This is the last chapter of the series. Sorry I haven't updated in a while, my internet is down and I have to use school computers. I hope everyone enjoyed the story. I know I have. laughs insanely And on with the chapter!
In Which Usopp is Left Hanging, and Comes to a Conclusion
Light is hard to come by when you're underground in a storage box.
That's all it was, really. It was concrete box for sicking people in to forget about them. Like an prison, only harder to get out of. As for light... zip. Nada. Jet black.
So, it was a wonder why Zoro wasn't surprised when a square beam of light shot through the room. Maybe it was because he had heard noises above him, the sound of concrete scraping against concrete, and the grunting of someone doing something difficult, for quite some time now.
He had never really fallen asleep. He didn't need to. He only slept when he needed to recover. Well... lounging around on the deck was also a good way of ignoring and listening to people at the same time, and to dodge chores. He had been just hanging there- he supposed- listening to the sound of Nami softly snoring, and Sanji muttering in his sleep.
Poor Sanji, though. The dumb cook, he really can't stand being locked up in here. And after their conversation yesterday, Zoro finally knew why. It was because of that rock island out in the middle of the ocean. Only... this was darker, with less food.
But there it was in front of him, blinding him in its brilliance, the way out. But, who opened it?
A rope fell down from the opening and stopped about five feet from what Zoro now saw was the ceiling. The rope's end twitched, and he could hear the sound of something sliding down it, then...
Usopp's body fell into veiw, his hand catching on the hook just in time to keep him from falling the rest of the way down. He glanced around, suspended by one hand, looking for something. His eyes fell on those of the swordsman's, and he grinned in a silent hello.
Zoro blinked the sleep out of his eyes and stared at the sharpshooter, surounded in light. It took a moment, but finally his mouth cracked into a wry grin. He knew he didn't have to say anything. Usopp got his silent message; Took you long enough.
"Where's Luffy?" It's wasn't the frist thing he wanted to say, but it just came out.
Usopp's smile faded ever so slightly. Zoro mentally prepared for the worst and the best.
"He's fine, he's right up there." He gestured with his free hand to the source of the light, above him. "Where are the others?"
Zoro tilted his head back, eyes returning to shadows. Only his smirk was visible.
"Oh, they're just hanging around. I wouldn't be too loud. They're sleeping."
Usopp's mind automaticly and instantaniously jumped to the worst possible meaning. He couldn't help it, it was the way the swordsman was smirking like that, the dark way he said each word, it just sent shivers down his spine.
The look on Usopp's face was priceless! This was the most fun he'd had in ages!
He let out a deep, booming, psycotic laughed that started echoing around the room, even as he kept laughing.
Usopp just about fell of the rope.
"D-d-don't DO that!"
"Well, great warrior Usopp of the deadly seas, you may not be able to see them but our crewmates are bound the same way I am, Nami being in front of me, Mr. Prince being on my left. What now?"
Literaly hanging in thought, Usopp frowned slighly and glanced around.
"If we could just get some light in here... I'll be right back, don't go anywhere!"
Zoro arched an eyebrow. "Do I look like I- oh, nevermind."
The sharpshooter was already gone, scampering up the rope. Once he resurfaced into the Weirdo Base, (as it was destined to be dubbed) he glanced around for one of the torches on the walls. When he found one, he yanked it off its brackets and returned to the hole.
He spared a quick glance in his captain's direction before he went back down. The poor kid was still sleeping, but thankfully he had stopped bleeding.
And down the rope, only one handed this time, back to Zoro and Sanji and Nami.
Now that there was some light, the place looked much smaller. It was a cube shape, but tilted at such a strange angle that Usopp was quite dizzy for while after first seeing it.
Zoro was closest to him, and he paused to take a good look at how he was bound. His neck, wrists, and anckles were all covered by huge, six inch concrete bands that merged right into the wall. He was at an angle that tilted him a little towards the gound, and to the right. Otherwise, he was on the uppermost wall.
Now that he looked around, Usopp could see Sanji, who was was tilted back and turned diagonaly to the wall he was on. Nami was lower to the ground, and tilted back so she was half laying down, and slightly towards the left.
Okay. Logic headache. Dizzy now.
"You're gonna let go of the torch."
Usopp lurched after it and caught it just before it fell.
"...And the hook."
He lurched after that, too, and caught it just before HE fell.
"So, any ideas how to get us out?"
"Well, not really, but... maybe if Luffy was awake... No, I can do something. Maybe."
Zoro sighed in frustration. Then, his eyes locked onto Usopp's.
"Wait. Luffy's alseep?"
"... Usopp. Are those bloodstains? What happened? Tell me."
"I KNOW that, Usopp, what HAPPENED?" Zoro, no matter how scary he was, didn't usualy get this upset when Usopp didn't come straight out with the truth.
Usopp sighed and relinquished. "He was like that when I found him. Someone- the marines, most likely- put him in this wierd sort of lab thing, and sapped all his energy with ocean water, and a bunch of others things. He was kind of out of it when I broke him free, and now he's resting by the hole. He's actualy in pretty bad shape. You wouldn't belive what kind of things they stuck in him..." He shuddered involuntarily.
"So you just left him alone, bleeding on the ground?" Zoro sound incredulous. He knew Luffy was fine- that wasn't why he asked. It just didn't seem like an Usopp thing to do.
"I thought that coming to get you guys would help him more than anything, but now, I don't even..." he trailed off, looking downcast.
I had come in here all grand and optemistic, and now I can't even rescue my best friends. Isn't that pathetic for a Brave Sea Warrior?
Zoro grinned croockedly in amusement. "Hey, don't worry. Luffy can get us out. All he needs is the right motivation."
He's right up there, right?
"HEY LUFFY! GET US OUT OF HERE SO WE CAN GO GET SOME MEAT!"
Up in the open room littered with cement blocks, Luffy stirred from his sleep. So hungry... Hey, was that Zoro's voice? Listen closely.
"Luffy!" it was quiet and echo-y, but that was definitely his first mate's voice.
"Wake up! We're gonna get you some meat as soon as we're free, but we're trapped... Get us out, would you?"
Luffy jumped up to his feet- slowly, but that didn't matter. He ran to the hole in the floor. It wasn't there last time he checked, so that's where his nakama were!
"Geranimo!" Clutching his hat to his head, he jumped down.
Usopp caught him around the waist just before he fell past.
"Oh, hey Usopp. Thanks." He looked almost seriously up at Usopp.
Thanks for everything.
He let the Rubberboy drop lightly to the floor. Tilted as it was, he lost his balance and fell on his face. He got up quickly, however, and looked around.
"Hey Nami!" He grinned brightly at his now awakened friend. She smiled just as brightly when she saw him.
"Luffy! I'm glad you made it! How' ya been?"
"Ugh, not too good. But we're gonna get some meat when we get out of this place!"
The funny thing was it didn't echo even half as much as before Luffy came down. Nami was glad for it, it had creeped her out.
"Hear hear!" someone shouted in agreement. Sanji gazed down at him from his would-be permanent fix on the wall.
"Hey Luffy!" It was Zoro. He was grinning like he just won the lottery. Just as evily, too.
"Why don't you get Mr. Prince down first?"
Luffy nodded and yanked his fist backward, stretching as far as the room would allow it.
Sanji looked at him nervously. "It's not going to hurt, is it?"
The captain shook his head, but it seemed less like a 'No, it's not.' than a 'You worry too much. I'm not going to answer,' and so failed to reasure him.
But, when his fist flew, it was evident that Luffy was not aiming for Sanji at all- the cement beside him broke under the pressure of a Rubber Bullet. The crack in the wall kept going, jerkedly webbing out and desroying the wall, crumbling to the ground. Then, Sanji fell, and landed gracefully like a cat.
The funny part was it hadn't hurt in the slightest.
Next, Zoro. Then, Nami. Luffy took hold of the three of them and litteraly rocketed up the entrance, Usopp right behind. They were all free, and Usopp would've cheered, except for the fact he was still worried about Luffy's wounds.
He wasn't the only one, it seemed.
"Hey Luffy, you going to be alright?"
The captain was suddenly remined that he hurt like heck. It had been easy to forget, when he woke up and Zoro had called him, but now that they were safe...
Usopp instictivly caught him when he fell, and pushed him upright.
"You just need some meat right?"
"Right. I'll be much better." He had stopped bleeding, and was looking much more energetic than when he had first found him. Usopp belived him.
Nami's eyes suddenly went wide for no apparant reason. "Usopp... you..."
"Hhm?" he looked at her in confusion. She raised a hand and poked him in the chest.
"You fell, back on the Merry. I saw you, just before I conked out. You fell, all the way from the crow's nest to the deck!"
"You should be dead!"
Usopp was taken aback. "Why? What did I do?"
"That's not what I- Oh, nevermind!"
She rubbed a hand against her temple.
"You're just as difficult as they are!"
"I know. Isn't that great?"
"It's like you said before. I finally understand what you were saying. I get it, and I agree. If the land is reality, and the sky is the limit, then I'm blasting off to never land. Maybe not now, but someday"
They had all returned to the Going Merry. Getting out of the Weirdo Base proved to be an adventure in istelf. It had turned out that the whole place was not only underground, but underwater to boot! Zoro ended up having to drag both Sanji and Luffy out of the water at the same time, and the Going Merry had drifted about a quater of a mile away from Weirdo Base.
It felt so, so good to just lay in his hammok. The swaying of the ship was so peaceful. Usopp rested with his hands under his head, contemplating the crew's goodnights.
"Man, I'm full!" (Quite a new one.)
"Sweet dreams, idiot." (Another new one.)
"Only if you aren't in them, Love Cook." (But, he was grinning...)
"Oh shut up and go to sleep." (The Nami Standard.)
He remembered turning to Nami then, right as she was leaving for her cabin. He whispered something in her ear, and she beamed, giggling all the way to her bed.
"I landed on a marine"
An thus the fourth and final chapter of Off To Neverland comes to a happy conclusion... Thank you all for reading! The reviews make my day. And no, the intentions of the odd marines will not be revealed. That is, literally, another story.