My first One Piece fic ever; I'm actually a little surprised I didn't write a ZoSan (I've been craving ZoSan a lot lately even though I love it and LuNa equally passionately), but inspiration struck and this was the fic that resulted from it. :)
This fic is also a fulfilment of a punishment appointed by Silver after I had broken one of the personal fanwork policies that we have between us. She said that the punishment was just to write a One Piece fic (what a lenient punishment, indeed!).
Title: The Way He Always Smiled
Author: Harmony (Silver Harmony)
Characters/Pairing: Luffy/Nami (with hints of Sanji/Nami)
Word Count: Approximately 858.
Disclaimer: Not mine, otherwise Luffy/Nami would be canon.
Notes: Cross-posted to luffyxnami, one_piece and one_piece_het.
Feedback: Very much appreciated, as I would like to write much better One Piece fics. Your concrits mean a lot to me, especially when it tells me what you think of the story and what I can do to improve. Please and thank you.
Summary: Luffy always watches the crew – and he watches her – and he'll always smile.
Luffy noticed that his nakama didn’t always pay that much attention to him, and he couldn’t blame them. He was the same all the time – always hungry, always mucking around, always smiling. He never changed. So he knew that everyone always assumed he would be just the way he always was: eating, acting silly, being cheery as usual.
But even though they probably didn’t pay attention to him, he paid quite a lot of attention to them – he reckoned so, in any case. He hadn’t only watched the sea when he sat at the figurehead of the Going Merry, and now, on the Thousand Sunny, he didn’t limit himself to the rolling waves, either. He watched Zoro sleeping on the deck; Usopp and Chopper playing games; Franky tinkering around with woodwork; Robin quietly reading a book; Sanji at her hands and feet, serving her refreshments. He watched Nami amongst her orange trees, touching the fruit, picking them, bringing them up to her face to smell them. And Luffy smiled.
‘You look so goofy, smiling to yourself like that,’ she would sometimes frown at him, gesturing at his rubbery lips stretched in his usual wide grin; but that wouldn’t faze him. He kept on grinning, because he was content.
He was happy, with his dreams and his ship and his nakama, and it was all he could ask for. The sky was almost always blue, the water almost always clear; so he'd continue to sit back, and relax, and just watch everything.
So of course it caught his attention when his navigator seemed to shoot down his cook a lot less than she normally would. It caught his attention that she would suddenly turn to indulging his flirting. It caught his attention that they interacted a lot more, these days, that they would suddenly be somehow friendlier with each other than usual. The closer proximity they would find themselves in, the slight blush that would cross Nami’s cheeks, her more frequent secret smiles… none of it escaped Luffy’s notice, and he wondered how everyone else in the crew went on like they didn’t see any of this.
He wondered why it made him so uneasy. Had he really been watching her that much?
She probably didn’t even know he was watching her.
When it got to the point that he was bursting with curiosity, he couldn’t hold himself back from asking. She was standing in the large inner room of the Thousand Sunny, staring into the enormous aquarium that spread across its wide wall, and looking far too tranquil for Luffy’s comfort; the reflection of her eyes, they weren’t even really following the fish. She was just amusing herself there, he realized.
He stood behind her and put his hands on his hips.
‘Is it Sanji that’s making you so look so happy, Nami?’ he asked her outright.
She turned around, looking at him with a startled expression on her face.
‘…Where did that question come from?’
‘Dunno,’ Luffy shrugged in answer. ‘Just thought that’s what it was.’
And she stayed silent for a long, long time, looking at him with something that looked like surprise, her cheeks slightly pink again and her fingers twisting at the fabric of her skirt, before her eyes slid to the floor, and he knew then that he had been right.
His stomach churned, but it wasn’t the usual hunger.
‘Well… kind of,’ she answered in a low voice, but Luffy could hear the shyness in it, the contentment. She looked up at him, then, raising her eyebrow, that wonderful faint blush still coloring her cheeks. ‘I never thought it was that obvious. But you’re the first to have asked, anyway. You better not tell anyone else, otherwise I’d never live it down.’
He felt the corners of his own mouth slightly curling upwards at her mock-threat. Grin and bear it. That’s what he always did. People did, after all, see that he was always happy, always smiling.
‘You’re… okay with it, right?’ she asked slowly.
Luffy gazed at her with surprise. ‘Why shouldn’t I be?’
He noticed something roll off her shoulders; a slight tension left her, and the look on her face was one of obvious relief. And then, unexpectedly to him, she reached out and took hold of his forearm, giving it a light squeeze before letting go.
She walked away from him, and he saw his own face in the glass of the large aquarium: it was the ever-cheerful Monkey D. Luffy that was reflected there, grinning widely, so widely – perhaps too widely – looking as happy and merry as usual, as he normally was. But that was okay, right? Because he loved all his nakama, and he cared about their decisions, and he wouldn’t ever want to say no to anything that was important to them. So why not smile the way he always smiled?
A stirring in the glass distracted him. It wasn’t the fish; it was Robin and Franky’s reflection. They were standing together behind him, their faces showing something that looked dangerously like concern.
He looked away from the glass, away from that wide, wide smile.