Time Period: after the Thriller Bark arc and before the Straw Hat crew entered the Red Line.
LABYRINTH OF THE HEART
A Luffy / Nami fanfiction
Chapter 1 - Scars
Nami smirked in satisfaction at the sound of Marine bodies falling to the deck of the Thousand Sunny.
"Oi, Nami!" Usopp shouted from behind a barrel. "Give us a little warning next time!"
Nami playfully stuck her tongue out at the fuming sniper. One of the disadvantages of an attack that shocked everyone within range was that it shocked everyone within range, friend or foe. Not that she ever let a little thing like friendly fire get in the way of saving her hide.
She scanned the area around her to check if any of her crewmates needed any help. Stupid Marines attacking their ship. It had been such a nice day too.
Their first reaction upon seeing the flag of their enemies was to run like hell as usual, but they had ended up running into a fleet of battleships and getting boxed in. This was one of the few times the Marines had ever gotten close enough to board the ship and engage in hand to hand combat. It was not an experience that Nami would have minded missing out on.
"Franky, a Coup de Burst would be nice right about now!" Nami shouted as she twirled her Perfect Clima-Tact staff to fend off a swordswoman who had appeared out of nowhere.
"What do you think I'm trying to do?" Franky cried as he tried to fight his way to the controls to activate their escape mechanism. The walking skeleton, Brook, was by his side with his sword humming as it cut through the air.
"I'm not in any particular hurry," Zoro said with obvious relish in his voice as he blew away a swarm of attackers with a swing of his swords.
"Have some concern for the rest of us!" Nami snapped as she used a Thunder Ball to put the woman who was trying to stab her out of commission.
Sanji was a whirling blur of motion as he protected Robin from harm while she used her powers to wrench the Marines around her into submission. Usopp and Chopper had a similar arrangement in which Chopper used his bulky form to give Usopp the free space he needed to use his Kabuto to stem the tide of Marines flowing onto the ship.
As for Luffy, the idiot was happily pummeling his enemies and laughing his head off as bullets bounced off his rubber body. Nami couldn't help but smile a little at the sight. If their captain wasn't taking the fight very seriously then that meant that there was nothing to fear-
"Luffy! Watch out!"
Luffy turned his head at her cry and he spotted the sword that was about to lop off his head. He gave a cry of disbelief as he tried to dodge, but it was obvious that he wouldn't make it out of the way in time.
His nakama dived for him knowing that a rubber neck was no defense against a sharp blade.
Nami got there first.
She screamed as the metal edge sliced into her right arm knocking her and Luffy to the deck.
Her arm felt like it was on fire. She dimly felt Luffy get out from underneath her. She heard Sanji shouting in rage and the sound of rapid-fire kicks hitting a body. She heard an enraged "Gomu Gomu Gatling Gun!" Then she felt the rumbling that came from the ship launching into the air as Franky had apparently reached the controls at last. After that, there was silence.
Nami opened her eyes as she regained consciousness. Chopper gave a surprised squeak as she sat up. She took a look at the fresh bandages around her arm and gave the doctor a look of gratitude. Looking around, she could see that some time has passed since she had passed out but not that much time as she had still been lying on the deck. Franky and Usopp was making repairs, Zoro was polishing his swords, and Sanji was yelling at Luffy.
"How could you let Nami get hurt, you shitty captain!" Sanji cried. He was trying to kick Luffy but because Brook was holding him back his feet simply swung futilely into the air.
Luffy just stared blankly back at Sanji while Robin checked the captain over for wounds.
"Sanji, it's okay! I'm fine," Nami said, walking over to Sanji and putting a hand on his shoulder to calm him down.
Sanji's angry demeanor switched in an instant. "Nami-swan! I'm so happy you're not badly hurt!" Taking advantage of Brook's loosened grip, he made a grab for the orange-haired navigator.
Nami smoothly stepped aside.
Stepping over the cook's face-planted body, she went over to Luffy. She asked softly, "Are you hurt?"
Luffy had a surprised look on his face, but before he could reply Brook interjected, "I believe that is the question that we should be asking you. Yohohoho!"
Nami gave him a dismissive wave. "Heh, this is nothing. Just another scar for the collection."
"What do you mean?" Brook asked curiously.
Nami was about to give another flippant response when she noticed the look of awe on Brook's face. How she realized this when the skeleton didn't have any eyeballs or facial muscles she didn't know, but Nami felt a sudden urge to brag.
"Hey, I don't enjoy putting my life in danger like some idiots here," Nami said, jerking her thumb toward Zoro and Sanji who had somehow gotten into a scuffle when she wasn't looking. "But I'm no delicate flower."
She lifted her foot for Brook's inspection. "Some crazy woman put a spike through my leg back in Alabasta (1). Another one, a CP9 agent, jabbed a hole right under my collar bone at Enies Lobby (2) with her index finger! Those hurt like hell!"
"I read about your rescue of Robin from the World Government in the ship's log. What marvelous adventures! Yohohoho!"
"Yeah, marvelous," Nami deadpanned. "Hmm, let's see. The scar under my tattoo's rather nasty looking... that was kinda my fault (3). Oh! And here's a puncture wound through my hand that I got when I pretended to kill Usopp that one time (4). It's a long story."
Usopp looked away uncomfortably at this, and Nami quickly pressed on. "I have a couple more from my thieving days but nothing major. Am I forgetting any?"
"You forgot one," Luffy said in an uncharacteristically serious tone. He had been standing silently at her side with his hat pushed down over his forehead so that she couldn't see his eyes. Now he grabbed her wrist and turned it so her palm was facing up, revealing a faded burn mark.
"You got this saving me from Buggy."
Nami stared at her palm. This was the mark she had received when she had met Luffy for the first time (5). She had agreed to a temporary alliance with the boy just to stop his constant pleading for her to be his navigator. She had then stabbed him in the back by tricking him into getting captured by Buggy the Clown so that she could ingratiate herself with the red-nosed captain and steal his loot. Nami had stood by and watched as Luffy was tied up, thrown in a cage, and set up in front of a cannon to be blown to bits.
That part had prickled at her conscience, but she reminded herself that all pirates were scum and deserved what they got. The smart thing to have done was to let the fool be killed. She didn't owe him anything, she hated pirates, and it was his own damn fault for trusting a complete stranger like her. There was no reason for her to rescue his sorry ass.
Her shoulders had tensed waiting for him to yell at her either to demand that she save him or to get Buggy to take her down as well. Yet he had simply stared at her, and his eyes held no grudge.
Before she knew it, she had extinguished the burning wick to the cannon with her bare hands. His first mate then arrived and the three of them fought their way out of town. That was the day that she found herself under the command of the pirate Monkey D. Luffy.
"Thanks for saving my life again, Nami," Luffy said, smiling at her. Nami couldn't help but respond with a goofy grin of her own. The two stood there smiling at each other until Zoro loudly cleared his throat, and Nami realized that Luffy was still holding her hand. She immediately snatched it away and hoped that her face was not as red as she thought it was.
Franky slung an arm around Nami's shoulders and, with tears running down his face, said, "I never knew the pain you've been through, nee-chan! The love you have for your nakama is so beautiful!"
"Ew! You're getting snot on me with your crying!"
"Shut up! I'm not crying!"
"Yeah, Nami is pretty brave," Usopp said with a mischievous gleam in his eyes. "But it's hard for me to remember that when she's always leaving me to die at the hands of a monster or madman!"
"Like you're one to talk!" Nami retorted, shaking her fist at him.
As it was clear that Nami would be just fine, the crew began going their separate ways to their various tasks until only Zoro and Nami were left. Nami could feel the swordsman's penetrating gaze. She wanted to get away from it, but her stubborn nature wouldn't allow her to back off.
"You got something to say?" Nami challenged.
Zoro crossed his arms and gave Nami a long, thoughtful look. Finally, he asked, "Are you ever going to tell him?"
Nami narrowed her eyes and said evenly, "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Whatever you say."
With a snort and a shake of his head, Zoro wandered away in the direction of his training room. Nami gritted her teeth as she watched the man walk away so nonchalantly. This wasn't the first or even the second time that Zoro had implied or even outright asked if she had any feelings for their captain. She didn't take him for the type who cared about such things so she could only conclude that he asked simply because he knew it bothered her.
Perhaps what annoyed her most of all was that of everyone on the ship it was the boneheaded walking mountain of muscle who noticed. But he had known her and Luffy the longest so maybe it wasn't that surprising. That didn't mean that he had to keep rubbing his knowledge in her face! Ever since they left Cocoyashi Village, Zoro would occasionally give her an irritating, knowing smirk.
So she had a crush on Luffy. So what? She wasn't planning on doing anything about it. There were so many reasons that a relationship with Luffy wouldn't work that it wasn't even funny. Besides, what she was feeling wasn't love. It was just a simple case of hero worship. It would have been more surprising if she hadn't felt anything toward the savior who released her from her miserable, hellish existence as Arlong's slave.
Crushes fade. That was what they did. The one she had now was taking its sweet time about it, but the feeling would go away at some point. Even though it hadn't as of yet.
(1) Nami fought Miss Doublefinger in the Alabasta arc in episodes 117-18.
(2) Nami fought Kalifa in the Enies Lobby arc in episodes 293, 295, and 296.
(3) Near the end of the Arlong arc in episode 37, Nami began, out of grief and rage, stabbing the arm that bore Arlong's mark until Luffy stopped her.
(4) Usopp was 'killed' by Nami in episode 33 and he came back in the next episode to reveal Nami's deception to Luffy and the others.
(5) One can argue whether this was Luffy and Nami's first meeting but episode 4 was the first time he talked to her. Episode 5 was when Nami realized that she couldn't leave Luffy to die.