I think it's time that I revamp this story and actually work on completing it. While most of you have probably abandoned it, I hope maybe someone else finds happiness while reading it. It's been almost 7 years since I really worked on it, so I'm sure my writing has changed.

OR NOT.

Anyway, I thought of this story many years ago while listening to "Cool" by Gwen Stefani.

In this rummage of words and choppy English, I have taken the liberty of conveniently removing select members of the Mugiwara Kaizoku (a.k.a. Strawhat Pirates)…you'll find out who select members are by their absence. Is this because I hate them? Yes.

And that was a bold blatant "yes", by the way….

Not really a pairing story. Just some allusions…. Not really a serious story either. Just an idea of what could have happened. Is this an AU? I guess.

I love reviews. You will leave one, yes? Yes.

Buxtehude's protégé,

Kelsey/Ken


CHAPTER 1: Three Years Dead

The letter could have given worse news, but it still didn't lessen any stress that Nami, former navigator of the Straw Hat Pirate Crew, had been experiencing. She still winced at the pain throbbing on the side of her index finger; when would she learn to open envelopes with the letter opener? A thin trace of red blood lined the ripped envelope paper where she had recklessly ran her finger along it, lazily trying to just get the letter out, that was the purpose. But no, even envelopes defeated her on a daily basis.

In bold sloppy handwriting, the message contained read:

Nami,

I wrote letters to everyone else on the crew too! I want us all to see each other again, a reunion. Like old times. Just a small party. I thought that Roguetown would be great. I will be there June 30th at noon, and maybe we can stay the night there and party! I hope to see you there!

-Luffy

"On the crew". It had been years, yet he still referred to everyone collectively as the crew, of old. She sighed and rolled her eyes at his refusal to accept that their seafaring days were over (he had written her on two other occasions to just 'check up' on her). They had 'found' One Piece: yes, that most elusive of all treasures. Turned out to be a cruel joke after all. Nami had the feeling they were merely following the lead of a rumor all along, but Luffy wouldn't hear it. He wouldn't believe the letter in the treasure chest either, perched atop a small knoll above the would-be grave of Gold Roger, had he not been captured and executed in Roguetown; it was the last island they would sail to on the stretch of the Grand Line. He was probably laughing in his cold sleep:

"Not all that glitters is gold, so they say; this one piece of advice goes a long way."

Disgusting.

Luffy stared at the yellowed crumbling letter for an eternity before stuffing it back into the empty wooden chest, its rusty hinges disintegrating as they closed the lid shut for one last time. It took him two more weeks of sailing to fully appreciate the letter's message (with much explaining, mostly from the navigator), after which it was soon decided that everyone still had dreams to carry out. Luffy had nothing more to journey toward, and the other crew members had nothing else to cling to. They separated. Nothing glittered for them anymore.

Nami silently packed up her things after deciding her course, not bothering to talk with anyone the whole day. Even Sanji denied eye contact with her. He was being abnormally loud about collecting his kitchen tools from the galley, storing them in padded boxes and cases; anytime anyone asked for food, he responded icily with a solid "NOT PREPARING IT". Usopp packed his odds and ends, Chopper replaced his small doctor's case with medicine bottles and various tools. Zolo slept on the deck alongside the only three items he owned. And Luffy sulked in the crow's nest. It was in Roguetown that they disbanded, continuing to deny their future as independents. Nami felt strangely calm and content with herself, as she faced the inner circle they all made on one of the wide boating docks, ocean happily lapping at the pier's posts, boats and ships bobbing on the waves, the sun burning any exposed skin. It felt like they had all just escaped this city on a fateful stormy day, chased by the Navy, heading out towards the Grand Line. But time pressed onward.

Luffy bid them all good luck; everyone smiled generally, looking about the circle casually, hoisting their packs and maneuvering their luggage. No one cried. It was unnerving but fortunate at the same time, the fact no one seemed upset, even after all they had been through together. Zolo was the first to turn away, his swords hanging heavily from his hip. Chopper and Usopp headed towards two boats tied to an adjacent pier, and Luffy smiled still, nervously, at his former cartographer and chef. Sanji glanced briefly at Nami, who tried to smile at him, an attempt to make herself feel like the human she was (the robotic complacency had frightened her by now). But he turned around quickly and walked toward the center of the busy town, not bothering at a "good bye".

She wanted to feel something, some effect from that, but didn't. She knew somewhere in the back of her head that she should have felt hurt, or abandoned, or worthless, regardless of the fact she refused to like him anymore than an overly amorous chef could be liked. But she stood there, dark eyes wide, satisfied with boring holes in the back of his white T-shirt as she stared.

She told Luffy good bye, and where she was going: he was the only person she told. She'd be in Coco Village for a while, if he had to contact her. She didn't know why she told him; something pressed her to let someone know her whereabouts.

Thus, the letter now sitting on her desk, sun rays letting her see the dust in the tangerine air, the open window letting in an ocean breeze as well as the occasional fly. After three years, Luffy contacted her for the purpose of reunion. She had the opportunity to see everyone in the crew again. If they went. What had they done with themselves, without the rest of them, in three years' time? What would she tell them that she had done? She felt unaccomplished, but happy with her yearly harvest, her small produce business that she took to various local islands. She lived in the same house Belle-Mere raised Nojiko and her in, nothing much changed. She looked the same, she felt the same. There just wasn't a "Crew" involved.

A small folded paper with a messy scrawl reply was placed in the mailbox as Nami wondered if she had done the right thing. Again.


END. Review please.