“Wanted! New Pirate King!!
A One Piece Fanfiction by Aoikami Sarah
Never-used ficlet, LxN, ZxR, written before Enies Lobby ended. Written June 22nd 2006
Enies Lobby. Sunset. Fires still raged. Eight people were gathered on the western shore. The waves crashed against a nearby craggy cliff-face. From behind a ruined building one of the Franky Family members craned his neck. “Aniki!” he shouted as he spied Franky himself and a flood of his brothers poured toward the scene. Franky held his hand up and commanded them to wait.
Zoro, Sanji and Franky stood and looked down on the others. Usopp sat and breathed heavily, occasionally coughing up a bit of blood. Chopper lay before him, clinging to life. Robin lay prone with her mouth slightly open, but she was also still breathing. Luffy was not.
Nami clutched at Luffy’s ragged hair and screamed at him again. “Don’t you dare leave us!” She wanted to shake him, rattle him, smack him around for messing with them but his body was broken and battered. “You haven’t fulfilled your dream. You can not die before you become the Pirate King, do you hear me?!” she cried. The waves crashed. A bit more rubble crumbled. The flames crackled. Nami wept. “Don’t die on me…” she sobbed, and punched his chest repeatedly in frustration. She bowed to press her cheek to his.
Suddenly, his thin frame jolted and he took a gasping breath. Nami shot up in surprise and stared at her captain as he started to breathe again. Those who hadn’t been crying were now in tears. “Franky,” Sanji asked, wiping his eye with the back of his hand. “You say you found us a ship?”
With everyone safely on board and with the Franky family and Galley-la to protect them and send them off, the Straw Hat Pirates at last set sail from Enies Lobby with all seven members aboard. The ship was a good one, albeit a quickly stripped and modified Marine ship. Franky’s touches were all over it in the form of heavy guns, metal plating and a juke box he had managed to steal from somewhere.
Zoro and Sanji did the sailing with Nami checking in occasionally to make certain they were sailing in the right direction. Usopp, Robin and Chopper slept in the main cabin with had three berths – most likely meant for lower ranking officers. In the Captain’s cabin, Nami sat at Luffy’s bedside and fought her own exhaustion. Sanji tapped her on the shoulder and startled the dozing navigator. “Please at least take a nap, Nami-san,” he advised. “We’ve set a course. Everything will be fine for a few hours at least.”
Reluctantly, Nami nodded and got up to go. She gave Luffy a long hard stare before she went as if she was willing him to wake up and re-assure her everything was really alright.
Rather than stray far from the others she lay down next to Chopper in the officers’ cabin. Her eyes closed and her body relaxed, but a quiet, stifled sob sent a shiver down her spine. In the berth next to the one she shared with the tiny doctor, Usopp was curled up and definitely not sleeping. “Usopp,” she whispered. “It’s alright, get some rest.”
“I just…” he choked and tried to contain his tears. Nami slid out of bed and dragged herself around to face him. He was wrapped in a fresh set of bandages and rendered immobile in a few places by splints. His face was screwed up with a mixture of physical and emotional pain that broke her heart.
“It’s just what?” she asked. “It’s over. Everything’s going to be alright.”
“No it’s not. I quit, remember.”
“Like we care. You’re here now, aren’t you?”
“But I’m too weak to be of any use to you!”
“Oh yeah?” she replied, raising a brow. “And what am I, chopped liver? I’m way weaker than you.” Before Usopp could argue some more, she put her hand over his mouth. “Look at you. You’re beat to hell. You know why? Because you risked your life for the rest of us. We all did. That makes you just as strong as Zoro or Luffy.”
“Nami…” Usopp muttered from behind her hand.
“What?” she asked and removed it.
“Thank you…” he said quietly, his voice cracking a bit.
Nami patted him gently on the head and collapsed next to Chopper again.
Zoro entered the room once it had gone quiet. He sat in a chair at the door and fought his own exhaustion in vain. His head bobbed a few times before he too dozed off. Moments later, Robin’s eyes opened. She looked right at the wall next to her berth. It was painted and clean but still obviously the interior of a ship, not the bottom of a jail cell in Impel Down. She looked right and saw the other two berths and some of the pirates sleeping restlessly. Ahead of her, the swordsman’s soft snoring caught her attention. She stared at him, just sitting there, only a few minor bandages were visible but the edges of those under his shirt indicated his injuries were probably extensive. Wondering just where she was and how she got there, Robin tried to sit up. Her own injuries made themselves known and she let a small cry escape her lips.
Zoro opened an eye. “Oi, be careful. You’ve probably got broken ribs. I heard you had the shit kicked out of you before we let you outta the cuffs,” he muttered, trying not to wake the others.
She remained sitting up. “Where are we?” she whispered.
“Modded-out Marine ship. Ours now. Stole it,” he answered.
He didn’t understand the question. “Where,” she repeated.
Zoro raised a brow. “A hundred leagues from Water 7, I think.”
Robin stared at him incredulously. “We got away?”
“You doubted us?” He smirked at her.
“Is everyone alright?”
“Yep. We’ll recover. We always do.” Zoro put his arms behind his head and closed his eyes.
He cut her off. “I said we. That includes you.”
Silently, Nico Robin wept grateful tears. She sat up, watching everyone around her just breathe for a moment before carefully sliding out of bed. She whispered to the dozing swordsman as she passed him that she was going to see if she could find some coffee. Just as she walked by he nodded and said “Welcome back, Robin.”
She paused and gave him a wide, toothy smile the likes of which he’d never seen her do before. “Thank you, Zoro,” she replied and ventured slowly out to find the galley.
Only a few hours later, the shifts changed again. Robin who was feeling well enough and charged with her precious java sat up and watched over Usopp and Chopper while Sanji got a proper nap. Zoro went out to mind the ship and Nami returned to Luffy’s side. The inside of the captain’s cabin was large and roomy. A wide berth occupied the center of the room and a massive, impressive looking headboard joined the thing to the wall. Luffy lay like a statue in the bed, the covers neatly in place unlike his normal sleeping pattern of tossing and turning. His chest rose and fell and Nami watched him as if she was waiting for him to stop breathing again. She pulled the chair she sat in as close to the side of the bed as she could and leaned over to stroke his forehead. A large bandage covered much of the right side of his face. Franky had done his best to ‘repair’ everyone who needed it, but he told them all very seriously that he couldn’t fix eyes. Nami felt a sob shake through her body as she thought about Luffy wearing an eye patch for the rest of his life. “This dipstick will probably think it looks cool,” she muttered and put her head down on the pillow next to his. “You can wake up any time, Luffy,” she whispered. “I need you to tell me you’re ok.”
Nami drifted off to sleep again for a moment but was awakened by a hand gently squeezing hers. It was about all the movement he could manage. Luffy’s left eye looked sleepily at her and he smiled. “Hey…” he breathed.
She sat up and wondered for a second if she was dreaming. “Hey…” she replied.
“Everyone ok?” he asked.
“We got out?”
“Good…” The eye closed again, but his smile was still there and he wouldn’t let go of her hand.
For three days they sailed on and evaded Marines, not landing in populated areas and even hiding out where they could. Their ship bore no Marine or pirate markings, but they decided that with the captain down and out they should be overly cautious.
On the morning of the fourth day they were anchored between two small uninhabited islands, safely hidden from prying eyes. Nami was surprised to see the news-gull drop a newspaper on the deck and supposed that they must be close to a more populated island. She hurried toward it, unrolled the paper and made to skim it quickly. The front page story made her jaw drop.
“Nami, what’s the matter?” Usopp asked, hobbling toward her on his crutches. She was shaking as she turned the paper to face him. Nami held a finger to her lips to keep Usopp from shouting out loud.
“Don’t tell Luffy yet. I’ll get the others!” she cried and ran to rouse her nakama.
A few minutes later, Nami went into the captain’s cabin. She closed the door behind her. “Good morning,” she said quietly and turned the wooden shades to let the light in. Luffy groaned a little. “What was that?” she asked cheerily.
She rolled her eyes. “You’ll have time for breakfast later. It’s time you go up.”
“I guess…” he said sleepily and made to rub his eyes. “Oh, right…” he caught himself before he tried to rub the missing right one. “This is taking some getting used to.”
“I have something that won’t take much getting used to at all…” Nami said, trying to contain her excitement. “We got the paper today.”
“Oh?” he asked, waking up a little more.
“Yep. We all have bounties now. Well, Usopp’s poster says “Sogeking” but he’s still pretty proud of it.”
“Wow! Mine go up?”
“You could say that…” she said with a wide grin. “Come on. Let’s get you some food.”
“Now you’re talkin’!” he said and tried to leap out of bed. His body held him back and he cried out in pain.
“Dipstick,” she grumbled and helped him up.
Luffy leaned on her draped his arm around her shoulder. “Thanks, Nami, for staying by my side.” He cupped her face in his right hand and surprised her by leaning down and gently kissing her. Nami stood perfectly still for a second, shocked by the gesture, then melted into it, returning it with the same softness.
“Why did you do that…” she asked breathlessly.
“Because I love you and when I beat the Pigeon guy and I was lying there thinking I was gonna die I was afraid I’d never see everyone again and I’d never get to tell you I loved you.”
Nami was dumbstruck. She trembled slightly before wrapping her arms around him and hugging him tightly. “I love you too!” she cried into his shoulder.
“Oh! Sorry!” Nami released the bruised and battered young man and he laughed at her reaction, all the while wincing in pain. She frowned and smacked at him. “Come on. The others are waiting.”
The sun was blinding in the clear, blue sky. Nami gave his hand a squeeze before jogging ahead of him, down the stairs to the main deck. Everyone was waiting, but much to Luffy’s confusion, they weren’t eating breakfast, they were lined up across the huge deck. Usopp leaned on crutches and Chopper looked like he shouldn’t be standing at all, but they were awake, they were there. Zoro had the newspaper rolled up under his arm. He puffed out his chest. “All hail!” he shouted.
“Hail! Hail! Hail!” his nakama cheered. “Hail the Pirate King!!!”
Zoro marched up the stairs Nami had run down with the newspaper and bowed in front of a stunned Luffy. He handed him the newspaper. On the front page were a series of black and white photos taken at Enies Lobby. Each of his nakama indeed had new bounties. His own photo was the largest and the caption read: ‘Wanted Dead or Alive ‘Straw Hat’ Monkey D. Luffy $B900,000,000’ “The World Government has declared Monkey D. Luffy the most wanted pirate on the Grand Line,” Zoro explained, but the headline that took up most of the top of the front page said it all.
“Wanted! New Pirate King Destroys Enies Lobby!!”