A Zephyrus wind blew across the Thousand Sunny and through the door of the Library where Nami was sitting at her desk. The wind played gently with her hair, rustling the papers on her desk and the causing the curtains to flap from their place by the windows.
Nami frowned down at the financial book in front of her. Her brown eyes, usually a lit with excitement were more on the turbid side, coloured by her worry of the numbers on the page. Clicking her tongue, she flipped back to the first page of the month and began to recalculate the numbers; there was no way that this was right. Her frowned deepened however when she realised that her initial calculations had indeed been correct.
It just did not make any sense, she had just checked their money last week and they had had over 10 million beri. She went down to the cellar right after breakfast to check and knew something had gone wrong when she saw that most of their money was gone, the numbers on the page informed her that they should still have around 3200 million beri left.
Nami placed her head in her hands and groaned, whatever had happened- and when she finds out what exactly happened and who is responsible, the idiot was in huge trouble- is irrelevant now as the money is gone. What is important is that the crew was once again broke. Pulling up her head she glanced wearily at the pile of lists to her right, the lists from her crew members stating how much money they would need for their next trip, and what the money would be used for.
She pulled the lists towards her and began to number the items on the lists in order of priority. Most of the items on Sanji and Chopper's lists stayed- their items being for the betterment of the entire crew. Usopp's request for gunpowder would have to be denied for now, as well as the oil for Zoro's swords and Luffy's Meat Money. Franky will not be able to buy cola this time around, and those books for research that Robin had hoped to buy would also have to wait until more money came in, the same would have to happen to the repairs Brooke wants on his violin. Nami sighed and looked wistfully at her own list, no money for the things she needed either. Well, this sucked.
"Eh, Nami, have you heard a word I said!?" Usopp stood behind her, his body was hidden by the shadows brought forth by the lack of the light in the Library- when had it become so dark?
She glared up at him and Usopp's bemused expression had turned frightened and he squeaked,not like a girl, Nami!, as he would later claim, when he noticed her cantankerous state. "I-I... dinner is ready?" he offered meekly. Usopp sighed and swallowed when she looked back down at the financial book. He studied her for a few moments, her rigid appearance causing concern to bloom on his face. "Hey, what's wrong with you?" He asked, pushing a lock of hair from his eyes as he bent down to study her better.
Sighing, Nami sat back in her chair and pushed her hair behind her shoulders, "we're broke again."
By Usopp's expression it was obvious that that had not been what he was expecting to hear, but also he was not shocked in hearing it. They tended to become broke quite often after all. He let out a small laugh, "what else is new?"
"We had over 10 million beri last week, and this week we have about fifty thousand left. The financial book shows that we should still have at least 3.2 million beri after all the repairs we made, but we don't." She looked up at him, watching his expression change from bewildered to annoyed, and then to thoughtful. When he held out his hand she handed him the financial book. He flipped open to the start of the month as he turned his body to lean against the top of her desk, bottom lip worried between his teeth as he read the figures, recalculating them in his mind to see if she had made any mistakes. She had not, Nami rarely ever does.
Nami leaned her head down on the desk, the predicamentgiving her a major headache. "This doesn't make sense, unless Luffy ate the money. Which to be honest, I wouldn't put past him." She carded her fingers through her hair, "we haven't any money."
That was not entirely true; they had a bit of money. Enough for some food and medical supplies at least, Usopp mused to himself, but not much else. He shook his head and threw the book beside him on the desk. He sighed and gripped the table's edge in his hands, knuckles turning white. "Well first things first, we need to tell everyone that there will be no allowances this time around. Necessities will go to food, water, medical supplies. The rest will wait until we get more money. No exceptions... but I think the issue will be convincing Luffy of that."
"If we tell him we can get money by working..." Nami trailed off at Usopp's weary look, "what?" She asked defensively.
"We can't work, we all have bounties! The only other option for us is to waylay in some alcove in the middle of the ocean and wait for some pirate or marine ship to come along."
"I didn't mean we actually work, just tell him that!" Usopp shook his head at her and she nodded, rubbing her forehead. There was verity in Usopp's silent statement; Luffy was never going to attack someone if they did not attack first, it was not who he was, who they were. And if he ever found out they lied about working and took the money from someone... it was better to not think about.
There was a sudden brilliant light from Usopp's direction that nearly blinded Nami, but it was gone almost as quickly as it had come. She rubbed her eyes before looking at Usopp's chest; it was then that she noticed the chain around this neck. He was currently playing with it; his fingers spinning the men's wedding ring attached the chain. It had not been the ring that caught the light, but the protective charm that lay beside it, one that is normally found in the West Blue.
She cocked her head to the side, trying to remember when she first had asked him about the necklace. It was perhaps three weeks after their entrance into the Grand Line. She had inquired about why she never saw it before and he explained to her that he only wore it the week of his mother's birth and the week of her death as a way of respect. Otherwise he kept it locked in his locker for fear of breaking or losing it.
While the chain itself was not so valuable, the pieces on the chain were. The ring along would probably bring in almost a hundred thousand beri, but she would never ask him to sell it. Nami sighed and rested her cheek in her palm, she could not very well steal it from him either- the necklace as a whole was probably worth more to Usopp than anything.
The rapt attention Usopp's fingers paid to the ring surprised her, as she was not used to seeing him touch it at all. When he wore the necklace it was usually tucked inside his shirt, which was another thing. He normally wore a shirt when he worse the chain, most likely as a precaution against theft and breakage.
She was broken out of her reverie at Usopp's sudden movement when he stood, his hand deftly tucking the necklace back into his shirt. There was a smile on his face that she could not quite place, a sad but hopeful one, before he looked at her with a raised eyebrow, "we'll figure something out. C'mon its dinner time, Sanji is probably going to have my head for making you late."
She stared at him suspiciously, his sudden change in demeanor warning her that something was wrong, but she would let it go, for now. Standing, Nami closed her financial book and placed it in her top drawer before allowing Usopp to usher her out of the room. It was going to be a long evening, she just knew it.
And it had been, a long evening that is. The evening dragging into an even longer morning as they hit the port of the next island. The normal ebullience that Luffy and the others usually exhibited was tapered by the lack of financials, but it had not been enough to bring them down completely. After all, there was still exploring to be done.
Usopp had been the first to leave the ship, with a smile on his face and an almost empty money bag in his pocket. He explained that there was an important errand he needed to run and that he would be back by lunchtime. No one thought anything of it, used to being alone for so long sometimes Usopp needed time to himself.
He was not back at lunchtime, but most of the crew still was not worried. Sanji was annoyed of course, but they knew nothing would happen to Usopp. So when he showed up mid-day with a large grin on his face and almost a million beri in hand, they were more bemused than anything else. It was obvious to anyone that was actually bothering to listen that the story he was telling, something having to do with a fortuitous finding in a cave, was completely fallacious. But the money he had with him made up for it so those that knew it was a lie let it slide.
In semblance, he looked fine and had Nami not known him as well as she did, she would have believed him to be so. The fact remained however, that she did know him and it was obvious that everything was in fact, not all right. The brilliance that lit up Usopp's dark playful eyes was gone; in its place was a dull glossy look. It was apparent that he had been crying, and for quite a while before showing up at the ship. Despite knowing this, Nami knew that Usopp's pertinacious nature meant that he would not reveal his pain. Not willingly at any rate.
It was only after Luffy, Chopper, Brooke and Franky's jovial cheering, and Sanji and Zoro's gentle baiting- they must have noticed something off as well, that Usopp's bad mood seemed to have suddenly been obliterated. An abashed smile on his face, a touch of light returning to his eyes. Still, as Nami dutifully broke up the money, giving them each a bit of allowance, she looked him over. There was something missing, but for the life of her Nami could not place her finger on what it was.
Money in hand, the crew began to leave the ship. Robin had stayed behind, willing to wait for Nami, but she waved her off, telling her that she wanted some time to herself before dinner. After grabbing her financial book from her desk, she locked herself in her and Robin's room. There was a splash from outside, and Nami tilted her head to the side to hear Franky and Usopp's conversation. The anchor was jettisoned, the ship parked in a proper place now that the decision to stay was finalized.
The door to the boys' cabin opened and shut before silence fell across the Thousand Sunny. Nami lay back on her bed, eyes closed as she thought back to the haunted look in Usopp's eyes. A frown played with the edges of her lips, Usopp was a very kind-hearted person so it was possible that he somehow felt guilty for taking the money from the cave. Nami snorted and shook her head. Even she was starting to believe his crazy tales, but no... Something was off.
Something shone through the window of her room, causing her to freeze. Memory of a slightly similar gleam appeared in her mind. "He didn't," she growled as she jumped up from her bed and ran from the room. She rushed to the boys' cabin and opening the door so hard that it slammed into the wall. Her hair flew behind her as she stormed into the room, fury colouring her face. "Usopp, you idiot!" She screeched, stopping short a foot from his bunk.
Usopp, who had been napping, fell out of his bunk and onto the wooden floor. He winced, head spinning from Nami's sudden appearance and violent outburst. "W-what'd I do?" He squeaked, trying to remember what he could have possibly done to invoke her anger as he pushed himself off the floor.
"You know exactly what you did!" She accused, hands clenched tightly at her sides. "How could you sell the only thing you have that connects you to both of your parents‽"
Usopp's sigh was weary as he sat down heavily on his bed, elbows resting on his knees, his head leaning down towards the floor so that his curls covered his face. "I had no choice- not once I saw Sanji struggling come up with ways to cut corners so that we could buy enough to eat. Our survival is more important to me than the link to my parents will ever be. I-I still have the memories and I know they'd never forgive me if I could do something to help my crew and I didn't."
Nami's eyes filled with tears, but before Usopp could react in an attempt to comfort her, her hand came out and slapped him hard in the face. Cheek burning he stared at her, watching as she turned her back on him and stormed out of the room. Nami only stopped at the door to send him a pained look, "we would have been fine, you idiot." she whispered before allowing the door to close behind her leaving him in the dark room along.
Usopp winced as burning tears ran down heavily across his cheeks, stinging the cheek she slapped. He closed his eyes tightly, willing the tears to stop falling. "I did the right thing... I know I did."
"Luffy!" Luffy blinked and turned at the sound of Nami's strained voice, his attention drawn from the men he was speaking to.
His eyes darkened at her appearance and walked to meet her. When he reached her he held out a hand to grab her shoulder, causing her to bring her face up to look him in the eye."Nami, what's the matter? You aren't still upset about the money, are you? Usopp fixed it!"
"It's Usopp that I am upset with!" Nami snapped vehemently, causing Luffy to inwardly roll his eyes. The two of them fought almost as much as Sanji and Zoro, this was nothing new.
He froze, feeling Nami's anger grow; maybe he hadn't rolled his eyes in his mind after all. In an attempt to calm her he decided to play at confusion. He cocked his head to the side and frowned, "what'd Usopp do that was so bad? He got us the money we needed, you shouldn't be too angry at him."
Nami groaned and ran her fingers through her hair, "it isn't the fact that he got money for us that I have an issue with. Its how he got the money that I have an issue with." She explained, arms crossing in front of her chest.
"He got it from a cave," Luffy said innocently, knowing as well as Nami did that the story had been a lie. "Usopp said so himself."
Nami raised an eyebrow at him, "don't play stupid. You know as well as I do that the story he told us was another one of his lies. He really got the money by selling that necklace he has been wearing."
"You mean that one with the weird charm and Yasopp's wedding ring?" Luffy asked, perhaps a bit too loudly as he caught the attention of the men behind him. He shook his head, "you're wrong. Usopp would never sell that, it means too much to him."
Nami rubbed her forehead, "he admitted it to me, Luffy. You can ask him yourself. He said that our survival was more important to him than a connection to his parents. The necklace isn't on him and is in the shop window down the street." She paused for a moment, a contemplative look on her face, "he needs to teach me how he got so much money, because I doubt I would have been able to haggle that much money from a pawn shoppe."
Sighing, Luffy looked behind himself to see the men studying him closely, he threw them a small smile before looking back at Nami and shrugging, "we'll just have to go buy it back then." He said after a while, as simply as if he had asked for ketchup with his fries.
Nami rolled her eyes, "if we had that kind of money we wouldn't be in this predicament to begin with, you idiot. The ring is a wedding ring which is hard to come by in these parts; this means he could easily get almost two million beri for it, the same with the charm. He said he never saw anything like it before, which means he could probably even sell it for more than 3 million. Add in the chain and we are looking at about five and a half million beri."
Luffy shook his hat off his head and rubbed his eye, "we aren't leaving here until we do." Luffy said firmly after a bit.
Nami smiled a bit, "I knew you were going to say that. I have a plan to steal it-" she began but was interrupted by Luffy's firm 'no'.
Luffy shook his head, "we steal from other pirates or marines, not innocent people."
"These are extenuating circumstances. Can't you make the exception just this once, for Usopp?" Appealing to higher authorities, yep, she was officially a criminal. Perhaps she should play a bit with the denial of a victim. Nami rolled her eyes; she needed to stop reading those random psychology books in the library. It is actually making her think out what she was doing and giving her a conscious.
Luffy gave her an unimpressed look and shook his head, "no." His tone indicated that that was the end of the conversation. She sighed in defeat and turned away from her captain, her jaw clenched. Some days he was one of her favourite, other days, like today, she wanted nothing more than to throw him in the ocean and watch him sink to the bottom. Ok, so maybe she did not want him to sink to the bottom, but she definitely wanted to throw him in the ocean for his stupidity.
She sighed, there were several plans formulating in her mind, plans that Luffy would be against. Some of them would probably get her bounty upped a few dozen million because of the stealing of Marine property, others were as simple as just walking in distracting the guy and walking out with the necklace, but- "I said no, Nami." Luffy had called from where he listening to something the men before him were saying, she could hear the amusement in his voice, but knew that he was serious.
She stuck her tongue out at him and stormed away to find Robin, Luffy's laughter following her down the street. Perhaps the older women would have some ideas.
Luffy smiled widely and shook his head, hand running through his hair as he watched his crewmate storm away.
"Trouble in paradise, Anchor?" Shanks teased, chuckling at the twitch of annoyance in Luffy's left eye at the nickname.
Luffy shrugged, "Nami just told me that Usopp sold something important to him so that we would have money. I want to get it back for him but we can't afford it and anything Nami wants to do I won't allow because innocent people would get hurt. I promised her that we wouldn't leave the island until we get it back, but I don't know how we will do that." Luffy closed his eyes and rubbed his head, "all this thinking is giving me a fever."
Shanks stared at him, bemused, "Usopp? Where have I heard that name before?" He frowned, running the name through his head but coming up blank.
Yasopp smiled and leaned his elbow on Shanks' shoulder, "Usopp is my boy's name."
Shanks' eyes twinkled, "that's right. He'll be twenty soon, will he not?"
Before Yasopp could answer, Luffy said, "he'll be twenty, erm, today is the 11th?" Luffy cocked his head to the side and folded his arms across his chest, "his birthday is 1 April- I know Sanji started planning it." Luffy said with a shrug.
Yasopp laughed, with a slight edge of hysteria, "that's funny, by what you are describing it sounds a lot like my Usopp is on your crew, but that's not possible."
Luffy smiled widely, "he is my best friend! He has been on my crew for a long time."
Yasopp shook his head, "that's impossible. Usopp is back in the East Blue with his mother. You have to be mistaken."
"Nope it's him," Luffy picked his nose and stared at the sky. "He looks just like you are is really awesome. You could come to the ship and meet him if you want, he won't care."
Luffy rolled his eyes when Yasopp grabbed his collar and pulled him close, "stop playing around, Anchor. My kid isn't anywhere near the New World, he has no business here."
Shaking his head, Luffy let Shanks know that he did not need to call Yasopp off. "Your wedding ring, it is silver and has a small black paw print on it with weird squiggly lines. I think Robin called them 'kelptic', 'selptic'?"
"A lot of people with wedding rings in the East Blue have them made with Celtic designs; they are popular because they are made in the West Blue. That means nothing." Yasopp hissed.
"Your heart may belong to the sea, but mine will always belong to you." Luffy blinked owlishly before stating, "Or something like that. Robin was explaining the language to me and I got bored. Usopp told me that was the gist of what it said, but he never fully learned the language, so he said it might not be right." Luffy nodded to himself, "but Usopp is almost always right so I trust what he says."
Yasopp let go of Luffy's shirt and breathed deeply through his nose in an attempt to calm himself. A couple of minutes later, his voice only slightly calmer, he asked, "where did he sell it to?"
"Nami said that it was to the pawn shoppe down the street from here," he pointed behind himself. "It was your wedding ring, some weird charm thing and a necklace."
Yasopp nodded and patted him on the shoulder, "Anchor, it was great seeing you. I hope to see you again sometime soon, hopefully in one piece. Sorry for attacking you. Capt'n, I'll be back by supper, I have a couple of errands to run."
"See that you do or you'll have to answer to Ben. I'll be far too drunk." Shanks called after him. He was silent for a moment before nodding to Lucky. The large man stared at Shanks as he chewed on his meat. After a couple second he looked towards Yasopp and sighed, following his friend to the pawn shoppe.
"Yasopp's kid, eh Anchor?" Shanks chuckled and shook his head in disbelief. "You've set me up for a couple of rough nights. Although, now I think you are free to leave the island if you want to."
Luffy frowned, "but we need to get Usopp's things back."
"Don't worry about it. Things have a way of just appearing again."
Luffy blinked, completely missing what Shanks was saying, "but he didn't lose it. He sold it."
Shanks groaned, slapping his forehead with his hand, "just trust me, Anchor."
And trust Shanks, Luffy did. Fifty million beri had somehow found its way on the deck of the Thousand Sunny in the middle of the evening. Unfortunately, when they went to go buy Usopp's necklace from the pawn shoppe it already had been sold. Sad, but determined not to let it get to them, the Straw Hats set out for their next great adventure.
Seagulls cried hungrily in the sky above the Thousand Sunny the day of Usopp's twentieth birthday. The flying birds decreased his mood some, their penchant for thinking his hair a nest bothering him more than he ever cared to admit. He leaned back against the roof of the crow's nest, his jacket flapping around him in rhythm with the ship's Jolly Roger.
Usopp closed his eyes, a sigh escaping his lips as he allowed the sound of the seas waves to wash over him. His crew was busy below, running about the ship. Luffy and Chopper, whispered, but not really, at the base of the mast.
Zoro, not so sneakily, helped Sanji decorate the Galley. If one listened closely they could hear the two men bickering about where to hang the banner and about there not being nearly enough booze. The glorious smell of cake and food from his childhood wafting through the small windows. He had been wondering where his mother's recipe book had gone. Nami and Robin were sunbathing on deck, and Brooke was playing gentle violin music by the figurehead, him and Franky chatting idly.
There was a screech from somewhere above him before something fell on his stomach. He blinked and pushed himself up on his elbows. On his stomach lay a small wrapped package, his name scrawled messily on the top in blue ink. He stared at it, suspicion colouring his features- Luffy was known for his bizarre pranks after all. He poked the package lightly with a slightly shaking finger, and screwed his eyes shut, hoping that it wouldn't explode.
It hadn't, so he relaxed slightly and carefully took the package in hand. He examined it with a small frown. While it was not expertly wrapped, it was definitely better than the job Luffy or Chopper could have pulled off. This meant the chance of it being a prank was significantly lower. With one last weary look at the package, he ripped open the paper. Inside lay a small velveteen box. He blinked and placed the paper beside him on the roof. Carefully he opened the cover, his breath catching in his throat. Inside lay his chain with the protection charm his mother had given him and his father's wedding ring.
His hands began to shake, and he placed the box down in his lap and picked up the paper again to look for a note, something, anything that might have come with it. He saw nothing and his heart dropped. He sighed in disappointment and picked the box back up again, it was only then that he noticed the envelope sitting innocently a few feet away from his foot. He slipped the box into his pocket and reached for the envelope. He grabbed hold of it just as a gust of wind blew past.
Letting out a couple of calming breaths to calm his nerves, he stared down at the envelope in his hands. Nodding to himself, he opened the envelope and pulled out the parchment that lay inside.
The day I left I gave my wedding ring to your mother on a chain. What type of father would I be if I didn't make sure that it made its way back into your possession? I won't even ask why you have it and not her, I don't care.
I am so proud of you... for so many things, but most recently for giving up something as important to you as this for your crew. This shows just how amazing of a person, of a man, you have grown to be, and it makes be proud to be your father.
However, its place is with you and your mother would agree I'm certain. Well, that is a lie, she disagrees with me on pure principle, but either way, I hope that you will keep this on your person. It would mean a lot to me. I know that this does not even begin to make up for me abandoning you, but I hope that this could be a start of a relationship for us. Happy 20th birthday, Son.
I love you,
P.S. I still don't understand why you are at sea, or what has happened to your mother, but I hope to someday. I hope that you'll get a chance to tell me everything when the time comes.