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Dedicated to all females, because. —All guys, you can bail now. Or don't say I didn't warn you.
Luffy came out of the cabin frowning and shaking out his hand. "Geeze, what's the matter with Nami?"
Usopp looked up from his toolkit. "I don't know, what?"
"I don't know either! But I knocked over some of her parchments and then when I tried to pick them up she stomped my fingers flat with her heels." He stretched out said digits and examined them. Being rubber they had bounced back to shape almost immediately, so there was no evidence of the damage. "I said I was sorry but she yelled at me anyway and kicked me out."
"Ah, well," Usopp shrugged. "She yelled at me for getting tabasco in her orange juice this morning. Let her calm down now and tell her you're sorry again later. It's probably just the wrong time of the month."
"Yeah," Zoro agreed from where he was napping against the mast. "Just leave her alone for now."
"Wrong time of the month?" Luffy cocked his head at his sharpshooter. "What d'you mean?"
"Er..." Zoro promptly shut his eyes and rolled over to put his back to them, no help there. Usopp looked to the blue sky for inspiration, and found it. "I mean, it's the full moon, you know, eheh, makes people...uh..."
"Ah," Luffy said, as if he was enlightened. Usopp had about three minutes of relief—though in retrospect he really ought to have known better—whereupon Nami came out of the cabin, rubbing her temples and looking a bit seasick.
"Look, Luffy," she began, "About the parchment—"
"Are you a werewolf, Nami?" Luffy interrupted to inquire.
She blinked. "A what?"
"Does the full moon bother you 'cause you're gonna turn into a wolf tonight?"
Nami looked up at the sky. "What about the full moon?"
Before Usopp could intervene, Zoro, with his warrior's instincts for danger, hastily sat up and said, "Luffy, I bet the cook's almost done lunch—"
"Well," Luffy said brightly, "it's the wrong time of the month for you, right, Zoro?"
Sanji emerged from the kitchen in time to see the specks of captain and swordsman twinkle in the sunlight, far off on the horizon. "Nice trajectory, Nami-san!" he beamed. "Your punch is in particularly exemplary form today, you must be feeling especially fine!"
He had just the time to shriek his pleasure at experiencing it firsthand before he splashed down next to Zoro and Luffy.
"Definitely the wrong time of the month," Usopp muttered, and beat a hasty retreat to the helm to steer them in the proper direction to retrieve their crew.
Nami liked being a girl. She liked the attention it got her, liked the effect just breathing could have on men around her. She liked pretty things, and being able to wear pretty things and be admired for it. She didn't mind that people might underestimate her skill or her strength because of her sex, because that was an advantage, too—though none of her guys ever would make that mistake.
But dammit, these were her favorite sheets, 200 threadcount and soft as silk, and it was cold this early in the morning, and she had bruised her knuckles hauling up the bucket of seawater. Usually she would have just woken up one of the guys to do it, but then she might have had to explain why—and once in a while, much as she loved her crewmates, it was really annoying to be the only female onboard. Maybe their next member could be a woman, Nami thought, as she scrubbed hard with the soap; it would be nice to have someone who could understand—
She didn't even hear footsteps on the deck behind her, damn man could be quiet as a cat, and wasn't she supposed to be the thief? But Zoro was suddenly standing next to her. "Here," he said.
He was holding out a bottle of white vinegar, from the kitchen or Usopp's supplies. "It's good for getting out bloodstains," he explained.
Yelling at him might have woken up the others. "I guess you'd know," she said instead, and accepted the bottle.
He stayed there, peering down at the red swirls in the bucket of water. "Is there supposed to be that much blood?"
"Yes," she snapped, "it's not a papercut!" But when she looked up his habitual frown was a little fiercer than usual with the furrowing of his brow. It might just be curiosity, but in case it was more, she said, as patiently as she could manage, "Yes, it's normal. For me, anyway. I should've been more careful, but I wasn't thinking last night..."
And wasn't there some rulebook of the sexes that explicitly stated how all guys were supposed to react to this sort of talk? Apparently Zoro hadn't consulted that page, because he was showing no signs of unease, much less any thoughts of leaving and letting her finish cleaning it up on her own. In fact he crouched down next to her and, quite calmly, began to help, as if it were no bigger a deal than doing the dishes. Unable to come up with any logical protest, Nami didn't make one, and Zoro was as oblivious as ever to odd looks shot his way.
He didn't say anything until they were wringing out the water, and he asked, "So does it hurt?"
Nami groaned. "It can. Like a rusty sword to the gut—uh..." She glanced at her crewmate. Zoro was nodding with a thoughtful frown, and she shook her head, sighed, "Though I guess you'd know more about that than me. It's not that bad. Just annoying."
"What's annoying?" Luffy inquired, bouncing onto the deck like an unusually lanky rubber ball. "Are you hurt, Nami?" He stopped in front of her, folded his arms and looked her up and down as if verifying she had all her arms and legs. "Or is this about that werewolf thing?" Or else he was looking for where the fur was growing.
"It's not a werewolf thing, Luffy," Usopp said, joining them, "it's a woman thing—er," and he glanced nervously at Nami, "that is, it's. Um. Don't hurt me?"
Sun was barely up and her head was already aching, but Usopp's cringe almost made her laugh in spite of herself. "I won't, I won't. Luffy, I'm sorry about yesterday."
"S'okay," he grinned. "I'm sorry I knocked your stuff over. But you're okay now, right?"
"She's fine," Usopp said. "Uh," and he glanced at her again, "do you mind if I tell him?"
She shrugged, waved it off. "Sure, whatever. You can try, anyway." This was Luffy, after all; having had the duty before of educating their captain in esoteric matters such as scurvy and why hitting icebergs was bad for ships, she didn't envy him the lesson.
As she walked away she heard him begin, "Well, you see, Nami's a girl, that means she's a woman;" Luffy interrupted with an annoyed, "I know that!" and Usopp continued, "And women are different from men in a lot of ways, but one of the big ones is that they can have babies..."
Nami looked back long enough to catch Usopp's horrified look as he realized what he had gotten himself into. Grinning to herself, she left him to his self-appointed task.
By dinner that evening, he was still at it; Luffy had been more curious than bored, especially since Usopp had apparently been unable to resist his usual embellishments. Or else the storks carrying bundles of birds and bees was a complex metaphor that she might have made sense of, were it not for the full-blown migraine. She was unbelievably grateful when halfway through the meal, Sanji had declared there must be absolute silence, so that Nami-san might be able to fully appreciate the flavor of his soup. Truth be told, she didn't feel much like eating, but it was a good soup, and she owed him for the blessed quiet, enforced by him stomping on Luffy's foot until he stayed mute.
After dinner she returned to her desk to plot their course, but with her head pounding as it were she couldn't concentrate on the charts. She was debating giving up and going to bed when there came a knock on the door and Sanji descended into the cabin with steaming kettle on a silver tray. "I brought tea, Nami-san," he announced, considerately quiet, and poured her a cup. "I noticed you didn't eat as much as usual. It's mint and chamomile, good for your stomach, if it's bothering you."
"Thank you, Sanji-kun," she said, accepting the cup. She couldn't get annoyed at his attentiveness; it was hardly anything new. Though when he moved around behind her, she almost scolded him as his hands settled on her shoulders.
Then he began massaging, carefully but firmly, and she forgot what she was going to protest. "Mm..."
"Nami-san works so hard for this ship," Sanji mused, working at the knots in her shoulders with the same care he diced and beat in the kitchen. He might fight with his feet, but his hands were his pride, and his touch was gentle but certain. "You deserve a break once in a while. One of those jerks can navigate tomorrow."
"It's okay," Nami said, her eyes closed and her head dropped, leaning forward in the chair to give him access to her back. "It's my job as navigator. I'll be feeling better tomorrow anyway. Ahh, Sanji-kun, that feels wonderful. And if your hand goes any lower I'll knee you."
Her headache was subsiding, and she was more relaxed than she had been in what felt like years, and very well might have been. Idly she wondered if Luffy might have any questions for her, if Usopp ever finished his explanation. That would be, of course, if Luffy remembered any of it, and cared enough to ask, and actually understood that she was female, which, when it came to him, was something she had never been entirely clear on.
When she yawned and moved to stretch, Sanji immediately lifted his hands and stepped back. "Thank you," she said, sincerely. "It helped, a lot."
"You're always welcome," Sanji glowed, ecstatically, returning her teacup to the tray. "If there's anything at all else you'd like, Nami-san—"
"No, thanks," she said, reaching her arms above her head. "All I want now is to go to bed."
"Definitely." She yawned again. "Good night, Sanji-kun."
"...oh. Of course, Nami-san," Sanji said, picking up the tray. "Good night."
All the stiffness was gone from her shoulders, the tea had settled her stomach, and even the headache was only a dull soreness. Her sheets were clean and dry, and she noticed while putting her maps away that the charts, which tended to get scattered over the ship and misplaced, were all stacked on her desk—in haphazard piles, true, but there was enough organization that Usopp must have been helping Luffy with them.
It really hadn't been that bad a day after all. "Thank you," she said again, and Sanji on the stairs looked back down again. She smiled at him. "I mean it. You're the best friend a girl could have. All you guys."
After he had closed the door behind him, she changed into a t-shirt, blew out the lamp, and climbed into bed. Ignoring the creaking of the hull, the crunches of Luffy devouring something in the kitchen, the footsteps on the deck above as Zoro went through his evening exercises, and Usopp's voice trying to talk Sanji down off the stern where he was threatening to throw himself into the sea, wailing something about 'best friends', Nami closed her eyes, and went to sleep.
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