Final Chapter :')
"I can't believe this guy. He wins Nationals and now he's got paparazzi surrounding the whole building. He's practically a celebrity."
"Does that mean we're famous too?!"
"Considering we couldn't even get into the building without them asking us questions, I'd say so."
"We're celebrities! Our faces will be on magazines, posters, and billboards!"
"I've got a whole bag full of stories to tell them!"
"You mean lies?"
"Guys, you're being too SUPER loud!"
"Look who's talking!"
"Just shut up, both of you!"
"Speak for yourself!"
Luffy groaned and shifted in his bed.
"Look! You're waking him up!"
"Thanks a lot, Usopp!"
Luffy furrowed his brows. He was regaining consciousness. He took a deep breath and smelled the one thing he grew to love the past year: mikans. He felt a hand rub down his hair and caress his cheek.
"Luffy," said the person closest to him. "Open your eyes."
Luffy placed a hand over hers and squeezed it tight. His eyes slowly opened. It was blurry at first, until he got a clear view of his beautiful girlfriend hovering over him. Her stained cheeks clearly showed she was just crying. He didn't understand why, until he realized where he was. He felt all sorts of chords and straps attached to his skin. His stomach felt very upsetting and he had a massive headache. He looked around the room. Everyone was gathered around his bed, until his eyes spotted Zoro right beside his bed.
"Zoro!" Most of his bandages were gone and so were his scratches and he was dressed in his usual attire. "You're okay? Where are your bandages?"
"That's what I want to know." Chopper glared at the swordsman.
"You know I hate it when I can't move," said Zoro.
"If you don't treat yourself properly then you won't move ever!"
Everyone laughed at Chopper's sudden outburst. Luffy only smiled. Laughing would just ache him. He then felt a hand brush his head. He turned and saw Nami smiling down at him. Just then, he started to shake in fear.
"N-Nami.. so.. you're not mad, are you?"
Nami tilted her head and smiled innocently. At seeing her calm face, Luffy started to relax, until he felt a powerful punch to his head. Luffy screamed out and lied back while clutching the new bump on his head. Zoro took a step back after Nami's sudden outburst. After taking one more step, he felt two powerful blows to his own head. Zoro screamed out, then fell forward onto Luffy's bed. Usopp, Franky, Chopper, Ace, and Brook backed away from the three girls.
Sanji laughed then gave two thumbs up to the three girls. "Nice, Nami-san, Robin-chan, Vivi-chan!"
"Humph, that's for not telling us about the tournament," said Nami.
"Ugh, I deserve that," Luffy grunted.
"Our biggest challenge of the day yet, Captain. Dealing with our angry girlfriends," murmured Zoro.
"Hey! We don't have to be angry if you only told us before hand!"
"Well, its not our fault either!" Zoro yelled as he stood back up. "Robin's valedictorian, this is your first graduation, what do you want us to do?"
Nami pouted and took a step back. Luffy peeked an eye through his fingers and saw her blushing. He smiled and pulled her down on the bed and into his arms.
"We both needed to be in places where we needed to be today. Doesn't matter if we're together then, as long as we're together in the end," said Luffy. Nami closed her eyes and leaned her head on his chest. Everyone else stared at him in complete astonishment.
"Wow.. today is just full of surprises," said Ace. Nojiko laughed.
"Well, we're just glad you and Zoro are okay."
Luffy grinned, then he felt a light pound on the top of his head. He looked up and saw his parents standing right next to him. He felt terrible when he saw the frown on his mother's face.
"Kaa-chan.." Luffy looked down. "Gomen."
Makino lightly touched the bandage that was wrapped around his head. "I really should ground you as well as your father for not telling me."
Shanks laughed nervously and rubbed the back of his head.
"I'll take any punishment."
"But.. considering you won Nationals and did those things you did.. all I can say is..." Luffy looked up and Makino smiled. "I'm proud of you."
"Seriously, Mom?" said Ace who was shocked out of his mind. "You actually let him get away with this? When I went to go buy groceries for you, you grounded me for two months!"
"That's because you burned a gum ball machine."
"That.." Ace pouted. "That was Marco's fault."
"Of course it was, honey."
Luffy chuckled. Just then, a nurse walked in.
"Oh, sorry, Monkey-san has to take his medications. I need all of you to leave."
"That's our cue." Ace left the room first along with Nojiko. The rest of the crew followed them out of the room. Makino kissed the top of Luffy's head while Shanks ruffled his hair. Luffy watched as they walked out of the room, then he turned his attention towards his girlfriend in his arms.
She looked at him, and his expression softened.
"Don't scare me like that again."
"I know, I'm sorry."
Nami smiled softly, then kissed his cheek.
"I'll see you tomorrow."
Luffy groaned and stretched. He raised his hand and scratched the back of his head. He reached up and grabbed his phone from beside his pillow. It's nearing midnight and its been almost three days since the tournament ended. He just fell asleep and missed dinner. Because of that, his stomach grumbled loudly. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door. Luffy rubbed his eye as he tried to regain his vision.
The door opened, in walking Shanks.
"I'm glad to see you're awake."
Another person walked in, much to Luffy's surprise.
"Rayleigh-ossan, what are you doing here?"
"I wanted to see the winner of this year's Nationals tournament. I admit, I was a bit impressed when I saw your fights."
"Wait.. you were at the tournament? But what about graduation?" Luffy was taken aback. Rayleigh grinned.
"I couldn't miss the Nationals." Shanks rolled his eyes.
"Even as an old man, you still neglect your jobs," said Shanks. Rayleigh laughed.
"Of course! After knowing each other for so long, you should know better, Shanks."
Luffy tilted his head to the side.
"You two knew each other?" he asked.
"Hm? I didn't tell you? Rayleigh-san and I were in the same crew back when I was your age," said Shanks.
"I was the vice captain," said Rayleigh.
"Then.. who's the captain?"
"Gol D. Roger."
"E-Eh? EEEHHHHH?" Luffy froze in a state of shock in complete surprise. "Y-You two were in Gold Roger's crew?!"
"I'm surprise you didn't realize it whenever Rayleigh-san came over for a drink. Then again, you're just as dumb as your brother."
"So, you two were part of the crew that reached One Piece.." Luffy's voice trailed off. Shanks and Rayleigh watched as a large grin grew on his face. "Suge! But Tou-chan, how come you never told me?"
Shanks shrugged. "Everything was in the past. I'm looking towards the future."
"Couldn't have said it better myself," said Rayleigh. Luffy watched intently as Rayleigh and Shanks began to converse with one another. Never did he realize how close he was to Roger's life, aside from Ace, considering he's the son of Roger, but he was just like him back before his talk with his own dad: Ace hated his father. To actually know the very people who reached One Piece. To make the situation better, one of them is his dad.
"Actually, Luffy-kun, I came here to talk to you," said Rayleigh. Luffy blinked, bringing himself out of his little fantasy.
"Talk to me? About what?"
"I heard you're heading to New World University."
"Are you sure thats what you want to do?"
Luffy furrowed his brow.
"I also witnessed your last fight of the tournament, and... it wasn't one of your best fights."
"What are you talking about? I won."
"You almost died out there, Luffy," said Shanks. "Another one of that kid's secret technique and you would've been dead."
"In other words, you're still weak. Do you think you can go up against the students in New World?"
Luffy was about to protest, but thought against it. These two strong people were telling him about his strength. He couldn't argue with that. But what could he do?
"Do you want to move on with your life, knowing you can repeat what just happened in that arena?" Luffy kept his eyes on Rayleigh's. "I have a suggestion. Of course, as the captain, it's your choice whether or not to accept it."
"Rayleigh-ossan, that's..." Luffy gripped the edge of his straw hat. "I.. can't. I can't leave my crew."
"You should really take his advice into consideration, Luffy," said Shanks. "It's not a bad idea."
"But Tou-chan, I'd be gone. You, Kaa-chan, and Ace-"
"Your mother and I have already talked about this, and we agreed with Rayleigh-san's idea."
"But the crew.."
"Everyone will understand, and as your crew, they should know what to do."
"But.. Nami.. I can't leave her."
"I'm sorry, Luffy-kun."
Luffy slumped back on his pillow. He reached for his locket around his neck and opened it. Staring back at him were the smiling faces of his crew. He remembered back when they took this picture some time just after Brook joined the crew. It was a celebration day for Brook being their new nakama. They planned out a huge karaoke party filled with lots of food, sake, and singing.
Then there was the picture of him and Nami. Luffy stared long and hard until he looked back up.
"I'll do it, but under one condition."
Nami sighed when she was awaken from her slumber by her phone vibrating. She peeked at the time and groaned when she realized it was only five thirty in the morning. She reached over to her bedside table and grabbed her phone. With one eye open, she checked her phone and saw that she had over thirty missed calls and fifty text messages. Nami jolted up in shock. She was about to check her messages when she heard the sound of a roaring engine coming from a motorcycle. She ran to her window and saw a man on a white Ducati right in front of her house.
Nami wrapped her arms around Zoro's stomach tightly as they zoomed passed all the cars in the streets. Fortunately, the helmet she wore shielded her face, otherwise, her face would've caught a lot of flies. She squealed when they drove over a pothole, causing the bike to jump a bit.
"Zoro!" Nami yelled through her helmet. "Where are we going?"
"The hospital! Its urgent!"
"The hospital? What's wrong? Is there something wrong with Luffy? Why didn't you just call me!"
Nami gritted her teeth. She would've checked her phone now if they weren't going over ninety miles per hour. If they were going to the hospital, then there must be something wrong with Luffy.
Zoro parked his bike in front of the main entrance and took off his helmet, ignoring all the complaints he's been getting from all the nurses. Nami was about to take hers off when Zoro suddenly grabbed her arm and pulled her into the building.
When Nami finally entered the lobby, she was surprised to see everyone gathered in the lobby. The crew, Shanks, Makino, and Ace, they were all here. The only problem is, why? It's not like Luffy's in a bad condition after just waking up yesterday. Nami removed her helmet as she followed Zoro to where everyone sat. Sanji scrunched his nose with a slight disgusted look on his face, and Nami noticed that he was staring at her.
"What?" she asked him.
"What'd you do, marimo? Drag her straight out of bed?" Nami looked down at herself and realized she was still in her pajamas, a white tank top and blue shorts. "When we told you to go get her, we didn't mean drag her against her will."
"Relax, I brought her here, didn't I?"
"What's this about? Why is everyone here?" asked Nami. Makino looked down, and Shanks rubbed her back. Ace hesitated, but spoke up first.
"Luffy's gone." Nami furrowed her brows.
"A-Are you kidding? He just got out of a life threatening fight and you're saying he's gone? What is this really about?" Nami looked towards the crew for answers, but she couldn't believe what she was seeing. They were all avoiding her eyes and looking down, hesitant to answer. "He's not gone!"
To find out for herself, Nami ran for Luffy's room.
"Wait, Nami!" the crew desperately called out for their friend. Nami opened the door and bursted in. All the 'get well' cards, balloons, and stuff animals were still here, but he isn't. The bed was neatly fixed and the curtains were pulled open, letting the sun shine down on the room that was currently uninhabited.
"Wh.. Where did he go?" Nami murmured to herself.
"He only left this behind."
Nami spun around and saw Shanks standing at the door, holding out a folded piece of paper. She felt hesitant to find out what it was, but not knowing where he is is practically killing her inside. She unfolded the piece of paper. Inside was a note, and by the looks of the handwriting, this was definitely his, but some of the words looked odd. As Nami read on, one by one, everyone entered the room, and as soon as she reached the end of the note, tears rapidly streamed down her cheeks.
"H-He's really gone.."
Vivi wrapped her arms around her shoulders and hugged her tightly.
"There's nothing that can be done, Nami-san."
"This is Luffy we're talking about," said Franky. "Captain's orders."
"This is terrible," said Brook.
"It's Luffy's decision, and just as Franky says, it's captain's orders," said Zoro. "As his crew, we have to do what he says no matter what it is."
"But what does this mean? Is the crew.. disbanded?" asked Vivi. After what she said, Chopper couldn't hold in his tears any longer. He hugged Usopp while the latter hugged him back as the two cried.
"By what he said in the letter, I think that was what he was hinting at," said Robin. Nami covered her eyes as she tried to stop herself from crying, but the tears just wouldn't stop. Vivi hugged her tighter. It wasn't just Nami suffering, but all of them are. Robin stared with sympathy at the two girls. She gently tapped Makino's shoulder and the two stepped out of the room.
"Makino, Luffy wouldn't leave without saying goodbye to his family, so I'm sure you know where he is right now."
"I would tell you if I could, but I promised not to."
"Makino.. how would you feel if Shanks left you without a clue?"
Makino rubbed her arm with hesitation. She sighed then faced Robin.
Zoro bursted in the room and grabbed Nami's arm and dragged her out of the room, much to everyone's surprise.
"H-Hey, Mr. Bushido!"
"Zoro! What are you doing?" Usopp called out from the room.
"Shitty Marimo! What are you doing to Nami-san!"
Zoro grabbed Nami's helmet from one of the seats in the lobby, then he ran out of the building.
"Get on," said Zoro as he put his own helmet on. Nami wiped away her tears.
"What are you doing?" Nami's voice cracked.
"Get on before you miss the chance to see Luffy!"
Everyone ran out of the main entrance, but stopped in their tracks when Zoro raced out of the parking lot with Nami right behind him.
"What's that idiot doing now?" murmured Sanji.
"You know where Luffy is?" Nami shouted through the roar of the engine.
"Aa! But we have to hurry!"
"His flight leaves at six thirty, that's all I can tell you."
"Zoro, I need you to do me a favor..."
"Flight.. he's leaving the city?" murmured Nami.
"Hold on tight!"
Nami closed her eyes and clung onto Zoro tighter as they passed by all the cars in the freeway. According to Zoro, Franky reconstructed Zoro's bike to make it the fastest motorcycle in the city. No one can beat him and if any police ever spotted him, they wouldn't even be able to catch up to him. Nami made a note to never ride with him again.
As soon as they reached the airport, they ran through trying to find the right terminal. Nami glanced at her phone and saw that they were running out of time. She quickly turned around and was surprised to see Zoro right beside her. With this many people, she thought he would've gotten lost as soon as they entered the building.
"This way!" Zoro lead the way after taking a quick glance at the board of departures. Nami huffed as she ran as fast as she could. As soon as they finally reached it, the place was completely empty except for the customer service agent at her 'check in' desk.
The agent was organizing some papers when she looked up and saw two teens stomping their way over.
"Please! Please, can you open the door?!" Nami begged.
"I-I'm sorry," the agent apologized. "The plane is just about to go down the runway."
Nami bit her bottom lip to prevent herself from crying.
"Is there any way you can stop the plane?" asked Zoro. "Its an emergency."
"How big of an emergency?" Zoro remained silent. "Anyway, there's the plane right now."
Nami turned to where the agent pointed to. She ran towards the window and watched as the large plane passed by. Zoro ran a hand through his hair with irritation. Not only was he asked to bring Nami to see Luffy off, but he was hoping to stop his idiot captain from leaving and knock some sense into him. He sighed when Nami sat on one of the chairs and began to sob.
The agent eyed the two people as they sat down in front of the window and watch as the plane took off. She shook her head and drew her attention back to the documents on her desk. She was organizing them in order until she spotted a flash drive on the corner of her desk. She tilted her head and stared at it, until she remembered what she was supposed to do with it. She gasped and looked up.
"Are you Nami?"
Nami wiped away her tears and turned to face her. "Yes?"
The customer service agent was handling the tickets and trying to get the passengers onto the plane as fast as possible. She was doing pretty good so far until she came across a boy wearing a straw hat. Not only was he holding out his ticket, but a flash drive as well.
"Can you do me a favor?" he asked.
"What's this?" asked the agent.
"If a girl with orange hair comes here, can you give this to her?"
The agent accepted the flash drive, but felt hesitant. The man smiled and stepped forward.
"Wait, does she have a name?" the agent called out as he walked ahead, dragging his luggage along with him. He spun around and smiled, but the agent could tell that it was a smile of sadness.
"Nami. Her name is Nami."
Nami stared at the small flash drive in her hands as she and Zoro headed for the main entrance. The agent told her that a boy wearing a straw hat left it behind just for her.
"Zoro, can you drop me home.." Nami's voice trailed off when she spun around and Zoro wasn't behind her. She saw him standing a few meters away, facing a man wearing a large coat. She couldn't see his face for his back faced her and he wore a large hat that covered the side of his face. A girl with pink hair stood by his side and she couldn't see her face either. "Zoro?"
Nami saw him glaring at the man, but she couldn't tell why. They were just walking back to his bike until this man showed up. Suddenly, Nami caught Zoro's eyes.
"Wait for me by my bike. I'll catch up to you."
Nami hesitated, but nodded and obeyed his command.
Zoro watched Nami walk away until she was a good distance a way for her not to see them. He brought his attention back to the man standing in front of him. With Luffy long gone, it was time for him to step up.
"Roronoa... you've recovered a lot since the tournament. What do you want with me?"
The people in the airport made way as a green haired man got down on his knees and pressed his head to the floor right in front of another man. His actions was obviously causing a scene.
"I'm begging you."
"I've misjudged you, Roronoa."
After dropping Nami home, Zoro headed straight for the hospital where everyone had still gathered. There were still some questions that needed to be answered.
"I dropped her home."
"How did it go?" whispered Robin. Zoro shook his head.
"We didn't make it."
"So.. what now?" asked Chopper.
"Luffy has made his decision. So, now its time to make ours. From here on out, we'll be making our own decisions."
"And who's mouth is that coming from?" said Sanji.
"It can't be helped, Sanji-san. Mr. Bushido's the vice-captain," said Vivi.
"And from here on out," Zoro continued, "the crew is disbanded."
"What about Nami?" asked Franky.
"We already discussed about this on the way back. She understands what to do."
"It looks like we're not going to New World," said Brook.
"Robin." Zoro pulled out a folded piece of paper from his jacket and handed it to Robin. She recognized it as the invitation she received not long ago. She never knew Zoro knew about it, let alone had it.
"There's no stopping us from going," said Vivi as she eyed Robin's letter.
"Its like Luffy knew all along about the letters," said Chopper.
"Why wouldn't he? He's our captain after all."
Nami plugged the flash drive into her laptop, surprised to see a video pop up. She clicked play, and the next thing she knew, Luffy showed up on the screen. He was still in his hospital room, but his bed in the background was fixed like the same way she saw it when she bursted into his empty room, and he was fully dressed, as if he was ready to head out.
If you're watching this, then you must've went to the airport." Luffy chuckled. "Its funny. It's like I know you better than I know myself."
Nami could tell there was a hint of sadness in his voice. It was as if he didn't want to make this video, but yet he did.
"You probably hate me for writing that note and just leaving you guys, but I just couldn't find any other option. Saying goodbye to all of you would be meaningless 'cause I know I'll see you all again. I don't want to see your sad and crying faces because of my selfish decision.
What Rayleigh-ossan and Tou-chan said were right, I need to get stronger. Leaving all of you is the hardest thing I ever had to do. I'll never forget all the fun things we went through. From Arlong Park, to the fight, to the festival all the way leading up to when you came and cheered me on in the tournament.
One thing I'll never ever forget is the day I met you. Our one year together is something I'll keep in my heart forever. Our dates, our nights out together, our time at school, our first time.." Luffy blushed and chuckled again. "You were my first, Nami. I can never forget that.
Now, the reason for this video is because... I can't write what I'm about to say on just a stupid letter. I wanted to do this where we're face to face, or rather where you can see my face... Nami... I don't want to hold you back by you calling me your boyfriend when we're so far away and can't even see each other."
"What.." Nami's eyes widened.
"My phone will be off the entire time I'm away... I won't have any contact with you."
"And while I'm gone, you can meet other guys... I won't hold you down. For as long as I'm away, you can meet other guys and probably find a guy who will stay by your side when you need him. A man I can never be."
"No.. Please.." Nami tried to her best to blink back the tears.
"The thought of you meeting other guys.." Luffy pinched his eyes closed, and Nami could see a few tears escaping his eyes. "It hurts, but I don't want to live on knowing you're sad and alone. You probably hate me right now, but remember, I still love you. There isn't anyone that means more to me than you do."
From the background of the video, Nami could hear another man's voice calling out to Luffy.
"I have to go for my flight now... I love you, Nami."
After that, the video went black. And after that, Nami bursted into tears. It felt as if everything was taken from her in just one day. Her entire world felt as if it exploded into a million pieces, as well as her heart.
"To our new nakama!"
"Why do you want to take me to Makino's so badly?"
"I always take a new nakama to Makino's. Its where we hang out most of the time."
"Oh, some cyclist ran into me on the way home and knocked me down. No biggy."
"W..Why did you kiss me?"
"Hmm? Well, I wanted to kiss you there," he pointed to her lips, "but…"
He shrugged. "I thought you wouldn't like it. I wouldn't make you do something you wouldn't want to do."
"Luffy…" she turned to him. "Help me."
"NAMI! YOU ARE MY NAKAMA!"
"Can you at least put me down?"
"But I like holding you."
"But I don't like having my feet off the ground," she frowned.
"I won't let you fall."
"I love you," he whispered.
"I love you too."
"Nami.. you know that I love you, right?"
"And you know that I will still love you no matter what happens to us..."
"Then, would you still love me if I hurt you?"
"Please. Please, answer me."
"Just know that.. I love you. I love you so much. Hurting you is something I promised myself I will never do. You mean everything to me, Nami. If there was a time where you will hate me most, just know that I'll still love you."
"Happy one year anniversary."
All those memories together flooded and repeated constantly in her mind. All those precious moments she will never forget. It was like it was all taken from her. But she had to get a hold of herself. She can't let this hold her down or get her depressed. This isn't forever. It's not the end. All this is just the beginning of something greater. Luffy left to become stronger, and she should do the same.
Nami reached for the letter on her nightstand. All this time, she knew she would have to decline their offer, but now, it looks like this is her only other option. Its time to move forward. If this is what Luffy wants, then she'll accept it.
After finally taking off, Luffy hasn't stopped staring at his locket. It was the only thing he has left of the crew now. His phone will be disconnected from now on, which means no word from his family or friends. He smiled as he replayed the last year in his head. It was the best year yet.
But now, what worried him the most was Nami and how she's doing right now. Does she know? Of course, and by now she should. Did she get the flash drive? If Kaa-chan or Tou-chan or Ace ever said anything, then she might've raced to the airport with Zoro on his motorcycle considering it was the fastest transportation they have. It breaks his heart to imagine what she might be feeling right now.
"You know, ever since that girl enrolled into the school, I had a feeling she'd be the one for you."
"Oh, shut up."
"You didn't have to make that video, you know. I tried to stop you."
"I needed to let her go..."
"And by that, you've truly grown into a great man."
"I'll decide that on my own once I go back to Japan."
Luffy leaned on his arm rest and stared out the window. Knowing his crew, he's sure they figured out the real message he wrote in that letter. He has a long way until he can meet them again. For now, he has to focus on becoming stronger. Life doesn't end when high school does. When high school ends is when you start living. From here on, everything will change, everything will be different. Together or apart, they are still connected by the one sky they live under.
The final chapter of the series :')
I didn't want to upload this and end this now, but I had to!
I'm surprised with how long it turned out. This is enough to fit two chapters.
But anyway, thank you to those that stuck through with this since the very beginning. Its been one WHOLE year since I posted the first chapter and I got so many good feedback. Your messages and reviews were what kept me going, and I couldn't have gotten to where I am today if it weren't for your opinions and ideas. So, THANK YOU!