Please read, enjoy and review!
(One last note – this story takes place in the distant future so the characters are all pretty OOC... I mean, REALLY OOC.)
A Light at the Bottom of the Ocean
By Rio Grande
Their home hadn't been so empty for as long as it had been standing.
Halls that were usually filled with a wide variety of wild and sometimes nefarious characters were now barren and hollow, their great marble walls stripped of all character and warmth. Kitchens and dining rooms that had smelt of the most mouth watering delicacies and had, of course, always contained a plentiful supply of meat were depressingly odorless, the compound's impressive meat hanger empty but for the choppy ice that had been left behind. Gardens and beaches that surrounded the mansion and were usually epicenters of activity for the odd culmination of people who dwelt on the property were eerily still and, perhaps most disturbingly, there were no boats in the port.
However, there was at least one person in the practically abandoned mansion. A lovely woman with regal posture, sitting at a bureau facing her vanity mirror, a slew of beauty enhancing materials spread around her, as well as one hastily opened letter she had thrown to the side. It looked almost as though she hadn't bothered to finish it, and some of the pages were crinkled and ripped.
Sighing, she pulled a comb through her hair, gazing not at her reflection but through it as she untangled her long, curly locks. Her large brown eyes were focused on some other time and place, undoubtedly imagining herself to be anywhere but where she was just then. Tossing the comb aside, she lifted her lengthy red tresses up and fastened them back partially with an emerald encrusted clip.
She backed away until she had a full view of a her lithe form, turning this way and that, making final adjustments to her garments. She wore a long, silk gown of sea foam green that hung low on her chest and hardly covered any of her back, but flowed into a rather impressive train behind her. When she moved it made a gentle sifting sound and bled into many other soft colors, almost like the ocean itself.
The dress was undoubtedly heinously expensive, as were all of the pieces of gold in the woman's jewelry box, including a simple chain she wore around her neck with another small emerald dangling off the end. However, when you were the wife of the King of the Pirates... you could afford to be decadent.
She was just making final adjustments on her own room, a room filled with more rich furniture and rugs and draperies and paintings then most heiresses ever acquired in a lifetime, when there came a soft knocking at the door. The woman straightened cautiously, tucking a red curl behind her ear.
"Yes?" she called out.
"Mrs. Nami... your husband has just docked," came the timid voice of one of Nami's servants. The door opened a crack and a slightly chubby girl with straight brown hair she had pulled back neatly away from her face entered Nami's abode. Her current, slightly frantic and worried look worked against the grin lines ingrained deeply into her tanned face.
"Thank you Macy," Nami said, acknowledging the woman's presence with a nod of her head. "Tell him I'm in our rooms,"
"Yes Ma'am," Macy whispered before quickly turning away, the look on her face telling Nami everything the servant couldn't express vocally. Disbelief, fear, and worst of all, pity. How could she still be here? Why was she remaining when all others had possessed the good sense to leave?
"Oh, and Macy!" Nami called after the young woman. Macy paused, briefly glancing over her shoulder. "Please, take the remaining boat now and go directly to Kokoyashi Island. Use the maps I drew up for you and you should have no problem arriving there in a couple days,"
"B-but Ma'am... I couldn't! I mean – the last boat!" Macy stuttered nervously, wringing her hands together and fighting back the tears that prickled uncomfortably at the edges of her wide blue eyes. Nami smiled in understanding, but shook her head negatively.
"It's all right Macy... you know I need you there," she explained firmly, waving Macy away with one last kind look before she turned to regard the large window behind her. It was dark out now, a cloudy night with the stars only partially visible. She heard Macy, Macy who had served her so well through out the years, putter woefully away and listened to her ungainly footsteps until they were nothing more than a haunting echo in her head.
That was it then. There was truly no one else left.
Nami stood with her back straight and her chin held high for another minute, bracing herself as though she was waiting for something. Finally it seemed as though the strings that had been holding her up so imperiously were abruptly cut, and she caved in on herself, collapsing onto her king sized bed and clutching her shoulders while she buried her face in the soft covers, shaking.
It wasn't that she regretted the choices she had made through out her existence. In fact, she was facing practically the opposite situation. She loved her life, loved her family, loved her friends, loved in general more than she ever had before. And that love was breaking her heart. Without the love perhaps she might have been able to do this with no remorse at all, perhaps she would have been able to step out to meet her fate with nothing more than a reckless grin instead of all of the baggage that was weighing her down... but she was not the same pirate she had once been. The circumstances had changed...
Slowly raising herself off of the bed she lifted her hands to roughly wipe away any tear stains that had made tracks down her pale cheeks, mentally cursing her own weakness. Now was not the time for such displays of negative emotion. More than ever she needed to be strong, but it was perhaps due to this fact that it was becoming so unpredictably difficult to do so.
The doors to her room lammed open with no warning, but Nami did not gasp in fear or squeak in mousy surprise. She merely rose to her feet with a wobbly smirk on her lips, coming to glide across the room while facing the portal with her head still partially lowered.
She let her eyes start at his feet, wanting to take in this image of him returning home to her one last, final time. She would not rush the experience. His scuffed, large brown boots were practically untied as usual, with his black pant legs stuffed messily into their tops, thin calves swimming in the bulky footwear and lose slacks. Her eyes made their way up the long lower portion of his body, still as lanky as he had ever been in boyhood. It wasn't until she reached his torso, which started after the large belt buckle that was slanted across his jutting hipbones, that she began to see signs of his undeniable masculinity and strength.
His torso, while thin, rippled with heavily defined muscles visible through his loose red blouse that was buttoned up in an odd fashion to his neck. Although his arms were covered by the floor length, rich brown trench coat he sported, complete with a flipped collar that served to shadow his face, Nami knew that they, too, were much stronger than their thin appearance led one to believe. Her husband was svelte and strong as a whip – just as fast, as well. But she had never feared his skills or power in her entire life. Never once could she remember feeling afraid of the strong man that stood before her now.
His face was very darkly tanned and rough, features that once might have belonged to a young boy now etched with much harsher angles. His cheeks were covered in light stubble, his untamed black hair slightly longer than she remembered as it hung wildly around his face. The scar that had been sliced just under his eye for as long as she could remember was still there, though slightly faded with time to make room for the new ones that littered his features. In his weather worn hand he held an impressive red hat with a large, plumed feather. The hat of a true Pirate King.
Besides wanting to keep this memory of him in her head forever, she had also learned long ago that it was useful to take a moment to review her husband's appearance when he returned to her after any elongated period of time, because one could never could tell what sort of changes he would bring with him. A new scar, a new weapon, in this case a new jacket, once a new tattoo that was still present along his shoulder blade. Kanji for 'King'. His friends goaded him into that one a long time back. Although Nami supposed the same sort of advice went for herself, for when she got to his face she noticed that he was looking her form over quite intently as well.
His dark eyes trailed lovingly upwards from Nami's bear feet that poked out of the bottom of her dress, a needlessly elegant dress she had worn purely for his visual benefit (if she was ever going to dress up for him, why not now?), following the outline of her legs and the gentle curve of her hips. He paused over the swell of her breasts and the tattoo of the pinwheel and tangerine on her shoulder. Across Nami's collar bone there was a long, thin scar that the woman had obtained a few years back. His eyes strayed there, too. Others might call him absent minded, foolish and even negligent – but they had merely fallen into his ploy, because Nami's husband was the most observant person she had ever known.
She stood waiting for him to finish whatever sort of mental checks he was diligently going over in his mind, watching his chest heave up and down, his breath coming out in short pants. Apparently he had run the whole way up to their rooms from the ship – a ship he had undoubtedly had to man alone – and the thought was touching.
Then, abruptly as he had burst into the room, he rushed forward and swept her into an almost violently affectionate embrace, crushing Nami's mouth against his with no further adieu and all of the ardor of a man passionately in love.
She kissed him back with equal fervor, linking her arms tightly around his neck while his long fingers got tangled in her hair. They clung to each other as though both would collapse if the other let go, exploring the geography of their mouths as they had not had a chance to do for some many months. She pressed her body closer to his, earning an appreciative moan as he pulled her back down with him onto the bed, never pulling away once.
There heated kisses turned into a sort of tousle as they both fought for dominance over the situation, rolling over and over in the expensive sheets, their ruthless nature belying their lavish surroundings. Eventually, his sheer physical strength won the passionate contest, and Nami's husband pinned her firmly to the bed, hovering closely over her and practically panting with exertion. Nami's cheeks were flushed a deep crimson as she stared up at her better half.
"Y-you weren't supposed to be here..." Luffy moaned, his eyes shut in frustration. "Why are you still here?" Nami smiled sadly at his words, raising a hand to push some of his wild raven hair away from his eyes.
"Why do you think?" she asked simply. Luffy met and held her gaze, a powerful connection running between them for an eerily silent beat.
"But no one was even supposed to know..." he ended up groaning in defeat, rolling off of Nami's petite form and coming to lay next to her. Nami flinched when she heard real annoyance and anger tinting his usually easy tone.
"Don't be like this..." she whispered, staring furiously at a wall while she fought down tears once more. "How could I ever leave you? Did you expect me to just let you die alone!"
"No," Luffy admitted flatly, his persevering honesty in every situation shining through. "But I had really hoped you would," Nami had to smile at this, her shoulders shaking in bitter mirth as she turned back to face him again, blinking in surprise as she discovered him staring at her, their noses bumping together briefly. It only took the fleeting bit of intimate contact to spur them on before they were wrapped in a desperate embrace once more, sighing almost regretfully into each other's mouths.
Luffy trailed a line of burning kisses down her neck, leaning partially over her and giving Nami room to breath. She took this as an opportunity to speak once more.
"You don't have to worry about the others... they're all safe, just as you wanted," she began, her voice slightly breathless as she felt him give one particularly steamy, open mouthed kiss on her collar bone, right along her scar. "Zoro is with Tashigi, at sea. Last I heard they had left port at Logue town, and were heading out."
"Not really worried about Zoro," Luffy admitted, pulling at the strap's of his wife's dress needfully, apparently impassioned but listening very closely to Nami's words none the less. "He's the best swordsman in all the lands, and Tashigi's got a navy to cover her ass. What about Usopp?" Nami practically laughed as Luffy picked out possibly the most helpless individual of his infamous crew to ask after.
"In Syrup Town, with Kaya," she confirmed. "He was headed towards the Grand Line in search of you but I think Kaya was able to calm him down,"
"That's where Zoro is headed, isn't it? The Grand Line..." Luffy said, raising himself up a bit so that Nami had better access to the complicated assortment of buttons and clasps on his red blouse.
"You had them all pretty fooled. I think Sanji and Robin are headed there together as well. They were so angry last I talked to them... everyone is... Even Chopper was up in arms," Nami murmured absently as she finally was able to push Luffy's sleeves off of his shoulders and finally gain access to his bear chest, rough and rippling with muscles. Luffy stroked her head as she leaned forward to graze her lips across his torso, a wide smile tugging very briefly at the edges of his face before his gaze turned uncharacteristically somber once more, and he grasped Nami by the shoulders so that they were both at eye level.
"That's a letter from Vivi sitting on your dresser, isn't it?" he asked, once again proving Nami's theory that her husband was the most observant man in the world. He had been able to guess that the discarded stationary strewn on her dresser ten feet away was a correspondence from Vivi, the princesses' lavish script easily detectable to Luffy's trained eye.
"Yes..." she admitted, frowning lightly and thinking of her dear friend's last ditch attempt to get through to her. Vivi had known a love for the pirate now stroking her shoulders as well, and had accurately guessed that the navigator might take desperate measures to stay by his side. Vivi had tried to convince Nami that her life was worth more than that. Had she had the time, Nami would have told Vivi that her life WAS that. It was Luffy. "She's also a bit angry..." Luffy shrugged, absently touching under Nami's eyes with his thumbs.
"She's angry, he's angry, they're angry... I don't understand why everyone is taking this so badly. I mean, it's not like it's all some sort of surprise..."
"Luffy..." Nami moaned despairingly, wishing he wouldn't talk of his situation in such a blasé tone of voice.
"... It's part of the package, always has been, and I knew that from day one. But everyone's making it that much harder by trying to get tangled up in my business. Hey, were you crying?"
"Oh God, what does it matter?" Nami chuckled darkly, shaking her head and leaning away. "I hate the way you talk about all of this – of course everyone wants to help you, of course everyone is going to put their necks on the line! They love you!"
"Yeah, I know," Luffy said, drawing back as well and running a hand through his hair. "I just wish they'd realize that I love them, too." He peered up almost bashfully at his wife, as though excepting her to snort with laughter at his overly emotive statement. However, Nami seemed anything but mocking as tears that had been fighting to escape finally won over as she began to softly sob. Ashamed, she curled up and turned her back on the pirate captain, hugging her shoulders. Dammit, she was the wife of the Pirate King! Hadn't she learned to be any tougher than this?
"Yeah, they all love you... but I love you most," she said shakily, head bowed.
"You do," Luffy affirmed. "That's why you went crazy and stayed here. That's why you figured out that I wasn't headed towards the Grand Line for some sort of half assed show down. You figured me out, Nami."
"I'll do what I have to, to ensure I'm with you till the very last," Nami confessed as she felt Luffy's long arms wrap themselves around her from behind, pressing her body to his naked chest. "It wasn't too hard to figure out that you'd want it to happen here, in Fushchia Village."
"Where my pirating adventures began and ended," Luffy agreed, nuzzling her gently and encouraging her to lift her head up so he could wipe away the tears she had been attempting to conceal from him. Nami had no idea how he was containing himself like this. Not even now would Luffy's smiling mask crack.
"It hasn't ended yet," she insisted throatily, turning around slightly to give him a full kiss on the lips. "We're still here, it's not over."
"You're right," he said with the first earnest grin of the night pulling at his wide mouth. "It'll never end,"
And as the couple collapsed backwards, pulling away their clothing and emotional walls all at once and fully joining together for what both realized in the back of their minds was very likely the last time, it almost did seem as though the adventure would never end. They were children again, exploring an ocean as exciting and fresh as the Going Merry's Crew, working towards a goal that had more rewards than anyone could possibly imagine. They were vibrant and powerful and completely immortal. No one could beat the Straw Hat Pirates. They would never die.
When Nami awoke the first thing her eyes sought out was the sky. She peered up at the window anxiously from her sprawled out position on the bed, letting out a long sigh of relief when she realized it was still pitch dark on the island. She let her trembling body relax and silently thanked whatever God was listening that she hadn't slept until sunrise. She had time, they still had time...
The second thing her sharp brown eyes looked for was her husband. Bracing herself on her elbows she did a cursory check of the shadowed room once she discovered that the spot next to her was cold, finding the hunched over, lanky form of Luffy sitting at her bureau. She squinted her eyes to see just what he was doing, not at all surprised that he couldn't sleep for she herself would never have considered slipping into unconsciousness on this particular night had he not worn her out past the point of return just hours before.
Tenderly she got to her feet, loosely wrapping a sheet around her body and acknowledging that Luffy hadn't even bothered to do that. He was completely unashamed of his nakedness as he noticed Nami approaching, merely reaching out to grasp one of her pale hands that he held against his warm cheek. Nami glanced at what he was holding in his free hand, her eyes softening when she spotted a well worn picture.
There was a portrait of two children in the silver frame. The first was a girl who looked to be around perhaps nine or ten. She was quite tall and extremely skinny, all knees and elbows and angles. Her skin was darkly tanned, her hair a wild mess of auburn. She had large, inquisitive eyes that stared back at you with mute curiosity, her lips a thin, considering line. She almost looked as though she were judging you, and immediately made the viewer feel uncomfortable with the astute expression on her face. But there was irrefutable evidence in her physiognomy that one day the odd beanpole would be a woman to be reckoned with.
The other child in the picture was a younger boy, much paler than his female counterpart and revealing much more emotion. His black hair made his equally dark eyes stand out profoundly, giving him an almost comical look as he opened his mouth in a wide, consuming smile. He was an image of innocence as he leaned on one of the girl's legs, his small body splayed out at odd angles, as though he wasn't entirely positive about how best to use his motor skills yet. Both children were dressed in baggy, casual clothing that made it look as though they got good milage out of their garments, and they were kneeling on a sandy beach, waves crashing in the background dramatically.
"I said goodbye to them two months ago..." Luffy admitted in a soft, scratchy voice, one finger trailing around the periphery of the picture almost reverently. "But... I don't think they understood. I didn't want to make them understand. In the long run that's cruel, isn't it?"
"No," Nami said simply. "We were both exposed to far too much violence and ugly truth about the world when we were younger. It's not healthy. Let them remember us smiling, and happy,"
"Us..." Luffy said the word as though it were a bitter curse. "They're going to lose both of their parents. That... that's terrible," he took in a shaky breath, and Nami came to kneel next to him, regarding him seriously. "You know, part of me, the selfish part, always wanted you here because I couldn't bear to be alone like this, and you are the best friend I've ever had. I was even overjoyed when I docked, and found you waiting at home just for my sake. But another part of me earnestly hoped that you would be where I told you to be – I can't just think of myself anymore. There's Unabara and Enkai, too. They need you. They need you more than I do,"
Nami shook her head emphatically, putting the picture frame aside and cupping Luffy's face, a face now racked with terrible guilt and self-hate at the thought that he was glad his wife was there to die with him. "Stop it! Don't blame yourself! I'm the one that sent them to Kokoyashi Villiage alone, not you! You tried as best you could to make sure they had a mother for the rest of their childhood. It was my fault, I was the one who turned back, who remained here like a coward because I couldn't imagine life without you in it,"
Luffy lifted his wife easily into his lap, his expression just as conflicted as hers as she continued with her piteous confession. "I spent all those years only seeing you occasionally while you were out with the crew so I could raise them, so that they would have a sort of mother like I did. My adventuring was cut in half because I felt guilt whenever I left them,"
"I did, too," Luffy admitted. "I thought about them every second of every day when I was away,"
"But then... when I was about to get on that boat, and sail away from here, to be safe... I thought of living without you, living knowing that I would never have you come back home to me. I just broke, I couldn't conceive it. I realized that if I stayed with them and you died alone, I would never be the mother they needed. I would be a shell of my former self, a ghost... not a person they could depend on. And I also realized that I had promised myself to go down this road with you before they were born, and I couldn't turn back now.
"This is the path of a pirate, and before I am anything else – a woman, a navigator, a wife, a mother – I am a pirate. I am your pirate,"
Luffy gazed at her fondly and she watched him with a severe look on her face, as though daring him to correct her, to tell her she shouldn't be where she was, that it was his burden to shoulder alone. To her joy he did none of these things, merely hugged her firmly, melding their bodies together in the way that made them fit so perfectly, as though they had been built for ultimate compatibility. And maybe they had.
"When do you think they will arrive?" she whispered, her mouth close to his ear so that he shuddered when he felt her breath lingering on his face. She already knew the answer, but suddenly needed the information confirmed by him.
"Daybreak," he said.
"Enough to kill us?" she asked, once again, needlessly.
"Enough to kill me," he agreed.
"Us," she reminded him. He flinched slightly, but then nodded.
"Right. Us," he sighed. "I suppose if it had to be anyone, he's not so bad. This guy's not a ruthless murderer like some of the other potential King's were,"
"Please," Nami snorted, folding her arms. "He's a clueless jerk," In truth, the man could have been an incarnation of God himself, but any pirate who tried to take her husband's throne would never be favored by Nami.
"He's good enough at what he does to have assembled a loyal, powerful crew," Luffy pointed out, stroking his chin thoughtfully.
"They're not half as good as our crew was in our prime," she insisted.
"Maybe not, but we're not in our prime anymore," he reminded her, smiling.
"We're only thirty-nine! Hardly over the hill,"
"For a normal person. Not for a pirate. No Pirate King has lived past twenty-eight before me, I should feel lucky," he commented gaily, in typical Luffy fashion. To this his wife rolled her eyes heavenwards, likewise in typical Nami fashion.
"Oh yeah, we're like lotto winners," she muttered sarcastically. And for a second they were their normal selves – Luffy boundlessly optimistic and light hearted, Nami the calm voice of reason in a sea of insanity. But the moment passed almost as quickly as it came, and soon they were brooding again, both of their eyes inexorably drawn to the picture lying on the table in front of them.
"Una is so clever... she's just like you Nami," Luffy said softly, squeezing the red head close to him, his voice unusually tender and raw.
"No, her compulsive nature is all you. She only looks shrewd – really she's just waiting for her chance to bolt and go off on some crazy escapade," Nami argued, shaking her head wryly. "It's Enkai who's like me. He's calculating, always building things and looking for clues,"
"Maybe," Luffy conceded with a happy bounce of his shoulders. "She did get the hat,"
"It was her favorite possession of yours, even when she was a baby. She was meant for it," Nami recalled fondly, spotting the fabled straw hat itself poking out from behind the young girl in the portrait.
They sat in silence, staring at the picture in mutual contentment, as though it were a window into the golden years of the past. The good old days, the way things used to be. Nami could still remember Una's birth as though it were yesterday, the utter joy and peace that had overcome her and Luffy as they looked down upon her physically infinitesimal (yet emotionally overwhelming) form, realizing simultaneously that they would give their lives for hers in a second. It changed everything about their relationship, and how they functioned. Where before it had merely been about risking their lives for one another, now they had to agree that before even their lover's life came Unabara's, and later Enkai's. It was due to this that their already difficult decision to go down together was amplified, exponentially.
Enkai's birth had not been as joyous or smooth an occasion as their daughter's. As a baby he had been quite premature, and to make matters worse, when Nami had tried to deliver him it was discovered that he was attempting to come out backwards. Chopper had been forced to perform an impromptu cesarian section on a pale faced, stoic Nami. An operation neither she or the baby got through easily. In fact, at one point Luffy had been sure his wife was dead, the joy of seeing his new son in the light for the first time ever trampled by the raging fear that Nami would never open her eyes for him again.
He remembered hearing a choked gasp, and turning to the side where a three year old Unabara had wandered into the bedroom, her expression confused and scared as she looked first to her sickly mother, and then to her silent, grim father who was hovering above her. They had locked gazes, and for a second it seemed to Luffy as though he didn't know his own daughter – for how could she exist without Nami? How could anything in his life be possible without his beautiful navigator?
Of course Nami had survived, and she had the pink scar across her toned stomach to prove it. But for the most terrifying few minutes of Luffy's life, to date, he had been forced to imagine a world without her. It was an experience so singularly horrifying, it made the part of his mind that thought with his heart understand why Nami had made the choices she had that night. It also made him realize that no matter what he said there was no convincing Nami to take the ship he had arrived in and sail into the sunrise without looking back, escaping the destiny that only he as the King of the Pirates would inevitably have to face. She had become a part of him, and would justly insist on sharing this part of his life just as she had shared all of the others.
It took Luffy a moment to realize Nami was no longer curled up in his lap, and when he did she was already heading out the large doors of their room, her sheet hanging tantalizingly low on her smooth back.
"Where are you going?" he asked, every unpredictable move she made frightening him in the extremely tense atmosphere they had created for each other. Who knew when one of them might try something dramatic?
"I'm getting water," she explained, calling back to him from over her shoulder. "You really wore me out," she teased, disappearing down the hall. Luffy smirked to himself, a light sparking in his dark, heavily circled eyes.
"Hey! Bring me back some! And some meat while you're at it!" he shouted after her, his raised voice echoing oddly in the disarmingly silent house.
"All the meat's gone Luffy. Practically everything is gone."
As Nami gingerly sipped from the glass of wine in her hand (she had discovered a hidden cache of red wine in the cellar, no doubt one of Sanji's many hiding spaces for such things), she recalled how the house she was now sitting in, the house that would be rubble by tomorrow afternoon at the latest, had come to be.
The fact that Luffy had decided to return to his hometown as a base for his ever growing pirate crew was no surprise. He was always a sucker for for things like returning to your roots, and tradition.
One Piece had given him the power and means to become King, so he had the best architects in the world at his fingertips, ready to build him any mansion he wanted. Luffy had given them free reign, a designer's dream, and the professionals had come up with what friends and family affectionately coined the Monkey Estate.
Besides Nami and the children living there for most of the year after Nami gave birth at age twenty-nine, all of the founding crew members had rooms in Luffy and Nami's home, and they all dutifully returned there for most major holidays and occasional birthdays. Also, all new members of the crew, for the Going Merry was really more of an enterprise now that they were so well known, trained and lived in the mansion and on the many acres of land surrounding it. Luffy even had his own personal port, and he treated all original inhabitants of the island with more grandeur than they had ever been exposed to previously.
Luffy was rich, and he loved making sure everyone felt just as wealthy as he did. Otherwise, what was the use of pillaging?
The place had been like the core of the Going Merry for many years, and within its walls Nami could recount more happy memories than she had ever thought she would acquire in her life time, long ago before she had ever even heard of Monkey D. Luffy, love of her life. She knew the children would miss their old home, especially now that they were living in Nami's modest cottage on Kokoyashi Island. But that didn't matter, because on that island they would be safe and well cared for by all of Luffy and Nami's loyal followers, as well as Nami's family. And this place, once their childhood dwelling... well, it would not be fairing as well.
It was tradition that whenever one Pirate King was overturned by another, his home and riches would be properly raped and destroyed by the new upstart. In addition, of course, to the first Pirate King's death.
Luffy had known this from the second he set out to be a pirate, and it had never bothered him in the slightest. It was the natural order of things, and he wouldn't fight it – rather, he would, only this time he knew his number was up. Enough battles had tried him to the point where he understood that he just wasn't built to take down this particular pirate captain. He felt the end of his life drawing upon him quickly, and knew all of his friends did, as well. But they had become so incredibly close to Luffy that none were willing to let him take the mortal plunge that all King's must take, and had been desperately trying to protect him from his own demise for many months.
However, when Luffy had learned that the captain was coming to his home to take one of the final steps in dethroning him, he began to plot. Of course his family and everyone who now lived in his mansion would have to be evacuated, but it would be the perfect setting for his final showdown. If only he could manage to do it alone, so that someone like Zoro wouldn't be forced to die with him when facing the captain's dreaded crew.
So he had lied. Luffy had lied, as he always did when trying to protect those he was close to, and spread rumors to all corners of the sea that he was headed to the Grand Line to await the captain, where he would battle him for the throne once and for all. He suspected that even his challenger himself would be surprised to find Luffy at his home tomorrow morning. Which was fine by him.
The mansion had been emptied once word of the other captain's plans reached them, no one wanting to face the powerful pirate without the original Straw Hats around to put up a good fight.
How Nami had discovered that Luffy was being untruthful the whole while was beyond him, perhaps she had become too adept at reading him after all of these years of marriage, or maybe part of him had tried to tell her the truth so that she would be there with him now. Whatever the case, it seemed as though they were truly facing the end of the dream together. A concept that, even as she threw back her last cup of wine, Nami found more than slightly surreal.
"Luffy..." Nami breathed, a combination of alcohol and over sensitized nerves causing her to suddenly become very emotional and melancholy. Luffy stared at her intently, waiting to hear whatever it was she felt was important enough to discuss in the remaining hours they had together. "Do you remember... the first time we kissed?" A slow smile slid across Luffy's face, and he rested his cheek in his palm, staring at his beautiful wife from his cross legged position opposite her, where they both sat huddled together on the ground.
"Yes," he said, bobbing his head. "It was on the Going Merry,"
"During some of the most ungodly hours of the morning," Nami added ruefully.
"In the rain!" Luffy reminded her for good measure. Nami chuckled to herself, leaning back on her wobbly arms, her vision blurring as she realized she might have had a bit more wine than was absolutely necessary.
"You surprised me so much. I had no idea you even knew what a kiss was, much less that you had ever viewed me romantically," she confessed.
"I was being pretty spontaneous," Luffy admitted freely. "But I've always lived my life working off of gut instincts, and you just looked really pretty that morning with your hair all wet from the rain, and your night clothes all clingy and damp..."
"It was a good kiss, admit it," Luffy said, smiling at his wife tauntingly.
"Maybe so," she conceded primly.
"Maybe?" Luffy questioned. "You were stunned into silence! I took your breath away, knocked your socks off, you couldn't even -"
"Don't push it, lover," Nami said with saccharine sweetness.
Abruptly another silence fell upon them, and they continued to sit in contemplative muteness, not looking at one another but not avoiding their gazes, either. The sound of the water lapping at the beach outside drifted in clearly through an open window, an utterly familiar and comforting sound to both pirates. Luffy seemed to be still lost in deep thought when Nami posed her next question.
"What do you think will happen to Una and Enkai?" she asked in a small voice, lacing her fingers together to hide her nervousness. Luffy's expression was neutrally blank for a minute, before he finally sighed and seemed to decide upon an answer.
"I'm not positive, but if it were me in their position... I would never rest until I had vengeance," he admitted quietly. Nami stared at him with pained eyes, biting her lower lip.
"Yeah, I figured you'd say something like that," she said, massaging her temples.
"Do you think I'm right?" Luffy wanted to know, trusting his wife's judgment on matters of character even before his own. Nami slid over to him, turning around so she could rest in the circle of his arms and lay in his lap. She nuzzled the back of her head against his chest, her silky strands tickling his torso. Luffy felt comfort in the way his arms hugged her tightly, her smooth skin like heaven to his senses.
"Yes," she said breathily, her eyelids unnaturally heavy as she felt her body all but melt into Luffy as he began stroking along her arm slowly, as though lulling her into a further state of relaxation. "I'm almost positive you're right..."
Luffy craned his neck down to give her a light kiss on the cheek, finding he enjoyed the action and continuing it by alternately kissing and nibbling at her ear. Nami smiled contentedly as he did so, feeling her surroundings melting away blissfully. There was nothing to worry about, nothing to fear. It was just her and Luffy and nothing could be wrong with that.
"I love you..." The way he whispered the treasured phrase made it sound almost regretful, but Nami was beyond being able to care about such trivialities as she grabbed onto the three words as though they were a life preserver and then drifted into sleep once more.
After some time had passed, Luffy got to his feet with his lover cradled easily in his arms, his tall form walking purposefully over to the bed and laying her down gently. He knelt by her, stroking hair away from her face and leaning in to whisper apologies and confessions that were meant only for her ears, only ever for Nami. He ended his one sided heart to heart with one last strong kiss to her limp lips, before slowly getting to his feet and sweeping out of the room with not even a wayward glance back.
Something was not right. There was a banging in her head, a persistent buzzing and an invasive background noise that urged her awake, agitating her already fuzzy senses. She pawed at her sheets and struggled to open her eyes, finding the task surprisingly hard.
It took her some minutes to blink her surroundings into focus, to wet her cotton mouth, and restart her frozen brain. But once she did a lot of things started clicking alarmingly fast for the fiery navigator.
"Shit!" she cursed, nearly sliding out of bed as she attempted to jump to her feet only to discover her legs could barely support her weight, they were so weak. "He drugged my freaking drink!"
There indeed seemed to be no other plausible explanation as to why the usually put together woman would fall asleep not once but twice on the most important and final night of her life. There was also no other explanation as to why it had been an almost physically and mentally tasking process to wake up, or why she could hardly walk across the room to wrap herself in a robe, now.
Things that her addled brain had been blocking out in a drug induced haze were starting to fly at her in rapid succession. Luffy was gone. His clothing was gone. It was at least five hours after she had last fallen asleep. There were bone rattling explosions coming from outside. Shrapnel was pattering at her window.
The red haired woman staggered over to said window, her fearful eyes taking in the sight before her as one hand went to clutch her chest. The crew was already there, swarming her property and demolishing everything in sight, their loud cries stirring up a very base fear inside of her. Automatically she knew that she could escape if she wanted to, no one knew the ins and outs and trap doors of the estate like she did, and she was sure Luffy was counting on this. However, she didn't want to escape, couldn't escape when he was still out there, and that was why her heart was pounding a million times a minute.
Her eyes searched all over the port and beach in search of him, a lone figure in a red shirt and brown coat, his limbs undoubtedly stretched to inhuman proportions. A small whimper was ripped unwillingly from her throat when she finally caught sight of him, dueling solo against the opponent who wished for the the throne, a much taller, bulkier man than he. It seemed as though she had entered the fight late because by the looks of it Luffy was begin to tire.
Not wasting another moment she spun away from the window and used every last bit of strength and will power she possessed to sprint across the halls and down the stairs. With one large heaving motion she flung open the front door and scrambled onto the path that made a beeline for the dock where Luffy was presently facing his ultimate battle.
'How could he do this to me!' she raged. 'I wanted to be there for him! I wanted to be by his side. Can't he see how selfish it is to keep me safe?'
She could see his silhouette now, a defeated shadow staggering backwards as his enemy stood in silence, a dripping sword held out in front of him, her husband's blood slipping sluggishly off the blade. A warped cry rang out through the air, Nami's although she didn't know, and immediately all of the crew members looked to see who had made the startling noise.
All were too shocked at the sight of the beautiful woman dressed only in a white silk robe, tear tracks marring her otherwise flawless complexion, clumsily running at warp speed down the beach, her arms pumping purposefully. No one even dared to attack her as she pushed her way violently through the masses, her over bright brown eyes shimmering dangerously.
Yards away, the new, reigning King of the Pirates easily pushed Luffy to the side, watching gravely as the ex-pirate fell backwards into the water of the port listlessly, his form making a pathetic splash as he began to rapidly sink as only a person who had eaten a cursed fruit could.
"NO!" Nami cried gutturally in protest, having not reached the dock herself yet. Her arms reached out to try and touch Luffy as she watched him collapse into the ocean in almost slow motion, thoughts of how this could have all turned out differently immediately flashing through her head. If only she hadn't had that wine, if only she hadn't fallen for his trick! How ironic that at the very last it would be Luffy who outwitted Nami, and Nami who was compulsively throwing herself into danger without a care for her own safety.
When her feet finally hit wood she wasted no time speeding down the dock, pausing only slightly when she felt a firm hand push against her shoulder, holding her back. Her head snapped backwards as her speedy movements were cut short, coming to stare up at the man whose hand was still clutching her firmly. It was Him. The new King. His eyes were not as she thought they would be, callous and cruel, taunting her and her loss, looking for more pain... but regretful, and almost desperate. He was far younger than she had expected him to be. In a way, he almost reminded her of... but no...
He said something to her, like a plea, but she was deaf to anything he had to say. She had just watched him murder her husband, she would never listen to him ever again.
In an act of barely contained murderous hostility she threw his arm off of her and jerked herself bodily away from him. Then she came to stand at the edge of the dock with her toes hanging off the end, peering down into the dark water below. She hesitated for barely a second before plunging in after Luffy, the angry shouts and booms behind her immediately shut out and replaced by a frantic, bubbly echo.
As coolness encased her body she felt herself attempt to propel her body downward in search of her rapidly sinking husband, and was struck by the fact that her muscles weren't responding to her commands as they should. Her movements were slower, and almost lacking all locomotive force.
It was the drugs Luffy had slipped her. They were affecting her swimming to the point where she felt herself sinking right along with the rubber man, her limbs floating about her at odd angles uselessly. She forced her eyes to remain open as she searched the murky waters around her frantically, frustrated beyond all reason. No. It wouldn't end like this, she had to see him one more time!
She angled her body so at least she was heading downwards fairly steadily, hands reaching out blindly in front of her. Air bubbles escaped her lips as she began to crave oxygen, pushing all natural instincts to swim desperately for the surface far back into her mind, a notably tasking feat.
Finally her hand touched something solid, and she almost cried out in joy as she realized was she was holding onto was the elbow of her captain. She gripped it harshly and thrust herself at Luffy, wrapping her arms around him underwater in a strong embrace.
Her stinging eyes were just able to make out his features, unresponsive and cold as one part of her mind numbly registered that she was too late. Her body was all but screaming for her to return to the surface now , vision fading rapidly to black, lungs burning and protesting within her chest.
As they continued to sink into the dark ocean, Nami resting atop Luffy's form, and his limbs flailing out so that it gave the illusion that he was attempting to cradle her form close to himself in their final hour, the female pirate let a small, mysterious smile flit across her lips. She had made it back to him. Despite his best efforts she had managed to stay with him until the very last, and now, despite the fact that this was the end for her and she would never again feel sunlight against her cheeks or laughter in her throat due to her friend's humorous antics or the pride that came with watching your own children grow and mature, she had done what she had always known she was meant to do. Stay with Luffy, be his anchor and his heart, and aide him even when he didn't want the help.
Although almost nothing could surprise her at this point, Nami would admit to being somewhat startled when she felt Luffy's large hand actually grip her own pale one, lacing their fingers together and causing her to look up abruptly at his face. His eyes were opened just a crack, a rakish grin pulling at his bruised mouth. Nami smiled back lovingly, squeezing his hand in return and then leaning over for one last, chaste kiss on the lips. There was no way to save themselves physically now. They had reached their limit and their reign had finally come to an explosive end, which was fitting.
But they would be remembered. For centuries to come the era of Luffy the Pirate King and his wife Nami the fearless thief and navigator would be remembered by pirates and common folk alike. They were a duo of the likes the world had never seen, a force of nature and a well oiled machine, and if they had come up together, they would undoubtedly sink together as well.
The ending was a lot eerier than I had predicted it would be. I hadn't actually meant for us to be there in their literal last seconds on Earth, but it just sort of happened. Anyway, this must be the darkest, overly-dramatic fic I've ever written, or read in the One Piece section. I just had to get the images of a grown Luffy and Nami out of my head, is all. I will admit to being tempted to do a sequel about their kids (whose names I looked up in an online Japanese dictionary, where I was told both Unabara and Enkai mean ocean), but I don't know. Those can be really bad if you don't do them just right, so I'll have to see how I feel about it later. I hope you all enjoyed and have a great summer!