A/N: Sigh. I know, I know... And I'm sorry. But I did it! Here's a chapter! It's been a while, but I hope you remember where we left off! The chapter isn't very long, though it was my stand number of pages on MS word, but hey, I still think it's jam-packed full of conflicting goodness. But I'll let you be the judge of that.
It was surprisingly easy to write, despite being away for so long. Took me, maybe, three hours. And I enjoyed it! Why do I stop? Gahhhfdsdjf.
So, I'm going on vacation in... five-ish days, or else I would whole-heartedly put my soul into the rest of this story, but believe me, I will still be writing while I'm away. Definitely going to have stories to post once I return in about a month. Hell, if I didn't have to work the next five days, I'd probably devote my time to writing this story.
Thanks for being patient with me, as per usual! :)
And I sincerely hope you all enjoy!
It'd be a lie to say the shine shone down
Often on this little, weary, odd, old town,
But while the tent offered them some glee
Some things were left as forgotten memories
An unnatural fog had begun to weave its way through the buildings as we headed back towards the ship, to eat whatever meal it was that Sanji was promising. Not that it mattered, because I don't ever recall him making something that wasn't delicious.
Luffy laughed as the haze grew thicker and thicker, nearly swallowing what was left of our crew. In an attempt of foolishness, he tried sucking the fog up. As if moist air was going to fill him up.
"Guys?" I asked cautiously, slowing my pace down.
"Need someone to hold your hand, Usopp?" Franky joked from behind me.
"Of course not!" I puffed up my chest and continued walking forward. The dark didn't scare me, and even with the combination of abnormal mist, I would not be deterred from my path, or my name wouldn't be Captain Usopp!
A tinkering laugh echoed off the stone buildings, and I froze. Franky bumped into me.
"Hey!" Franky pushed me forward, keeping me moving.
"Sorry, Franky. Did you hear that?" I asked, turning to face him.
He bumped into me again, none too lightly. His face distorted in anger and he shoved me to the ground. I skidded across the street, feeling the skin on my elbows rub off against the rough terrain. Instantly, he reverted back into the normal Franky and took a step back. "Sorry –I don't know what came over me."
"This is where Chopper would come in handy," I muttered, getting to my feet and trying to look at my elbows. The tinkering laughter forgotten, I started walking forward again, just wanting to catch up with the others and figure this situation out.
I really wish I could be captain. Luffy was lucky. He had an entire crew that listened to his every word. Nami listened to him. Zoro listened to him. Franky wouldn't have pushed Luffy like that.
The laughter came again, closer this time. I didn't stop walking, not wanting my knees to suffer the same damage as my arms.
"You heard that, didn't you Franky?" I asked, risking a glance over my shoulder. But Franky wasn't there.
I did stop, looking around, squinting and trying to see through the fog. With a sigh, I lifted my goggles up over my nose, snuggly resting them against my eyes. Unsurprisingly, it didn't help much, if any at all. I took them off and began forward once more. The fog was making my sense of direction poor, and I almost ran into a wall. I adjust my path.
"Luffy?" I called out. "Sanji? Zoro? Franky?"
"This isn't funny. We have a psychopath on our tails, you guys. Quit it."
All that met my ears was silence. And that blasted, tinkering laughter. Definitely female.
Nami, Robin, Suki and Harumi aside, how dangerous could a woman be? I thought bitterly as I made the quick –regretful –decision to follow the laughter.
I wished I was like Zoro. He wasn't scared of anything. And he was so strong. Like Luffy. And Sanji. Just when I thought I'd become stronger, they show up with all these fancy new moves. And Franky, with his fancy new weapons. And what did I have?
Plants. And goggles. And a long-nose that everyone made fun of me for.
The fog cleared up, almost suddenly, as I reached the docks. I had to throw myself back to keep from falling into the water.
I took a deep breath as I sat there on the ground, wondering what had come over me. My hands trembled slightly as I brought myself to my feet. Envious of Luffy? Zoro? Sanji? Hardly! No one could compare to the fantastic Usopp!
"Now, the moment you've all been waiting for
The trapeze artist extraordinaire,
Watch as she risks your lives and more
While she soars through thin air!"
I turned to see a woman hovering in thin air between the buildings. She smiled and waved, as if to an audience clapping and cheering. Then she leaned back and let herself fall.
I took a step forward, scared for her momentarily until she stopped mid-air. She dipped low before springing back up. The light from the waning moon caught on the thin string she had landed on, that stretched between the buildings. But it wasn't just one string. There were multiple, going in all sorts of directions. None lower that the top of my head.
"And while she mesmerizes the whole crowd
The first frightful night comes to a grand close
And the audience hands and cheers grows loud
As we capture envy, our first with his long-nose..."
I didn't have time to react when the ring master appeared and touched me with his scepter. I watched as the girl fell once more.
And I could help but envy how unafraid she was.
"Let's just go back to the ship. This is weird Nami. And I know weird," Suki glanced around us, shrinking into me. "Brooke does this thing, where –"
We'd –well, I'd been trying to follow that little girl that I caught a glimpse of, but all we had done was find out how truly empty this town was. No sign of the girl –and no sign of any other human being. I was tired, and I felt like I'd been walking around for hours. On an injured foot, no less.
"No, let's go to the tent," I told her, interrupting whatever perverted story she was going to tell me about Brooke. "That's where the crew –and all the townsfolk should be. Right?"
"You need to rest, Nami, the sun will be coming up soon."
"It's, like, four in the morning already," Suki told me, pointing to the clock tower. "Despite having a circus called Cirque du lune, it's a day-island. Night is only a very short period between midnight and five in the morning."
"I have a very good body clock, I should know what time it is," I looked at her.
"I don't know what it is about this island, but everyone I've seen come along adapts almost immediately."
I frowned, looking up at the clock. Well, it certainly explained why I was ready to just drop and go to sleep and never wake up again. Still, if she knew the island, it would be nice to know these things upon arrival.
A shiver passed over me, a change in the atmosphere of the town.
"What was that?" I asked.
"What?" Suki didn't appear to have felt it.
"Luffy!" I shouted.
"Nami?" Luffy's voice came back. Tears instantly rose to my face as relief rushed through my veins. As I fell to my knees, Suki caught me, holding me up until Luffy fell out of the sky beside us.
"Where were you?" I clung to his shirt as he lifted me up. He hugged me tightly, as if I'd been the one that was away.
"I was," he began. Then frowned. "I was…"
"Oi!" Zoro called out, jogging up to us.
"Zoro, what happened to the circus?" Luffy asked him.
"The circus?" Zoro looked confused. "The circus! Wait –where's Robin?"
"Can we get Nami back to the ship?" Suki pushed Luffy gently towards the docks. "She's hurt, and I don't like this town."
"I'm going to see if I can find the others," Zoro began to take off.
"Suki, go with him. He'll get lost," I told her.
"I won't get lost," Zoro scowled.
"Suki, please?" I begged. She hesitated, but nodded. "Go to the ship. I'll go with Zoro to find Robin and Chopper. And the others."
Half an hour later, most of us were back on the ship.
"What happened to the dock?" Franky asked as he climbed up onto the deck. He caught sight of the robotic cat. "Is that Little Lion? Does it work?"
"We don't know," I exchanged glances with Suki as Chopper looked over my foot. "About the dock or Little Lion. But we figured we'd test him out."
"This is why I said bed rest, Nami," the reindeer sighed.
"Well, there was a crack on the dock –the hole. And then an explosion in town. One of the houses was completely destroyed. I thought it'd been Luffy –or Zoro –causing havoc," I looked at Robin, who chuckled.
"What happened at the circus? Why weren't you four there?" Suki asked Sanji.
"I don't remember you guys leaving –but the circus ended for the night, and then you guys were gone," Robin added.
"It was quite the sight to see –except, I don't have eyes to see with! Yohoho!" Brooke laughed.
"I don't remember what happened," Luffy squeezed my hand. "But I was so relieved to see you, Nami. Maybe I was night-walking."
"Sleep-walking?" I corrected. "And all four of you?"
"But it was night out," Luffy frowned.
I shook my head. "Well, we'll think about it later. I'm just glad everybody's safe… actually, aren't we missing someone?"
I looked from Luffy, to Zoro and Robin, to Brooke, Suki and Franky to Sanji, Chopper and Harumi.
"Isn't this everyone?" Luffy asked.
"Usopp," I said, it suddenly dawning on me. "Where's Usopp?"
"What's a Usopp?" Chopper asked.
"That's not funny," I was taken aback. "Somebody has to find him, and make sure he's okay."
"Wasn't he at the circus with you guys?" Suki asked Brooke.
"I don't think I know anyone named Usopp," Brooke gave a helpless shrug. "Sorry."
"I… I'm sorry," she said feebly. "But Zoro and I know that this town is weird. After a short sleep, we'll do some more investigating."
"Luffy, you remember Usopp, right?" I tightened my hand around his. "I mean, we make fun of him all the time, but he's one of our nakama. He's our sharp-shooter!"
Luffy stroked his chin, thinking.
I sighed. "Just… take me to my bedroom. Maybe I can wake up and this will all just be a bad dream."
Chopper nodded at Luffy, and our Captain picked me up and carried me up the stairs to the woman's quarters. He shut the door behind him, though I was sure Suki was going to come in, too. Or maybe she'd stay up to talk to Brooke a little longer. Robin would probably go up to the crow's nest with Zoro. Harumi wouldn't come in as long as Luffy was in here, so I think she'd end up falling asleep in the kitchen, on the bench there. Which was fine. Sanji would watch over her.
Luffy laid me down on my bed, then curled up beside me.
"You really don't remember Usopp? Long-nose?" I murmured quietly.
"It… it sounds reaaaaaaaaally familiar, Nami. It does. But…"
"Something strange happened last night," I shook my head. "It's messing with everyone's head." I closed my eyes and sighed. "When I wake up, can we go search for Usopp? He has to be somewhere on this island. I'm sure you'll recognize him when you see him."
Luffy kissed the top of my head, smoothing my hair down. "Of course."
I used his arm as a pillow, willing myself to fall asleep. Despite how tired I was, I didn't think I'd be able to fall into a dream world so fast. Not with my brain working as hard as it was to figure things out.
It came surprisingly easily.