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Juniper took a seat as directed and nodded, "Nice to meet you all. I'm Juniper, most people call me Jun." She looked over at Nami, due to Usopp's comment and could definitely see some similarities. "You're pirates, aren't you?"
"Sure are," Luffy replied. "You can stay with us if you want."
"Luffy you can't just," Nami was about to protest.
"Doesn't sounds like a bad idea," Zoro replied, "At least until you decide what to do with your life now that you aren't part of a circus."
"I," Jun cocked her head to the side, "What?"
Robin chuckled, "You can decide on the next island."
"Thank you for the offer but," Jun sighed and fell silent.
"Jun," Chopper looked at the woman concerned, "Are you okay?"
"I've been with the circus basically my whole life. Other than walking that rope, my life has had no meaning. I'm not sure what to do now."
"Is that how you got that scar on your stomach," Usopp asked. "It was visible in your poster and we can see it now."
"Jako is not a kind man." Jun got up from her seat and went to grab her cup of tea, needing a distraction. "But no, this scar is from trying to escape before I was sold to Jako. As far as the world is concerned, I'm a slave."
"Well you aren't anymore," Luffy said point blank. "Can you fight?"
"No, but I have insane balance."
"We'll start training after lunch," Zoro smirked, "If you decide not to stay, you should at least know to protect yourself."
"Thank you for your kindness," Jun replied as she turned to face them, "I'll help you out around the ship in any way I can to repay you. Starting by doing the dishes."
Sanji heard the door open and a small voice come from behind it. He smiled softly before walking over to the door. "Everyone, this is the stowaway I mentioned."
"Wow, her hair is really close to Nami's might be hard to tell the difference from behind." Usopp chuckled.
Sanji sighed softly. "Ignore him. You've already met Robin, but the one with the long nose is Usopp, the cyborg over there is Franky, the Grump over there is Zoro, the woman with the red hair is Nami, Luffy is the one in the straw hat, and Chopper is the Reindeer." He led her over to the table. "I made some tea as promised. And I also made more breakfast. It was much appreciated but Luffy eats a lot."
"Thank you." Juniper opened the door to the bath but stopped and turned to Sanji as he walked away. She was going to say something but decided not to and instead closed the door behind her. With a heavy sigh she let the blanket fall to the floor followed by her dress before slipping into the hot water. [i Oh this is nice.] She took her time in bathing, enjoying the feeling of the hot water on her skin and just the all around chance to relax.
"They don't seem like bad people," she said to herself as she leaned back and closed her eyes.
"We aren't," Robin replied after entering the room, "You're Juniper, aren't you? The performer who fell during her act?"
Juniper's eyes snapped open before locking on Robin. "I am."
"Nico Robin," Robin greeted. "I'll leave this change of clothes here for you." She didn't give Juniper a chance to respond before leaving and returning to the kitchen to join the others.
A short while later, Juniper finished with her bath and got dressed. To her surprise, the clothing supplied to her fit. [i Normally borrowed clothes never fit properly.] She looked herself over in the mirror briefly and smiled, "But this is definitely cute." The outfit Robin had provided consisted of a white turtleneck crop top and a dark blue plaid pleated skirt that rested just below her belly button.
Once she was finished in the bathroom she headed for the kitchen and stopped just outside the door. [i They don't seem like bad people. Robin said they aren't. But, I don't know them. What if they send me back to Jako?] Deciding the swallow her fear, she entered the kitchen and froze once everyone's eyes were on her. "U-uhm, thank you for the clothes."
"Of course," Robin replied, "I'm glad they fit you."
Sanji shook his head. "No need to apologize, Miss. Come, let's get you that warm bath and a fresh set of clothes, yeah?" He carefully led her out of the storage room and looked at Robin. "She'd probably fit in your clothes better than Nami's. Would you mind if she borrowed some?"
Robin chuckled and shook her head. "Not at all. I'll go grab something for her." Robin smiled at the woman before heading off to the girl's room to grab some clothes for the new guest.
"SANJI! I'M HUNGRY!"
Sanji sighed softly before stopping in front of the bath. "This is the bath, Robin will bring you a change of clothes if you want to get settled in there. I'll start making the tea, you found the kitchen before. That's where we'll all be if you'd like to join us afterwards." He gently took her hand and kissed the top of it before heading towards the kitchen. "Don't be afraid Miss. I promise, we're here to help."
"I've slept in worse places." At the offer of a change of clothes Juniper was up in an instant. "Could I shower first? And tea sounds great. But considering the circumstances, chamomile might be best."
"I was wondering what was taking you so long Sanji." Robin enter the storage room and saw him talking to their mysterious guest. "You must be the stowaway."
"Sorry," Juniper pulled the blanket around her again, "After I woke from the fall I got on the nearest ship and hid."
Sanji frowned when he saw how frightened the woman was. [i What the hell else did that asshole do to her...] He knelt down so he was eye level with her and smiled softly. "Hey, it's alright miss. I just came to find you so I could thank you for breakfast. Although, the storage room isn't really the best place you could be sleeping. It's pretty cramped in here with all the supplies we have." He stood back up and offered out his hand to her. "Come on. It's been a few days since your fall. I'm sure you want to get out of those clothes and into something a bit more comfortable. Would you like some tea? I'm sure the others would like to meet you as well."
Juniper tensed when she heard movement in the room. When she heard someone address her she sighed and looked at him. It was obvious in her posture that are was scared, but she put on a brave face. "Please don't send me back. I'll leave at the next island, I promise! Just don't send me back there."
She didn't know why she we begging, it probably wouldn't change anything. At least working for Juko she had a place to live and didn't have to scour for food. But, in return for such a place, she underwent a good amount of abuse to put on performances for him as well. As she thought about the possibility of going back, she drew further into the blanket.
Sanji chuckled. "It wouldn't be the first time someone snuck onto the ship." He glanced at Robin who chuckled softly.
"At any rate, Usopp is right. It wouldn't hurt to look around."
Sanji nodded. "I need to bring up more ingredients to restock the kitchen, I'll check around while I grab what I need." Sanji headed out of the kitchen and to the storage room. He shuffled around finding what he needed then decided to look around a bit more. That's when something red caught his eye. "Nami? What are you doing in here?"
But when he looked closer his eyes widened. "You..." He smiled softly. "So you're our mystery chef and stowaway."
"It wasn't us. Nami is still sound asleep and I myself just woke up." Robin frowned a bit before taking a small bite of the already made meal. "It doesn't taste familiar either. We've all tried each others cooking at least once but this isn't any of ours."
"Huh," Usopp was next to enter the kitchen, "Sanji, did you forget to cook extra?"
"No," Robin replied, "This was already here."
"So who made it?"
"We don't know."
"Well," Usopp scratched his nose a little, "Maybe there is someone else on the ship? I've been hearing movement off and on at night. It wouldn't hurt to look around."
Sanji shook his head. "That batch wasn't mine. It was made before I was awake." He turned and looked back at Robin. "I was kind of hoping you or Nami got hungry or something and made a snack because there's not even enough to feed Luffy."
Robin was next to wake up and headed into the kitchen as Sanji was cooking. She was a bit surprised to see some food already made but it was strange since he usually made it all in one batch. "Good morning," she poured herself a cup of coffee and eyed the already made food. "Not questioning your skill as a chef, but did you intentionally decide to make two batches of food?"
Juniper huddled herself back in her little corner in the cargo hold, wrapped in the blanket she had found. [i I should look at getting a change of cloths soon. And hopefully a bath.] She didn't want to alert the crew to her presence by using more of what they had than she needed. A shower and missing clothes would definitely raise suspicion.
Sanji straightened his tie as he headed for the kitchen to begin making breakfast. As he started getting the ingredients out the smell of food caught his nose. "What on...?" He turned around and saw a plate covered. When he lifted the cover he saw a premade breakfast and raised his eyebrow. "Well... this is enough to maybe feed half of Luffy... I guess I can make more of this for breakfast... But how did they get made?"
"Sanji's right," Luffy nodded in agreement.
The following morning, Juniper made sure to wake up while it was still relatively dark out, knowing that no one else on the ship would be awake. She was careful as she left the cargo hold and headed for the kitchen. [i Would it be weird to make them breakfast even if they don't know I'm here?] After weighing the pros and cons of doing so, she shrugged and decided to do it anyway.
Once she was done, she quickly ate her portion and cleaned up. "Its not much but I hope they like it." She covered the rest of the meal so it would stay warm, then quietly made her way back to the cargo hold. Just before the door closed she could hear movement down the hall. [i Perfect timing.]
Sanji sighed softly. "We should remain positive. Until we hear otherwise. I think brooding over it won't solve anything." The performer never left his thoughts. He was constantly wondering if she made it out alive and was finally free or if she was at the bottom of the ocean becoming fish food. [i Should I have dove in and tried to find her... I don't even know where she fell but thinking on it now I can't help but think, maybe there was something I could have done...]
"No one deserves that," Robin corrected as she flipped a page in her book. She reached over and grabbed her drink, then took a sip before placing it back down. "He said she'd been there for ten years but she doesn't look much older than Nami. My guess is she arrived when she was just a child."
"But he said she was brave too," Usopp said as he turned his head just slightly. He was fishing next to Chopper and Luffy, but it seemed the crew was still concerned about the missing woman.
"When it comes to surviving," Zoro crossed his arms, "You don't have a choice to be anything but brave. She either got away or the fall killed her."
"Way to sour the mood Zoro," Nami scolded.
"They didn't find a body," Luffy pointed out, "So I bet she's still alive."
"Or a sea king at her," Zoro added.
Juniper looked out the window from the door that led to the main deck. From there she counted seven people plus a pet. [i If they're all out there I can't sneak into the kitchen for food. Guess I'll have to wait until it gets dark.] She'd been hiding there for days but it didn't appear that they knew she was there. [i If they know I'm here they haven't said anything.]
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