This one came in a lot later due to the last chapter's poor response. And I was trying to figure out how to route this arc. Finally, I found it.
P.S - Italic words are inner thoughts.
One Piece: High School Edition
Arc 3: Memories
Chapter 21: When Nami met Luffy (and Ace)
Nami kicked the Monkey D. residence's door open, repeating her exact rendition from the day before. She soon regretted her action when she find the old man who constantly tease her, is lying down on the couch dressed up in his birthday suit.
"Mother of God!" Nami turned away immediately when she saw what appear to be an 'elephant skin rug'. "Garp-ossan! Why are you naked?"
"Why can't you knock?" He retaliated back with his own question.
"You didn't answer my question!" Nami replied back with the familiar angry tone. For years she hoped that she wouldn't catch Luffy in nude, guess she have to keep in mind that Garp is also someone she had to watch out for. "Why are you naked? And why aren't you covering yourself?"
"I think you're stepping on my pants," Garp pointed out. Nami looked down towards her leg and sure enough, she was stepping on Garp's shorts and his heart pattern boxer. Nami do not know whether this is the perfect time to shudder in disgust or laugh at the corny undergarment.
A few rustles behind Nami made her to look over at the back, she then turned away again still remembering of the naked man's presence.
"Don't get up!" Nami warned the old man. "Stay right where you are. I'll just kick your pants towards you."
"Can't you just pick it up?" Garp asked for some assistance.
"Hell no!" Nami slid Garp's pants down towards his leg. Even though she had her back turned on him, her aim really is top notch. After a few seconds of grunting and some more rustling, Nami can finally turn over and face Luffy's grandpa. His shirt may be off, but at least his trouser snake is not flopping around.
"That's much better," Nami sighed. "Now, why were you naked?"
"I'm always naked early in the morning," Garp simply said scratching his stomach.
"I come here almost every day around this time in the morning! And I've never seen you butt-naked!" Nami snapped still feeling crept out for seeing an old geezer's naked flesh. "Why? Why! Why! Do you have to be naked when I open this door!"
Garp watched her grumpiness, he knew well that Nami has her own problem with controlling her temper. Something must've happened that cause the trigger in her temper tantrum.
"What's cracking up your ass?" he asked.
"I got another day off from work!" Nami explained anyway despite of Garp's vulgar use of words. "Apparently, I'm not teacher material to the new employees!"
"At least you have a job," Garp told her with a strict parentage tone. "Speaking of work, I should go and get ready." And without a moment to lose, Garp disappeared right through the stairs making his way up to his room.
Nami sighed and sat down on the couch, way off where Garp was sitting just to be reminded. Nami hate to admit, but she did agree with Garp. She is very lucky to have such an easy-going work condition. Close to home, flexible hours and a pretty good paycheck. It was a lot more satisfying compared to her last job, she really hate that Personal Assistant job for Nojiko's agent.
"That bitch Hancock!" Nami cursed silently thinking of her old boss.
"Hey pops!" A knock and a call from the front door distract any more of Nami's spiteful thoughts of her former boss. Now she is more concerned of the man who is to make his appearance into the Monkey D. home.
"You better not be pulling off The Naked Man when I open this door!" the man on the other side of the door called out. Nami recognized that voice from anywhere, though she hasn't seen him in flesh for a while.
"It's unlocked, Ace. Come on in," Nami informed of the solved resolution.
"Nami? Hey!" the young man entered the home dressed up in his casual attire. "It's been a while! How've you been doing?"
"Like a train wreck!" Nami waved from where she's sitting. "Good job on your last trial, by the way!" Her tone didn't sound as sincere as her words however.
"Uhmm… thanks?" Ace felt unsure how to response. If only he was given the circumstance of what happened on that very day when she lost the bet. "Where's pops?"
"Getting ready for work," she replied. "And he does this The Naked Man thing a lot?"
"More than you think!" Ace sat down on the couch. "You have no idea how many times I walked in on him pulling that off!"
"That was where he was sitting by the way."
"Son of a…" He quickly moved away from the cushions, while Nami giggled. "Oh, ha ha! Very funny! You can't tell me that before I sat down?"
"Yeah? Well, you kind of deserved it," Nami rolled her eyes using that same tone she used to 'congratulate' Ace.
The young adult stopped and noticed that despite of her tease, he sense some sort of hateful grudge coming in from her. "Okay," he sighed. "What did I do? Or what did Luffy do, to make you hate me so much?"
"Nothing," Nami brushed her spite off after hearing Ace's apologetic tone. It would be wrong of her to start pointing fingers at people, when clearly she's at fault for gambling in the first place. "I'm just in a bad mood, that's all."
"Oh," Ace fell to his oblivious state. "Just cheer up then!" He flashed the family's trademark smile. No matter how weird or dysfunctional the Monkey D. family can be, Nami can never get tired of their smile. "I'm going to go wake Luffy up."
"And I'm going to make breakfast," Nami continued along. The two then disappeared off without exchanging another conversation.
As Nami waited for the frying pan to heat up, she wondered how she ended up playing surrogate sister to Luffy. Never in her life, would she ever be this committed to a boy. Truth to be told, she's not really fond of boys in general, Luffy and his friends being the exception since they're friends from elementary school. Thinking about it again, she wondered how things will be different if she didn't meet him in the park eleven years ago.
Young six years old Nami happily strutted down her neighborhood, whistling that familiar tune she once heard from the television. Her ragged red elementary school backpack is hanging on her back, bouncing along with her every time she reached to the chorus of the music. Yes, life had never been better for the child, she has a loving mother and sister, and everybody in school have no problem with her. There's no need for her to worry or fret over money just yet, as a child the only thing she worry of was handing her homework on time.
Upon reaching the end of the street, Nami turned down to the familiar route entering to the road that connect to the park she enjoy visiting with her family. She entered through, not for recreation but to cut time short and exit through the other entrance that will shortcut her distance by a few minutes. Passing by the jungle gym and the fun swing, she stopped when she saw an unfamiliar boy roaming around the bushes. The young child stopped to examine the stranger more, through closer look she can deduce that he is roughly her age, and somehow looked quite familiar.
Nami's mother had always warned her not to talk to strangers, and she was sure as well that this child's parents did the same thing. Yet, that advice did not affect to the two kids at this moment. Nami slowly approached the boy by the tree, the sounds of her footsteps bring the boy's attention to turn towards her.
"Hello!" he greeted her excitedly with a grin.
"Hi…" Nami's response was somewhat timid. The boy's eagerness did take her by surprise.
"What's your name?" he asked Nami directly.
"Nami," she answered pointing at her school name tag. Nami knew better not to talk to strangers, but something about this particular boy actually made her feel quite comforting. Was it because of his innocent smile or kind nature? She didn't know, but whatever it may be, she was attracted to him.
"My name is Luffy!" she pointed to his own name tag. "Nice to meet you, Nami," he grinned again. That smile of his was very alluring, like a single flicker of light from the deepest depth of darkness, Nami was drawn to it.
"Nice to meet you too, Luffy," she smiled back.
Nami looked again at her past self, still wondering if that six years old girl really was her. She knew herself well that she wouldn't be that friendly to a boy. Of course thinking at it again, she was just an innocent child back then trying to make some friends. If it was thirteen years old Nami, perhaps things would be different. Nami wondered if it was fate that led her to Luffy. She did meet at him at the right time; during her "friendlier" time. If she met Luffy further on, would she befriend with him? Looking back at her bratty self at the age of thirteen, the chance of that was low indeed.
"Then again, I can just call quit on our friendship now," Nami smirked to herself silently. "Though I'm pretty sure Luffy wouldn't even remember about it."
"Are you just going to stand there?"
Nami immediately jolted up in shock. She turned around to find the two brothers sitting down on the dining table, with cutleries in each of their hand anticipated over the upcoming breakfast.
"I'm sorry, what?" Nami asked confusingly.
"Are you just going to stand there? Or are you going to serve us some food?" Ace asked looking annoyed. Nami can only roll her eyes out of irritation.
"Just give it a minute, your majesty!" Nami emphasized the last two words sarcastically to the max.
"What happened to work?" the innocent one asked.
"Day off!" she angrily replied.
"Oh," Luffy can only reply in return. "Well, thanks for coming on your day off," he grinned sincerely. Nami sighed and turned back to the turned on stove, looking at Luffy grin like that somehow soothe her anger away.
"Don't flatter yourself," Nami replied trying to avoid the two boys' stare. "I just don't have anything else better to do, that's all." The fact's not entirely true of course, unlike yesterday, Nami actually haven't called any of her girl friends yet. And Ace somehow saw through the lies out of her.
"Do you want to cook your own damn food?" Nami angrily yell back to the two boys, though she's referring to Ace more.
"No, ma'am," Ace apologized sincerely out of fear. He liked to consider himself as a courageous man, never let anything scare him or made him cower out of fear. But yet, he still can never stop but to shudder at the sight of Nami's angry face and yell. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
"See that it won't," she returned back to the stove. "By the way, why are you here anyway?"
"Just checking up on my family," Ace replied smoothly. "Can't I do that?"
"No. Seriously. Why are you here?" Nami asked again this time strongly emphasizing the word 'why'. She knew Ace well enough that he won't be coming home without a proper reason, and judging by his circumstances, it could be financial trouble.
"For the free food," he replied knowing well that he cannot fool Nami.
"That's kind of pathetic, Ace," Luffy looked at his embarrassed brother.
"Hey! I don't need to hear that from someone like you!" Ace pointed at his younger brother angrily with his fork. "Things are just looking pretty bad with me right now, okay! I'm just having trouble getting clients because of the recession and all."
"Really?" Nami sarcastically asked turning back around to face him. "The recession? You're going to stick with that?"
"Well, yeah," Ace shrugged. "What else can it be? People saw me kicked Rob Lucci's ass in court few days ago. And if I'm not getting any clients, then it must because of the recession. What else other reason can it possibly be?"
"Your own incompetence!" Nami would just love to say that to his face, maybe that will motivate Ace to work even harder.
"Anyway," Ace started a new conversation. "Luffy, let's go play paintball!"
"Alright! Wait! Why do you mean no?" Ace turned to Nami.
"Luffy has no time to mess around right now," Nami explained as she served up breakfast to the two brothers. They immediately clawed their food, giving Nami not a second to finish her sentence. "He has private tutoring with me."
"What?" Ace nearly choked on his sausage. "Tutoring? Since when?"
"Awww… c'mon, Nami!" Luffy groaned. "Just this once."
"No!" she repeated again. "I told you this already! I hardly get days off. And when I do, I expect you be ready for tutoring." Luffy groaned in dismay, knowing well that he cannot win in an argument with Nami.
Upon losing against Nami's argument and missing out on a fun-filled day with his brother, somehow his breakfast didn't taste as good as it was before. Ace felt pity for his younger brother, so he did what any brother would do.
"You're being unreasonably selfish, Nami," he stood up for Luffy. "You can't expect Luffy to fit in with your time schedule."
Nami would not want to argue anymore of this trivial matter. She did not want to be here in the first place and would just want to get Luffy's tutoring over and done with it. And if Luffy is being difficult on all of this, she would bring him down on her knees with one simple call.
"Luffy! Listen to Nami!" Garp's booming voice echoed from the second floor. The magic word is indeed a powerful one. After the immediate call, the two brothers are brought down by their grandfather's scold. Nami deviously smiled over her achievement.
"Ace! Some support here!" Luffy panted not willing to give up his fight for freedom.
"Sorry lil' bro, you're on your own," he turned to Luffy with a tired smile. "I… can't do anything when pops is involved."
"Geez, you gave up quick!" Luffy rolled his eyes sarcastically. "Some lawyer you turned out to be."
"Hey! At least I chose a career that walk through the path of justice!" Ace defended his honor. "I refuse to work as some corporate fat cats' gear that made his company go round."
"And yet those gears can afford to eat every single day without mooching off their parents," Nami shot Ace's confidence down.
"Urrghh… oh yeah!" Ace struggled to get up. "Well… I… at least… I can… Oh, shut up!" Ace gave up laying his head down on the table. Luffy and Nami watched the poor young adult groaned, it really did bring the atmosphere down. "Be honest with me you guys. Am I a crap lawyer?"
"You're not a crap lawyer, Ace," Nami sighed feeling sorry for Ace. "Tell him, Luffy." She looked over to Luffy, pointing him to say something uplifting for his brother.
"Yeah, you're not awful," Luffy tried to come up a good point. "You're just… unorganized."
"And need to take things seriously," Nami nodded towards Luffy.
"So… what," Ace lifted his head looking surprised. "You guys saying I'm incompetent?" The two friends looked at each other again, giving Ace the impression that none would dare to answer his question. "Some friends you are," Ace however already know the answer to his own question. "You know, I get this kind of crap a lot from my firm. But I didn't expect this from you guys."
"Look, Ace," Nami expressed her opinion. "All we're saying is that maybe if you get your head around the game, no one will call you incompetent!"
"Nami!" Luffy shrieked out of warning.
"So what!" Ace got off to face her by the stove. "You're saying I'm incompetent?"
"Yes!" Nami faced up to Luffy's brother. "Yes I am!" It's time for her to stop beating around the bush and express her opinion clearly.
Feeling insulted by Nami's call, Ace stood up, talling over her by a few inches. He looked down at her while she stared at him with those determined eyes he remembered. She's not the type who back off anybody, and Ace knew that well too. Ever since they first met, he can see that she's one tough girl.
Many weeks later after six years old Nami befriend with Luffy, the two have been closer than ever. Not only that Nami discovered Luffy attend the same school with her, but they lived relatively quite close with each other. Despite their gender difference, Luffy played with Nami whenever he had the chance. This, of course, can only happen when the two crossed paths again at the same park where they met.
One day during one of their after school play time at the park, an unexpected current of event occurred. It all started when the two friends were playing by the swing. Luffy was swinging by as hard and as fast as he can muster, while Nami stood by watching him swinging high and low.
"Luffy, please be careful," said Nami feeling worried of his safety.
"Don't worry, Nami!" Luffy assured her. "Watch me how far I can jump!" And with no further due, Luffy did jump off the swing. With the right angle, and at the right precise time where he released the handle, he flew far.
"Wow!" she was impressed of him. "That was so cool, Luffy!"
"He he he he!" Luffy grinned up. "That was pretty cool, huh."
Luffy and Nami turned towards the cry of the new boy who recently arrived to the park. There he stood dressed in a white singlet and dark shorts, his hair is as dark and shaggy as Luffy's. If only this boy did not have any freckles on his face, Nami would guess that he's a splitting image of Luffy's, except taller. The boy wasn't alone however, he is currently accompanied with another boy. But this child is more well dressed, and also wearing a top hat, which the other boy is missing.
"You think you're so cool just cause you can jump that far from a stupid swing!" the same boy spoke in an unfriendly tone. "That is lame, Luffy."
"How did this boy know Luffy?" was Nami's first thought. She looked over to Luffy, who was looking more anxious than his previous expression. His huge grin immediately dropped, and replaced with a look of uncertainty.
"Hi, Ace," Luffy waved nervously. "Whatcha doing here?"
"None of your business!" Ace raised his voice sternly. "Who's the chick?" he pointed to Nami. His rough talk and booming voice intimidated her.
"This is Nami," Luffy introduced her. "She's my new friend." Ace looked over to Nami, he can see that she's looking quite timid over Ace. Ace, however, find her fidgety motion to be quite cute.
"Playing with a girl now, Luffy?" Ace mocked trying to keep his tough-guy persona. "What are you, a girl?"
"That's a lame insult, Ace," the top-hat kid laughed over Ace's comments.
"Shut up, Sabo!"
"We don't want any trouble, Ace," Luffy assured the two boys. "We're just going to play somewhere else now. Let's go, Nami."
Luffy never really got along with his brother, Ace. He tried to, but after a black-eye and a couple of bruises, Luffy's convinced that Ace wasn't interested in doing so either. So Luffy avoided his brother at home and wherever else, it's a shame that Ace liked to use his brother as a punching bag. And he is very convincing to manipulate Luffy from ratting it out to his grandpa.
"Luffy!" Ace stopped Luffy by his tracks. "Go home. Dadan's looking for you." Luffy looked over to his demanding brother, and he still cannot disobey him whenever he gave that angry glare.
"Okay," Luffy nodded. He wanted to play more, especially with his new friend. But with his brother taking over the priority role, he can't do anything but to oblige. "Sorry, Nami."
"It's okay, Luffy. I'll go home too," Nami said walking with him. "My house is on the way, let's go together."
Luffy smiled, grateful of Nami to understand his problem. But Ace wasn't going to let it go just yet. Just like what any jealous or petty child wanted, he wanted to have the thing that his brother has and what he doesn't.
"Actually, Nami. Why don't you stay and play with us?" Ace blurted.
Apart of Ace, all the other three children exclaimed out of shock. Neither of them would've known this to happen, especially Nami. She just met the rough kid and here he is, out of the blue, asking her to play with him.
"Ace, are you serious?" Sabo asked his friend. "She's a girl!"
"So what?" he asked back.
"You just said that real men don't play with girls!" Sabo replied back. It's true as Sabo said, Ace wouldn't want to play around with girls. But the idea itself of Luffy having one thing that he doesn't have is driving him mad.
"So are you coming or not?" Ace asked Nami anyway ignoring Sabo's angry rant.
"No, thanks," Nami replied shyly. "I want to go home too." Nami is clearly not comfortable to be hanging around Ace and his friend. The boy just show up out of nowhere, harassed Luffy and then invited her to go with him, clearly not a good first impression to start a friendship bond.
"No! You stay!" Ace ordered her. "I'll show you a lot of cooler things that I can do which Luffy can't." Ace is not the type to give up. When Luffy has something that Ace doesn't have, Ace forced it out of his brother's hands.
"Come on, Ace. Are you serious?" Sabo, on the other hand, was getting tired of Ace's stubborn personality.
"I don't want to stay," Nami expressed her feelings. "I want to go home. Let's go Luffy."
"Luffy! Tell her to stay!" Ace ordered again, this time to his own brother. If he can't make her to listen, he will make his brother to make her to listen. Luffy never say no to Ace, naturally because he's afraid to.
"You're not actually going to tell me to stay, are you?" Nami asked towards Luffy. Nami may only know Luffy for a couple of weeks, but she knew that Luffy is not the type who sell out for other people. She knew about this straight after meeting him, he's not that type of person.
"Maybe… just for a little bit," he shrugged nervously.
Nami cannot believe what she is hearing. Never in her life had she ever witness someone so cowardly. Even worse, it's her own friend who performed this deed. She expected Luffy to stand up for her, she expect some good things from him. She had never misjudged anyone before, there's a first time for everything.
"Unbelievable!" she looked in disgust. "I'm going home!" She gave Luffy one last look before taking off.
"Nami…" he managed to say. Her last look drilled his heart hard, never had he seen her looking so angry before.
"Don't talk to me!" she yelled at him. "And I'm not staying with you either!" she turned towards Ace.
Ace didn't reply, nor did he have anything to say either. He's too much in shock to see this girl stood her ground on her own, and yelled so loud. He figured that she's a shy kid based on her reaction towards him, but boy was he surprised upon learning this.
Nami's in state of shock on her own. She had never yelled at anyone before. She never figured she would have that much anger in her either. Shocked over her sudden breakout and at the boys' surprised stare, she made a dash. Leaving the three boys speechless upon learning of Nami's tough personality.
End of flashback
Up to this point of age and life, Nami's angry breakout is a dime a dozen. Even after their past issues are fixed up, Nami still lose her temper now and then. But throughout her angry rant or scream, it always mean well to her personality. Tough, strong, stubborn and strict. Just like it is now, she's not to back down from Ace, even after calling him incompetent.
"Whatever!" Ace shrugged. "I'm outta here!" He then left the kitchen without even finishing his food. Luffy looked over his brother, then to Nami for a quick scowl before caught up to Ace by the front door.
"Ace… come on," Luffy managed to made his brother stop. "Don't take it hard."
"Dude, I'm not!" Ace replied looking determined. "I am not going to let what Nami said bothers me. But I am going to go out there and prove it to her that I'm not incompetent." Ace is not exactly the type who will be pushed around either, he need to take a stand and prove Nami that he is not incompetent.
"That still means what she said bothers you," Luffy stated the truth.
"Oh, shut up!" Ace rolled his eyes. He then jumped off the porch making his way by the sidewalk, ready to leave the household and make a name of himself. "By the way, are you going to Dadan's wedding?" he asked to his brother one last question.
Yeah, same here. Later!" Ace waved his brother off. Luffy waved back and return to the kitchen, still giving Nami that usual scowl when she caught his eyes.
"What?" she asked in annoyed tone.
"Do you have to call him incompetent right on his face?" Luffy asked in regards of his brother. "He really likes his job, you know." Luffy didn't need to remind Nami in regards of Ace's feelings to his job, she too should know well of his passion for his profession.
Nami had to admit she did cross the line towards Ace, but she had good intention for her bitterness. "I know it seems harsh, Luffy," Nami sighed. "But it's for his own good."
"How so?" Luffy wondered.
"You've seen his attitude," Nami reminded of Ace at work. "Unless someone is straight with him, he'll keep it up. And before you know it, he'll be fired from his firm."
Nami knew well of work condition and what goes around in the working business. She had seen many of her co-workers laid off from their job for not meeting their monthly quota. And she wouldn't want to see anything like that to happen to Ace.
"Will he?" Luffy, however, is oblivious of that.
"Of course, you idiot!" Nami smacked his forehead. "And that goes for you too! If you want to pass high school, then you'd better hit the books and show some improvement before the school's re-open."
Since the subject was brought up, Nami need to remind Luffy as well of his current condition. She certainly hoped that this will open his eyes and motivate him to study harder for the day. And perhaps for the rest of the private session too.
"Now, go march into your room, and study!" she continued to scold him. "I'll come by shortly after I clear the kitchen. And you'd better be studying!" She looked at Luffy with those strict look of hers, telling him that she was serious about this.
"Okay! Okay! I will! I will!" Luffy nodded to satisfy Nami. His response tone was somewhat normal. It didn't sound like he's neither annoyed nor angry. Nami took this as a good sign of Luffy's feelings.
"Good," she nodded. "Now, get going!" she pointed straight at the living room. Luffy complied and walked out of the kitchen, looking back at her once she faced the kitchen sink. He stopped to look at her, he understood well of Nami's intention. She may appear openly rude and bossy towards Luffy, but he knew that she meant well.
"Hey, Nami," he drew her attention, in which he successfully did. "Thanks."
"For what?" she obliviously asked.
"For doing this," Luffy replied honestly. "Even though you complain, angry and yelling at me a lot, I'm glad you still stick with me."
It's true as Luffy said. Strange as it seem, Luffy had a knack of always making Nami to yell and angry at him. But through a strange bond that they created through their childhood, she always stuck with him and forgiving him. Nami just can't stay angry with him whenever he flashed that trademark family grin. The same exact one that reeled her into befriending him in the first place.
"Don't let it get over your head!" Nami warned Luffy, reminding him not to push his luck. "Remember! I'm just holding the end of our bargain! That's all!"
Thinking back at her choice of words, she then remembered that it sound exactly like the last couple of times she said yesterday and a few minutes ago today. It's because of these sentences that she's pinned as a subject of otaku-ism.
"And don't you dare calling me a tsundere again!" she warned him before he managed to call her that word.
"I wasn't gonna," he shrugged in reply. After all, whatever Nami did for Luffy and his family, he knew that it's nothing else but out of care and kindness.
WOW, ANOTHER LONG UPDATE. "SIGH" AGAIN, I HOPE MY FANS ARE STILL WAITING FOR MY UPDATE. GUESS THE TSUNDERE NAMI JOKE IS GOING TO BE AROUND FOR A LITTLE WHILE. ANYWAY, TO ALL WHO STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT 'TSUNDERE' IS, JUST GOOGLE IT UP AND YOU'LL GET YOUR ANSWER. THANKS FOR READING, AND DON'T FORGET TO REVIEW.