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Cigarette Memories

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The cigarette slipped from the mouth and fell to the ground as fast as the body that slammed onto the rear of the footing.
It was still burning, the smoke was still rising and there is no half-burned trunks before finally unquenchable pool of blood. Apparently that person had just lit it, knowing that it was the last chance to inhale the nicotine before death.
Nami could not stop crying, her hands stretched out before the shock reached her body. She tried pull her body near to that person´s arms that held her tight in order to not be careless.

NO! NO! NO!

Why do you love me? Though I'm not anybody to you. Why protect me? Even when I was always rude to you and asked for more!
I'd be lying. I love you. You're irreplaceable to me. I still need you.
Please, don't leave me. I promise - I will change my bad attitude for you.

.

.

.

BELLEMERE!

.

.

.

"Miss Navigator?" Robin asked, eye in eye with Nami.

Nami found herself in her cabin room, lying in her comfortable bed. She was still in supine position with a pillow under her head that felt a little wet. She looked at Robin who sat on her bed, her hand rested on Nami's shoulder and with anxiety in her eyes.

"Are you having nightmares?"

Nami tried to sit up. She felt her face sweating with tension. Then she looked at Robin. "Ehu, I suppose," she answered simply.

"That´s unusual for you..." said Robin.

"Did I talk about something during my sleep?", asked Nami.

"You only mumbled the name Bellmere just before you opened your eyes."

Nami rubbed her forehead to concentrate. Bellmere? How come, I dream of her last moments since the long time I´ve been free from Arlong now? Nami had never experienced it again since her departure from Kokoyashi village and had rejoined Luffy. Bellmere´s death should not haunt her again. She had other much more wonderful memories of her mother. So, why did that scene appear tonight? Just the night after Going Merry fell down from Sky Island?

Robin observed Nami's expression that looked like she had dove into her memory. Robin didn't want to ask questions. She also had almost no sleep in peace ever since watching Ohara Island engulfed in the flames caused by the Buster Call. Although she knew she was not fully free from the load and the threat she still carried, but being in the midst of the Straw Hat crew´s gaiety made it very comfortable. At least, she was getting used to living with a more relaxed atmosphere in the evening without Baroque Works at her neck. Robin could tell that Nami felt like her old self. Nami might have had a bad past or at least she seemed to have lost someone named was just like Robin's nightmares when she had to part with her mother Nico Olvia.

"Wanna wake up?" Robin continued. "Incidentally, it´s morning."

Nami saw the sunlight coming into the room through the cabin window. Usually, it was Robin who always got up first and then she woke up Nami and they both woke up the guys.

"Ah, yes," said Nami getting out of bed. "Uhh, I´m a bit smelly. I guess, I will take a bath right now."

Nami then went to the bathroom. After showering and having dressed, she went back to visit the boy's cabin with Robin. Nami usually had to kick them one by one in order to wake them up if Robin's fake hands tickling was not for Luffy and Zoro who created the most noise of all. However, as Nami and Robin crossed the deck, Nami stopped abruptly. She saw some cigarette smoke emerge from her orange grove at the back of the ship.

"Bellemere?" Nami wondered.

Nami promptly left Robin. She walked the stairs up quickly. "It can't be-", she whispered, "I must have just mistaken it. But, who else could be there?" Nami remembered that Bellemere had often taken her and Nojiko around the garden and had teached them farming. Nami remembered exactly how the smoke of her cigarette had been visible rising up from behind the foliage. As Nami reached the her orange grove, she was then able to see the shadow of the person.

"Oh, Nami-san?", the man asked surprised because Nami was up this early.

"Sanji-kun?" Nami said.

"You seem a bit in a hurry. Is something wrong? Can I help you?"

"I thought ..." she said taking in a breath, "I dunno, I thought I saw a ghost."

"Hahaha," said Sanji chuckled. "You forgot that I usually get up earlier than you to prepare things for breakfast?"

"Ah, well, I guess so," Nami replied simply with a fake smile. How could I mistake Sanji for Bellmere?

Nami watched Sanji pick some oranges. "Looks like he will cook some light fruit salad for breakfast...", she thought. She almost forgot that except herself, Sanji was the only one who always tended to the garden. Actually, wasn´t the garden created by Sanji for her only? Nami then stared at the bandages which were wrapped around Sanji´s whole body. Sanji´s suffered horibble injuries and burnings because Enel had attacked him with lightning. She remembered that Sanji was hit two times. The first time was when Enel entered the Merry and suddenly appeared in front of Sanji, Ussop and her. And the second time...

What was that feeling? Her stomach cramped itself and she felt like she was about to break down. It was the same kind of intense pain when she and Ussop had passed Sanji and had left him on Enel´s ship. Ussop pulled the throttle control of her waver and she only had screamed piteously knowing of what would happen to Sanji. She had not intended to leave without him. They should run away together. She had been afraid about his life when she had heard Ussop saying that she must not waste his sacrifice. The last thing she saw was a cigarette Sanji slipped in his mouth while saying "Go away." Was it that what caused the nightmare this night? Nami remembered. This night she fell asleep after a party on Skypea, her head full only with how much gold they carried off.

"Sanji-kun," Nami began to speak and came closer to pick oranges with him. "You know, I often spoke rudly to Bellmere every time I was not given any pocket money. I often yelled at her that she is not my mother."

"Yes," said Sanji listening. "I've heard from Nojiko."

"You know, I really regret that her sacrifice proved her love to us more than anything else... She died for us although I was not her blood related child. But that didn´t matter to her. To her, we were her two little daughters. And to us, she was our one and only mother."

Sanji quietly listened to her. He took another drag of his cigarette, calmly exhaled the smoke and made sure he understoood everything Nami told him. "Why do you suddenly want to tell me?", Sanji asked surprised, after a short silence between them.

"I suddenly remembered her when I saw the smoke from your cigarette behind the orange trees."

"Oh, she smoked, too?"

"Yes, barely able to release any single stump of her mouth."

"Woman are not good to be chain smokers," said Sanji. "That could be dangerous to health when pregnant, uterus and fetus are affected, too.", Sanij stated.

"Oh yeah? I thought smoking is only harmful to the lungs. You know that with each two packs of cigarettes, you´ll lose 8 years of your life?"
"Then, you´re angry with me when I smoke?"

"If I talk about health care, maybe you just don´t want to sound like her."

"If you ask me to stop, I'll stop.", Sanji offered her.

"Stop? Never!", thought Nami. The cigarette reminded her of Bellmere. Yes, just not the day she died, but Nami will always remember each day she had spent with Bellmere. And although she was far away from Kokoyashi village where the headstone and her home were located, latterly Nami felt even closer to her. Moreover, it was because the smoke from behind the orange tree. Why did I not realize it?

Nami did not directly answer Sanji's ask. "When have you started to smoke?"

"Ever since I was 11 years old.", Sanji remembered.

"Give me a break! You are truly that kind of person, who does not love your own body, huh?" When talking about the type, Nami knew this was not only reflected in the cigarette. Sanji always ignored his own life if other people he loved, were in danger.

"Haha," Sanji replied. "I'm not going to die just because nicotine is poison."

"Yes, Bellmere didn´t die by nicotine, either.", thought Nami. There are kind of people like that. "Wait! Sanji at the age of 11 years is the tragic year as well with 8 years ago she lost Bellemere." Nami was mindstruck.

"Sanji-kun," said Nami. "If the incident happened to both of us now, are you also going to lie?"

"If I'm given the choice, I would want to prevent bad events to happen. I'll open a restaurant and manage it properly in order to double the money and make our lives abound," said Sanji and smiled softly. "But if I have only hundred thousand Berry of money for 2 people, I would say that it is for the taxes on you. Maybe we just live in the house together just a coincidence, but I will say that I have a little sister."

"Sister?"

"If I said you will be my wife, I thought you'll be angry," Sanji corrected. "Although actually, I more wanted to say that's an excuse hehehe..," he went on to lift his eyes above and began to imagine a strange contraption.

Nami then took the cigarette from his mouth and kissed him, inhaled the nicotine his mouth. Sanji melted because of that unexpected action. Without asking, actually Nami knows that Sanji will protect and love her sincere forever. As a nakama, as a big brother, or as a lover. The true feeling conveyed in Skypea. She just wanted to make sure.

Cigarettes have grown to become a sign. Nami was not sure but perhaps Bellmere had sent Sanji for her. However, she did not want to lose a loved person again by seeing the last cigarette fall down along with the body in front of her eyes. And, she did not want to regret again that she didn´t properly convey the actual contents of her heart.

 

THE END