Disclaimer: I don't own one piece.
Perchance to Dream
1. The Shipbuilder
It was his diligent and loving hands that first gave me shape, and the shape he chose for me is what later determined my adventures. Had it not been for him, I would have stayed rooted to the island just like my mother before me. But he had set me free and given me a purpose.
Those hands moved over the newly formed pieces of my body, securing each one in place before moving on to the next one. I didn't remember much of who I was before, I found that the more form he gave me, the more conscious I felt. When the last piece was in place his hands ran over the grainy surface of my body making me smooth and polished.
At long last, I peered down into the water and saw that my own face was a replica of his own. This made my heart smile. Father, I thought. If he has given me his own form he must be my father. I felt strong and I was happy.
And yet, I had nowhere to go. Father had given me the form that made me what to set out on a grand journey, but there was no one to take me. My father looked at me sadly as he stroked his hand over my side and said, "One day soon, I promise. One day."
I trusted my father, and so I waited for him to be ready. One day my journey would start.
2. The Blue Fairy
Then one day just a week or so after I was done she came down the hill to see me. A beautiful blonde angle, wispy and lithe clothed in the lightest shade of blue imaginable. Her eye grew wide and I knew she was amazed at my majesty. Holding my head high with pride, I basked in her gaze. Next to me, Father smiled proudly. I was his pride and his joy. And I knew that I would be the one to carry his will away from this island.
The beautiful girl in her long blue dress came up to me and rested her delicate hand on my side- it was the first time I'd known a touch other than my Fathers. I felt the sensation through me like a lightening bolt, exciting me. Was this the one who would take me away on a grand adventure?
But almost as soon as I thought it, I realized that she was too small and too frail to possibly be the one I was waiting for. Still she was beautiful and she smiled at me kindly.
"What craftsmanship!" she exclaimed looking over me closely. "And that face! He almost looks real!"
What was real? Was I not real? Did having feelings make me real? I had plenty of feeling, and hopes, and dreams, and wants. But maybe to be real, you needed soft skin covering your form? Or maybe you needed someone to love you? No, Father loved me, so I would have already been real. Maybe once I set out on my journey I'd find the answer; maybe the journey itself would make me real.
3. The Captain
I waited patiently for years. Father came and showered me with affection, but it wasn't enough. More than anything I longed to swim out and become part of the world. This island and this sea were too small for me! Maybe I wasn't very big myself, but what I lacked in stature, I had more than enough of in spirit. At least those are the comforting words my Father whispered to me as I started longingly across the blue waves. But Father had promised me, "One day." And so I would wait for that day when Father found someone he deemed worthy enough to take me out to sea.
And then he came. He was nothing I expected and everything that I didn't. When I had to wait so long, I assumed Father was waiting for someone who was big, strong and masculine-someone who would command me as surely as he commanded fear into men's hearts. But when he finally came, he was just a boy, a boy with a straw hat and a huge smile. For a simple moment I wondered if my father had just given up or if he brought the boy here as a joke.
But suddenly, his mouth hung open and his eyes got dreamy and he exclaimed, "AWESOME!" In that instant I loved him. I had not known before then what it felt like to have a Captain. It was a different from the feeling of having a Father, but only slightly. My Father I loved because of the love he poured into me in my crafting; the Captain I loved because the first moment our eyes met a strong bond filled us and I knew we would be together forever. I think they call it love at first sight. I don't know much about the romance that exists between men and women, but I know enough about the romance between pirates and the sea. He and I would be linked for as long as I was alive. Father couldn't have given me to a more worthy man.
He was goofy, and clumsy, and loud, and rambunctious, but he was my Captain.
We spent many days with our heads together searching out into the sea. What were we looking for? Well perhaps it's impossible to know unless you are Captain or Caravel, but we were searching for our next adventure, a harder sea to cross, a challenge. We were looking always toward the end of our journey simultaneously wishing for and dreading the day we'd find it. Sometimes, we were simply looking.
Always for my Captain, I wanted to cross harder seas and travel further than we had gone yet. Bring me storms, ice, cyclones, nothing could stop me! I would fly to heaven and back for him if I only got the chance! That was true happiness!
4. The Swordsman
My Captain came with a crew. Until I met them, I never knew how alone I had been. The years I spent waiting on the island were brought into stark relief by laughter of my new nakama. But together we put out to sea and I was at long last happy.
And yet, I had a lot to learn about being a friend and supporting a crew. I often watched him for inspiration. I understood that having nakama meant having something to protect. The need to protect was the need to be strong. As I watched the swordsman practicing day in and day out, I knew I too could be strong like him.
The two of us were alike in that we never ceased out training. He would lift weight after weight and I would trudge ever forward never stopping. The end of our journey was far yet and I knew I had to be strong if I were going to make it all the way to the end. So as he trained, I felt the weight of him on my back and I crashed through the next wave. I let him teach me what it meant to be strong.
5. The Navigator.
Of all of the crewmembers, I think she was the most important to me. It might sound crazy to say, but I truly felt she was the only one who knew what it was like to be me. We made our decisions together; she was my guiding light.
Sometimes she would stand on my deck and close her eyes feeling the wind brushing past her body and the way the waves rocked beneath her feet just as I felt them. We moved as one, she and I. I have heard people tell of the joining of bodies, but I doubt they could ever understand the joining of minds that the navigator and I shared. The collective conscious between us filled me with the conviction I needed to carry on.
Her judgment was never faulty because she knew what it was like to move with me, to move as me. At times, I could feel her hesitation and I knew she was wondering if we could make it, if we would survive. In those moments I would whisper to her, I will be okay! I can do it! I will take you there!
She never said if she could hear me, but invariably she would go ahead with the crazy schemes she planned. The navigator pushed me to my limits and I rose to the challenge with the spry attitude of vessels half my age! We were a team that no one else could match!
6. The Liar.
It happens to the best of us. We set out to sea, but we meet obstacles that get the better of us. I kept moving forward, never perishing, but I was wounded. However, I did not heal in the same manner as my nakama. Their skin would grow back together over their cuts, the swelling from their bruises would go down, and their bones that were broken would once again grow strong. For me it was different. My damage was lasting. Unless I was stitched up or patched up, my wounds would remain.
Still, it was because of the wounds that I noticed my breath. It was there in between the rocking of the waves at my sides and the flexing of my slightly pliable structure. A great blow to my side making it hard for me to move and bend, made me aware of the movement in the first place. There was a slight in and out motion admits the waves. I had breath.
But it was not easy for me to carry on with such gaping sores, which is why I was grateful for the lying sniper. His touch was kind like fathers, but less certain. Using what tools he had, he fixed me up and helped me back together. As he worked, he would whisper, "It's going to be alright. I will fix you. Those other idiots might not know what to do, but I will make you feel better, Merry. I won't let you stay hurt for long."
At first I believed his words, but as more of my body was covered in metal patchwork, I knew the words for what they were- a hopeful lie. He wasn't lying to be cruel. In fact it was the opposite, he was lying to be kind and lying to convince himself. I didn't mind the lies because I wanted them to be true myself. But eventually, I found myself facing my own mortality. What a strange feeling it is to know you are going to die when you had only just come to wonder whether you lived!
Perhaps, it was this complex train of thinking that let my spirit take form. As the liar lied to me so I would feel better, I wanted to make him feel better too. When my injuries had gotten too great and my body was too broken that I hardly had the strength to go on any more, I stepped outside myself and repaired the damage as best I could. I wasn't skilled like father, and I didn't have the determination of the liar, but I did what I could. And when he caught me, I lied to him to make him feel better.
I will be okay! I will go on more adventures with you!
7. The Cook.
My crew was happy when he joined the crew because having a cook meant a lot more feasting! As I sat and listened to their merriment, I wondered what a feast was. Soon I had become accustomed to the warm feeling the cook created in me as he practiced his art. I listened to the happy laughter of my crewmates and I wondered what this food was that made them so cheerful.
And then one day, it happened. My Captain had asked for more meat and the cook really outdid himself! There was almost every kind of meat on the table and finally the smoky salty smell of the cooked meats wafted over to me shocking me to my very core. Smell! It was such a wonderful thing. I began to year for the meal times just so I could understand that strange sensation. When the delicious scents filled me I imagined that I could even taste the food.
I longed for a bite of the mouth-watering spreads the cook put out daily in my galley, but for now I contented my self with being happy that my nakama enjoyed it.
8. The Doctor.
It heartened me to see the strange looking doctor join the crew. He admired me and I could feel his dreams of setting out to sea as he climbed aboard. Often times, their dreams propelled me. I think, what I liked most was his horns. I had noticed some time ago, that I was the only crewmate with antlers and it made me feel different. When he joined, I immediately felt the rush of camaraderie that I knew meant we were similar.
Perhaps we were brothers, us horned creatures. And even if we were not, we would still act as if we were. His little feet also made a funny noise as he trotted about the wooden surface. In truth, it tickled.
Still I think that seeing him there affirmed me that my nakama didn't let differences determine who was on their crew. If they could accept him as a crewmate surely they considered me as much of a nakama as I considered them.
9. The Archeologist.
Of all my nakama, her eyes thrilled me the most and it was under her gaze that I felt the most splendid. Even if I had a few patches by the time I met her, I knew she looked at me and appreciated the craftsmanship that had gone into my making.
I hear her muttering to herself about my design and what it told about me. I stood up straighter to hear her. She knew things about me that I hadn't even known, but she was an expert at all histories ancient and recent. When she looked at my layout she knew my purpose and when she looked at my shape she knew the ideas of my design. I think that even considering my structure she could re-create my father in her mind.
Her soft, delicate hands would gently touch my sides as she leaned against me to support her body. I knew too, that she realized that she was no longer alone when she had found my crewmates. Yet, I could feel her pain. To be with them and not truly one of them- I knew the exact sentiment! I longed to walk among them and laugh with them and eat their food. She longed to laugh freely with them and let herself relax around them. The way they goofed off made her smile and I knew she was longing to be more open with them. When we traversed the sky, she was the most at ease since her enemies would not follow her there.
When we once more reached the blue sea, she withdrew again. When she leaned against me for support, I allowed myself to imagine that I had arms that would wrap around her and hold her up. Her loneness was my own and I would go to any length to save her! Even if it meant going well beyond my natural limit.
10. The Second Shipwright.
When I met the man with the cyan hair, a strange moment passed between us. He knew me immediately for what I was: old, worn, tired. But I think he also could look at me and see the love I had for my nakama. Noble. That is a word that might describe it, but I think he would say super.
In the moment when our eyes meet, I perfectly comprehended his appraising gaze. If only we had met sooner. Now, I was beyond saving. He knew it and I knew it. Even my lying friend who hid from the truth had to see it. Death would come and my story would end. He called me brave, shed tears for my condition and then released me in a great wave of water.
That might have been the end of my tale, had one of my nakama not been taken away. Would I stay here while they risked their lives to rescue her? No! The waves crashed against me stronger than any waves I had yet to face, but I held myself together for her, for them! When the tides finally receded I was high and dry on a beach. If only I could get back to the water, I would go to them. But I was stranded and too weak to move. For an unbearable time, I thought that I would die here alone on this beach while my friends were risking their own lives to save the archaeologist.
11. The Rescue.
I must have cried so loud that the very angles in heaven heard my lament because before I knew it a blue haired man came to see me. By the look on his face, I knew he could hear me so I said it again. Please! I have to go to them! They need me!
He was a shipwright by trade. One look at me and he could easily tell that I was doomed, that I wouldn't make it far. But perhaps when he reached out and touched me, he felt my determination. My crew had taught me man things; one of them was to not give up. We wouldn't sleep until the fight was won!
His eyes told me he couldn't save me, but he might be able to hold me together for a little bit.
Humans can chose the place of their death! Let me do the same. Let me die saving them and not alone on the beach!
So he hammered and patched me until I would float. He and his friends had barely pushed me into the water before I took off at a speed I had never traveled before.
Wait for me! I called. I am coming!
I drew closer and closer and finally I could see them! I wouldn't stop until they were all safely on my back.
I'm here! I shouted through the chaos. Don't forget about me! I came for you! I wouldn't leave you like this!
One by one I watched as my crewmates heard my voice. It must have been loud and clear now because they all knew I was here. I heard them cry out, "Jump into the ocean!"
When I finally felt them on my back relief washed over me. They were safe! And I would get them out alive! I was surprised to see that it wasn't raining because I could feel the wet raindrops on my face. Perhaps it was only raining on my head- stranger things had happened in the grand line.
The water swirled me in whirlpools, but I bided my time. I wasn't afraid. My navigator would never let us down! "There!" she shouted and I took off without the need to be steered. Her voice was the only direction I needed.
We pulled along to safety and I could hear the shout. This venture was a complete victory for us! Now that the surge that propelled me forward before left me and I realized at once how tired I felt. I would not leave my crew in the middle of the sea, but my vision was dimming and my head felt heavy. I could hear them on my back arguing about whether or not I could speak, but in the moment when I longed to tell them I could, I was too tired to raise my voice. It was all I could do to keep my bleary eyes on the horizon and move us forward.
There! Another ship had appeared, and it was his ship. The Iceberg man who patched me up. Thank goodness! I knew he would deliver my nakama back to the island safely. Comforted by this, my head sagged in weariness.
12. The Fire.
The Iceberg man made my nakama understand. I was too tired to even move one inch forward. This would be our goodbye. I loved them all, and I think they loved me. I hated that we had to part, but I knew their strength would keep them going. They would reach the end of the world even if it they had to do it without me. I loved them more knowing that losing me wouldn't stop their dream. I had wanted to carry them to the end, but I was at peace with this.
But when my Captain spoke, I felt as thought my heart were breaking. "Merry," he said to me in his seldom-used serious voice, "the bottom of the sea is dark and lonely. We'll see you off here."
And then the torch touched me and instantly I was hot all over. The flames licked over my wooden body, but they didn't hurt me anymore- I was beyond feeling such pain. As I burned away I realized that even at the end, covered in white-hot flames, to my nakama I was always beautiful. I would have traveled any ocean for them. I had climbed a mountain, I had flown to the sky, I had faced creatures twice my size! Now, between my pyre and my watery grave, my only hope was that they would remember me and think of me when they set out on new adventures. The blaze around me eased my suffering and at last I found my voice again.
"I'm sorry! I wanted to carry you a little further!... I wanted to go on more adventures with you! But I..."
The snow falling down from the sky melted instantly in my flames and ran down my wooden sides, but I knew that the water falling onto my body was not the same as the water pooling in my eyes. In the end I was crying. I never thought that I would be able to experience something as human as tears.
But then my Captain was shouting not to be sorry, that he was sorry! I saw the tears on his face and tears in my other nakama's eyes. I once again spoke to them.
"But I was happy! Thank you for taking good care of me until now! I was really happy!"
The burning overtook me then and I gave into its fiery grasp. I was thankful for the crew that had filled my days with adventure and challenged me to grow ever stronger. In the end, I knew that all the waiting had been worth it. These pirates were my livelihood.
Finally, my conscious faded and my eyes closed leaving nothing but blackness.
13. The Blue Fairy Again.
At some point I became aware of icy waves slipping over my body and it seemed to me that I was moving at an alarming rate. I think perhaps because I had no body left there was nothing to slow me down. And I was small; I have never once felt so small! I glided through the air and tide, and as I went I felt as though I were becoming more solid.
Yes. A great change had come over me and when my body finally stopped its strange shifting though I was small, I felt heavy. The feeling was so vastly different from the buoyancy I previously enjoyed that the moment I noticed it I started to sink.
Water flooded over my head and pushed its way into my mouth and nose. I couldn't breathe! And now it seemed that not only did I require the gentle in-out pulsation of wood, but I needed air! And I needed it fast! But I couldn't figure out how to get it! I looked up and I could see the surface of the water above me. Bubbles escaped my lips and floated up to the surface. All my instincts shouted follow them! So I gave one powerful kick and then another. Eventually I made a halting progress toward the surface. My head finally broke up over the waves and I took a great gasp filling my lungs with air.
Another wave crashed over my head pushing me momentarily under. I couldn't stay here! I wouldn't survive! Putting together all I knew about waves and tides I pushed myself with the waves. They should be headed out toward land, so I would follow them. I'd always been good at traversing the waves, but I didn't know the first thing about swimming. Luckily, my instinct were good and I managed to kick and push myself with the flowing tide.
After a great struggle I washed up onto a beach and closed my eyes while I waited for my breathing to even out. Exhaustion overtook me and I let myself fall asleep. My last thought before I lost consciousness was that I hoped the tide was going out and not coming in.
I woke in the morning on the beach surprised to find there was not a stitch of clothing on my small body... then I was even more surprised to find I had a body at all! With a great push I sat myself up feeling the sand move over my skin. Skin! I grabbed to fistfuls of sand in my hands. I had hands! These realizations hit me at the same time that I realized last night I had breathed and swum! I had kicked my feet because I had legs! It was amazing! I hardly even knew how to feel.
I looked down at my scrawny body- six years was old for a ship, but it was hardly anything by human standards. The realization that I was a child hit me hard. As soon as I realized my body was real, I immediately thought about seeking out Luffy and the others to join the crew. But how could I do that if I was so small... and alone. All those years of waiting rushed back to me at once and then a depression threatened to overtake me.
But it was that moment, that I hear her voice, "Oh you poor thing! Here."
Her blue jacket fell around my shoulders and I looked up to see my angel once more. My mouth hung open as the recognition hit me; I had come home! Wrapping the jacket around me, I looked up at her and said, "Kaya-sama!"
This caused her to startle a bit. "I don't recognize you, but you obviously know me. Do you live around here? We can take you back to your parents."
My heart started thumping at the term "we" and I looked up hopefully. Sure enough he was standing a few paces behind her. I hadn't been in my new body long enough to care about things like modesty, so with her blazer just barely covering me, I rant to him and threw my arms around his waist. "Father!" I shouted, glad at the opportunity at long last to show my Father that I returned his love.
But his face went strangely pale. "I'm sorry," he said gently. "You must have mistaken me for someone else. I never got to have kids of my own." In his face I could see the bitter regret of a kind man who had always wanted but had never been given a child. Of course that was probably why his hands had worked so carefully in my construction. He would see me for who I truly was; I just knew it!
Looking up into his face with a shining expression that only a child could wear, I said, "But don't you recognize me, Father? I've grown and I've changed, but it's still me!"
He took a good look at me then. He looked at my pale skin, my round face, my close curling blond hair and my large brown eyes. I knew the exact moment that it came to him, his face change and lit up. "Merry?" he asked excitedly, "My little Going Merry?"
"Yes, Father! It's me!" I shouted as I hugged him again only this time my affection was returned. "I went on an incredible journey and I got really strong! I made great friends and they showed me, Father. They showed me how to become real! I was broken, and they had to let me go. But I couldn't let them go! I wanted to sail with them more, and I think... I think that's what changed me. I became real so I could sail with them again someday."
My father and Kaya laughed, not in a mean or teasing manner but joyfully since they were glad to see me again. "I think you are a little young for going on adventures just yet, but one day you will be big and you can go find them again," as my father spoke, I saw the tears in his eyes. It was then that I realized tears could also show happiness. There was still so much to learn and so much to do before I could set sail again!
"Can I live with you until then?" I asked my father anxiously.
Kaya laughed now as my father said, "Where else did you expect to live?" I smiled when I heard this. My father kept talking, "I'm glad to have you back, Merry!"
"Merry junior, I would think," Kaya suggested pointing out the fact that my father and I shared a name. Then she leaned in close to my ear and whispered, "You father is a great man. I know he's always wanted a child and he's been very good to me because of it. Having you home makes him so happy. I think he will be quite indulgent with you. Take care of him, okay?"
Finally I couldn't stand my happiness anymore- it burst from me in a rocking sound the shook the very air around me. I stopped abruptly until I realized what had just happened. I had laughed. I could laugh! I did it again just for fun, and while I did, both my father and Kaya took my hands.
"Come Little Merry," Father said, "Let's get you home and into some nicer clothes."
Happily, the three of us walked back to Kaya's mansion. Well, I didn't just walk; I ran, skipped, jumped, spun around and leapt. Good thing it was early so no one else was out and about yet because I was too excited and too enamored with my new body not to explore all the ways it could move. I had a new body and a new purpose.!
I would grow up and get strong. Then I would re-join my crew! I wondered if Luffy would be the Pirate King by then. Whether he was or not, I would be happy just to be with them again. Wait for me guys! I thought to myself, One day we will be together again!
Author's note: No romance and it isn't all that long, but I think this is my favorite fairy tale so far. I hope you liked it. :) Memory will be updated either today or tomorrow. I am just on the last editing steps right now.
Thanks for reading! Please review?