Somewhere To Belong

Routine Attack

Edward Newgate was enjoying himself immensely- not that he usually wasn't enjoying himself. He had invited his three young guests to sit with him for a while after hearing that they had been sick. He wanted to check on them himself and invited them to sit with him for a while and had decided to tell them a few stories from his earlier years.

He was now telling them the tale about how he had fought a giant single handedly and won.

The youngest one would gasp and say things like "awesome" and "so cool". His brother, the one with the top hat, sat next to him shushing him every now and then. The last of the boys sat further away fiddling with a pipe that he held but every now and then would turn to stare with wide eyes whenever he reached a point in his stories that was particularly heart-stopping.

"Wow," the little one cheered once he was done with his latest story, "you're really strong!"

"So I've been told," the captain responded good naturedly.

"He's the strongest man in the world, Lu," the blonde said.

"Really? That's so cool!"

"Settle down Luffy," the cowboy hatted one commanded lightly.

"Hey old man!" the blonde called up to him.

"Yes brat?"

"Do you have any more stories like that one?"

The captain laughed. "Of course. I have lived a long life; I have more stories than you can imagine. How about I tell you about the time that I-"

"Pops!" Marco interrupted him.

"Yes Son?"

"There's a ship approaching. We don't know if it's hostile yet."

"Does it have a Jolly Roger?"

"One that I don't recognize."

"Hey Marco," sang the smallest brat.

"Hey Luffy."

The captain looked down at the youngsters that were now all on their feet looking excited. "Warn the men. Prepare for battle just in case."

"Right away." The commander look towards the brats. "Hooligans, get below deck," he commanded.

"Do we have to? I wanna see the fight."

"Don't argue with me Luffy. It could be dangerous and if you're out here you might be in the way."

"Nonsense," Whitebeard said. He wasn't going to let some no name pirates ruin the fun he and the brats were having. "They can stay if they want. They won't get in the way and there is no safer place on this ship."

"If you're sure." With that the commander ran off to prepare the men for battle.

"Now where were we?"

"You were going to tell us another story," the blonde brat stated.

"Oh yes. How about a story from my own childhood?"

There was a loud boom followed by a whistle.

"Was that a cannon?" he heard the older brunette ask, sounding excited.

Whitebeard looked up to see a cannon ball flying towards him. He didn't bother moving from his spot knowing that one of his sons would knock it off course. He was proven right as Vista appeared and cut it in half. There were a series of cannonballs being fired but per usual none made it to their destination.

Instead of paying attention to the, as of now, one sided battle he called the three children's attention back to him telling them the story from his childhood of how he found a cave that he was lost in for three days before finding his way out and discovering some of the sweetest fruits he had ever tasted.

The story was interesting enough to keep their attention on him until they all felt a jolt. The three went flying a few feet. What had hit them? He turned towards the opposing ship to see that it had actually been able to get closer and was now sending cannons at them over a short range. Those were a little more difficult to get rid of and the Moby Dick took a series of hits causing the ship to rock. And yet the enemy's ship still grew closer.

"Ace? What's going on?" he heard the little one asked his older brother.

"The ship is under attack. But don't worry Luffy everything will be fine."

"You'll stay with me right?"

"Wherever you go I'll be there with you. It's not like what happened with Bluejam."

Whitebeard felt intrigued by this but decided that unless they volunteered the information then it really wasn't his business. After another jolt, he decided that he had enough. He stood and glared at the opposing ship. The cannons stopped abruptly and a man in a long coat appeared. "I am the captain of this ship and I am here to challenge the pirate Whitebeard."

"You're still three decades too young to challenge me brat."

"Well if it isn't the Strongest Man in the world," the young man mocked. "I am here to take your head."

The older man sighed. "Try if you must."

The fight didn't last long.

They never did.

The captain attacked and all Whitebeard had to do was hit him once and the other captain bounced three times across the deck of the Moby Dick through the ship's railing and into the ocean.

He was weaker than most who tried to challenge him.

He must have some strong fighters on his crew to actually get as close as he had.

"Wow that was so cool!" the little brat cheered turning to Whitebeard his eyes shining while the other two ran over to the railing to look over the side.

"Oi, back away," Marco said dragging them back towards the captain. "We don't know much about him. He might try to shoot you or something."

The two complained but did as they were told.

Whitebeard smiled down at the three. They had handled the situation very well. The only emotion they had shown at the prospect of battle was excitement. There was no trace of fear at all. He would have to make sure that he kept them close if a real battle should break out. He wouldn't want them to get cocky and end up hurt.

"He's back," Thatch said pointing toward the man that was now climbing back onto the ship looking angry.

"He's either really brave or really stupid," Izo commented looking unimpressed.

"My guess is stupid," Haruta put in.

"How dare you embarrass me in front of my crew!" the other captain yelled, pulling out his gun and pointing it at Whitebeard.

Like that would work.

He seemed to realize that too; instead of taking the shot, he aimed towards the captain's feet. Towards-

"LUFFY!"

It was race against time as everyone realized who he was aiming at. Marco rushed the opposing captain while Ace and Sabo tackled their brother to the ground just as Whitebeard used the blade of his bisento to block the bullet.

The pirate crew all turned to stare at the man in shock that was now being held by a furious looking Marco.

"You were right, Haruta," Izo said. "He's stupid."

The first division commander threw the man at his captain's feet.

"I thought you were here to challenge me," the captain of the Whitebeard Pirates stood at his full height glaring down at the man who dared attack someone under his protection. "You were here to take my head and instead attack a child? Tell me now why I should not kill you where you stand?" he growled.

The man tried to stutter out an answer but Whitebeard was done with him.

He swung his bisento and using his devil fruit powers sent the mean flying off his ship and towards somewhere unknown and most likely dead.

The crew of the other ship seemed to realize that they should leave as quickly as possible and did so with no resistance.

"Are you alright?" Whitebeard asked the three boys who were now staring up at him. They all nodded in unison. "And you're not hurt?" he asked the smaller one who shook his head. "Good."

He allowed himself to calm his anger, knowing that the little ones were safe, and sat down in his chair pulling out a bottle of sake. He drank deeply before turning to the three brats that were now staring up at him, all three with eyes shining. He smiled. He could get used to having the youngsters around. "Now where were we in the story?"

"That was so cool!" Luffy cheered.

"Y-you just threw that man. I don't even see him anymore," Ace said turning his head towards where the pirate had been thrown. "How did you do that?"

"Are you really that strong?" Sabo asked looking amazed.

"Pops is that strong- but it helps that he ate the tremor-tremor fruit," Marco informed.

"H-he ate a devil fruit?" the blonde asked turning to stare in wonder at the captain.

"That's right. Being from the East Blue you probably didn't even know that devil fruits were actually real. I hear that most of that ocean thinks that they're just myths," Thatch said with a smile.

"We've met a devil fruit user," Ace informed him. "We just didn't think that we would be meeting another one anytime soon."

The captain raised an eyebrow intrigued. Not many who had the powers of the devil fruit went to the weakest of the blues. They usually all came to the Grand Line to prove their strength.

"Really?" Thatch asked. "Well we have quite a few people who ate devil fruits on board. Marco and Pops being two of them."

Ace turned to Marco. "You ate a fruit?"

"That's right."

"Which one?"

"A mythical zoan fruit. I can transform into a phoenix."

"That's a mystery bird," Luffy informed his brothers.

"I know what a phoenix is," Sabo said. "How do you?"

"Marco told me."

"What other powers do people on the ship have?" Ace asked turning to Thatch. The captain watched, content, as his son explained to the three brats the different fruits that various members of the family had eaten.

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