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Hallow's Eve

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Nami carefully arched the lipstick over the peaks of her cupid’s bow, letting the color touch slightly above her lips—not enough to be noticeable, just enough to make her makeup for the night a little special. Brook’s house party wasn’t exactly the Halloween Terror Night at the club she’d snuck into last year, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t still look nice.

Plus, Vivi was going to be there. The stray thought wandered into her mind and she banished it instantly, it didn’t do well to get worked up over a girl she hadn’t seen since high school. If Vivi even still remembered her, she’d probably not be too impressed with Nami’s listless post-high school career. Not that her high school career had been too impressive either, but, well. Still.

Frowning a little, Nami examined her reflection in the full-length mirror propped up against the wall. Bandana pinned to her hair; plastic cutlass at her waist; cheap costume shirt pulled down to reveal a mostly-appropriate amount of cleavage; tall black boots only a little scuffed. Not bad for something she picked out pieces for at Walmart two days before Halloween weekend. She’d almost just been a sexy cat again. 

She pulled out her phone to check the time and saw another one of Brook’s confusingly-emoticon-laden messages, reading See u all soon!! Between a pumpkin emoji and, oddly, a cowboy. Maybe he was dressed up as a cowboy, or maybe he just liked them. One never knew.

Old people are weird, whatever. She shoved her phone back into her pocket and then she was out the door.

--

The taxi driver was suitably creeped out by Brook’s Halloween decorations, asking her a few times if she was sure this was the right place, and she couldn’t help being a bit impressed herself. The old manor house looked abandoned, eerie mist creeping over an overgrown, cobwebby yard—but if you looked close enough, you could see warm light inside the boarded-over windows. She tipped the driver as much as she could afford as repayment for making him enter this ghostly realm, and he only somewhat reluctantly left her standing at the bottom of the drive. The air was a little cold, and she shivered in her cheap clothes, but it wasn’t frigid, just the correct temperature for a fall night.

She ambled up the drive and banged the knocker on the door until it was wrenched open suddenly and Luffy’s grinning face was peering up at her.

“Nami!” he yelled, and his grin was actually a bit disconcerting under the frankly too-realistic zombie makeup covering his face. (Definitely Usopp’s work, not his own). “Guys! Nami’s here!”

“We heard you the first time,” Zoro growled, but when she glanced over at him, he was smiling slightly.

“Nice werewolf costume, Zoro!” She grinned, grabbing him by the shoulder to spin him round— “Oh my god, you even have a tail. I gotta get a pic—” Zoro jerked away from her, scowling.

“It was Luffy’s idea,” he provided, his ears a little pink, as if that explained it. And really, it did, they all knew how insistent Luffy could get when he had an idea—and Zoro was a pushover when it came to him, anyway.

“Namiiii~” A ghostly, drawn out voice called and she jerked around— “Fuck, Brook, you scared me!”

“Language,” Brook reprimanded primly, offering her a novelty goblet filled with red liquid.

She didn’t take it, distracted by his…everything. “What...are you?”

“A zombie-skeleton-Viking,” Brook provided, slipping the goblet into her hand. “Obviously. Would you like some punch?” He wiggled his eyebrows, an odd image since half of his face was painted like a skull, the other with bloody zombie-rot effects, like Luffy’s had been.

“Is it spiked?” She asked hopefully.

“No,” he said, “But,” leaning in conspiratorially, “If you’re interested, I think Miss Robin is currently guarding an impressive quantity of red wine. Zoro has already began to indulge, as well.”

The knocker banged again and Brook jumped to get it. Nami called out her thanks as she headed towards the kitchen.

--

If the outside of the house was meant to look abandoned and uninviting, the inside was the exact opposite. Black and orange fairy lights led her down the hallway (lit with flickering fake candles) into the warmth of the dining alcove by the kitchen. Robin was there as promised, stately seated on a stool, a wine glass elegantly cupped in one hand. Her eyes were rimmed with black, skin greyed over, and the effect, paired with a long black gown (Victorian? Nami didn’t know about that sort of thing, but knowing Robin, it was probably either perfectly historically accurate or comically inaccurate), was genuinely unsettling. She was so startled by the dramatic curve of Robin’s body—surely there was also a possibly-historically-accurate corset resting under those layers?—that she barely registered that Robin was leaning back against Franky’s broad chest, and as soon as she did, she felt her face heat.

Ignoring her embarrassment, she chirped “Robin! You look so creepy!”

“Thank you,” said Robin, her calm voice ever-so-slightly smug. “Would you like a glass of wine, Miss Pirate?”

“What about me? I’m not creepy?” Franky complained, rising from where he’d been leaning against the wall, breaking the contact between him and Robin. She decided to ignore that his face was slightly red as well. What went on between the older members of their little group was definitely, definitely none of her business. 

Nami raised an eyebrow at his bright, cartoony version of Frankenstein's monster; his leg prosthetics painted green to match his colorful face paint and little screws attached to the side of his neck, hair up in a comedic pompadour. “Not exactly hair-raising. Plus I had to read that book in high school, and I don’t remember the monster being bright green.”

Franky laughed. “Someone’s gotta be presentable for the kids out trick-or-treating.”

“Right, all the kids out wandering the misty rural roads at 10 pm on a Saturday.”

Franky shrugged. “Well, Chopper counts as a kid,” he said, pouring her a generous glass from one of the bottles on the table. She was amused to see that even the bottles hadn’t escaped Brook’s Halloween rampage—they were all wrapped in themed paper.

She accepted her drink with a nod, sipping at as she asked, “Is everyone else here? I only saw Zoro and Luffy out front.”

Franky smirked. “Sanji’s in the actual kitchen” —he pointed to the closed door behind them that was free of decorations except for Sanji’s handwritten LUFFY KEEP OUT sign— “and I think Usopp’s in there too, badgering him about his costume.”

She nodded, she thought she’d sensed Usopp’s handiwork with Luffy’s and Zoro’s costumes.  

“It’s a mostly closed party, so the only ones missing are Chopper and Vivi, who’re coming together.”

Well, that was a surprise. Had they kept in touch this whole time? “She’s bringing him?”

“Yeah, she’s driving him.” Franky sipped out of his novelty goblet (so at least someone was enjoying the punch) “I think she felt weird about coming back to the group and wanted to contribute something.”

Nami frowned. “But that’s bullshit. She’s been at school, none of us expected anything of her…”

Franky smiled at her. “Well, of course, but you know how it is. If that’s how she wants to reconnect, there could certainly be worse ways.”

“I guess.” It nagged at her, though, that they’d let Vivi feel so disconnected that she felt the need to bring Chopper as some sort of peace offering. As she stood thinking it over, out of the corner of her eye she watched Franky lean close to Robin’s ear, whispering something to her that made her laugh, one of her elegant hands reaching up to cover her mouth.

It was an innocent enough interaction, but the air around her suddenly felt too warm, and Nami cut a hasty retreat into the living room.

--

Nami almost didn’t hear the clatter of the door knocker over Luffy’s overexcited screeching of the lyrics to “Monster Mash.” Something in her must’ve though, because she turned, almost instinctively, to look at the door.

Brook swung the door open, and through it she saw an excited small figure, and then a voice chimed; “Oh, sorry we’re late!”

There was a tricornered hat perched jauntily over her long blue hair and—god, surely not—but no, it was unmistakable. Vivi was a pirate, too; her red skirt hitched up on one side; tall black boots on her feet, toys guns tucked into her waistband.

“Hey,” Nami said, and waited for Vivi to turn around and see her.

“Nami!” Vivi exclaimed, letting go of Chopper’s hand as he ran off to say hi to Usopp, who’d apparently finally emerged from the kitchen. “Oh—” an embarrassed smile crept up on her face, and Nami’s stomach did what felt like several somersaults. “Oh no!" She laughed. “Same costume! Sorry.”

“I’d say this town ain’t big enough for the both of us, but it looks like I’m outclassed.” Nami gestured at her own plastic cutlass. “You brought guns to a swordfight.”

“It’s best to be prepared for anything, right?” Vivi’s smile had settled on her face. She was glowing, one delicate hand twirling a strand of hair around her finger. “Um—well, how are you, Nami. You seem—good—I mean—you look good?” She laughed at her own stumbling; in the past Nami would’ve thought she’d be embarrassed, but she didn’t seem to be, now.

“Thanks,” Nami said. “You look good, too.”

“VIVIIII,” a voice bellowed behind them, and Nami got to watch as Vivi turned, her smile blossoming even wider as she saw Luffy barreling towards her. Their overeager friend leapt at Vivi, pulling her into a big hug. “It’s been AGES!”

“I know, I know,” Vivi was laughing. “Sorry, Luffy, I meant to come over sometime, but you know, school.”

“Why are you here, then? Did you drop out?” Luffy was nothing if not blunt.

“Luffy, don’t be an idiot,” Nami said, but Vivi just giggled.

“No, I just came home for the weekend. My dad let me take the car and bring Chopper over, too!”

“Chopper’s here?” Luffy’s eyes widened and he released Vivi from his grasp. “It’s good you didn’t drop out, Vivi!” he called over his shoulder as he ran off, presumably to find and welcome the youngest member of their motley crew.

“He hasn’t changed,” Vivi commented.

Nami shook her head, taking another sip of her wine. “If you’re expecting him to, I wouldn’t hold your breath.”

“I like it,” Vivi said softly, fingering at the cape around her shoulders. “It’d be kind of disappointing if Luffy ever grew up, you know?”

That would truly be the end of something, Nami thought. “I guess,” she said.  

Brook reappeared in the room, going to hand Chopper’s coat up on the rack near the door.

“Hello, Miss Vivi, I trust you had an easy enough time getting here?”

“It was no problem, Brook.” She glanced sidelong at Nami. “Thanks for inviting me.”

Brook pursed his lips, shaking his head slightly. “There was never any question of that,” he said, gently. “You’re always invited, by all of us, although we know you have to focus on school.”

Nami threw an arm around Vivi’s shoulder, smiling at her. “Yeah, man, what he said. Hey, want some punch?”

Brook bowed slightly at the waist, arm pointing them in the right direction like an old-fashioned waiter (an action that did not match his haphazardly creepy appearance). “I think,” he said in a stage whisper, “that if you go now you may some Halloween treats as well.”

“Sounds great, Brook, thanks again,” Vivi called as Nami pulled them both down the fairy-lit hallway into the dining alcove.

--

The room was warm with people and with noise. Sanji—hair slicked back and dressed in a dapper black suit, evidently meant to be a vampire, the false incisors and painted blood stains indicated—was growling at a whining Luffy to back off, holding a tray of carefully decorated cupcakes over his head. “But I’m hungryyyy,” Luffy complained, and behind them both, Chopper was begging for a cupcake too, and Nami could hear Usopp yelling at Zoro to wake up somewhere in the living room. (She was truly forever impressed by his ability to sleep literally anywhere and through anything).  

At one head of the long table, Robin was pouring herself another glass of wine, smirking slightly and making no move to intervene in the squabbles of her younger friends. Franky was equally pretending to be oblivious, setting out napkins and filling goblets with punch. He passed one to Vivi, with a gentle smile, and she accepted it and retreated back to Nami’s side, watching the chaos (and it truly was that, Nami thought as Luffy knocked a pile of plates off the counter) with the fond smile of someone who didn’t have to constantly live with it.

Nami watched as Brook appeared behind Luffy, Usopp and a grumpy-looking Zoro in tow. Robin silently offered him a glass a wine and he accepted it with a grateful tilt of the head.

“Aren’t you all getting too old for this?” The tall ‘Viking’ said, as Zoro entered the fray when Luffy ordered he get a cupcake for him.

“Vivi and I were just saying that Luffy is an eternal child,” Nami offered.

Brook tipped back his glass with surprising eagerness. “Well,” he said brusquely, “As long as he doesn’t destroy my house, I suppose it’s fine. It’s a holiday, after all.”

“He’s like this all the time,” Nami pointed out. Vivi giggled a little, her tongue peeking out of her pink-painted lips as she laughed. Nami’s heart lurched again, and she only vaguely heard Franky beside her offering to fix anything Luffy destroyed.

“Hey,” Nami said, to distract from the blood pounding in her ears, “want an, uh—eyeball?” She grabbed one of the little pastries Sanji had made and offered it to Vivi, who looked at it somewhat suspiciously. “It’s just cheese, and a cucumber for the iris. Sanji makes them every year because everyone likes them so much.”

Vivi deigned to try and it her eyes widened. “That’s a lot more impressive than my peeled grape eyes!”

“The benefits of being friends with a chef, huh?”

Said chef had finally managed to corral Luffy into a chair away from the cupcakes, and the next thing Nami knew she was being ushered into a seat at the table by an eager Chopper, his orange costume hood flopped back so he could eat freely. Vivi graciously let him pull out a chair for her— “Thank you, Mister Pumpkin!” “You’re welcome, Miss Pirate!”

The food was all delicious and once you accepted the rowdiness of the group it became almost...soothing. Vivi was so clearly charmed by everyone’s antics after her time away that Nami couldn’t even find it in her to snap at Luffy when he pulled ‘leftovers’ (aka things she hadn’t scarfed down instantly) directly off her plate. There was enough for everyone, and after a few more drinks Brook was cajoled into getting out his violin and playing a song for them all.

Nami remembered Vivi being too shy to sing along, but this time her voice joined them proudly, clapping the rhythm out with all of them, in the warmth and clatter of the false-candlelit room.

--

“Nami, come on! We’re watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” Usopp called from the hallway.

“No thanks,” Nami said flatly, lying one of her cards on the table. “I said I’d watch a scary movie, not a cartoon.”

“But Nami,” Usopp said, sounding scandalized. “Chopper’s here!”

“So?” she said, just to be snide.

From the seat across from her Robin smiled, placing her own stack of cards on the table. “Well, Nami, I’m sorry to bail on you, but I already promised Chopper that I’d watch it with him.”

“Aw come on—hey, Franky, not you too—” Nami protested as her second card partner laid his own hand on the table as well.

He shrugged. “Sorry, little sis.”

“Don’t call me that, old man!”

Franky surreptitiously flipped her the bird and she gasped in mock-horror. “Vivi, did you see that? Chopper could’ve been exposed to such vulgar gestures!”

So?” Franky smirked, clearly mocking her earlier tone as he followed an amused Robin out the door. Vivi laughed from her seat beside Nami. She hadn’t been playing, just sitting with them and watching her old friends talk. She’d taken off her hat at some point, and Nami was trying not to stare at the cascade of waves that was her hair draping over her shoulders.

“Do you wanna watch it too?” Nami asked.

“If you don’t want to, I’ll stay with you,” Vivi answered easily, and fuck, Nami was so far gone.

“Well,” she said hastily, “come back into the foyer, you haven't seen half of Brook’s decorations.”

--

Vivi was suitably impressed by the large holograph paintings lining the walls—those ones that looked normal from a distance, but if you got to close, became twisted and disturbing. Nami had turned off all the lights except for a fake gas lamp and a small strobe-effect light, and by the time Vivi looked at the last—and bloodiest—picture she even looked ever-so-slightly scared.

“Do you need the light back on?” Nami teased.

“Shut up,” Vivi said, shoving at her shoulder a little. “I know it’s not real. This house is a bit creepy though.”

Nami nodded. “I don’t believe in ghosts, but if I did, this is the kinda place I’d think was haunted.”

“You don’t believe in ghosts, huh?”

“At least I don’t until I’m in my apartment alone at night and I hear like, literally any noise.”

Vivi laughed a little and it no matter how many times she heard it, that laugh was still sending a shock up Nami’s spine, had her heart racing. Get a grip, girl, she told herself sternly. Through the wall, she could vaguely hear the sounds from the TV interspersed with commentary from Chopper (and soft replies from Robin).

“I’m glad you came to this party,” Nami said softly. “We haven’t seen you in a long time. Everyone missed you, you know.”

Vivi’s eyes flickered to Nami’s face, and then down to the floor between them.

“I missed you guys, too. I was worried it might’ve seemed like…oh, I don’t know.”

“Might’ve seemed like what?”

“Like I was—abandoning you. Going back to the real world.” Vivi was still looking at the floor. Nami watched the strobing lights flash on and off her forehead.

“I know we’re a bunch of weird, messy people—” Vivi made to protest and Nami shook her head, “no, it’s cool, we are—but we live in the real world, too. Everyone here gets that you have to be concerned about school and family, too. Even Luffy gets that.”

Vivi raised her head to look Nami in the eyes, her dark gaze heavy. “I...knew that, I think, all along. But now I really feel it. It’s like no time has passed, even though I feel different now.”

“I feel different too,” Nami said. “That’s growing up for you, I guess.”

Vivi was so close to Nami that she could almost feel her breath when she spoke.

“I do know that you guys live in the real world, but it truly does feel like...” Vivi smiled, brushing a strand of hair away from her face. “Like stepping into a fairy circle.”

Nami cocked an eyebrow. She couldn’t seem to look away from Vivi’s face. “Aren’t those the ones you get trapped in forever until your eventual death? Jeez, tell us how ya really feel.”

Vivi laughed and Nami was close enough to see the way her eyes crinkled at the corners. “A friendly fairy circle, then. You can go as you please but it’s always there when you return.”

“We are here. I—I’m here.”

Vivi nodded, her eyes flickering away from Nami’s eyes, then flitting back. She bit at her bottom lip a tiny bit; unsure, but not nervous.

After a night of a racing pulse, Nami felt calm, now, oddly calm. Her mind was quiet in the dim, flickering light, still glancing its light patterns against Vivi’s skin. Then Vivi let out a little breath, and it was like the sea roared back behind Nami’s ears, and every bone in her body was screaming at her, Don’t let this chance get away! For the first time that night—for the first time with Vivi—she listened to that instinct; she leaned in. It took only a few inches, and then her mouth was against Vivi’s, and everything was noise.

Vivi kissed her back. It wasn’t hesitant but it wasn’t forceful; just a kiss back, warm lips against warm lips. “Oh,” Vivi breathed, and her quiet whisper boomed in Nami’s ears like thunder. Fuck fuck fuck. What are you doing?

Nami pulled back, feeling her eyes go wide, knowing she looked out of it, but— “Fuck, sorry.”

Vivi was staring at her, wide-eyed too, breathless.

“That was—uncalled for.” Nami managed. The noise was still everywhere. She couldn’t read the expression in Vivi’s eyes in this dim light. “I—” she staggered through the words. “I need some air. Sorry.”

Nami turned on her heel and yanked the front door open, slipping through it in one quick movement. Behind her, Vivi said something, but she couldn’t hear what.

--

Outside, the night air prickled against Nami’s bare arms; the temperature had dropped again since she’d arrived. The cold was good, a shock to her over-excited system. The noise that had been roaring at her died down after a minute of two, and she was stuck standing there, feeling absurd that she’d so overreacted, embarrassed that she’d blatantly panicked, and unsure if she should return inside to apologize again.

She rubbed at her arms and sat perched and uncomfortable on the top step of Brook’s porch. The fog—real now, not dry ice—had settled low, so she could look straight out over the disorderly yard, down the long drive, to the empty road lined by naked trees.

The door shuffled open behind her, but she didn’t turn around.

“Hey,” said Vivi, coming to stand beside her. “It’s cold. Here, I can—”

Nami looked up and Vivi was undoing the neck of her cape. Vivi smiled at her. Her face was a little flushed, from the temperature change or the kiss Nami didn’t know. “My cape is literally just a blanket with clasps on it,” she confided to Nami. “My dad helped me sew them on.”

She sat down beside Nami and tossed the cape around Nami’s shoulders. It was soft and warm and Nami pulled it around herself. She turned towards Vivi, still not meeting her eyes. “Your dad knows how to sew?”

“He knows everything.” Vivi was staring off into the trees like Nami had been. “He told me to come here tonight.”

“Wow, Cobra encourages underage drinking?”

Vivi laughed and shoved at Nami’s shoulder, some of the tension dissipating into the October air.

“No,” Vivi said. “But he does encourage reconnecting with friends. He very much encourages that.” She was looking at Nami and smiling, and Nami wanted to bend away under the pressure. Avoidance wouldn’t be the right thing to do; Get it together, girl, she told herself for the second time that night.

“I’m sorry,” she said. She wasn’t sure what, even, it was that she was apologizing for—kissing Vivi or for running away from it?

Vivi sighed a little and her shoulders slumped, leaning forward against her palms, easy and open.

“Don’t tease me,” Vivi said, her voice soft.

“What—”

Vivi turned to look at her, and Nami saw the determined set of her brow even as she nervously chewed her lip. “Don’t…flirt with me over text, and don’t kiss me, if you don’t mean it.”

Nami’s mind raced to keep up with this unexpected direction. “I wasn’t teasing you—flirting over text?”

Vivi leaned in, voice raised a little in now-apparent frustration. “You were! You never text me and then when you do, you say stuff about us and then the next message you laugh it off as if it was just a normal friend thing. You—” her voice stuttered, and she was blushing, now, “—you kiss me, and you literally run out of the house.”

Nami took a slow, even breath. “I wasn’t teasing. I thought that you, you weren’t interested—you never said you liked me that way—”

“You never gave me a chance to!”

Nami held her hands up in defeat. Her mind was stuck so stubbornly on one aspect of this conversation that she didn’t care to stop to defend herself. “Wait, so, you’re saying you do, uh, feel that way…?”

“Yes,” Vivi whispered, “you idiot,” and then Nami couldn’t protest, couldn’t move a muscle, because Vivi’s lips were against her own for the second time that night.

It was warm. Vivi’s whole body was warm, and her blanket-cape was soft around both of them, a barrier between them and the cold and fog. Suddenly Nami could move again and she pressed her mouth forward, cautious still but wanting. Vivi gasped against her mouth, and then her hands were on Nami’s jaw and neck, her fingers playing at the ends of her hair.

Time passed like nothing; Vivi pulled back a few inches and it could’ve been minutes but was probably only seconds.

“Better than teasing, right?” Vivi said, and her voice was light but Nami could hear a bit of nervousness beneath it.

“Yeah,” she said, turning her head a little so she could kiss Vivi’s palm, still playing at her neck. “A lot better.”

Vivi nodded, a little opened-mouth smile playing at her lips. She ran her thumb over the curve of Nami’s jaw, then over her lip, leaning in and—

“VIVI!” came an excited young voice from inside the house, and Vivi and Nami snapped apart.

“Vivi, are you out there?” Chopper called again.

“Fuck,” Nami groaned, leaning back on her palms and laughing a little at the adrenaline rush that the surprise interruption had spiked in her. 

“Shh!” Vivi hushed her, sliding away from Nami a bit so there was a non-suspicious amount of space between them. “We’re here, Chopper,” she called.

The large door creaked open. “We…? Oh, hey Nami!”

Nami nodded at him. “Hey, Chopper.”

“Are you guys looking at the stars? You can see Saturn, too, you know?”

Vivi smiled, patting at her lap. “Can we? Come sit and show us, it’s chilly out here.”

Chopper grinned and easily hopped down, sitting on her knees and letting her draw her end of the cape around him. Nami arched an eyebrow at Vivi and the other girl shrugged. Nami knew what she meant--the moment had broken, their circle once again expanding to hold everyone else.

Chopper pointed up, finger tracing from the sliver of the moon to a small bright spot. “Saturn,” he said, voice soft in awe of the celestial beings. “From my telescope, I can see the rings, too.”

“Wow, would you let me look sometime?” Vivi had one arm around the boy’s shoulders, holding him close. Her other hand drifted beside her, thumbing at Nami’s hand. Nami intertwined their fingers, loosely, and leaned against Vivi’s shoulder as Chopper excitedly outlined all the things he could show Vivi in his telescope.

--

Chopper eventually remembered that he had come to tell them the movie was over, and Nami couldn’t get over that—that everything had changed, so deeply, in the timespan of one cartoon. But then, maybe it hadn’t changed that much, she thought, watching Vivi guide Chopper back inside. They’d been headed towards something; Nami truly hadn’t meant to tease but she could no longer deny that she’d been flirting.

The foyer was warm and festive. Someone had turned the lights back on, and their friends were milling about in it.

Chopper was pulling his sleeves down around his fingers. “It was cold out there!”

Brook’s head poked out of the dining room. “Would you like some hot chocolate, Chopper?”

Chopper glanced up at Vivi, who pushed him forward a bit, smiling. “Go on! Better go now before Luffy hears about it and drinks it all for himself.” As if on cue, Nami heard a muffled Hot chocolaaaate? from the other room, and Chopper scampered off.

Vivi turned back to Nami. “I…should probably go soon. It’s pretty late for Chopper, and it’s a bit of a drive.”

The awkwardness between them had mostly dissipated, but Nami couldn’t help but squirm under the bright lights. Was it just her, or was Vivi’s lipstick still a little bit smudged?

“Right, I understand,” she said. “Look, it was—really good seeing you.” Vivi almost smirked, and Nami held up a hand. “Hey, not just because of that.” Her voice lowered. “Though that was good too.”   

“Yeah, it was.” Vivi laughed. “No, you’re right. I’m really glad I came. I was nervous, you know.”

“You shouldn’t have been. You’re still part of this dumb group we have.” And as Chopper made his way back into the foyer, an orange paper cup clasped in his hand, the rest of their friends behind him—it was so obvious that Vivi was a part of them. How Vivi could’ve doubted it—how Nami could’ve thought she’d forgotten them—was suddenly unfathomable.

Chopper was clearly starting to lose energy so the goodbyes to Vivi didn’t take too long; affirmations that they’d enjoyed her pressure and requests that she return as soon as she could. Robin offered her abandoned hat back, and then Vivi was out the door, waving and promising to see them again sooner rather than later.

Without Vivi and Chopper, things felt a bit calmer (although they weren’t quieter, as Luffy was still there). Nami had another glass or two of wine as she finished out her card game with Robin and Franky. Usopp and Zoro joined them for several rounds as well, and then the next thing she knew it was truly late and Brook was politely but insistently asking them to leave his home, please-and-thank-you.

--

Nami was still a little tipsy from her late-night wine when the taxi dropped her off at home. Humming to herself as she pulled off her bandana and belts, the realization that she’d made out with Vivi, what the hell, finally started to hit her and she flopped down onto her bed and pulled out her phone. Despite how much further away she lived, Vivi was definitely home by now, maybe already asleep. Still, wouldn’t hurt...Nami tapped open the contact.

hey, fun time tonight!! happy halloween. also—to clarify, not teasing, here—do u wanna go to a movie sometime? I know you’re busy, so u can pick the date

She couldn't help but grin as she laid her phone back down. She wasn’t even sure what kind of movies Vivi liked. They'd known each other for years, but they still had so much left to learn. Beside her, her phone chirped.

hey, Vivi's text read, with a little smiling emoji. not teasing either—yes, i’d love to.  

Nami’s heart skittered a little in her chest, but it wasn’t overwhelming, now. She closed her eyes, and let the happiness fill her. The tomorrows between them stretched out in front of her into the night, miles long. They had plenty of time.