New Not-Friends

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Everyday I would leave with Ace, and as always Luffy would try to follow; he could never catch up and would always end up falling far behind, in a pit of alligators, or in the eyes of wolves. As the days rolled into weeks, I grew bored of following Ace around as he stole cash or hunted creatures. I decided that today I would try and stay with Luffy, I admit I had a white heart, and I felt bad, Luffy was all alone, facing the jungles dangers by himself.The night before, while curled up to Ace, I planned that I would stay behind with Luffy the entire way.

As Ace and I ran through the forest Luffy had gotten farther than ever, of course we lost him when Ace knocked a boulder down causing rocks to rain over the poor rubber boy. I knew this was my cue and I walked up to Ace and nudge him, he looked down and reached out his hand to pat me, I only gave his hand a small lick of an apology and left with a short nuzzle. "wh-what's wrong Rose?" I gave my Cheshire smile and turned dashing in the direction to Luffy. Ace called my name and tried to follow, but with a quick look, he nodded slowly and stayed behind, I grew and with a final roar I was off.

I came upon Luffy a few minutes later, following behind the orange tiger that dared to hunt him, its body was slightly smaller than my own however the beast still radiated a certain demanding and majestic aura, that caused me to roll my eyes. I looked to the ground as I heard a small squeak, Luffy had fallen and blood dripped from his arm, "I-I'm warning you! M-my fists are like pistols!" the tiger chuckled and stalked closer "even a pistol couldn't take me down."

"but I bet a tiger could." I snarled and leaped out in front of the bleeding Luffy, I gave a protective stance as he gazed up at me in amazement.

"what are you doing?" the male tiger hummed his ears flattening, his tail no longer swaying in anticipation, it was frozen mid swing as the tiger tilted his head gazing into my golden eyes.

"He is my friend. Back off." My voice, of course, still had its feminine touch ringing out over his low growls, his aura may hold need for authority, but my voice demanded he listen.

"Hum, a tigress huh? I'm surprised you're not groveling at my feet after all I am..." I nuzzled Luffy my head fitting perfectly to the size of his body; he looked up at me and laughed, now hugging my snout as I lifted him up with my head strength. "oi don't ignore me!" he roared his eyes burning into my back.

"Come Luffy, lets get you home." I keeled down allowing him to climb on no problem. The oh so mighty tiger behind me growling in annoyance. "oi, he's my pray." I sighed my tail swishing back and forth with my hips as I walked away, I ignored all his annoying threats and insults, he decided to follow us, trying, and failing to get a rise. "why don't we leave this twerp and go somewhere more private?"

"why don't you go drown in the river or go eat a lizard. Luffy is my friend and I will protect him from assholes like you." The tiger trotted to a stop, watching me leave with Luffy on my back. I declared myself Luffy's protector, and I was determined to be just that.

"O Niku? Why did you come back? You never do." Luffy asked his small voice further muffled by my fur. I glance back at him with an empathetic smile. He looked me in the eye for a moment, as if he could read my thoughts he smiled back brightly. "you don't have to feel bad for me I just need to get stronger. Tomorrow I will catch Ace for sure." I nodded my head sure he would catch him, I let out a small chuckle. Luffy was always overly determined to catch a new friend.

Our day consisted of mostly wandering around the forest, Just looking around wondering what other dangers lurked about out there. His mouth never stopped moving as his cords shook and rang out, non-stop, constantly talking my ears off. He would ask question after question; I would answer to the best of my ability, and somehow he could understand me, nodding and speaking at how cool I was, this almost seemed just as similar to him and Grandpa Rio.

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