A/N: WELL, I've gone and done it now. Ladies and gentlemen welcome to my first stab at romance. *applause* Tis a soulmate AU (cause those are very awesome) and the first chap is an UsoNa. Yes, that means that there will be other chaps, don't expect any semblance of an update schedule though, I'm gonna play this on impulse.
I'm setting this in a universe in which everyone has a soulmate, and there is no one universal indicator. Most times you read a Soulmate AU and everyone is born with a tattoo that represents their soulmate, all people are colorblind till they meet their soulmate, soulmates are connected by a red string, la di da di da [insert cool soulmate ideas]. This is a mash-up of all sorts of ways to distinguish one's soulmate. It's well explained if you read it (I think), so please do! I hope it's to your liking.
Ah, but before you do please reward my beta, emygrl99, with cookies, brownies, flowers, and all sorts of gifts that are appealing, she deserves them, I'm picky and technologically incompetent. And she's the reason there aren't 80 bajillion grammatical mistakes. (she also deserves presents for teaching me how to use google drive. I'm in high school guys, I'm just now learning).
So yeah, please review, please thank your betas (and mine) profusely, please read romance and tell me if I'm any good at the genre, at all!
EDIT: I've fixed a few things and changed the line breaks, but no extra scenes.
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece
Can You See Me?
"Mommy!" the little boy wailed, running inside and making a beeline for his mother; immediately wrapping his arms around her legs and burying his face in her thighs, sobbing. Startled, Banchina set down her spoon, pausing in the making of dinner to heft her little boy into her arms. He's getting so big.
"What's wrong, Usopp? Are you hurt?" She runs her fingers over his knees and elbows, searching for scrapes as she carries him into the bedroom so they can sit on the bed together. Her search only reveals the Band-Aids that were already placed over such injuries.
"No! B- but I… saw someone get hurt!" Banchina stiffens, looking down at her son who is trembling and crying, one overall strap slipping off his shoulder, snot dripping from the long nose he'd inherited from her.
"Usopp, this is very important," she kneels down to look at him squarely. "Who got hurt and where? Was someone else doing the hurting?"
"I don't know!" he wailed, working himself into further panic when he couldn't answer the questions that were apparently so important. "Some- some blue guy had a gun! And he shot her! But she told me she loved me!"
She almost thought he was telling her another story, a blue man? With a gun? And a woman telling her son she loved him? Surely not on the quiet little Island which Syrup Village was located on. But the tears trickling down her son's face was enough of a clue for her to know that he was not making up the scene, or at least not consciously. He believed every word that exited his mouth just now.
"I don't knooowwww!" he moaned. "It was only there for a few seconds! I was shooting at the target you made me and she... happened! There was a house and the blue guy, and a bunch of other people all fighting and getting hurt. She said she loved me and then she turned around and, and… He shot her! It was all red and scary!"
"And this whole thing just appeared and disappeared?" She clarified, wondering if maybe…
Usopp nodded frantically, burying his head into her chest as she draped her arms around him.
"Usopp, you remember the stories I told you about your soulmate, don't you?" That poor, poor girl…
"I love you," she whispers the words, but they heard her, definitely. And she must have heard their cry, even over the gunshot, because they screamed, their hearts wailing the words they couldn't say. They howled as they felt their mother being ripped away, a third of their family.
"BELLEMERE!" She sees a red arc of blood reaching towards them and watches how her mother's muscles go limp as she falls back, her legs buckling and the cigarette dropping from her mouth.
She started as she came back to herself, glancing up at Nojiko with tears budding in her eyes.
"Nami, what's wrong?" Nojiko kneeled next to her sister where she had promptly sat down, dropping a decent sized bag of treasure on the floor beside her. Hastily, Nami swiped the tears from her eyes and smiled at her big sister.
"Nothing's wrong Nojiko, I just think I need some sleep."
"And why's that?" She frowned and put her hand on her baby sister's forehead. "Do you feel dizzy?"
"No, no. But I think I just hallucinated, again," Nami snickered lightly. "I'm probably just stressed."
"Well what did you see? Aren't they usually all the same?"
"Not the same, Nojiko, similar. And it's only every once in a while for a few seconds, I'm sure I'm fine." She stood up and brushed off her knees, wincing as she touched one of the bandages on her leg.
"Tell me." Nojiko caught her arm and frowned at her, her tone leaving no room for arguing.
Nami hesitated before picking up the bag of treasure and moving to pour it into the chest they'd buried beneath the orange grove. "Well, there was this sick woman, lying in bed. She said something about loving my stories but the pirates weren't docking. Then she said that she loved me and I was back here."
"Short is right." Nojiko snorted. "That's hardly anything, but it's better than previous ones, right?"
"Yeah, better than a slingshot and a target and a few times the same lady hugging me, but…"
"But what?" Nojiko prompted.
"It was really sad," Nami blurted. "I don't even know the lady, but I was really sad. I was crying so hard and it was such a loss. Like… like Bellemere all over again," she admitted quietly. She didn't understand how she could be so sad for this woman she didn't know; the pain had been great enough to rival the emotions she'd felt at Bellemere's death. She let her head hang and tried to keep her eyes on something other than her sister. It was offensive. That she could so easily attach herself to someone as solidly as she had Bellemere, even if only for a few seconds. She insulted their bond.
"Hey, Nami." Nojiko said suddenly. "You don't think it's about your soulmate do you?"
"What? Why would it be?"
"Well, you don't have a name or a mark anywhere from them, and you've always been able to see all of the colors. You don't have mismatched eyes or a weird highlight in your hair. Maybe you're seeing from their eyes? That's one of the ways to be connected, isn't it?"
Nami pondered for a moment before realizing she'd read about soulmates like that. She snapped her fingers. "Mutationis Visio, that's what it's called! I remember reading about that, you adopt their perspective once a month or something like that…"
"So I guess your soulmate's pretty sad right now, huh?"
"Yeah." She looked down at the treasure in the chest she was preparing to bury again. "I wonder what he's seen of my life?"
"Honey, don't cry. I always love your stories. But this isn't the time, your father won't be home while I'm still here."
He sobs loudly and buries his head in the sheets while she drapes a hand on his head.
"I love you."
He turns and runs.
Usopp stumbles once before regaining his footing, rushing to catch up to Onion, Carrot, and Pepper. He'd sent them ahead to chase the 'dragon' that had been terrorizing the ladies who lived in the Perley household , and that was when another vision came to him. His soulmate was rich! She said something about ten thousand beri, that was a huge amount, especially if she was close to his age. Or was she way older than him or something? No way, he was only ten, she would have to be like… old enough to have a job to get money like that. But how does a kid get money like that?
"Captain Usopp! We found it! We've captured the dragon!" Onion runs back to him, Carrot and Pepper close behind, and he slows to a stop. The boy held up the rather small lizard and Usopp claps his shoulder, taking the lizard in one hand to hold above his head.
"Good job men, we'll now relocate the beast to a proper home, in the forest where it might not reign terr- OW!" Usopp dropped the lizard as it widened its jaw enough to clamp down on his thumb.
"Usopp!" all three boys yelled and Usopp clenched his teeth together to stifle his cries.
"Never mind the pain boys, quickly, that dragon was poisonous! We must make an antidote, or I'll be dead within the hour! And catch that dragon, before it poisons anyone else!"
"See, it's building up, ten thousand beri already, I'll be at my goal in no time!" She kneels over the chest, its golden contents glittering in the setting sun. It might take a while, a long, long while, years even, but this was definitely a start. She was moving along, she'd definitely make her goal.
Nami wasn't as surprised by the visions as she used to be anymore. It wasn't like she could predict them now, but they'd just become a part of her life, something that happened once a month. She sometimes caught flashes of target practice, and once there was a man stumbling through the street in a fancy suit, near collapsing. The green haired woman from before had never appeared again after that last vision she'd had of her saying I love you.
She was able to recognize certain people now, but this girl was new.
It was only a fleeting glance, but Nami had heard her voice, seen her blonde hair, and for a moment, her heart had burned with jealousy.
Which was absurd.
So maybe she's never met the man, but her soulmate wouldn't cheat on her, would he? She glanced down at the groaning man at her feet, looking pathetic with blood dribbling from his nose. She ground the heel of her sandal into his face, regretting that the action would get blood on them, but it was just the drawback to seduction she supposed. She hefted the bag of treasure and considered that maybe her soulmate would cheat on her, if he was anything like her.
"You tell the best stories." The blonde giggled and he stuck a thumb into his chest, proud at her colored complexion since he'd arrived. "You make me feel so much better."
"Usopp!" He scrabbled for a hold around the trunk and clung to it comically, digging his fingers into the bark of the tree he had been sitting on until recently. He swallowed down his squeal and tried to pass it off as slightly quieter, manly, grunt.
"I'm good!" He breathed, scrambling back up onto the branch. "Do you see how fast my reflexes have become after years of danger?"
"Usopp, what was that? Are you okay?" Kaya took his arm and leaned a bit out the window to put her hand on his forehead. "You're not sick, are you?"
"No, no. It's nothing like that," he promised. "Completely normal."
"But you got so distant for a moment, it was like you weren't even here, you almost fell."
"I'm fine, but I wasn't here." He pushed her back inside, worried that the whole event might have been too much activity for her today. "It's just my Soul Link."
"Your Link?" Kaya's hand flew to her hair, touching the pink streak that belonged to her soulmate. One day she'd lose it, but until then, it was the only connection she had to the person she was meant to be with. It was important, just as anyone's Link was.
"Yeah, I see from her eyes once a month. I looked it up, it's called a Mutationis Visio Link. Nothing overly special." He shrugged. "I know next to nothing about her though, even after all this time."
"Well what did you see?"
Usopp hesitated, it hadn't exactly been nice this time, he could lie, make it a nice story for her…
But the way Kaya's hands were beginning to deftly braid the pink with a few groups of pale blonde and she leaned against the window sill with an earnest look in her eyes, he knew he couldn't.
"She was being chased." He admitted reluctantly. "These three thugs were after her, she was running from them. I think she had something in her hand, she might have stolen it. Then there was this big crash behind her where the men were and a huge dust cloud, and then I'm back here. Just a few seconds is all I ever see. It's never enough to figure anything out!" He threw his hands up in the air, annoyed.
"But you've seen a few seconds for a long time, maybe there's something you missed, something you can put together between visions that doesn't make any sense without the other visions. I'll help you!" She clapped her hands together and turned back to her desk, removing a few sheets of stationery and a pen. "Every detail now, think hard!" Usopp looked at her, startled, and Kaya hesitated. "Unless it's private?"
"No! I mean, no, it's not, it's just… thanks." He smiled at her. "Now let me think, my last vision was of her great treasure trove, she might be a dragon, building a hoard!"
He would spend hours in the next month translating visions from over the years through Kaya to paper, hoping to form some semblance of an idea as to the life his soulmate lived.
She huffs tiredly, a map rolled and clenched in her hand; she'd finally managed to track it down. She could easily escape these thugs, she's done it before. She risks a glance behind her and yelps when she realizes that they're closer than she thought they were, and she picks up the pace.
BLAPHHOOOM a loud crash gives her an excuse to look back again and check on her progress, but a large dust cloud impairs her vision, making it hard to see. At least that means the thugs are being delayed.
"Namiiiiiiiii! Where are we going?" Luffy whined, leaning backward over the bench he'd been lounging on for the past hour, bending his neck in a way that made her shiver.
"The nearest island that we might be able to get supplies from. It'll take a day and a half to get there, but if we stay out at sea much longer you're going to eat the rest of the provisions we packed before we even arrive." She frowned at the young captain. Luffy was lean as a twig, and even though his strength clearly indicated that his appearance was not to be trusted, she still felt that he ate an ungodly amount of food for any sized man. "I was shooting for an island a bit farther away, but since you've eaten all the supplies that I brought, which were meant to last us for several days, I had to change course."
"Oh. Sorry," Luffy laughed and twisted his neck back into shape, poking Zoro's face until the swordsman responded with a grunt and a swipe of his hand. Luffy laughed again and caught Zoro's hand to inspect it.
"What?" Zoro asked irritably.
"Your Soul Link is so cool, you can follow it anywhere," Luffy pouted, tugging at the knot of red string tied around Zoro's thumb. "Mine's so vague." Blinking at the abrupt change of topic, Zoro pulled his hand away and scratched the back of his neck.
"Something to do with colors." Luffy replied, tossing his head back around to look at Nami. "Hey Nami, what's yours?"
"Asking about someone's Soul Link is kind of rude, you know." She glared, but Luffy just shrugged.
"Well, maybe I know someone with that Link. I think it's a stupid idea, why should people keep their Links secret, how else are people gonna find each other?" Nami blinked at that. She supposed he had a point, but still. She'd never told anyone but Nojiko about her visions.
"You tell me exactly what your 'colors' are and I'll tell you about my Link." Nami bartered and Luffy began babbling eagerly.
"I only know they're older than me, because I've always had colors, but yellow is the brightest color ever, so I'm sure that's their color. I don't know anything else though, all I can do is wait until they die! Cause when they die I lose my color," Luffy finished, arms flopping at his sides as he lamented the nature of his Soul Link.
"You'll find them," Zoro grunted. "We're gonna go to lots of places, you can't miss each other."
"Yup! That's another reason why I set sail, no one on my island was bright yellow. They're out there somewhere though. So Nami, what's your Link?"
Nami blinked out of her conveniently timed vision, plopping down on the bench to keep her wavering balance from causing her to pitch overboard.
"Mutationis Visio." She mumbled, and when they both shot her confused looks, she clarified irritably. "That's my Link. 'Changed vision'. I get to see from my soulmate's eyes, and he from mine once a month. It's never any help though, I only get nondescript clues." Nobody said anything to that, but Luffy's gaze was clearly asking for more, and Nami sighed. "Like, I see from his perspective every once in a while- he's talking to a girl, or he's playing a game with someone, I see whatever he's doing at that moment," she explained lamely.
"Ooohhhhh, that's cool! I've never met anyone like that!"
"Well, now you have. So stop getting all excited about it," she hmphed, crossing her arms and checking her compass again, still on course. Geez, what was she supposed to do if she didn't watch their course? She certainly wouldn't spend any more time talking about Soul Links with an imbecile like Luffy.
He's hanging from a tree, pulling himself up onto the branch and knocking carefully on the window. It was a glazed window so he can't see inside, but he can hear footsteps shuffling towards the window, and he knows to lean back when the lock comes undone so he doesn't get hit by the window as it swings outward.
"You're back! I figured something out!"
"Usopp," Nami breathed, leaning heavily on her staff in front of the gates of Arlong Park. Her mind whirled at the realization. Usopp was her soulmate.
Likewise, out in the rice fields, standing over the burned and bruised body of Chew, Usopp laughed silently into his palm, sitting cross-legged on the ground as he washed some of the dust from his wounds with rice water.
"I don't know anyone else named Nami, and that was Arlong Park I saw, so who else could it be?" he reasoned.
So maybe they were both surprised; they'd been sailing together for almost a month now and neither of them had recognized each other from their visions at all. He hadn't even known she had the same Soul Link as him. He'd never particularly advertised his own so he supposed it made sense it never came up for her either.
But he was happy, and Nami, standing in front of her accursed… residence, was simply
Usopp suddenly had the friend and lover he'd wanted his whole life- someone he could really talk to and they would listen to him and be there for him, no matter what. Nami was finally being rid of her filthy, filthy, past; riddled with bullet holes and rotting treasure and hundreds of the most accurate sea charts East Blue had ever seen. And now it was being replaced with a new home and wonderful people who made her smile and a soulmate who wouldn't care if she worked for pirates or was a thief, and didn't mind if she got a little greedy sometimes. Usopp was low maintenance, she'd noticed, which was good, she could hardly handle herself with how frugal she'd been for the past... lifetime.
All at once, both of them had the intense desire to find each other, but as they'd soon discover during their time with Luffy, many things tended to happen at once, and sometimes their priorities had to be listed.
And thus the battle wore on.
Usopp hurried back to Arlong Park, hoping against hope that the battle would be over by the time he reached it (but who was he kidding, they were against fishmen!) so he and Nami could be with each other properly for the first time since discovering the truth. Surely she too understood now, that it was him?
Luffy was saved from drowning, Zoro almost died in the grasp of Arlong, and Sanji would probably need to spend some time in a pressurized air tank to get the bubbles out of his bloodstream. Each and every one of the crew began to sustain more and more dire injuries, and when Luffy disappeared into the tower to fight Arlong indoors, Nami had started whimpering with each passing second of silence. Usopp had to physically hold himself from openly running to her to offer her the comfort she clearly needed.
Suddenly, papers were sent flying, and Usopp could hear Luffy's battle cry, which was loud enough to be heard from the other side of the island. In the moment of silence he felt like he could have a vision and he wouldn't even notice.
With a great crash of rocks, Luffy clambered out of the pile, nudging boulders aside so he stands the tallest, proclaiming that Nami is his friend.
If Usopp didn't already know that Luffy had no intentions of being with Nami intimately, he might have been upset with him, but instead when Nami nodded weakly at his statement, he could only smile his own sunshine grin up to his Captain, feeling overwhelmingly thankful that Luffy had managed to do what he couldn't - free his soul mate from the pain she had endured since he'd gotten that first vision so many years ago, of a woman that loved her.
"YAAAHHHHHH" He leaped from the path and toppled onto the body as it attempted to stand. "Explosive star! Explosive star! Alcohol star! Fire star! Usopp RUBBER BAND!" And beneath him lay Chew. The fishman was burned black, smoking faintly.
And still, he winced at the final attack.
The tower of Arlong Park looked beaten, but certainly not yet falling. There were loose and broken pillars, but nothing dire. She leaned on a staff, finger outstretched to point at the blue shark fishman dressed in a Hawaiian print shirt. He glared down his nose at her, "What's your answer, Nami?"
"You know, I'm really glad I didn't stab you."
"Hahah, me too," Usopp laughed, shoveling another spoonful of rice in his mouth. Nami hugged her knees and smiled at him, and Usopp blinked, offering her a bite. They were sitting on a bluff, overlooking the ocean. Night was well under way and it had taken too long for either of their liking to be able to consult each other on their realizations.
"Hey," she started hesitantly, looking back out to sea. "What have you seen? Of my life, I mean."
"You know, the usual life. Your sister, the tangerine grove, I saw you getting chased a couple of times, your treasure." He shrugged. "Nothing too important."
"You're lying," she snickered and he paled and ducked his head.
"Come on, soulmate, trust me a little." He perked up and glanced over his shoulder, as they had been doing for the past hour to make sure they were still alone.
"Well, Nojiko told me about… Bellemere," he began slowly and Nami's teasing smirk melted into a downcast look of shame. "I saw her once, a really long time ago, and she said she loved me- you, and then there was a shot," he trailed off as Nami stiffened and turned her head away. He scooched closer on impulse and laid an arm around her shoulder. She turned her face away from him, but leaned into his side nevertheless.
"What made you realize it was me?" Usopp asked suddenly. "After all these years, what went right?"
"Usopp rubber band," She chuckled. "I don't know anyone else who'd use that move of yours."
"Uh! Warriors from all four seas use that technique! Many have sent me letters asking exactly how to perfect such a difficult weapon! I used it to defeat the champion fighter at an inter-blue competition I recently attended." He puffed out his chest but after a moment he asked, "Really? You've never seen Kaya? Or Onion or Carrot and Pepper?"
"I've seen them, sorta." She admitted. "But I didn't recognize them before, I only ever saw flashes or heard voices. Not enough to recognize you. Why didn't you recognize Nojiko?" She defended.
He shrugged in response. "Same reasons."
They lapsed into silence, the sound of music drifted from the village as the party continued.
"Hey, do you think we need to tell Sanji about this? I kinda want to let him keep believing that I might be his soulmate so he'll keep treating me like a princess."
"You want to keep our star-prophesied relationship a secret? So a perverted blonde cook will bring you breakfast in bed every morning?" He asked dubiously, pulling back to look at Nami incredulously. She rolled her eyes and shook her head.
"As if. That's stupid."
Usopp breathed in relief.
"I'm going to keep him out of my bedroom at all costs. He can bring me drinks on deck."
Next pairing: Nefartari Vivi and Wyper