Disclaimer- I don't own One Piece.

Now that that's over... Hello! I hope this doesn't destroy anyone's brain... But! It is a OS for one of my reviewers (so sorry this took so long! I didn't forget!) TERIKEL! ^_^ Yay! If it has "[#]" beside it, there is a translation that you can refer to at the end of the story. :D

Now, enjoy this little one-shot. It's all you're getting.

A Phoenix's Heart

I wandered through the tall grass, staring just above the golden tendrils at the sky. The vast blue sky with its tiny little cotton candy puffs that dragged slowly across it. The bright golden sun warmed my skin and caused me to feel a bit warm. There was no way this day could become any better. I loved the smell of the spring. The easy, parched scent of wheat and other grains softly floated upon the breeze with a light twang of salt. The sea was nearby, and through the tall grains, I could almost see it. Sunlight glittering across its deep blue surface, the sea was magnificent. Beautiful beyond comparison. Seagulls cried loudly, floating in circles over the sea. I pushed through the grass, speeding through the tall grass, as it caught onto my long, auburn hair. My sandals crashed down on rocks, flicking up a couple in a dangerous spray. The sea crashed up around the rocks, roaring loudly at me. I smiled, my heart fluttering like a butterfly.

I dipped my hands into the water, giggling as the cool water splashed up at my face. It felt nice on this bright summer day. I removed my sandals, tossing them where they were hidden by the tall, golden grass. I dipped my toes in the water, enjoying the cooling sensation that bolted through me. It was too deep to swim in and rough. The island hadn't seen pirates in years, it seemed. I was thankful for it. Our town was safer and happier without them. I looked out at the water, smiling wistfully to myself. A black dot appeared on the horizon, and I held my breath. A Jolly Rodger fluttered in the wind, smiling almost in challenge.

I jumped up, scrabbling across the rocks. I put my sandals on as quickly as I could and tore back through the wild grass. Fear seized my heart. Pirates! Pirates had found the island! I ran straight into the fence just outside of the field. The wooden bars knocked the wind out of me, and I fell back onto my back. I could see stars. I breathed slowly, darkness lapping at my vision at a confusing pace. I stared up at the sky as the world faded into black.

When I came to, I was swung over a broad shoulder. I could smell the musky, nauseating scent of beer and sweat wafting off of him along with a hint of salt. I could feel an outrageous bruise growing across my stomach.

"Hey, captain! Look at what I found!" my captor called. I did my best to swallow back the growing pain in my stomach and started to struggle in his hold.

"Let go of her!" an unmistakable voice cried. It was Dreah. I looked up at my beloved mother figure. He long, black spindle curls caressed her face with shocks of silver that looked more like it was dyed than caused by old age. The pirates' faces were heavily wrinkled for the older ones, which was weird.

"What do you want, woman?" a pirate with a large, feathered hat asked, disregarding whatever words had left Dreah's mouth. She frowned, a gray and black hair falling into her face.

"I said, let go of my daughter!" she snapped. I stared at Dreah in shock. What was she doing?Pirates were dangerous!

"You don't look old enough to be the mother of this girl," the pirate mused before smirking, "And we're not giving her back." Dreah's colorful skirts swirled around her, a sweet chiming of bangles following her every movement as she strode toward the pirate. Dreah's dark eyes were flaring up with anger.

"I'm older than you, sir!" she hissed, pointing a long, tan finger in the pirate's face. The apparent captain's face. His face was outlined by the wrinkles upon it. His brown eyes had full on rage erupting up within them, "And I will teach you when to stand down to a gypsy."

"You… INSOLENT WOMAN!" he boomed. His right arm transformed into a cannon, "I am the taiho-taiho no mi [1] user! You and your pride don't stand a chance!" Dreah frowned.

"I always keep my promises, lowly pirate," she growled, "Now give me back my daughter!" Dreah's hair transformed into black coils, like snakes, before taking on a leafy, green state. The tsuru-tsuru no mi [2].

"Not for a million beli," the pirate captain cackled. Dreah's long curls flew about her in a multitude of vines. Cannon balls exploded from his arms, and Dreah tossed them back with her hair. The pirate carrying me began running toward their ship, my aching stomach pounding into his bony shoulder. I was leaving the Island of Phoenix. Pain danced through my nerves, and I was beginning to feel dizzy.

"Hey! Help the captain!" a senior pirate yelled out. I was tossed like a bag of rice into my cell. I rolled straight into the wooden wall with a loud thud. I lay on my side, the reality of my situation finally hitting home. I had been captured… by pirates. I could vaguely hear Dreah and the pirate captain duking it out. Eventually, I fell into a black and white state where nothing reached my ears. I fell into a sleeping mental state with only the rocking of the ship to comfort me.

On the third day, the captain came to visit me.

A heavy beard cover the majority of his face, and his brown eyes gazed at me in a questionable manner. He smiled, revealing a set of crooked, yellow teeth. I cringed, waking up with the presence of another person.

"Whitebeard won't attack a helpless girl," he laughed, opening my cell. The boat shivered as a cannon ball hit the water nearby. I stared at him in horror. He was going to use me as a shield? The pirate captain grabbed me, pushing me in front of him. I stumbled up the tall steps to the deck, and kept me in front of him.

"Pops! He has a girl covering him!" a pirate called from the larger ship. I stared on in fear. The pirate captain kept a hold on my arm to keep me from moving. His other arm had transformed into a large cannon, and he was blasting away at the ship that resembled a blue whale.

"I see that," a large man with a funny white beard said from their deck.

"I CAPTAIN MORGAN OF THE PARROT PIRATES WILL DEFEAT WHITEBEARD AT ALL COSTS!" the captain pirate yelled at his enemy, successfully causing my ears to ring. Then a great, blue flaming bird jumped from the deck. My lips formed an "o" in amazement. The symbol of my home island was flying above my head. Pirates on the other ship cheered.

"Woo! Go Marco!" a few cried. The phoenix was called Marco…? I stared in total awe then turned to the railing on the ship. The pirate captain seemed rather confused, so I tore free from his grasp and jumped over the railing toward the sea. A pair of flaming wings wrapped around me, plucking me out of the air. The flames didn't hurt me. I stared in shock as he placed me upon the deck of the other ship. The gargantuan captain smiled at me.

"Are you alright?" he asked, his white, crescent moon mustache curling up around his face. His dark colored eyes twinkling with a good humor. I could breathe easy then. This captain would most likely help me return home.

"I am Whitebeard," he said to me kindly. His jacket rested upon his shoulders, staying on only due to his incredible balance. It was kind of awe-inspiring. Regardless of how awestruck I indeed was in that moment, I realized I had no idea what was going on or even if these pirates were nice people. If pirates did just so happen to come "nice". My mind didn't seem to work, and it tripped over words and whatever else I could think of to say. My mouth just didn't work. Through all the mental doubt, my gut insisted the captain wasn't out to get me. With all the ambivalence that rushed through every fiber of my being, I felt I needed to at least say something. Not just stand there, staring at the giant man like an idiot.

I sunk to my knees and stared at the other ship that had begun to slip under the great waves of the ocean. I felt lost as if so many things had gone beyond my reach. Home, could I ever just return to it as if nothing had even happened? I had been saved by a phoenix, the very symbol of my homeland. The world seemed to spin with my thoughts, and the ship rocked and shuddered in the ocean. Nausea washed over me, and all I could do was collapse to the ground on my face and hope for the best. Idiocy.

When I came to, I was still on the deck of the ship. Next to me, was a man with a hat decorated with smiley faces, and he was snoring up a storm. All the same, he looked peaceful. Though I would've been much more comfortable if he'd been wearing a shirt... I looked away from the freckled man and cringed slightly as my head let out a cry of pain. I must've hit it hard when I passed out earlier. I rubbed it, happy that I at least hadn't been moved to an unfamiliar place. I was fairly close to where I'd been before. A snore stopped about halfway and a yawn came from close by. I immediately looked to the guy next to me, checking that there was still about ten feet between us.

"Oh, you're up," he commented, yawning again. I stared at him for a long moment questioningly. I didn't dare speak, deciding that silence was going to be my ally when it came to pirates. It wasn't like they listened anyway. The guy gave me a goofy smile, which caused me, in turn to smile back... only slightly.

"The name's Ace, Portgas D. Ace," he told me, sticking out his hand as if he were used to making such formal greetings with other people. I had been disposable before, I was sure that was where I still stood. So I wasn't sure why he was being so friendly. I snorted slightly and turned away from him, wrapping my arms around myself. Ace made a slight noise of annoyance.

"Marco! She's ignoring meeee!" he complained to the blonde man that stood nearby. Marco said something in reply that I didn't catch, but it caused Ace to frown at him before smiling widely with something else. I stopped paying attention to their interactions, seeing as I wasn't going to suddenly be able to hear what they were saying. I observed Marco. He was the one who'd taken me away from the other pirate crew, officially, though in reality, Whitebeard had been the one pulling all the strings. Still, I felt somehow grateful that he had been the one instead of loud-mouth over there...

I turned back to the rails of the boat, gazing out at the expansive sea. I had no idea where I was, and a sudden homesickness cascaded over me. I shivered slightly with the wind, and all that I could think of was Dreah. Was she worried? I didn't even know if she was okay. I missed her so much, she always comforted me and made all my fears go away. I was such a child in that sense, needing my mother to defend me from the harsh reality that I was facing. I pulled my knees up to my chest and began to cry. A hand touched my back, but I didn't shy away, there was nowhere for me to pull away to.

"Don't cry. Pops will bring you home after we get supplies at the next island," a voice told me. It washed over me in a gentle, yet authoritative manner. Obviously, the person speaking wasn't Ace, but someone who was more accustomed to holding a position of power and responsibility. I glanced over at the person who'd knelt beside me, and it was Marco. I did my best to hold back my tears, since I didn't want to show weakness in front of pirates.

"Thank you," I whispered in a wavering voice. Marco simply nodded and gave me more air to breathe in. Eternal loneliness was my greatest companion of sorts. There was nothing that I could do to escape it, mostly because I swatted away every helping hand. I waited for many long moments to pass before allowing myself to cry. I thought no one was watching. Then someone sat next to me, his long legs slipped through the rails. Ace looked at me with a smile.

"You know, it does suck to be away from someone," he told me with a knowing look. I stared at him in surprise and sniffed. Ace patted me on the back lightly, "But no matter how out of reach they are, they're always here... in you heart." He pointed to his chest with a confident smile. I shook my head with a slight smile, Ace was so corny. I kicked him quickly.

"Stop saying weird things!" I yelled at him. He laughed, and I slapped my hand over my mouth. He'd gotten me to say something! I felt my cheeks heat up. I never yelled at anyone before either... I slumped into my knees again, feeling incredibly guilty despite Ace's infinitely goofy expression.

"Looks like 'Fire Fist' can only make girls cry," I heard Marco tease. Ace growled.

"Don't bring other people into this!" he replied angrily. Marco shook his head.

"I'm not bringing up your girlfriend. You're the one who did that," Marco replied with a smirk. Ace pouted, and then Marco laughed. The two seemed like really close friends. It was amusing to watch them argue, and it made me forget all about my homesickness for a while, which was a welcomed blessing. I smiled from the nest of my arms.

"Oi, what's your name anyway?" Ace asked, looking as if the question had just dawned on him. I stared at him in silence. I made a slight face then sighed.

"Namida," I answered simply, "Unmei Namida.[3]" Ace smiled slightly.

"Well then, Namida. Welcome to the Moby Dick!" He said, stretching his arms out like I hadn't noticed I was on the ship before. I smiled slightly, finding his childish way of welcoming me aboard to be amusing and nice.

"Thank you," I replied softly. Marco stared at me for a long time with his arms folded over his chest. He seemed to be contemplating something. I didn't know what, but I decided he would say something if he felt it necessary. I was never the type to initiate conversation anyway. Ace sighed and sat down across from me, still smiling like an idiot. Sometimes I wondered if he was, in fact, one.

"Can I call you Nami then?" Ace asked me. I stared at him for a long time. Why did he want to shorten my name?

"No," I answered swiftly, deciding that a nickname like that one just wouldn't fit me. Ace sat in silence with me for a long time, then I realized he was asleep. What was wrong with that goofy pirate?

A few days passed on the pirate ship, and I became fairly acquainted with three people on Whitebeard's ship. The trio were as ridiculous as can be, but they were nice. Thatch was comparable to Ace in his talkativeness, but much more composed. Marco was my mysterious savior as I often found myself referring to him within the confines of my mind. The three were all commanders to Whitebeard. I was too shy to talk to anyone else and it wasn't like I was officially joining their crew. It just felt like it. All three were becoming my friends and finding themselves special places in my heart.

"Thatch! Don't steal Ace's food while he's sleeping!" I ridiculed the pirate. Ace snored happily, his head in my lap because Thatch knocked him over. Marco leaned back in his chair with his feet propped up on the table. Thatch had frozen in the middle of his escapade as I glared him down. He smiled slightly at me, almost nonchalant. He was lucky that I didn't want to wake Ace up.

"It's not like he'll care. He's sleeping!" Thatch replied in his defense. I frowned at him. It didn't matter that he was probably right. Then Ace moved slightly and wrapped his arms around my waist. I felt my cheeks heat up and Marco stood faster than I could think. Ace was kicked into the closest wall, luckily for me his hold on me hadn't been too tight. My chair tilted back onto its back legs, and I squealed as it tipped over. I was going to hit the ground! I squeezed my eyes shut, preparing for impact. Instead, I was pulled roughly into someone else's chest. Not that it really bothered me... I think. Thatch was laughing and took the chance to steal Ace's food. Ace groaned and woke up, rubbing the back of his head. I stared at the purple material in my peripheral vision. I was held by Marco.

"Hey! My food!" Ace yelled angrily. I felt heat rush into my cheeks and pulled away from Marco quickly. I covered my hands with my cheeks and squeezed my eyes shut. I kept my back to Marco. It was just a hug! But I was so embarrassed... I stole a glance at him, and he seemed to be a bit worried. My shyness ate my soul, and I ran out of the dining hall in a flash of light orange and pink.

"Hey, where did Nami go...?" Ace asked.

"Didn't she tell you to stop calling her that?" Thatch pointed out, eating off of Ace's plate while he was distracted. Marco seemed to be deep in thought. Then he left.

I sat beside the door to the dining hall. It was a large, spacious hallway, so I wasn't really in anyone's way. I pressed my cold hands to my frighteningly hot cheeks. Hugs weren't a big deal, but then why was I so embarrassed. My heart was racing at a thousand miles per second in my chest as if I'd run around Phoenix Island's perimeter. How did I manage to become so hyped up about one little hug? Ace hugged me all the time, well, mostly whenever he felt like forcing me to drag him to his bunk because he was too tired to get there on his own. Ace just couldn't help teasing me, apparently.

A shadow fell over me, and I looked up to see Marco, only causing my blush to grow worse. I covered my face with my arms quickly.

"Don't look at me!" I cried fearfully. What if I looked like a tomato? That would be even more embarrassing!

"That would make it hard to talk to you," Marco pointed out. I kept my face covered.

"So?" I replied, my voice muffled a bit by my arms. Marco pulled my arms away from my face, and I squealed and tried to keep him from seeing my face.

"Why are you so nervous?" he asked me, looking at me closely. I could almost feel the heat of his breath on my lips. I felt my heart jump. I was beginning to feel like a spider when a human hand began to poke at its web. I stared at him with wide eyes, my lips slightly parted.

"What? I'm not nervous," I laughed, obviously lying to his face. Marco frowned slightly, his eyes drooping slightly. He cupped my face in his hands as if to say 'your face is really red.' That only served to make me feel even more so embarrassed.

"C-could you let go of my face?" I asked in a tiny voice, pressing my back against the wall. Marco sighed.

"I think you need some fresh air," he told me and led me out onto the deck. I followed him in silence. My heart beating in tune to a hummingbird's. A thousand butterflies had found their home in my belly. I could barely contain how nervous I was. I'd fallen for a pirate... I'd fallen for Marco. He was the more composed one. Always knowing how to lead the other two on the right path and assisting whenever he was needed. He had the makings of a captain, but he was basically Whitebeard's right hand, which sometimes called for acting like a captain might. I probably needed that kind of guidance in my life, since I was so awfully immature.

The warm ocean breeze hit me hard. All my thoughts were blown away by it. What was I doing, thinking of Marco in that way? It wasn't fair to me or him. I was going to return home very soon. A romance between me and him was improbable. I was just freeloading on the Moby Dick for three more days. When I went home, I would leave all of my new friends behind. I had to not have any ties to any of them.

So, I pretended. I smiled and acted as if the fresh air helped me. I returned to my usual composure and thought of Marco only in the darkest of my dreams. I couldn't allow myself such a romance, such a painful, painful romance. Who knew if Marco would ever return my emotions anyway? He most likely thought of me like a sister. That was how Ace treated me, and Ace was going to get the beating of his life if he called me Nami one more time... Thatch was like the brother I'd never had, and Ace was the one I never wanted. Marco should've been seen as my brother too.

When the Moby Dick docked in the harbor of Phoenix Island, I burst into tears. I was happy to be home, but I'd also miss all my friends that I had spent a month with on their ship. I hugged Thatch and Ace goodbye, but Marco was nowhere to be found. It confused me. Why wasn't he there to see me off? Then I saw Dreah, and I stopped thinking about it. I ran to her, jumping straight into my mother's arms. I'd missed her so much!

"Namida!" she cried, holding me close and stroking my hair. I turned and waved as the Moby Dick left the harbor and disappeared into the horizon. What nice pirates...

...

I admired the Jolly Rodger that hung over Phoenix Island. It symbolized the Whitebeard Pirates, we were officially under Whitebeard's protection. I was incredibly proud of it, since I'd made the flag myself. Ace had called me with a den-den mushi to give the offer. I'd missed those guys over the past year. I always wondered what they were up to.

Then came the night a small ship pulled into the harbor. I had been out late gathering some wildflowers to decorate my house. The only person in the ship was Marco. The flowers slipped from my hands, and I immediately ran over.

"Marco!" I cried. He looked up at me through weary eyes, and I gathered him up in my arms, "What's wrong, Marco? Are you okay?" I whispered softly to him, hoping he would say something and hoping with all my heart that he wasn't dying. He leaned into me, his forehead pressed to my shoulder. He shook as tears fell down his face.

"They're dead..." he told me softly. I felt tears bite at my eyes and wondered who he was talking about. I cupped Marco's face in my hands gently and tried to look into his sad eyes.

"Who?" I asked, afraid of his answer. Marco simply pulled me close to him and continued to cry, refusing to give me an answer. I held him close, hoping with all my heart that Ace and Thatch were okay. They were my brothers. When Marco seemed to have composed himself, I took him to my house for the night. He slept in the guest room that was across the hall.

In the morning when I woke up, however, he was in my bed with me. Not only did he manage to give me a heart attack, but also how did I not notice!? I did my best to wriggle out of his hold without waking him and started to make some breakfast. I clicked on my den-den mushi radio, and my heart stopped. The plates I was holding crashed to the floor and shattered all around my bare feet.

"Portgas D. Ace and Whitebeard, or Edward Newgate, are both deceased as of a few days ago at Enies Lobby. The pirate's declaration of war wasn't finished though because not long after, Straw Hat Luffy rung the bell..." Marco turned the den-den mushi off. I didn't move or anything. I felt empty. My littlest brother, Ace, was dead... I couldn't stop the tears that ran down my face. Marco hugged me close to him, and I held onto him tight.

"Don't tell me Thatch is gone too," I whispered into his shirt between hiccups. Marco remained silent. It all crashed down on me hard. Ace and Thatch were gone. I couldn't believe it. They'd both promised to come and visit me. Why did they have to break their promises?

Marco stayed with me for a month. The whole month was a struggle for both of us to grow used to the holes where Ace and Thatch used to be, for Marco, Whitebeard too. It was very quiet at my house. After the month of grieving, how Marco acted began to return to normal, but also he was different. He would sometimes reach out to me and kiss my forehead or hug me. Sometimes I thought he was gazing at my hand. The two of us had grown used to being around each other, but I knew it would end. Marco would return to pirating, and I would remain on Phoenix Island. I knew this well, and would never stop him from leaving when he felt it was time to.

"Nami..." Marco said to me, calling me by Ace's nickname for me. It made me happy and sad at the same time. I didn't want to forget Ace, and I found that I actually kind of loved the nickname. It fit me.

"Yes?" I replied, looking over at Marco and wondering if he was going to tell me he was ready to leave. He looked almost nervous. It was cute, and I couldn't help but smile at him like a cat eying a bird.

"Do you mind if I stay here for an indefinite period of time?" he asked slowly, picking his words carefully. I stared at him in surprise, I never thought he'd want to stay for a while.

"Not at all," I answered quickly, warmth filling my cheeks. I never did want him to go. Marco smiled at me slightly, and I moved out from behind the bar that separated the kitchen from the dining room and kissed Marco on the cheek. He moved quickly to kiss my lips. The action surprised me so much that I jumped away, holding my hands to my chest. Marco looked guiltily away from me.

"Sorry," he murmured. I sighed, calming myself and wiping my hands on my apron.

"Don't be," I replied with a smile. Marco looked at me in surprise, and I simply laughed. We were always turning the tables on each other, weren't we? Marco stood and kissed me softly, nervously. I was just as nervous as he was, but surely we would grow past the initial nervousness. Marco held me like I might break, but I held onto him like he would fade away at any moment. Everyone else had died on me. Who was to say Marco wouldn't disappear either? I just had to hope he wouldn't leave me forever.


[1] taiho-taiho no mi – cannon-cannon devil fruit

[2] tsuru-tsuru no mi – vine-vine devil fruit

[3] Unmei, Namida - Doom, tears Basically, I chose this name because my character is fairly pessimistic. Forgive her for this. It's just harder for her to fall in love.

Holy jeez! 5K! It has been a long time, my darling. I guess only a OS is worth a 5K... Oh well~

Besides, I enjoyed writing this! It took me a loooonnnngggg time to finish, but I was contemplating on where to take it. I think it finished quite nicely. :) I'd love to know what you think~ So...

Please Review!

~Minatu-chan