Fandom: One Piece
Word Count: 914
Summary: Usopp and Kaya have a late-night discussion about Usopp's life as the Pirate King's sniper.
The room was dark but for the light of two candles by the bedside. It was a moonless night, the sort of night that brings out every kind of spook and ghost to haunt the living.
"What is it, Kaya?" Usopp asked, sitting up slightly and letting the blankets slide down his bare torso.
"It's...it's not important. I just wanted to ask you..." she responded, hesitating slightly.
"Yes?" He asked, prompting her to speak her mind.
"I was just wondering...if you had ever...killed somebody."
Usopp did not answer immediately. He leaned back against the headboard and stared straight forward, exhaling deeply, and appeared to be consumed in thought.
"I'm sorry," Kaya said, looking away, "it was a stupid question-"
"Yes," Usopp said levelly. "I have. I've killed dozens, maybe hundreds, and that's not even counting all the ones on ships that I've sunk. I don't keep track. You can't be a companion to the Pirate King and avoid killing forever. It's just not possible."
"I see," Kaya said, rolling over to face away from him. She had had a feeling that that was what his answer would be, but she'd held out hope. She didn't want to think of Usopp as a killer.
"I don't enjoy it, and it's nothing to be done lightly," Usopp continued. "But sometimes...sometimes, there just isn't any other option. You get in a situation that simply cannot be resolved with either you or your opponent dying, and then you have to choose. And as for other times..."
Kaya said nothing, but listened to the silence as Usopp paused to gather his thoughts. When he spoke again, he was telling a story.
"Once we landed on an island ruled by a powerful mob boss, who held the whole of the island in his greedy clutches. Everyone on the island lived and died by his whims. We weren't on the island for five minutes before Zoro saved a small girl from his enforcers. They were trying to kill her because...I don't know why. I dont think we ever figured it out. Because they could, I guess."
"They left her with me while they went to fight the mob boss and his cronies. I kept an eye on her while the others were away. We had no idea where her parents were. We played on the Thousand Sunny's deck, and I told her my stories, and she had a great time. She couldn't have been older than eight years old."
Usopp paused again. Kaya got the impression that he was dredging up memories that he would much rather leave buried.
"One of the boss' hitmen managed to slip past Luffy and track us down. His name was Natu, and his body was like a horrible fusion of man and machine. Not a graceful combination, like Franky's cyborg body, but a haphazard slapping together of every killing device imaginable, attached to the frame of an enormous man. He looked like a monster, but he was not, although he would tell you differently. He was just an incredibly cruel man."
"Before I even knew he was there, he ran past me and killed her. Right in front of me. I stared into her eyes, saw the shocked expression as the life left her, impaled on one of his terrible claws. I was supposed to protect her, and I failed."
"I don't remember leaping to my feet. I don't remember drawing my Kabuto, or nocking a Firebird Star in the pocket. But I must have done those things, because the next thing I remember is firing it off at him with a scream of rage."
Kaya gripped the blankets tightly, and said nothing. Ever since returning to her, Usopp had said precious little about his life with the Pirate King. She had not pressed him, for she knew that if he did not want to talk about it there must be a good reason, but now that he was she would not stop him.
"When he saw this tiny man pulling out a slingshot to fight him, he laughed, but not for long. I don't think I've ever fought that hard in my life. I didn't just beat him; I took him apart completely. I hit him with every attack I knew, as hard as I could, never stopping or relenting until I had stripped away all of his armor and weapons and pinned him to the ground, an Impact Dial held to his forehead."
"I could have killed him. Maybe I should have. Every part of my mind was screaming at me to push down, to fire the Impact Dial right into his brain, to finish him off for good. But then I remembered you, and I knew how disappointed you would be in me if I killed a defenseless man like that, no matter what he'd done. And so I spared him, and held him prisoner until Luffy returned."
Kaya rolled again, pressing herself up against his body.
"You did that...for me? Oh, Usopp..."
"Well, I knew you don't like killing and-"
Kaya cut him off with a kiss.
"That may be the sweetest thing you've ever said to me, and that's including that poem you wrote for me on my birthday. And I know that it's all true."
"Really? What makes you so sure of that?"
"If you were making it up, you'd have called yourself 'Great Captain Usopp' at least once," Kaya said with a grin.
They both had a good laugh at that, and then Kaya leaned over and blew the candles out, plunging the room into total darkness, and they began to move against each other.
Cross-posted to one_piece, onepiece_fics, fanfic100 and my Fanfic Prompt thread.