Title: To Find an Orange
Summary: A year before Nami met Luffy. A red-haired pirate helps an orange-haired thief who just lost her loot.
DISCLAIMER: Eiichiro Oda owns One Piece and everything related to it. It wouldn't be as awesome if I owned it.
WARNING: Again, huge age gap. Like, 18/36. So that's... 18 years. And... uuh, sexual references? Nothing graphic, though. Just remember, this is Nami (the Cat Burglar/Dorobo Neko.)
Author's Notes: My. It's been what, FOUR YEARS? Gods, I apologize to those who waited for this. I scrapped the first version of chapter two because... honestly it made me retch. Hopefully only a few people have read that lol.
Chapter Two - Desperate Measures
The moment she realized she was awake, she knew she was in a lot of trouble. Relief had momentarily flooded her as she confirmed, through the dry clothes she was wearing and the thick blanket that was warming her considerably, that she was out of the sea and far from dying from pneumonia.
A few moments later, cold blood ran through her veins as she felt someone staring at her back. She knew she hadn't moved when she woke up— it was a habit she learnt while 'joining' pirates whom she stole from— and she made sure she didn't give any untoward signs that she was in fact awake and doing her darn best to get her bearings. She had managed to control her breathing perfectly even, but whoever was observing her, he wasn't convinced that she was a harmless shipwrecked lass.
"Would you like some food?"
Nami inwardly frowned. Of course. In the countless ships she had boarded and snuck in to, she had only met a handful of female captains, be they merchant ships or pirate ships. Oh well. facing with a male has its advantages.
She finally opened her eyes. She was facing a wall, and a thick, wooden one. There was nothing else on the bed as far as she could feel— only pillows, bed sheets and blankets. She glanced hopefully up the wall for a trophy, weapon, candle or lamp bracket, or anything solid and sturdy enough to be used as a weapon or as distraction, but the wall was bare save for a large map of the world. It was extremely old, and from what she could discern by lamp lights coming from the middle of the room, it was outdated.
Focus! This is no time to be studying maps!
Inwardly cursing at the lack of any advantages over her 'captor', Nami finally sat up and faced the man. The very first thing she noticed was how red his hair was. In all her life, there was only one person she knew that had hair in a shade close to red, and that was her mother, Bellemere.
The second thing she noticed was that he was missing an arm. It wasn't too obvious due to the cape he was wearing, but a glimpse of a limp and empty left sleeve of his white shirt was enough to deduce that the man had a lesser chance of successfully tackling her compared to other, normal people.
The third thing she noticed was that he was too relaxed for her liking. Usually when she met captains they were alert, and in the case of pirate captains, suspicious of her. But this one was leaning back on his chair like he was having some sort of well-earned vacation, and he was smiling at her like she wasn't a stranger at all. Perhaps he was a subordinate, or even the ship's doctor, as twisted as that could be. The sword strapped on his left hip was telling her otherwise, though.
Nami wracked her brains in thought. The man seemed familiar, but she couldn't place where she had seen him before. Maybe he looked like one of the pirates she had tricked, or a random stranger she had come across with, and she was probably being too paranoid due to her accident, but Nami couldn't shake off the feeling that she had seen him somewhere prior to this time.
"What kind of ship is this?" She finally said.
The man let out a small laugh. "Don't worry," He said. "This may be a pirate ship, but you're perfectly safe. Unless, of course, Arlong has ordered you to do something we might not like."
Her right hand instinctively flew to her tattoo that was being covered by the sleeve of a white shirt— one that was, to her disgust, similar to what the man was wearing.
"Where are my treasures?" Nami hissed.
The man shrugged. "You must've lost them in the storm. There was nothing else but bits and pieces of wood and cloth from where we picked you up."
Right. Nami thought in suspicion. As if pirates would be kind enough to hand them back.
"Who are you?" Nami asked as she tentatively rose from the bed. She couldn't help but cringe as she saw that she had been completely changed out of her clothes, and that apart from a shirt similar to the guy's, she was wearing a pair of black boxer shorts held in place by a red sash around her hips. You had better not worn this before, or at least it had been thoroughly washed!
"A drunken captain?" The man suggested a laugh, and true enough there was an empty bottle of sake on the floor beside his chair and a ceramic jug on the table beside him.
"Can I borrow a boat?" Nami said as she discreetly looked around the room for any weapons apart from the captain's sword. She only found a bookshelf and a large wooden trunk at the foot of the bed that most probably contained clothes. "I need to get back home."
"At this time?" The man said as he gestured out of the windows at Nami's right and his left. They could clearly see the sea being illuminated by the moon. From what Nami could see, the wind was strong enough for her to be able to sail away fast. "Get some rest. In a few days we'll be reaching an island where we can drop you off."
"No need," Nami said as her hands twitched. There's nothing! She thought in frustration as she carefully observed for any possible hidden compartments. She'd have to inspect the trunk and the drawers at the table beside the guy. "I can sail my way back home."
"Sail?" The man said curiously. "So it would be safe to assume you were alone in your ship?"
"I'm a navigator," Nami said, and the man nodded in understanding.
"Impressive," He said. "I've never met a navigator that young. But I guess that storm was a little too much for your ship?"
"It was a boat," Nami answered. She was starting to get jittery. Here she was faced with a man she looked like she could easily knock out, yet she was stumped on how she would do it. "But, I can still get back home with using just a boat, as long as it has a sail.
"Well, we have two of them," The man said as he scratched his unshaven shin. "Giving you one shouldn't be too much…"
Nami gave a nod, but she didn't completely trust the man's words. No one readily gave a boat to a stranger, especially one with a sail.
"Are you sure you didn't find anything else?" Nami asked as she formulated a plan in her mind.
"Nope," The man answered as he finally rose to his feet and walked over to an antique cabinet with his back turned to her. Inside were a collection of different alcoholic drinks inside expensive-looking bottles and flasks. "Although it could be possible that we missed what you're looking for. We were only concerned about a person drowning."
As the man took his time selecting amongst the drinks, Nami quietly rushed over to the trunk at the foot of the bed and, to her dismay, it only did contain just clothes. She then cautiously headed for the table beside the man's previously-occupied chair and searched the drawers for anything while that oblivious man was still searching through his liquor collection. On the third drawer she finally found what she was looking for, and when the man turned back with a small silver flask in his only hand, Nami had pointed a flintlock gun on his forehead.
"Ah," The man said with a smile. "This looks dangerous."
"Where are you keeping your treasures?" Nami asked as she pulled the man's sword out of its sheath and held it tightly with her left hand. Guns have limited ammunition, whereas a sword didn't need any.
Normally, Nami didn't hold hostage the captains like this. She had done it a few times before, but it never came out nicely. The first time she did so, her arm was snapped in three different places, she broke two ribs, and she nearly drowned if it wasn't for her determination to swim towards a direction she knew there would be an island based on her memory. The other times weren't as bad, but she always barely escaped, and half of those times she had to sacrifice most if not all of her loot.
"You know, pointing this thing at me," The man said as he tapped on the gun. "It's pretty dangerous."
"Don't you think I know that?" Nami said with a frown. "Now tell me where you're keeping your treasures!"
"You shouldn't carelessly wave this around," The man ignored her. "This isn't child's play."
Looks like I have to do something else. I don't want to alert the crew.
Nami raised the gun, ready to render the man unconscious. The man had other plans, however, and he easily snatched the gun from her and threw it above the liquor cabinet and out of her reach. She tried to use the sword instead, but in a shocking display of speed, the man had gotten it from her as well and stuck it high on to the ceiling. Nami wasn't ready to give up, however, and tackled the guy down to the ground. He's just a one-armed drunk, anyway.
"You're quite spirited, aren't you?" The man said as he easily slipped out of Nami's locks and pins and kept on planting her face-down on the wooden floor every time.
A curse left Nami's lips as she was defeated once more, and she stopped struggling altogether to get some ideas on how to at least worm her way out of this situation.
Nami couldn't help but smirk as she wriggled in the pin she was in and tried to face the guy. Hopefully, this one would work on him. It was a tactic she rarely used, but as this was one situation that was hard to get out of, she figured it was time to use it.
"I-I'm sorry," Nami said with her best 'distressed and depressed' face. "It's just that I'm really scared, a-and I just really want to get back home—"
"With our treasures?" The man said in amusement.
"Well you see, if they find out I lost their money, they'll do something bad to my family!"
"Loan sharks from my village! Please, I really need to get back with the money I was supposed to pay them!"
"That's too bad," The man said as he scratched his stubby chin once more. The smile was still on his face, and it greatly irked Nami. "But you see, pirates never let go of their treasures."
Phase two of emergency plan. Nami thought to herself. I guess I have to thank him for letting me wear a button-down shirt.
Trying to force a blush on her face to look more convincing, Nami tried to wriggle once more in the pin she was currently under, and she gave a silent cheer in her mind as a button slid off its hole and revealed more of her cleavage. Having an ample chest sure had its advantages.
"I promise I'd make it worth your while," Nami said with a breathy voice. "Please…?"
The man's eyes slid down to where she wanted him to look, and he was thoughtful for a moment.
"You do look like you have a good bargain there," He said with a smile.
Much to Nami's dismay, the man laughed, stood up, returned to the chair he was previously occupying, and took a swig from the silver flask he had procured from the cabinet earlier. Her pride as a successful seductress was dented, and she was back from where she started once more— no weapon, no loot, and no way out in the way she wanted to.
"Sorry," The man said with a small laugh. "I know better than to mess with complete strangers— and a minor, at that. Besides, it's easy to see your bluff."
Knowing very well that she would have to formulate another plan, Nami picked herself from the floor, dusted her clothes, and sat down at the edge of the sole bed in the room.
"Are you going to put me in the brig?" Nami asked.
The man laughed once more. It was starting to really get on her nerves. "No need. This will be your prison cell until we get to that island. Or do you still wish to leave with a boat?"
Nami crossed her arms. If she had indeed lost her loot, then she would have to take theirs. Naturally, she had to delay her leave.
"No, I'm staying until we get there," She said. "I don't want to waste my time sailing when I can get to land without any effort."
"Ah, but I thought you were in a hurry?"
Nami only glared at the guy, who in turn let out a hearty laugh. He threw the silver flask at her and she caught it easily.
"Well, I might as well let you enjoy your stay."
: to be continued :
Reviews, comments, and suggestions are welcome as always. Thanks for reading!