I have risen from the dead. Again.

Okay, this one is Nami-centric (as you can tell from the summary) and while there are no couplings, there is a slight and subtle mention of Sanji x Robin (although technically the woman is unknown) so please, don't flame for it. Basically just a mindless little thing with pretty much no plot but if you like it, eh. That's cool. Contains nakama all the way up to Robin and up to the end of events at Enies Lobby, but there's pretty much no spoiler anyways.

Inspired when I was randomly daydreaming as to where Chopper would go if he had nightmares... for the purposes of the (almost non-existent) plotline, I've changed it so that he is homesick.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy.

Now, on with the story!


Luffy comes to her like a man on a mission.

"Nami," he shakes her gently then pauses and huffs. She knows without looking he is folding his arms and pouting. "I know you're awake. You're ignoring me." He accuses.

She rolls over to glare. "I'm not—" but she sees his triumphant grin and curses herself for falling for something so childish.

"What is it," she mutters as she sits up. "And before you ask, no. I refuse to help you raid the fridge."

His grin never falters as he shakes his head and hat with it. "Nope. Wrong guess." Then he takes her arm. "Common!"

"Luffy!" She hisses. "There are sensible people," she'll think about the irony of that later, "sleeping above us. Like we should be. So if you're not going back to bed, keep your obnoxious voice down." But she is already walking over to her cupboard to put a coat over her flannel pyjamas.

When she is ready, she follows his excited form out on deck and watches as he punches the air to stretch his hand up to the crow's nest. Once he grabs it, he then uses the other to hold her securely around the waist.

They land in a tangle of limbs and they laugh as they attempt to untangle themselves.

"Alright, Luffy. What's this all about?" He says nothing, but merely flops down to joins her as she leans against the cool wood.

Then: "Watch."

She frowns. The day has been long and draining and although it's lifted a weight from her chest she still wants some time alone.

"I really don't get you sometimes. Watch wha-oh." She has turned to face him when suddenly bright stars have begun to streak across his eyes in all their fiery splendour, and she realises that they are a reflection… a reflection of…

She looks up.

The night sky is now alive with the meteor shower and though the sight also reflects in her eyes, the wonder and beauty sinks in.

"H-How did you—" It comes out as an awed whisper.

"It's my turn for watch, right?" He never takes his eyes off the falling stars, but looks at her through his peripheral vision as she does with hers.

When the shower finishes, she still sits dazed up at the sky. This is not the first time she has seen one, not by a long shot, but it is the first time she has seen one while being free. Truly free.

"Th-Thankyou." Is all she can choke out.

He grins at her. No problem, it says.

"But can I ask why?" He cocks his head and looks a little confused.

"Why'd you bring me out here? It's not every night you drag a girl out of bed in the middle of the night." Her tone is light and almost teasing, but the question is serious. She hopes he will catch on.

"Because." The grin is gone, replaced by the serious look he always wears when he goes into battle. The same look he wore earlier today. "You're special."

She isn't expecting that, and it shows.

"I mean it!" He nods his head emphatically up and down, and now he looks almost comical. "You always lead us straight to One Piece, and you wash our clothes—"

"I charge you, remember?" She tries to interject because admittedly his actions were scaring her, but he doesn't seem to hear.

"—you make sure we don't spend all our money… even though we end up broke anyway…" the last part is muttered more as an afterthought to himself than her, "and you mend my hat and you keep us in line and lots and lots of other stuff."

"Luffy!" Finally, she is able to get a word in edgewise. "What's your point?"

Whatever playfulness that has been there before is definitely absent now.

He frowns at her. "I'm your Captain now." The frown becomes deeper. "Not him. I kicked his ass today, didn't I? You are my nakama. Mine. Everyone heard. So don't ever," The frown is now bordering on murderous intent, "run off again and do something stupid." His brow softens then. "That's my job."

"Luffy…" And she doesn't know what else she can add to that.

Just then, he didn't look like a boy. He looked like a Captain. A man.

"Aa, s'late." He hops up nimbly and gives a yawn and a stretch and then extends a hand towards her, and suddenly he is the same youthful Luffy she knows again. She takes his hand.

One Gomu Gomu no Pistol later and she is climbing back into bed - not minding her warm spot has gone cold long ago – and he is walking to her door to resume watch over them all.

"Luffy?" She says sleepily, watching him with heavy lids. For once, she feels the tables are turned. Like she is the younger one and he is the protective older brother.

He turns to her.

"We should do it again sometime."

The wide smile that creeps onto his face is contagious and she finds herself grinning drowsily back.

"Night… Captain."

As he softly shuts the door behind him, she doesn't see the trademark childish smile that curves his mouth turn into one of maturity and satisfaction.

oOo

Chopper comes to her as a young child does when disturbed by a bad dream.

She hasn't gone to bed yet, even though it's far into the second watch – the map of Drum lacks an eastern shore and north arrow – when he taps on her door so quietly that at first she doesn't hear. Then he taps again, and her voice rings clear as a bell in the still, silent night air.

"No, Luffy. Not tonight." But even she can tell that the annoyance and anger that make those words deadly and final are absent.

The door timidly opens a crack and she whips her head up from her map, fully prepared to throw her quill at the foolish man that has entered.

She is greeted by the sight of the reindeer boy peering out from behind the door – again, she thinks, the wrong way around – and notices how much smaller he looks in the flickering candlelight, especially without his hat.

He lifts wet eyes hesitantly to her face, and instantly she knows he sees he will get warm comfort here.

"N-Nami?" he carefully shuts the door behind him and takes a small step forward. "I-I, I keep thinking about Doctor. And Doctorine. Can I…?" He reaches up hoofed arms up in a gesture that would have pulled the brim of his hat down to shamefully cover leaking, homesick eyes, had it not been hanging on the peg next to his new hammock. He looks surprised and ever more scared and bewildered and she is beginning to think that the hat to Chopper is like a safety blanket to any young child.

But at the sound of his voice – all cotton candy and innocence and blissful naivety – she really looks at his face this time and sees the brave look set with large eyes that cannot hide his fright and uncertainty and is shocked at how much he looked like her all those years ago.

Not when she was making her deal with Arlong, no, she made sure the monster never saw how truly frightened she was - is – of him, but when she showed her first payment to Nojiko. To Gen-san. To them all. Somehow, in front of their eyes, the fright came out and, before she looked down at the thick wad of cash in her hand, the truth almost did too.

She could only babble to them about the money, because she was afraid of spilling everything if she spoke of anything else.

And so, because of that, she melts.

Though she will never admit it to them, she has gone soft, but none will dare to say it out loud because the unspoken excuse is that if it is, they will receive a debt not even finding One Piece three times over can repay in both gold and adventure. With all this processed in her mind in a flash, she comes to her decision.

The next morning, the cook glares burning cleavers at the little reindeer boy over the breakfast table.

oOo

Sanji comes to her bearing gifts.

Setting the small tray carefully on a stool next to her desk – so as to ensure no accidental spills over the tools of her trade and her almost-finished product – she is again reminded for the umpteenth time of how his overenthusiastic attention and care definitely has its benefits.

He is about to leave – silently, always silently, because it is late and they have just got back to the Blue Sea and he knows that when it is the two of them he doesn't have to pretend – when the steam from the hot chocolate curls towards her and in a split second the word falls unbidden from her mouth.

"Stay."

He freezes with a hand on the doorhandle, and she can see the muscles of his back tense under the thin dress shirt by the scrutiny of her candle's flame.

"Are," the word comes out hoarse and croaky, so he clears his throat and tries again. "Are you sure?"

Despite being surprised herself, she realises that past the poetic compliments and divine cooking abilities and insane strength… she still does not know much about him. The thought immediately makes her feel guilty – he is constantly trying so hard to please her, to make her happy, why can't she do this little thing for him?

She nods her approval.

He comes back into the room, hesitant and on-edge and for a fleeting moment she thinks of Chopper, the first time he came to seek comfort.

And so it began. He always sits leaning against her bed (never on it) and does not talk (unless she does first) until she is done with her map, in which she will join him. It happens two, three times a week and sometimes he visits twice in one night. She does not always ask him to stay, and she can tell that he is torn between desperately wanting her to and desperately wanting to run. She knows that for him it is bittersweet bliss – having her so close, having all of her undivided attention, and yet never truly owning her. Understanding her.

She also comes to realise that he – unconsciously, because he would never say these things aloud – seems to mind this part less and less as time goes on. In a small corner of her mind, she suspects it is because another woman has captured his heart.

It only becomes clearer when he always seeks to put a little bit of space between them, no matter how friendly the subject, or how when he talks of things she knows he links with his special woman his features will soften and his eyes are warmer than she can ever remember them being when laid on her.

She feels a little disappointed, but not jealous.

Never jealous.

oOo

Usopp comes to her because he doesn't realise she is there in the first place.

"N-Nami!" He is panting, eyes still wide in the aftermath of fright. "Don't do that!"

She wonders what he is doing out on deck so late (she is sure tonight she is on night-watch alone) and why his footsteps sounded so heavy and sad, so she tries to lighten the mood: "The Great Captain Usopp is scared?"

That does the job.

The long-nose is instantly on his feet, one hand on his hip and the other pointing a thumb at his chest in a dramatic 'hero' pose. She bites back a laugh – he looks ridiculous doing it in his pyjamas.

"Of course not, young girl," the voice that speaks sounds like Usopp, but the arrogance and self-confidence layered on top makes her think that Zoro has been mixed in as well, "I was merely worried if you were scared."

"Sure," she rolls her eyes but allows a smile to curve her lips, "But anyways, what brings you out here?"

She almost wishes she hadn't asked.

He drops the pose immediately – his shoulders slump and his nose points straight down. His face, however proud and cocky before, now looks withdrawn and worried and just so sad.

"You wanna share?" A frown mars her brow as she watches the instant change; she really is going soft, she thinks to herself dimly. But she also knows that she is past caring.

The sniper looks up and eyes her critically for a moment, as if weighing up his options, before giving a tired sigh and all but collapses next to her.

"I guess so. You're probably the only one who'll understand." That grabs her attention even more.

"I'm," he hesitates, as if picking his words carefully until realising there is really one way to put it, "I'm starting to doubt my place in the crew."

It is as if she doesn't have her coat on – the cold feeling that spreads is swift and instantly numbing.

"What do you mean?" She struggles to keep her voice calm, struggles not to expose the fear and panic that is worming its way under her skin.

"You saw Aokiji today!" Usopp's shoulders are tense and hunched now – he looks so frustrated she is afraid to say anything in case he snaps. "Luffy was brought down instantly, a-and I… I just stood there. I feel so useless." He gives a bitter laugh, something she has never heard or imagined escaping his mouth. "Why did he choose me in the first place? I'll probably never understand. But whatever the reason, it was a damned mistake because he could have… could have died and I couldn't do anything!" He slams a tanned fist viciously into the wooden panelling of Merry's deck and she jumps.

He has never done that before. He loves Merry.

It seems to have occurred to him as well, because he blinks and stares at the fist like he's never seen it before until realisation sinks in.

"I'm so sorry, Merry…" and the fist turns into a hand again to tenderly stroke the dent away.

She can only watch.

"But I mean it," he says softly, still stroking, stroking, stroking. He does not sound angry or frustrated now, only… tired. "I'm telling you because we don't have their monstrous strength. We rely on our wits to survive. But you…" he attempts to laugh again, but it comes out as a strangled choke, "without you, we'd be lost. We need you, Nami. But you don't need me."

"That's not true!" They are both surprised at how loud her voice is; it ricochets off the railing and mikan grove walls to bounce back mockingly in her ears.

She doesn't wait, though.

"Remember? When you fought for me at Arlong Park? You were nowhere near their strength but you fought just the same. You defeated a Merman! You bought us time we didn't have to save Luffy from drowning. You've patched up Merry and because of your work we've come this far. You defeated single figure Baroque Works agents. You defended Luffy's honour and dream. You helped take down a Priest in Sky Island. You got to me before Sanji-kun did and you stood up to Enel!" She realises she is on the verge of tears; his stunned face swims blurrily in her vision. "Don't say that. Don't say that. To lose a nakama… Usopp, we need you too. We're a team. A family. All of us."

The shock still frozen on his face indicates he isn't prepared for that, but she can see she has got to him when he gives a small smile.

"Thankyou. Nami."

She manages a watery smile. "If you dare think things like that again, I'll tax you to the White White Sea. Got it?"

"Got it." He walks away with a lighter step than when he came. As he turns the corner, she wipes her eyes and takes in a deep, calming breath before settling down again to resume watch.

It will take something huge to change his mind now, she thinks.

oOo

Robin comes to her because they share a room.

"Navigator-san, may I ask you a question?" The raven-haired woman's voice always puts her at ease. It is rich and smooth, like the coffee Sanji makes for her each morning.

She likes to think that they are as close as sisters, but deep down she also knows there is a lot the archaeologist has left unsaid. She wonders if, left untapped, all the years she has suffered (and she knows she has suffered – one look deep into those blue eyes reveal what she knows can also be found in hers) might finally catch up to her… make her lose control…

The thought always makes her shudder.

"Of course." They are both preparing for bed.

"Why did you join this crew?"

Her eyes darken as underneath her skin old wounds begin to stir and awaken. She realises there is a lot she has left unsaid as well.

"It's a long story," she laughs, consciously making her voice light. "Everyone's is, I suppose."

Robin does not speak for a while – instead, she slides long legs under the covers and reaches for a book. She realises with a jolt that her companion is still thinking about their run-in with Aokiji. Her mind jumps to Usopp…

"How much do you trust Captain-san?"

"With my mikan and gold." The answer she gives is immediate and she sees amusement sparkle in those mysterious blue eyes.

"That much? What about—"

"I trust them all the same, Robin." Up until now, she has never cut off the older woman before. Still, she couldn't help the bubble of annoyance that always rose when her loyalties are being called into question.

Never again, she tells herself. Never again.

To soothe the wound, she adds softly: "Including you."

She does not expect her to answer, and she is right.

The woman gives off an air of maturity that it seems to permeate the whole room, making her acutely aware at times that her cunning and quick wit is nothing compared to Robin's wisdom and experience. When she asks someone as inexperienced and new to the world questions that she obviously doesn't ask all the time, she can't help but feel slightly more important.

But, she thinks as she climbs into bed, everything she said is true. Mikan and gold she considers far more valuable than her own life. She will gladly give up her existence if it meant saving them, saving her nakama - if Luffy will let her, she reminds herself with a tiny grin.

And, as Robin puts away her book and they blow out their candles after exchanging good-nights and the room falls silent save for quiet breathing and the occasional rustling of blankets, she wonders what the enigma in the bed next to her would do, if she was in that situation.

She has trouble sleeping, because she already knows the answer.

oOo

Zoro comes to her because he feels like it.

She is working on yet another map when she hears a self-confident knock at her door.

"Come in."

To say she is surprised to see the swordsman enter in an understatement; he has rarely ever called in on her. But he shuts the doors and walks in like he's done so every night and been in here all his life and stands tall just inside the circle of lamplight.

"Yo."

She can't help but raise an eyebrow: "Need something?"

He ignores the question to squint at her and frown. "You look like crap."

"Thanks." She says shortly, turning back to her map.

"No, really." Obviously, he hasn't taken the hint. "Get some sleep… you look like a den den mushi."

Well, she'll keep that one in mind when she hands out pocket money tomorrow.

"What are you doing here, Zoro?" Her quill continues to scratch their adventures onto paper.

"Just wanted to know what you're doing up so late," he shrugs. "Went to piss and saw your light on. Thought I'd come see when I came back."

At least he is making an effort to be nice, she thinks. So to acknowledge his efforts, she shows her appreciation towards the swordsman in the only way she knows how: nagging and insults.

"You'd better have washed your hands before you touched my doorhandle. Idiot." But she can't help smiling anyway.

The offending hands – which are stuffed into his pockets – emerge.

"What if I haven't?" He holds them out in front of him and steps toward her.

"You're being awfully friendly." She can't help but push his buttons.

It is all that needs to be said to bring the scowl back to his face. He lets his hands drop. "Thanks. But I think it's the anaesthetic shit that's making me less…" he struggles for the right word.

"Stoic? Unemotional? Anti-social? Take your pick."

"Bitch."

"That's the Zoro we know and love." She rolls her eyes. "Wait, what are you doing?"

He has settled himself near her, leaning against her desk with closed eyes.

"Waiting 'til you're done."

"Shouldn't you stay in the medical room?" She asks, even as her eyes soften. "We just left Water 7. You still need so—"

"Woman, I'm fine," he grumbles, never opening his eyes. "If you want me to get lost, tell me so. You've never had a problem with that before."

"Neither have you," she counters.

"Details." A shrug of broad shoulders hidden by bandages. Her heart isn't in their battle of words and he knows it. "But whatever, Usopp and Robin are back, and we got Franky and a bigger tub. After all the shit we went through, finally seems worth it, eh."

That's why he's acting this way, she thinks. He's much happier about the whole business than he lets on. So, the infamous Roronoa Zoro has a heart after all… even if it is the anaesthetic or sake talking. Probably both.

She smiles, completing her map to the sound of soft snores.

The night went on.


Good? Bad? Please leave a review.

Constructive criticism is the best sort to give - I know this fic is a bit raw and still unpolished but I suppose I think it's better that way... if you disagree/agree/wish to discuss something else, please drop a line. I'd be glad to discuss!

Til next time!

-cherrichik