It’s only a few seconds and then Ace’s hand closes around his ankle. Air bubbles stream past him and he’s out of the water, coughing, wet on the bank.
“Idiot,” Ace says, smacking him on the head. “I said you were too close.”
Luffy rolls onto his back and spits water into the air until he’s empty. “But that big snake was down there.”
“It was an eel, stupid, and I told you to stay back.” Ace is frowning at him, but he’s okay with that. Ace is always frowning. “People as dumb as you shouldn’t be allowed to eat devil fruit. You just end up drowning.”
“Come on,” Sabo says, and pulls Luffy to his feet. “We need to bring something back tonight. We’re almost out of meat.”
“Yeah, let’s go! I’m hungry.”
“You’re always hungry.” Ace gives him a shove and they start walking back. “Why’d you eat your stupid fruit, anyway? They don’t let kids eat devil fruit.”
“I know why,” Sabo laughs. “Because he was really hungry.”
“Well, I was. Gum-gum hurricane!” The tree shakes but doesn’t fall down. It doesn’t hurt when his fist snaps back and hits his nose, but he falls down anyway. “Shanks was mad,” he says, grinning up at Ace and Sabo from the ground. “But not really. Anyway, I didn’t like it. It tasted really bad.”
Ace glares and walks away. Sabo shrugs and smiles at Luffy and follows. Luffy scrambles after them.
“When I eat one,” Ace announces, “I’ll eat a really strong one. One so strong I won’t have to worry about water.”
“I guess…” Sabo looks thoughtful. “I guess I won’t eat one.”
“How come?” Luffy wants to know.
Sabo tips his hat back and grins. “Because you’ll both need someone to pull you out.”