by Aoikami Sarah
01 Stop Whispering
Low voices. Urgency. Luffy furrowed his brows and listened.
“Can he be trusted?” Zoro asked in a rumbling whisper.
“Sure, sure,” Usopp hissed back quietly. “The last time I checked they were under the mikan trees. You got your ammo?”
Zoro nodded to Usopp and tossed a water balloon in his hand once.
Usopp suppressed a giggle. “This is gonna be great~! Nami’ll jump sky high when these ultra-cold balloons explode all over her!”
So that was it. Luffy’s eyes narrowed slightly before he took a deep breath and crowed “why are you whispering?! I wanna play with the waterballoons too!”
It was a constant battle. Every week or so Sanji gave it his
best shot. The Nutritionist versus the Nutritionless. Luffy folded his arms and
frowned severely. “No way.”
“I don’t wanna.”
“You have to.”
“No I don’t. I’m the captain.”
“Regardless of rank, you must.”
“No I don’t.”
“Yes you do.”
“No I don’t. All I need is meat.”
A slight growl. “You’re human, aren’t you? Humans are omnivores. That means we eat everything.”
“I’m a rubber human.”
Steam started coming out of Sanji’s ears. “Eat your god damn vegetables or I’m going to shove them down your rubber throat!”
03 Prove Yourself
Sanji and Zoro carried him away in an impromptu stretcher
made from a world government flag. He prattled on about his broken ribs but
really, his injuries were far from his mind. It worked. Robin was free. The
others could take it from there.
He did it. The same young man who thought he was being left in the dust by his strong companions had proven incredibly valuable. He almost couldn’t believe it himself. He’d made allies of the Elbaf Giants. He’d delivered the keys to Robin. At last, he really felt he deserved the respect his nakama gave him.
04 Blow Out
“No!!” her voice cried as if it were not her own. A sound
like the voice of thousands all screaming ‘no’ at once. Crying, shouting,
pleading. An island full of innocent people wiped away in the course of an
afternoon, howling through the throat of one woman. The last person. The last
How could they even think about doing such a thing again? This imbecile before her, flaunting the power to destroy everything without a care. Was it apathy or was it ignorance? She shouted, begged, demanded. No! How could you?!!
Her answer - the sinister laughter of a madman.
05 The Bends
Going down was an involuntary reaction like moving his foot away from a knife as it tumbled to the floor. A splash and a groan from Nami or Zoro or a loud shout from Usopp notified him that there was an Akuma no Mi user overboard. He would pull off his shoes, take off his coat and plunge in afterwards. Coming back up, hauling a body like lead against the insane pressure of mother ocean and the bends he suffered when he hit the deck was hard but the hardest thing was that it was never Robin who needed saving.
06 High & Dry
He cried out just like Usopp did when Yosaku and Johnny told them that she left. She stole the Merry and she left them to fight alone. Why would she do that? She seemed nice. It didn’t seem like her. Maybe the pirates scared her away. She said she hated them. But he was a pirate, well, he was sort of new at it. Maybe that was it. But he saw her before she left, laughing with the others as he tried to poison Zoro’s drink. She laughed then, but kept looking away with her eyes all soft and distant.
It hurt. A lot. But boy, did it work great. The blood pounded in his ears like the train they rode here. Like the wind when the Merry went up and down to Sky Island. If he didn’t need to keep going he’d have wished his head would just up and explode so it wouldn’t hurt anymore, but it wasn’t over yet. The Pigeon Guy wasn’t done yet, even though he’d sent him flying. How many more of his bones could he make into balloons before the fight was over? As many as it took until his nakama were safe.
08 Nice Dream
There was ice cream. Lots of it. Meat flavored. And he could taste it which was weird. Usually he couldn’t taste things. He was sitting in Party’s but it looked more like the Baratie and the bartender was that flower guy from Cape Twins. So it wasn’t Party’s. But Roger was sitting next to him where Shanks should be so it was ok. He was telling him all about his adventures and defeating Crocodile and his dream to be better than him and Roger laughed and clapped him on the back. Sadly, Luffy couldn’t remember what the Pirate King said.
09 Bullet Proof…
Somewhere in another world a hundred years before, a brave swordsman fell in battle, defeated at last by a single, stupid, small projectile rather than the skillful wielding of his foe’s blade. A world away from that man, a shot rang out. Heads turned, slowly. Much slower than the bullet traveled. Screams of shock, delayed and pitched down issued forth from dropped jaws. His back was turned to the coward Marine who fired at him. He read the faces of his nakama and knew what happened. “This can’t be how it ends…” he thought as he fell to the ground.
Sanji rolled a cigarette between his fingers and let his eyes unfocus. First, after Drum Island, number One got number Three. Then came number Seven, and what an addition she was! But after Enies lobby she belonged to number Two, the bastard. His only hope had been in number Eight being the one for him. A brunette would be nice. Soft, delicate and in need of his protection but bright, fun and desperately in love with him and… “NOT FRANKY!” he cried aloud again. Number Eight lifted his sunglasses and made a face at the cook sulking in the corner.
11 Exit Music
He had a swordsman of near unmatchable talent and strength. He had a navigator so skilled she could predict the weather. He had a marksman who could shoot an ant off a matchhead in the wind from 1000 feet. He had a five star gourmet chef to feed him. He had a doctor so wise he could cure almost any wound. He had an archaeologist so intelligent she would surely help him piece together his dream. All this was fine and dandy, but as they sailed away from coast of Jaya, he wished once again that he had a musician.
12 Let Down
He heaved another sigh and lit another cigarette with the remainder of the one he just finished. Would it have helped if he had been more sincere? For all the affection he’d lavished on this woman was none of it taken seriously? Come to think of it, none of it was returned except in transaction for some favor she wanted out of him. So it wasn’t all that surprising that Nami loved another, just totally irritating who that ‘another’ was! “I mean Luffy eats with his FEET sometimes!” Sanji cried. Robin stopped reading and looked up at him. “His FEET!!”
13 No Surprises
“Land ho!” Chopper cried from the crow’s nest and
enthusiastically (albeit unnecessarily) added “I see an island!!”
Luffy sprinted to the figurehead, whooping and hollering his excitement. Nami went to the cash box and started calculating the crew’s allowance. Sanji took stock of his inventory and made a grocery list. Zoro… well. Zoro hadn’t woken up yet and Robin merely glanced up from her book for a moment. Chopper jumped down from the last peg on the mast and ran to Usopp. “Isn’t it great!? A new island!”
“Yes, great!!” Usopp replied. “So long as there’s no weird scary surprises…”
It wasn’t looking good. His nakama were scattered throughout town and racing through the rain to find him. Luffy flexed his hands in the same stocks that must have held Gold Roger down as the government took his life. Today, his executioners were disgruntled pirates that he had crossed and who had ganged up together to have him killed. Not exactly how he wanted to go, but he did his best, he figured. He hoped his nakama wouldn’t be too sad. “Oh well,” he said. “Guess I’m dead!” as a bolt of lightning crashed down and destroyed the legendary platform.
15 Everything In Its Right Place
“Oh man. This is too much!” Usopp giggled.
“What is?” Chopper asked while passing by.
“Oh wait, he’s going out for a smoke. I’ll show you later, ok?”
Later Usopp found Chopper collecting the laundry. “Come quick! He’s gonna do it again!” he cried and dragged Chopper out to peer into the galley and watch Sanji turn tin cans around so that their labels faced out. He pushed a set of shakers to the middle of the table and lined them up with a bowl of fruit just so. Usopp snickered but Chopper didn’t see what was so funny about OCD.
16 How To Disappear
The beautiful red-headed woman didn’t seem like the others.
She had poise, supposedly she had breeding. She dropped the right names and had
all the right moves on the dance floor and the young heir to the largest
diamond mine in East Blue thought she was the One.
He gave her a mink coat, gourmet dinners and nights on the town, but it wasn’t until he gave her the ring worth 3.5 million berrie that she displayed any excitement and he was convinced this was because she wanted to be his wife.
Until she and the ring vanished without a trace.
Not when he faced the shark-man from the Grand Line under the sun in Arlong Park. Not when he stood in the rain on the gallows at Rogue Town. Not when he climbed in a blizzard up the side of Drum Rocky. Not when he nearly drowned in sand when he fought Crocodile in the deserts of Arabasta. Not when he charged through the clouds to fight God himself in Skypeia did he think that things wouldn’t turn out for the best. Weeping in a typhoon on the shores of Water Seven, for the first time, Luffy wasn’t so sure.
18 In Limbo
From the inside, everything seemed muted, grey. He seemed to
move too slowly or too quickly at random. His own heartbeat hammered all around
him as if he were sitting in a drum being pounded on by a maniac. The only
coherent thought that repeated like tickertape across his mind was ‘stop’ but
he couldn’t speak. He couldn’t hear his nakama much less discern them from the
enemy. Again and again he smashed through walls and pounded flesh, regardless
of who it belonged to. The behemoth fought on.
Hours later when he woke, Chopper didn’t understand why he couldn’t move.
19 You And Who’s Army
Luffy didn’t much cotton to the idea of revenge but going
alone was better than not going at all. A long time ago someone showed him that
acting out of anger or jealously or frustration was stupid and all Luffy’d ever
wanted to do was be just like him so that when they met again he’d be proud of
So he went alone and he waited. He didn’t want to hit him but he so did and when the enemy finally struck out at him Luffy smashed his face in so hard it left the impression of his knuckles.
20 I Might Be Wrong
Some days Nami just wasn’t so sure. Luffy seemed so immature
sometimes! Like a five year old! And not in a good way! She’d get so mad at him
she’d pound the shit out of him for whatever infraction he’d made.
Then there’d be a sign, a smile, a secret hug when no one was looking that said ‘I’m still yours’. After Drum Island especially, he made her know it.
Then came Arabasta and she watched from across the room as he woke up with a princess at his side.
‘Show me,’ she thought. ‘Tell me I’m wrong.’
21 Knives Out
Sanji was exhausted but still standing. His vision blurred occasionally and a pool of blood formed at his wounded and bare feet. Never before had he suffered like this. Even the slow pain of starvation seemed like a nice way to go compared to the agony he felt at this moment. He knew very well they had no medic waiting back on the Going Merry who could suture such horrific injuries and his chances for survival were slight. Yet, he stood his ground. Hands shaking from loss of blood he reached into his vest and retrieved a last cigarette.
22 Dollars And Cents
The downtime, mostly between cons and map-making, was the
worst for Nami. Going home to Kokoyashi was incredibly hard to bear. But home
was a place called Arlong Park that didn’t feel anything like it. Soon the
island was visible on the horizon. Each time she spied it bitter tears came to
As if in a trance she’d take the bags full of filthy lucre up the shore around the back of her sister’s house and bury it like the pirates she so despised and sometimes for hours she’d sit on the ground and try not to weep.
23 Hunting Bears
”Oi, Marimo,” Sanji grumbled. “Don’t get lost.”
Zoro frowned up at him after alighting on the frozen beach. The Going Merry had landed on an extreme winter island the likes of which even surprised Chopper. The reindeer shivered slightly as his body got used to the chill working its way up his four legs. “I’ll keep an eye on him, Sanji,” he offered.
“I don’t need a babysitter!” Zoro barked back.
“You need a bakasitter,” Sanji pointed out.
Zoro chose to ignore him. “Besides,” he addressed Chopper. “I’m going bear hunting.”
Chopper stepped away from him. “He needs a bakasitter, alright.”
24 Life In A Glass House
Until the Straw Hat Pirates came to Syrup, Kaya had lived a very sheltered life. As an invalid, she rarely went out of the house, let alone into town. She had servants for that and unbeknownst to her, one who had sinister intentions. After they’d gone she was free to follow her dream to become a doctor, free to walk into town and do her own shopping and it felt great. She transformed the house on the hill from the cage it had been for years into to a home. If only, she thought, if Usopp-san could see her now.
25 Sail To The Moon
It was one of those days between islands that left the crew
waiting impatiently for the next adventure to begin. Nami knew this meant it
was one of those nights when she could sneak up to the Mikan trees and sure
enough Luffy would wander up as if sleep walking and fall into her lap.
She ran her fingers through his hair and the moon was reflected in his large eyes. He didn’t have to say a word. He wore his determination like a badge on his chest. Nami smiled. “I’d navigate you to the moon if you wanted,” she whispered.
26 Go To Sleep
Luffy muttered about pork chops in his sleep as Usopp
finally gave up and lit a candle. “Might as well get some work in…” he
Chopper turned over and stared at him. “Usopp, you can’t sleep either?” he asked.
“Sorry. Never mind me. Go to sleep, Chopper.” He continued adding ingredients to his nagareboshi.
“…. Did you have a wet dream?”
“!” Usopp boggled. “No! Go to sleep, Chopper.”
“Usopp?” the 15 year old reindeer that seemed a lot younger asked.
“What?” He narrowed his eyes.
“Where do babies come from?”
Sanji, Zoro and Usopp shouted “go to sleep, Chopper!!”
27 Where I End And You Begin
It didn’t surprise Zoro that she’d betrayed them. He’d never
wholly trusted Robin. Even when they tangled as one he’d kept one eye open.
There was something dark about her that reminded him of himself of over a year
ago. Perhaps that was what had drawn him to her…
Now she was gone and it was no wonder to him yet no one else could believe it. He kept his mouth shut when he heard the news. No one would question his silence. No one would guess he was lost in concentration, wondering what it was that finally broke her heart.
28 There There
”Well,” Shanks said as he finally emerged from his cabin
supported by his 1st mate. “That wasn’t a whole lot of fun.”
“No, it wasn’t,” Beckman agreed. “Try not to do it again.”
“I’ll try, Benny,” he muttered. Beckman lowered him into a chair they’d brought for him to address his crew in.
The East Wind was still anchored in Fuchsia harbor and the Red Hair pirates milled around the decks anxiously waiting for word.
Shanks took a deep breath and with his remaining arm pointed at the sky. “To the Grand Line!” he shouted and his crew cheered back.
Nami’s head pounded. Being thrown out of that third story window was probably to blame and the blood pounding between her ears made her head feel like a drum. The rain beat down, lashing her skin and her feet slid on the slick pavement. The wind seemed to threaten to tear her from the earth itself but nothing would stop her. The truth was already working its magic on Nami herself, pushing her beyond what she thought she was capable of as she jumped from rooftop to rooftop. She could only imagine what it would do for their captain.
30 Wolf At The Door
It was happening more often these days. When Zoro fought
with all he had, his blood sang. It cried out in seeming ecstasy with each new
threshold he crossed. How prophetic that his first and favorite attack was
named ‘oni…’, the very thing he was slowly becoming.
One day, would he be like the monster he sought? Like Mihawk, a legend traveling alone, unmatched and trawling the seven seas for a decent opponent?
When Zoro felled Kaku he paused to catch his breath and push the demon back inside. Coming back to his senses he remembered that Robin was waiting.