|Mark of Freedom
Author: IseulTaps PM
Being marked as 'less than human' for the rest of Azami's life has left her scared, and terrified of being captured and being forced back into slavery. With the choice of two demon's Azami easily chooses to follow the green-haired swordsman over the World Nobles, running away with the Straw Hats, can she find freedom? OCXZoro, Pre-Water 7 I do not own One PieceRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Zoro - Chapters: 4 - Words: 10,821 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 15 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 04-28-13 - Published: 03-17-13 - id: 9111326
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Just an idea I head that I thought I should write before I forget, let me know what you think.
Being jerked awake and dragged out of my bed I look at my mother full of worry. "Mom where are we going? Do they need us?" I ask worried I slept through a call for me to clean up. Shaking her head at me she pulls me to follow and presses a finger to her lips. Nodding my head simply I look around the luxurious home of the Noble's we serve, feeling of hate bubbles up in my chest. Being marked for life, being forced to work for these monsters and comply with whatever their whims are or face torture for refusing. Each and every one of them are monsters, dressed as humans, and I carry this silent hate inside of me. Running silently through the slave passages in the house we emerge in the backyard where my father is waiting.
"Mom what's going on?" I whisper looking around nervously. "We'll get in trouble." I mumble gripping my apron tightly.
"We're escaping." My dad says simply. "One foot in front of the other, and don't look back." He says grabbing my other hand to lead my mother and I in the darkness, moving along the edges of the of the trees and in the shadows we run as quietly as possible, as we end up in the backstreets we're joined by others, silently making out way through the city, I've heard nothing of this plan, but I suppose this is better than rotting away and being worked to the bone as though we're nothing more than trash.
My parents lead us to a ship which we board with everyone else and silently descend to the Grand Line.
Waking up from the nightmare I stare ahead at the blank wall, sweat covering my body entirely, my strawberry blonde hair sticks to my body, and I feel the mark on my back as though it were on fire. I have the nightmare of time to time, as though those horrendous days can never truly be left behind.
I'm not sure how so many of us were able to escape and so quietly, but we were able to get away from Mariejois. Once we got down on the ocean though was an entirely different matter. As we were sailing away they must have realized we were gone and marine ships open fire on us. With the ship sinking we'd managed to dock and hide. My parents didn't make it to the island along with a great number of other. I hid on the island for days until I was able to find a way off and to my mother's brother, I delivered the news of what happened, and about his wife dying before we escaped.
Getting up I go to take a shower, and out of habit I turn to look over my shoulder in the mirror, the same mark staring back at me every time still there, blatantly obvious and the only mark that's sealed me away from true freedom.
Sighing heavily I begin to get dressed to head to my job, waitressing in a new town on a new island on the Grand Line, since that night two years ago my uncle and I have been fleeing the Marines that are still looking for those slaves that escaped.
Stepping into work I place that same stupid grin on my face and wave to the owner as I get to work. Just like any other day, well until a certain man steps in demanding for a drink with a nasty cut on his side.
"Azami take this guy out." Hodges the barkeep says motioning to the man with green hair. "He's getting blood all over the place." He says shaking his head.
Nodding my head I hesitantly attempt to lift the man up, as I get one of his arms around my shoulder and the rest of his weight drops on me I nearly fall to the ground. Managing to keep him up I look up surprised as the weight is taken off my shoulder to find my uncle helping me. "Thank you, he needs side looked at." I tell him motioning to his side. "Can you make it to the village doctor?"
"Nonsense I'll just take him home. Our place is closer and I can treat him." He says shaking his head at the mere thought, nodding my head I get back to work until lunch.
"We'll see you tomorrow Azami." Hodges says as I wave goodbye.
Quickly making my way back to the apartment, upon entering I see my uncle treating the man for the cut in his side. "How bad was it?" I ask him hesitantly.
Sighing he looks at me. "Not nearly as bad as it could have been, it's a good thing we got to him when we did." He says simply, taking a seat by him I dab the cloth on his head in some water before placing it back on his forehead. "He's quite the dangerous man."
Nodding my head I figured as much when he refused to take him to the doctor. "Uncle we have to be careful you know." I tell him quietly. "You're already in trouble for helping me."
He waves his hand at the thought. "Helping family in nothing, helping someone in need of medical attention is expected." He says happily.
I smile at my family, my uncle, all that I have right now. "I'll watch him, why don't you go do some fishing?" I tell him watching the man carefully, the three katanas propped up against the wall I take it that this man is a swordsman.
"Just make sure his bandages stay on, he's been trying to get them off when he's awake." He warns me. "I'll be back in a few hours Azami."
Nodding my head I remain where I am and stuffy the man. His green hair and the three swords remind me of something, though I can't exactly place what it is accurately. The man has a strong jaw, with a restful look on his face. Looking up at his swords I wonder how skilled he is, and why he has three.
Hearing a shuffle I see the man awake and as my uncle warned me, attempting to take the bandages off. Smacking his hand I glare at him. "You need them on, stop moving." I command glaring at him.
"They make it hard to move." He says simply, it sounds like he says that a lot by the way he tries to take them off again. Smacking his hands away again I glare at him. "Woman stop hitting me."
"Then stop trying to take them off." I tell him back glaring. "My uncle probably told you that you need them on, and I'm telling you so quit it." I say moving his hands away from his side. "Just go back to sleep." I complain taking the cloth off his hand and dipping it in water again. Dabbing his face I study his expression, the hard and unnerving face he keeps directing at me.
"Where is the old man?" He asks looking around. "He was here when I fell asleep, and who are you?"
Rolling my eyes I place the cloth on his head. "I'm Azami, and that 'old man' is my uncle." I explain checking his bandages. "He's fishing, he'll be back in a bit."
This seems to satisfy him as he remains silent. "Why are you taking care of me?" He asks randomly after a while.
"Because I don't know how to fish." I tell him simply. "Besides you collapsed at the bar I work in." I say easily enough. "You really should be careful." I warn him, though he doesn't seem to care about that last bit.
After a few moments of silence my uncle comes in his a slash on his leg. "What happened?!" I ask shocked as I help him to the place next to the swordsman.
Waving the question off, he stares at me seriously. "It's them."
"They're coming." I whisper gripping my clothes closer to me. "We need to move." I tell him anxiously.
He looks up at me gravely; he'd been hurt saving this stranger, though I can't really blame my uncle, he'd saved me and several others before they'd gone off on their own. "Azami, I can't go. I can't travel with this." He says motioning to his leg, the one with a deep slash. "I'll only slow you down."
Shaking my head in denial I reach over the young man to grip his hand. "I'll get caught without you." I mumble pathetically. "They terrify me."
Hearing the man between us grunt in pain, my uncle grins as though nothing was happening, as though officers working for the World Nobles are hunting down their 'property' that'd escaped. "Azami go gather up your things." He commands. Nodding my head hesitantly I leave the room, obviously he wants to talk to the strange swordsman alone. I pack up my own bag and toss it over my shoulder, making my way back to the small room, I'm thoroughly surprised to see the man standing and nodding his head.
"Azami, you'll be going with Zoro." He says simply. "I'll stay here and try to slow them down." My Uncle says heaving himself up to move across the room to the couch, collapsing on it I run to his side.
"Uncle, are you sure this is a good idea?" I murmur staring at the green haired man carefully, something about him seems dangerous. My uncle stares at the man nodding his head. "Uncle" I murmur feeling tears pool.
"Azami you need to go." He says smiling at me, the green haired man looks at me with an annoyed expression. "Everything will be alright." He says turning back to the man I feel my tears fall. "Go Azami before they come." He urges me on.
Zoro must have had enough of my dawdling, as my uncle would have called it, because he's lifting me up and tossing me over his shoulder easily before running away. As this stranger carries me further away from my uncle, I watch as the men that have been hunting me down decimate not only my uncle, our home, or neighbors, but the entire village we'd only stayed at for a few weeks.
"Don't go giving us away." The man commands darkly, all I can manage is to nod my head and to close my eyes, I'm tired of seeing the bloodshed, I'm tired of being chased, I'm tired of losing people that I care about. I try to calm myself, I won't be any help if I cry, and I can do that later when it's safe.
As the man slows down panting and setting me down, he looks around, hesitantly I take his hand and point towards a street. "The port is that way." I murmur nervously, I'm still not sure this was the right choice, but at the moment I don't have a choice. It's this swordsman or getting captured by those demons. Tugging him in the direction I remember what my parents had said when we'd escaped from that terrible place. 'Lift one foot in front of the other and keep moving, don't look back.' It's all I've known, running, trying to get away never looking back.
Finally making it to the port the man takes the lead and practically drags me towards a ship with a black flag with a skull with crossbones wearing a straw hat.
"OI, marimo hurry up!" A blonde man yells, 'marimo' grunts in reply, stopping he picks me up in his arms and begins running, jumping over the railing of the ship. Setting me down he glares at the man. As they begin to argue I nervously stand there as the other crewmates, presumably, stare at me.
Seeing the crew assembled before me it dawns on me who exactly Zoro is, and who this crew is.
"Zoro, who is this?" A orange-haired girl asks looking at me wearily with the rest of the crew sending me similar looks.
"I'm protecting her; she and her uncle patched me up after I passed out." He says simply, much to the horror of part of the crew. "The man asked me to protect his niece in his place." This is also said indifferently.
"What were you doing running around with that wound in the first place?!" A small reindeer yells angrily at the swords man.
The girl shifts her attention back to me. "It'd be best if you sat in the galley while we sail away." She says calmly. "Sanji hard to port!" the orange-haired girl commands, the blonde man, Sanji I would assume, lead me to the galley and helm of their ship. Taking a seat I listen to the girl shout orders from outside with Sanji busy steering I wonder if the village is alright, after all its partially if not entirely my fault that they were attacked so viciously.
Deep in thought I wonder if my uncle is alright, though it seems unlikely, nervously messing with my hair I stare down at the table, trying to figure this all out, traveling with a group of pirates that took down a Shichibukai, and obviously live to tell the tale. Surprised by the mug set in front of me I look up to see Sanji smiling at me. "Thank you." I murmur accepting the drink.
Before Sanji can respond Zoro sits next to me and smacks his hand away. "Hands off Ero-Cook, I'm protecting her, and that means from perverts like you too." Zoro's deep voice comes, this enrages said man.
As the two fight I watch them worriedly, "I'm Nami, the ship's navigator." The girl from before says smiling at me friendly. As the others are introduced I smile at them as much as I can manage at least.
"I'm Azami." I manage quietly looking around at everyone staring at me; I begin to doubt my uncle's idea of me staying with Zoro.
"So what's your story?" Luffy prompts curiously staring at me, tilting his head from side to side occasionally.
"I'm just running away from the World Government." I say simply, there isn't anything to add on, nothing to tell; well nothing I'm willing to say.
Though, this seems to have perked their interest as Sanji asks me a question. "Why would the government want a young lady such as you?"
"Certain people do not take kindly to those who run away." I say just as my uncle has said it to Zoro. "My parents and I ran away." I say shortly.
Their captain stares at me; nervously I look down and away from him gaze. "You're a bit weak aren't you?" He asks me bluntly, Sanji puts up some protest but I nod my head. No point in trying to refute the statement.
"It's getting late." Robin says suddenly while simultaneously breaking the awkward silence. "Why don't you wash up and get some rest?" She suggests getting up. "I'll show you."
"I'll start dinner!" Sanji says turning to their kitchen. "Luffy get out, I'm not having you eat all the food before it's even cooked." He scolds the young boy while kicking him in the side.
Following Robin quietly I take a look at my surroundings. "Azami-san, this is the bathroom and this is the way to the girl's room, there's warm water, but I'd be quick." She says gently.
Quickly following her directions I start taking a shower. Washing off the bit of blood, probably Zoro's, and grime off. I try not to think about how this morning I'd been with my uncle and how I am no longer with him. As I dry off, I look at my back, the damned mark mocking me. Glaring at it, the simple 'Hoof of The Soaring Dragon', everything in me wishes it was gone, that I could just simply wash it off. "Azami-san dinner is ready." Robin calls from the other side of the door, quickly pulling the clothes on, I dry my hair out quickly before stepping out and following the dark-haired woman.
Quietly taking my seat I stare at the table I look down at the food prepared for me and smile at Sanji. "Thank you." I tell him before taking my first bite, "This is the best food I've had in my entire life." I compliment him happily eating.
He proceeds to swoon over Nami, Robin and I about how wonderful it is to cook for such beauties. Getting up, as though second nature I gather the plates up and place them in the sink, cleaning each one carefully. Some habits are difficult to break; certain behaviors were quite literally beaten into me.
"Azami-chan, there's no need for you to do that!" Sanji calls running to my side to help. "You're a guest."
Shaking my head I smile at him. "It's a bit of a habit." I confess lightly. "I don't mind, you cooked after all." I tell him washing another plate as Sanji rinses them.
He doesn't say anything more, so I remain silent and continue to clean, as I wash the last plate I begin drying the stacked plates carefully, with Sanji protesting again, to me again saying it's nothing. "I really don't mind Sanji-san."
Eventually with the last plate being put up he smiles at me, "Oi, strawberry" Zoro calls, turning around I rush to his side, staring at me weirdly he nods for me to head to follow Nami and Robin.
Sitting on the makeshift bed next to Nami's I watch Robin read. "Are you having trouble sleeping Azami-san?" She questions keeping her eyes on the book. "If so you're welcome to join me over here." She says looking up and gesturing to a chair. Getting up I take a seat across from her, the candle light providing a bit of light. "I'm curious as to why you're being chased." She comments folding her arms in front of her. Looking down at my arms I bite my lip again. "The whole truth I mean."