How The Wind Blows On Such A Stormy Night
Oh, How The Wind Blows On Such A Stormy Night
"Nami! Get back here!" the swordsman yelled over the storm. His steps were in sync with hers, but that wasn't enough for him to reach her wrist again.
"No!" he barely heard her holler of a reply. He grunted as he watched her trudge onward in the storm, completely ignore the obvious pressure of the gusting wind to find her target. Gritting his teeth, the first mate thought to himself angrily, 'Her stubbornness is going to be the death of her!'
The two Straw Hats treaded with great difficulty through murky grasslands, while a monstrous storm raged overhead. Nami had predicted there would be a tsunami earlier that day, and everyone had spent the earlier hours of the morning prepping the Sunny for the assault to be faced. By late afternoon, Nami's prediction was only proven to be half-correct, as the storm did attack the Sunny. However, it was not a tsunami, but a combination of a cyclone, thunderstorm and whirlpool all in one clash against them. With only minor preparations, of course it was impossible for the nakama to survive unharmed. They all took turns saving each other from flying away, or plunging into the sea. That is, all but Nami and Brooke.
The cyclone, luckily, grabbed hold of them first and gave the Straw Hats the ride of their life. As Luffy tried to enjoy the experience, the Sunny began to fall apart. Pieces of wood from all sides were flying around them, in every direction, within the circular void. Unfortunately, it seemed the captain's luck ran out on him, as a large group of floorboards collided against him while he was seated on the Sunny's lion head. All seemed well for the boy, as he grabbed hold of one of the 'mane's' spikes, until Usopp pointed out to him that his Straw Hat had been tossed into the wind. In an anxious stupor, the captain tried to reclaim his treasure, but nearly lost his life in the process. Sanji had pulled him over onto the deck and almost had to render him unconscious, just to calm him down. They were released from the cyclone a few minutes later, just under the crackling of the thunder.
Monkey D. Luffy had received a set of simple injuries, as did a few others, but all that plagued Nami was a powerful, sick feeling in her gut. As unpredictable as the Grand Line was, she was so positive with her ability to read the weather, and yet it had been proven falsely. Not only that, but her captain almost lost his life while trying to save his treasure. And to top off her feeling of uselessness, she was the only one unscathed by any flying debris because she hadn't stuck out her neck to save anyone. She couldn't have even if she had tried.
While all were within the infirmary, she had spent the time reading her maps and proof reading her logs, looking back at the pose she wore on her wrist. She worked diligently and with strong determination; if Luffy's hat was out there on the waters, judging by the wind pressure and force of the sea, there was only a certain distance it could possibly be in. With a seventy-six percent certainty of where her captain's straw hat could be, Nami kidnapped the Miny Merry and departed, giving no notice to her friends. She sailed around in a circular formation for two to three hours, the storm showing no rest.
Eventually, the Straw Hats had discovered their navigator was missing, and immediately dropped their current activities to find her. Usopp had informed everyone that the Miny Merry had been taken, and with The Sunny in its wreckage-condition, the crew split up; Zoro Franky and Chopper went off in the Shark Submerge III. As uncomfortable as it was with the three of them in that tight space, they each took turns looking for a spunky red-head blob in the dark of dusk. The minutes turned into hours with the nakama as well, and only by a double-take did Zoro spot the missing navigator, just as she was disembarking onto a make-shift island with one hand supporting her neck. Not allowing a moment to be wasted, he called to the oversized cyborg to announce his discovery, and then departed from the miniature submarine, swimming as fast as he could to reach the girl.
As if karma, fate, and all those other worldly powers the swordsman didn't believe in wanted to prove him wrong, the lightning crackled right in front of him as he had reached the island's shore. Taking a mere second to compose himself, he threw his body onto the sandy surface with a huge gasp for air. His eyes were dark with annoyance and irritation as he looked up at the young woman, only to see she hadn't even noticed his presence and still proceeded onto the island. He felt a thick vein in his forehead throb, before he leapt up and dashed after her. He tried calling to her, his voice as loud as it could possibly be, but the waves and wind dominated his voice.
Thankfully, she had paused for a moment, to look left to right, and it gave him a chance to slide toward her and grab onto her wrist. She had whipped around at such a blinding speed, that in the time frame of a wink, they were face to face. They were both panting as they looked at one another, exhaustion in their eyes and stances. A small drop of blood drizzling along the bridge of her nose made him take notice to the small gash on her forehead, almost taking away the breath he had just earned back.
"What the hell are you doing?!" he bellowed, trying to dominate the wind once more. The lightning crackled in time with him, displaying the intensity of his anger. She looked more upset then surprised, drawing back from his grip.
"What are you doing here?" She countered poorly, which he assumed was due to the fact that she had not expected anyone to trail her the way he did. He felt the need to yank on her balled fist in his grip. She had the nerve to argue with him, for trying to bring her home with him. The creaking of the trees around him snapped him out of the fixation his instincts were luring him into.
"What do you think? I'm here to get you! Let's go! The storm is getting worse!" Turning back toward the direction he was sure he had come from, he tried to bring her along with him. But of course, Nami fought against his hold on her, even using her free hand's nails to dig into his hand. He gritted his teeth to decimate any profanity, as it would serve no purpose now. His free hand swung around to land on hers, trying to pull her sharp weapons off of him. Both being relentless, they almost missed the lightning bolt that had struck the tree beside them, and that it was falling in their direction.
Sensing danger, immediately, Zoro reacted. He gathered the strength he didn't want to use against the navigator and tossed her away from him. They landed on their arses, while the trunk was less then an inch from their feet. The swordsman growled at the stupidity of the events that were taking place and glared over the tree between him and his target. Apparently, Nami wasted no time and already took off down her previous trial. Stomping with rage, he jumped over the tree and chased after her.
They had been doing so for an undetermined amount of time, and his patience had already left him long ago. No matter how many times he called to her, no matter how many times he had come close, she had always slipped by him and ignored her presence. Finally, it came to the point where the swordsman became desperate. Pulling out his cursed blade, he threw it through the vicious wind, the blade landing not even an inch from her ear. Her body jumped back in fear, giving him the perfect opportunity.
Nami's breath had caught in her throat at the peripheral view of the sword, scaring her out of her wits. She thought she had such a leg up over him that she took the time to even out her heart beats. Unfortunately for her, she misjudged her companion, and she was within his clutches in a second after the blade had frightened her. However, to correct his previous mistake, he grabbed her by her shoulders and brought her closer to him, by bending in his elbows.
"I said we're leaving!" His ferocity snuck up on him and admitted into his sentence. By her eyes, he read that she was surprised by such boldness, displayed by him of all people. Nevertheless, it was a fleeting sense, as she did as she always would and matched his stare. Refusing to allow her anymore shots at his masculinity, he took no chance with her and picked her up. Holding her over his shoulder, he swiftly turned around, then raced off down the darkening path that had been concealed by more and more tree trunks as they had raced.
"Zoro! Let me go! Now! Stop it!" How he wished her voice could've been beaten by the storm. With her mouth right at his ear, she persistently blared as loud as she could, he was sure of it. Her consistent cries of 'stopping' and 'add to his debt' and 'you don't understand' was more aggravating to him then the small nail marks he would wear on his skin for a few days. Turning off the trail, hearing more complaints about that too, he found a swampy setting with no trees in sight and threw her out of his arm. He didn't allow her to fall on her arse though; he wouldn't let her dupe him.
"What the hell is your problem?" It was all he could think of to say. He understood nothing of her reasoning, but if it was enough to risk her life, he knew there was something to dig for in this situation.
She glared ferociously under her bangs and said something he could make out. He asked her to repeat it, and she smirked, stood and shouted in his face, "It's none of your business!"
"Agh…Yes it is! I'm here to bring you back!" Again, he didn't know what else to say. It was sounding to him as a simple situation, so why was she making it so much more difficult then it needed to be?
"I didn't ask you to! I was going to come back soon anyway! This was the last thing I needed to do and I was going to go home!"
"And what is it you need to do?"
"It's none of your business!" As much as he wanted to throw her over his shoulder again and run, he knew he would lose his ear drum if he tried that again. He also found the small desire to almost throw her against a tree and make her explain, but he would never use such force against Nami, let alone his crew.
"If you won't tell me, then I'll just take you back now." He did his best to sound honest, loosening his hands from the fists they were currently clenched in, emphasizing his point.
"You wouldn't dare, I know it! I'll come back in a while, so just go back!"
"I can't do that!"
"Yes you can!"
"No, I can't! I have to bring you back!"
"I don't care! Piss off!" She was seething with rage by this point, looking as angry as he felt.
For her not to enlist his help, there was something else going on. It took him a while to realize it, yes, but that was because Zoro wasn't one to be in tune with others feelings. He watched her eyes for some time, looking as calm as he could, as a sort of pass of acceptance. Clearly, he could see she was frantic about something; it was unmistakeable in her eyes. Blinking once, he sighed and walked over to her, so there would be no more reason to yell. She was on guard at the instant he initiated his approach, but he shrugged it off.
"What's going on?" He looked at her a kindness she had only seen whenever he was proud of someone else. It confused her greatly. So much so, she couldn't even conclude a reason why. To save her own skin, she scoffed, her hands resting on her hips, "What? Are you going to help me or something?"
He shrugged again, "What else can I do? If you won't leave, then I've got to help you. What are we doing here?"
She felt touched that he wanted to help her, really she did, but this was something she wanted to do on her own. She was the one who made the wrong prediction, which caused the crew to be injured, the Sunny in terrible condition and for Luffy to lose his treasure. She remembered when he had protected her in Arlong Park, and how he shared his treasure with her. If nothing else, she had to protect it. She had to find it for him! But in the current situation, how could she refuse help from someone as strong and willing as the swordsman?
"I'm looking for treasure." Was her reply. He gawked.
"You're out in a storm to find some stupid treasure?"
"It's not stupid! It's no where near!"
"This island is falling apart and you think it's not stupid to look for some treasure? You have enough on the Sunny! How much more could you want?"
"Shut up! If you're going to talk to me like this, then I don't want your help!" She couldn't tell him it was for Luffy's hat. She was ashamed enough as it was. She wanted to redeem herself by being the one to grab it herself and hand it back to her captain. If Zoro was willing to help without questioning, then she could have used him as a mode of transportation or as a warrior. But just as every other case with the two of them, they couldn't help but fight. She had been looking for that hat from the moment she departed her home, so it had to be here. She didn't require his help by this point.
"Is it Luffy's hat you're looking for?" He questioned blatantly.
She almost fell over, with a 'you've got to be kidding me' look on her face. 'We've been here arguing for how long and he suddenly just figures it out now?' She almost had half a mind to continue denying him an answer, but as the scent of smoke filled her nose, Nami began to panic, her eyes growing wide, and she lost all interest in their conversation. Turning around as quickly as she had when Zoro first met up with her, she looked back to see the trees to the south engulfed in flames. Her heart stopped. What if his hat was over there? She had calculated that it would be to the somewhere in the west of the island, so what if it was the south west? If his hat was burning because she lost time by talking to 'Marimo', she would never forgive him!
"Nami! Come on!" The red-head could only choke on a stifled breath as she was thrown onto Zoro's back at a compelling speed. Grabbing onto his shoulder blades, she looked at the back of his head, as if somehow she would receive and explanation this way. However, her obvious curiosity was ignored as Zoro bolted off in the direction they had come from, "Which way?"
"R-Right!" She answered, putting her weight into her knees, pushing her body upward so she could see over his head.
He ran as fast as he could, scaring her enough to scream profanities she obviously didn't mean. The smoke was becoming heavier, as the fire was growing at a dangerous rate, even causing them to take detours while travelling the west side. Nami looked down at his head again, a look of worry on her face. It was bad enough that he was running the way he was, because it was almost demonic which made her think his human body shouldn't be able to handle it, but the smoke was making the air thicker, meaning it would be even harder to breathe. She was about to complain when she saw something whisk by their path.
"Zoro!" she gasped, recognizing the straw hat of her captain. She brought herself closer to his back, only to use one hand to direct him toward the floating treasure. But luckily, he had already made his turn. "I know!" He answered as a delayed reaction. That hinted to her how much the smoke was really harming him. 'As soon as we get Luffy's hat,' she thought with determination, 'we are getting out of here!'
Just to suit their luck, their captain's proudest possession became stuck on a tree branch. Zoro came to a halt just below their target, leering at it with his familiar feeling of annoyance. Looking over his shoulder, he looked Nami in the eye, then nodded upward.
"Huh? Oh no, you go—…Fine! Just don't peak up my skirt!" She whined an empty threat, knowing there was no reason to even say such a thing, and climbed into his shoulders. She felt even sorrier for her companion, as she was wearing her favourite pair of heels that day too. She stretched as high as she could, but the fiery destruction was only making her nervous. The blackness and depth of the dark clouds wasn't helping her cause either. And to add the icing to it all, the realization that it's easier to get hit by lightning when you're closer to the sky reared its ugly head into her mind. She glared at the tree, 'This isn't really helping me any.'
"Did you get it?" The swordsman called from beneath her.
Shaking her head slightly, she yelled out a 'sorry!' and went on her tip-toes, trying to reach it with ease. Her fingers scratched at the air, as if it would somehow bring her closer to the hat, but it was almost next to impossible. 'I can't give up!' she cried in her head, 'I have to get it! I have to!' Whipping out the Clima-Tact, she quickly made it into a one piece weapon and poked the hat carefully. With two pokes, it finally budged. That gave Nami a reason to smile. 'Almost! I almost have it!'
Ignoring what was on display above his head, Zoro looked up at the tree branch to see how she was progressing. Once his eyes locked on to the Clima-Tact, he grimaced, 'She better get that hat soon!' Zoro wasn't the smartest of the Straw Hats, and he was well aware of it, but he knew that having a metal rod out and extended during a lightning storm was a dangerous fleet. He jumped up once to give her an edge, but almost made her lose balance and got scolded for it. "Just shut up and get it! We don't have much time!" By this point, both their voices were struggling to come out, and each word was coated with a cough. They were both growing worried, but continued to retrieve Luffy's hat.
By her seventh jab, the hat fell down, slipping through Nami's grasps, only to be caught by Zoro. She smiled down at him with such joy, for the first time in a long while, he returned it with a proud grin. In a way, it fancied it that his show of happiness only last for three winks. As the two stared at each other, for a short period of time too, a bolt became attracted to the Clima-Tact and charged toward the light blue rod. Doing his best, Zoro let go of her ankles and jumped back. He heard her shriek as she fell threw the air, but he caught her in his arms. "Nami!" He voiced his thought, scanning her for any sign of an injury. He was pleased to see he saved her in time. With both treasures secured, he sprinted in the one clear direction he could find.
Holding the straw hat to her chest, Nami felt like a weight had lifted off her heart. She knew Luffy would be happy when he would see his hat, and he would thank her as if it was never her fault. She anticipated that moment so much. Even if she felt better now, whenever Luffy approved of what she had done, just as he did in Arlong Park, it always made her feel like a better person. Looking up, she leaned slightly against her carrier with a light sigh slipping through her lips.
When he felt her head rest against him, he glanced down at her shyly. He was surprised with how comfortable she was around him. Normally, it was aggravating and tiresome to be around her, in his opinion. Whatever she said was normally in the spirit of fun, he knew, unless it had to do with her maps and navigating. She was an admirable woman, he couldn't lie about that. He once told her he was impressed by her resolve and whether or not she took it to heart, or even remembered for that matter, he honestly meant it. Maybe it was because of her resolve and her amazing skill that Luffy kept her around. Maybe now he could understand what was so likeable about this girl.
Finally, the 'other worldly powers' showed them good fortune and in a strange twist that neither understood, Zoro actually led them to the Miny Merry on his own. They looked at each other in disbelief, then laughed just the same. Slipping into their seats, Zoro took charge and steered them home. The whole way home, they said nothing, did nothing, just smile as the looked out at the water, looking out for the Thousand Sunny. That is, until…
"Zoro, where is the Thousand Sunny?"
"I don't know. I was hoping I would be able to find it just like I found the Miny Merry."