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Chaos Theory

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Most people, when they find themselves in the middle of a big sticky mess, will try to explain it away by saying well, it seemed like a good idea at the time

Nami doesn’t have that luxury, because Luffy’s plans are never smart. Only a crazy person would think of setting sail for an island in the sky that no one even knows for sure exists. Only a crazy person breaks into the most unassailable places in the world on a rescue mission, or picks a fight with the entire world. Nami always knows right from the start that going along with Luffy’s “great ideas” is something no sane person would ever do. Lucky for him, his entire crew is pretty crazy too, so they’ll always follow him. Nami knows there’s no stopping him, so instead she takes it upon herself to get her captain wherever he wants to go, no matter how insane it might be.

Still, she would probably have tried to nip this time-travelling plan in the bud if she’d thought it would do any good. It’s kind of frightening to think how much havoc Luffy could possibly wreak 23 years in the past. Not to mention Sanji and Zoro. With her luck, Sanji would probably hit on someone’s mother and Zoro would pick a fight with somebody important and then Luffy would destroy an entire goddamn island and between the three of them they’d create some kind of hideous time paradox that would rewrite their entire future or something. Nami wasn’t as paranoid as Usopp – he kept whimpering about how he might kill his own grandfather and thus erase his entire existence by accidentally stepping on an ant, which was kind of ridiculous when it was only five years before he was born, but try telling him that – but with her crew, she thought her worries were pretty justified.

What she hadn’t expected, though, was that she’d have to worry about Luffy’s brother Ace. He’d seemed so nice and polite and sensible and unlike Luffy when she’d met him at Alabasta! Which probably should have set off some alarm bells, come to think of it, because he was, after all, Luffy’s brother, whether they were related by blood or not, but she’d thought he’d be an ally in keeping Luffy under control, not a source of further headaches. Luffy could have at least warned her, she thought bitterly, that Ace had a chip on his shoulder the size of Reverse Mountain about his dad. It wasn’t like they didn’t all know who Ace’s dad was after the whole Marineford debacle anyway, and you’d think it would be worth mentioning when they were going back in time to meet the guy.

Then again, this was Luffy, so normal logic didn’t apply.

“Oh yeah, Ace kind of has a thing about his dad,” he said nonchalantly as Ace snarled and launched himself at the Pirate King and a whole crew of the All Jackson reached for the weapons. “Even though it’s so cool that his dad is the Pirate King! Why would he get mad about that?”

“A thing,” Nami repeated wearily, as Roger grabbed Ace’s flaming fist bare-handed and twisted it behind his back, laughing loudly while Ace spewed invectives. No one else had moved yet, but she knew all it would take was the slightest twitch and they’d all be at the buried at the bottom of a lot of very pissed off pirates. And if anyone was going to twitch…

“Don’t even think about it,” she hissed at Zoro.

“Che’,” Zoro muttered, but she could see the tension drain out of his shoulders slightly and was mildly reassured.

The feeling did not last very long, though, because a very familiar voice behind her said, “So his father is the Pirate King, huh?” and she turned her head slowly, fearfully as Luffy opened his big stupid mouth and blurted out, “Oh hey, Rayleigh! Long time no see!” like Nami hadn’t just spent thirty minutes lecturing him about the sensitive nature of time travel.

As the words left his mouth, his brow creased in troubled thought, and she wondered if the message had sunk in after all, a little too late to do any actual good, but all he added was, “Hey, Nami, is it still long time no see if I saw him 23 years in the future?”

Rayleigh’s eyebrow lifted in scepticism. “23 years in the future?” he echoed, and Nami buried her face in her hands, because she knew Luffy too well not to know where this was going or how it was going to end.

Sure enough:

“Yup! Me and my crew came back in time to meet Roger before he died, ‘cause I’m gonna be the new Pirate King!” he said proudly.

Nami could hear Robin stifling a giggle and fought the urge to start bashing her head against the mast. She loved Robin, she did, but sometimes Robin had a terrible habit of finding things funny at the worst possible moment. She could also hear the sound of a number of palms hitting foreheads at the same time. Oh, Luffy, she thought despairingly.

She’d forgotten to factor in one thing, though: apparently idiocy was a common trait amongst aspiring Pirate Kings, because instead of barking out the orders to have them all seized and thrown overboard or something after he’d essentially just been assaulted by strangers on his own ship and had an impudent little brat spout an unbelievable story about time travel and claim to be after his throne, Roger just started laughing even harder and said, “Time travel, huh? That’s pretty awesome!”

Somehow, Nami couldn’t help but think she should have known Roger would be just like Luffy, but she still felt a little cheated that after all the time she’d spent trying futilely to drill into Luffy’s thick rubber skull that nobody would actually believe him if he told them he was from the future, Roger was accepting it just like that.

“So,” Rayleigh said meaningfully, almost meditative, “what’s that about- Ace, did you say? And his father?”

“Oh, Roger’s Ace’s dad,” Luffy said, like it was no big deal, and pointed to where Roger had Ace in a headlock. “That’s Ace over there, he’s my big brother.”

“LUFFY!” Ace howled in the long silence that followed, breaking off from his steady stream of swearing and trying to bite Roger’s hand.

“… oh yeah, I wasn’t meant to say that,” Luffy said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. “Oops!”

“Wahaha, I thought you looked pretty familiar! Those’re Rouge’s freckles, aren’t they? I’d know them anywhere! Come here, son!” Roger enthused, half-choking a struggling Ace as he tried to transition from the stranglehold into a hug against Ace’s will.

“Who wants a shitty father like you!” Ace wheezed, flailing his legs futilely. “Luffy! I SWEAR I AM GOING TO KILL YOU WHEN WE GET OUT OF THIS!”

Nami sighed. Really, Ace should have expected this; he knew Luffy better than any of them, he had to know there was no way Luffy would ever keep his big mouth shut. Just like she had, really. If she was being honest with herself, she knew Ace was probably in the same boat she was: knowing exactly how this would go wrong, but being unable to ever say no and mean it when faced by Luffy’s enthusiasm for a new adventure.

Right now, Nami had problems of her own to worry about, though, because everyone else was casting these speculative looks between Luffy and Roger, and Luffy really had to learn to think about the way words went together before sticking his feet into his mouth like that.

“You know, you can see the resemblance,” someone said thoughtfully, and Nami thought, no, we are not going there, and said loudly, “BUT YOU’VE GOT DIFFERENT PARENTS, RIGHT, LUFFY?”

“Oh yeah,” Luffy said casually, picking at his nose. “Gramps said my dad is called Dragon? But I’ve never met him.”

Rayleigh started chuckling. “Dragon, huh?” he said, like someone who knows the joke but isn’t telling, and then a guy with red hair and a really familiar-looking straw-hat said, “Dahahaha, so Vice Admiral Garp’s grandson is gonna be the Pirate King?” and Nami already had a bad, bad feeling before Luffy yelled, “SHANKS!” and launched his rubbery self across the deck.

“Luffy! Don’t!” she moaned, even though it was way too late for that now, but before she could run after him, her danger senses were tingling and she whipped around to see Brook looking hopefully in Crockus’s direction and snapped, “Don’t you dare say a word about Laboon! I don’t want the future any more messed up than it has to be!”

Brook wilted, but said, “Yes, Nami-san,” in a meek tone of voice, so she considered him appropriately cowed and turned back to Zoro, who she’d told no fighting but typically, the moment her back was turned, had gotten himself into a brawl with—

BUGGY?!” she shrieked, and then clapped her hands over her mouth. Okay, no, that was a lost cause, she was not getting involved in that… but there was Sanji, breaking the rule she’d created just for him even though he’d promised, and she really was going to throttle her entire crew if she got a chance before they all disappeared into thin air, she swore it on Bellemere’s grave.

Before she could yell at him about hitting on women in the past, though, Ace was roaring, “GET AWAY FROM MY MUM OR I’LL TURN YOU INTO FLAME-GRILL, COOK!”

…and of all the people Sanji could have chosen to hit on, he’d chosen Portgas D. Rouge. Great.

“Sanji-kun,” she groaned, knowing for all his vows of devotion she couldn’t derail him once he’d spotted another pretty lady. It would serve him right if Ace reduced him to ashes, except it looked like that was going to have to wait, because on second glance, Ace still hadn’t managed to escape from Roger’s bear-hug.

“Rouge!” Roger was yelling excitedly. “Rouge, look, it’s our son! Isn’t it great! He looks just like his dad! Wahahaha!”

“I told you, who needs a shitty dad like you!” Ace yelled back. “Whitebeard’s my only dad! I’m going to go and make him Pirate King and wipe your name from history, you bastard!”

Nami turned white. “Don’t you dare, Portgas D. Ace!” she shrieked, because she hadn’t thought they could screw up the past more than they had already but apparently she’d been wrong. Ace wasn’t listening to her, though, because he’d gotten himself into a screaming match with Roger about how Whitebeard was so much better in every possible way and Rouge was trying to mediate.

It was completely futile trying to control this chaos, she thought hopelessly, and cast another look around the ship against her better judgment. Having lost Rouge’s attention, Sanji had gotten dragged into the fight with Zoro, although it looked more like he was trying to kick in Zoro’s head than Buggy’s, and Luffy and Shanks had jumped into the thick of it as well. There was a lot of shouting, and it was hard to tell if they were fighting or just messing around; Nami decided she didn’t want to know. Brook was leading a rousing chorus of Binks’ Sake on his violin, which she could just about deal with, while Franky was running around the ship getting all overexcited and moved to tears about Tom’s craftsmanship. Robin still looked like she was having the time of her life, never mind Nami’s suffering, and Usopp had been reduced to a pile of incoherent quivering goo whimpering about how you don’t mess with the future, he’d told them about his super serious can’t-possibly-time-travel-sickness, now they were all going to die, and Chopper was looking at her with these big wobbly eyes, obviously freaked out by Usopp’s doom-saying.

“Namiiii, I don’t wanna be stuck in the past forever!” he wailed, and Nami sighed, feeling all the resistance drain out of her. There was no fighting it; her crew were a pack of lunatics, and she’d known this would happen.

“Don’t worry, Chopper, I’m sure we’ll sort something out,” she reassured him, giving him a rueful smile. “Go ahead and talk to Crockus if you really want, it’s not like the damage hasn’t already been done and he never met you, anyway.”

“Really?” Chopper squeaked, and a second later, “I… I’m not happy at all, you jerk! Who wants to talk to the ship’s doctor on the All Jackson! Eheh!”

Nami watched him disappear off into the thick of the chaos and shook her head, helpless.

“Pirate kings certainly are a handful, aren’t they?” an amused voice said, and Nami turned her head to come face to face with Ace’s mother Rouge, who had apparently decided to leave Ace and Roger to it. Nami was pretty sure no one would actually die, not for Ace’s lack of trying. “Boys will be boys, though.”

“You’re telling me,” Nami said weakly. With a moment to gather her thoughts, the gravity of the situation she was in had suddenly occurred to her. This was Gold Roger’s ship. In the past. And she was talking to his lover while her captain’s brother tried to punch the pirate king in the face. Not to mention the bit where they’d probably just irrevocably destroyed the future. She was beginning to feel a little faint.

Rouge didn’t seem at all perturbed by this state of affairs, though, and said, “So that’s my future son, then,” in a thoughtful way that made Nami kind of envy her composure at the same time as she wondered how she was supposed to respond to that.

Oh well, whatever; it wasn’t like she was going to destroy the fabric of space and time any more than the others already had. She may as well just bow to the inevitable.

“Yep,” she said, resigned, and then couldn’t help adding, “So long as we haven’t irrevocably changed the course of history, anyway. Which, if we have, will so not be my fault, for the record.”

Rouge laughed, a pleasant tinkling sound, and Nami found herself smiling back. She reminded herself of the same words she’d said to Chopper: they’d sort it out somehow. Luffy would sort it out. She’d long accepted the fact that she would follow him to the ends of the earth and beyond, because she believed in him and trusted him to get them home. Any mess he got them into, he’d always get them out again.

Either way, there was no use in worrying about it now, and having come all the way here, she may as well enjoy herself, right?

“Soooo,” she started casually, “where do you guys keep the treasure around here, anyway?”