Something Worth Dying For

BY : spath
Category: +M to R > One Piece
Dragon prints: 2628
Disclaimer: I do not own One Piece, nor the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Prologue: Luffy

Mondays were lame. Especially at eleven in the morning. Luffy was stuck in his seat ignoring his geography lesson and staring out the window looking for something—anything—interesting. One seat over and one row back, Zoro had already succumbed to boredom and had fallen asleep at his desk. If their teacher, Miss Nico, had noticed, she had yet to decide on a suitable punishment, because she continued to let him sleep.

Sighing heavily, Luffy watched as a car drove down the adjacent street. It wasn’t necessarily interesting, but his eyes followed it until it turned down another street and disappeared from sight. It was only the third car to pass by on the street since school had started. It had been a boring two hours, and looked to likely stay that way for the rest of school’s duration.

Without warning, the door to the classroom slid open with a loud snap, gaining the attention of the room. Even Zoro snorted awake and looked in irritation to the source of the bothersome noise. The school’s principle, Crocodile, stood in the doorway, smirking with his unlit cigar hanging from his teeth.

“Miss Nico,” Principle Crocodile greeted with a nod. Miss Nico returned the gesture. “I have brought a new student for your class.”

He stepped into the room and opened the doorway to the student. Everyone stared in stupefied awe at the girl in the doorway. She wore simple street clothes, which wasn’t uncommon for new transfers on the first day, but what was unusual was her bright orange hair. That, and the murderous glare she was directing towards Principle Crocodile. No one was openly hostile to that man and got away with it.

He saw her glare and his smirk turned into a wide grin. “Try to get along with your fellow students, Nami-chan, and don’t fight.”

The new girl, Nami, raised an eyebrow at him as she walked past him to Miss Nico and bowed politely. “Pleased to make your acquaintance. Please take good care of me.”

Miss Nico smiled and gave her a few text books, directing her to the only open seat in the classroom—the one directly behind Luffy and next to Zoro. The orange-haired girl walked down the aisle of seats and sat at the appointed desk without a word or glance at anyone else.

Which was a feat since everyone was staring at her. Luffy included. Even after Principle Crocodile had left and Miss Nico called back the attention of the class, Luffy still sat halfway turned in his seat so he could stare. The orange-haired girl was deliberately looking towards the head of the class and not him, but she must have been annoyed by him.

She reached across her desk and grabbed his chin and pushed it to look at the head of the class. When his eyes rested there, he saw that Miss Nico was staring at him, her arms crossed and a displeased expression on her face.

“Thank you for joining us, Luffy,” she said. “As I was saying, do you know the answer to number three?”

Luffy looked down at his desk where his book was open, but obviously on the wrong page. There were no questions on these pages. His hand went to the back of his head to scratch it lamely.

“Shi, shi, shi, nope,” he answered honestly. Miss Nico looked as though she expected such an answer and turned her attention to the next row over.

“Zoro? Might you be able to give us the correct answer?” she posed. “Or were you too invested in your nap to keep up?”

Zoro, who had been flipping pages in his own book to find the correct page, looked up in annoyance. “No. I don’t know the answer.”

Miss Nico let out a little sigh. “Detentions for both of you. Now, who can give me the correct answer?”

Not one hand raised in the class. Miss Nico’s displeased face grew dark. Luffy heard a heavy sigh from behind him.

“One Piece is the original founding country from the 0070’s that prospered under the leadership of then criminal Gold Roger. Upon his death in the 0120’s, One Piece was divided into five states: North, South, East, and West Blue, all which bordered the new capitol state of All Blue.”

Luffy twisted around in his seat again to stare at the girl called Nami. She wasn’t looking at him; she was staring out the window as he had been before. In front of her, the geography text book was open to the correct page.

“Correct. Thank you Nami,” Miss Nico praised, her dark aura dissipating.  Luffy continued to stare until Nami caught him and shot him a glare. She jutted her chin towards the front of the class and Luffy reluctantly turned around in his seat.

Class was boring again, no doubt about that, but Luffy didn’t mind it as much. It seemed his silent wishes were granted and something interesting had walked into the classroom.

Chapter One: Nami

School was boring. But Nami was used to that. It had been a long time since school had ever presented any sort of challenge to her. She’d been acing her tests and homework long before she and her sister had been transferred to this shady school.

Damn the East Blue. The most corrupt of all the Blue suburbs. Nami had lived there all her life, but without much in terms of problems until she was ten. That was when Smoker, the infallible prosecution attorney for the East Blue Special Police, had talked Bell-mère out of her private security job and into assisting him nearly six years ago. Nami had loathed the decision as soon as it happened.

Smoker had a reputation as the only prosecution attorney that could not be corrupted. But that also made him a target. The hoards of gangs, yakuzas and mafias that made the East Blue their home base were constantly out for the man—and anyone who worked with him. The minute Bell-mère had agreed to work for Smoker, a target had been laid on her back. That target also shone down onto Nami herself, as well as her sister Nojiko.

So at the ripe young age of ten, Nami had made a deal with the devil to save her mother’s life. She had agreed to work as a ‘messenger’ for one of East Blue’s strongest yakuza bosses and in return, they would make sure no one made an attempt at Bell-mère’s life. Or Nojiko’s for that matter. It was the best Nami could secure in terms of protection for her family.

Nami’s ‘employer’ didn’t ask much from her, but it was still a dangerous job. Being a Messenger was a very simple task: when she saw a rival gang encroaching on their territory, she was to give them the message that they were trespassing and to get the hell off of it. Being only ten, most of the gangs and mafia’s hadn’t taken her seriously. She had solved that the only way she knew how: with her fists.

Nami had been fighting a long time. Likewise it meant she was very good at it after six years. Oh, she’d had her bad days when she’d gotten the shit beat out of her, but that was the rarity nowadays. She even had a reputation among the rival factions: they knew not to mess with the orange-haired Messenger from the Fishman yakuza. If they did somehow manage to best her in skill, the revenge that would come at them would be deadly.

Nami hated being indebted to her employer. She loathed it more than anything. It was one of the reasons that she fought so hard. She didn’t want that man to ever have to clean up after her, giving herself another debt to him. Worse still, she couldn’t say no to him, therefore when he had summoned her to his office two days ago, Nami had gone without hesitation. She figured it would be another Messenger assignment. Probably about the Clown Gang, who she had spotted in the area of a local middle school that was in Fishman Village’s jurisdiction.

How wrong she was.

“I have a special assignment for you, my dear,” her employer told her. Nami barely controlled the urge to curl her lip at the term of endearment. “I can only entrust it to you.”

That earned some hisses from the other Fish in the room. None of them liked her—and for whatever reason, she was a favorite of her boss. Not that Nami cared for the distinction.

“Then I shall do my best,” she assured him.

“I have no doubt,” he grinned widely, threading his fingers together and resting his chin on them. “I am having the district lines redrawn this afternoon. You will start attending Loguetown Senior High School the day after tomorrow.”

It didn’t matter very much to Nami what high school she attended because with her aptitude, she could skip through high school tomorrow to graduate. But still, her curiosity was piqued. “Are you reassigning my Messenger area?”

“Adding to it,” he corrected. “With restrictions, though.”

Nami narrowed her eyes in confusion. Restrictions? She’d never had restrictions before. Was there someone she was not supposed to approach?

“It has come to my knowledge that a faction of the Shichibukai has infiltrated the school,” he revealed. Nami’s eyes widened. The Shichibukai were the largest yakuza in all of the area that was known as One Piece. Generally, they stayed in the area of All Blue, hardly ever venturing to the suburban cities.  For them to come into East Blue, and in stealth…it meant something big was going down.

“I want you to observe mostly,” he went on, regaining her attention. “I have been assured by a representative of the Shichibukai that they intend no ill will towards us; that they are only searching for information on a single person that is of significance to them. But I do not trust them. I want you to observe these operatives and report to me if anything goes on beyond a little information scavenging. Am I understood?”

Not clearly, but Nami wasn’t about to admit that. “Yes, boss.”

Her boss tossed a manila folder to the edge of his desk. “This is the information I have on the operatives that are here from the Shichibukai. I want to know if they have any other operatives that weren’t divulged to me, as well as any secondary information that may come up.”

Nami picked up the folder and glanced through it briefly. Her eyes widened slightly. Baroque Works. She’d heard about them. They were mostly made up of a bunch of assassins, and therefore quite deadly. And they had infiltrated a school? To look for information? The whole thing rankled. Nami now knew why her boss was assigning her to watch them. There absolutely had to be something else—something much bigger—going on.

Underneath the heading Baroque Works, there was a list of numbers divided by ranks. Officers, Frontiers, Millions and Billions. Beside the list of ranks were names. Mr. 0, Miss All Sunday, Mr. 1, Miss Double Finger, etc. But no pictures. How the fuck was she supposed to watch these people if all she had were code names?

“I expect you to do what you do best,” her boss spoke up before she could voice her complaint. “A fight will no doubt get you the attention you need in order to discover these agents. They will no doubt want little to no disturbances in the school when conducting their little ‘search’ and will in turn approach you.”

Ah. There was the ‘ingenious plan.’ But he was right; that would no doubt get her approached about her actions and she’d make her first contact. But it was also risky. The Baroque Works were not the type of people to take things lightly. If they thought she was a problem, they would likely execute her before she had a chance to report back to her boss.

“Be careful, my dear,” he warned her, but not with concern about her well-being. That was laughable. “I would hate it if all the time and money I’ve put into you were to be wasted because you got overzealous in your assignment.”

Nami smirked. “Like I said, I’ll do my best.”

And so here she was, in her first day in a new school. And she had already been outed. She sneered in annoyance, recalling her visit with the principal that morning.

Bell-mère had accompanied both Nami and Nojiko to school, wanting to see for herself what kind of place her daughters were being forced into. There had been talk at the dinner table about how the redrawing of district lines had been sudden and oddly timed in the middle of the school year, but no one had said outright what was on their minds: it was suspicious.

“Ah, ladies, do come in.”

Bell-mère led the way into the office of the principal, with Nojiko following and Nami in the rear. She was busy giving the secretary a sidelong glance to notice what was going on between her mother and the principal.

The secretary, whose name plate on her desk named her Miss Valentine, was a name that had been listed in the manila folder Nami had received two days ago. Honestly, was it really going to be that easy? Or was it just a coincidence?

When she returned her attention to her mother, she saw that Bell-mère was doing what she did best: calling someone out on their bullshit. The principal, named Crocodile apparently, or so read his name plate, was smiling sheepishly at the red headed woman.

“I can assure you, I have no idea why the district lines were redrawn,” Crocodile was saying. “Nor was it my idea. I prefer my students to get the best education possible, and reschooling them in the middle of a semester is not the best way to do that.”

Bell-mère clearly did not believe the man in question. Her eyes narrowed as they usually did when she detected deceit.  “I find it very suspicious, though, that these district lines only moved a select few students around. Including my daughters. Why should they go to a school so far away from their home? Shells Town Senior High was only ten minutes from home. Now they must walk an hour to get to school.”

“I am sorry, but I have no answer for you,” Crocodile lamented. “But if it makes you feel any more at ease, shall I arrange tutoring for your daughters so they do not fall behind because of this move? I am afraid I cannot offer any means of transportation, though I will tell you there is a train that stops near Shells Town.”

“It’s fine,” Nami finally spoke up, attempting to sound bored. “Neither Nojiko nor I will need any special tutoring from changing schools and you know it. I can’t speak for Nojiko, but I really don’t care what school I go to. So don’t worry about it.”

“I don’t mind changing schools,” Nojiko added as well. “And Nami’s right; we won’t need tutors.”

Bell-mère gave them both a stern look, but then sighed in defeat. “Well, fine. If it really doesn’t matter to you…”

Neither girl denied it and Bell-mère looked fiercely back to Crocodile. “Then I leave them in your care.”

Nami smirked at how Crocodile seemed to wither a little bit under Bell-mère’s glare.  But without another word, their mother left the office. Nami watched her go, wondering if Bell-mère would bring Smoker in on the matter to investigate why the district lines were redrawn. Nami hoped not.

“Once again, ladies,” Crocodile spoke up, “I apologize for the inconvenience. Please let me know if you have any problems. I am more than willing to accommodate anywhere I can.”

He handed Nojiko a piece of paper before handing Nami one herself. Nami studied the paper, reading down the list of subjects. It was her class schedule.

“Since school has started already, I will escort you to your classes,” Crocodile offered in a way that was not meant to be denied. Nami had a pretty good idea that this man belonged with Baroque Works by the way he seemed to try to accommodate everyone and sate any worries they might have. It was exactly what an agent would do if they were trying to keep the situation quiet. But just where was he on the list?

They made it to Nojiko’s class first and Nami stood outside in the hall while Crocodile introduced Nojiko to the class. She glanced in briefly to peek at the teacher, seeing a man with glasses and a calm demeanor, but with absurd hair. It looked as though it stuck out in every direction as it was pony tailed on top of his head. His name plate read Mr. Galdino.

Nami was picking her nails when Crocodile retreated from the room. He made a sweeping motion with his arm as he indicated for her to continue down the hall, a shitty looking grin on his face. Nami was going to refrain from commenting, but changed her mind after he spoke.

“Well, well, Nami-chan,” he sneered. “I would guess we have quite a few things to talk about.”

“You mean aside from your lecherous grin?” she replied, riled by his demeaning tone of voice as he spoke her name. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He laughed lowly. “Don’t play dumb, Nami-chan. It doesn’t suit an incredibly intelligent woman such as yourself.”

“Isn’t flattering the students against the rules here?” she returned flatly.

“I am merely complimenting you on your intelligence,” Crocodile explained, though his lecherous grin still remained. “No other meaning is intended.”

“Good,” Nami huffed. “I’m guessing that student-faculty relationships are prohibited here.”

“Indeed they are,” Crocodile agreed. “But you and I are far from principal and student, aren’t we?”

Nami gave him a suspicious look.

“My dear Nami-chan, I know exactly why you are here,” he told her, stopping in the hallway. Not knowing where she was supposed to go, Nami had to stop too, though she was sorely tempted to keep going and walk out the front doors, classes begotten. “Your employer has sent you to watch over me.”

Nami kept her expression passive. “So what?”

“So, why don’t we try our best to get along?” Crocodile suggested. “It would be a shame to have to make amends to that shitty Fishman gang because I had to off one of his precious pets.”

“I am not a pet,” she scoffed. “I am a Messenger. And my assignment is to keep shitty assholes from encroaching on Fishman territory, though sadly, you are discluded from that.”

Crocodile smirked. “Really? I thought your assignment was to watch us and report any suspicious activity that stems outside of information gathering to your boss.”

Nami shrugged indifferently, but inwardly, she seethed. There was a traitor among Fishmen Village. “Seems to me you do just fine at gathering information. I figure I won’t be here long.”

Crocodile gave another low chuckle. “Indeed. We are apt at gathering information. We know very much about the Cat Burglar Nami.”

“You wouldn’t need to do much digging to find out what you probably have,” Nami dismissed, not surprised that he knew her title within the yakuza. “I live on Goza and Cocoyashi Street. My mother is Bell-mère. My sister is Nojiko. That’s the basic information you would receive when I transferred here. You know who my employer is, and I just told you myself what my position was. What else is there to know?”

“Box number 1981.”

Nami felt her composure slip ever so slightly for a moment before regrouping. “In Conomi Station. So what?”

“So, there’s an awful lot of money in that box,” Crocodile summed up. Nami held her face passive, though it was a bit difficult to swallow. “Would be a shame if it were to just disappear.”

“I’d start over,” she shrugged, though the idea pained her. Six years of saving would be lost.

“The point is that you won’t have to,” Crocodile interjected, “as long as you behave in my school. No fighting on school grounds. Period. That’s all I ask.”

Nami rolled her eyes. “If I am attacked, I will defend myself.”

“If you are attacked on school grounds, Nami-chan,” Crocodile said, with an edge of menace to his voice, “you will have no need to defend yourself. I will murder anyone who disobeys my rules. And no fighting is rule number one.”

Though Nami wondered what spurred the heavy objection to fighting, she scoffed. “Whatever you say.”

They continued on down the hall and Nami considered the man in front of her. It was obvious he was from Baroque Works now, but the way he carried himself, the things he knew…

“You’re Mr. 0,” she deduced. Crocodile paused in his step momentarily. “Aren’t you?”

Crocodile turned to her with such a threatening glare that Nami had to force herself not to take a step back in fear. She was determined not to show any fear to this man. The grin that had been lecherous before became full of evil intent.

“You would do well to not mention that name in this school ever again, Nami-chan,” he all but growled at her. “As I said before, it would be a shame to have to kill you. Rather, it may actually be to my benefit to recruit you to my organization, when the time comes. I know you are a highly intelligent girl, and intelligence is something highly treasured in my association.”

“Why would I trade the devil I know for one that I don’t?” Nami asked rhetorically.

“Because I would not turn one such as yourself into a Mermaid,” Crocodile answered anyway, taking a cigar from his jacket pocket and gnawing on one end. “And you must realize that if you stay with the Fishmen, that will be your fate.”

“Maybe I’ll get lucky and be killed first,” she muttered, ignoring the fact that he was probably right. Luckily, they made it to her classroom at that moment. With one last evil grin at her, he snapped the door open, interrupting her class.

And so here she was, a few hours later, waiting for her last class of the day to finish. She probably had enough vital information to return to her employer, what with knowing the Fishmen had a leak and who the identity of Mr. 0 was. But she knew she wouldn’t do it. Crocodile would be watching her these first few days and she was determined to look like she was indifferent to her assignment, though he clearly already knew what it was.

When the final bell rang, she picked up her text books and headed to the front of the class to ask Miss Nico where she needed to go to pick up her school uniforms. The two boys who had gotten detentions earlier were already at the desk being scolded by Miss Nico. Nami waited patiently for them to be done.

Miss Nico noticed her waiting and addressed her. “What may I help you with, Nami?”

“Just wondering where I need to go to pick up my uniforms,” Nami spoke up, annoyed as the boy with black hair and a scar under one eye began to stare at her again. At least the green-haired boy gave her a quick look and dismissed her right away.

“Ah. You do that with Mr. Bon Clay,” Miss Nico answered. She then shot a look at the dark haired boy. “Luffy will escort you to his office.”

“Ara?” was the boy, Luffy’s, response.

“Once you have shown Nami where the office is, you may go home,” Miss Nico told him. The green-haired boy squawked in indignation.

“Wha-why does he get off easy?” he asked, crossing his arms over his chest. Miss Nico raised a delicate eyebrow.

“Luffy refrained from paying attention in class,” Miss Nico told him. “But he did not fall asleep. Therefore, his detention consists of helping another student with getting her uniforms. Besides, maybe the time spent in her presence will dispel some of the allure that holds him and he will be able to refrain from staring at her constantly.”

Caught again, Luffy looked up at his teacher and smiled sheepishly, throwing one hand behind his head and scratching there.

“You, on the other hand, spent forty-three minutes sleeping through class,” Miss Nico went on, addressing the green-haired boy again. “Therefore, you shall make up those forty-three minutes you spent sleeping by writing an essay on why it is essential to stay awake during class.”

The green-haired boy groaned and went off to sit in a desk. Muttering the whole time, he yanked out a piece of paper and pen and began scrawling. Miss Nico sent them on their way and Nami followed Luffy, the seemingly lackadaisical boy as he walked her down the nearly empty halls.

“Shi, shi, shi, poor Zoro,” the boy laughed, throwing his arms behind his head as he walked and threading his fingers. “He gets detentions for sleeping at least once a week.”

Nami didn’t comment. She just watched as the boy lollopped around the halls in a line that was the opposite of straight. He also rambled on about things she hardly had a care for. What person had done this and who had done that. She began to wonder if this boy would lead her to Mr. Bon Clay or just take her on a wild goose chase. The chase seemed even more likely when they ended up in front of a door that read ‘Drama Department.’

Nami gave Luffy a sour look as he knocked on the door; sure he had led her to the wrong place.

“Who is it?” sing-songed a voice from behind the door. Nami gave the door a suspicious glare. Wasn’t she going to see a Mr. Bon Clay? The voice behind the door was distinctly feminine, though low in octave.

“Luffy!” the boy called through the door. “I brought a new student.”

The door popped open immediately to the most ridiculous image of a man. He was clearly a man, but he wore something of a cross between ballet clothes and…was it a swan? The makeup job was awful too. The man looked eagerly at Luffy for a moment, flashing a wide smile before turning to her.

She decided she did not like the way he frowned at her openly.

“Ah. Another girl,” he mumbled dejectedly, turning in the doorway and walking back into the office. Luffy gave her a wide grin as she glared at him, about to read him the riot act for taking her to the wrong place.

“Well, come on!” snapped the man, who somehow managed to sound feminine despite his deep tones. “Come get your uniforms!”

Blinking in surprise, Nami entered the office. It was as flamboyant as the man who used it. Aptly described as the Drama Department, there were accoutrements everywhere from different genres of plays. In the far back was a closet that looked like held hundreds of costumes. Heading that way, Nami looked in to see the cross dresser leaned over several boxes that held uniforms in them. He rummaged around for a few moments before producing a pair of summer uniform tops. He scrounged for some gym uniforms as well as winter tops too.

“Why do we never get male students,” the man lamented as he handed Nami the tops. Nami looked down in skepticism; the man hadn’t even asked for her size. But sure enough, the uniforms were right.

“You said, another girl,” Nami repeated. “You’ve seen my sister already?”

“Ah, yes,” the man, who had to be Mr. Bon Clay, confirmed. “She was just here with your brother, Luffy.”

Nami looked behind her and saw in annoyance that Luffy was in fact still there. Didn’t he remember that Miss Nico said he was free to go when he showed her where the office was? Why was he still there?

“Ara?” was Luffy’s response. When Nami turned to look at Mr. Bon Clay again, he was handing her several skirts. Nami saw that they were the right size as well. A little creepy. The cross dresser knew what size she was just by looking at her.

“Now, my dear,” Mr. Bon Clay spoke up, “don’t go growing out of these too soon. I don’t have any larger sizes left.”

Nami gave the man a dirty look. “What makes you think I’m going to get fat?”

Mr. Bon Clay rolled his eyes and pointed to her chest. “There is only one part of you that is likely to get ‘fat’ in the near future, and that is what I am warning you about. I’ve seen your sister, the voluptuous vixen that she is, and she’s got the last uniforms in a larger size. So wait until next year to let those things grow, so I don’t have to order new uniforms.”

Nami glared at the man. “We’re adopted. And it’s not like I got a choice in the matter of whether they grow!”

Mr. Bon Clay waved her off dismissively. “No need to get bitchy. Or is it that time of the month?”

Nami would have jumped the man and killed him on the spot if it weren’t for Luffy. He caught hold of her and towed her back away from Mr. Bon Clay, laughing the whole time. Mr. Bon Clay just gave her a disapproving eye.

“In case you haven’t heard yet, young lady,” he started, “fighting is forbidden in this school. You best thank young Luffy for stopping you from getting expelled on the first day.”

Nami clenched her jaw tightly as she refrained from grabbing Luffy and flipping him off of her. She remembered the no fighting rule very clearly, and yet to claw that man’s face off with her finger nails was just tempting enough that she might still do it.

“I have heard that one,” she managed to say between her teeth. “I have also heard that student-teacher relationships are also forbidden, and what you said could be construed into sexual harassment.”

Mr. Bon Clay laughed out loud. “If you think you can convince Crocodile-sama that I came on to you, then you have at it. I am his number two man, and he knows that no such behavior would come from me.”

Nami paused. Number two man? As in Mr. 2? Nami gave him a smirk. “Oh? Just number two? Who holds the number one position?”

Mr. Bon Clay took the bait. “That undignified bastard Daz Bones. How he and that conceited bitch Paula got the number one spot…”

Nami cast aside her hostility for Mr. Bon Clay. It seemed he would become a vital part of her plans of learning the Numbers’ identities in the near future. Since she had stopped struggling, Luffy had let her go. She stooped down to pick up her discarded books and uniforms. She tried out a tactic to reverse Mr. Bon Clay’s negative opinion of her.

“Well, considering how gentlemanly Crocodile acts,” she spoke up, tasting bile in her throat at complimenting the arrogant bastard, “I doubt that Mr. Bones is asking the female students whether or not it is their time of the month. Perhaps that has something to do with it.”

Her tactic worked—sort of. Mr. Bon Clay grew livid, but not at her.

“That stony faced piece of shit is uncouth enough to do it!” Mr. Bon Clay shouted, shaking his fist in the air. “He’s lucky Paula keeps cleaning up after him! Crocodile-sama deserves better from a number one!”

“Have you told Crocodile about his indiscretions?” Nami asked. “Crocodile seems like someone who would never tolerate such actions. He’s too courteous for that.”

Mr. Bon Clay gave her a hard look. “What are you playing at, young lady?”

It seemed her complimenting Crocodile to get on Mr. Bon Clay’s good side had backfired. Nami back pedaled. “Look, if my mother finds out that there are crude perverts in this school—”

Now it was Mr. Bon Clay’s turn to back pedal. “I never said anything about perverts!”

“Well a man who brings up a girl’s period is obviously a pervert!” Nami yelled at him. “And you said—”

“Forget what I said!” Mr. Bon Clay yelled back. “Take your uniforms and go! Such a petulant child!”

So much for changing his opinion of her. Oh well. So she couldn’t use him to find out who the other members of Baroque Works was. She’d find a different way. So she took her books and uniforms and left the Drama Department, which had never been so aptly named ever before in history.

Much to her irritation, Luffy was still following her. She knew it because she could hear him snickering from behind his hand. She turned on him and held out her hand expectantly.

“Ten thousand berries,” she demanded. Luffy stopped short and looked at her, confused. She explained. “For copping a feel.”

Luffy still looked perplexed.

“When you held me back from beating the ever-living shit out of that cross dresser,” she clarified. He still looked confused, but dug into his back pocket and pulled out his wallet. He looked into it and grimaced, pulling out two thousand berries.

“All I got,” he told her, handing her the money. Nami snatched it from his hands and resumed walking, hoping she was heading in the right direction for the exit. Luffy followed, offering no word one way or another on whether she was taking wrong turns.

“Nami,” he spoke up finally, “does ‘copping a feel’ mean stopping a fight?”

Nami stopped and turned to look at him, incredulous to his assumption, sure he was poking fun at her. But she was disappointed. Luffy still held the baffled look from before on his face. Apparently, he really hadn’t heard the term before.

“No, it means feeling up someone’s breasts or butt,” she clarified. “Both of which you did when you stopped me from ripping that asshole’s eyelashes out.”

Luffy took on a speculative look. “So? What’s the big deal? It’s just skin.”

Nami narrowed her eyes at the boy. He looked genuinely uncomprehending of the serious offense he had committed. Thinking back, she recalled that he had only held her from fighting, not groped her as another boy probably would have, given the opportunity. Dropping her eyes and doing a pants check, she saw he didn’t even appear to be tenting at all.

He was completely unaffected by her. It was a tiny bit disappointing. Huffing in annoyance, she shoved the two thousand berries back into his hand.

“Ara? I thought I owed you money,” Luffy said in confusion. Oh, this boy was as dense as a pastry. Nami resisted the urge to tell him he owed her much more substantial amounts of money, knowing he’d believe her without a second thought.

“I don’t take money from the oblivious,” she muttered, turning and resuming looking for the exit. “You can give me the money when you realize why what you did was wrong.”

That explanation seemed to sate Luffy for the time being. He resumed following her, trying to engage her in more useless conversation.

“If you’re going to chatter at me,” Nami snapped, tired of his banter, “the least you can do is tell me if I’m headed in the right direction. I want out of this shitty place.”

Instead of being affronted, Luffy grinned. “Sure.”

What kind of half-assed answer was that? As Nami pondered the less than helpful answer, she turned a corner and bumped into someone. Her forehead knocked into his chin and she stumbled backwards, clutching her head and cursing just as foully as the boy she’d run into.

“Damn it, watch where the hell you’re going,” the green-haired boy, Zoro she thought, muttered as he rubbed his chin. He gave her a scathing look before turning his attention to Luffy. “You’re still here?”

Luffy laughed. “Yeah. Nami’s fun to hang around.”

Nami curled her lip at Luffy’s proclamation. “I wish I could say the same for you.”

Luffy didn’t look bothered by the insult. Instead he quirked his head at Zoro.

“Where were you going?” he asked the other boy.

“Home,” Zoro stated. “My detention’s over with.”

Luffy pointed behind Zoro. “Why didn’t you go out the front doors?”

Nami watched as Zoro’s eyes bulged and he looked behind him. He almost looked sheepish as he took in the doors to the front of the school. Nami regarded him shrewdly.

“You get lost in your own school?” she asked, deadpanned. Zoro immediately looked on the defensive.

“That’s none of your fucking business,” he snapped at her. Nami shrugged, conceding the point. It really wasn’t her business. So she picked up her fallen books and uniforms and headed for the doors herself. She couldn’t wait to get home and get away from pesky boys who followed her and threw her attitude.

Sadly, her day did not get much better after leaving school. She was only a few blocks from school when she spotted some clowns standing on an adjacent corner from her, harassing the people who went by. Eyeing them furtively, she narrowed her eyes at the boisterous clothes they wore and the menacing makeup they sported.

These clowns belonged to the Clown Gang. A sad operation run by the half-wit Buggy. They were very obviously on Fishman turf and making a play at it. Normally, as a Messenger, she would walk across the street directly and tell them to get the hell out of Fishman Village or she’d knock them senseless. But it was still daylight out and just after school, meaning there were an abundance of witnesses.

So she kept on walking.



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