A crew that had once been well known was swept under the rug once the Straw Hat Pirates became infamous. Feeling this defeat of being forgotten the crew heads back to the East Blue to come up with a tactic on how to regain the notoriety. While stopped at an island to resupply, they overhear a few villagers talking about one of the Straw Hats and how they had come from that village. Upon further digging they find out that the owner of the Tangerine Grove on the island is related to Nami of the Straw Hats.
Soon they devise a plan on how to become infamous again. That plan? Kidnap Nami's sister Nojiko, the owner of the Tangerine Grove, and use her to draw the Straw Hats out. Initially they planned to ransom Nojiko, then they chose to ransom her and challenge them. Once they kidnap her they return to the Grand Line and make their way towards the last known location of the Straw Hat Pirates.
However, the ship's begins to question his captain's motives. Soon he begin to notice that his captain has become exceedingly arrogant and power hungry. His concern for Nojiko's safety becomes apparent when he offers to help her in getting away. But the night they had chosen to escape there is a storm and Nojiko gets thrown overboard, the captain laughing and saying to let her meet her fate at the bottom of the ocean.
dives in after her, thinking a watery grave is too cruel for an innocent life. The storm passes soon after and the two wash up on shore of what appears to be a deserted island. Now they need to find a way to survive until someone stumbles across the island and hopefully, saves them. After several weeks, they soon realize that the island is not deserted, rather, the inhabitants have taken to living underground for safety reasons and only come above ground if they absolutely have to.
Sanji sat with Nojiko for a bit until all of her tears had run dry. "Sanji... what do I do? How can I be on a ship with him... Even if he hates me... I don't know how to stop loving him... His smile, his laugh, his expressions when he's embarrassed... I love it all... How do I let go..."
Nojiko was looking out the window lost in thought. She was remembering all that they had been through.
The crew had watched Nojiko rush to the crows nest with Sanji got in her heals. "Way to go Zoro," Usopp muttered, "You probably just made things worse."
"Its better she finds out now than later. Nothing good ever comes from keeping secrets." Zoro crossed his arms and looked at the sky, "Besides, maybe it will provide them both with some closure."
"Are you out of your mind," Nami growled, "She could go back to hiding in her room again."
"Then that is her choice."
Nojiko rushed off without saying a word.
Sanji gritted his teeth as he set down Chopper's food on the table. "I'll go after her." He spoke softly before rushing out of the room. He looked all around the ship but the one place he finally found her was up in the crows nest. He heard feint sniffs and sighed softly. [i This poor woman...] "Noj..."
Nojiko looked up for a brief moment before hiding her face. "I'm fine Sanji."
"That doesn't look fine to me. What's going through your mind?"
"What are you my doctor now?" She retorted only to look down at the floor. "I just don't understand... what I did wrong..." She rubbed her eyes.
Sanji sighed as he sat beside her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders. "You didn't do anything wrong."
"Then why does he hate me?"
Sanji wanted to explain to her but he didn't even know the full story and if he said something that wasn't true it may make things worse. "I doubt he hates you and maybe he has his reasons."
Nanashi heard Nojiko's voice shortly after he felt a plate being placed on his lap. "Your shouldn't be here Nojiko." He still couldn't see as he was recovering from the street he underwent a few days ago, so he was confined to the infirmary.
"You can't be in here," Chopper said quickly, "Any stress could hinder his recovery."
Nojiko heard Zoro's voice and looked over to see Luffy and him standing by the railing and Sanji was walking over with two plates. "Sanji now caters to men too? How long have I been holed up in my room." She chuckled softly.
Nami was a bit confused but then noticed what she was talking about and her eyes widened. [i Crap she doesn't know Nanashi is on the ship."
Nojiko watched as Sanji looked like he was heading towards the infirmary. She was confused because he still had both plates. She looked around the deck and noticed everyone was present except for Chopper. [i Why does he have two plates...] She wiggled out of the hug then started to follow Sanji.
"N-Noj! Hey! If you're hungry there's food in the kitchen Sanji made breakfast not that long ago."
For once Nojiko ignored Nami and went with her gut. She followed Sanji and when the door opened she saw him lying on the bed with bandages over his eye. "N-Nanashi..." Her eyes widened as she gasped and put her hands over her mouth. She couldn't take her eyes off him.
"Let Nami tell her," Luffy replied as he shook his head.
"She'll find out when she notices Chopper's absence and eyebrows bringing food below deck," Zoro pointed out. At that moment he saw Sanji leaving the kitchen with two plates of food, "Speak of the devil." An idea popped in his head and he grinned, "Oi, eyebrows," he watched the cook freeze and slowly turn.
"What do you want mosshead," Sanji growled, "I'm busy. If this dish gets cold I'm going to kick your ass."
A few days had passed and they had left the island. Nojiko had no clue that Nanashi was even on the ship yet considering he was still recovering from the surgery that she also didn't know about.
But for the first time in a few days Nojiko stepped outside of her room. When she went to the top deck it went silent. "Jeez, sorry guys I'll go back to my room." She gave a small smile.
Nami smiled brightly and ran over to her sister wrapping her in a hug. "You finally came out of your room!"
Robin chuckled softly walking over and placing a hand on her shoulder. "Welcome back."
Zoro looked at Luffy and sighed softly. "When do you think we should tell her that Red is on the ship?"
"So it wasn't Nanashi," Robin said as she looked at Franky, "So what do we do now? Nojiko is still upset and Nanashi is in surgery."
"We wait to see if he pulls through," Zoro said as he say when afternoon the railing. "When he recovers enough to talk about what he did what he did, we'll go from there."
"Zoro's right." Luffy crossed his arms, "We can't do anything until we know the full story."
Nami was sitting with Nojiko who had now at this point cried herself out. She just sat with a neutral expression with puffy eyes looking at the floor. Nami tried to talk to her and get some sort of response but there was nothing. [i I knew she would take it hard but I didn't realize how hard it was going to hit her.]
"He didn't have a choice," Chopper said as he changed forms and picked Nanashi up, "If he starts here he won't stand a chance." The crew walked in silence as they began making they're way back to the ship. Once there Chopper rushed to the infirmary with Nanashi and began the surgery while the others searched the ship.
Usopp filled Franky and Robin in in what was going on and Nami went to be with Nojiko. Robin searched the library, Ssnji the kitchen, Luffy checked above deck with Zoro checking all places below, and Franky checking the outside. While under water he noticed something stuck just under the loading dock.
After pulling it off and searching for any more he resurfaced as joined the crew on Deck. "It's a tracker," he pointed out, "That's how they knew where we were."
Luffy nodded. "Right now he needs his eye checked out. Nanashi, are you coming back to the ship?"
Nami at this point was still furious. Zoro sighed and picked her up swinging her over his shoulder. "I'll bring her back to the sunny."
"Put me down Zoro!"
"No, tell me which way to the sunny. Yelling at him won't fix anything. Right now, Nojiko needs you. You yelling at Nanashi won't make her feel better."
Nami went silent before sighing. "South." She pointed in the direction of the sunny. But didn't say another word.
"I can't protect her," Nanashi hissed at Nami, causing Chopper to pull back. "Not when I can't see."
"Nami," Chopper spoke, "He is right. Unless his eyes get immediate medical attention he could lose one if not both. What good would he be too Nojiko then?"
"I had to make her leave before she saw the damage." He let Chopper start working again, "There was something in the gas."
"So you're just going to give up," Nami spat, "You risked everything to get her back last time. Why is now any different?" She still had yet to accept the damage to Nanashi's eyes, still blinded by rage.
"Nami," Sanji cut in, "Stop. Let's just get back to the Sunny. We can question him more after Chopper fixes him up."
"She said something about always knowing the location of Sunny, didn't see," Usopp asked.
"We should look her over when we get back too. Make sure there isn't a tracker anywhere."
Zoro's eye twitched. "Damn Celestial dragons..."
Nami clenched her fists. "And when they find her again? Nanashi, you of all people should know when money is involved, people don't just give up. They'll keep hunting her down. I hate to say this... But you are the best at protecting her. Because the people who come after her you knew. But if this is what you think is best then so be it. But just know... that if you're doing this. She may never forgive you."
"You really wouldn't," Nanashi replied, "But I'll explain the best I can. After their first attempt to take Nojiko I started tracking them." He drew this knew up a bit and rested his arm on it while still covering his eye. "Most of the time I knew where they were but on the last island I lost them."
"That doesn't explain any of this," Nami batrked.
"Once they get there hands on Nojiko they aren't turning her over to the Marines. They were offered a higher price by one of the Celestial Dragons."
Chopper noticed a bit of blood dripping from Nanashi'a hand and went over to him, "What happened to your eye?"
"So, I figured giving her a chance to get away, far away, that's leave her alone." He removed his hand so Chopper could take a look at the damage. "Even if it cuts me from the picture."
When Chopper saw the damage he gasped and quickly took out his medical supplies. [I I need to test this fast or he is going to lose that eye.]
Zoro folded his arms over his chest. "So what are you going to do now? You said that this was something we wouldn't understand. But I think in a way we deserve to know what the hell is going on."
The crew nodded and Nami was standing beside Luffy who had his hand on her shoulder to calm her down a bit.
Nojiko was so mentally exhausted that she cried herself to sleep in Robin's arms. Robin walked out of the room and saw Franky. She sighed softly before walking up beside him. "Something doesn't feel right about all this. There's no way that was an act. He did everything for her... I just can't believe that it was all fake."
Franky smiled softly. "Then let's give him the benefit of the doubt. He may have his reasons for doing what he's doing but until he shows convincing evidence that it wasn't real. Then let's assume he's doing what he's doing to protect her."
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