A/N: Ahhhhh! The final chapter!
But I have some great LuNa one-shots planned out, and my next multi-chapter story is already started and the first chapter is up. I might just be posting a one-shot tomorrow though, although I know I should update "No Sense of Direction", but it's looking to be a busy day, so please, bear with me :P
I hope you enjoy and that the ending is at the very least satisfactory :)
Chapter 10: Final Chapter
He handed Nami off to Zoro, and then ran back towards the cliff. The waves were still vicious, but that meant nothing at that moment –besides, they no longer reached the cave, and that's all he needed to know. He leapt over the edge, and rushed towards the entrance. Luffy decided that if they were already dead, he would kill them all over again. He paused at the fork. Unbeknownst to him, the sign that had been there had been washed away. He picked one way at random, running all the way down to the end of the dark passage. But he came to a wall.
Frowning, Luffy turned to go back, but just as he was about to, something inside of him told him to stop. He turned back to the wall, and brought his fist back.
"Gomu gomu no Pistol!"
The wall broke to pieces in front of him, revealing the cavern. Men all around the room froze as they treated their wounds; large gashes that couldn't have been made from anything except for Zoro's blades.
"It's Straw-hat Luffy!" One exclaimed, "The one that hit our second-in-command!"
Luffy saw the fire, surrounded by a cage. At that moment, that flame couldn't compare to the fire that was burning angrily inside of him. He clenched his fist until his hand felt painful.
"Who did it?" Luffy called out. "Who hurt my nakama?"
His eyes fell to the man sitting on a chair of rock. It was obvious to Luffy that he was the one in charge. He was sitting on a chair while the rest sat on the floor.
"It was you, wasn't it?"
"I made the cage," He shrugged, not moving a muscle. His face had a bored expression, which made Luffy that much angrier. "But they threw rocks and made her bleed."
"That's fine," Luffy said, fighting the rage that threatened to overflow. "That just means you're all going to pay."
I gasped in pain. I was really sore all over. My skin was radiating heat, and I didn't like it. At least they had the decency to put my on my stomach –not on the burns. Oh, goodness, it hurt so badly even though I wasn't laying on them. My body position felt weird though, and I was pretty sure that my feet were elevated.
"How are you feeling?" Robin asked.
If I could move without it hurting, I would look around. Instead I just lay there, "Like I never want to see another fire for as long as I live."
She laughed, "Well, I'm glad that your attitude hasn't been burnt away."
"I wish your teasing would burn away," I muttered. I closed my eyes, "Doesn't Chopper have something to sooth the burns?"
"Mm," Robin said. "Do you want me to put it on for you?"
"Do you really think I can move right now?"
"Sure you don't want to wait for Luffy to do this for you?"
"Just shut up and do it." I paused momentarily, "Please."
She just chuckled.
I was glad I was wearing shorts at that moment. Oh, and no shirt, I remembered, since I didn't think I'd realize it anyway if I were wearing one with the amount of pain I was undergoing. I wasn't glad that the lack of clothing meant more of me severely burnt, but if I had to take off clothing because it was getting in the way of the ointment, I think I would just rather die. It hurt bad enough as it was without having fabric dragged across it.
Suddenly her hands touched my ankles. They were cold and wet, and while it felt nice against my skin, the pressure she applied made the process unbearable. I cried out in pain, gripping the sheets of my bed tightly as my back arched, causing more pain.
"Is she alright?" Usopp called from the other side of the door.
"She's fine," Robin replied. I bit down on my pillow to keep from screaming. This was like torture. It felt like she was getting back at me for every beli I had swindled from her, and all the beli that I would cheat her out of in the future. That totaled up to a lot of beli, which meant the pain I was going through was completely agonizing. And the calculations in my head weren't helping matters either.
By the time she was finished, I was panting breathlessly on the bed. I wanted to kill her, especially when she lightly patted my back to signify that she was done. I would get her back for this one day.
"Since it's probably impossible for you to do much else, I'd try to get some sleep," She said, her voice coming from the bathroom. I could hear the sink running, so I assumed she was washing her hands. "Unless you want something to drink?"
"Water," I called out. "With a straw."
"Of course," She said. "I'll fetch some from the kitchen."
"Thank you," I murmured.
She left the room, and I was faced with my wandering mind. Where was Luffy? Was he angry at me for wanting to take revenge for him, and just wouldn't show his face? Because Zoro had said, while in the cave, that Luffy had been there, right? Or had everything just been some figment of my imagination?
"Arg!" I cried out in frustration, shoving my face into the pillow. I quickly went back to the way I was though, because breathing on the pillow made the pillow hot on my skin, and I think I'd suffered enough heat already for that day.
"Are you still awake?" Chopper asked from the doorway. It was a surprise he hadn't heard my cry moments earlier. Perhaps he was asking for the sake of being polite.
"No, I'm sleeping. Wake me up when the pain is gone."
Chopper laughed as he approached, "Well, at least you're okay."
"I'm practically burnt to a crisp. Am I really that okay?"
"I guess. It feels like my brain's been melted though."
"It's normal to feel light-headed after being overheated," He told me. Gently, he prodded my skin, and I bit back the whimper that sat at the tip of my tongue. I sighed with relief when he pulled back. "Thankfully the burns are only first-degree. I guess all the tanning you do made your skin tough."
"I thought I was going to die there," I sighed, ignoring that last comment. "By being burned to death. That has to be the most unattractive way to die."
"I don't really think that's really the importance of the matter," Chopper said.
"Do you know how devastated the dead me would be if you guys had found me as a burnt skeleton?"
"The horror," Robin chuckled as she re-entered.
"Next time, you can go get revenge," I told her, frowning; I was grateful, though, that she held the water and straw near me so I could take a sip.
"We'll let Luffy take revenge this time around," She said, placing the glass on the bookshelf above our beds. I watched her until she disappeared from my sight.
"After learning why you were burnt, he rushed off. That was about an hour ago though, so I wonder what he's up to now…"
"It must be some revenge he's taking," Chopper said.
I felt useless. My plan for avenging Luffy ended with him taking revenge for me. Actually, now that I thought about it, it wasn't much of a plan to begin with. I, who was usually calm and collected, had just rushed in there without second thoughts. No plan at all. But all that didn't take away from the fact that, at the end of the day, I was still relying on Luffy to finish things off.
I lifted my head, ignoring the pain, and turned to face the wall. "Can you guys leave me alone? I'm getting tired."
"Oh, and Nami, about Luffy –" Chopper began.
"Just leave, please? We can talk later."
"But, Nami –"
"Come on," Robin interrupted. "It's as she said. We'll talk later."
I don't know what kind of look Robin gave him, but it worked. Quietly, they left, closing the door behind them. I sighed, then brought my hand up to my face to wipe away the tears that fell. The action made me gasp, but I was past the point of caring what hurt me.
I sighed, slowing easing my arm back into its previous position. My entire body was throbbing. But the rhythmical pulse that coursed through by body made me sleepy.
I wondered how I was going to face Luffy.
"There he is," Robin said, leaning on the railing of the ship.
"And he's dragging all those guys behind him," Zoro said. "That group looks about twice the size of the amount of guys that were in the cavern."
"Then, they all must be the entire group of bandits," Chopper said, standing between the two.
"He hunted them all down?" Usopp popped up to one side.
"So it would seem," Robin smiled.
"Nami should be happy to see him," Chopper said, looking up at her. "Right?"
"Well, she's sleeping right now, but yes, when she's awake and feeling better, she'll be happy to see him," Robin watched as the townspeople came out of their houses, coming to see what was happening. When the realization that they were free from the bandits' rule, they started cheering in the streets. No one questioned Nami being asleep. There was no doubt that Robin was keeping and eye on her.
Luffy left the group of tied up bandits in the middle of the street there, taking one guy in particular to the beginning of the docks, grabbing a small lifesaver and shoving it down around his shoulders, where he became stuck. Then, with little effort, Luffy tossed the man into the sea water, loosely tying the rope to one of the support posts, as if he didn't really care that the man got swept away by the still-rough tide. He stood back for a moment before redoing it. He hated himself that he couldn't be completely heartless to this guy -but what the Marines would do to him after they arrived would be punishment enough. Or so he hoped.
As he stood up, he looked towards the ship. He grinned and waved –clearly feeling better than he had before when he had been worried about Nami. All of them waved back. He stretched his arm, grabbing the railing and shooting towards us, surprising all the townspeople that had been approaching him to thank him. He landed behind the four of them on deck, turned and rested his hands on his hips.
"In her room," Chopper said.
"She's sleeping though," Robin told him.
"Shishishi, that's fine," He said, turning and leaping down to the deck below. He opened the door, looking over his shoulder as the kitchen door opened. He slipped inside quickly, closing the door behind him.
He stared at Nami's figure on the bed a moment from across the room before slowly approaching her. The skin on the back of her legs was red and swollen. It looked sore. He went to the side of the bed that she was facing. He crouched down so that he was at eye level with her, and frowned, lifting a finger to her cheek to wipe away a tear there. Was it the pain that was making her cry? Luffy looked towards the door; maybe he hadn't beaten those guys enough.
But he was glad that she was safe.
He sighed, sitting down completely on the floor and resting his head on the bed to continue to watch her sleeping face.
Luffy smiled slightly, taking off his hat and placing it gently on her head.
"I love you."
The pain woke me up again. It felt like it was never going to leave my body. I wish I could reverse time and avoid this entire situation. I'd nip it all in the bud by not going to the bar that the twins ran. But from lying in the same uncomfortable position, I felt stiff. And I hated not being active. I pushed myself up off the bed, watching as a straw-hat fell to the pillow in front of me. I sat up completely in surprise, gasping loudly as my knees bent and the back of my leg and lower thigh touched each other.
I nearly fell out of the bed at his exclamation, not having noticed he was right beside me.
"Damn it, Luffy," I said, wincing as I slid backwards off the bed, pushing myself up without bending my legs and leaving the straw-hat there on my pillow.
"Nami, how are you feeling?" He asked.
Not thinking it mattered what I said, because he was deaf, I didn't answer his question. "You're such an idiot –"
"So you are better?"
"Why'd you have to go and become deaf?" I spoke accusingly, as if it were all his fault, although it wasn't, and I knew that. I hated this part of me.
"So you're not better?"
"I wanted to avenge you," Tears brimmed in my eyes, and I'll admit it wasn't from the pain of standing. "I wanted you to smile idiotically at me and say thanks Nami. I wanted you to think that you could rely on me once in a while when you're in a helpless situation. But I messed up!" I was completely in tears, staring at the floor and unable to look him in the eyes. "I messed up, and you and Zoro, and I suspect Robin, had to come and rescue me, and I feel useless like I do every other time when I end up the god damned damsel in distress!"
"Are you okay?" He said.
I shook my head, making the burns on my upper back and neck ache, and I rubbed the heel of my palm against my eye. I was ashamed at myself. I was unable to face him head on, and instead went on and on when he couldn't hear me. How despicable.
He slowly stepped around the bed, and then carefully and gently wrapped his arms around me. I buried my face into his shirt front, gripping the fabric tightly. Despite the pain that came from the contact, the hug relaxed me more than the ointment had.
I felt like I could say it now. Although I'll admit it was cowardly to say it like this. But with all my overflowing confessions and emotions, why not add one more to the mix?
I took a deep breath, pulling away slightly and looking him in the eye.
"I –" I faltered a little, staring into his eyes. But I wouldn't hold it back any longer. I couldn't. I was known for being bold and blunt, and saying what was on my mind. So I gathered my courage, and just said it, "I love you."
"I know that without you telling me," He grinned.
"You know," I murmured after him, lowering my gaze to a button on his shirt. It was loose. I would have to sew it on tighter later. Then my eyes widened and I lifted my head to meet his gaze. "You can hear!"
"Eh? You're right! Shishishi, I'd already forgotten I went deaf," He laughed.
"So you heard all that?" I felt incredibly embarrassed, though relieved at the same time.
"Mm," He said. He cocked his head to the side, putting on that idiotic grin. "And thanks Nami."
"Idiot," I said, trying to pull away. "It doesn't count when you say it after I told you I wanted to hear it."
"Shishishi, but I mean it," He said, grabbing my hand and pulling it up between us. He played with my fingers, and I didn't complain, though I tried not to wince. He looked at me, and stopped playing, but didn't let go, his fingers wrapping around mine until his thumb touched his index finger. "I do mean it, Nami. Thank you. And even if you don't say it, I know you love me."
"That's some confidence," I rolled my eyes. He only laughed again. "You don't hate it when I don't say it back?"
"Shishishi, I'm just happy you put up with me."
I raised my hand up to his face, smirking a little as I leaned in slowly for a kiss. I loved that innocent part of him, the part that knew he was troublesome, and sometimes selfish. The part of him that accepted it as part of himself and didn't deny it.
Just before our lips met, he said, "And I don't think I'd be okay right now, after what happened in Marineford, if I didn't have my nakama to come back to."
My smirk gave way to a genuine smile as I placed my lips lightly against his. He acted like he was afraid that he was going to hurt me, but the only thing I was afraid of was that my lips were incredibly chapped and that it bothered him as much as the knowledge bothered me. But that was fine for now. I pulled back and looked him in the eye and said –
"Oi~! You stole some of my mikans again, didn't you?"
"What? Sorry, I have no ears to hear you with," Luffy said, dashing away.
"Who do you think you are? Brooke?" I muttered, placing my hands on my hips as I watched him go. I couldn't chase him then even if I wanted to.
Well, I could always tell him another time. I didn't think it'd be so hard from now on.
I reached out and picked up his straw-hat, playing with the rim a moment before putting it on my head and pulling it down to cover my eyes.