Chapter 22: The Final Chapter
I opened my eyes and stared at the ceiling. I almost cried. I was back –I was really back. They had found me, and now I was back home, here on the ship. Sitting up, I realized I was alone. That was fine though, because I wasn't actually alone. They were separated by a room or two. It felt like it'd been forever since I'd been so close to them. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. I hoped my mikans were alright.
I stood up despite the nauseous feeling, the soreness and the pain that was in my arm, and went to my closet, getting changed before looking in the mirror. The pain in my arm was around where the explosion had caused me some damage, but that was bandaged and I didn't dare take it off to actually look at it. I had some minor cuts and bruises elsewhere, but I could smell the medicine Chopper used on Luffy when he got injured lingered on my skin.
Sighing, I pulled a sweater on to cover the bruises and went out onto the deck.
"–thanks for the supplies," Sanji was saying to someone on the dock below. Luffy was holding his leg, letting his body be dragged with Sanji's every movement. Mitsuki was sitting on the swing, a frown on her face as she thought about something. I could see the top of Robin's head by her flower garden on the third floor deck. I had no idea where everyone else was, but everybody looked up as the door shut behind me.
"Nami-swa~an!" Sanji greeted.
"Nami!" Mitsuki was smiling now. "You're up!"
"Are you sure you're okay?" Robin asked. "It's okay to rest. We'll be leaving shortly."
"I'm fine," I said, looking over the island. Luffy shot up beside me. "What island is this?"
"Nami," Luffy said, pulling on my arm.
"Furunmei," Robin said. "But the log pose sets in the morning, so we're planning on leaving now. So, you sure you're okay?"
"Nami," Luffy tugged on my arm harder.
"I'm fine," I repeated. "Furunmei? So did you guys defeat the guys that kidnapped me and Mitsuki's sister? Did you find Mitsuki's sister?"
"We found her," Mitsuki spoke slowly and deliberately. "But apparently the kidnappers aren't bad guys after all."
"No, I'm pretty sure kidnapping is a crime," I said.
"What she means is that the girls they kidnap are usually suicidal or being abused in some way or another," Chika said, climbing over the railing. She grinned up at me. "You look like shit."
"I think she looks fantastic," Tsubaki took Sanji's hand when he reached over to help her over.
"Nami~" Luffy continued pulling at my arm. I missed his whiny tone a little. And I liked him saying my name. Was that how Hancock felt? Was I sinking to her level?
"Thanks," I rolled my eyes. I glanced over at Luffy, who had blown his cheeks up but was looking at the village as he waited for me to pay attention to him. I smiled slightly before turning back to the girls, "So all of you had a hard life?"
"Mm," Chika said. "Though some of us more than others –Hana really hates guys. She tried to attack Kiyoshi but ended up getting shot. The tanuki and Youko both tended to her, so she's more or less alright for now."
"She was killing all those guys on the other ship, wasn't she?" I asked, gripping the deck. I felt sick. Luffy slipped closer to me.
"She was," Ran said, looking away.
I exhaled slowly, disappointed that I had been right.
"Nami," Luffy said my name once more.
"What?" I finally turned to him.
"Nami," Hancock called from beside Robin. I looked over at her. "You should probably take a bath. Salome can smell you from here."
"I was planning on it," I muttered. I looked up at Luffy, "I'm glad to be back, but I really do want a bath."
"Mm," Luffy crossed his arms and puffed up his cheeks again.
"Sorry," I apologized, though I wasn't entirely sure how at fault I was.
"You'll have to talk to me later," Luffy called after me as I went down the stairs.
"Mm," I smiled up at him.
"So you're really okay?" Mitsuki asked as I past her.
"I'll be back to normal in no time," I reached out to ruffle her hair. She grinned as she fixed it.
"And then you'll teach me some more, right?" She asked hopefully.
"What about your sister?" I asked.
"We'll talk about that later," She said, turning away, pushing off and swinging gently.
I nodded, even though she wasn't looking, and continued up to the second floor deck. I entered the kitchen and was greeted by Franky.
"Nami! You're up!" He said, looking over the kitchen counter. He turned on the sink's tap and turned it off, satisfied. "Feeling better?"
"Feeling great," I told him. "But I'm off to take a shower, so if you'll excuse me."
"We're glad you're back," He said as I grabbed the rungs of the ladder.
"I'm glad to be back," I looked over my shoulder before climbing up. Robin held out a hand to pull me up the last little way. "Thank you."
"You're still warm," She said, frowning slightly.
"Warm," I repeated. "Not burning up. I'm sure I can handle a small fever."
"Mm," Robin's frown turned gradually into a smile. She gave me a small hug quickly before collecting herself. "You really are starting to smell."
"It's been, like, four days since I've taken a bath," I felt disgusting, "Due to unfortunate circumstances that I, unfortunately, had no control over."
"Unfortunately," She laughed, "Go on now."
"Is the empress waiting for me?" I asked, rolling my eyes, as I realized she wasn't on this deck any longer.
"Seems like she has a story to tell," Robin shrugged. "Though I have a faint idea, I'll let her tell you herself."
"I have the feeling you know more than simply a 'faint idea'," I smirked. "But I'll go. You might have to keep lookout though, in case she tries to kill me," I said sarcastically.
"Hancock isn't desperate enough to kill you," Robin laughed. "Luffy might actually hate her at that point."
"Killing his precious nakama," I felt hurt saying the words. Maybe I wouldn't ever be anything more than 'nakama' to him.
"Luffy treasures nakama above all else," Robin agreed. "Well, above most things."
"Most things?" I repeated as I began to walk to the observation room. "Well, I suppose there's meat."
"Not meat," Robin grinned slyly.
"Then what?" I asked.
"Robin!" Luffy called out.
"Just go." I hated her when she did that, making it seem like she knew so much more than I did. And maybe she did, with all those books she read. But it still pissed me off.
I entered the library, eyeing the snake on the floor, and went to the ladder, climbing up and stripping in the room above and laying my clothes beside Hancock's in the basket. I knocked on the door, testing the knob almost immediately to find it unlocked. I sighed and opened the door, not surprised to see Hancock already in the bath. She didn't say anything as I locked the door and crossed the room, being careful of my bandages as I got into the nice and warm water. It stung my cuts, but it felt nice to be in a bath.
I almost opened my mouth to say something to fill the silence, but stopped myself, not wanting to give in to her just yet. Instead I just picked up a bar of soap and started washing the dirt from my skin.
"I was a slave as a young girl," Hancock said suddenly.
I dropped the bar of soap in the water, and it slid away from me when I tried to grab it. I chased it half way across the tub, my bandages getting soaked in the process. I would have to get Chopper to change them for me later. When I finally gripped the soap, I held it close to my body, unsure of what to say.
"To make it worse, I was a slave to the Tenryuubito," She continued, unfazed by my clumsy actions. "And I was branded, with this mark –" She turned around, pulling her long hair over her shoulder, revealing the crest of the Tenryuubito, the Hoof of the Soaring Dragon.
"You don't have to say anymore," I told her. "I didn't know –I wouldn't have said that you hadn't experienced hardship otherwise."
"What do you know about this crest?"
"What I've read from books," I replied, digging my nails into the soap to keep it from slipping away again. "And I'd say that's enough to know that what you went through probably brings back awful memories."
She didn't say anything for a moment. "I hate you."
"What happened to that heart-to-heart atmosphere we almost had there?" I muttered, beginning to use the soap once more.
"I hate you," She repeated, an unemotional look passing over her face as she leaned back and lifted her long legs above the water to rest on the ledge, "With a passion, actually."
"I'm not really sure what I did to deserve that," I got up and went to the shower, turning it on and sitting on the stool so I could wash my hair. "Because I told you I didn't love Luffy? I really hadn't acknowledged my feelings at that time. But I'll tell you now," I looked over at her and met her gaze, "I do love him."
She got out of the water, grabbing a towel and wrapping it around her. "I know." She went to the door. "But I still hate you. If I could kill you, I would. But I can't."
"Thanks for letting me live," I rolled my eyes as she exited the room, turning back to the showerhead to finish washing my hair. I ran my fingertips from my scalp to the tips of my hair. It was one of those moments where I was thankful for Franky's workmanship more than anything.
"I'm starving," I said as I sat down at the dining room table. The crew was on their way up, and Chika as well as the rest of the girls were going to join us. Kiyoshi had supplied food to make up for the misunderstanding. I guess he really wasn't such a bad guy.
Chika, Tsubaki, Ren, Ran and Kyra weren't going to stay on this island. They were going to come with us to Akaki Island. Kyra would wait for Marines to come to the island before she went off to join them. Until then, they were going to buy a house on the island.
"I made some food that should make you feel better, Nami-swa~an," Sanji said, laying a bowl of soup and some other dishes in front of me.
"Oi, Sanji, what about me?" Luffy asked, bouncing up and down in his seat.
"Yeah, yeah," Sanji went to the kitchen and grabbed another couple of plates, bringing them and laying them down. "There. Your meat."
"Yes," Luffy grinned down at the food before looking at me, "Oi, Nami –"
"Nami," Mitsuki stood at my elbow, "I know you're leaving after dinner, but I really want to talk to you."
"Alone?" I asked.
"Please," Mitsuki looked down at her hands.
"I'll send your food down to the aquarium," Sanji said as the others filed into the room.
"Thank you," I said, standing up.
"But, Nami," Luffy grabbed my arm.
"Sorry," Mitsuki said, and as I turned to look at her I saw her sticking out her tongue. She looked apologetically up at me when she saw that I had seen, and repeated, more shamefully, "Sorry."
"Nami," Luffy pouted.
"Sorry, Luffy," I bowed my head as I apologized. "I'll come find you when Mitsuki and I finish."
Luffy frowned, but released me. I really did want to stay with him. But Mitsuki pulled at my arm when I was a little reluctant, and I followed her out of the room. The two of us went down to the aquarium, where I opened the service elevator to retrieve my food. I took a bite, savoring it. Sanji's food really was great.
"So what happened with your sister?" I asked after a moment.
"She's getting married," She avoided my gaze, "To Kiyoshi."
"Kiyoshi turned out to be not such a bad guy," I reminded her.
"Yeah," She admitted, "But that doesn't save from the fact that my sister went missing a year ago. I don't know if I should forgive her or not: she didn't say anything when she left; she never sent letters to tell me and my aunt we were okay; and she's marrying the guy that I hated for an entire year, because I thought that he was doing something horrible to her all this time. And it turns out that broken girl on my island was suffering because of heartache, not from whatever horrors they may have done."
"So what's the problem?"
"She wants me to stay with her and Kiyoshi."
I took a sip of the soup before responding, "And?"
"I'm not sure if I should do it," She said, finally meeting my gaze.
"What do you want to do?" I asked her.
"I –I don't know," She rested her elbows on the counter and her head in her hands. "I honestly thought that you'd be helping me more than this."
"What do you want me to say?" I snorted. "Go, go now, and don't ever look back? Or perhaps, stay so that I can teach you how to be a criminal?"
"I want you to say something to help me make up my mind," She got up and went to the fish tank.
"What was your initial reason for coming here?" I ripped apart a bun and dipped it in the soup. "You were brave enough to face the New World, but you're not brave enough to face your sister when it counts the most?"
"So you're telling me I should stay," She turned.
"I'm telling you that you need to stop thinking and just act. When you came to rescue your sister, did you ever stop to think that you could potentially get killed out on the sea?"
"I just wanted her back," Mitsuki said, running her hand over the glass.
"Out of all the hardship you faced, did you ever once regret coming out to save your sister?"
"Well, now –"
"When the hardships were happening," I told her.
"No," She admitted. "A few scars and bruises felt like a lot worse than what my sister had to be going through."
"And do you understand what your sister is feeling now?"
Mitsuki didn't say anything, and I chewed thoughtfully.
"If you still find it hard to decide, think about this: you can leave at anytime," I told her after a moment. "But if you leave now and ever decide to forgive her mistakes, it'll only become harder to face her."
She didn't speak immediately, just let the weight of my words sink in. "How long until you set sail?"
"Two hours," I told her. "Don't rush for a decision though."
"I won't," She said, before leaving the room.
I was left alone in the aquarium to finish my food. I kind of wished that Luffy was hiding around the corner like last time. Now would be a good time to talk about everything. We'd be alone, no one to bother us because they would all be eating…
The door opened, and I looked up, expecting it to be Luffy –but it was Chopper.
"I wanted to make sure you were doing alright," Chopper said.
"I'm almost done eating," I told him. "Then we can go up to the infirmary."
"Mm," He came over and sat beside me.
"So did you fight with the snake while I was away?" I asked him.
"He was fetching Hancock's sisters," He replied.
"Have you faced him since he came back?"
"I'm trying to avoid any conflicts in the last day that they're here," Chopper said.
"It is their last day, huh," I murmured. "No more Hancock, no more having to share a room with her –"
"No more snake that just likes to instigate fights," Chopper added.
"No more have to put up with her looking at the ceiling when she's supposedly looking down on us," I grinned.
"No more her trailing after Luffy."
"It's going to be good to have her gone," I sighed, stretching and wincing. I lifted the bowl of soup to my lips, and closed my eyes as the warm liquid made its way down. I set the plate down and put the dished back in the service elevator, "Alright, let's go."
We went the long way to the infirmary instead of cutting across the dining room. I sat on the bed and waited as Chopper took off the bandages to look at the infected cut. He rubbed something over it before putting on new bandages. I took the other ointment from him and began rubbing it over the other cuts. This entire process went on without a real word spoken.
"So you are in here," Luffy said, the door to the kitchen opening. "Chopper, I want to talk to Nami."
"Mm," Chopper said, jumping down from his chair and going to through the door as Luffy held it open.
"Nami, I –"
"OI! YOU DAMNED DART-BROW!" Zoro shouted. "I WASN'T FINISHED EATING!"
There was a crash as dishes broke.
"HEY! MUSCLE BRAIN! YOU ALMOST HIT HANCOCK-SAMA!" Sanji shouted back at him.
"Nam–" I looked down to see Luffy clenching his fist.
"SHE SHOULDN'T HAVE CHOSEN THAT MOMENT TO WALK IN!" Zoro retorted.
"Let's just –" There was another crash as I spoke, "–go outside."
He nodded, taking my arm and flinging the deck door open. He wrapped his arm around me, making my heart nearly stop, and using his other arm he pulled us up onto the third deck.
"Finally," Luffy muttered, closing the ladder hatch as he walked by. We could still hear shouting from below, but that was fine. As I walked along the railing I could see Mitsuki sitting on the edge of the dock and staring at the water beneath her feet. Luffy came up beside me, and stole a glance at me. I saw him watching me in the corner of my eye.
"Nami –" He paused, as if waiting for something else to happen. He threw his fist in the air with his little victory, "Yosh! Shishishi."
I laughed with him.
"I'm glad you're back," Luffy jumped up and perched on the railing. He looked like he wanted to say something else, but he didn't continue.
"I'm sorry," I told him. "It was my stubbornness that got me taken away. I hadn't known about Hancock –"
"That doesn't even matter anymore," He said, gazing out at the sea. Along the horizon we could still see an orange glow. Suddenly he jumped back off the railing and I turned to keep my eye on him. He picked up my hand, holding it to check for my pulse again. "Is it beating quickly?"
"Mm," I replied.
"Hancock told me…" his voice trailed off. "Does this really mean that you're in love?"
I felt really put on the spot. I took my hand away from him, but he grabbed it again and opened my fingers, resting his palm against mine. This felt oddly familiar. Like I was reliving a dream –déjà vu? I closed my eyes momentarily, trying to calm my racing heart.
"I really did miss you," Luffy said, and my eyes flew open, realizing something as he went on. Earlier, it hadn't been a dream. "When you were gone, there was this mysterious feeling in my chest."
I stared at our hands, "I think I know that feeling."
"Nami –" His stomach growled and he grinned. "Oh, I must be hungry still."
I brought my fist down on his head, angry that he couldn't get his priorities straight. I walked over to my mikans, picking one carefully before peeling it and throwing the peels into the bucket.
"Nami," Luffy called, from his position lying on the deck. He sat up and looked.
"Mm?" I asked, turning to face him once more, placing a piece of the mikan in my mouth.
"I love you."
I didn't know how to respond. Maybe I was hearing things. If I ignored him, would he say it again? Would it pass by as if he never said it at all? I stood there rooted to the spot, only able to watch as he covered the distance between us. He placed his hands on either side of my face and looked down into my eyes. In a fast, impulsive action, his lips were on mine.
This definitely wasn't a dream.
He pulled away a moment later, grinning. Luffy took off his hat and placed it on my head. "Well, get better soon, Nami."
And with that he leapt over the edge and onto the deck below. I heard the door slam shut before I sunk to my knees, my hand hovering just above my lips as I sat there. He had taken the mikan piece that had been in my mouth. I looked up, my gaze falling on Mitsuki who I could see between the spaces of the railing. She was standing now, and deliberately looking in my direction. She broke into a grin and gave a small wave before walking away.
She saw. I just knew she did. She glanced over her should once more before disappearing into the village. I covered my face with my hands, slightly embarrassed.
But I was extremely happy.
"Then I guess this is goodbye," Hancock said, standing in front of me, her shoulders squared off and holding every ounce of that rude empress personality in her voice. You would think a week on a ship with another crew would change a person.
"Ladies~!" Sanji was shouting over to Hancock's ship and waving wildly. "You are all looking lovely today~!"
"Excuse me~ May I see your panties~?" Brooke was yelling beside him. I took my sandal off and threw it at them, smirking happily when it hit the two of them.
"Hana's already on your ship?" I asked,.
"Mm," She replied.
"I'm surprised you're just walking away without a fight," Mitsuki slipped into the position beside me.
"I'm not giving up," Hancock said, crossing her arms. With every word she spoke her head tilted further back, "Soon he will realize which of us two can better support him –which is me. Once he sees your naked body he'll realize it doesn't compare to mine –"
"Luffy has seen me naked, long time ago," I told her. "When had he seen you naked?"
"Also a long time ago –what was his reaction?" She asked.
"Bloody nose," I told her, squaring my shoulders up.
"Well, soon he will realize that my body is better," She said, beginning to walk away.
"Less than a bloody nose," Mitsuki laughed.
"Oh, before I go," Hancock stopped and turned, walking back to me. She brought her hand back and slapped me.
"Oi!" Zoro called out.
"Don't further hurt the injured!" Chopper shouted.
I brought back my fist and punched her. She stumbled back; surprised I had the guts to hit her like that.
"I may not be a Shichibukai," I began. "And I may not possess the powers of a devil's fruit, but I will not bow down to you."
"She hit the empress," I could hear her warriors on her ship whispering.
"I'm not giving up," Hancock repeated.
"I didn't expect you to," I crossed my arm, badly wanting to put ice on it or something. I think she had been using her haki. That stung like hell. "But I will win."
"Tell me that when you get stronger," She raised her nose in the air. "I'll be back sometime. Perhaps we'll have a real battle, fighting for his love."
"An easy win," I told her smugly.
"We'll see," She replied.
"Hancock," Luffy jumped down beside us. I felt Mitsuki's eyes on me and I turned my face away slightly.
"Luffy," She greeted happily, wrapping her arms around him. His head fell between her breasts, and I heard his words being muffled by her skin once more. A farewell so much like the day she first stepped onto this boat –she really hadn't changed at all. "No goodbyes this time either, alright?"
"Alright," Luffy grinned as he pulled away. Hancock smiled self-righteously at me. I wanted to hit that smile off her face. "Shishishi, we'll meet again someday."
"Mm," She smiled. Her cheeks were bright with a pretty blush. All the girls on the opposite ship screamed happily. "Thank you, Luffy."
She leapt over the distance to her ship with ease, landing in a sexy manner. I hated her arrogance and the way she thought she was so beautiful. I hated how she drooled over Luffy like Luffy drooled over food. But she was a good person to have on our side.
So long as she didn't overstep the boundary.
"So what about you?" I asked, turning to Mitsuki.
She opened her mouth to say something.
"MITSUKI!" Youko called, running down the docks.
"I'm not gone yet!" Mitsuki shouted back.
"So you're coming along?" I asked.
"Only until we reach Akaki Island once more," She turned, looking at her sister as Kiyoshi helped her onto our ship. "I'll be living with Chika and Tsubaki until I can completely forgive my sister. Not too far, not too close."
"I'm glad," I smiled warmly at her as she went to see her sister. Kiyoshi was keeping Sanji and Brooke at bay as they shouted over to Hancock's ship as it pulled away. I was relieved.
Slowly, Luffy's fingers wrapped around my wrist, sliding down to hold my hand loosely; I looked at him, and he grinned, "I like touching you."
"I should start charging you," I told him.
He just laughed, watching as Hancock's ship pulled further and further away.
"What did she come here for, anyway?" I asked.
"Using my name to protect her island," Luffy looked at me.
"I don't see why she needed a week to talk about that," I rolled my eyes.
"I think there was a proposal in there, but I'm not marrying her."
I smirked, shaking my head and continued to gaze at the other ship. Suddenly it caught fire, and all you could hear on her ship was the screaming of Hancock as she fell into total despair. A few seconds later it exploded and –
"Nami?" Luffy tugged at my hand gently.
"I'm coming," I told him. "We should set sail, too."
I glanced once more at Hancock's ship. It was still in one piece, drifting further and further away, unfortunately.
Well, a girl could dream.
A/N: And there it is! The end!
What I really wanted was for them to have a full on battle, but Nami's still pretty injured... Maybe one day there'll be a sequel or something XD AND THAT WILL DEFINITELY HAVE THE BATTLE I WANT!
I'm really thankful that all of you have enjoyed the story to stick with it to the end! I hope this final chapter answered all -if not most- of whatever questions there were at this point. If not, all the more reason to bring Hancock back later. ;)
I do have another story already in mind, so let's hope that goes as well as I feel this one did. It's going to be more "cute" than this one -lots of Luffy X Nami lovey-dovey moments, considering it'll take place after this one -but I hope to keep plenty of adventure mixed in!
Oh, and I'm potentially considering becoming a beta reader :) We'll see though. :P
Thanks again! All the reviews up to this point have made me smile so much -you're all so supportive and I love it! You guys rule! :)