"Oi. Oi. Oi. Nami."
Snip, snip, snip.
The trimmer she was using bent in her hand, and Nami whipped her head around at her captain, who was lazily leaning against one of her tangerine trees in the early morning sun, staring up at her.
"What?" She hissed at him, and he recoiled, his eyes shadowed.
A long pause followed, and Nami began to worry.
Her worry was increased because something like that was so unlike him, and she bit her lip. When she thought about it, it was also unusual for him to be up so early in the morning. Was he having troubles sleeping?
She sighed quietly, placing her bent pliers down, trying her best to be patient with him.
"What is it, Luffy?" she inquired, softly this time, kneeling in front of him.
He turned his head to the side a bit, looking at the mast.
"That Bellemere person Sanji told me about…do you still miss her sometimes?"
Nami was taken aback, not expecting such a question from Luffy of all people.
She sat there, and wrung her hands as she thought of a response.
"Yes…I still miss her, very much." She paused, looking down at her hands. Her eyes were a bit wet from a sudden surge of emotion, but she smiled slightly. "Is there some reason you're bringing this up? Are you okay?" She glanced up at him, realizing he was looking at her the whole time. His eyes darted away.
"It's just…" Luffy was hesitant and seemed somewhat sad, two words the navigator wouldn't normally associate with her happy-go-lucky captain.
"I had a dream this morning, about both of them…" he trailed off, twiddling his thumbs.
Both? Nami was confused, he never mentioned anything about his past. She had thought it would be about his brother Ace, but it sounded as though it was part of a bigger picture.
"Is it weird to still miss someone, even after they've been gone for years?" Luffy looked up at her, eyes pleading.
Nami shook her head gently, pausing awhile as she gathered herself.
"I think it'd be weirder if you didn't, Luffy. You'll miss people as long as you remember them, but you don't want to forget," She paused, taking a deep breath. "…Because we love them. It's part of our burden." Luffy looked surprised, but oddly contented with the answer. He smiled his usual goofy smile, and tilted his hat back.
"I feel a lot better now…Thanks, Nami." His eyes were soft, and held a depth they hadn't held two years ago. She felt her cheeks warm a little, and on a whim, placed a chaste kiss on his forehead before turning to leave, but while she was still in mid-stand, she felt Luffy grab her hand.
In one fluid motion, he pulled her towards him, having her land against him in a somewhat awkward hug. She shifted a little, getting more comfortable.
He buried his head into her shoulder, grasping her hair and the back of her shirt in an almost desperate gesture.
"I missed you," Luffy said, his voice reflecting an odd combination of joy that she was here and residual sadness from their separation. His use of you rather than all of you made her cheeks darken further, and she contemplated pushing him off, but found her hands on his back.
There was a comfortable silence as they sat there, and their sadness withered and emotions died down.
After what felt like a decade, Luffy pushed her back gently, smiling at her, and she smile back, and couldn't help but giggle, tilting her head forward a bit, and without realizing it, narrowed the space between their faces ever so slightly.
It was then that Luffy turned slightly red himself, and Nami's burgundy eyes caught his grey-brown ones.
"C-can I try something?" Luffy said quietly, with a stutter Nami had rarely heard in his voice before. She nodded, her hair scratching against his forehead.
Luffy's hands trembled a little as he rose them to her face, reflecting his insecurity as if he himself had no idea what he was doing and was acting on nothing but instinct. Nami figured that was likely, it was Luffy, afterall.
He placed his mouth on her own, pressing his dry lips against hers, and Nami tasted saltwater and barbeque on his lips. Her eyes widened, but she found herself melting into the kiss.
He pulled back in a sort of jerky, stiff way, his eyebrows furrowed and his cheeks red.
"Did I do that right?" He asked slowly. "Shanks said something about women and how they like that…or something." Twitching a little, he eyed her hands worriedly as if he expected her to hit him any second, and looked as though he was bracing himself for impact. However, none came, and he found himself looking back at her face. Her expression was blank, as if deciding something within her, then asked him just as hesitantly,
"Did you…like that feeling, Luffy?" She was trying her hardest to put it into his terms, waiting for his response.
He nodded very slowly, and they were both leaning in again, their lips met in a much rougher kiss, Nami lifted his hat a bit, lacing her fingers into his hair. Their lips finally parted, his heated breath against her lips sending a shiver up her spine. Placing a warm kiss near her temple, one of his arms draped around her shoulder, the other lifted his hat off his messy raven hair and placed it on her neat tangerine-tinted strands.
He pressed his forehead against hers, a small smirk playing across his face, and snickered. She found her face mirroring his as they hid under the shade of the straw hat's brim.
"Ah," Luffy smiled wider, his eyes forming smooth crinkles which she had never been close enough to see.
"I definitely like this feeling."