Tales From the Grand Line
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the obvious, the rest belongs to Eichiro Oda and JK Rowling.
Author's Note: Here it is, the next chapter. Hope you like.
Correct version up as soon as beta finishes.
Chapter Four: Beautiful Liar
Their two boats weren't enough for four people. There was no room for Draco in the small boat with Harry, Luffy and Zoro – it was already crowded as it was – so he was forced to stay in Nami's stolen vessel. And she didn't like to share so little space with another person. It wasn't very obvious, though, and Nami didn't seem very conscious of it herself. But it was as if she expected Draco to jump her bones and rape her in her sleep. It made Harry wonder exactly why she acted like that, but he didn't mention it. Nami's business was her own. If she wanted to reveal it to them, she would when the time was right.
"We can't go on like this." Draco stated the fifth day they were out. He was lying on his back on the deck of his and Nami's shared boat, hands behind his head and looking up at the blue skies. "We have no room to move, we have no shelter, we have very little food that will hold for long voyages, we have practically no water. We've been incredibly lucky to actually survive this long. If a storm came at us now, we would most likely go down and drown. Well, you would. I can still fly to safety. You are more stupid than I thought if you want to sail anywhere like this. You might as well find the closest marine base and give yourself up, it would amount to the same thing."
"It may be true, but there is no need to be so cruel about it." Nami huffed.
Draco sent her a sneer. "What good would it do to sugarcoat my words? The truth is the truth no matter what. People like you need a good kick in the head in order to realize the truth. Sometimes it's the only way to get through to you."
"People like me? What's that supposed to mean?" Nami shrieked.
"Numbskulls. Gryffindors. People who don't think before charging head on into things. I can go on with the descriptions. Potter is one too, but he has at least grown some brains. I'm not so sure about you yet, although I will admit that you are better than those two numbskulls." Draco nodded towards Zoro and Luffy.
The two pirates in question didn't seem to be too bothered by Draco's attitude. Luffy was laughing and Zoro was half-asleep with a smirk of amusement playing on his lips.
She turned to Harry. "Can't you use your magic to make him shut up? He's been negative since the day we picked him up! Luffy, throw him overboard!"
Luffy just laughed some more and started munching on one of the apples they had gotten from Gaimon.
Harry sighed. "Malfoy is right, you know, you just admitted it yourself. I don't understand why you keep on arguing the point."
"He's being very rude!"
"I'm being painfully blunt." Draco corrected her.
"It's the same thing!"
"Watch out or you'll burst a capillary."
Nami shrieked and threw her hands up in the air in frustration.
"He is right, though." Zoro spoke up a few minutes later, deciding to give up napping for the moment. "We can't last forever on the food and water we got from Gaimon. We need some proper grog on board."
Luffy nodded in agreement as he finished the apple. "That's right, I still want to eat meat. Fish and fruit day in and day out doesn't cut it when you're a real pirate!"
"We need more than just proper food and alcoholic drinks." Draco almost snarled and sat up. "We need a proper ship for one, and proper equipment to go with the ship, too. According to the maps and the stories I've heard from Gaimon, the Grand Line isn't a walk in the park. Other ships will attack us, marines as well as other pirates, and we need to be prepare- WILL YOU LISTEN TO ME!" he howled at Luffy who was bemoaning the lack of a proper cook and a proper musician.
"No, Luffy, you can't just make everyone your friends." Harry said it just as Luffy was opening his mouth, and the young captain pouted and huffed at having been cut off before he even began.
Nami sighed. "Much as I hate his attitude, Draco is right. We aren't prepared at all, ship- or crew-vise. We need both."
"And a chef. And a musician." Luffy reminded her.
Harry groaned and rubbed the bridge of his nose at the stupidity of his captain, while Zoro laughed at the thought. Luffy's priorities needed to be set straight before Draco went on a rampage and burned down their ship in revenge. It had almost happened once already, the young Malfoy being unable to stand his fellow crew members. Draco thought them all insane. Zoro was all brawns and no brains and slept all the time. Luffy was dumber than a loaf of bread, and Nami was too obsessed with her treasure. The only one Draco could stand even remotely was Harry, and that was only in small doses. On these two small boats tied together as they were, there was no chance of privacy, no chance of taking a break from everyone else, and it was grinding on the Slytherin's last nerves.
"If we head south we'll reach the Gecko Islands. They have some okay-sized towns. We might get lucky and find a better ship there. If nothing else we'll get better provisions." Nami said with a sigh and put away her map. "Ugh, we're so lucky this is the East Blue, the other seas are much more dangerous."
"Wohoo! Time to eat properly again!"
"Don't forget the grog!"
This time it was Draco who gave up. "You're all idiots! I would have had a better chance of survival if I simply flew around in a completely random pattern. I can't believe I came along with you people. It must have been the boredom on Gaimon's island. It messed with my mind."
This could not end well, Harry mused as he looked at Draco. The Slytherin had always been negative and snappy and snarky, but this was getting ridiculous. Why was he acting like this? Harry didn't think it was cabin fever that made Draco act like this, Draco was the only one who could actually get some real exercise in being an animagus. And the blond took frequent flying trips, too, both to scout and to get some time in relative peace and quiet. No, there was something else underlying all this arguing, and if it kept up it would lead to a big confrontation with someone in the crew. Or with the crew united against Draco – though Harry vowed to himself to try to stay on the sidelines and not get involved.
Judging by the look hidden in Luffy's eyes, behind the smile, he knew that a confrontation was coming too.
As did Zoro. The swordsman always kept a sharp eye on things even while pretending to be asleep.
Nami seemed ignorant though, which was a surprise.
'You really can't judge a book by its cover. Nami is smart, but not about people. Perhaps the reason she butts head with Malfoy so much is because they're both hiding something?' Harry mused and let his fingers dip into the waters of the ocean as the wind pushed them along.
Whatever it was, Harry hoped that the growing crew and the forming friendships could survive it.
"Whoa! There really is an island here!" Luffy grinned as they dragged their two boats further up on the beach to keep them from being taken by the high tide.
Harry whacked the back of the young captain's head. "You need to stop being so surprised when your navigator is right about navigational matters."
"But I've never been able to do that!" Luffy protested.
"I can't say I'm surprised." Draco's remark was as dry as a desert.
Zoro was stretching with a happy groan. "Ah, it's good to be back on dry land again. My muscles were cramping up."
Harry snorted. "You're spending too much time sleeping. Get some exercise in and you'll feel better."
"I would if we had a boat big enough to me about in."
They had landed on one of the three Gecko Islands and, according to Nami's map, there should be a small hamlet here. If they couldn't get a hold of a better ship and provisions here, then they could probably get information about the best place to go in order to get what they needed. A small hamlet was less likely to have heard about the guy who had stormed and beaten two Marine bases, so it was simply safer.
The beach they had landed on wasn't very long or very wide. It was edged by tall cliffs that reached about the height of a normal two-storey house, and there was shrubbery and trees all along the edges. There was a single path further inland and it was cut into the bedrock and sloped gently upwards so it was like a corridor.
"This place would be perfect for an ambush." Draco remarked. "Someone could be hiding in those bushes and picks us off one by one without much trouble. That path inland, too."
"I doubt anyone will attack us." Nami rolled her eyes. "It's just a small hamlet."
"Does that mean that there's meat there?" Luffy perked up even more if that was possible. He was practically drooling at the thought of meat. "Meat, meat, meat, meat!"
Nami grimaced. "You're such a barbarian."
Harry grabbed the captain before Luffy could run off. "Calm down, idiot, otherwise the hamlet people really will think they're being laid siege on by a food-crazy band of pirates."
Draco was still looking up at the cliffs, grey eyes narrowed. "There is someone here." He suddenly remarked.
"How do you know?" Luffy asked.
"I can use my animal senses in human form. I can smell them."
Zoro put his hand on his three katana, and Luffy looked eagerly around for their greeting party. "Where? Where are they? Where?"
"Watch out!" Zoro suddenly shouted.
Harry and Luffy were forced to dance and jump out of the way as small projectiles were aimed at their feet, kicking up the sand around them. Nami squeaked and retreated to the relative safety that the bulks of the boats could provide, and Draco drew his wand with the flick of a wrist. He was scanning the foliage in an attempt to find the attacker.
"What the hell?" Harry grumbled and looked at the ground. The projectiles were small metal balls, but not bullets. They were too big for that. They were also shiny and there had been no sound of a gun being cocked and fired. These things would have hurt if they had hit, but the worst they could have done was leave some nasty bruises. They certainly weren't lethal.
Leaves rustled as flags were raised up on the cliffs, the skull-and-crossbones very familiar though the open mouth reminded Harry of the Scream painting by Edward Munch. All the way up and down along the cliffs the flags went up, but there was something suspicious about the size. They were too small, Harry thought, children sized poles and flags. And where was the threatening shouting of the defenders? If they took care to make so many flags then there should have been threatening shouting to further frighten any attackers.
"You can't be serious." Harry relaxed. "A bad bluff."
"Not impressive. Five people at the most." Draco put his wand away.
Zoro sent them a look, then relaxed too, letting go of his katana and deciding to trust the two wizards.
Someone, however, was impressed. Luffy was waving his arms around like a windmill. "Wow! This is awesome! There are so many of them!"
Nami glared at him as she left the safety of the boats. "This is not the time to be impressed!"
"Hahahaha! I am the leader of the great pirate crew that conquered this village! Everyone praises me and addresses me as Captain Usopp!" the speaker was a young man with curly hair, olive green overalls, a yellow, checkered bandana and the longest nose Harry had ever seen on anyone not named Pinocchio. He pointed at himself as he struck an impressive pose, flags waving the background. "If you're thinking of attacking this village, you should just save your strength! Otherwise my 80 million men will crush you like little bugs!"
Luffy fell for it hook, line and sinker. "Incredible!"
"You can't be serious." Harry did a face-palm.
"Oh boy." Zoro sighed.
"Idiot." Nami said.
"Liar." Draco pointed out.
"Gah! He saw right through it!" Usopp exclaimed, clutching his head in horror.
"And you just admitted it." The Slytherin, who prided himself on being sneaky in any way, shape or form, was obviously not impressed.
Usopp was too busy doing some sort of wriggle dance thing in horrified realization that he had just given the game away. "This is bad! They saw through it! Arrgh!" he cried to the skies.
"What? He was lying?" Luffy demanded, getting right up into Draco's face. He seemed utterly shocked.
Draco, obviously, refused to answer such a stupid question.
"Damn you!" Usopp seemed to have put himself together. "80 million may be an exaggeration-"
"The island couldn't host that many people." Harry mumbled to Zoro who snickered.
"-but I have many strong and powerful companions!" the long-nosed teenager finished proudly.
If this was the cue for something to happen, for these many, powerful warriors to jump out and scare them, then they were to be sorely disappointed. No one came out. There wasn't even a sound.
"Powerful companions?" Nami parroted, then smirked and looked up at a certain bush on the cliffs where the sun was revealing yellow hair, a red cap and a skull-and-crossbones decorated t-shirt. "All three of them?"
The kids shrieked in horror at being found out and ran off at once. Usopp called for his 'crew' to come back and not leave him alone.
"You're interesting!" Luffy laughed.
"Hey, you! Don't laugh at me! I'm a man of great pride!" Usopp brought out his green slingshot and aimed another small metal ball at the quintet down on the beach. "Because of my great pride people call me Usopp the Proud!"
"I thought it was Captain Usopp?" Draco sneered quietly.
"As you saw earlier my skill with a slingshot is better than a pistol!"
Luffy wasn't laughing anymore. For a moment he stood there and looked up at Usopp, serious as could be, then he suddenly adopted a surprisingly wicked smirk and pulled his straw hat down to shade his eyes. "Since you mentioned pistols," Luffy said, "bet your life on it. It's not a tool to use for fun and scare people."
Usopp gaped in horror and, probably, fear.
"That came from our stupid captain?" Draco looked at Harry. Harry shushed him, too amused with what was going on while Nami simply sighed and shook her head.
Zoro stepped forwards. "This person who stands before you is a real pirate."
Zoro and Luffy seemed to have a stare down with Usopp, and it was clear to everyone that Usopp was the looser. Finally he couldn't take it anymore and gave in, sinking to the ground and relaxing his grip on his slingshot. "As I thought," Usopp almost whimpered, "a true pirate's speech is so intimidating! Incredible!"
Luffy and Zoro shared a look, then burst out laughing. Nami was giggling soon, and Harry snickered while Draco crossed his arms and reluctantly allowed a smirk to appear on his face. Usopp clearly couldn't handle pressure very well if he simply gave in after a mere stare-down like this. If one went by the ridiculous lies he had just told them, he was too sheltered to actually have met real pirates and didn't really know how to handle himself yet. Or he was just a big old coward who tried to bluff his way through everything.
Things went much better after that. Luffy admitted that his little speech was copied from someone he knew, and it was revealed that he had actually met Usopp's father when he had been a kid. The man sailed with the pirate captain Luffy admired, or something similar, Harry didn't pay much attention to that part. The long and short of it was that they ended up friends with Usopp who guided them to the hamlet and to the restaurant where he ordered a huge meal for them all. The food was certainly excellent and though it was the first time both Harry and Draco tasted grog, they could admit that the watered down rum wasn't too bad.
"Good food." Harry remarked and leaned back. He was full. Unlike Zoro and Luffy he couldn't eat three helpings in one sitting.
"Good grog!" Zoro sighed and gulped down his entire tankard in one go.
"After fish and fruits for five days this seems like heaven." Draco's eyes were half-closed in enjoyment.
"Mhmm!" Nami agreed happily around a mouthful.
Usopp was speaking with Luffy. "So you're looking for a ship big enough to house your crew? Ah, sounds like a cool adventure!"
At this point Nami asked about possibly acquiring a ship in this hamlet, which Usopp denied at once. It was a small place, as the young man pointed out, so they would be better served to simply go somewhere else. Zoro asked about the mansion on the hill they had seen when they entered the village, and the next thing they knew Usopp had remembered something that he 'had to do yesterday' and had made a very speedy retreat after telling them that the food was on his tab and not to worry about paying him back. Harry blinked after Usopp, wondering what the hell had just happened, and he wasn't the only one. Nami looked confused, Zoro slightly curious and Draco almost ready to head after Usopp to figure out what the young man was hiding and if it was dangerous for the crew.
"Aunty!" Luffy called to the proprietor of the restaurant, holding his plate aloft. "I want some more meat!"
"You have impeccable priorities, captain." Harry sighed and shook his head in amusement.
The three kids that had been on the beach with Usopp showed up not long afterwards, in search for their 'captain' and bravely facing the monsters who had taken him captive. Luffy was grinning in amusement at the small, wooden swords being waved in his direction, Nami giggled, Harry and Draco watched in amusement and Zoro smirked wickedly as he told them that Usopp had been eaten.
"AAAH! A MONSTER!" the three kids, they couldn't be more than nine, shrieked.
"Why did you look at me?" Nami demanded in turn.
Harry laughed along with Zoro and Luffy, while Draco shook his head. "How stupid can you get?"
The kids showed then the way to the mansion. Apparently the girl who lived there had lost her parents a year ago, and had been weak and depressed ever since. Usopp regularly went there to cheer her up by telling tall tales and inventing lies about adventures he had never had.
"What she needs is a good smack and someone to tell her to pull herself together. Life goes on. There is no need to coddle her like that." Draco said as they stood in front of the fence that ran around the admittedly impressive mansion. "She'll never get over it being shut up in this gilded cage with her memories. Of course she's weak if she hasn't been out and about much in the past year."
"Draco! That's horrible!" Nami glared.
"You idiot!" the kids shouted at him, one kicking the Slytherin's shin. "Miss Kaya is really sick and the captain's trying to cheer her up! You're just being mean like that butt-ler!"
Draco sneered but before he could say anything else Luffy had grabbed onto the fence and started walking backwards, stretching his arms and making himself into a human slingshot. "Let's go in and find Usopp and Kaya and ask her for a ship!"
"Wha-?" that was just about all the time the rest of them had to understand what Luffy was doing and grab onto the young captain before they were all flung into the air, over the fence and then started falling back down.
Draco had already changed forms and latched onto the three screaming kids, beating his wings furiously to at least slow their descent enough to keep them from being harmed. Harry grabbed Nami and waved his hand, casting the Arresto Momentum spell to slow their descent until they landed gently on their feet. Luffy and Zoro weren't that lucky and had a quite painful crash-landing, but neither one seemed to suffer much from it. In fact, the ground seemed to suffer more than the rubber man and the swordsman.
"Some things in this world simply defy the natural laws." Harry muttered as Draco settled on his shoulders. The Chinese Fireball Hatchling was staring from the two impact craters to Zoro and Luffy and then back again, eyes ridiculously large in its tiny, draconic face.
"Look who's talking." Nami muttered and edged away from Harry and Draco. She was grateful that she hadn't suffered the same landing as Luffy and Zoro, but experiencing magic on her own body like that was freaky!
Luffy had good aim, though, for they landed right underneath the tree that Usopp was sitting in, and right underneath the window a shocked young woman was leaning out of. She was sickly pale, her blond hair was almost white, and she wore a pale, pale light blue summer dress. Her eyes were dark and big in her face, and all in all it added to the picture of a weak, young woman who needed to be coddled. Draco sneered up at her from Harry's shoulders and refused to talk to her, so he simply stayed as a dragon and turned his head away.
"What's gotten into you?" Harry asked him quietly as Usopp tried to pass the entire group off as people who had come to join his world infamous pirate crew. Draco's reply was to bury his claws viciously into Harry's shoulder through his clothes, and the Gryffindor winced. "Okay, okay, I won't ask but you're really being mean, Malfoy, worse than when we were in school."
Draco snorted a cloud of smoke and looked pointedly away.
"We want you to give us a large ship!" Luffy grinned up at Kaya, blunt as ever.
Nami groaned. "You idiot! That's not how you go about it!"
"We want you to give us a large ship, please." Luffy tried again.
"Wrong!" she whacked the back of Luffy's head.
Things went downhill from there as the aforementioned butt-ler, Klahadore, showed up. A slender man with glasses, dressed in an elegant black uniform with golden embroidery on the chest and with his black hair slicked back, Klahadore was a very elegant man. The elegance went only as far as his outer appearance for his personality was snobby and rather Malfoy-ish as he looked down on Usopp for being a pirate and demanded that they remove themselves from the grounds. The entire debacle ended with a shouting Kaya, Usopp punching Klahadore, and Klahadore getting his wish for them to leave the grounds – only after he had thoroughly insulted Usopp's pirate father and Usopp himself. And, of course, Luffy getting involved in the argument by adopting the 'butt-ler' nickname Usopp and his young friends had come up with.
"Hey, it's none of your business." Zoro whacked their idiot of a captain.
They did follow when Usopp left the grounds, but Usopp soon disappeared from view and only Luffy ran after him. The rest of the crew and two of Usopp's young friends simply stopped by the wayside outside of the village, and leaned back against the wooden fence that encircled one of the many unused pastures.
"He was clearly aiming for to be punched." Draco broke the silence. "I don't know why he wanted Usopp to hit him, but I don't like that sort of attitude."
Harry sent the Malfoy a look, remembering clearly when Draco had been acting all high and mighty and had insulted Harry's parents and family and bloodline the same way Klahadore had insulted Usopp. The war had apparently not only changed Narcissa and Lucius Malfoy but also Draco. Harry also wondered if that experience didn't have something to do with the horrible way Draco was acting around everyone, being unnecessarily blunt and cruel with his remarks.
"But why would he want to do that?" Nami asked.
Draco shrugged. "To make Usopp look bad? How should I know?"
"I wonder where Luffy went." Harry wondered. With Luffy's luck the young captain would end up finding the biggest danger on the island and then bring it all raining down upon them without meaning to. The guy seriously needed to grow some common sense.
"Captain goes to a hill by the sea when he's depressed; perhaps Luffy went there, too." One of the kids said.
"Luffy can take care of himself." Zoro yawned.
Nami looked at the two boys. "Where is your friend? The one who looks like an onion with glasses?"
"Ah, he goes off and then he comes back screaming about something." The two boys sighed.
They were right, too, for a minute later the boy in question came running, screaming about something being horrible and then claiming that he saw a weird man walking backwards.
The man walking backwards showed up about five minutes later.
"What the hell?" Draco blinked and stared at the man.
"He looks like a freaky Michael Jackson knockoff." Harry shuddered. Seriously, the moonwalk, the gloves, the very movements. It all reminded Harry of the King of Pop. And it was freaky. Especially the heart-shaped sunglasses. The knockoff introduced himself as Jango, a travelling hypnotist. He was easily cajoled into giving a show, and a moment later had hypnotized himself and the three young children so all four of them lay on the ground in the middle of the dirt road, snoring their hearts out.
"This is getting ridiculous." Draco rolled his eyes. "I should have stayed on the island or never come along into this stupid world at all. People here are just dumb." He jumped off his seat on the fence and headed towards the trees.
"Where are you going?" Nami called after him.
"Somewhere I can get away from you people."
"Well I never!" the navigator huffed.
Harry bit his lip then stood up and brushed off the seat of his pants. "I'll go with him."
Zoro nodded. "We'll wait here for Luffy to return."
The Gryffindor nodded then hurried after Draco before the Slytherin could disappear into the forest or change into his animagus form and fly away. Harry really wanted to know what had gotten into Draco, and he wasn't going to stop until he had his answers. Draco was starting to get on everyone's nerves, even the easy-going Luffy, and Harry didn't want there to be a big explosion and argument between them all. The youngest Malfoy had never acted quite this bad before and it was almost worrisome.
He caught up with Draco and they walked together away from the water and into the woods. They didn't go far before they reached a big rock where they settled down in the shade, they could still hear the waves vaguely through the trees and the rustling of the leaves in the sea breeze. There were tropical birds chirping and it was a very nice and relaxing place. A place that lent itself well to serious conversations and waiting until Draco was ready to start talking.
It took about two hours before the Slytherin finally gave in.
"You know, Potter, 'captain' doesn't sound very different from 'lord'." Draco said, and in that one sentence revealed everything. Harry didn't know all that the Slytherin had had to go through during the war, but he knew that the Malfoy family had fallen from grace and had been bullied and ordered around, probably put under the Imperio and forced to do horrible things. He knew also that Draco had bore the brunt of it as a way of Voldemort getting some form of petty revenge on Lucius and Narcissa. This fall from grace and bullying was the thing that had finally broken any lasting ties the Malfoys had had towards the Dark Lord and had, in the end, helped Harry and the Light side win the war. After such an experience it was no wonder Draco was rebelling against having Luffy – who was the epitome of Gryffindor stupidity, bravery and jumping-in-without-looking-first – as his leader.
"You know Luffy isn't like that. He's an idiot, but he is good." Harry said.
Draco scoffed. "He can still order us to commit suicide and we'll be considered mutineers if we don't follow orders. Face it, Potter, we're doomed if we do and doomed if we don't."
"Then why did you join the crew if you're so afraid of Luffy of all people turning into the next Dark Lord?" Harry stared hard at Malfoy, but Draco had no reply. In the end Harry nodded. "I think you need focus more on the people than the titles. Voldemort – stop shivering in fear of a stupid name, Malfoy! – was a bigot, a bitter old man who thought himself too good and who wanted revenge because his mother made bad choices. Luffy is the total opposite. Sure, he lacks common sense, he lacks social grace and he lacks any sort of organising skills. But he will never be evil. He will give his all to protect us, his friends, and you know it. So, you just sit here and think hard about it. If you decide that you can't stay in the crew, tell them and stop acting like an arsehole."
They sat another hour in silence. The sun started setting and the sky turned darker, going into orange and red hues, then going a dark purple and finally dark blue with millions of stars twinkling as far as the eye could see. Draco hadn't said a single thing and neither had Harry, but now it was starting to get too late and Harry wanted to get back to the others. He had just gotten to his feet and started brushing off his clothes when a rustle announced someone's arrival.
Zoro looked unusually grave as he gazed at them. "Something's happened," he said. "Luffy wants us to meet him by the beach. Come on."
Draco actually did follow them when they headed back towards the beach.
Harry wondered how Zoro had found them because the man's sense of direction was still utterly useless, and he nearly headed down the wrong path and inland three times before they reached the correct beach. Luffy looked unusually grave where he stood, and Usopp's arm was bandaged. Usopp also looked quite depressed and also determined at the same time, hands clenched in anger. Nami was the one who commented at their arrival.
"You went to get them an hour ago! Don't tell me you just now managed to stumble over them!"
"Shut up, wench!" Zoro snarled.
Harry sighed. Yup, Zoro had walked around without a clue until he had quite accidentally found them. Perhaps he should look into some sort of spell or device for the swordsman? This sort of lack of directional sense couldn't be normal. "So, what's happened?" he asked and looked at the serious faces.
Usopp told the tale about how they had discovered that Klahadore was, in fact, a famous pirate captain by the name of Kuro who was thought dead. How the travelling hypnotist Jango was his second in command, and how the past three years Kuro had done his best to become liked in the hamlet in order to take over Kaya's estate and money. Tomorrow morning come dawn the Black Cat pirates, Kuro's old crew, would attack the hamlet and kill Kaya after she had written a will leaving everything to her loving and caring butler, Klahadore.
"That hypnotist guy also said that Klaha- that Kuro might have had something to do with the death of Kaya's parents." Usopp finished grimly.
The butler did it! Harry was sorely reminded of the old whodunit stories that Aunt Petunia had loved to watch Sunday afternoons. It really was always the butler, wasn't it?
"So now I'm going to defend my village even if they hate me! I want them to have another peaceful day like they're expecting! I love this village too much not to do anything! Don't you dare laugh at me!" Usopp was shaking in his boots. Literally.
"Does it look like we're laughing?" Luffy asked. "We'll help you. We wouldn't risk our lives like this just out of mere sympathy."
Zoro tapped Usopp's forehead with one of his swords. "We'll help out, idiot."
"The treasure is mine." Nami said. "They'll try to take my treasure from our boats, and they're bound to have more on their ship!"
"They have more people. You'll need our help." Luffy cracked his fingers, eager for a fight.
"Who are you including in this 'we'?"
Everyone turned to look at Draco. The Malfoy was rather pale under the moonlight and his eyes were shifty where he stood, rubbing his arm.
"Draco?" Luffy blinked.
The Slytherin looked at him. "Who are you including into this 'we'? I was certainly never asked if I wanted to risk my life for a measly little village and a girl who needs to let go of the past. I don't know this place, I don't particularly like or dislike this place or its people. Why should I risk my life for these plebeians? Why should any of us? It's not our problem, we can simply sail away right now and be done with it."
"Draco!" Nami was horrified.
"You bastard!" Usopp shouted, jumping to his feet. "So you'd let an entire village be razed to the ground by evil pirates just because you don't want to fight?"
"In case it escaped your notice, long-nose, we are pirates! We should be the ones doing the razing and the pillaging, not the saving and the coddling. I didn't come to this world to stick my nose into other people's business like this, to be involved in every possible fight. This is simply a waste of time, we should have left-"
Usopp punched Draco and sent him sprawling. Usopp was breathing hard, his face a mask of fury and his clenched fists shaking from the emotions he was feeling. "Traitor," he hissed. "Traitor!"
Steel grey eyes narrowing in anger Draco got to his feet and reached for his wand, but Harry stepped between them. "Enough. Draco, I free you from the life-debt you owed me and any other bonds that might have led you to come along on the search for Sirius. You say that Kaya is wallowing in the past and that that's what's making her weak, but you are doing the same thing. You are still under Voldemort's control. Go home."
Draco gave one last glare and stalked off into the darkness, back the way they had come and into the forest.
Sometimes you just couldn't let go of the past no matter what.
"That bastard!" Nami breathed.
Harry turned to her and shook his head. "Don't hate him."
"What?" Usopp seemed ready to proclaim Harry a traitor at the spot.
The green-eyed Gryffindor sighed tiredly. "Right before we came here we were in a war."
The others grew completely silent around him.
"We were on opposite sides." Harry shrugged. "His family was with the man who tried to take over the world, but they fell in disgrace. The man they served made them do horrible things, he made Draco torture people in order to get back at his parents, and Draco couldn't say no because then his mother and father would die. They switched sides right at the last battle when it was obvious that the Dark Lord would fall, finally free of his control. But then the rest of the world started wondering when they would show their true colours and continue the work the Dark Lord started. There wasn't a moment's peace, their family reputation now completely destroyed. After going through that and now that he's free to act without his family being scrutinized, it's no wonder he's rebelling."
"A war…" Nami trailed off in horror. Yes, in this world there were pirates and there were marines and those two factions fought constantly, but a real war? She couldn't imagine it.
"I think," Harry said, "that Draco started to really like it. Sailing wherever and whenever without any bonds, and that's why he lashed out. He wanted to protect himself before he could be ordered to harm someone again. And now Luffy says that he wants us to help fight these pirates with Usopp. It's like a blast from the past."
"But you-" the navigator started.
"I'm not the same. I wasn't forced to torture people, and I was on the 'good' side. I'm used to meddling in others affairs, that was the only way I got information and survived the war."
Usopp looked away; he was clearly not feeling very good with himself right now. Zoro was frowning, and Luffy was stone faced where he stood.
"He won't leave." The young captain suddenly spoke up and the others looked at him. "Draco won't leave. He'll be back, and when he comes back we'll knock down all the walls he has and prove to him that he's our friend no matter what he does. But first we'll take care of the butt-ler and his pirates!"
A sense of fierce, burning determination surrounded them as everyone nodded in agreement and as Usopp started outlining his plan on how to deal with the pirates, Harry couldn't help but smile. Zoro had been right when he had said that Luffy wasn't giving up easily. The young pirate captain had decided that Draco was a part of the crew, and a part of the crew he would stay even if Luffy had to knock a hole in his head to make him realize it.
Harry didn't think Draco knew what was coming to him.
The fight against the pirates wasn't easy. First of all they had been at the wrong landing beach and then they had gotten separated when they had run to the other possible landing place, with Usopp taking the lead. Harry and Nami had followed, and out of the three of them, Harry was the only one who actually could fight. Nami had her staff, but she wasn't too eager to actually use it. Usopp had his slingshot but he didn't have any deadly projectiles, and he was a coward who kept in the background, shooting his enemies. Harry did his best to keep the murderous horde of pirates from passing him, but they were simply too man and in the end more and more of them got past him and Nami and Usopp were forced into close combat which didn't go too well until Luffy and Zoro finally managed to show up.
Of course, then Luffy had to go and get himself hypnotized and knocked unconscious, and Zoro managed to lose two of his swords to the Meowban brothers while Jango simply kept on hypnotizing the men to give them more strength and speed and stamina. The Meowban brothers worked together in order to fight Zoro and despite not being familiar with a single sword techniques, the swordsman was managing just barely to hinder their claws from cutting him open – until Usopp distracted him in an attempt to help him.
"He took the hit on purpose!" Usopp stared.
"What?" Nami blinked.
"It's obvious why," Harry said from beside them. "If he hadn't then the brothers would have come after you two."
"You would have protected us!" the two insisted.
Harry shook his head. "Nope."
"HAAAAH!" they shrieked in horror at the same time, too.
"I'm going to get Zoro's swords. He can't fight those two cats with one sword." Harry had thought about summoning Zoro's swords, but Jango stood between him and them, and the man was certainly sharp enough to figure out what was going on. He would probably step on the swords to stop them. And with the Meowban brothers to take Zoro's focus the swordsman might not even know that the swords were heading in his direction. Therefore Harry decided to go in and simply take them.
He got ready to apparate. "Zoro! Get some breathing room from those two cats!" he shouted and then apparated with a crack.
Nami and Usopp screamed in surprise at his sudden disappearance and the noise.
Harry appeared right behind the gaping Jango. In a fluid movement he bent down and grabbed the two swords, turned as he came up and threw them as hard as he could towards Zoro. Jango took revenge by slicing Harry's shoulder with his chakram before Harry danced out of his reach. Zoro had seen the swords and though he also took the time to call Harry an idiot before he kicked the Meowban brothers off and away just in time to grab the two swords that came flying, putting the white one's hilt between his teeth. It took him less than a second to slice through the two attacking brothers.
"I will defeat all of you in less than five minutes." Zoro promised darkly. The fight continued with the survivor of the Meowban brothers being hypnotized to even greater lengths, and attacking the swordsman pushing him back and trapping him against the cliff face.
Harry looked around. Zoro was hurt and had his hands full with the hypnotized cat, he would need help. Jango wouldn't let Harry get off any sort of move in that direction at all. Harry was also hurt, and probably not the best candidate to take on a rested and pissed off pirate captain. Kuro the pirate had to be dealt with, and there was no way Nami and Usopp would be able to do that. They needed a heavy hitter to pick up the slack.
For a moment Harry wished that Draco was there to help them.
Then he spotted the telltale red of Luffy's vest sticking out from underneath the fallen stem of the Black Cat pirate ship.
'It's time that our own captain does some work around here.' He ran.
"And what do you think you're doing? Die!" Jango threw one of his chakrams after him.
"Harry!" Nami and Usopp shouted in horror.
Harry whipped around and held out his arm, palm facing the rapidly approaching and very deadly chakram. "Immobulus!"
"What the-?" Jango, Nami and Usopp stared, mouths agape.
"What the hell are you waiting for, Jango? Kill the boy!" Kuro shouted from the top of the hill.
Jango threw three chakrams this time, but Harry had reached Luffy by now. Knowing from personal experience exactly how deeply Luffy usually slept and just how much the rubber man's body could take before it started to really hurt him, Harry felt little to no remorse in kicking Luffy's shoulder and shout, "WAKE UP!"
With a Sonorus charm added for greater effect.
"What was that for, Harry? There was no need to shout!" Luffy protested as he jumped up, only to freeze up and stare wide-eyed at the three chakrams floating inches away from his face. Harry sighed gratefully. The Immobulus charm was still working. Usually it worked for a minute or less so he hadn't been certain if it would hold after he had cast the Sonorus. But they had been lucky.
"Sorry, it was the only way I could come up with to wake you up." Harry smiled as the chakrams dropped to the ground, their inertia stopped and the magic holding them in place dissipating.
"Your shoulder's bleeding."
He covered the wound with his hand to stem the flow of blood, and winced slightly at the pain. "Ah, it's not too deep or dangerous. I'll be fine. You just beat the crap out of Kuro and we'll be set, yes? We have other things to do, too, you know."
Luffy picked up his straw-hat and put it on. "Yup, yup. Leave the rest to me."
Harry sat down on the fallen stem of the ship and relaxed. Things would be fine now as long as no one did anything stupid, and though Zoro and Luffy were idiots at times, they were also quite serious when it came to fights like this. This battle would be over soon enough.
Of course, Fate had to pick that moment to be a bitch and sent young Miss Kaya running into the fray, begging for it all to stop and causing Usopp to be hurt even more as he protected her.
Harry was seriously starting to agree with Draco's opinion of the girl. It was admirable that she wanted to stop all this, but she was being beyond stupid. And what was it with bad guys feeling the need to explain their evil plans in very exact details the moment they felt like they had won anyway? First Voldemort and now Kuro. Did they teach that in Evil 101 or something?
Luffy broke the stalemate by punching Kuro. "Since you hate being punched that much, I'll give you 100 more for free!"
Usopp's three young friends showed up too, and it was only by ordering them to protect Kaya that Usopp managed to get them out of the way. Jango was sent chasing after them into the jungle, and it was soon followed by falling trees and panicked birds taking to the air. Usopp tried to get to his feet, but he couldn't move an inch, and, in the end, Nami managed to shrug him onto her own back.
"Luffy! We'll go after them!" the young navigator shouted.
"You won't get past me!" Kuro growled.
"Okay! Leave the rest to us!" Luffy's arm stretched as he aimed another punch at Kuro, but this time the man bent backwards to avoid it. Nami took the chance to run past him and into the woods, handling Usopp's weight relatively easily, and was soon gone amongst the trees with Usopp shouting directions.
Luffy's fight with Kuro had started for serious this time around, and the two fighters took it very seriously. Kuro showed off his super-speed skills. Harry found that he could follow the movements with surprising ease, and he assumed that it was his skill as a Seeker that helped him. Luffy didn't seem to have any trouble following the movements either after getting a feel for them, and in the end Kuro was thoroughly trounced with a perfect head-butt.
"Someone like you who would hurt your own crew, who couldn't handle the life of a pirate, you don't deserve to be called a pirate at all. I'll never lose to someone like you."
"Well said, capt'n!" Zoro grinned. His battle with the surviving Meowban brother had been relatively quick and brutal once the swordsman had been sufficiently pissed off. He turned to the surviving Black Cat pirate crew. "Take your captain and this tub of lard and get outta here."
"Y-YES SIR!" the pirates whimpered in fear. Harry even fixed the stem of their ship to make it easier to get rid of them, and they were soon gone.
"I wonder how Nami and Usopp did." Luffy muttered as he sat down against the cliff wall next to Harry and Zoro.
"We'll know soon." Harry pointed towards the trees. "Here they come."
Nami was supporting a weak Kaya and the three small kids were running around their feet and getting the way more often than not. Usopp was being supported by Draco Malfoy of all people. The Slytherin looked a bit beat up and his clothes had suffered, but it was obvious that he had been the winner of whatever battle he had been in.
"He saved us! The dragon-man saved us! He came and stopped the hypnotist-weirdo and breathed fire and had a biiiiig fight with him!" the kids blabbered all over each other. "And then Captain Usopp showed up and finished the hypnotist guy off with one of his flame stars! Usopp's Pirate Crew won and protected Miss Kaya!"
"A change of opinion, Draco?" a smirking Zoro asked the blond.
Draco snorted and dropped Usopp – who cried out in pain – and crossed his arms. "Of course not, they just disturbed my sleep. In my world we have a saying: don't wake the sleeping dragon for you are crunchy and will taste well with ketchup. I was just going by instinct."
Luffy was the first one to start laughing, but the others soon followed.
"I was! Hey, stop laughing! Bloody muggles!"
Harry grinned. Things were looking up indeed.
Kaya was giving them a ship. And entire ship, big enough for all of them. And provisions.
Kaya's servant Merry had designed the ship and was now explaining the functions to Nami who looked over the moon. Zoro stood a bit to the side and Luffy's eyes were practically sparkling as he jumped all around, eager to get on board but unwilling to do so until the rest of the crew was ready to come, too.
Harry and Draco, now dressed in clothes more apt to a life on the seas, stood together as they stared up at the caravel class ship.
"She's lovely." Harry smiled.
"I can't believe the little girl is giving us an entire ship." Draco said, arms crossed.
"Going Merry is a good name."
"I'm more eager to have the chance to have some privacy. And a kitchen. And a proper bathroom. And proper beds." The Slytherin remarked. He nodded towards the figure head. "Why is it in the shape of a happy, smiling, comical ram? It doesn't look very scary. Why couldn't it be a ferocious wolf? Or perhaps a bear? A dragon? I'll even go for a lion!"
"It was supposed to be Kaya's ship. I don't think she would have gone on many pirating adventures." Harry pointed out with a grin. "Besides, just look at the guy who designed her." Both of them cast a look at Merry, at the fluffy white hair and the little horns that grew out of his head, and sighed. The answer was rather obvious, painfully so.
Draco gazed out at the sea. "You know, Potter, I still hate the way you people seem to always get involved in other peoples troubles."
"We got a ship for free because we helped out." Harry reminded him.
"This time we were lucky, but other times I doubt it will be like that. So why keep doing it? It's more trouble than it's worth, I still see no point in it. But…" Draco smirked. "But I'd like to come along and figure out why you plebeians keep on doing it. Besides, someone has to keep you Gryffindor-ish idiots alive and it might as well be me."
Harry and Draco turned and blinked at the screaming green snowball that came rolling and bouncing down the slope and straight towards them and their new ship. On closer inspection it wasn't a screaming green snowball, but a huge green backpack, filled to the bursting, and the screaming was done by Usopp who was caught in the suspenders. He was very kindly stopped from wrecking the ship by Zoro and Luffy who introduced their feet to Usopp's face. Despite the inertia that Usopp's, uh, descent had had, neither Luffy nor Zoro moved an inch.
"Thanks." Usopp groaned, nose sticking out between Luffy and Zoro's feet.
While Nami, Harry, Draco, Zoro and Luffy climbed aboard the Going Merry, Usopp took a moment to say goodbye to Kaya. Harry and Draco stood at the railing next to Zoro, watching the couple and rolling their eyes.
"He really wants her to stop him." Draco snorted.
"He should just propose and be done with it." Zoro grumbled.
"Puppy love." Harry grinned and looked at Draco. "Kaya isn't so bad after all, is she?"
The Slytherin sneered. "As I said, all she needed was someone to knock some sense into her. I'm just sad that it took an entire crew of pirates and her own life being in danger to actually do so. She has a thicker skull than Luffy, and I'm worried for the future population of the world if she actually realises her dream to become a doctor. They'll be dropping like flies all over the place."
"Well you certainly haven't changed." Zoro remarked dryly and Harry snickered.
Usopp turned to the ship and smiled. "You guys take care, too! Maybe we'll meet again sometime in the future." He said to them.
Luffy blinked. "Why?"
Usopp was almost insulted. "What do you mean 'why'? You really are slow, aren't you? I'm going to be a pirate just like you, so we might meet on the sea one day."
Zoro pointed to the deck. "What are you talking about? Hurry up and get on board."
"We're already comrades." Luffy said as if that explained everything.
Usopp stood there and gaped, shocked that he had been invited along into the crew. He stood there for a good minute until Draco couldn't take it anymore. "You people are too slow!" he snarled and leaned out over the railing. "Don't make me come down there and bring you up myself, Usopp, I still owe you a punch!"
That knocked Usopp out of his shock. "I'll be the captain!"
"Like hell! I'm the captain!"
Draco groaned and turned to look at Harry and Zoro. "Is it still too late to go home to the wizarding world?"
"Nami! Set sail! Harry, I want some food!"
"You just ate, Luffy."
"You can call me Captain Usopp!"
"I told you I'm the captain, dammit!"
There, done. Please tell me what you think.
It wasn't supposed to go like that with Draco, he wasn't supposed to go all angsty and storm off. But I like it better like this. About Kaya. Yes, I actually feel that Draco's opinion of her is right. I don't really like her all that much in the Kuro Arc. And to those that remarked on the strength of various characters: if I made them extremely powerful now it would be boring for they would have no need to grow and progress. Besides, I personally hate SuperPowerfulCharacters ™ without AVeryGoodReason ™ - which most such characters seem to lack.
Next chapter: will be up soon…. –ish….. yeah….
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