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It’s so damn hot by the water. The sand feels like it’s burning Nami’s feet, like brushing her hand against a hot grill, and the humidity hangs stagnant in the air. Everything feels slow, like walking underwater and feeling the resistance as she’s dragging her hands and feet, her hair tugging behind her. The flies keep landing on her sweaty legs, and she fans them away from her slushy drink, resting on the arm of her beach chair, already melting, before slapping them away from her skin. Sometimes Robin helps sparing a hand or two to catch them before Nami notices, but she and Brook are busy helping Chopper, hiding in the shade of an umbrella with a cooler full of water. He’s still a reindeer, though, in any form.

Anyone else who can swim is in the water, and so is Luffy, floating in an inner tube for a while and then pitching himself out; Jimbei, playing lifeguard, always pops him back to the surface. Nami considers calling out that he’s just enabling Luffy, but Luffy would do what he wants anyway and someone else (probably Zoro, if he weren’t off racing with Sanji) would pull him out. Jimbei’s too far away to hear her, anyway; the air would swallow the sound. 

It’s not Nami’s problem, for now; her immediate focus is on the drink in her hand and the sun beating down on her, the combination of which makes her a little sleepy. It’s not that she’s sensitive to the alcohol, suddenly (and however strong this drink is, she’s barely had a quarter of it), but combined with the heat--maybe that’s why Zoro naps all the time. It’s kind of a stupid thought, but Nami’s allowed to have one in this shitty weather when there’s nothing at stake.

She looks over at Robin, still fanning Chopper. Her tan lines are visible, her shoulders and the top of her stomach a shade or two lighter than the rest, something Nami scarcely notices in the low light of their shared bedroom but easily does now. Her black bikini is tied behind her neck; Nami had double-knotted it just an hour before; beads of sweat had already been gathering at Robin’s hairline. The sweat now drips down her forehead and onto her eyelashes, almost looking like tears if Nami didn’t know any better. Nami takes another sip of her drink, sticky-sweet but the alcohol is evident under the surface, exactly the way she likes it. 

Robin looks at her, wiping the sweat from her brow with a spare hand. She lifts a towel from their bag and brings it over to Nami’s face. She’s sweating there too, perhaps not as badly, but she’d almost tuned it out by now. It’s only a momentary relief. 

“Robin…” Nami half-whines, closing her eyes.

“I know,” says Robin, and suddenly something cold is pressed to Nami’s cheek. Robin’s drink, and Robin’s real hand, cold from holding it. 

“Thanks,” says Nami. 

It’ll do, as much as anything will. If she can sleep in this heat, maybe a dream will distract her for a little, but that’s if. Robin’s cool, wet thumb rubs the tip of her nose. Nami smiles. She can feel her thighs sticking together, sweat pooling under her sunglasses, at the hems of her bathing suit, drenching her hair. She thinks, instead, about Robin, and about the swiftly-melting drink in her own hand. She takes another sip. It’s still cold enough, but for how much longer?

Halfway in the water, Robin’s light enough for Nami to carry, but she’s still a little heavier than Nami’s used to carrying. But it’s not bad to be on the other side of things for once, one arm around Robin’s back and the other underneath her legs, her hands touching the softer skin on Robin’s side and thighs, Robin looking up at her, sunglasses slipping down on her forehead. Her hair fans out underneath the water; through the color of the sea and the waves of light refracting, it has almost a red undertone that Nami’s never noticed before, like a ripe tomato or a burnished cloud at sunset. Or perhaps it’s just an illusion, like the way concrete shimmers in the heat. 

“If we go any deeper, I’m going to have to fish you out when I drop you,” says Nami. “And you’ll start sinking anyway.”

Robin laughs, clear in the soggy air (though it’s a little bit cooler now the sun’s on the other side of the island). Her hands are still clasped around Nami’s neck, no tighter.

“But you wouldn’t mind.”

Nami tries to glare, but Robin is smiling, splashing water on Nami’s hot arms with her feet. Nami sighs. She can’t frown too hard for too long. Robin leans her head against Nami’s shoulder, hot at the top, but the wet ends of her hair are cool; it doesn’t balance out. Nami still lets her, for now. It’s always Robin’s genuine smile that gets her, even as it gets less and less rare (and for some time she hasn’t been able to call it rare at all, and still). 

“Let’s just go back in,” Nami says.

She doesn’t let Robin down until the water’s ankle-deep and the tips of Robin’s toes have long since stopped even skimming the surface of the waves. Robin rests her hand on the small of Nami’s back. The rest of the crew, digging into Sanji’s barbecue on the shore, aren’t looking their way. They don’t have to go back quite yet, even if Nami’s getting hungry. And then, just as another small wave comes rushing at their ankles and calves, she’s lifted into the air, suddenly defying gravity, three of Robin’s hands (that’s cheating) holding her in place until she’s up. Well, less work for her, and a position she’s gotten used to being in, reaching her hands up around Robin’s neck, hands tangling in Robin’s hair and the strap of her bathing suit top. She stretches her neck up, as far as she comfortably can, and Robin kisses her, her warm lips tasting a little like brine.