An idea that hit me one fine morning in the middle of my French class and in the middle of my doodling. Coincidently, I was attempting to draw Luffy's hat on a stick figure and it came out looking like a mushroom. I must admit, I do make mad stick figures..
Spoilers up to and including Arlong and the mermen, since that's all I've seen of the anime. If my info is off, well, all I can say is I'm slowly laboring through the manga and I'll fix any plot errors when I come to it. And yes, I am aware that the names don't agree. I prefer Zoro to Zolo, and Luffy to Rufi.
Disclaimer: One Piece does not belong to me, and the characters of it are not being used for anything more than entertainment and a way for me to pass time.
This is Our Home
So many things have changed, yet so many things have stayed the same, Nami reflected quietly to herself on a normal and clear evening on the Merry Go. She leaned against the railing, staring up at the stars with a glazed look in her eyes. The gentle sway of the boat had her in a lazy daze where it would have made her sick eight years ago.
Just thinking about eight years ago made her grim, and at the same time, deliriously happy. Arlong was a cruel tyrant, enslaving all of her village and herself into an indefinite servitude, since he had no intention of letting her gather the money needed to buy her village's freedom.
So she stole from pirates, bandits, and all other types of villains that reminded her of Arlong, and managed to not get herself killed or captured in eight years. And then there was Luffy.
He was such a silly, innocent, and even bland looking boy. She couldn't believe that he wanted to be king of the pirates, the most violent and ruthless of the lot. His dream made her betray him before she even got to know him, giving him to Buggy to get the map to the Grand Line.
But even when given the chance to rid the world of one more pirate, Nami froze. She really didn't want to hurt him. She had tried replacing his suddenly impassive face with Arlong, but even then she couldn't.
Nami liked to think that she saw the good qualities in Luffy that she had in her. Or at least, the qualities she liked and respected. It was Luffy, the strange rubber boy who seemed to grin like an idiot in one moment then could stare at you blankly the next, who saved towns instead of conquering them. It was Luffy who defended his friends and many others with his mind and body. It was Luffy who ran off after her after she stole the boat and the treasure, all because he was so determined to make sure she was still his navigator.
And it was Luffy who defeated Arlong, the monster of her worst nightmares for the last eight years. She still wasn't used to the freedom that he had given to her by fighting Arlong.
And even though she thought of Luffy first when she thought of the Straw Hat crew, she did remembered the others.
Zoro and Luffy, it had been a great cosmic joke on them all when the infamous pirate hunter joined a pirate crew. Nami couldn't believe it at first. She thought he was like her. What would make him want to join up with a dirty pirate?
Zoro and Luffy were closemouthed about how they met and how Luffy got Zoro to be his first mate, but Nami knew why Zoro stayed. There were two very likely answers. One, since Luffy was on his way to the Grand Line, Zoro stayed because of the challenges that would be presented in that no man's land, waiting for any possible opportunity to fight, get stronger, and get closer to achieving his dream of being the best swordsman in the world. But two.. Zoro could have jumped on anyone's ship, Nami knew. So why Luffy's?
Ussop was anything but the great captain he often proclaimed himself to be, and was nothing but a poor liar. He also was easily frightened and often ran off(or threatened to) when danger arose.
But Nami knew Ussop was brave, in his own way. He defended his village when the Black Cat pirates tried to sack it, and defended her own by defeating one of the mermen. Granted, Nami was most likely to yell at him to stop lying, but she felt an odd kinship with the long nosed boy. Both of their villages were attacked by pirates and both of them felt the need to do something to defend it, but unlike Nami, Ussop had nothing against pirates in general, being a pirate's son himself.
So why did Ussop join a crew that would, undoubtedly, run into much danger along their way to the Grand Line? Was it for the adventure, the small hope that he might find his father, or was it something else?
Sanji was a strange one. One of the best chefs around, Nami would admit freely. A rare one that could fight as well as Zoro. He seemed almost obsessed with both food and girls. Nami really couldn't say she knew him as well as she knew Luffy or Zoro, but she considered him a good friend. Anyone who would fight against Arlong's pirates, even at the risk of drowning underwater, just to see her smile was a friend of hers. A insane one, but still a friend she respected.
But why would Sanji ever think about joining such a rag tag group with insane dreams and hopes that all had something to do with the Grand Line? True, he really wanted to see the Great Blue, but surely, he could have picked a better crew to go with! Why Luffy, of all people?
The answer was simple, the same reason why, even though she no longer had to gather money to free her village, she stayed as Luffy's navigator. Luffy had a magnetic air around him, one that drew in both people and danger in equal parts. He made as many friends as he did enemies, a fact that continued to startle the rest of the Straw Hat crew when they ran into any one of them.
Luffy was bright and optimistic, naïve and oblivious, strong and steady, and very loyal. But Nami thought the main reason they stayed wasn't because they were all interested in seeing what he'd do next, but something far less simple and much harder to explain.
The only way she could describe it was that Luffy had given them a home. Not the Merry Go, it was just a place. Home couldn't be defined as a physical place, Nami believed home was a state of mind. A place where she felt safe, happy, and content. And her home, strangely enough, was with them.
"Nami, get in here before Luffy eats everything!" Zoro called from inside. Sighing softly, she pushed herself away from the railing and walked inside where the rest of the crew were fighting over food.
"..wasn't gonna eat everything!" Luffy was protesting. "Just a little.."
"A little to you is a lot to us." Sanji said, pushing the boy into the seat. "Be good, or ya won't get any meat." The threat was enough for their captain to promptly sit down and smile angelically at their cook. "And keep your stretchy limbs to yourself. It's not sanitary." With a pout, Luffy retracted his arms, which had been steadily creeping towards the food. "We're going to sit down and eat, instead of walking around like a bunch of animals, it's bad for your indigestion."
"..And when I conquer the Grand Line!" Ussop boasted to Zoro as they walked past Nami. Zoro looked at her, his expression unreadable, then nodded curtly, tuning Ussop out and sitting to the left of his captain. Ussop sat to the right, still telling tall tales.
Zoro and Sanji were solitary people. Ussop was a guy who needed to be around other people, but never felt comfortable around any one but those younger than him. And Nami needed someone, anyone to lean on when she finally admitted that she needed help. And now, thanks to Luffy, she had four of them.
For a second, she paused, looking at the four of them. Sanji was yelling at Ussop to stop waving his fork around while the long nosed boy heatedly snapped at Zoro that he was going to become king of the Grand Line. Zoro made some choice remarks with a devious smirk and suddenly Ussop was completely enraged, waving his arms about like a immature child who didn't get what they wanted. Oblivious to the fork's proximity to his head, Luffy stared at the meat before him, hands twitching slightly, then clenching as he remembered Sanji's order.
They were weird, Nami concluded with a sigh. But they were still hers. Her village, so steeped in painful memories, could no longer be her home. Her home was with the odd crew she had gotten herself tangled up in. Her home was with the happily arguing and laughing people in front of her.
"Nami?" Luffy had turned around, blinking calmly at her. When he saw the small smile on her face instead of the frown like he expected, he grinned. "Coming?"
And like all other orders her captain gave, she followed, knocking Ussop on the head with her knuckles to stop him from fighting with Zoro, fending off Sanji's advances, swatting away a rubber limb that seemed hell bent on snagging some meat, and, as an after thought, kicked Zoro hard in the shin so he'd stop provoking people into fights.
Even as they sat down and attempted to have a peaceful dinner as Sanji requested, there were some arguments, some yelling, and a lot of laughter. People routinely got up and checked on things outside(mostly to make sure the navy or other pirates hadn't snuck up on them) or other various things.
Their group, it wasn't perfect. It was hardly the union or the relationships spoken so reverently of in fairy tales. But it was theirs. Their friends, their ship, their impossible dreams. And their home.
This is our home, Nami thought with a soft smile, And no one can take that away from us.