A/N: a lil' author note before I'll let ya start, this fic takes place somewhat after thriller bark but before shabondy, for those familiar with my writing style, well, u may find lots of similarities and repetitive shit but I don't care, I like it this way and if you ain't likin' it, well that's that... This is, as previously mentioned, a LuffyNami fic with a slight ZorroRobin and a LuffyRobin if some of you can see it that way, watever, i hope y'all gon like it and without further ado, fresh outta the oven, I present you... Midnight Pearls...
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece
Luffy and his crew have been staying at some small paradise-like island where the sand's as white as snow, the waters' as blue and clear as the skies up above, and the weather as fresh as the unending summer breeze. They stumbled upon that island by pure accident after a titanic wave forced their ship to stray off path by a few miles. For the log pose, it didn't pose any problem whatsoever as by luck, the island almost didn't have any metals unlike most of Grand Line's islands.
Discovering an uninhabited heavenly island, Luffy was quick to order his crew to land and set the anchor. Despite Nami's anguish on the first day, she was quick to change her mind and had already settled by the end of the first day. By the second day, everybody had taken a liking in the island and wished to stay a little bit longer. On the first day, Luffy and Robin explored the island and returned with plenty tales to tell by the evening. Nami was mostly staying on the ship but when she made sure that the log pose didn't react to the island, she got off the ship and relaxed at the beach. Franky was doing some maintenance and reparations on the ship and finished by evening. Chopper and Usopp were playing by the beach and its surroundings. Zorro was minding the ship though he ended falling asleep as usual. Brooke was doing some exploration on his own around the beach but soon returned when he smelled Sanji's cooking. While the others were busy, Sanji took all the necessary cooking equipments from the ship and cooked some BBQ and various grilled food. In the evening after everyone have returned, they all returned to the ship and exchanged information to one another on their findings about the island. After knowing that it was perfectly safe, Luffy had decided to stay for a little bit longer. That night they all slept soundly.
On the second day, most of the crew gathered at the beach and played. Franky had built a surf board and surfed all day. Usopp was doing some kind of an experiment under a coconut tree. Chopper was making sand castles and loved every seconds of it. Nami was sunbathing and had her top off while beside her, sat Robin who also wore a bikini, reading a book under a parasol. Also with them was Sanji who played as their servant, he'd help Nami put some suntan, giving them cold drinks, fanning them, making small treats and snacks, and more. Zorro was allowed to wander around the island since it was pretty small. Brooke was minding the ship while drinking his tea leisurely. Luffy was taking a nap on a swing he tied on two coconut trees. When night came, they all agreed to have dinner at the beach and sleep there.
Come morning, they all continued to relax and play. This time, Nami surfed while Robin watched over the ship. Sanji was still playing the butler role as he attended to Robin's need. Franky was exploring the island with Brooke and Chopper. Usopp tried to surf but after a series of failure he decided to just swim around the shore. Zorro found a place where he could train the day before hence he returned and began his training. Luffy in the meanwhile found a hidden cave by accident when he was about to take a piss. Interested, he entered and explored for a bit. Much to his dismay, the cave was empty and there was nothing interesting. Only when he headed for the exit did he notice something. On top of the opening to the cave, there was a small object, well hidden from people who entered the cave but easily spotted for those who look up. Luffy took the box and opened it. He was amazed by what he saw. There were nine pearls of the same small size, small enough to make a ring out of each and every single one of them. Aside the pearls, there was a note written underneath. Not understanding a word it said, Luffy closed the box and put it back to where it was. Then he headed back to his swing to take another nap.
When he told his fellow crews about his discovery, Nami was the first to react. She yelled at him for not informing her about it earlier. A few moments later, she finally calmed down and told Luffy to take her to the cave. Luffy complied. They spent the night on the ship this time but instead of having dinner inside, they had dinner outside for a change, on their grassy-lawn deck. Illuminated by candles around the table and railing as well as the full moon, they had their usual cheerful dinner.
When morning came, as promised, Luffy took Nami to the cave where he found the pearls. He took the box and opened it for her. Nami's eyes glinted at the nine pearls and then noticed the writings at the bottom of the box. Bringing it into light, she read it.
"'Dear visitors, allow me to welcome you to Midnight Pearls Island. This island seldom reveal itself to outside world and only opens itself to those worthy of its hospitality. As sign of our humble hospitality, the island gives you these nine pearls for all nine of you, Straw Hat Pirates. Yours truly, Midnight Pearls Island…'" Nami finished reading.
"Those are for us? Wow, this island sure is very kind, ne, Nami?" Luffy grinned widely but Nami didn't seem to share his excitement, "what's wrong, Nami?"
"Luffy, don't you find it weird? I mean, first of all, from your exploration it looks like there are no traces of human civilization at all, right?"
"Then, how could this box with a note be here? In a well hidden cave too!"
"It's written there isn't it? It's the island's gift for us" Luffy grinned.
"An island is not a human, Luffy, be serious a little here, it's very suspicious— well from what I think, it may be some people who came before us and put it there but for what purpose?"
"Like I said, it's for us, a gift from the island" Luffy said again.
Nami ignored him, however, and spoke up, "and then the note itself, how could it be directed to us? And the pearls are of the exact number as our crew, nine people, nine pearls…"
"Like I said…"
Unfortunately Nami cut him off again, "c-could it be— a curse!?"
"Nami, you're exaggerating, it's from the island I tell you, look you said it yourself right? 'Yours truly, Midnight Pearl Island'…"
"But that can't be right! There are no pearls around here, nobody but us, and there is no such thing as an island that can greet people!" Nami roared but this time Luffy didn't seem to take it easily.
"Nami! That's rude of you! I opened the box yesterday and I still feel fine, the note didn't say anything about a curse but about a welcome, and you're disrespecting the island-ossan! Apologize to the island, Nami!"
"What?" Nami gave him a look but when she saw how serious Luffy was, she went silent and then 'apologized' to the island.
After settling the matter, Luffy took the box and then headed back to where the others were. He told them the story and they all had the same reaction as Nami did but soon one by one decided to just accept it as it was and be done with it. At first it irritated Nami but after she held onto her own pearl, she begun to feel relaxed and calm, as if her bad mood was taken away by the pearl. The day after, she was her usual self again as was everybody else. They stayed for another night and then with a unanimous decision they all agreed to depart in two days.
Everything went normal for the remaining two days. On the day before their departure, they all had their last lunch at the beach and relaxed all afternoon. When it was nearing dusk, Sanji took all his cooking utensils back into the kitchen and had the boys helped him. Robin went back to the ship to take a bath. Zorro went back to the ship for no apparent reason. By the time the sun had completely vanished, there were only Luffy and Nami left. The two didn't say anything to each other and just spent the time enjoying the soothing breeze of the evening.
By the time the skies turned pitch black, the stars and the moon illuminated the darkness with countless glittering lights. As the night crawled deeper, the temperature began to drop. Nami, who was wearing a tank top and a mini skirt, started to feel the chill of the night. She knew she'll only catch a cold if she stays there but she began to really enjoy her stay in the island that she wanted to spend the remaining time there. Luffy, who was more or less immune to windy nights, noticed that his navigator's trembling slightly. Taking a minute to think it through, the captain finally spoke up.
Luffy's sudden call startled Nami a little as she abruptly turned around to see him, "w-what is it, Luffy?"
"Come here" he motioned her to come to him, which she did.
"What is it?" she asked again but before she could react, Luffy has put his arm around her shoulders and brought her closer to him.
"L-Luffy! What are you—!?"
"You're cold aren't you? This way you won't get cold" Luffy said, not looking at her but at the sea.
Nami blushed a little by his words and actions. She held her legs closer to her and balled up a little while feeling the warmth of her captain.
This time Luffy looked at her and illuminated by the moon from behind him, he gave Nami his usual wide grin.
The two went silent once again as they enjoyed the beach at night. When a strong gust of wind blew, Luffy would tighten his hold, causing Nami to blush and her heart to pound gently. Nami was no stranger to men's direct touch. Because of her past, she always had to deal with the risk of being caught by men and she was familiar with their rough way of handling her. She's unfamiliar, however, to the direct touch of a man who wanted to protect her. Once when she fell ill and had to get treated on Drum Island, she had a small recollection of the same gentle touch though she couldn't remember much since she was unconscious for most of the time. There were times when she almost had the gentle touch of a man who wished to protect her but most of the time, the situation was very intense she couldn't remember well, such as during fights. Tonight, she could finally feel the gentle touch of a man under a normal situation where she could remember the feeling forever.
Unconsciously, Nami rested her head on Luffy's shoulder and stayed that way. Although it did startle Luffy a little, he managed to not have her notice and continued that way. For as long as Luffy could remember, he had never taken notice of how nice a girl's touch on his skin actually was. He was familiar with girls' direct touch. Although most of the time he deals with men and monsters, but he also had times when he was in contact with girls. Luffy was unfamiliar, however, to the kind of touch that felt as soothing as he was currently feeling. There were times when he was in contact with girls but most of the time the situation was intense the contact he felt was not the same as the one he's experiencing at the moment. He always knew that a girl's touch's smooth and feels nice but what he's currently feeling was a lot different than usual, it was soothing and made his heart at ease.
Startled again, Nami recomposed herself and then realized that she had just rested her head on his shoulder, flustered, she stuttered, "y-yes? W-what is it, Luffy?"
Luffy didn't seem to mind her reaction as he kept staring forward, "you are my nakama— that's why I'll always protect you"
Nami was stunned by his declaration but she knew that a big part of her was very happy to hear what he just said, "Luffy…"
Luffy turned around to face her and then showed his wide grin once again, "— let's have a fun adventure!"
Nami slowly turned to smile and nodded and she saluted him, "un, captain!"
They both grinned and returned to enjoy the beach once again both in content and silence.
Unknown to them, they were actually being watched by some people from the ship. While most of the crew was inside, Robin was sitting all by herself at the front deck. All the while, she had been watching her two fellow nakama at the beach and although she couldn't hear anything since it was out of earshot and that there weren't any solid object big enough for her to use her eavesdropping technique, she could understand just by seeing their actions.
Robin didn't do anything for awhile until she formed a small smile, "— at least they're both happy…"
"And so it's alright for you if you aren't?"
The sudden voice surprised her and when she turned around to see its owner, it was Zorro.
Zorro didn't say anything and approached her. Before she could ask anything, Zorro threw something on her head, surprising the devil fruit user.
"W-what are you—!?"
When she finally got out of it, she realized it was just a blanket, "Samurai-san, this—?"
Zorro leaned forward on the railing and scratched his head as he replied curtly, "you'll catch a cold standing here wearing those clothes— and I don't care what you're calling me but at least remember my name, will you?"
Robin was surprised by Zorro's actions. As far as she's concerned, he had never acted that way to her, not that he had ever acted that way to anybody. She knew though that most of the time to show his care, he would just show it rudely as he just did. In a way, a part of he felt happy by his actions and not realizing it she was smiling.
For as far as she could remember, the only person who has ever sooth her after she was forced to lead a life of crime because the world government had marked her was Luffy. Back then, she had just betrayed Crocodile and was lying in wait for her death, yet ignoring her plea for death, Luffy brought her back to the surface and told her to live. That time, her heart wasn't as moved as it was compared to the incident at CP9's headquarters but she was moved nonetheless. At that time, she thought that she might have finally found the crew she longed for and Luffy was the getaway to her salvation which was true in the end. Feeling eternally grateful, she's begun to have a soft spot for her captain but dared not to show it, in fear of breaking her newfound bond to the Straw Hat Pirates.
Robin had always been able to hold off her tears except for when things get out of control such as back then during the incident involving the CP9, tonight however, was the very first time when she's not able to hold it off even though everything was under control, except for her feelings.
"… Zorro" Robin called out, tear drops were slowly forming in the corner of her eyes.
Zorro, who was still looking at the beach, didn't turn to face her but responded nonetheless, "what?"
"Is this blanket yours?" she asked, her voice already sounded slightly croaked.
Zorro stayed silent for a bit and then he finally replied, still with his back facing her, "— I'll lend you my back if you want, normally I'd lend you my chest but since it's reserved for, and not to mention full of, scars, it'll get in the way so— use my back to your heart content…"
Robin didn't expect to hear his reply, she had planned to cry her tears out onto the blanket but Zorro lent her his back instead. Surprised at first, but she soon made a small smile. She put the blanket around herself and then hugged Zorro from behind, covering him with the blanket as well. Robin muttered a soft 'thank you' but loud enough for him to hear and then she finally let out her long-held soundless tears.
From the steering cabin, the rest of the crews were gathered there. They have actually been watching their fellow crews for quite some time, ever since they got back on the ship. From the steering cabin, they could easily watch the front deck and, without much difficulty, the beach as well.
Franky was crying silently and yelled inaudible comments because he was moved by what he just saw. Brooke was watching silently while drinking his tea but even though it's hard to know what he thinks because his face is a skeleton, somehow it looked as if Brooke too was moved by the scene. Chopper was smiling widely while Usopp didn't have much time to express what he felt since he's been trying his all to stop Sanji from making a destructive move. The moment they saw that Nami was left alone with Luffy and that Robin was left alone with Zorro, Sanji had gone ape shit and in a fit of rage, tried to get out of the cabin to console his two beautiful female crew members himself, much to his dismay however, he hasn't been able to get a single step out of the cabin.
"Let me go, Usopp! Luffy, I can understand, but that Marimo bastard!? What the hell did he do to Robin!? I cared more for her than he ever did! I should be the one standing there having his back drenched in Robin-chan's tears! Well if it was me, though, I'll have her drench my entire suit if that's what it takes to calm her down and—"
"The one who needs to calm down is you, Sanji!" Usopp said through his gritted teeth as he pulled Sanji's waist while Sanji tried to march forward toward the cabin's door, "hey anyone! Help me, will you!?"
"Yohohoho, what a beautiful sight, what a beautiful sight…" Brooke commented as if nothing happened.
Franky was in a corner still crying and commented inaudibly because he just witnessed something that has moved his heart. He had to comment inaudibly because he didn't want his voice to disturb the others. Sometimes, though, some words could be heard when he sniffed, such as 'beautiful', 'friendship', 'love', and more.
Chopper was the only quiet one as he just watched with a big smile and without a fuss. For some reason, his heart too warmed up by just seeing what he saw.
In the end, it continued to stay that way for a while and before anybody knew it, they all fell asleep on spot. Sanji was muttering in his sleep how he had to go out there and stop the 'marimo bastard' from harming Robin while Usopp, also in his sleep, muttered how he had to stop Sanji from ruining everything he even still had a firm hold on Sanji's waist while Sanji had his feet moving frantically forward. Chopper and Franky fell asleep on the ground while Brook fell asleep in a 45 degree angle.
At the front deck, Zorro and Robin had been sharing a blanket as they slept side by side in a sitting position. While Zorro was leaning against the railing, Robin seemed to have leaned against his chest.
At the beach, Luffy and Nami dozed off and had lied on their backs when they finally fell asleep. Nami was clutching on Luffy's side and had her head on his arm while Luffy was lying wide with all his limbs stretched out.
For the rest of the night, they all slept soundly once again until the morning sun came to greet them. When the sunrays began to make their way throughout the land, some of them touched everybody's eyes and slowly waking them up from their slumber. The guys woke up, got up and got out of the cabin to look at the horizon where the light came from. At the same time, Robin and Zorro as well as Luffy and Nami too woke up and had their attention to the source of light which woke them up. At the same time, they all had their attention toward the horizon where the sun was slowly rising. During the transition of night to day, they all realized something at the same time and thought of the same thing too.
Sanji lit up a cigarette, took a quick puff and exhaled "now I see— pearls indeed…"
Usopp, Franky, Chopper, and Brooke who stood side by side with Sanji all smiled and some nodded in agreement.
"It's very beautiful, ne?" Chopper commented.
"It's a good thing we fell asleep in there or we won't be able to see such an amazing view" Franky said.
"Yohoho, in all my life it's the first time I've ever seen such a rare phenomenon" Brook said cheerfully.
Usopp didn't say anything and just stared with awe at the horizon.
At the front deck, still sharing a blanket, Zorro and Robin were watching it as well.
"It's beautiful…" Robin muttered.
Zorro glanced at her and then back to the horizon, "— feeling better now?"
Robin stared at him and he turned to look at her. When their eyes met, Robin showed her sincere smile and replied, "I do, thanks Zorro"
Zorro stayed quiet for a second or two before turning back to see the horizon and smirked. The two then continued to watch as the transition went slowly.
At the beach, Luffy and Nami were the closest to the horizon and they too had their eyes fixed to it.
"Midnight Pearls Island…" Nami muttered.
"Nga? What did you say?"
"Now I get why this island's called Midnight Pearl Island as well as why pearls were given as gift by this island…"
"You do?" Luffy asked.
Nami looked at him and smiled, "look over there, what do you see?"
"The moon— and a few stars…"
"How many stars do you see?"
"I don't know, Nami, there are a lot of them, counting them one by one will—"
"The biggest ones, Luffy, the ones that outshine the others…"
"Wait let's see, one… two… three… four… five… six… seven…— seven, there are seven starts"
"And what do you see in all? Including the sun and the moon?"
"What do they look like to you?"
"I don't— ah…"
"You get it now" Nami smiled.
"They're like pearls…"
"Not just that but also there are seven stars that outshine the others and if we include the moon and sun that shine as bright as those stars, there are nine stars that outshine the rest, what does that remind you of?"
Feeling happy, Nami smiled wider, "exactly"
"T-then why is it called Midnight? I understand for the pearl but now it isn't exactly midnight, is it?"
"It is, Luffy"
"Look carefully at the horizon— do you see the transition between the morning sky and the night sky?"
"Half of the sky is night while the other half is morning, it's midnight and midmorning that cuts the skies into two, do you see it now?"
After Nami's explanation, Luffy finally understood and was in awe anew, "it's— marvelous"
Luffy kept staring in wonder at the view and then he turned around to see Nami and gave he a smile, "I'm glad we landed on this island"
Nami returned his smile and replied, "yeah, me too"
"And I'm glad I get to see it with you"
Nami was caught by surprise and suddenly turned deep red. She looked down a little and softly replied, "… me too …"
They watched for another few minutes until morning had fully taken over. Since the boat was used by the rest the other night, Luffy decided to just jump over there. He told Nami to hold onto him tightly and after making sure that she was, Luffy stretched his arms until they reach the ship and have him alongside Nami thrown onto the ship. The atmosphere went by as usual as if nothing ever happened last night. Everybody had reverted back to their usual self as they made their last preparations to depart. A few minutes later, after everything was set, Luffy stood at the front deck while his crew looked at him from various positions.
"Alright everyone, I hope you guys had enough vacation although I won't mind to come back again sometimes— but for now, new adventures are waiting for us, so, let's go! Full speed ahead! Next stop: Merman Island!"