Disclaimer: No, I still do not own any of the One Piece characters. :(
Rock - A - Bye
Flow of Time
For the past week, it had been the same thing. Every new morning seemed like the one before, as if they were stuck in some sick loop of déjà vu. Things had gotten so mundane that it was enough to drive anyone to the brink of insanity, and she was no exception.
Agh! I wish something would happen already!
Biting her lip in frustration as she nearly ripped the page in her newspaper while turning it, and the term 'cabin fever', stuck out clearly in her mind.
Life on the sea was a tedious one. One always had to be aware and on the look out, especially if you were on a pirate crew. There were always marines to look out for, storms, bounty hunters, rival pirates, sea monsters, and other dangers of the sea that one had to be prepared for.
But nothing, nothing could effectively describe the agony of spending days on end on the open sea with absolutely nothing to do.
Perhaps she was 'spoiled' in a sense. She was used to having all types of adventures with her nakama. Almost everyday they were faced with something memorable. It could have been the start of a new challenge, a new adventure, or something as simple as the antics of her nakama making the day seem special.
Wasn't it just a week ago that they had to save Chopper from drowning when Luffy had accidentally knocked him overboard while fishing?
Of course that hadn't been a good thing, but that small burst of excitement had made the day memorable and had kept them all on their toes.
"Ah, basking in the sun only serves to give you the ethereal glow of a goddess, Nami-san!"
She found that she couldn't help but smile as he concluded his statement with his usual gush and deep bow as he held out a platter towards her, containing a small delicious dessert that she didn't know the name of, but was sure tasted delicious.
If I keep eating all of this I'm going to start getting fat…
It was true. She was sure that the tall lean cook was starting to feel the boredom seep under his skin as well. He was in the kitchen even more than usual. Constantly making little snacks and such for both Robin and herself.
A lot of snacks.
So many that she really was surprised she hadn't gained another 30 pounds in the last week.
But she didn't have the heart to refuse them, especially when she knew he had made them with care and had made such an effort to give it to her.
"You're very welcome Nami-san!" He beamed at her as he made his way over to Robin to give her, her own portion.
Robin accepted his offer as graciously as she had herself, though she too seemed hesitant at first.
"Sanji! What is that? I want some too!" Their captain inquired, immediately at his side since spotting that he had food with him.
"Yeah, how come we don't get any of those special cakes?"
"Because you two idiots aren't female."
"That isn't fair!"
"Stop your whining Usopp, yours is in the galley."
"All right!" Luffy cheered racing off first.
"Luffy, you pig, save some for me!" Usopp protested taking off after him.
Nami continued to watch their antics for a few moments more, before sighing and leaning back in her chair. Licking her lips free of the sugary goodness, she swallowed the last bite of the delicious little pastry, and dusted her skirt off delicately.
Dull eyes turned to the ocean once more where the water was still calm. Gentle waves slapped against the hull weakly, another painful reminder that nothing exciting was happening. The water stretched as far as her eyes could see. Only water.
Not even a protruding rock caught her vision, meaning that there wasn't even anything for her to add to her maps.
Reading the newspaper was no longer satisfying, so she placed it on the floor by her chair and contemplated on what to do to keep herself occupied. But mother nature helped her decide. The sun was shining down on her in just the right angle that left her feeling warm, but not scorched.
It was soothing, comforting and slowly tantalizing her into taking a nap.
She frowned at the thought of doing such a thing midday, preferring to be productive. But the sun was relentless, embracing her in a warm comforting blanket that she couldn't ignore any longer.
Maybe this is why Zoro always likes to sleep on the deck…Mmm, feels nice…
"Where did they come from?"
"Wow, cool that's a big ship!"
"Luffy, you idiot! This isn't a time to be impressed!"
" Get ready, it looks like the shit heads are gonna board…"
She didn't know when exactly she had fallen asleep, or how long she had been sleeping, but as she tried to gain full consciousness and the ability to think properly, she realized that her nakama were shouting like they usually did when something out of the ordinary was happening.
It was also around that time she realized that her soothing sun's rays were being blocked by the shadow of a very large ship.
"What?" She heard herself shout in surprise as she bolted upright from her chair.
How in the world had a ship so large appear out of seemingly nowhere?
It was at least twenty times the size of the Going Merry, dwarfing the caravel considerably. It was a pirate ship, that much they knew, the giant sails bearing the customary jolly roger, but the eyes of the skull resembled clocks. Their figurehead, oddly enough, seemed to be a giant alarm clock. Though large and intimidating, she mentally shrugged. They had seen weirder things before.
Her head snapped from staring at the gigantic ship in awe, to the small reindeer looking up at her with fearful eyes.
She knew he was silently asking for reassurance that everything would be all right. "It's okay Chopper, whoever these weirdoes are, they well take care of them." She assured nodding in the direction of the guys who were waiting for the enemy to descend.
Luffy looked eager, readying his muscles excitedly. It was obvious he was itching for a good fight. She was surprised he was even waiting for them, and had not launched himself onto their ship. Zoro looked,… well he looked sleepy, and annoyed. His hair was even more unruly than usual and tears from yawning and his latest nap still clung to his eyes, but it would be dangerous to assume that he wasn't ready to fight. Sanji was cool and collected as always, the cigarette hanging from his mouth added to the effect. Usopp, though shaking in his boots, stood his ground.
"I, the great captain Usopp am not afraid of you guys! Hurry and come face me! My crew of 85,000 men are waiting for you!" He shouted to the opposing pirates who had already begun their descent.
"Wai, really? Where are they Usopp!" Luffy shouted excitedly.
"I've never noticed we had that many people on board…" Chopper commented offhandedly as well.
The redhead sighed and felt her mind throb at their lack of common sense.
With a soft 'whoosh', a pirate landed in front of her with a cackle, making her shriek in surprise. Quickly taking out her clima-tact, she knocked him out swiftly and efficiently leaving his arriving shipmates sweat -dropping in confusion.
It was the signal that the fight had started.
More and more began to drop onto the Going Merry and the Straw-hat pirates greeted them, taking them out as fast as they came down.
Too many of them were surrounding her to give her enough time to use the clever little tricks of the clima-tact, so she resorted to using it as a bo.
"Veinte fleur." Robin muttered as twenty hands sprouted out of the floorboards and tackled dozens of them at once.
Chopper easily swept through the masses while in his bigger form, his strength no match for their own.
Luffy, Sanji, and Zoro took out their own large share as usual, and Nami couldn't help but wonder why these idiots kept coming. Obviously they were no match for the Straw-hat pirates.
But they kept coming. Like a swarm of bees, the more you tried to shoo them away, the more they kept coming back. And with a ship that size, it was proving to be a very large hive indeed.
Finally, as if someone had struck a bell giving them a break in the fight, a tall thin man dropped down, making all the would-be attackers freeze and salute him, the others staring in confusion. Black greasy hair was slicked back from dark brown eyes, a navy blue cloak covering him to the ankles a design of clockwork covering it. He moved across the deck gracefully, stopping in the middle and surveying the scene.
"I see that the Straw-hat crew has lived up to its reputation." He commented smoothly.
"I see that a total dick has boarded our ship." Sanji replied just as smoothly.
"Who the hell are you." Their swords-man added eyeing him warily.
"Who am I? You dare ask who I am?"
"I just asked didn't I? Who the hell are you."
"You surprise me Roronoa Zoro, I was sure that a man of your caliber would know who I was."
The stranger's right eye twitched, but he cleared his throat elegantly and continued. "I am the great Dr. Tokei."
"You are a doctor?" Chopper commented, obviously interested.
"No, I just like the sound of it."
Nami felt herself sigh. Great, more stupidity.
"And I would know you, why?" Zoro pressed, obviously not understanding this man's logic.
"I don't know really. Those who are famous should know about each other."
Who had said that this man was famous? They certainly had never heard of him.
Nami watched the swords-man's eye twitch as his hand lingered over the hilt of one of his katana. It was obvious even to her, that he was itching to just run this man through if only to get rid of his annoying stupidity and get back to his nap.
"And may we know why you have decided to board our ship, Dr. Tokei?" Robin interrupted elegantly making the odd 'doctor' look at her with a warm smile.
"Ah, yes! I've come to collect the bounty and take your treasure. I hope you will comply and come along quietly." He replied calmly while still smiling.
Her own blood was boiling with anger, she was sure she could feel it and was sure her eyes were probably reflecting it. "No way are you getting anywhere near my treasure!" She bellowed taking a defensive stance immediately.
"Really!" She roared raising her clima-tact menacingly.
He shrugged and sighed. "Aww, you're gonna make me do this the hard way?"
"Any way I have to, to keep you away from my treasure!"
Dr. Tokei sighed once more dejectedly and turned to the other crew members. "And none of you are going to come along quietly so I can get the bounty on your heads right?"
"Right." They chorused nonchalantly.
"Not even Luffy?"
"Nope." The rubber-man answered grinning happily.
"Hm. I guess there's no other way. Boys, stop messing around and kill them." He stated, his voice doing a complete 360 and instead of sounding warm and pleading, he now sounded cold and heartless.
His followers also seemed to take a turn and were no longer fighting as weakly as they had been in the beginning. Their strength doubled and it took her more than a little effort to fight off more than one of them off at once.
Suddenly, more than half of her attackers went flying overboard, leaving her blinking in surprise. Turning to look at who their attacker was, she was less surprised to see a tall blond standing in front of her protectively.
"Don't any of you shit-heads know how to treat a lady?" He asked coolly before breaking out into a series of attacks that probably made them wish they had stayed aboard their own ship.
"Thanks Sanji-kun!" She called out gratefully taking the time to break away and go protect her precious treasure.
"Hai, anything for you my beautiful Nami-swan!" He cheered taking a moment to gush over her before turning to the enemy. "Let's get this over with." He spat taking another moment to light a cigarette before continuing to kick the crap out of all of them.
She quickly ran to their treasure room, wanting to be there to protect it in case any of these idiots were smart enough to be sneaky and take it while they were distracted. And she stayed there, confident in her nakama's ability to get rid of the enemy soon.
Up on deck, Zoro had gotten tired of fighting these hoards of weaklings. And he wasn't the only one. Sanji fought them off swiftly and easily, but it was obvious by the bored look on his face, that he wouldn't mind if the fight ended soon.
Usopp was busy running and fighting and he was quite sure that , that was taking up quite a bit of energy. Even Chopper seemed to be growing tired as he hardly swung his arms anymore and seemed to just be relying on his strength rather than any actual effort, while Robin looked unfazed as always.
He for one, wanted the fight to be over and realized that the only way to stop it was to get to the heart of the problem.
Dr. Tokei was standing coolly off to the side surveying everything quietly. It was odd, he was sure that Luffy would have taken him out by now. The Straw-hat captain often had the logic that the best way to stop these kinds of situations was to take out the leader.
But Luffy was busy having 'fun'. Laughing happily, he bulldozed most of the attackers by launching himself in different directions. He probably was happy to get some exercise in.
Sighing and slightly annoyed that he had to take matters into his own hands, Zoro made his way over to the 'Doctor', and calmly placed the tip of the Wadou Ichmonji at his throat.
"This isn't a spectator's sport. You started this, are you man enough to finish it?" He challenged.
Dr. Tokei visibally gulped at the sword pressing against his jugular, but managed to keep up a act of cold indifference. " Don't underestimate me, Roronoa Zoro, theres more to me than you know."
"And I could care less. Either fight, or get off our ship and leave us alone."
"I can't do that. Not until I leave with what I've come for."
"You're not going to get the treasure, or us."
"Ha! I don't need either. Look at the size of my ship, I'm wealthy enough and strong enough. I just like to get rid of all threats."
He could feel the slow sardonic smile that begin to spread across his lips. "So you're afraid of us, eh?"
"Well, now that I have found you before any of you could get any stronger, no. Now I can stop you all here, and become the Pirate King myself."
"You're already too late. We are already too strong for you." He replied calmly pressing the tip of the sword even deeper into the skin, threatening to cut. "Now are you going to leave, or is this going to have to get messy?"
"It doesn't have to get messy, I have my…ways."
"Enough talk!" Zoro finally growled irritated with the other man's words and odd logic.
"Fine then!" Dr. Tokei replied taking out a small dagger and making a messy swipe for the swords-man's chest.
Zoro easily dodged and lunged forward, missing the other man barely as he made a mad dash for the stern.
"Get back here you coward!"
The strange man didn't reply, but only laughed, making his blood boil and even more eager for running him through. He reached the stern within seconds and found the man there. At least….he thought it was the same man…
This man was so much younger looking. The man who had boarded their ship seemed to have been in his mid thirties, this one before him looked to be no more than a year older than himself.
"What. The. Hell…" He muttered as the younger version of the man he had been threatening only moments ago continued to laugh.
"Surprised? I don't blame you. I told you I had my ways to get rid of threats."
"What the hell are you talking about? And who are you?"
"Idiot! I am the great Dr. Tokei! Only 10 years younger!"
"Yes! I ate the Toki Toki devil fruit! It has given me the wonderful ability to control the passing of time on any body. I can make myself younger or older at my will."
To demonstrate, he passed his right hand over his face and his appearance changed to the one Zoro had gotten used to seeing, the older version. But the man passed his right hand over his face once more, and he appeared to be even older. Then, to prove his point even further, the man then passed his left hand over his face, twice, and returned to the younger looking version of himself.
Seeing that Zoro was watching him intently, seemingly trying to absorb what he had just seen, Dr. Tokei laughed happily. "I see that you are amazed at my greatness. Yes, this is quite an ability. And you haven't even heard the best part!"
"Nor do I care about the best part."
"Oh, but I think you do. You see, if I were to, oh I don't know, touch someone else with either hand, I could control the flow of time in their body as well. I could make anyone younger or older, physically and mentally.. And….(this is the juicy part,) if I do not return that person to their proper age within the maximum time period of one week, they will remain stuck at whatever age I turned them into! Isn't that great? That way I get rid of them efficiently by either making them too old or too young to fight against me!"
"Hm? No I am not. I'm perfectly healthy."
"That's not what I meant…"
"Whatever, let the games begin shall we? If you still feel up to the task of fighting me, then go ahead, but I feel better now that I have warned you of the circumstances."
With that simple statement, the two men charged at each other. Dr. Tokei proved to be at the least, a decent opponent, managing to dodge most of Zoro's attacks. But it was odd, he seemed to be more on the defensive than the offensive. He waited for Zoro to charge at him, allowed him to get as close to him as possible without risking a limb, before dodging.
Zoro was too irritated to realize it, too focused on finishing the fight quickly to realize that he was falling into the other man's trap. The more the other man danced away from his blades, the more he pressed forward, almost relentless in his attacks.
Dr. Tokei took many hits, but he always twisted his body at the last moment, letting the blows hit where he wanted. At times he would weakly counter with his little dagger, managing to get in a few, shallow, cuts.
Their little duel lasted for what seemed an eternity, before it happened.
In that one short instance when Zoro prepared himself to lunge forward once again, Dr. Tokei dropped to the floor, surprising the swords-man, ruining his momentum. The strange man managed to slip between the other's arms, as he struggled to regain his balance and slapped him soundly on the cheek, with his left hand.
Zoro growled in anger and raised his sword, ready to slice the other's head clean of his shoulders, but found that he could no longer move.
Blinking in surprise, he opened his mouth to demand to know what the other had done to him, but found that he couldn't speak either. He could only stand there and stare as the strange man kept his left hand on his cheek.
He felt odd, weak, drained, and slightly sick. And the worst thing about it all was that he couldn't wipe off the arrogant smirk off of the bastard's face.
And was it him, or did the other man seem to be growing taller?
"Sorry Zoro, but I rather not have you around as a threat." Dr. Tokei cackled.
And that was all he remembered before everything went black.
"Come on boys, its time to go. We didn't get everything done today, but it was a start. And we will be back to finish it." Dr. Tokei called out to his few remaining followers.
"Boss, where are we going?" One of the followers called out idiotically.
"The next island of course! We need to restock!"
"Oh, right!" The crew agreed as they all disembarked, with Dr. Tokei laughing gleefully the entire time.
Nami felt her forehead crease in confusion. Why had that idiot left, laughing? That wasn't a good thing. He shouldn't have left victorious. The fact that he left, sounding happy, unsettled her greatly.
A worried feeling settling into the pit of her stomach, she rushed up the stairs to the main deck once more, eager to know that her nakama were all fine.
Everyone was calming themselves after the long tedious fight. Sanji and leaned against the railing smoking yet another cigarette, but this time he truly did look relaxed. Usopp leaned against the mast exhaustedly, breathing heavily, but with a smile on his face.
"Ha! That'll teach you! No one messes with the great captain Usopp!" He shouted, pumping his prominent nose and fist into the air.
Robin was already making her way to her favorite spot, looking eager to sit down and read after that bout of excitement. Chopper shrunk down to his normal size and flopped onto the floor exhaustedly as well, glad that he had held his own for so long.
Luffy, grinned at them all and went to sit atop of their figurehead in the shape of a ram.
Everything was settling back into a normal atmosphere and all of them were accounted for, so why?
Why hadn't that odd feeling in her stomach gone away, and why was it still telling her that something wasn't quite right?"
And then she realized it. One was missing.
"Oi, you guys seen Zoro?" She called out to them trying to not let the worry seep into her voice.
"What are you talking about Nami? We see Zoro everyday!" Luffy called back good naturedly, an innocent expression of confusion crossing his features.
Sighing, she placed a hand to her forehead, remembering to keep her patience with their captain.
"No Luffy, I meant have you seen him since the fight?"
The others nodded their heads in agreement. No one had seen the green-haired swords-man since the battle.
"The idiot is probably sleeping without bothering to check on everyone else. I last saw him fighting by the stern if that's any help."
But that doesn't sound right…
Zoro would always be sure to meet up with everyone after a fight, and then go to sleep and rest. She knew this from experience. It just wasn't like him to keep away from everyone without seeing that they were all okay.
But even though she felt that way, she felt herself nod and smile in agreement, tossing the blond a quick 'thanks' for the tidbit before moving towards the stern.
Zoro you idiot, you better be sleeping…
"Zoro, you could at least make an appearance before going to sleep you jerk."
No response. Not even a command to shut up and let him continue to sleep.
The unsettled feeling in her stomach intensified, and Dr. Tokei's laughter continued to ring in her mind.
Making her way to the furthest end of the stern, she continued forward, and suddenly stopped, feeling herself go cold.
Zoro's clothes laid on the deck at the very end, the wind blowing at it dangerously, threatening to blow them overboard. His three precious swords laid alongside them, but there was no trace of the swords-man.
Zoro, wherever he was, was very naked.
What in the world…
Her heart was pounding as if she had been running for miles, her chest constricting, making it hard to breathe. Her mind reeling with questions.
What had happened? Where was their blockhead of a swords-man? And if he had fallen to Tokei's strength, which was highly unlikely, what sick thing was the other planning to do, to have taken Zoro away naked?
Still in slight shock, she decided to inspect the swords-man's clothes for blood. But as she bent down to touch them, they moved and there was no wind blowing at the moment.
She shrieked in surprise and watched the pile of clothes warily.
They moved once more and something, moving beneath them, whined.
Steeling her courage, she lifted the shirt and what she found underneath only made her eyes widen even more.
There was a baby entangled in Zoro's clothes.
Large dark eyes stared up at her with as much confusion as she was sure her own eyes reflected. Short feathery soft mossy green hair covered his small head and judging by his size and appearance, she guessed that the child wasn't any older than a year.
All in all the small child in front of her looked awfully familiar…
It can't be…
"Zoro?…" She cooed softly.
The baby, who had grown tired of their little staring contest, had starting sucking his thumb in all his naked glory, but upon hearing her call, he immediately looked up at her.
Oh no, this isn't happening…
"Aw, come here..er…Zoro?"
Again the baby responded, smiling at her and reaching his arms out to her, silently asking to be carried.
Covering the small child with his own shirt that was now way too big for him, she picked him up gently and slowly began to walk back to the others.
Geez, she had been complaining about being bored, but she had not been wishing for this kind of 'excitement'. This was going to turn out to be a big headache, she was sure.
To be continued...
Author'sNotes: Btw, I really hate this quickedit thing, I mean it would be nice if it didn't totally mess up your lay out or made all the periods hang in the air. Lol.
Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed reading this, I have a lot of ideas for it , but of course like always reviews are very encouraging and would let me know if its even worth the time and effort to post the chapters. :O)
I apologize if anyone is out of character, and if there are pesky grammar mistakes. I tried to post this quickly because I wanted to get this idea posted and out there before someone else thought of it and then I felt like I was copying. :O(
Okay, I'm gonna shut up now, I'm really nervous bout this fic for some reason, but oh well! Once again, hope you guys enjoyed!
(P.S. I did look up the words and Tokei clock. Toki Time. :0) Also I know That Dr. Tokei is an oddball and his ship is exaggerated, but I like it that way. Lol.