Alyce smiled at the crew before her. Aside from the grumpy swordsman everyone was kind and they reminded her of Ace. She nodded. "I'll try not to over work myself. But I still would like to be of help."
When the swordsman spoke she sighed softly and narrowed her eyes while pouting. "Beats me Grumps. They probably wanted to sell me off or something. Sadly human trafficking is huge in these parts. This village alone has had five missing women since I've gotten here."
She let her hair down and fixed her pigtails as she continued talking. "As for if there's anything special about me. There's not. You've got that part right. I'm just out here trying to find a worthy story to bring home. Something that will make my Gran smile through the sickness. She always said stories were the best medicine." She scratched the back of her head and grinned. "And yeah I flashed those bounty hunters at the bar. Are you kidding me? THEY KEPT CALLING ME A GUY!"
"For now," Nami looked at the crew then to Alyce, "worry about resting your leg. If you try to overwork it, Chopper will lay into you."
"It wont heal if she uses it too much," Chopper defended.
"As for food," Nami chuckled, "Its always like this. But really, if there is anything you want, Sanji can make it."
Sanji began collecting the empty plates from lunch and carried them to the sink to wash. "Even if its something your gran used to make. A taste of home can always lift the spirits."
Zoro looked over at Alyce and crossed his arms. "The men at the pub said you flashed them. Why? And what did that old man want with you? Other than you looking like Ace, I don't see what is so special about you."
"Zoro," Nami frowned, "Thats rude."
Alyce shook her head. "No special requests from me. I mean hell if you make food like this all the time I don't want to request anything I just want to see what you come up with." She chuckled softly. After finishing her meal she carefully stood up and made her way over to the sink so she could wash her dish. "So if I'm going to be staying here. Please let me know what I can do to help around here. I can't just do nothing. That's not how I was taught to repay kindness." She smiled softly before leaning against the counter to take the pressure off her leg.
"Thats my face," Zoro replied. However, like everyone else he was more than interesting in her response on Sanji's cooking. Even if the two didn't get along, he wasn't going to argue that Sanji's food was probably the best he'd ever had.
"Told you," Luffy beamed. Now that Alyce had taken a bite, everyone began enjoying their lunch too.
"I'm glad you enjoy it." Sanji went about cleaning up before joining the crew for lunch. "If there is anything specific you'd like to eat, let me know and I'll make it for you."
"No reason for you to apologize. Not everyone is full of sunshine. Some people are brooding." Alyce shrugged before taking her seat ignoring the look from the green haired swordsman. When the plate was placed in front of her its like the world stopped turning. Her eyes widened at how beautiful the food looked. She was hesitant with eating it because it was so perfect. But when she finally put the first bite in her mouth her eyes sparkled as her hand went up to her cheek. "Aaaah, this is so good! I've never had anything like this in my life!~"
"Wait until you try it," Luffy beamed, "Sanji's cooking is the best!"
One by one everyone filed in a took a seat at their usual places leaving only one seat open. "Sorry Alyce, I promise Zoro doesn't bite." Nami gestured to the open chair by Zoro and snickered a bit at his scowl. "He may look like a grouch but..."
"He's really a grouch," Usopp finished.
"I am not," Zoro defended.
As everyone tried to convince her to stay something inside her felt warm. The green haired man's response made her chuckle slightly. After a moment of thinking she nodded. "Alright... I guess I could stay for a bit. At least until my leg is healed." She smiled softly with a nod.
Nami smiled and clasped her hands together. "Perfect."
After about a half hour the food was done and Alyce followed the others to the kitchen. As soon as the door opened her eyes widened at the smells that were hitting her nose. "Oh my..." Her mouth watered as her stomach growled again. "This smells delicious."
"I believe you may be, yes. The similarities are striking." Robin chuckled a little at her reaction to Luffy's offer. No one was going to tell her that if he'd made up his mind on her joining, she wouldn't get a chance to reject. However, it seemed right now it was just an offer to travel together.
"Until you leg is healed," Chopper finished wrapping Alyce's leg, "I would prefer if you took Luffy's offer. The wound was deep and I want to make sure it doesn't get infected and that there is no lasting damage."
"Plus, it will give you a chance to hear more about Ace from Luffy." Nami smiled as she took a seat on one of the lawn chairs, "It will also prevent those guys from following you around and taking advantage of your weakened state."
Zoro grunted in response, "Are you trying to convince her or yourself? If she wants to leave then let her."
Sanji's' brow twitched at Zoro's response, "You'd abandon a woman in need of our help? Some gentleman you are Mosshead!"
"I never said I was a gentleman Eyebrows! She was doing fine before we came to help her!"
"Enough you two," Nami snapped. "At least stay until your leg is healed."
Sanji heard the growl from Alyce's stomach and headed straight for the kitchen. "Since we haven't had lunch yet, I'll start on it now."
Alyce smiled softly when she saw the tears in Luffy's eyes. "He was a great guy. I just wish I could have spent more time with him. But I'm grateful for the time I did get to spend with him."
When the raven haired woman mentioned dopplegangers, Alyce turned her attention to her. "So you think, I may be Ace's doppleganger?"
When Luffy spoke again Alyce's eyes widened. "Oh no, I couldn't impose like that. You guys already carried me here and are patching up my leg. I couldn't possibly impose any longer."
She slowly stood up before feeling a sharp pain in her stomach followed by a screaming growl. "Ugh... stupid stomach why now..."
Luffy grinned at the story of what Ace did, happy that he met someone who had also met his brother. "That sounds like Ace." Even though he was smiling, he was still tearing up. "I'm glad you were able to meet him."
"Luffy," Nami began but fell silent shortly after.
"As long as you aren't trying to be him, I don't mind that you look like him. Grandpa never mentioned Ace having any other siblings, so I don't think there is any relation."
Robin had been listening to the two talk and was intrigued by the story. "There are tales of doppelgangers. Though they are rare enough in the world, they do exist. Most are left alone because they don't resemble anyone famous. Its even rarer for them to be the opposite gender as well."
"Why don't you travel with us," Luffy offered.
Alyce smiled and shook her head. "No, I met him. It was only once though." When they reached the ship they were greeted by a small raccoon dog and her eyes widened. "He's so cute..." When she was instructed to sit down so the raccoon dog could look at her leg she chuckled. "Have to say this is the first time I've had someone other than my gran be my doctor... and its a talking animal." She shook her head then looked at Luffy again. "I had only heard a few stories of him when I met him. But I had never known his face. But one day I was in the village with my Gran... we were on our way back to the house on the outskirts of town. Gran collapsed. Completely unconscious. I panicked I was trying to lift her but at the time I wasn't strong enough..." She looked down for a moment. "Without hesitation he rushed over and carefully lifted her off the ground and asked me to lead the way back home. He took the time to make sure Gran and I made it home safe. When I thanked him after we got home, he finally introduced himself. I couldn't believe that the kind boy who helped us was a pirate. My Gran always loved telling stories about pirates. But after that day she kept tabs on Ace. Anytime she heard more news about him she would tell me. It was like he was a grandchild to her." She shook her head. "She also told me that he had a little brother. That's how I knew about you. Hearing what he accomplished, the things he set his mind to, his strength. They all drove me to become stronger. I look up to Ace. That's why I get so frustrated when people say I am him. Because that's an insult to his name. I'll never be as good as Ace. But I can damn well try to be the best I can by following his example."
"We aren't accusing you of being Ace. Luffy took one look at you and knew you weren't him." Of course, Nami had seen the small flicker of hope in Luffy's eyes during the initial encounter but it immediately went away. "So Ace for you is like Shanks to Luffy. You both had someone you looked up to that inspired you."
"So you never met him," Luffy asked as they finally reached the Sunny.
"There you," Chopper fell silent as he noticed the blood on Alyce's leg. This caused him to quickly got get his medical kit so that he could patch up the wound.
"Are you sure you want to talk about this Luffy," Nami asked a bit concerned.
"She said she looked up to Ace," Luffy replied, "I did too. We can talk about him."
Alyce was a bit taken back by the sudden question. And she was about to answer when the red head cut in and draped her arm over her shoulder.
As the four walked she sighed softly. "I do owe you one so I suppose I should answer some questions. I don't mind as long as you aren't accusing me of being Ace." She kept her eyes on the ground making sure not to trip over anything. "My name is Alyce Porter. No I didn't change my name. That's the name I was born with. As to why I have similar features to Ace, I don't know. I was born like this. As to why I wear similar clothes to Ace, I look up to him. He's the reason I left home in the first place. He inspired me to seek the world."
"Why do you look like Ace," Luffy asked.
"Thats one way to start off," Nami sighed. "Why don't we get her back to Chopper before you start asking questions? I'm sure she'd rather not walk around with a hole in her leg." She draped one of Alyce's arms over her shoulder so they could start walking without putting too much pressure on the wound.
Zoro and Luffy flanked either side of them to prevent further confrontations from unwanted enemies. "So you've established that you aren't Ace, but that doesn't explain who you are."
The men started charging at the swordsman and the man in the strawhat. But as they grew closer they realized that these two weren't just look alikes. They were the real deal. "I-I ain't getting paid enough for this." A few of the men ran in the opposite direction.
"Hey! Get your asses back here!" He called through clenched teeth. He staggered to his feet before glaring at the woman who looked like Ace. "Mark my words this won't be the last you see of me." With that he and the rest of his men ran off.
Alyce sighed softly. "Fantastic... he's going to be back." She rolled her eyes. "Yes, you could have just left me here. But you didn't. Not that I don't appreciate you two scaring off those guys... But why did you help me. I know you don't think I'm Ace. You're not idiots like the townsfolk."
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