As the night went on, Vivi listened to the noises from the boy's cabin next door slowly get quieter and quieter.
Things never completely died down on the other side of the wall, she could still make out the sounds of snoring and murmurs
as the boys slept.
It was quite soothing in its own strange way. Listening to Luffy demand yet another meat dish in his sleep
took her mind away from the weight that rested on her shoulders. As devoted as she was to Alabasta, it was nice to feel some
of that dark cloud that had been over her head for the past two years lift a little.
Just yesterday she had been sharing accommodation with Mr. 9 at Whisky Peak under the invisible yet ever-watchful
eye of The Unluckies. Now, twenty four hours later, her title of Miss Wednesday was gone. She was back to being Princess Vivi
and was travelling back to her homeland with a small band of pirates.
At least they called themselves pirates. They were certainly nothing like Vivi had ever seen before, especially
"Hey, Vivi," before the princess' mind could start puzzling over the energetic ball of rubber that was Luffy,
a voice broke into her thoughts. "You should be getting some sleep. It's been a long day."
It was the navigator, a girl called Nami. Now that the excitement of Whisky Peak and their encounter with
Miss All Sunday was over, they were sharing the same bed, (for Nami had insisted that the floor wouldn't do for their guest).
Vivi wore borrowed pyjama's which, according to Nami, looked adorable on her. So adorable that she wouldn't charge for loaning
"You'll get used to that noise in no time."
"Oh, I don't really mind," Vivi twisted around a little so that the side of her face rested on the pillow
and she faced Nami. "I was just thinking that ... well ... Luffy isn't at all like any other pirate captains that I've seen."
"You think so too huh?" Nami grinned, one of the corners of her mouth turning up a little further than the
other. "That's pretty much what I thought when he first told me that he was going to be the pirate king. I found it very hard
to believe. Sometimes it's easy to forget that this is actually a pirate ship, isn't it?"
"It is," the princess nodded, thinking about each one of the present crew of five. None of them were like
typical pirates at all really. "But I still like it here. Everyone has made me feel welcome. I even feel a little happier."
"Luffy has the effect on people. It's practically impossible to stay depressed for long while he's around,"
said Nami. "Once he grins at you and tries to swipe food from your plate then you can't help but feel a part of things here."
"No, no," the words spilled out of Vivi. She shifted down into the covers, tugging them over her shoulders.
"I started feeling like that when you first hugged me. When Igaram... I mean when he..."
"It's okay," Nami's hand snaked up under the covers to give her shoulder a comforting squeeze, letting her
know that she didn't have to continue explaining herself.
"It ... it shocked me," Vivi could feel herself start to shake. "When you hugged me I mean. Because I ...
you ... I wasn't expecting..."
"It's okay," the navigator said again, her tone soothing as she squeezed and rubbed the princess' shoulder.
"Try not to think about it too much. He did that so that you would be able to get home safely. That's what we've got to focus
on now, okay?"
There was no reply from Vivi except a small hiccupping sob from the back of her throat. She buried herself
deeper within the covers.
"Don't worry," Nami followed her down, pulling Vivi into another hug. "Go to sleep. And if you need any more
hugs from me, just ask okay?"
There was another soft whimper from Vivi before the blue-haired girl returned the hug, clutching at the material
that covered the navigator's back.