Serena walked down the road whistling quietly to herself

The snow covered the fresh ground. Serena sat in the corner, her arms crossed around her knees, a warm blanket from her captain and lover shielding her from the cold. In her hands rested a love story that she was completing. Not far away, Shanks was talking on the snail phone to one of the crewmates. As he had expected Whitebeard had refused his offer. The crewman was whining about pride through the line. "Don't risk it, just make it back safely." He hung up in hearing the crewman's sigh and sighed as well. "Well boss what are we going to do?" his gunman asked stuffing more meat in is face. "We're going." That caught the superiors' attention, especially Serena's. Before anybody else she stood and folded the blanket in her arms. "You think the navy's going to like that," Ben stated. Shanks smiled. "No Ben, I fully expect that they won't," Shanks said standing and grabbed the coat side of his missing arm. Now all of the ship's attention had been caught. "Come on, It's time for the Red Haired Pirates to set sail." This was followed by cheering as the captain walked to the ship, Serena at his heels.

She walked next to him keeping up equally with his furious pace. "Ben's right Shanks." she said looking at his sideways. Even though the crew knew they were lovers, they had always kept the mushy stuff between themselves. "You do know what Whitebeard will do when he sees you right?" Worry was obvious in her strong, beautiful voice. Shanks sighed and looked at her lovingly. "Yeah I know, but I have to risk it, right?" Serena didn't think so. She had to admit it was kind of hot to see him so serious, but she worried like a mother chick when he decided to do something so reckless. "I guess so," she answered, not sounding convinced. He reached over and took her hand briefly in a tight hold of reassurance. "It'll be fine, trust me Serena."

She wanted to, so badly, but she remembered the last time he and Whitebeard got in a fight. "So are you going to bring an offering gift?" Ben said coming out of nowhere. Serena nearly jumped in the air like a little girl. She wished he would stop doing that. "I'm thinking some large sake. The old man's health is finally failing him." Serena felt a little bit of concern in hearing this. She had no intense feelings for the great pirate, but if he became very sick she would feel a little worried. "Serena, you wouldn't mind making some of that great sake you made in our last port would you?" Shanks asked at her blank face. She blinked twice, before finding her brain again. 'How does he do that?' she thought. "Not at all, but I'll need to get ingredients at the next farming town." Serena explained watching the crew file in happily to the ship. "Anything you need, I'll pay for, okay?" She smiled at Shanks. "Okay."

They continued walking up to the quarter deck where his giant umbrella rested. Sitting in her regular spot near the stern of the ship, Serena pulled out her book to finish the last page. When that was over with she headed to her room, weaving around the men on the ship. Ingredients, she had to make a list of ingredients. Her room was originally a cargo hold for the sake barrels, but when she joined Shanks' crew he had made it into her personal quarters and workplace to be the sake maker. He even went so far as a fancy maple wood desk and medium queen sized canopy bed.

Eager to get to work she searched through her mother's oak chest case. Papers and books filled it to the brim and at the bottom sat her mother's wedding dress. She remembered when Gold Roger had told her that his favorite crew mate would look so beautiful in that dress. Smiling happily at the memory of her hero, she found the list of ingredients that created her famous Happy Guppy Sake. With a "ha" of triumph she picked up another book, the ingredient book and slammed the chest down with her foot.

After figuring that it was too quiet in her room she walked up, back to the captain's favorite resting spot. When she got there he was resting up, his back leaned against the pole of the umbrella.

Smiling at his peacefulness, Serena made her way over to her spot. With the blanket as her temporary bed she lay down her knees up, legs crossed, scratching notes on the ingredient list, and writing notes on different methods to create it just right. It felt wonderfully peaceful as they sailed away, that she almost fell asleep. She groaned as she came to the one ingredient that never made sense. Rolling onto her stomach, Serena chewed on the pen racking her brain. "You know that's bad for you, right?" she heard Shanks' voice comment. Her gaze traveled over to him facing in her direction. "Yeah, but it always helps me think." she commented back, before getting up to rewrap her favorite jacket over her shoulders. "Really, I never knew that." He smiled at her happily.

"Shanks," she said her worries finally coming out now that they had an alone moment. "I think what your going to do is really reckless. It worries me when you do this sort of thing." She crawled over to sit next to him. His eyes were hidden from her. With her free hand she pulled his face to face her. "Think about what you're going to do, please? I can't stand to see you get hurt."

He looked down at her loving face and then gave a small smile. "I did think about it, love. And I know I have to do this, even if I have to face his wrath and the navy's." Serena sighed softly, knowing she couldn't change his mind when it was set. She reached up and planted a passionate kiss on his lips. When she broke from him her eyes sparkled. "Okay, as long as you either live or beat him up good." Shanks broke into an enormous smile and chuckled. "Anything for you, love," he whispered before kissing her forehead. Serena smiled content and picked up her book again. She was about to read more about the guppy flower ingredient, when a snow flake landed on the page. She stared up at the sky to see it was snowing. "Hey Serena," the crewman at the crow's nest called. "Get up here, it's snowing!" Serena stood up and scoffed playfully, sticking a palm up in the air. "Well I can see that." she said teasingly. In a rush with one last look at Shanks she raced up the crow's nest. When she made it to the top, she was all smiles.

The last time it snowed she had been in her room brewing sake for the crew, but now she could see the full extent of it. The crewman who called her grinned at her. "I'll let you have room, miss." He rushed down back to deck and left Serena to admire the falling snow. Sitting in the corner she tried to catch them with her tongue, without anybody seeing her.

Only Shanks had ever seen the childish side of her. I mean what would it look like if the infamous Dead End Serena were catching snow on her tongue? She stood and smiled, and then frowned as something dawned on her. She grabbed her arms and shivered. "Man its cold out here," she said out loud. "YOU JUST NOTICED THAT NOW!!" she heard the crew below her yell at her. She turned and smiled apologetically, laughing at herself and their funny reaction. (A.N. Her coat has no sleeves)

Shanks couldn't but feel complete love for the woman laughing at herself. Though he was one of the ones who yelled at her for being so oblivious, his heart completely stopped when she laughed loudly. With a large sigh he grabbed her blanket and met her as she climbed down the ladder. "Here, come sit with me," he offered, still chuckling at her obviousness. She shivered, grabbed the blanket and followed him to his spot under the umbrella. When they had settled down, he handed her the list and rewrapped her blanket around her strong yet petite shoulders.

"I think I almost have all the ingredients for the sake. How good do you wish it to be captain?" Shanks thought about that. "Well I'll probably drink it to, so has good as you can make it will do." He smiled down at her as she scribbled more notes on the paper. She was so beautiful when she was thinking that his heart swelled with pride at having such a wonderful woman with him. And the fact that he had made love with that woman made him even happier.

"Done" she declared closing the paper in her book. She set it down and investigated the snow some more, never leaving Shanks' side. "At this rate it will cover he deck completely," he commented staring up at the top of the umbrella. "Lucky we have this umbrella."

Serena nodded and reached over to grab a handful of snow. Shanks frowned as she cupped it in her hands, an evil look crossing her face. As she searched the crew down below with her eyes, she spotted Yasopp doing nothing in the corner of the ship. Shanks, finally catching on, tried his hardest not to burst into laughter at her tricky plan. Serena inched up a little getting a good target point. With a swift arm, Serena threw the snowball over at Yasopp's head. It flew like a bullet, except softer and made direct contact with Yasopp's head. He fell over in shock at what hit him, and who hit him.

When he got back up, everybody's attention was on Serena and Shanks. Unable to hold it in any longer, they both erupted in joyous laughter. Yasopp looked positively angry and was reaching for another snowball. "Uh-oh, I think we started an all out war."

Shanks declared before dodging an incoming snow ball. "I guess so," Serena said, reaching for two in each hand. She threw both, one up in the sky, so that everybody watched it (a distraction) and then threw the other one at someone's head.

When the snowball war on the Red Haired Pirate ship finally calmed down, everybody was wiping snow out of their faces. Serena was still smiling as she blew hot air on her frosty and cold hands.

Shanks had rested is back to the pole and was enjoying the chilly air. He felt comfort with Serena snuggled next to him. She was smiling gracefully at the crew as they were starting to retire to bed. The navigator had informed them that the next island was just what they needed. It had a farming market and spa for Serena and a bar for everybody else. Serena had mumbled about how a spa would do her wonders. When the ship was nearly empty, Shanks decided it was time for both of them to retire. "I guess it's good night then Serena." He stood with her and walked away, only to be tugged back by Serena's strong arm.

When he whirled around he was met with soft, warm lips that melted his very soul. Serena had poured all of her love and worry in this one kiss. It started soft then developed into a beautifully romantic kiss that left both of them breathless. When they finally pulled away for air, Serena felt suddenly dizzy and tired. She rested her head against Shanks' chest and started to drift to sleep.

He chuckled and kissed her head. "Alright, the play can wait till your ready. Right now you should get some sleep." Serena didn't want to leave him. "Can I sleep with you tonight Shanks?" She was so afraid he would say no, but he only smiled. "Of course you can love." He led Serena down to the quarters. They stopped at her room so she could grab some night clothes and then headed to his room.

It was warm and comforting to Serena. It smelled exactly like Shanks mixed with the wonderful taste of the sake she brewed. It filled her nostrils and comforted her to no end. As they both reached the bed Shanks hung up his cloak and reached for Serena's jacket.

When that was done they both at the same time kicked off their shoes. Unbuttoning his shirt, Shanks got into his giant bed and watched his lover as she unwrapped her many bandages on her arms and feet.

He truly knew what was behind those bandages, burn marks from many battles. When Serena finally undid all of them she took off her shirt. Shanks grinned wickedly at her beautiful body; he even saw a few of his own marks on her chest that claimed her as his own. Slipping on a night shirt that was loose yet tight, she worked on the pants next. After she was fully ready for bed she crawled in and snuggled next to Shanks.

He wrapped his one, gentle arm around her and started to drift off to sleep. The last thing he heard and felt was a kiss from Serena and a "Good night."

Serena blinked open her tired eyes to find the space next to her empty. Rubbing her eyes, she inspected the surroundings.

Her coat was the only one on the rack next to Shanks' desk, which meant he was already awake and on deck. Listening to the sounds of a waking ship, Serena dozed off. She didn't feel like getting up just yet, even though light shone bright through the glass windows in Shanks' cabin.

As she listened she heard someone yell "land ho" up on deck. Deciding that that was her cue, Serena climbed out of the very comfortable bed and lugged herself up on deck. For some odd reason her eyes had not cleared up and it felt really warm out. The crew was busy getting ready to dock at the island. Shuffling up to the quarter deck, Serena mumbled about too much noise and stupid, baka pirates and not feeling well.

As she sat on a barrel to rest her still half- asleep self, Shanks told everybody what to do. Serena blinked like a confused mouse and yawned like a guppy. She heard a laugh behind her. Turning her tired and dizzy head she made eye contact with Ben. "What you laughing at, huh?" He smiled. "You of course, it's so funny to see you when you first wake up; like a confused mouse in the early morning." Serena scoffed in the most undignified way. "Ben, it's too early in the morning for me to consider that an insult, so I'll let you go for now." "Oh really, why thank you."

Her head snapped back and slumped down. Gloom marks flowed down from her. "If you're still tired why don't you head back to sleep, huh?" Ben asked, chuckling at his crewmate. "Humph," Serena simply grunted. He laughed again at that. This caught Shanks' attention. He walked over and held back laughter at his lover's tired and dreary self. "Are you okay, Serena? You look like shit."

Serena stared up at him with cloudy blue eyes. "I feel like it to." Shanks bent down and felt her forehead. "Maybe your sick. How do you feel sick wise?" Serena sighed and fell forward. He caught her against his chest, but with one arm he couldn't keep his balance. They both toppled back. Serena felt really hot to the touch. "Serena!? Are you okay!?" Shanks said holding her up. Serena had fainted.

Shanks' worried face was practically etched there. He was pacing fast and it was practically burning into his feet. But what could he do but worry for her. As soon as she passed out, the crew helped to get her to the nearest doctor since the one they had had left on vacation.

In the other room, Serena was finally waking up. She had a pounding in her head that wouldn't stop and her whole body felt numb, but really warm. She huffed finding it hard to breathe. Trying to get up, she was pushed down back on the bed by a funny looking man with wide round glasses and a partly bald head. "Oh no, you stay where you are. You have a Scratch fever, temporary at least, but very sickening. Best you not push yourself to hard, dear." Serena blinked.

Scratch fever, that was going to take a while to cure she was sure of it. "But, my captain is-" The old man sat her back down again. "Outside, pacing like a mad man if you must know." The man looked out the window at the viciously anxious captain. The man had rushed in with his crew, carrying the poor girl. He had to help after he saw the look on the captain's face.

He recognized that look. It was the one he always given his loving wife when he had first married her, before she passed away. It was the look of pure love and concern for an individual. "So the captain had fallen in love with this girl, and from the way she sounded just now, I'm certain she feels the same about him." he thought. "Oh my, I forgot to ask the nice man, but what is your name miss?" he asked looking down at the pretty girl. She huffed "Serena" in between breathes.

"Okay, don't push it. I just gave you medicine so you need rest." Serena nodded and let herself relax. The doctor smiled and placed a cold cloth on her forehead. "By the way old man, what is your name?" the young Serena asked. The doctor smiled. "Why my name is Gaston Thomas."

She gave a strained smile. "I owe you some sake, okay?" And with that Serena fell into another deep sleep. Gaston laughed at the girl's ability to make a joke in her position. It made him feel glad she was going to pull through. With a huff and a stretch he walked out to tell the captain the good news about his girl. As soon as he walked out Shanks almost attacked him. "Is she going to be alright? Is she?"

Doctor Thomas held up his hands in self defense and placed them on Shanks shoulder. "She'll be just fine. Her fever has not yet broken and she is still fight, but I gave her medicine to help so with luck and time she'll be good as new." Shanks, plus the rest of the crew who brought her all relaxed considerably. With a shaky sigh, Shanks sat down in a chair. He placed his hand over his face to regain his control. "Can I see her now," he asked the doctor.

Sadly, the doctor shook his old head. "She woke up for a while, but needs to rest. She will be better in a matter of time." Shanks sighed and stared at the ground. "Yeah, time."

Serena opened her eyes to see Shanks sitting in the corner alone. She smiled at him. "Hey handsome, how you doing?" Her voice sounded slurred.

He sat up quickly and happiness glowed on his face. He rushed over and held Serena in a one arm embrace. "Oh Serena, I was so worried about you." Serena smiled and brushed a hand through his red hair. "Shh," she said. "I'm okay, I feel a lot better." She heard a huge sigh of relief flood from him. "That's wonderful Serena."

He leaned back and kissed her deeply. Serena sighed happily. She didn't know anything that had happened during her rest, but this made up for it. Breaking his loving kiss, Serena smiled at him. "How long have I been asleep?"

"For about three days." Serena looked out of Shanks' gaze at Doctor Thomas. "Oh it's the kind doctor." Doctor Thomas smiled. Serena smiled kindly at him. "Am I ready to leave or do I have to stay longer?" She felt Shanks stiffen and gently rubbed his back. Doctor Thomas wiped his glasses with his shirt. "Well, your feeling better I take it," Serena nodded. "Then yes, you may go." Shanks and Serena laughed and sighed.

Then Serena remembered her promise. "I still owe you some sake old man." Finding the bag that Shanks had brought she pulled out a good bottle of herbal sake she was hoping to trade. "Here you are, made by me." The old man looked surprised. "You're a sake brewer, eh?"

"Yep that's my job on Shanks' ship." The old timer seemed thoroughly impressed. Serena got up with Shanks. "Alright then, it was nice meeting you Doctor Thomas, but I have things to do and we need to set sail." Serena hugged the old man in thanks and graciously accepted the flowers in his hand. Shanks watched her go before turning to the doctor.

They looked at each other for awhile and then Shanks bowed so low he almost touched the floor. "Sir, I don't know how to thank you enough. If anything were to have happened to her, I don't know what I would've done with myself. Thank you. I love her so much and you saved her. Thank you." The old man simply looked at the bowing captain.

"Well, it was no problem. I was happy to help such a lovely girl and a gentlemen like yourself, but if you love her so much, why don't you broadcast it to all." Shanks looked at the doctor in surprised. "If you love that girl so much, then marry her for Pete's sake. You will feel so much better when you do." The old man's gaze followed to the door that Serena exited.

"I suspect that she loves you with as much love as you do for her." He glanced sideways at Shanks. "But of course, it's none of my business. I mean I'm only an old fool of a doctor and you're the fearsome pirate "Red-Haired" Shanks; one of the greatest pirates ever. If you chose her to love for the rest of your life, it's none of my business." And with that the old man turned to clean up the bed.

"Oh yes, and your thanks is greatly appreciated." Shanks stared at the old man in shock. What boldness to say all that and think nothing of it. He smiled at the gentle man then left without another word following Serena to the rest of the crew. And strangely, he thought deeply about what the old man suggested.

Eight days after, the old man, Doctor Gaston Thomas passed away in his sleep. Some said he had a smile on his face and empty herbal sake sitting on the bedside table.

Weeks afterwards, Shanks had plucked up enough courage to ask Serena the big question. He asked Serena to marry him. Serena was as giddy as a school girl asked out on her first date. She wrapped her arms around Shanks' neck and kissed him so hard they had toppled over. "Yes, Shanks. I will spend the rest of my life with you." Serena whispered in his ear. Shanks closed his eyes and sighed. "I love you, Serena." he whispered. "I love you too, Shanks," was the reply. Shanks looked up to the sky and thanked old man Gaston, wherever he was, with all his heart.

saphire2moon: so sorry about that beginning part. it has me stumped 2. please review, and I beg you.. no fiery flames.