Nami swept hair from her eyes and continued the task of cleaning the little mess she made in the borrowed kitchen.
Funny enough, when she arrived at this town the streets, houses and coast were vacant of people. She caught wind that the vicinity was being raided by the notorious Buggy the Clown. A pirate whose only interest was to take everything from innocent people, their hard-earned money, their possessions... Including their lives.
Nami grinded her teeth and swallowed the stone of anxiety, sadness and guilt that crowded together in her throat and jabbed like needles in her heart.
She hated pirates. Every single damn one of them. They were advocates of the devil. Unfeeling, greedy, ruthless creatures blinded by the thrill of their wrongdoing. Pleasure seekers with no regard for human life.
Nami felt bad about the food she took, the food she stole. She was a thief, yes but a pirate thief. Was capable of draining them dry of everything they were worth but the job was dangerous.
Just earlier she ran into some trouble. Three men from Buggy's crew caught her stealing their captain's most prized possesion.
She ran and ran with all her might and just as they were gaining on her, she was saved. But not just by anyone. Some might even call it a miracle.
She hung the towel to dry and turned to place the plated sandwich in front of her seated saviour. On her face she put on her best smile but cringed in horror watching him finish it in one bite.
Of course it was. She put her all into making that sandwich and now it was time for negotiations.
This man, about her height and around her age was an idiot. Black haired, tanned skin, big round piercing eyes, skinny, and so simply dressed, she wondered where he came from but most importantly, she needed his help. And him being a simpleton, getting him to accompany her on her travels was supposed to be easy.
After falling from such an impossible height, he was able to stand unscathed and he pummeled those men with ease. He was sturdy and strong and exactly the type of person Nami needed at her side in case she got herself in another pinch.
"Do you live here alone?" he asked.
"I don't live in this town. The locals were scared of Buggy so they ran."
The boy thought for a moment.
"So you're breaking and entering."
This was true but it was for a good cause.
Nami regained her composure and proudly declared, "I'm a thief that robs pirates. Don't compare me to someone that breaks and enters."
"But a thief is a thief right?"
Nami was losing her patience but she had to be nice to him because,
"I will earn one hundred million beli no matter what."
This made her guest curious.
"Hmm? What are you going to do with that much money?"
Nami reckoned that the sandwich wasn't enough. Just moments after eating the one she prepared for him, he began feasting on the bread left out on the table.
The stranger did not pry and Nami continued.
"If you have a map to the Grand Line, one hundred million beli is barely a dream."
"Map?" The stranger's eyes went wide and he stopped eating. "Are you a navigator?"
"My skills are far better than any navigator's," Nami said grinning with a tightened fist. Her confidence knew no bounds and her resolve sparked something in him for he sprang right up from his seat with a huge smile on his face.
"I see. That's great! Why don't you join us as our navigator?"
Nami thought this a great opportunity. If there was more of him who was just as strong, that hundred million would be made in less than no time.
"Yeah! A crew of pirates!"
Nami pulled her face back in disgust.
"No," she said, "You're a pirate?"
He didn't resemble the scum she dealt with but him being one automatically placed him in the same category.
Who knows how many people he had hurt, the villages he helped burn to the ground?
Nevertheless, he had kind eyes. If she didn't see what he did to those men, she would have never believed he was capable of hurting a fly.
He continued, " Yeah. I promised the man who gave me this hat that I'd become a great pirate."
The word alone made Nami's blood boil. He saved her life but a pirate was a pirate. A person like him was wasted potential. And so young. Throwing his life away to be just like those pirates who ruined her forever.
Her no was final. The arrangement would have worked if she swallowed a few ounces of pride but she swore on her mother's grave to never get wrapped up with any more pirates no matter how desperate she may find herself to be. All that she had gathered so far took years and many sacrifices but she did so all on her own and she can do it again. A hundred more times if she had to.
She slammed both hands on the table and said,
"I hate pirates more than anything else in the world! I only like money and tangerines."
Her words were meant to be harsh. He had to know that their alliance not yet made now had a snowball's chance in hell.
But there was this look in his eye like a boy who found a shiny, gleaming rock in the rough. Pirates took what they wanted but Nami sensed no danger coming from him. What his strategy was she soon came to learn was persistence.
"Come on, be our navigator," he whined.
"I said no." Nami walked towards the door deciding to take her leave and with a start, she stopped and looked down at his hand around hers.
Her heartbeat quickened but she tried her best to not show fear.
His hand was warm and big enough to close over hers and when she looked at him, he was so close that she found herself unable to breathe.
"Please." he said. His whiny voice turned deep and serious and Nami felt chills run all over her.
"I need you."
To be continued...