private Den Den with the one that remains at their house ("For emergencies only, Dragon you brat!") to leave a curt message of 'we're home'.
It really is home.
Kitsune knows the dirt beneath her feet, knows the humidity in the air, knows the bugs that land upon her skin. She slaps at one, the sting as familiar as ever against her skin.
"It's good to be home, Big Brother."
Stretching her arms up and over her head, Kitsune yawns, the motion pulling the skin of her mouth taunt.
"It is," Dragon confirms, their remaining supplies bagged up and thrown over one of his broad shoulders. Kitsune blinks, peering bleakly at the sleepy little village of Foosha from between heavy eyelids. She could write 'tired' across her face and it wouldn't make it any more obvious.
She didn't want to sleep when Dragon was awake steering. He'd made the wind help them home faster (his powers are so very helpful) but even then, it'd been hours and hours until they'd hit the shoreline.
Hell, it'd taken Kitsune three attempts to successfully knot the rope that tied their little boat to shore. And it is their boat; there's a little red flag hanging from the mast now, only a small triangle of fabric that Dragon had found lying around.
It rings a bell but she can't even begin to guess why.
"Foosha seems smaller now."
Now that she's been out and seen the world, how long will it be until she grows too big for this town? Like a skin she'd have to shed, to wiggle free of? Only she's not a snake, she's a fox. So, is Foosha a fur she's going to one day shed?
"You will need sleep, Little Sister. Tomorrow we begin training."
"I think it's already tomorrow," Kitsune grumbles, pawing sleepily at her eyes.
They're trudging down the main street towards their little house, the one Garp pays for. It's a wonder no bandits have tried to muscle their way in while they've been gone, not that there'd have been much to steal if they had broken in. Anything really important Dragon had hidden in secret compartments in the jungle, trees he'd hollowed out back when he'd been a bored child with no younger sibling to look after. Then she'd come along and then they'd moved to Foosha.
While Dragon's hidey-holes are on other parts of the island, they're-
Kitsune can't quite finish the thought because she realises Dragon's hidey-holes are actually hoards, Dragon's hoards and she breaks down into helpless giggles.
She can't take another step, there's just something about it that her sleep deprived brain finds extraordinarily funny.
It takes the older Monkey a moment to realise she's no longer following, but then Kitsune finds herself lifted off her feet, resting against Dragon's hip with her head on his shoulder.
"Sleep, Little Sister. I have got you."
He's always got her, Kitsune wants to explain. He's always protected her even though it's not the job of a big brother, that job is a parent's job. But she doesn't have a mother and Garp is always away.
She'd got Dragon though, and Dragon has her.
As of this moment, they're a revolution of two, and she's gonna be the best damn half of a revolution she can be.
Just as soon as she gets some sleep.