Chapter One
No Tabi Ni Ikou! [1]

Haruhi Fujioka moved through the rough and tough tavern, picking up empty mugs with practiced skill and ease. Her long brown hair was pulled up into a messy bun as her skirt rustled around her ankles. Her long flowing sleeves somehow managed to stay out of the beer and ale on the tables that the ragged soldiers drank as they told tales. Ignoring the hoots and cat-calls designed to catch her attention, she made her way to a shadowed table in the back. A young man, no older the herself, sat dozing slightly, his tricorn hat pulled low over his face. Crimson hair peeked out around his broad shoulders and pale skin showed at the crook of his neck.

As she reached his table, a pirate reached out and snagged her around the waist, knocking the glasses out of her hands and onto the floor. The young man was there in an instant, blade pointed at the man's throat.

"Be a gentleman and release the lady, why don't ya?" he growled, glaring at the man with fearsome brown eyes. The man let go and shoved her towards the boy, who caught her carefully. As they turned away, a pink tinge appeared on his cheeks. "Are you alright?" he asked gruffly, steadying her.

"Thanks," Haruhi said gratefully. She held out her slender hand. "I'm Haruhi." The boy jumped, then hesitantly shook hads with her.

"Ritsu," he murmered.

"Thank you Ritsu." she said, smiling as she bent to pick up the mugs, her new friend helping her.

"Do you ever get tired of that?" he asked, following her with the glasses. Haruhi shrugged.

"Sometimes," she said, waving a hand. "But I've dealt with it since I was a kid, so it really doesn't bother me."

"What if you could get away from all this?" Ritsu asked, waving a hand in the general direction of the tavern, resting his elbows on the counter as he leaned back on them.

"Well," Haruhi said, carefully, cleaning out the mugs. "It depends on what I'd do. I love my father, but caring for me is a bit of a burden, not that he minds. But, I want to be like my mother, and she left when I was five to become a pirate. So, I think, I'd leave if given the chance." With the last sentence, she set down the mug and looked him in the eye.

"Well then, what do you say about setting sail with me?" he asked, quietly, leaning forward.

"You have a ship?" she asked, wondering about his age and apperance. True, pirates did tend to be a tattered lot, but the boy did have a rather nice set of clothes, albeit weatherbeaten. However, Haruhi doubted the source of his funds.

"Not exactly," he mumbled. "But that's the point of being a pirate! You've got to be willing to take what you need and not have any regrets about it!" His eyes were full of passion as he spoke, drawing Haruhi into his speech. "There's nothing more beautiful than the world, than, perhaps, the freedom of it!" And you, he added silently, watching her.

"Okay," Ritsu glanced at her, surprised. Haruhi smiled. "I'll go with you."

"Great!" he sighed, breaking into a relieved smile. "Meet me down at Burūmūnbei (Blue Moon Bay) in three days." Haruhi nodded.


Ritsu paced around the bay, glancing up at the sky occasionally. Haruhi was very late.

He ran a hand through his long hair. /Where is she?/ he wondered.

"GO AWAY!" Ritsu's hand went directly to his sword as Haruhi tumbled out of the woods and into sight. A blond boy, a it taller than himself, followed her.

"Hello there!" he said cheerfully, waving goofily.

"Who's the idiot?" Ritsu asked as Haruhi staggered next to him.

"He says his name is Tamaki," she growled irritably, glaring at the oblivious boy. "He wants to come with us." Ritsu raised his eyebrows.

Tamaki obviously came from an entirely different social class. While Ritsu and Haruhi wore second-hand clothes that appeared to be slightly too big for them, Tamaki wore a suit perfectly tailored to his lithe frame. His buttons and shoes shined in a way Ritsu's were dull. Tamaki also seemed to be a bit older than the other teens.

"What's your name?" he called, to the blond, who was excitedly examining the small ship.

"Tamaki Suoh," he answered, violet eyes shinning. "May I accompany you?"

"No," Haruhi said at the same time Ritsu said, "Sure."

"What?" she asked, shocked. The red head bent to whisper in her ear.

"He's the govenor's son. If we take him with us, ha can't alert the Navy." he breathed, glancing at the now confused boy. "Besides, he could be useful."

Haruhi sighed but made no protest as she moved to the Boija (Voyage).

They climbed in and the adventure began.

A/N: One Piece watchers, did you notice Vic Mignogna does the opening theme for the English dub? And little Luffy and Shanks, aren't they just awesome?

Next chapter: Our newfound adventurers set sail in search of freedom on the high seas, but they run into trouble when a fierce storm approaches. Can they make it through, or will they sink beneath the waves?