Usopp and Luffy ran through the woods at full speed, their feet crunching over fallen twigs and other woodsy debris as they weaved their way through fallen tree trunks and overgrown plants. Usopp stopped short and grabbed Luffy by the back of his vest to get him to stop moving when he caught sight of someone ahead of them three clicks to the West. Assuming it to be one of the Marine's Usopp motioned for Luffy to go on ahead of him while he stayed behind to make sure they weren't followed back to the Sunny.
Once Luffy was out of sight Usopp ducked behind a tree and studied the cloaked figure twenty feet away from his hiding spot. The person turned towards him and he froze, sucking in his breath and holding it, hoping he wouldn't be seen. Usopp was unable to see the person's face as it was hidden beneath the long navy blue cloak with gold stars that he was wearing. Definitely wasn't from the Marine's then, bounty hunter perhaps? Their eyes met and almost as if in slow motion the man reached behind himself to grip the rifle that lay across his back and Usopp crouched, his foot pushing against the damp ground ready for him to push off and run away at any given moment. A shot rang and Usopp squeezed his eyes shut, readying himself for the impact.
"Usopp!" Usopp's eyes snapped open and he turned his head to where Nami stood a few yards away from him her hand over her mouth as a bullet whizzed past the top of his head, ruffling his hair. He lifted from his crouch as Nami hurried to his side and gripped his arm catapulting them both forward when the feeling of a rival presence showed up behind them. He stopped Nami from going forward when they were behind the shooter who still had his rifle in his hand and hadn't moved since he shot, almost as if he were frozen.
Usopp planted himself in front of Nami and lifted Kabuto, shooting a red pellet towards a group of Marine's that made their way towards where Usopp, Nami and the Mystery Man stood. A large flaming bird appeared and flew towards the Marines, smashing into them and effectively knocking them off their feet, some falling down the cliff they stupidly stood on the edge of, and others passing out from the impact. "Aurgh!" Usopp dropped his slingshot to the muddy ground and fell to his knees beside it, tears forming in his eyes, "damn-" he gritted his teeth, holding his arm tightly to his stomach and doubling over.
"Usopp!" Nami knelt down beside him and tried to get him to uncurl himself so that she could survey the damage.
The man finally snapped out of his reverie and looked down at Usopp and Nami, "Usopp, are you okay?!"
Usopp looked up at him his curly hair falling into his pain clouded eyes as he glared up at him, confused as to how the mystery man knew his name. "I'm fine." He grabbed Kabuto, before gently pushing Nami off and hauling himself up with his good arm, the Kabuto being used for leverage. He looked down at his injured arm and grimaced, "Luffy and Chopper are really going to have at me now," he muttered to himself. There was rustling to the left and he moved to plant himself firmly in front of Nami as his eyes scanned the trees, "there is someone still out there."
Usopp took a few steps back, careful not to knock into Nami then turned abruptly making sure that there was no one sneaking up behind them. His eyes darted from tree to bush to tree to rock in an attempt to find the best way back to the Sunny. He could hear another group of Marines in the distance, and knew it was only a matter of time before they showed up before them. The sound of a branch snapping made Usopp jump and look around in a paranoid manner, but there was nothing to be seen, well except for the man beside him acting in a similar manner, albeit more manly.
Another shot rang out and Usopp turned to Nami, pulling her towards him as a bullet shot past them. Usopp felt a hand on his shoulder pushing him forward, "Usopp, get her and yourself out of here. I got it, just go!"
Usopp, in pain, confused beyond belief as to who that man was and admittedly scared, followed orders and pushed Nami forward without a second thought. He sprang away from the scene, pulling Nami with him his eyes moving from one tree to the next. His heart leapt into his throat when he heard another gunshot, this one much closer. He immediately stopped despite his better judgment and scanned the area, whilst he saw no one and nothing could be heard- that shot had been too close for comfort. He gritted his teeth and lifted Kabuto; his entire body tensing as rolling pain ran through his arm and fear pumped through the rest of his body.
I know the Marines are after us, but to have gotten to the woods so quickly… Before he had a chance to react another shot rang through the woods and a bullet tore through the trees from the North East. His head slammed against the tree in front of him as blood poured down from his head. He knelt down, his head falling into his good hand, the Kabuto laying on the floor a couple of feet away. Realising he had been shot Usopp moved his hand over his body in an attempt to find the wound. Slowly his hand rose from his neck, over his ear to the front of his head. His fingers ghosted over a wound that had not been there previously. Ignoring the pain, and took a small mirror from his bag assessing the damage. He grimaced as sticky blood fell into his eyes, but focused on the grimy reflection shown. The bullet had gone through some skin and muscle there, but from what he can tell it had only grazed his skull – Brain damage would not be obtained from the wound. Fainting, and dying from blood loss however, was a possibility as his vision suddenly blurred and his body began to shake- the shock was setting in.
He bit through it, knowing that he had to take care of Nami and that they both were metaphorically and literally not out of the woods. Usopp blindly reached into his bag and pulled out the yellow bandana he had not used in almost two years, tying it firmly across his forehead. With the blood flow stemmed considerably he smiled reassuringly at Nami who had been fretting over him since she saw the blood flowing from his head. He looked around the woods, allowing Nami to help him up while he mapped out complicated diagrams full of mathematical equations in his mind as he calculated the distance the bullet was shot from and where.
He accepted the Kabuto from Nami and leaned heavily against it as he felt himself grow weaker and realised that he had perhaps one more good shot in him before he could no longer shoot properly. He closed his eyes, the mathematical equations whirling in his brain before he suddenly opened his eyes and shot one click South of North East and dropped the Kabuto beside him as a green pellet flew through the air, eventually impacting something. Usopp wasn't sure what, but he hoped it was whoever had hit him.
Usopp coughed, spitting blood out of his mouth. He leaned heavily against the tree behind him as an excruciating burning sensation started to bloom from the wound and a wave of nausea hit him like a ton of bricks. "Nami, get the hell out of here!" Usopp growled as another shot rang through the woods, this time from the North West and an explosion of pain ran through his body, this time originating from his hip, bloomed.
Nami crouched beside him and pressed her hand over the wound, "Usopp!"
Ignoring her, he took his slingshot and shot quickly towards the exact spot where the second bullet had originated from. He used Nami's shoulder to help himself up and gripped the trunk of the tree to keep himself up, "we need to keep moving," Usopp panted and pushed Nami forward as he began to make his way through the path.
"Keep in front of me, keep your head down and continue to move, don't look back," he instructed her, his brain finally putting two and two together and he had realised that whoever was shooting at them was only going after him. If he could somehow get Nami to safety then maybe he can try and focus on whoever had it out for him. Several more bullets flew through the trees and grazed his skin, but none made more than superficial scratches. Finally a path obscured by trees caught Usopp's sharp eye. "Nami, take a left and just keep going. Judging by the angle it takes in the distance it should lead us back to the ship."
"You are going to follow aren't you?"
"Of course," Usopp lied. "I will be right behind you." He pushed her towards the path, "keep looking forward, don't look back no matter what you hear, don't stop until you hit the port."
"GO!" He pushed her and made after her as if he were to follow, but stopped and watched as she began to run through the path, not looking behind her as he had instructed.
He turned, stumbling against the dirt floor and struggled to stay on his feet. There, in front of him stood no less than fifteen to twenty Marines and all of them had their weapons aimed towards him. Usopp swallowed, fear for his life and pain filling his senses. Another shot rang from somewhere in the middle of the group, his right kneecap was hit this time. The impact caused him to slip and slam to the ground, a cry of pain leaving his lips before he could stop it.
He sat up in the grass panting, spots clouded his vision and blood flowed from his wounds. He couldn't move he'd lost too much blood; he was in way too much pain. His weapon lay stationary beside his body, but he just couldn't grip it, and even if he could, he was in no condition to go up against almost twenty Marines. His hand twitched towards it anyway and a bullet was put through it as a result. "That's my drawing hand!" Usopp snapped, more to himself than anyone in particular as blood began to slip through his fingers and coloured the soil beneath them.
Ignoring the gaping hold that now adorned his hand, he weakly reached for his Kabuto for comfort if nothing else, when another shot sounded- from the back, East side, Usopp's brain supplied, this time the bullet hitting him centimeters from his heart. Usopp fell back against the ground, his head cracking against a rock that stood proudly behind him. His vision was swimming, and he was now so weak he couldn't move. He heard shots and opened his eyes to see one, two, three, five Marines going down, then shouts that sounded suspiciously like the man's from earlier and much to his chagrin, Nami. The last thing Usopp registered before he passed were Nami's shouts of his name.
"Usopp!" Nami pointed her Sorcery Clima-Tact and pointed it towards the Marines heading towards Usopp, "Gust Sword!" The Marines fell to the floor unable to stand against the strong winds of the weapon. "Usopp, hold on!"
Feeling that the man could handle the rest Nami ran towards Usopp and knelt beside him. She pressed her hand against his chest, and her forehead against his. "Usopp, c'mon it's time to wake up now." She moved her hand to his neck and took his pulse, happy that she could feel one, even if it was a bit too slow for her liking. She frowned and cupped Usopp's face between her hands tapping his cheeks lightly, "Usopp, I said it's time to get up now."
A shadow fell over her and Nami looked up to see the man's frightened face above hers, it was then she realised that she didn't hear anymore shooting or shouting. She looked around the man to see that everyone in the area sans them, were on the floor unconscious or dead. "Who are you?" She asked, curious as to why some random guy would help her and Usopp out.
"Yasopp," he answered staring down at Usopp with sad eyes, "I'm his father."
"I'm, Nami, one of Usopp's crewmates," Nami turned back to Usopp and pushed his curls from his hair, "Usopp, wake up you Idiot!" She tutted and shook her head, "it's no use he's lost way too much blood." There was shuffling behind her and she turned to watch Yasopp untie his cloak and drop down next to her, his rifle falling uselessly to the floor behind him. He lifted himself slightly in order to get the salve and bandages from his pockets before laying them on his cloak. He began to work slowly, first pulling a canteen from behind his back and pouring some of the cool water on the wound on Usopp's forehead. Gently he pressed the bottom of his cloak to the wound in an attempt to clean it.
Nami pulled Usopp's head into her lap and held back his hair as Yasopp worked on the wound. "There was no damage done to his brain," Yasopp confirmed, causing Nami to breathe out in relief. His eyes met hers as she shifted to hold Usopp better before moving back to his work. He opened the salve and gingerly pressed it into the wound, wincing when Usopp's face scrunched up in discomfort. He took the bandages that lay by his knee and unwrapped them from their protective covering as Nami lifted up Usopp' head so that Yasopp could wrap the bandages around his head. His hand stopped midway to stroke his cheek lovingly.
"Stop," Nami said firmly causing Yasopp to pull away from Usopp's cheek, "you abandoned him. You haven't a right touching him that way; I shouldn't even be letting you patch him up." Yasopp was about to retort when a shallow groan left Usopp's lips as he shifted in Nami's hold. Gently she lay his head back in her lap and ran her fingers through his hair.
"Usopp, can you head me?" Yasopp whispered, leaning down to talk into the teen's ear. Tears fell from his eyes onto Usopp's face, leaving small trails behind as they fell, "Usopp." Usopp scrunched up his face and nodded very slightly before opening his blurry eyes, "Usopp, it's me, Yasopp."
Usopp pushed himself closer to Nami and swallowed, his eyes closing, "Y-asopp?" He reached out slowly and touched his father's chest before his hand fell uselessly to the ground.
Yasopp leaned over him, pushing back the curly hair that stuck to his forehead. "Usopp, Usopp! Wake up!" Yasopp pressed his hand against his son's cheek and tapped it lightly, but it was no use, Usopp's body slumped lifelessly against Nami's causing both of them to sigh. Yasopp sat back on his legs and stared down at his son with a contemplative look.
"On Sniper Island," Nami looked up at Yasopp in shock, recognizing the name from Usopp's stories, "you would probably know it better as Moldor Island as the name has been changed over the years; it was the island that Usopp was actually born on. We have a superstition that says when one is out at sea and they have a dream about someone when they land on the next island they will meet that person."
Nami pulled Usopp closer to her as she listened and watched Yasopp work on Usopp's other wounds, "is that so?"
"Aye. They also say that the condition the person is in, in your dream is how you will see them when you finally meet again." Yasopp shook his hair from his eyes and frowned down at his son, "he was dead when I saw him in my dream."
Yasopp stood and brushed the dirt from his pants before kneeling beside Nami and sliding his arms under Usopp's body to bring him closer to him. He stood and hugged Usopp tightly to his chest, watching as Nami slung Usopp's weapon across her back and grabbed his rifle and cloak from the ground before following suit. "Well, Usopp's not dead. It's foolish to believe such things."
Yasopp hummed and started moving towards the docks with Nami a few steps behind him scanning the area nervously. "You needn't worry, Lass. I can sense if others are coming."
"You're a Haki user than?"
"It tends to be a skill one develops when they are in the New World for long enough," Yasopp answered with a slight smile in his voice.
They walked in silence for what seemed like hours, trees passing them by in blurred colours of green, yellow and orange. They stopped occasionally when the need to change Usopp's bandages arose or when he woke up and freaked out, a high fever causing him to be delusional. He had almost knocked Yasopp out a couple of times but stopped, always falling back into unconsciousness before any damage could be done, and they would soon be able to continue their journey once more.
"Oi! Crap-Captain, stop pacing would you?!" Sanji snapped from his position beside the kitchen door. Luffy had been pacing in front of him mumbling under his breath for the better part of an hour and it was starting to get on his nerves. Sighing, Luffy jumped up onto the banister of the stairs his arms stretching to grab Chopper who was slumbering against the wall near him and hugging the reindeer tightly to his chest.
"But Sanji," Luffy whined, "it's been almost five hours!"
Chopper, awoken by Luffy's abrupt grabbing, held tightly to Luffy's arms and looked up at him with wide eyes, "m-maybe we should go look for them?" He whimpered questioningly, "what if they're really hurt?"
Sanji sucked hard on the end of his cigarette and slowly let the smoke out of his nose, "as much as I would love to be with Nami-swan right now, they can both take care of themselves. They are an unbeatable team when together, no one can beat them."
"But it's getting really dark and the Marines are everywhere looking for us! So are other pirates! What if someone catches them and brings them to the Head Quarters here?!"
"Worrying will get us nowhere," the small group looked up to where Robin appeared on the floor above them. "We need to stay calm and out of sight so we don't get caught. If we get caught we will have to move and they will never be able to find us."
"Usopp may be a coward at times, but he is on this crew because he is as capable as the rest of us," Zoro reminded them. They all turned to where he was leaning against the Mast. His arms were tightly crossed across his chest and his good eye was closed. Had they not known Zoro as well as they did, they would have all assumed he was sleep-talking.
Luffy nodded at his swordsman, but his eyes didn't leave the spot where the woods met the port. There was movement from the woods that made Luffy jump to his feet and squint, "there's someone there!" He announced, jumping down from the banister and laughing joyously, spinning Chopper across the lawn, "maybe they're home!"
Sanji squinted, "Nami-swan!" he exclaimed, twirling towards the railing of the ship.
"Oi, Nami! Where's Usopp!?" Luffy asked, jumping onto the railing beside Sanji and staring down at her curiously.
"Chopper!" Nami called, ignoring her cremates' inquiries, "bring your medical supplies for gunshot wounds and come down we need to get to Usopp now. I can't move him anymore!"
"You left him alone?!" Zoro snapped at her, jumping up from his place beside the mast and walking over to where Luffy, Chopper and Sanji were.
Nami crossed her arms, her eyes flashing dangerously, "do you think I'm stupid?!"
"Where's Usopp, Nami?" Luffy asked seriously, jumping off the ship and landing neatly beside her.
Nami leaned towards him and whispered, "He's with his father."
"Eh? Yasopp's here?"
"Who's Yasopp?" Zoro asked landing beside the two with Chopper on his shoulders, followed by Robin and Sanji.
"Isn't that Longnose's father?"
"Yes, but we need to go now," Nami said, "we were almost here and he got really bad, we just couldn't move him anymore."
"Show us the way," Luffy commanded heading the group off towards the woods, causing Nami to hurry her steps in order to lead the group towards the small path where Yasopp was leaning over Usopp trying to resuscitate his son. "Usopp!" Luffy ran full speed to his friend's side and frantically looked him over, "what the hell happened to him?!"
"He's stopped breathing, I got him to start breathing again for a minute but then he stopped again!" Yasopp replied frantically, before he leaned over his son again. "Come on… you've come this far, your crew is here, don't give up on me now, Usopp." Yasopp leaned down and pressed a kiss to Usopp's clammy forehead, "You need to be okay, Usopp. Just hold on."
"Luffy, Move!" Chopper commanded, pushing the boy to the side so that he could get to Usopp. He pulled his medical bag off his back and laid it open on the floor beside him. He rummaged through it for a moment before pulling a vial of liquid out. He gently lifted Usopp's head and slipped the bottle into his mouth, pouring the medicine in. Gently he dropped the bottle and rubbed Usopp's throat to make sure the concoction went down. "That should help us get him breathing again." Chopper looked up, his eyes boring into Yasopp's, "I need you to blow into his mouth every time I say breathe, make sure you hold his nose closed when you do so." Chopper moved Usopp's shirt away from his chest, "ready?"
"Aye, I got it."
"28…29…30 breathe," Yasopp held his son's nose and breathed into his mouth before pulling back and waiting for the next signal. "28…29…30 breathe," Yasopp repeated the motion, pushing back the tears that were forming in his eyes.
Nami had fallen to the ground at Luffy's feet. She had her hands over her mouth as tears poured down her cheeks. She squeezed her eyes closed and shook her head, "…no… Usopp, come on."
"28…29…30 breathe," Yasopp breathed into Usopp's mouth again and pulled back, unable to keep a sob from escaping.
Sanji's hands shook wildly, the cigarette between his fingers constantly dropped towards the ground until he gave up on picking it up, "c-come on, you d-dam-man C-Crap-S-Shooter, I-I have t-to k-kick your ass for p-putt-tting Nami-swan in d-d-danger." Sanji took a deep breath to try and control his speech, "you h-hear me, Idiot? Y-you aren't-t allowed to d-die 'cause I-I have t-to kick your ass, you can't-t d-deprive me of t-that p-pleasure."
"Usopp, come on, please," Yasopp begged, breathing into Usopp's mouth, "come on." Yasopp pressed his forehead against Usopp's and sobbed uncontrollably. Tears rolled down his face onto his unmoving son, "please, Usopp. Don't go, not yet. I'm begging you."
Luffy tightened his fists, his hat casting a dark shadow over his face, blocking from view the tears that were filling in his eyes. "DAMN IT, USOPP! STOP PLAYING AROUND YOU, JERK! I DIDN'T GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO LEAVE THE CREW!" A burst of Haki left his body causing any wildlife and human within a mile parameter too weak willed to handle the effects pass out on the spot. "WAKE UP NOW! CAPTAIN'S ORDERS! WAKE THE HELL UP!" Tears fell unrestrained from his eyes as he hiccupped, "please, wake up." He whispered, pressing the heels of his hands to his eyes, "I can't do this without my best friend, I need you to wake up… just wake up."
Robin watched from against a tree a little ways from the group, her eyes calculating and gathering the entire story from just the details that lay before her. She knew what was happening, but she dared not voice her findings out loud, perhaps if a miracle were to occur.
Zoro stood beside Luffy his arms crossed tightly across his chest as he watched Usopp's chest for any sign of movement. His eyes met Sanji's and he shook his head, his right hand dropping to his swords to grasp them tightly, his fingertips leaving slight dents in the steel of Sandai Kitetsu's grip.
Franky and Brooke ran down the path stopping short a couple of feet away from the group panting. "Everyone at the port seems to have mysteriously passed out," Brooke explained when the group sans Chopper and Yasopp looked up at their arrival.
"What's happened to Usopp-bro?!" Franky exclaimed, his hands clutching at his head as he looked over the scene.
"T-the Marine's g-got to him!" Nami sobbed, "Usopp, wake up! You can't leave me to deal with these idiots on my own! I don't want to be the only normal one!"
"28…29…30 bre-athe," Chopper bit his lip as he pumped his hooves against Usopp's chest one last time before sitting back panting. "I… there's nothing I can do. I-I can't get him to breathe again."
"What does that mean?" Luffy asked quietly, he pushed his hat off his head showing his grief-stricken face.
Chopper stood up, and stared down at Usopp, shaking violently. "W-What time is-s i-it?"
"17.49," Robin answered stoically.
Chopper took a deep breath and screwed his eyes shut unable to make eye contact with the people he failed."A-as of 17.49 on t-the d-date 18 M-m-march, 975FY. U-Usopp, Sharps-s-shooter of the Straw H-Hat P-P-Pirates, age 19, h-has b-b-b-been d-d-d-declared d-dead."
To be continued…
An: Thoughts? Comments? If so drop me a line ;).
NO STRAW HAT OR RED HAIRED PIRATES DIED IN THE MAKING OF THIS FIC
I hope you all have a wonderful day!
Chandlure Trainez (Is pretending that her feels weren't murdered in the writing of this chapter).