There was one thing that everyone on Sunny had in common and that was Luffy. Luffy was the first to gather everyone step by step. He walked into their lives and stomped out all their troubles with his faith, his smile, and his obstinate determination. Despite all the obstacles everyone threw at him, Luffy broke down (or just ignored) every wall as if they didn't exist. He always seemed like a big dumb brawler, but there was never a greater friend nor more loyal captain. Nami didn't know how he managed to recruit Zoro or Sanji, as she wasn't around at the time, but she saw everyone else's trauma become erased by interacting with Luffy.
It really baffled Nami how Luffy was so attuned to exactly what they each needed to hear to move forward in life when he was so dumb in general. He freely admitted his deficiencies in almost every aspect in life and yet no one faulted him for it. It didn't matter if he couldn't swing a sword or steer the ship in the right direction or cook or help treat wounds. It actually made him endearing to know how human he was despite his superhuman strength. It also made everyone seem so needed at the same time and to have a real purpose on his ship. As if their specialty didn't exist anywhere else in the world and if that crew member wasn't there, the ship could never move and the group would fall to pieces.
There were so many times that Luffy seemed unattainable to be around. He looked ahead and didn't falter. He ignored everyone's cries for sanity and safety when he was told by someone to keep going. He didn't think of the bad things when he had an idea. He saw only the good in what could be. His rubber-man strength and constant improvement made him the strongest on the ship with no glass ceiling to stop him. Even past Zoro, who had almost passed the threshold of death in many adventures and was knocked down with recovery. It seemed his overt folly was the only thing that stopped him from truly being perfect and able to do everything. Yet, he either didn't care to be smart or left things like navigating and medicine to his crew.
It made Nami's head hurt to try and reason Luffy out of the enigma that he was. No one knew his past or why he did the things he did or why his blundering decisions as captain almost always could've gotten them all killed. Nami didn't have enough fingers to count down them all! If it were any other captain, or if that captain were of any lesser caliber, Nami had no doubt that they would've had more than Usopp defect that one time in Water 7. As odd as it was, the same brash confidence that kept getting everyone into trouble always got everyone out. 'Loguetown…Knock-Up Stream…Alabasta…the entire Grand Line…Sky Island…that stupid marine base in the middle of nowhere…Water 7….Enies Lobby…Thriller Bark…the Archipelago…Fisherman Island…' Those were only the more-than-life-threatening events than the usual! How many times Luffy fell into the water or picked a fight with a sea king or nearly chocked to death on his own food! The mass amount of beatings he got from Sanji or herself or Zoro for doing something he obviously shouldn't or butting in.
There was one time Nami mentally tried to picture Luffy's life after the crew met his grandfather in Water 7. First they found out his foster brother was Ace; a high officer on White Beard's ship. Then, his grandfather was a famous navy hero with his father as the revolutionary Dragon! Three people that the world knew and yet Nami just couldn't picture the four of those standing together in the same room. After the short dealing with Garp alone made that vision impossible. The room would be thrown into chaos with three opposing sides arguing till the end of time and no one would ever reach an agreement on anything.
Nami knew very well that a person's personality was shaped by their life and the decisions one made had such a huge factor on one's future. When she got a little glimpse into Luffy's past, it only confused her more how he could be so cheerful and lack any negative inhibitions after his comments of being thrown into a forest to survive. Nothing seemed to fit. What was it about him that made him as he was today? His smile wasn't hiding any pain that anyone could ever see. It wasn't until they knew of Ace's death did they know he had actually suffered. And yet he still smiled on and moved as if time hadn't stopped and he hadn't lost anyone precious to him. Nami's head absently shook at the dichotomy of that horrible scenario. She could see the pointlessness of tears. Crying didn't change anything and it didn't bring the dead back. No one had ever seen Luffy cry after they met up two years later and they were all too respectful to ask for details outside of what the papers mentioned. There were times Nami thought she saw Luffy gazing into the setting sun and she wanted to assume there was something behind the action, but Luffy would then turn and be his usual goofy self.
Nami would try and try to figure out her captain until her head would become muddled and she dropped the topic. It happened again and again. Every time she looked at him, it seemed that fate had a strong grip on Luffy and she could see it in all of their adventures and the famous connections he had made. Sunny was carrying important cargo for the future and she often times marveled at how much her life had changed from merely stealing around the East Blue to helping Fishman Island from total destruction. Despite having to be the ringleader for the crew and dictate captain's orders half the time, Nami still felt proud to be Luffy's navigator and friend. Her loyalty and trust for him had grown so much over time that she didn't think anyone else could be so important. She had a different level and type of bonding with everyone on the crew, but Luffy would probably always hold more sway in that he had saved Nami from a life of hateful servitude. Despite being in Luffy's service, it was a service she chose and wished could continue to the ends of the Earth.