Author's Note: Okay, so I've had this idea floating around in my head for a long time now. This story was actually inspired by a song, which hasn't happened to me in awhile. Well … technically P.I.M.P. was inspired by a song … but that was just a one shot. Although, I've been considering writing a one shot sequel to that … XP Anyways, the song that inspired me was Ten Years – Beautiful. Should check it out, it's a good song. Anyways, I really hope you enjoy this first chapter. It may take me awhile to update it, because I'm also working on ending The Transcending. After I end that, I will also be working on continuing Forbidden Love along with this story. Unfortunately, From The Darkness is going to be put off a little longer. Since it's going to be my longest fic, it's the last one I will be writing. Hopefully, I won't come up with any more plot bunnies by then. Anyways, enjoy this read! XD
The Vanity Princess
Chapter 1: What To Do
Sweat poured down his damaged body as he panted heavily. Each step he took was harder than the first as he slid his feet across the ground. There was a loud ringing in his ears as his vision blurred tremendously. He could feel as liquid drained from his ears, knowing deep down that it had to be blood. Stumbling a bit, he struggled to right himself once again as his hand whipped out to grab a tree branch. Leaning his weight against the tree's trunk, he continued to pant heavily as he closed his eyes. It made no difference at all since his vision was beginning to grow black.
When he opened his eyes again, he almost panicked when he saw the exact same thing as when his eyes had been closed. Clenching his teeth shut tightly, he pushed off from the tree as he released a small whimper, flailing his arms about.
How was he supposed to find them now? He couldn't see anything, and he couldn't hear anything. And he sure as hell couldn't smell anything. His feet shuffled across the ground even more in his fear that he might trip or run into something. Even so, he still tripped, stumbling completely this time and fell forward onto his hands and knees.
"Damn it!" He cried as his face contorted, and he bore his tightly clenched teeth.
Closing his fist tightly, he raked up the dirt and squished it between his fingers. Lifting his head, he faced ahead, but only saw blackness. Getting back up, he continued to stumble forward before he began to sense someone nearby. Furrowing his brows deeply, he continued forward with his concentration as high as possible, shifting his eyes from side to side, even though he couldn't see a thing, and turned his head slightly. Something inside of him pulsed, and he knew it had to be his enemy.
Brows furrowing into a deep scowl, he bore his teeth once again as he sprinted forward towards the horrid aura. Pulling back his fist, he readied a punch as he neared the aura and threw it forward. However, the scent of oranges wafted under his nose, and he immediately stopped.
Gasping loudly, Nami quickly shut her eyes, and turned her head away. However, when nothing happened, she quickly looked back to see Luffy standing still. His eyes were blinking, but they were completely unfocused, almost as if they saw nothing at all. Seeing the blood draining from his ears, she knew he probably couldn't hear anything either. Suddenly, she was tossed aside, causing her to cry out and grunt when she hit the ground.
Looking back up quickly, she definitely saw that Luffy could not see as he continued to stare off without focusing, and since he didn't say anything to her cry, she knew for sure that he could not hear. His enemy smirked as he pulled his fist back and slammed it into Luffy's face, who cried out as he flew back.
"Luffy!" She cried, but then clenched her teeth as she quickly got up and ran away from them. She knew that it wouldn't do Luffy any good if she were used as a shield again.
Getting up on his elbows, Luffy then spit out the blood now flowing from his mouth. The scent of oranges had suddenly left his nose, but he hadn't been sure if he should have attacked, because he didn't want to hurt her. However, his enemy had attacked instead. Feeling that aura fast approaching now, he quickly got to his feet and jumped back away from it, his eyes shifting back and forth, desperate to see.
Watching from afar, Nami furrowed her brows in concern. There was no way she could help him. She couldn't tell him what to do or where the enemy was coming from, because he couldn't hear anything, and he couldn't see for himself because he was blind. How was he supposed to defeat his enemy if he couldn't see or hear? Biting her lip hard, she looked around, but didn't see the others anywhere. They were probably preoccupied with their own opponents anyway.
Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and then looked back over towards them. She was the only one who could help him, but she was the most useless. However, at that moment, that didn't matter. Luffy was in trouble, and if she didn't help him, he would be badly beaten or worse. Sprinting forward, she ran straight for the other man while he was preoccupied with Luffy, and then leapt up onto his back.
Even though he grabbed for her arms, trying to pull her off, she kept her tight hold as she grunted from the strain. Looking up at Luffy, she could tell he was confused as he shifted his eyes around and even slowly moved his head from side to side.
The aura had suddenly shifted and was now moving around sporadically. Furrowing his brows deeper, he tilted his head and turned it slightly before a spark of another fiery aura suddenly flickered. Sucking in his breath, his eyes widened as he took a step forward.
"N-Nami, what are you doing?!" He yelled as he took more steps forward. "G-Get away from him!" He yelled as he swiped his arm to the side blindly to show what he meant.
Gasping, Nami quickly looked over at him. "Luffy!?"
However, he didn't respond to her at all as he took a few more steps closer. She could also see that he still couldn't see a thing. His eyes seemed to be staring at the ground in front of them blind, and he stumbled a bit when he walked. How was he able to tell then? Shaking her head, she kept her hold on the flailing man. 'No, not this time, Luffy.'
"N-Nami …" He said as he frowned when the spark didn't move, keeping his unfocused eyes on the ground in front of them. Swallowing hard, he then pulled his arms back as his skin began to turn red and steam up. "Move exactly when I tell you to!"
"All right …" She whispered in a strained voice as her hold on the man tightened while he bucked around to get her off.
"Let go of me, you bitch!"
"Gomu Gomu no …" He whispered under his breath as he continued to throw his arms back, and then he slowly closed his eyes.
"Get off of me!!"
"Now, Nami, move!" He yelled as his eyes flew open, and then he threw his arms forward, giving her a little time to do just that. He only hoped it was enough time. "Jet Bazooka!"
Nami quickly let go and dropped to the ground with her arms over her head just in time as Luffy's palms sunk into the man's gut and sent him flying into the trees. Quickly looking over, she watched as he landed, but didn't bother getting back up again. She smiled as she released a breath in relief before turning back to Luffy.
"Luffy …!" She whispered as she got up and ran towards him.
He stumbled around a bit, it seemed looking for her as he moved his arms around in front of him. She quickly reached out for him just as he stumbled and fell into her arms, causing both to sink to the ground. He jolted a bit in alarm, but then relaxed when he realized it was just her.
"Nami … Nami, are you okay …?" He asked a bit breathlessly as he panted and reached up a hand for hers. Blinking a bit, she then took his hand, and he clutched at it. "Are you okay? S-Squeeze my hand if you're okay."
"Ah …" She breathed out in understanding as she gave his hand a squeeze.
His lips curved up into a grin as he seemed greatly relieved, his eyes staring down at the ground. "G-Good …" He said as he chuckled a bit, but then his breath began to come out raggedly. "Good …" He whispered again before he lost his grin, and his eyes rolled shut.
"Luffy!" She cried when he went completely limp in her arms.
However, as she pulled his hair out of his eyes, she saw that he'd merely passed out from exhaustion and possibly the pain he was in. Sighing in relief, she hugged him to her chest and just waited for the others to find them. She wasn't sure how long she sat there, while he rested in her lap, but it seemed like a long while. She was becoming more and more worried about their crewmates. However, after awhile, she could hear them in the distance.
Turning her head towards the call, she saw as they finally came into view and spotted her. "Ah, Nami!" Usopp cried as he and the others ran towards her. However, their expressions changed when they saw Luffy. "Luffy!"
"Oi, is he okay!?" Zoro said as they finally reached her, frowning at his condition.
"H-He's bleeding from the ears!"
"He passed out a little while ago. Before he did, he was blind and couldn't hear anything." Nami said as she frowned softly to Chopper.
"Oh, that's bad! We need to get him back to the ship!" Chopper cried as Zoro gently knelt down to lift Luffy up and over his shoulder.
"Then let's hurry up."
Nami sat next to the bed and sighed deeply as she looked over the bandages completely wrapped around the entire top portion of his head. It had already been a few days now, and she was beginning to wonder when he would wake up. They all took turns watching him, seeing as when he woke up, he most likely wouldn't be able to see or hear anything. Chopper had said he wouldn't be sure if either would happen. He could possibly be able to see and hear again once he woke up, but they wouldn't know until he did.
After they had gotten him back to the ship, Chopper had gone straight to work on him. The explosion that had rocked the island was the cause of Luffy's loss of hearing. He must have been in the thick of it, and so the noise was too much for his tympanic membrane, or so Chopper was saying until they made him speak in English, his eardrums. His eardrums were damaged by the loud noise, thus the cause of the bleeding and loss of hearing.
However, the explosion hadn't been the cause of his vision loss. Chopper found a minute amount of some chemical compound around his eyes and face. He had been able to identify the chemical, and thus treat his eyes, but he still wasn't sure if it was enough or not. All he could really do was wash out his eyes, the damage having already been done to them. Even though their enemies had resorted to such cheap tricks, they had still been strong, and each had suffered a great deal of injuries.
Suddenly, Luffy sucked in his breath and his entire body stiffened. Nami sat up straighter as she looked at him. "Luffy …?" She asked as she leaned forward.
However, he only remained still as he moved his head from side to side, giving no indication that he heard her. Her brows furrowed into a concerned frown as she sat up and gently touched his arm.
He suddenly jolted up completely and moved away from her. Gasping, she sprang up out of her seat and grabbed for him. "Luffy!" She cried before taking his hand into hers.
Clutching her hand, he moved his head a bit as he sat still. "Wh-Who …?" He asked silently as he leaned against the wall.
"It's me …" She said, as if he could hear her and gently squeeze his hand.
"N-Nami …? Nami, is that you?"
She gave his hand another squeeze, and he smiled before drooping forward a bit. "I'm hungry …"
She chuckled as she shook her head at him. "Always thinking with your stomach first …"
"H-How long have I been out?" He asked, and she gave his hand four squeezes. "Eeh!? Four days!? That's so long! No wonder I'm so hungry! Oi, oi, is everyone else okay!?"
Shaking her head again, she gave his hand another squeeze. "Aah, good … I'm glad." He said as he indeed looked relieved, but then he perked up again. "Where are they?"
Biting her lip, she turned towards the door. Turning back, she gave his hand a squeeze before letting him go and going to the door. However, he gasped loudly and quickly moved to the edge of the bed.
"W-Wait! Wait, don't go! Don't leave me here!" He cried before falling out of the bed. "Gah!"
"L-Luffy!" She cried as she turned back around and went to him. "What are you doing!?" She yelled, as if he could hear and began to help him back up into the bed.
As soon as he felt her grab for him, he clutched her tightly. "I-I don't wanna be left here …"
Sighing, she helped him back to the bed and clutched his shoulders tightly. "I'll be right back. I'm just going to get Chopper." She said as she gave his shoulders a firm squeeze. "Wait here."
"Ah!" He exclaimed when he felt her move away, but she quickly turned and made him sit back down.
His lips curved down into a deep frown, but he seemed to be inclined to obey this time around. After making sure he would stay, she then turned and walked out to call for Chopper. After awhile, he began to fidget around as he moved his head from side to side, and then he began to bob in place as his patience began to wear thin. Sucking his teeth, he carefully slid off from the bed, waiting for his feet to touch the floor before standing.
Then he began to take small steps in the direction he thought the door might be in. Using his arms to feel for stuff, he felt along the wall, using his other arm to make sure he didn't run into anything. Once he reached the end of the wall, he searched for the door knob. Grinning once he found it, he then turned it, but then the door suddenly opened, knocking him back inside and right onto his backside with a grunt.
"Luffy!" Nami said as she frowned and went to help him up. "I told you to stay …"
"Ah, I thought you said he couldn't hear you …"
"He can't! I was just … talking …" She said as she forced Luffy to sit back down on the bed.
"Y-You took too long …!" Luffy said as he pouted to himself.
Pursing her lips into a deep frown, she reached up and flicked his nose. "Hush!"
"Ow!" He yelled as his hands went up to cover it. "Damn it! That hurt, Nami!" He yelled a bit nasally as he rubbed the tip of his nose with his hand.
"Mm, the reason he might not be able to hear is because of how thickly and tightly I have the bandages wrapped around his head, plus I put something in his ears to heal them." Chopper said as he walked up to Luffy and hopped up onto the stool. "I should be able to remove those now. It has been four days." He continued as he reached up to unwrap the lower half of his bandages.
"Ah?" Luffy questioned as he perked up a bit. "Are you gonna remove them?"
Not bothering to answer, Chopper unwrapped the separate bandages around his ears. "Can you hear anything yet?" He asked Luffy as the bandages came off. Luffy tilted his head a bit as if he might have heard something, but said nothing else. "Can you hear me?" Chopper asked a little louder.
A smile began to form on Luffy's lips. "Oi, I think I hear something!"
Chopper then began to grin with him. "Really!? Can you hear me!?"
"Ah, I can hear someone!" Luffy exclaimed as he became excited.
Unwrapping he rest of the bandages, which was hard, seeing as Luffy was bouncing a bit in excitement, he then removed the fluff he had in Luffy's ears. "Can you hear me?"
"Ah! Yes! I can hear you!" Luffy exclaimed as he began to laugh. "What about my eyes now!? Are you gonna remove these!?" He asked, still just as excited as he pointed to the bandages around his eyes.
"Ah, no … I can't remove those just yet … The damage to your eyes was extensive … It's going to take a little longer for your eyes to heal than it would for your ears."
"Oh …" Luffy said as he drooped.
"We'll wait about two days before removing those, okay?"
"A-All right …" Luffy replied as he sighed.
"Oi, but at least you can hear now." Nami said as she frowned at him.
"Ah, Nami! Yeah, that's true!" He exclaimed as he perked right back up again. "I'm hungry …" He said before drooping again.
"I'm sure Sanji wouldn't mind making you something to eat. Come on. Let's go to the dining room." Chopper said as he hopped off of the stool.
"Okay!" Luffy exclaimed as he grinned and slid off from the bed, but then stopped. "Mmm, but I can't see …"
Sighing, Nami took his hand to guide him towards the dining room. "Come on …"
"Ah, thanks Nami." Luffy said as he smiled and followed her.
They made their way to the dining room, and Nami sat Luffy down at the table. "Sanji, food!" Luffy exclaimed as he sat down.
"Oh, you're awake, huh?"
"Yeah, and now I'm really hungry!"
"Right, right." Sanji replied as he immediately began to fix him some meat to eat. "I see you can hear now too, but still can't see?"
"Ah, Chopper said I gotta keep 'em on still. Can't take 'em off for another two days."
"Aah, I see. Well that sucks."
"Yeah, it does …"
"It's only for two days. It's not like you'll never see again or anything." Nami said as she rested her cheek into the palm of her hand.
"Ah, Nami? You're still here?"
Furrowing her brows, she blinked at Luffy, who tilted his head. "You didn't know I was here?"
"Of course not, I can't see, remember?"
"But then … how did you …?" She asked quietly as she frowned deeper and sat up straighter, but then just shook her head. "Never mind …"
"Ah …?" He questioned silently as he tilted his head further.
"Here you go." Sanji said as he placed his food down in front of him.
"Thanks Sanji!" Luffy exclaimed before he immediately began to stuff his face.
A sweat bead dropped down the side of Nami's face. 'Looks like he can eat just fine … blind or not … But then again … he can eat in his sleep …' However, he was a bit messier than usual while he ate since he was grabbing blindly.
"Oi, oi … you're making a mess …" Sanji said as he began to clean it up, just as Luffy finished the last bit of food, seeing as he was only grabbing at empty platters.
"Ah, no more?"
"No more …" Sanji said as he gathered up the platters.
"Aww …" Luffy complained as he pouted.
"I'll make some more once it's time for dinner. It will be soon."
"Ah, okay!" Luffy exclaimed as he stood up.
Standing up as well, Nami walked around the table to him and gently took his arm. "Come on, I'll take you to go sit outside."
"Mm, all right." He replied as he followed along beside her.
When they were outside, she then carefully helped him down the stairs before leading him out on deck. "Ooh, Luffy!" Usopp exclaimed as he ran up to them. "You feeling better!?"
"Yeah, I feel fine!" Luffy exclaimed as he snickered, but then he pouted. "Just can't see though."
"Are you ever gonna be able to!?"
"Mm, Chopper said I gotta wait two days …"
"Aah, I see … Well that sucks."
"What'cha doin' now?"
"Gonna sit out on deck."
"Aah, okay. I'm gonna get back to my work then. See ya!"
After Usopp ran off, Nami sat Luffy next to the mast, and then went to sit down in her own chair. However, after Luffy was sitting there for awhile he began to frown and fidget a bit. Looking up from her book, Nami noticed this as she tilted her head a little.
"Mmm … is … anyone there?"
Blinking at him, Nami moved her lips to speak, but didn't say anything at first. "O-Oi …" Luffy said as he sat up a bit, in what seemed like alarm to Nami.
"Y-Yeah, I'm here …"
Luffy sat up a bit more, but frowned deeply. "Oh … okay …" He said, but then said nothing else and seemed to relax a little bit.
She watched him for awhile before lifting her book back up, but then she would notice him start to fidget again, and so lowered her book. She watched as he even began to rock a bit, and he even looked to be a little impatient, or perhaps that wasn't the right word. He looked anxious.
Her lips parted a bit as she continued to watch him, and when she didn't reply right away, he frowned deeper. "I'm here still …" She finally replied as she set her book down.
"O-Oh, actually … I was just, um … w-wondering what you were doin' …"
"I'm reading a book."
"Oh, a book? What kind of book?"
Biting her lip softly, she wondered why he was asking her questions. Was it because he was just bored, or because of something else? Considering he was asking her what kind of book, she was beginning to think the latter. He should already know what kinds of books she read.
"It's a navigation book …"
"Oh, heh … Right, navigation … H-How far are you?"
Frowning now, she sighed softly as she shifted her eyes downward. "I'm … on chapter six."
"Oh yeah? Is … Is it any good?"
"It is to me … Nothing I think you would be interested in …"
"Oh, right … I guess I would get bored with it, huh?" He said as he chuckled weakly.
Her frown softened as she watched him. Was he afraid of being left alone? She never would have thought he would be afraid of that. So, was he keeping her talking, just so he would know that she was still there?
"Mm, Nami …?"
"Yeah …" She replied softly as she set her arms down on the table, and laid her head on them, just watching him with a sad frown.
"All right … Here goes nothing. Just let me know if you can see the light through your lids, okay?"
Taking a deep breath, Chopper then began to unwrap the bandages around his eyes. Luffy was so excited that he was almost bouncing on the bed.
"Remember, we're still not sure yet if you can see, Luffy …"
This stopped him. "Yeah … I know …"
"All right, I'm getting closer now. See anything?"
Luffy frowned. "No … not yet …"
Frowning as well, Chopper continued to unwrap and then asked again after awhile, "How about now?"
His frown deepened even more. "N-No …"
Becoming a little worried, Chopper continued to unwrap. "Okay, don't open your eyes right away … I-It could blind you … Are you sure you don't see the light shining through?"
"No! I don't see anything! Chopper, why can't I see the light!?"
"Oi, calm down, Luffy … I'm sure there's a reason … Just wait until he gets the bandages off."
"Marimo's right, Luffy … It's probably nothing …"
Becoming anxious, Luffy lifted his hands as if he wanted to unwrap the bandages himself, but refrained from doing so and lowered them again, but he was beginning to fidget.
"Remember, do not open your eyes right away, okay?"
"Okay, okay …" Luffy said as he clenched his fists.
"All right …" Chopper said as he unwrapped the rest of the bandages, and Luffy had to fight with himself to keep them closed.
Grabbing a small flash light, Chopper then turned it on and flashed it into Luffy's closed lid. He noticed his eye lids and around his eyes was still a bit red. "Do you see anything?"
"N-No, should I be!? Can I open my eyes now!?"
Chopper's frown turned very concerned now as he turned to the others, who were frowning just as much. "N-Not yet …" Chopper whispered as he continued to flash both eyes, but got no response from Luffy.
"Damn …" Zoro whispered as his brows furrowed deeper.
"What!? What is it!? Can I open my eyes now!?"
"I want you to open them slowly, Luffy …" Chopper said quietly, but already knew what was going to happen.
They all watched as Luffy started to do as he was told, but when he realized everything was still black, his eyes immediately shot open, and he began to panic. "I-I can't see anything!? Chopper! I can't see anything! Why can't I see anything!?"
"Luffy, calm down." Chopper said as he reached up to steady Luffy and to keep him from flailing about. "M-Maybe it still needs time to heal …"
"They've had more than a week to do that!"
Both Robin and Nami's hands went directly to their mouths as they watched their panicked captain as he fought against Chopper, now in his heavy point. "Well, maybe they need longer! Luffy, calm down!" Zoro exclaimed as he tried to help Chopper calm Luffy down.
Luffy finally stopped as he stared off into nowhere and panted softly, his eyes also still red. Then he slowly closed his eyes. Everyone watched him, not sure at all what to say or do as he remained sitting in a slumped position. Then he opened his eyes, which looked completely blank and even sad.
"W-Will I ever be able to see again? Tell me the truth."
"I-I don't know … There's a possibility that you would. It could just take more ti-"
"I wanna be alone …"
Everyone gaped at him softly, wanting to say something, but not knowing what to say. "L-Luffy, I don't think that-"
Chopper's eyes saddened as he reverted back to his brain point. "Luffy …"
Zoro closed his eyes before he turned to leave, the others following behind him. Luffy listened to them all leave, his head slowly lowering and turning to the side. Then he heard as the door closed, but it took it awhile to do so. Turning his head a bit more, he then frowned.
"I said I wanted to be alone …"
"Yeah? Well, I agree with Chopper that it wouldn't be a good idea."
"I don't care if it doesn't sound like a good idea … I just want to be alone … Go away …"
"Luffy … I-"
"Just go away …"
Biting her lip, she watched him for awhile before sighing. "Fine …" She said as she turned and went to the door, but then she turned towards him, opened the door, and then closed it without leaving.
She watched as he lifted his head slightly, and then he lowered it again, but even more as his body seemed to droop completely. Her brows furrowed a bit when his body swayed a bit before he finally just lay down on his side. His eyes were open, but they were completely vacant and even sad. She wondered what he was thinking about as he lay there. But when he just lay there for awhile, she gave a deep, but very quiet sigh as her eyes saddened a bit.
She really couldn't imagine what it would be like to lose her eyesight. She needed her eyesight for a lot of things. And unfortunately, so did he. If he never regained his eyesight, what were they going to do? What was he going to do? Could he continue on with his dreams? Was that what he was thinking about right now as he lay there? After awhile, he sat up and then looked like he were about to try and get out of the bed. Reaching out for the door, she opened it, pretending as if she were coming back inside.
"Ah, Nami … I was just about to … come out there."
"Ah, well, you were in here a long time so … I thought I would come and check on you." She lied as she smiled a bit, even though he couldn't see her.
"Wha-What were you doing anyway?"
"I was … nothing. I wasn't doing anything."
"I see …"
Turning his head slightly, he blinked slowly as he stared off to the side. "Anyways, I was … gonna go out there."
"Well, I can take you." She said as she stepped forward and grabbed his arm gently. "Come on."
"Thanks!" He said as he turned and gave her a grin, but his eyes were still blank, and not even really looking at her.
"You're welcome …" She said as she looked at him.
He lost his grin, but kept his empty smile as he turned to face ahead. She continued to watch him, her own face unreadable. What was he really feeling? What was he really thinking? Why did she want to know? Sighing softly, she faced forward as well and began to lead him to the front.
'What are you going to do … Luffy?'
To Be Continued …
Author's Note: Yeah, I know what you're thinking. What the hell does the title have to do with what happened in this chapter, and how the hell did a song speaking about vanity have anything to do with this story so far? I assure you that will come up next chapter! XD I actually got this idea also from reading Rurouni Kenshin. It's a bit different, but the loss of hearing and some vision loss was a part of it. Anyways, I wanted to do something similar with Luffy. I would like to know what you guys at least thought of the first chapter. Mind telling me? Anyways, thanks for reading.