This fic follows up after my 2013 fic, "The Wind of Change" but It can be read as a Stand Alone,

Also, very important, this fic is different from the Spanish version, which is a new version! I decided not to directly translate it, its a complete rewrite with an original story,

You only need to know that Luffy is the Pirate King, 23 yrs old and just discovered feeling for Nami a short time ago,

This fic belongs to the same universe as my other fics, but as always you can read them as stand-alone too, it's just that I like to use the same "universe" and continuity so to speak, and the current order of reading, if you are inclined to read in order, it would be like

1. The Wind of Change
2. Check Mate
3. Crown Jewels
4. As if Sent from the Sky
5. Growing up with the Strawhats

...


Check Mate
Chapter 1- Sailing to Ipanuma

A month had gone by since they met the Wind Pirates, and thanks to that fateful encounter, Nami and Luffy had discovered new and intriguing feelings for each other…

They had grown and matured, and their relationship dynamic had changed from the days he used to drive her crazy, making her worry about their safety as he pushed them on insane new adventures.. .

She had gone through it all and had come out stronger, having won impossible battles against hopeless odds, nowadays there was little Nami feared on the seas, such was the freedom of being the Pirate King's navigator.

This newfound security led her to her character easing, instead of getting angry at his antics, she accepted them without opposition, and when he wanted to do something crazy she mostly went along with it.

These days, it was rare the occasion she would hit him, and they no longer bickered about their destination or the possible dangers they would face, instead, she would offer him her opinion, and he would listen to her intently, trusting her on important matters because she no longer acted out of fear of the unknown.

This had led him to enjoy her company even more, and while yes, she was still stingy, fiery and sometimes (kind of violent) those things only made her unique to him.

On her part, she appreciated the smalls changes on him too, but it wasn't as if she had a conscious list of those changes, they occurred over the years as they grew, and before she knew it, he was a man, still brash, impulsive and a little stupid, but also with the strength to back up his over the top attitude.

Being the Pirate King and feeling free, had also eased up his personality, he seemed to enjoy life so much more, even if they didn't get into trouble every day, or they didn't get to fight a war against an emperor every other week… nowadays he was just enjoying life as they sailed the world. Taking his time to explore a new island, meeting new people and appreciating even the most simplest legs of their journey.

So it was in the middle of this growth and change that a newcomer had stumbled into their lives, wooing Nami with genuine charm, the woman just playing along as she basked on the company and attention of a smart and attractive young man.

As a woman she had felt a little curious (she blamed Robin's romance novels) at the prospect of a brief romance, she never intended to take it seriously, the thought of leaving her crew for some random man didn't even cross her mind, no matter how thrilling and adventurous it had felt doing things like having dates… or being kissed …

But for Luffy thought… who had never ever considered Nami could be interested in some guy… the sole idea of losing her started to confuse his emotions, thinking about her with another man suddenly was inconceivable and wrong! And it made his blood boil. She was his navigator! Why would she want to be with that stupid guy?

He was a little slow, and it took some time until he realized what was really happening, he FINALLY realized he had fallen in love with her … and she? She had loved him all along… only now she allowed herself to admit it….

And while the crew's dynamic remained mostly the same, the only noticeable change seemed to be that the captain and navigator now spent more alone time together, just sharing simple moments, holding hands… kissing or hugging each other, just getting used to their newfound dynamic.

Sailing across the warm South Blue they were heading to a new faraway island deep south, it was rumored to have big festivals and colorful parades and Luffy, naturally couldn't wait to visit it.

That night, the ship was anchored and everyone had retired to rest… Nami had watch duty that night and before climbing to the crow's nest decided to check the port railing, smiling when she saw the moon reflecting on the peaceful sea below.

She was wearing a long low-cut pink blouse that reached to her tights secured with a belt on her waist, sandals, and of course, a lot of expensive jewelry, reflecting her status as a rich pirate.

Luffy, having been kicked out the kitchen for the last time that day, decided to go sleep when on his way to the men's quarters noticed Nami leaning on the railing as she glanced at the ocean, hair swaying on the wind, a peaceful aura about her demeanor, her eyes seemed to be searching at something high up in the sky, and he got curious.

He was dressed as he did normally on these days, a white unbuttoned shirt showing his strong chest, secured by a golden sash wrapped around his waist and black short pants.

"Hey Nami" he said standing next to her

"Oh Luffy… still awake?" she said glancing over her shoulder

"I was trying to get a snack before going to sleep but Sanji kicked me out the kitchen…."

Nami, without taking her eyes off from the vast open ocean, just smiled at his antics.

"Aren't you gonna go sleep Nami?"

"I have watch duty, captain" she answered, teasing. He of course, never bothered to check schedules or actually care about any of that bureaucratic part of being captain… she was the one to handle all that…

The navigator was used to it and didn't mind..

Suddenly Nami's face brightened when the only cloud in the sky that night decided to fade away and reveal the stars that had been concealed behind it.

"Look Luffy! It's the Rigel star! We are finally so far down south that we are able to see it!" she called pointing at it.

It was the brightest star Luffy had ever seen, it seemed to blink at them

"Woahh" he said, face lighting up,

"Is that what you were looking for Nami?"

"Yeah! I read about it in a book, and have always wanted to see it. It's actually part of a bigger star constellation, called the warrior's belt, see?" she said pointing

Luffy cocked his head to the side… but he couldn't see it, he only saw the bright star Nami had pointed and countless of others all around it.

"Woah…a warrior's belt? Where is it Nami?! I want to see it!"

She took his hand and guided his index finger to a spot in the sky..

"There, the three stars lining up and then look! that's the warrior's belt… and that other line of stars? That's his sword"

"Ahh I can see it Nami!" he said smiling and turning to her, a look of wonder in his face.

"Woah you know a lot about stars Nami"

She smiled, voice full of confidence as she said
"Of course I do silly, I'm a navigator, we have to know that stuff"

He smiled and held her gaze, moonlight reflected on her features making her glow ….

He grinned and patted her roughly on the shoulder, "You are amazing Nami!" he said complimenting her….

Instead of getting annoyed or hitting him, she caught his hand and pulled at it, cupping her cheek with his rough warm palm, "Don't be a brute and praise me properly" she demanded, lips pursing in chagrin. He grinned at her

"Sorry sorry" he said leaning down to her … and pecking her quickly on her lips

"Like that?" he said parting and smiling

"No" she said feigning annoyance, "Try again"

Amused, he did… and so their lips met… soft and chaste, but warm and tingling as they innocently explored each other… soft lip brushes that made her smile when he parted.

He held her gaze, always amazed to glimpse this side of her. "That was more like it," she teased, and he felt oddly pleased of making her smile with his kiss.

But after a moment, Luffy being Luffy, asked, "Nami if you know a lot about stars, then, do you know where the star of meat is?"

She laughed, "What is that Luffy? hahahah"

"Don't laugh!" he said pouting…. "Ace told me once when I was little that it is a legendary star and if you follow it, it could lead you to the island of meat" he declared, all serious and frowning.

She cocked her head to the side, How could she tell him without insulting his brother's memories or hurting his feelings? That was kinda cruel of Ace, she thought, but she couldn't, just couldn't bring herself to shatter his dream as he glanced at her with hopeful eyes...

"Well I don't know Luffy, but it doesn't mean it doesn't exist, I think we will know if we see it someday" she offered with a smile.

Pleased with her answer he took her hand, "Here Nami, let's look for it!" he said as he pulled her to the middle of the grass deck and made her sit next to him looking up at the sky as he did so…

Nami just went along, pointing at the stars as she described the constellations she knew…

Soon, they were laying down on their backs over the grass while they gazed at the sky in search of the star of meat… the strawhat hat rested next to them.

They talked about the stars, about the next island… the weather, the moon and suddenly Nami shivered as a cool gust of wind swapped through the Sunny… he pulled her close to his frame, and she leaned over his chest… feeling his warmness and the hardness of his strong frame... feeling so secure and happy…

As he pointed at another set of stars, telling her they looked like Usopp's nose, she climbed over his chest and stole a quick kiss from his lips, stopping him mid-sentence.

Parting, she grinned at him, eyes twinkling with mischief.

"What was that for?" he asked with a smile.

"Because" she answered, poking her tongue out playfully at him

"Because what?"

"I'm a thief that steals from pirates" she answered winking at him

"Ah… but now that I know you won't be stealing anymore from me"

"Of course I am," she said teasingly leaning over him again trying to steal another kiss, but he moved his face as soon as her lips came closer… they started to laugh as she tried again and again…

"No fair you are using haki!" she complained when her lips smooched air.

"Hahahaha"

She got annoyed and climbed on top of him, hands on his shoulders pinning him down and stranding him as she tried to secure him below her and actually steal another kiss… and to her surprise... he didn't resist… his hands suddenly resting on the small of her back.

Her lips found his and this time she was the one to lead, humming softly when her tongue caressed his… he was eager to respond, but frowned when she suddenly pulled back...

Her eyes were full of mischief as she held his gaze.

"See? I told you I was going to steal another kiss out of you"

"It wasn't stolen If I wanted it" he answered grinning at her ….

"Cheeky" she whispered… lips just inches apart… and she was suddenly very aware of his body below her, how warm and strong his chest felt against hers… his arms circling her frame… her hips stranding him…

Feeling warm and bothered about it she blushed and leaned back when she realized she was laying on top of him, on the middle of the grass deck no less…. Nami started to move away and he stopped her, his hands circling her small waist….securing her in place.

Feeling her like that… her soft body on top of him, her nice smell.. her kisses… her soft hair brushing his face and chest as it fell like a halo around her…. he was enjoying that immensely and didn't want it to stop.

"Nami?"

"Eh uh… I'm on watch duty, remember?" she said as she pulled away quickly and sat next to him...

Of course he wouldn't be aware of how inappropriate it was for them to be like that, or at least Nami had that exact thought, because for all that big facade of sexy vixen she put, she was a shy girl when it came to actual intimacy with a man...

He looked pretty disappointed then… but couldn't pinpoint the feeling to any idea in particular so his only reply was..

"Well… you can still watch from here, right? And I can keep you company while I look for the meat star" he said, returning to his old cheerful demeanor as he leaned back on the grass again, eyes fixed on the starred sky as he glanced up-

Nami sighed with a content smile, loving him to bits… too shy to say it out loud at that very moment.


….

Robin had the second turn of watch duty that night… stepping on deck she noticed the pair fast asleep, Luffy sprawled on his back snoring loudly, Nami curled next to him like a kitten, his left arm draped around her..

The archeologist smiled, they made a cute couple and she knew they made each other happy, she couldn't be more delighted for them.


A couple of days later, close to their destination Nami's brows furrowed as she studied a local map she had seized on a previous island, it was very inaccurate but would serve to set them in the general direction of the Island they were looking for,

That's why she was surprised when she noticed an island that wasn't charted on that map at all…

"LAND HO!" Zoro announced from the main speaker… as Nami glanced at the parchment and then at the faint outline of a small island.

"Woah is that the party island already Nami?" Luffy asked excitedly running to the railing

"No, this island doesn't appear on this map… I guess this is a commercial map made for trade routes… maybe there's nothing relevant on that island"

Luffy frowned, his face fell full of disappointment and Nami hurried to comment, "I mean, maybe there isn't a city, but I still need to chart the island and It can still have something worth exploring!. Especially if the maps around here are so inaccurate!"

"Yeah! Nami set the course!" he said

Soon, they were mooring close to the island, the surrounding turquoise tropical water was so shallow they had to get to shore with the Mini-merry in two groups…

Glancing around, Nami who was wearing an aqua bikini top with white shorts announced

"It's actually an islet, and I bet when there are storms it gets flooded, that's why nobody wants to live here" she commented as Usopp, Luffy and the others started to make a camp on the white sand on that beautiful beach.

Beyond the shore, palm trees and a lot of dense vegetation could be found however no mountains or high points could be glimpsed beyond them. The crew had explored dozens of places like that, they usually camped, made some barbecues and took a day off before resuming their journey.

The guys were dressed in colorful bermudas with their chest bare, while the girls wore their bikini tops with shorts on Nami and a long flowy skirt on Robin.

They relaxed, Luffy was playing ball with Usopp, Chopper and Zoro while Sanji roasted food on a grill while the girls sat on their reclining chairs below a big umbrella. Franky drank a bottle of Cola while Brook played his guitar.

After eating and taking a nap, Nami took her backpack and glanced at the island

Luffy caught immediately, "Hey Nami lets go explore!" he offered.

Usopp and Chopper were going to jump in when Robin's arms held them from behind, and a whisper, probably coming from Robin's mouth somewhere, told them

"Guys, allow them some alone time"

Luffy and Nami were already taking a path inside the jungle when the captain stopped and glanced behind him

"You guys not coming?"

"Ehh… I got that I can't enter the jungle sickness!" Usopp hurried to say, he hadn't used an excuse like that in years!

Chopper nodded and started to poke him with a stethoscope "I have to check him up Luffy!"

"Eh… alright!" he said, he didn't know what they were playing at but whatever, he was eager to get going and explore a little..

"Here" Sanji said, tossing a backpack to Luffy, "I packed some lunch, have fun" he said, grinning. Luffy smiled back at him-

"Thanks Sanji!"

The couple explored and advanced making way through dense vegetation but sadly they didn't' find much of anything, a lot of plants, mosquitoes and humidity, by the time they reached the middle of the jungle they were tired and sick of it,

Nami made annotations while Luffy hummed something while swinging a random stick he found… while they walked, he ate the lunchbox that he had on his backpack and finally parting enormous green leaves… they found a beautiful blue pond of freshwater with a small cascade behind it…

"Ohh how beautiful!" Nami gasped as she glanced around her… she reached the border and took off her sandals daring to dip a toe in the water…

"Ohh it's nice!" she took her shorts off, revealing her bikini bottoms and jumped, diving gracefully into the clear blue water….

She emerged a moment later "Ahh it's so fresh!"

Luffy, feeling uncomfortable with the island's humidity, even being bare-chested was feeling hot and sticky, he sat on the border of the pond and dipped his legs inside…

"Ahh I wish I could jump in…" he said pouting.

Nami dove again… swimming gracefully as she explored below the surface… colorful fishes danced around her while she tried to find a spot that was shallow for Luffy…

She emerged a moment later and offered him a bright smile as she told him, "Here Luffy over here! this side of the pond isn't that deep!"

He circled the pond and found the spot, daring to step in until the water reached his tights….

"How much further can you go in?" she asked as she floated a couple of meters further into the water.

"Not much," he answered, taking another step, he held, as it reached his hips… and while he felt a little bit weakened, the water washing away the day's heat felt great… he dared to take another step, but the devil fruit curse took hold of him making him stumble and sink in a second.

Nami dived immediately and pulled him up, his arms around her shoulders as he coughed weakly. His feet made contact with the bottom of the pond but he didn't have any strength to actually stand up, leaning entirely on her….

"Are you alright?" She asked, her arms circled his chest below his arms, keeping him up, noticing how wide and… packed his torso was.

"Yeah, thanks Nami"

Her eyes widened when his lips found hers… it was so sudden she didn't have time to react and she just let herself be assaulted by his kiss. Eager, his tongue explored her mouth, bolder than days before, his head coked to the side as he tried to caress her tongue with his…

She moaned in his mouth as he pressed harder on her frame…his arms wrapping around her shoulders as she supported him above the water… Nami stumbled and yelped when the little stones on the pond's bed started to move below her feet and she lost her balance…

They splashed in the water and emerged a moment later, laughing as Nami helped him to shore…

They sat there trying to catch their breath for a moment… Luffy sprawled on his back as she leaned on him, still laughing and gasping for air….

But suddenly Nami felt a change of pressure and glanced up at the sky

"We should go back Luffy, it's getting late and I think there's a big storm coming, soon this island won't be safe anymore"

"Ok"

He nodded and hurried to pick up his backpack… next to it… he noticed a big, lonely beautiful flower growing between some rocks... It was a big pink hibiscus that had a white striped pattern on the petals…

He thought it looked cool and picked it up while Nami put on her short and sandals and walked to him

"Luffy?"

He turned to her with a big smile on his face.

"Look what I found Nami… a mystery flower"

"Why is it mysterious?" she asked with a soft smile… Nami was beyond those years of questioning his logic, amusing herself with his antics instead,

"Cuz it's the only flower I've seen on this island Nami, is unique, like you" he said, tucking it over her ear on her wet hair….

Her eyes glistened with feelings, he said the most beautiful thing ever and probably didn't even realize.. She leaped into him wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him fully…

His eyes widened at her eagerness… now she took charge demanding while humming for more… her fingertips traced his scalp, sharp nails caressing his hair and provoking all sorts of new feelings in him.

At first, he froze but after a second his arms wrapped around her frame, holding her tightly against him, right hand around her shoulders, fingers burying on her hair, while his left arm wrapped her waist with his hand resting on her firm abdomen.

The kiss turned needy as their tongues wrestled for dominance…wet and sloppy at first, as if fighting for leverage until he won as his tongue lapped on hers making a way to her lower lip, making her moan low and her knees grow weak…

This emboldened him… each sound she made seemed to guide him in the right direction and leaving her lips he chose instead to follow a path to her neck, kissing her there as her eyes widened and her back arched…her lips wet and swollen as her breath grew heavy.

Wet tickle like sensations started to travel down her neck and spread all over her body as a sense of dizziness fogged her brain, making her feel like she needed him to touch and kiss her all over.

He wasn't thinking... just doing whatever felt good at the time as he felt her small frame against his, her nice tangerine smell and her sweet taste while he half kissed and half licked a spot on her neck. She moaned and arched into him, and that fueled those new feelings coursing through his body..

He felt he could lick her all over, taste her all over, and never be satisfied, her fingers on his back, her gasps, her soft body pressed against him…..

She gasped and her knees got weak when he left her neck and returned to her mouth, her eyes widening for a moment at the eagerness of his mouth.

In return, she jumped into his arms, legs wrapping around his waist, arms circling his shoulders as their mouths continued to assault each other and his hands cupped her bottom supporting her frame…. Her core accidentally ground against him and an involuntary moan escaped her lips as he too, felt a strange jolt of pleasure at the action….

And then… just when Luffy was about to explore those new, exciting feelings….

A loud thunder rumbled and shook the entire island as everything went white for a second when lightning cruised through the sky…

Tropical rain started to pour on them….

Luffy let go of her as she yelped, "KYA LUFFY WE HAVE TO GO BACK! ITS GOING TO GET DANGEROUS!"

"LETS GO!" he shouted

They took their backpacks and they both ran through the jungle… Nami fell back on speed and he took her hand, helping her make way to the ship as quickly as possible, the day got even darker and by the time they made it out, the beach was empty and the crew was already over at the Sunny, the lights of the ship reflecting on the turbulent sea below.

Usopp waved at them from the distance

Nami complained, "They took the mini merry away!"

"We don't need it Nami"

Luffy laughed as an arm surrounded her frame and he stretched the other towards his ship, rocketing them both as he held her against his chest…she yelped a little at the action holding him with her eyes closed as they flew… the woman was surprised when he lowered her gently on the grass deck.

"Guys! We were worried!" Usopp said, he was wearing a yellow raincoat to protect him from the rain

Zoro grunted, "I wasn't" as he passed by them, totally drenched and not caring one bit about it.

"Ehh Sanji is dinner ready yet? I'M SO HUNGRY!" and there he went, probably not thinking much about what they did earlier… she stood there standing on deck like a wet cat while rain poured on her, her brain fogged as the sensations she had felt still coursed through her frame.

After a moment, Nami sighed and feeling drenched she decided to go get a change of clothes, stepping inside the women's quarters her eyes found Robin's, the woman sat on the sofa in the corner, reading a book.

"Had fun?" she asked, eyes fixed on the page.

"Well, the island was pretty boring but…"

Finding herself reflected on the vanity mirror, Nami stopped and blushed slightly when she noticed herself… drenched and hair plastered on her face… the flower still tucked over her ear

"But?" Robin asked with a small smile

"Well, we had fun" Nami answered as she walked to her closet in search of a change of clothes...

"The pink hibiscus is a flower that symbolizes love," the brunette told her with a smile.

Nami blushed furiously, "As if Luffy would know that" she snapped without turning to her nakama, eyes on the clothes.

"He doesn't but now I know he gave it to you" the woman teased.

Nami blushed even further

"Fu fu fu"

"Robin!"

"Sorry sorry… dinner is probably ready… let's go eat…" the woman offered

Nami couldn't stop thinking about what happened on that islet… tossing and turning that night… missing him and yearning for his company and touch… she blushed, suddenly realizing she was ready for their relationship to go a step further… but.. was he?

Chaste kisses, stolen kisses, and sweet moments gazing at the stars,
such was their quiet uneventful trip to the island of Ipanuma…
They couldn't possibly know things were going to take a turn soon.
One thing was for certain, they, would never forget, what happened in Ipanuma


To be continued..

Well, an intro chapter but I'm very proud of the LuNa moments, I hope you enjoy as this fic will drastically change its tone the next chapter
Please review and let me know if you like it!
It makes me write faster :D