hwc: Hancock and Luffy from One Piece (One Piece - Luffy/Hancock)
[personal profile] hwc
Title: Nothing to Choose – Part 2
Author: [profile] hunterwithcause
Fandom: One Piece
Pairing/Characters: Strawhat Pirates
Genre/Category: What If?
Rated: PG-13
Word count: 960
Warnings: Character death (off screen)
Spoilers/Setting: Unspecific time after Thriller Bark, slight spoilers for Water 7 and Thriller Bark
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece

Summary: A sum is made up of many parts. Take one part away and the sum changes. The Strawhat Pirates are made up of nine members. Take one member away...

A/N: Second part of Nothing to Choose. And to avoid as much confusion as possible: Yes, this really is the second part and it does, in fact, come after the first part. Things will be explained – eventually. Much love to my friend who helped and encouraged me <3
Feedback is adored and if anyone spots any mistakes, please let me now!

Previous part


It ends like this

It's the newspaper that did it this time.

Zoro had just been lying on the deck, resting his eyes and letting the sun chase away the all too familiar feeling of regret and loss when his quietude was interrupted by a sound that had become all too familiar, too.

Dreading what he was to see he sat up, slowly, looking further down the deck to where Nami was clutching a piece of paper, the newspaper lying discarded on the floor next to her chair. Her shoulders were shaking and every now and then, choked sobs would escape her lips.

He felt helpless as he watched her cry, angry with himself for being no good at consoling her. He didn't know the right words and even if he did, he wouldn't be able to say them. Zoro wasn't good at dealing with other people's feelings. Even if they were nakama.

His feet felt too heavy as he made his way across the deck. He was selfishly relieved when he heard the others who were much better with words, rushing towards their navigator.

They all had grown accustomed to the sound of crying.

“Nami, what's wrong?” Usopp asked breathlessly, Chopper fretting at his side. The cook was still on the stairs as Brook made his way down from the crow's nest. Luffy and Franky were no where to be seen yet as Zoro joined the tight circle around Nami. He vaguely wished Luffy wouldn't come; their captain didn't need to see one of his nakama crying again. But he would come, Zoro knew, he would come like all the other times and in the end he would blame himself for something that wasn't his fault.

People die.

Such is the life on the Grand Line. Such is the life of a pirate.

No matter how much it hurts.

Nami shook her head and buried her face in Usopp's chest as their sniper gently took her into his arms. Chopper burst into tears too, clutching Nami's shirt. Zoro stood there, awkwardly, uncomfortably, and even angrier than before.

He gritted his teeth, feeling the pang in his chest at being unable to do anything when he felt Usopp's beseeching gaze. Out of his depth, his friend needed reassurance.

Zoro could do that much.

He returned the gaze, and nodded solemnly. They need you. You can do it. You can ease their pain. Usopp straightened in response, nodding back determinedly. He rubbed Nami's back gently, included Chopper in his hug and whispered soothing lies.

The cook came to a panting stop next to Zoro. “Nami-swan? What happened? What happened?”

Zoro glanced at him from the corner of his eye and shook his head. The cook glared at him, but subsided. Agitated, he lit one of his cigarettes, just as Brook joined them. Behind them, Franky and Luffy finally made their way towards them.

They stood, a solemn circle of grieve and pain, the sound of crying mingling with the sounds of the sea, and Zoro wondered if this dirge of tears and wind and waves was always supposed to accompany them. If all those months on the Grand Line they had just been lucky, gaining new nakama instead of losing old ones.

It took some time, but eventually, Nami's tears dried up, and when only the occasional sniffle could be heard from her, Luffy asked, “What happened, Nami?” His voice was flat, his eyes shadowed by his straw hat. Luffy didn't look any of them in the eyes; not anymore.

Nami stared at him, and silently held up the crumbled piece of paper she had clutched in her hand the whole time. Luffy took it and smoothed it out. Anger etched his features as he looked at it, his hands curling to fists and crumbling the paper even more. Sanji, who looked over Luffy's shoulder, exploded.

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?! What is this, some kind of sick joke?!”

Luffy didn't react, not even when Franky gently extracted the paper from his hands. The paper wandered from one crew member to the next this way, from Franky whose features hardened, to Brook who couldn't show any feelings save a shocked gasp, to Usopp who nearly lost his fight with the tears as he looked at the paper, to Chopper who took one look at it and burst into tears again, and, finally, to Zoro, who stared at it blankly.

“I don't understand!” sobbed Chopper. “How could they? How--? Why--? I don't understand!”

“They don't know,” Zoro said, glad to be finally useful, even though he wanted to destroy. Rage screamed in his veins, god, how he wanted to kill those bastards of the World Government. “They must think she left the crew. That's why they raised it. As long as she was with us she was a more or less predictable threat. But on her own...,” Zoro trailed off as his words upset Chopper even more.

“A loose cannon,” Franky said, “that's what they think.”

Zoro nodded as Sanji let loose a string of curses, stabbing out his cigarette and lighting up a new one immediately. Zoro looked at Luffy. His captain's face was shadowed by his straw hat again, but the tension in his shoulders and his tightly clenched fists belied his state of mind.

His gaze fell on the paper in his hands. Robin stared back at him over her shoulder. 'Nico Robin,' it read, 'Bounty 100,000,000 Beli' And under her picture, 'Dead or Alive'

Dead or Alive

People die.

Next part
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hunterwithcause

November 2012

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