The Thousand Sunny docked on an island, an aged sun-bleached sign reading 'Sunken Rief Piers' over an old but well kept harbor.
“This is it! Knightstone island!” Nami said with an excited squeal as Franky steered them in. She gripped the cyborg’s arm and shook him with her excitement, her smile wide on her face.
Franky laughed as he signaled for Zoro and Usopp to tie up the sails, and waved for Brook and Chopper to let down the anchor.
“You’re so excited Nami-sis!” Franky crowed pushing his sunglasses to the top of his head.
“The eternal post we stole along with that map…” Nami jumped up and down in place a huge grin on her face, “The best score of my lifetime! One of the nine famous Navigators, Yuna Attaka came from here! Died here! Her books, notes, treasure maps are all HERE!!”
“Ah Nami-Swan I love to see your smiling face, so full of joy and passion!” Sanji droned as he exited the galley with a tray of drinks. He spun in a circle handing one to Robin who sat casually in a chair, a book in hand. She smiled, lifting her glass in appreciation when it was in her hand, but didn't look up from her page.
“Shishishishi… Nami is so excited!” Luffy laughed flipping off of the Lion’s head and tangling himself against Brook.
The skeleton cackled as he was knocked somersaulting away, making a perfect 45 degree angle against the foremast. “Yohohohoho! Look, Look! 45 degrees!!”
Nami rolled her eyes as howling laughter echoed around the ship and gratefully accepted a drink from Sanji.
“Yes, yes I’m excited! Yuna’s research will be invaluable on the Grand Line, not to mention her treasure maps!!” Nami squealed, beli symbols flashing in her eyes.
“We should get supplies before we go looking for Miss Attaka’s maps and books. If we have to steal the items it would be better to be well supplied first,” Robin called out casually, a smile hidden inside her cool voice. She marked her spot in her book, and closed it, before truly smiling over at the navigator.
Nami nodded, relenting easily. She was just excited to be here. Knowing their string of luck with islands it was better to get the things they needed now, rather than be desperate for them when they were inevitably chased off the island.
“Oi! Usopp! What do you think you’re doing!?” Zoro’s voice carried over the din as he peered over the side of the ship.
Usopp had dropped a rope and swung down towards the dock, a huge grin on his face. Looking up at his friends he waved, his huge smile stretching wider on his face as he tilted his head back up, “Hey I need supplies too, and I’m not getting stuck on the ship like last time! See ya!” He laughed as he took off for the beach, Luffy’s laughter echoing after him followed by Zoro’s rumble of complaints.
“Me too!!” Luffy called trying to put a leg over the side of the railing.
Nami caught Luffy’s ear and pulled, “Oh no! Not yet! We’re distributing out chores and you’re not going to dash off after Usopp! Trust me, he’s going to pay a hefty fee for shirking his duties like that!” She cackled, throwing back her head as Luffy stared at her dubiously.
“Scary,” Chopper, Brook, and Franky muttered at the same time.
On shore Usopp ran until his feet hit cobblestone. Panting as he slowed into a walk, he grinned to himself, pleased with his successful escape. Usopp-dash never failed! Oh, Nami would yell at him later, and probably fine him a hefty fee, but there was money in his pocket now, and weeks at sea had left him itching to stretch his legs.
Strolling through town, Usopp could see several things that would interest a great number of his friends. Dress shops, book stores, herbal shops, a unique looking restaurant… this island looked to be a lot of fun! He slowed as he spotted an open lot with a few people laughing as they took turns trying to shoot down a row of bottles sitting on a line of barrels. They appeared to be trying to launch marbles from rubber bands, which was better than them dangerously shooting off guns in this small little shopping center. But...
They were all terrible shots.
Their marks flew wide or even fizzled out before they could take off. One of the two men in the small group shot himself in his eye, the other two members of the little group howling with infectious laughter at the sight.
Usopp tried to walk away… but he hesitated too long and sighed as they failed again. What could be the harm if he went over?
Jogging over to the small group, Usopp swallowed his nervousness and called, “Hey! W-What you all doin’?”
Three heads swiveled to look at him. A woman with short straight red hair cut in a sharp angular bob, a tall thin man with curly brown hair that concealed one of his eyes, and a muscular towering figure with short shorn hair. They looked… really strong, much stronger up close than from further away, and maybe he’d be a little more scared if he wasn’t feeling a bit of deja vu.
They reminded him a lot of his friends. Like a jumbled up mixture. The woman could be Nami and Robin all rolled into one. She had the shape of Robin's sharp eyes and Nami's stunning beauty. The well-dressed brunette looked a lot like Sanji, especially with his hairstyle. And the confidant stance of the muscular man with well-worn hands from hard days of training gave off a very 'Zoro-esque,' feel.
The woman smiled, friendly and warm, “Just waiting for our Father and Sister to be done shopping. Having a little fun… Is that a slingshot?”
She gestured to Usopp’s bag and pointed out his Kuro Kabuto.
He pulled it free and twirled it in his hand, “It’s a little better than that… but yeah!”
“Ah, so you want to beat us at our game?” the slender brown-haired man said. He smiled and Usopp smiled back. Really he looked too much like Sanji to feel uneasy.
The larger man with the shorn hair waved Usopp over, “Hey! Don’t be scared kid! Knock these bottles over for us! We’re lousy shots!” He laughed loudly at his own comment, the other two, presumably his siblings, joining in.
All unease fell away, and eager to show off, Usopp stepped forward. Sizing up the line of four bottles, Usopp grinned realizing he had a perfect opportunity for a trick shot. Pulling four marbles from a bag, each one tucked between his digits he loaded up his Kuro Kabuto and lined up the shot.
“Now come on long-nose, you can’t hit them all at once!” The larger one guffawed.
“Maybe you can’t, but I, Captain Usopp have honed my skills on Sniper island, and there… they call me King!” Usopp boasted letting loose the marbles at his last word. All four bottles smashed in a spectacle of glittering shards, brief flashes of rainbows shining as the shattered pieces spun under the light of the sun.
They tinkled musically as they clattered to the ground, Usopp smiling as the three figures stood in stunned silence behind him.
“Whoa! That was amazing! You were amazing!” the curly haired man shouted grabbing Usopp by the shoulders and shaking him.
The large muscular man was smiling, and looking at Usopp and then to the shattered bottles. He repeated this process over and over before he put his hands near his head and shot them upwards as he made an explosive sound with his mouth.
The woman was saying, “Father has to meet him! Captain Usopp was it? Please meet our Dad, he’s just around the corner he would be amazed at your talents!”
Usopp laughed, blushing under the praise. He felt his stomach flip with delight at the attention, and tucked a hand behind his head, “Oh well… I mean… yeah, I could…”
The large man with the shorn hair stuck out his hand towards Usopp, “I’m Rio, oldest of the ‘O Family.' Glad to meet such a skilled fella!”
The woman took Usopp’s hand, placed it in Rio’s and then she placed her hand on top, “I’m Shilo, oldest daughter of the ‘O Family.'”
The curly haired brunette slapped his hand on top of hers, “And I’m Leo, I’ve got the class the rest of these two lacks! The best of them all out of the ‘O Family,' and don't let them say otherwise!”
Usopp laughed at the strange swarm of hands, and let the group shake his hand in such an odd way, “Nice to meet you all… so the Oh family? Ohhh?”
Shilo smiled, “It’s what father has always called us. All his children’s names end with the letter ‘O,’ so we’re the ‘O Family.'"
“Is there a lot of you?” Usopp asked a small ache in his chest. It must have been nice growing up with siblings and surrounded by brothers and sisters who could keep you company. He squashed the memories of loneliness down deep in his belly. He had people around him now, his Nakama. And they were even better than siblings.
“Boyo, you wouldn’t believe how many of this there are…” An older gravely voice said from their left.
The group dropped their hands and turned towards an older man. He was tall, almost as tall as Franky, and oddly pear-shaped. He wore a nice suit, had a cane tucked on his arm, and wore white gloves, which he was currently removing and tucking into his chest pocket. Bushy brows and a bushy beard obscured his mouth and eyes, but he gave off this aura of friendliness that made Usopp smile.
A girl with long golden brown hair stood at his side, she was probably fourteen or so. Maybe she could have been a little younger, but it was hard to tell. She looked at Usopp with interest and smiled shyly before ducking slightly behind the taller older man.
“Mio! Father! Did you see his shot?” Rio asked placing his hands on Usopp’s shoulder and gently pushing the sniper forward.
“That I did, that I did!” the man said stroking his beard. He held out his grocery bag and Shilo stepped forward to take it. Placing his cane in his palm he strode over to Usopp and pat the marksman’s shoulder gently, “Boyo… that was some shooting! You have an amazing talent!”
“Not to brag but I’ve felled many a warrior with my shots! Why, I stood upon a tower, hundred and hundreds away from my enemies and I hit every single one of them while not hitting the Princess I was saving! Even when they shot that tower down I didn’t miss a single shot, still shooting as I fell! Luckily, my 8,000 men caught me—and thank goodness! It would have been very painful to fall from those heights!” Usopp bragged in a long-winded breath.
The elderly man threw back his head and laughed, “And a storyteller too! My! What a wonderful young lad… oh but forgive me. My name is Zero Otto, head of the ‘O Family.’ You have really impressed me young man!”
Usopp grinned and jumped as both the man’s hands clamped on his shoulders. They were uncomfortably warm against his skin.
“Son! I’ve got a favor to ask...” Zero said, still smiling and bending down towards Usopp so that perhaps they could meet eye to eye.
Usopp, nervous that he’d accidentally signed himself up for another wild adventure he would want no part of, swallowed hard, and tried to search for the man’s eyes underneath those large brows, “U-Um… su-sure maybe! Wh-what do you need?”
“Boyo,” Zero said seriously, his eyebrows lifting high on to his forehead until red gleaming eyes met Usopp’s, “I would like you to become my son and join my happy little family. Come! Join the ‘O Family,’ lend me your strength and make us… unstoppable.”
The man’s voice had taken on a deeply unsettling tone, and as his voice dropped into a whisper he leaned forward and pressed a kiss to Usopp’s forehead.
Usopp dropped Kuro Kabuto from his numb fingertips, his weapon falling soundlessly in the sand.
It was evening and Luffy, Chopper, and Brook had their heads resting on the rail of the Thousand Sunny. They looked miserable as they waited for Usopp to return.
Everyone else was back on the ship, and all their chores were done. Food bought, supplies bought, The Sunny checked for damage… it was all done but Usopp had still not returned. The evening sky was already orange, and even Nami thought it would be odd if Usopp showed up any later.
"Nammmiiii it's getting late," Luffy whined, his eyes huge and looking out longingly at the beach. Nami had said they couldn’t go exploring (which Luffy desperately wanted to do) until Usopp got back. Luffy felt ready to explode with his impatience and curiosity.
“Where is he?” Nami angrily growled, drumming her fingers against the side of her arm, “Why is he taking so long?!”
Sanji set down a tray of snacks, frowning out over the shore, “He better get here soon! That shit will have to deal with me if he misses dinner!”
Zoro pushed himself up from his place at the foremast, “Well… let’s just go into town and go get him.”
Luffy perked up immediately, “Yeah! Let’s go, let’s go!”
“Wait!” Nami snapped, “Not all of you…”
Luffy turned an imploring pleading face at Nami, and she sighed, unable to push down the wave of affection that bubbled into her chest at the sight. Rubbing her temple she relented, “Okay… okay. Luffy, Zoro, Sanji… can you go look for Usopp? The rest of us should stay here. If that idiot gets back here before you-”
“I can send up a flare! Ow!” Franky shouted striking a pose.
“I’m sure Usopp has just found something fun to do and lost track of time,” Brook chuckled reasonably.
“That’s no excuse to keep us all waiting!” Nami snapped. Her hand going to her hip, she lifted her chin, “He’s got his coming to him and he’ll face his punishment like a man! And then we’re going to find all of Yuna Attaka’s knowledge and treasure and he’ll carry it all back!”
“Nami-Swan is so beautiful when angry!” Sanji swooned, even as Zoro and Luffy jumped down from the ship without him.
“Sanji! Seriously… keep an eye on those two idiots! Don’t let them cause trouble!” Nami pleaded, turning large eyes on Sanji. She fluttered them imploringly knowing this would ensure he did his best.
Sanji swooned, falling backward off the Sunny, before landing gracefully like a cat on the sand. Blowing a kiss to Nami he promised, “Nami-baby I’ll keep these idiots under control! And I’ll drag Long-nose back here by the nose so you can rightfully punish him.”
“Would you get a move on already Ero-cook?” Zoro growled.
“Shishishi… the sooner we find Usopp the sooner we can have meat!” Luffy cried, punching both his fists into the air. Then with an outraged gasp, “What if he’s already found meat and is eating without us?!”
“If he’s eating something that means he’ll miss my dinner, he’s dead!” Sanji growled, jogging to catch up with Luffy who was charging ahead, now fueled by the thought his friend was enjoying a truly delicious meal without him!
Zoro made no comment and picked up his pace to keep up with the other two, his face set in a resigned passive look.
“I do hope Long-nose is okay,” Robin said when Zoro, Sanji, and Luffy were out of earshot.
“You think he’s in trouble!?” Chopper gasped, that thought never even crossing his mind.
“No, this island has a very safe history… but you never know. Even little accidents can happen,” Robin said tucking a strand of black hair behind her ear as the wind picked up.
Nami cursed looking up, “A storm is coming…”
“Well…” Chopper released the railing and dropped gently onto the deck, “I’m going to prepare some cold medicine, warm towels… and a few bandages just in case!”
“Good idea Chopper-bro!” Franky called, “It can’t ever hurt to be prepared!”
Nami frowned up at the clear sky and sighed. It was calm for now, but the winds were stirring, the pressure of the air dropping and the sea was churning. Something was brewing, something big. A storm would be here soon, and she hoped her boys wouldn’t be caught out in it.
“Oh, this town looks so fun!” Luffy cried out for the third time. He had only been allowed to go to the general store to retrieve rope, and various tools with Franky. But the town looked like so much fun, and he was ready for Usopp to get back already so they could explore! What was the food like in that restaurant? What was under that huge rock just over there near that crooked building?
There was so much to do and Luffy needed all his Nakama around before he began!
“Seems quiet. Doesn’t look like you could get into much trouble here,” Zoro said as he observed the quiet little shopping district, “It’s calm.”
“Not many people,” Sanji agreed, “There weren’t many earlier in the day either…”
“There’s someone!” Luffy pointed out an older man that was sitting outside a slightly damaged building.
Luffy rushed over, forcing Sanji and Zoro to give chase and follow after their Captain. When they caught up Luffy was already describing Usopp, in ways that wouldn’t help a stranger know who he was talking about. “He’s got a great laugh, and sometimes he cries and screams a lot. And he tells stories! And he can fly! He hasn’t shown me yet, but he’s gotta get a special wind or something like that? He’s also a sniper and can make these Whooooaaa plants-”
The man who was dark skinned, short, and had black scruff growing around his chin, leaned forward in his chair, his previously disinterested face suddenly becoming animated. “Wait there little fella,” the man said holding up a hand, “This friend of yours… he’s a sniper?"
“Yeah!” Luffy chirped smiling big.
“Damn good one too,” Sanji added in proudly, Zoro grunting in agreement.
The man’s jaw rippled and his hand came up to cover his mouth. He shook his head and muttered, “…The ‘O Family,’ maybe they… no, no, no, but perhaps…”
“What are you mutterin’ about?” Zoro asked leaning forward.
Luffy’s eyes were already wandering, and he did a double-take as he suddenly spotted a familiar mane of curly black hair.
“Oi there he is!” Luffy grinned pointing out Usopp just further up the street.
“Ah! Finally!” Sanji sighed, turning with Luffy to jog towards their missing crew member.
“Wait! Wait! If he’s… he’s with them it’s too late!” The man shouted, jumping from his chair trying to wave back the three Straw Hats who had taken off.
Zoro was the only one who paused and took in the man’s distressed face. Something itched the back of his neck and tightened a knot in his stomach. Something was wrong, he knew this feeling. But his Captain was already charging ahead... no need to hesitate now.
Not one to usually ask for an explanation, Zoro charged ahead following after his Captain. It was better to go find out for himself than listen to someone try and explain it.
Luffy was shouting Usopp’s name, but Usopp wasn’t responding.
Usopp was waiting outside a shop, a smaller girl chatting with him. The girl had a bag of groceries in her arms, and Usopp was holding a fairly large wooden box. It seemed the girl had noticed Luffy and made a strange confused face at him as Luffy raced towards them, but went back to chatting with Usopp ignoring the rubber man's shouts.
Usopp was laughing when Luffy hooked a rubbery arm around Usopp’s throat and tugged the tanned youth to him in a hug.
“Oi Usopp! Where have you been? Nami’s really mad!” Luffy laughed.
Usopp was struggling to right himself and hold the box in his hands. Sanji carefully extracted it, setting it on the ground, before giving the startled looking girl a polite greeting, “Don’t mind our Captain, he’s excitable. My dear, was Usopp helping you with your purchases?”
Zoro smacked Usopp against the back of his head, “You’ve kept us waiting too long. It’s time to go.”
“W-Would you let me go!?” Usopp gasped still struggling to get out of Luffy’s grasp.
Luffy laughed loudly, loosening his grip when a foot collided with his face and sent him skidding back.
“Luffy!” Sanji shouted, dashing back towards his Captain to stand between Luffy’s attacker and the knocked down rubber man.
Zoro’s hands found his swords, and he steadied himself, ready for a fight.
A man with brown curly hair over one side of his face lowered his leg. He had an intense looking expression, and one green eye leered out at Sanji and Luffy. Another man appeared, walking out of the store Usopp and the girl had been standing by. His muscled form tensed as he checked on the young girl first, placing a large hand on her slim shoulder. They exchanged quiet words, and then the muscular man reached down for Usopp who had fallen to the ground.
His hand grasped Usopp’s wrist before Zoro had Wado pointed at the man’s face.
“Let him go,” Zoro warned.
“Lower your blade,” a woman’s voice was in his ear before something swiped across his face and neck burning him intensely.
Zoro had no choice but to pull away from the muscled man to wipe whatever substance was on him off his flesh. Wiping his hand against his clothes, he bit back a hiss of pain as whatever was on his skin still burned him. He searched for what had hurt him and saw a red-headed woman standing with her fists raised. They dripped with a slightly green substance, the ground hissing as the drops landed.
Luffy got up, dusting himself off, an unamused expression on his normally carefree face.
“HEY!” He shouted, “What was that for!?”
“Who do you think you are bullying my little brother?” the brunette demanded, his upper lip curling with distaste.
The muscular man had helped Usopp into a sitting position, who smiled with relief up at him. Usopp then looked out at Zoro, Luffy, and Sanji, not a hint of recognition passing his eyes. His dark eyes swept over Zoro, Sanji, and Luffy taking them each in as if he was trying to place them. He could only frown at the three, tilting his head in some sort of confusion.
“E-Easy Leo! I… I think there’s been a mistake!” Usopp said, squeaking as the shorn haired man hauled him to his feet in one easy swoop.
“I’ll say,” the large man growled, “These strangers think they could mess with the ‘O Family!’ Mess with our little ones? Huh!?”
Usopp hooked an arm around the other man’s bicep and sputtered, “R-R-Rio! Calm down! Really! Shilo, you too!” Usopp pointed a finger at the red-headed woman who didn’t look away from Zoro but relaxed her stance. The youngest girl walked forward and slipped her arms around Usopp’s waist, staring uncertainly from around his side.
“I think this is a case of mistaken identity, they’ve been calling me Usopp since they grabbed me!” Usopp reasoned, and then smiled kindly at Zoro, Sanji, and Luffy.
The three were so stunned at Usopp’s reaction, that they could only stare open mouthed at their sniper.
“I’m sorry, I’m not your friend Usopp… my name’s Boyo,” Usopp explained, seeming a little sheepish if not embarrassed over all this confusion, “I’m the youngest son of the ‘O Family!’ Do I look a lot like someone you know? Can we help you guys out?"
The wind stirred fast, the palms of the island bending violently at the storm that was going to break any minute over the island and its inhabitants.