Kaizoku wa Kaizoku desu… A Pirate is a Pirate

Part 1 of a 4 part series

by Aoikami Sarah

Note: 'Marina', 'Shep', and 'Red Beard' were created by Aoikami Sarah. I've given the Mayor of the name 'Bower' which is another word for anchor.

Chapter One - Return to Fuchsia

"Kaizoku!"

The word echoed off of the storefronts of the small port town, as if the world was put on pause, as if the very word 'pirates' was a gunshot signaling change. Once it was said, their lives would suddenly be very different. It had been at least ten years since a pirate ship had moored in the little harbor. People walking along the main street stopped in their tracks. Heads turned, mouths opened.

"Pirates?"

"Really!"

"Alright!"

Many dozens of people turned and headed quickly down to the waterfront. A large ship with a dragon-like figurehead was just docking.

"It's the East Wind!" someone cried.

"Even better!" a woman cheered.

"Someone go order more rum, we're gonna run out real soon with that lot!" a man laughed.

Fuchsia Village was one of those rare, remote ports that welcomed pirates. The revenue they brought into the economy was greatly appreciated by the local businesses despite their outlaw status.

Before a single crew member had set foot on land, a contingent of townspeople had gathered bearing gifts, business cards and invitations to sample local wares. Finally, the crew and its captain emerged.

A cry went up from the crowd. "Welcome back!"

A slightly hunched-over middle-aged man stepped forward as the captain stepped on to land.

"Good to see you again, Mr. Mayor," the captain greeted him.

"Can't say the same for you, Shanks," the Mayor grumbled. "Where's your useless brother?"

Shanks smiled sadly. "Shep is dead."

The Mayor lowered his head slightly so that his eyes were hidden by the brim of his white and blue striped hat. "I'm sorry to hear that."

Shanks stepped closer to the mayor. "Do me a favor and don't spread that around, ok?" he asked quietly.

The Mayor looked up, but now he couldn't see Shanks' eyes. "Don't tell me…"

"Please? Let me continue to be the one she hates."

"For her sake, I will," the older man grumbled.

"Thanks, Bower," he whispered and moved on. "Come on men, liquor awaits!"

His crew cheered and they and the townspeople migrated to the nearest tavern. Bower looked up at the figurehead on Shanks' ship and clenched his fists. "Damn you, Shanks. Damn you, Captain Shep. How could you…?"

.X.

After only a few days, it was clear which tavern the pirates were partial too. At first Party's Bar's new owner, a young woman named Makino, had been terrified. The last time they came through she was only a child and had no recollection of them. Now she was an adult. Now she owned her own tavern. Now she was growing used to the boisterous crew of the East Wind. She was also enjoying the way they drained her supplies, but paid up every night in gold pieces the likes she had never seen before. These were good men. So far nothing had been broken. At first, this was one of her biggest fears, but she was sure that the captain, who was also in her estimation a good man, would pay for any damage incurred.

"So how long will you be staying with us here in Fuchsia, Captain Shanks?" Makino asked leaning over the bar with her chin in her hand late one evening.

"I'm not sure," he replied. He kept one eye on his raucous crewmates while he spoke. "We haven't been in the area in a while. It seems like a good place to base out of. Might be a while. Can you handle that, Miss Makino?"

She blushed at his formality. "Oh, I suppose."

"That's good." Shanks stood and put on his cloak. "Benny," he called to his first mate. "You're in charge." The tall, dark haired slugger was laughing at something a rather corpulent pirate to his left had accidentally eaten. Three other crewmembers were giving him the Heimlich maneuver. Shanks moved his head to the side, easily avoiding the large glass table-candle as it shot out of his mouth. "Lucky, don't eat the whole damn joint, ok?"

"Sorry, Shanks," Lucky Roo coughed.

Ben Beckman composed himself. "Where ya headed, Cap'n?"

"Just thought I'd go for a stroll. Don't wait up for me."

"Understood," Beckman said and nodded. He and Lucky watched him leave.

"What's that all about?" another crewmember with unruly black hair asked.

"Think he's gonna go see her?" Lucky asked quietly.

"Probably," Beckman answered.

"Who?"

They both grabbed the nosy gunman. "Who do you think, dumbass?" Lucky hissed. "Who's been on his mind since we decided to come back around this way?"

Beckman gave Lucky a slight slap on the back of the head. "Who's the dumbass? Yasopp wasn't with us back then, Lucky."

Yasopp looked from one man to the other. "Oh… This is something from way-back-when, huh?"

"Captain…" Lucky sighed. "I hope he knows what he's doin'. I wouldn't go near her. She'd tear my head off if she saw me. Can't imagine what she's gonna do to him."

Yasopp swallowed. "Is this woman human?"

Beckman glared down at Yasopp. "Don't you talk shit about her."

The gunner inched away. "Yipe. Ok. Tell ya what, how 'bout I don't know what's going on and I should just go sit over there and have a drink and you two can forget I mentioned anything, sound good?"

They nodded and Yasopp slinked off to another table, just as happy to get further intoxicated than to be let in on whatever big secret they were keeping.

Unbeknownst to them, the establishment's owner heard every word and was not content to forget it. Makino stared at the door Shanks had left through for a moment before going into the back to get more rum.

More to come...