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Family Don't End With Blood

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"(Name)-kun!" Sanji swooned, wiggling about the deck, searching for you. A small child, no older than seven, stirred. Blinking sleepily, you sat up. A snore had you looking up at a still-snoozing Zoro, he had taken to letting you nap with him. The swordsman had even let you climb into his lap and snuggle against him!

"There you are my love!" Sanji had a smile on his face until he realized who exactly was taking your afternoon nap with you.

"Oh my poor (Name)-kun! You must have had such an uncomfortable nap! I apologize for this brutes lack of concern." Sanji knelt down to pluck you away from the swordsman, Zoro's eye immediately snapping open as his hand whipped out to grip onto Sanji's wrist. His furious glare simmered down to mild irritation when his muddled brain realized it was just Sanji.

"The fuck's your problem? Let go of me shitty Marimo." Sanji hissed, pulling his arm away when Zoro's grip loosened. The swordsman yawned, scratching the back of his head as he stood.

"Whatever curly brow, (Name) still looks tired." The chef peeked down at you, your eyes were half-lidded and you were basically pressing yourself into the blonde's side. A stupid smile curled onto his lips as he observed your exhausted expression. Zoro cleared his throat to grab the blonde's attention, Sanji glared at him.

"What's your point moss-head?" The chef demanded, Zoro scoffed but held his arms out and open. The swordsman wanted Sanji to just hand you over to him.

"Hell no." Sanji sneered, shifting so you were more comfortable against the chef's hip. An adorable mumble of incoherent words past your lips at being moved, both froze. Sanji actually holding his breath as you blinked up at him, giving the chef a dazzling smile.

"Hi Sanji-kun." You chirped, wiggling a bit so he'd put you down. You continued to grip his hand though, his dazed blue eyes trained on your intertwined fingers. You yawned and noticed Zoro giving Sanji his usual scowl, he was in one of his grouchy moods.

"Roro-kun!" You waved happily at him, beckoning him toward you. His eye softened a bit as he stepped closer, you were the only one allowed to call him anything other than Zoro or how Robin addressed him. You had an array of nicknames and pet names for the swordsman, and he never seemed to be annoyed by any of them; especially your personal favorite, Roro.

"Roro, play with me!" You squealed, bouncing up and down in anticipation. Zoro raised a brow at you, his eye sharpening when his gaze flickered up to Sanji.

"Sure. How about we...wrestle?" Zoro suggested, you smiled and nodded enthusiastically, you always loved that game. You would always beat the Marimo. Your large, innocent eyes glanced up at Sanji and a lightbulb clicked on.

"Do you wanna play too Sanji-kun?" You asked, squeezing his warm hand. He looked down at you for a moment, then at Zoro. His face darkened as a chilling smile curled onto his lips.

"Sure. I'd love to play (Name)-kun..." Your brows scrunched as you observed the two tense and eager males.

"You guys wanna start? I'll wrestle the winner." You shrugged and both men seemed to freeze, thick tension wafting around the duo.

"You heard (Name) winner gets to play with her and the other can't say shit-" The blond yelped as a green blur smashed into him, the two officially starting their match.

"Remember guys...there's no: biting, pinching, punching, kicking, and absolutely no spitting." You shuttered, you had made that rule after Luffy had drooled into your ear cause you wouldn't surrender. You had cried for at least an hour as everyone took turns beating on the poor captain.

"Of course (Name)-kun!" Sanji called, grunting as Zoro managed to make the blond stumble back. Your head tilted to the side, Zoro and Sanji were super strong. You watched them struggle with each other for a bit before wandering off to go pet Chopper, it was your favorite activity (other than snuggling up next to the reindeer for a nap).

You checked the infirmary first, the faint sound of Zoro and Sanji yelling at each other comforting you. The room was empty and looked like it had been for awhile, you frowned and moved on to the galley. There was no sign of the doctor here either, but Robin and Nami were seated at the table. They greeted and coddled you for a good five minutes before you managed to slip away.

You wandered about on deck, pondering where to search next, you toddled along to the library. Pushing the door open, you startled. It was Brook, he was playing a soft tune on his violin. It was beautiful but so full of sorrow, it made your eyes well up with tears. You sniffled and the bone-man paused, head turning as empty sockets faced you.

"Oh, I apologize (Name)-kun...I did not know you were there." You shook your head and scrubbed your eyes with your sleeve.

"I'm fine, it was just...sad." You assured, poking around the seemingly empty area. Your body deflated when you found the room was, yet again, absent of a certain tiny doctor.

"(Name)-san, what are you looking for? Maybe I could assist your search, although I have no eyes to see! Yohohoho!" You cracked a grin at Brooks silly pun and your mood brightened considerably.

"I'm looking for Chopper." You stated, tipping your head to the side at the expressionless bone-man.

"Ah, I believe I saw him and Luffy with Usopp in his workshop." Brook nodded to himself, head turnimg to watch you scurry out of the room to find the reindeer.

Once on deck you hesitated, Franky had sternly told you that you weren't to go into the workshop. He had been worried about you hurting yourself, so you obviously agreed. You didn't want one of your nakama upset. Running footsteps caught your attention, you turned to see Sanji sprint around the corner; an angry Zoro on his heels.

"You played dirty shit-cook! That win doesn't count!" Zoro roared, one of his dangerous swords drawn. You frowned, thinking he shouldn't be rushing around with sharp things. Sanji caught sight of you and hearts burst from his eyes, Zoro just seemed to look more pissed.

"(Name)-chwan! I won against the useless Marimo. Now come, jump into my arms!" You giggled at his ridiculousness, but opened your arms as an invitation to pick you up. He just about died, squirming and cooing as he rushed toward you.

"I said, that wasn't a win asshole!" Zoro snarled, swinging his sword at Sanji. Your attention was diverted from the two when Luffy, Usopp, and Chopper walked into sight. They were giggling like schoolboys and poking at something that Usopp had made, so you decided to leave them be.

You turned back to Zoro and Sanji, who had stopped running to fight. Zoro shifted his stance and thrust Wado toward Sanji's midsection, but you knew the chef would either block or dodge. What surprised you was that he attacked, whipping his foot out while leaning out of the way of the sharp edge. The side of his shoe scraped against the back of Zoro's hands and the tip of the black dress shoe hit the hilt, ripping the blade from Zoro's grip and sending it forward with a clean sweep of his leg.

Straight toward where you stood.

Your eyes widened comically as Wado came hurtling toward you, there was no time to move. You weren't strong enough to block, your hands came up to sheild your face as the sword drew closer. Something warm and heavy coiled around your waist, violently yanking you to the left, your eyes shifting down to catch your own horrified reflection on the polished katana. It was only when you had slammed into Luffy that you registered the burning pain in your right forearm, the strange sensation of liquid rippling down your arm to drip off your elbow had you peering down.

It was red.

It was your blood.

"(Name). (Name) breathe." Luffy soothed as Chopper quickly looked over the deep cut to your arm, you couldn't seem to stop gasping. You couldn't get enough air, it was terrifying.

"It's about two inches long and looks pretty deep, I'll have to stop the bleeding and clean it before I know for sure if (Name) will need stiches." The tiny doctor squeaked, careful hooves gently prodding at the red skin around the aching slash. Zoro and Sanji were frozen, unsure of what to do. Luffy gave them both a stern look that clearly stated 'I'll deal with you later' before focusing on calming you down.

 

***

You had needed precisely fourteen stiches, Chopper had also said that there was a good chance that it would scar. Luffy had explained that Zoro and Sanji were in the galley being scolded by the crew as you got treated. The tiny doctor wrapping your wound with crisp white bandages before giving you the 'ok' to see the others.

You hurried up the steps to the upper deck, wanting to assure Zoro and Sanji that you were not mad at them like the others were. Like Luffy, who had a scary glint in his eyes every time he would look at the closed gash you had received.

You heard raised voices and mumbled ones when you finally got to the galley door, pushing it open with your good arm and stumbling it.

Everything went so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

Your eyes scanned over the crew, Zoro and Sanji immediately standing. Relief flooding their faces from seeing you up and moving about. Sanji was the first to stutter out apologies, Zoro looking very pale as his lone eyes stared intensely at the crisp bandages wrapped over your skin.

"(Name)-kun! I'm so sorry! I was being stupid-" Sanji moved to come closer to you, but Luffy stepped up to your side. The chef froze, face bleaching of all color as Luffy slowly shook his head.

"You hurt (Name), you hurt your own nakama." His voice was hard, eyes relentless and accusing. As Sanji and Zoro looked more distressed, you grew more furious. Luffy stepped toward them and you just...snapped.

"It was an accident!" You screamed, shoving Luffy's side and ignoring the pain that shot through your shoulder.

"They didn't mean to!" Luffy blinked, eyes wide as he watched the shaking child in front of him rage. You racked your brain for the words to describe the message you were trying to convey. Your eyes sparked, fire lighting up in those large pools as an idea hit you.

"It's no different from the time I threw Robin's important book overboard!"

It was a fairly nice afternoon, Robin had been resting next to Nami on the upper deck and you weren't in eyesight. Robin perked up when you toddled out from around a corner, a familiar book in your hands.

It was one of Robin's more ancient books, about the poneglyph language. Your eyes were intensely staring down at the incomprihenable scribbles, obviously interested in whatever secrets it held. Robin smiled to herself, debating whether or not to ask you to put it back. It's not as if you could read it anyway. But the way you held it so carefully, trying to understand what was written...it made Robin's heart swell.

"Hey! (Name)! Come play with us!" Luffy shouted, bouncing up and down with Chopper and Usopp equally excited beside him. You glanced up as the three rushed over to you.

"I... uh . Was looking at this book though." You mumbled, blushing when Luffy stretched his neck to peek at whatever you were reading.

"This is Robin's book." He quipped and you blinked in surprise. People should really give him more credit, he was more observing than he let on.

"But you can't even read it." Usopp pointed out, making you pout.

"Yeah, I know that. The language is pretty to look at, I don't have to understand what it says to appreciate it." You grumbled, spinning on your heel to stalk away.

Robin saw it coming before you did, jerking to her feet just as you tripped over Zoro's leg. The book flying out of your small hands and over the rail as you face-planted with an audible smack. Robin moved her arms to grab the book with her devil fruit ability when something made her freeze.

You had picked yourself up, face smeared in blood. Her breath stopped, the book all but forgotten as she rushed down the stairs. Robin ran straight to your side, heart in her throat. You were sobbing uncontrollably, making it hard for Chopper to get a clear answer out of you. Robin dropped down to her knees, worridly cupping your bloody cheeks in her hands.

"I-I'm so s-sorry! I'm so-rry ! Y-Your book-" You hiccuped and Robin's heart skipped a beat. Here you were, face covered in crimson from a bloody nose, and you were crying because you had thrown Robin's book overboard.

Her love for you swelled until she was nearly bursting at the seams with it.

Robin was quick to assure you that it was just a book.

"Or when Zoro injured himself because I wasn't careful going down the stairs!"

It had just rained the day prior, making the grass wet and slippery. So you, Chopper, Usopp, and Luffy took advantage of this and decided to play a hardcore game of tag. Zoro was resting on the deck, uncaring of the damp grass under him. His eye was closed, breathing even to give off the impression that he was asleep.

He listened to your rapid steps and excited squeals of laughter as you sprinted about to evade Chopper (who was currently it). His observation haki pulsed as he kept close tabs on you, he always did. More so on days like this, when it was wet outside. Rushed steps and harsh breathing had his gray eye squinting open, and there you were. You had whipped around the corner by the galley and scrambled toward the stairs, a heavy-point Chopper only steps behind you.

Zoro saw it coming before you did. He watched with a spark of unease as the tip of your right shoe hit the back of your left heel, throwing you off balance on the top step. He was already pushing to his feet when you tipped forward, heart leaping into his throat. He didn't waste a second, sprinting at your falling body. His heart beat spiked when you turned, preparing your shoulder to take the impact.

Everything seemed to move slower, Zoro's heart pounding in his ears as everything around him faded. He needed to catch you, he needed to have you safe. His foot slipped on the grass and his ankle rolled, he used the burst in momentum to throw himself forward. He ignored the sharp pain that radiated from his leg as his arms circled around your waist, twisting so his back is what slammed onto the hard wooden stairs.

Zoro grunted softly as he sat up, Chopper hurrying down the steps to make sure the two of you were unharmed. Zoro relaxing when you told Chopper you were fine thanks to Zoro. The swordsman wincing as the aching pain in his ankle registered, but it wasn't the worst injury he'd ever had.

"RoRo..." Zoro looked up from his foot, Chopper busy poking at it as the swordsman lounged on the steps. You looked upset, but immensely grateful.

"Thank you, I want to grow up to be as strong as you someday. My dream is to be just as amazing as all of my nakama. One day, I will earn the title as one of the Strawhat pirates." Your face was pinched and you looked like you were about to cry, but...it was your eyes that made Zoro's breath catch.

They were determined, and Zoro had no doubt that you would be an unstoppable force. You had a goal and the drive to get there. Zoro's chest flooded with pride, a new respect for you blossoming.

Zoro was quick to assure you that your dream was a great one.

"Or when I broke one of Franky's awesome inventions!"

There was a storm, forcing the Strawhats to rush around deck while rain pelted them. Franky was tying down loose barrels while you were inside sipping hot cocoa. Franky didn't mind, not at all actually. Chopper had said that since you were a child, you were more susceptible to getting sick.

That was all Franky had to hear before he firmly decided to keep you within the saftey and warmth of the galley. He'd check up on you of course, worried about if his little buddy had everything they needed. Plus he had left an invention in there, he didn't have time to bring it to his workshop before it had started pouring.

Drenched to the bone, Franky clambered up the stairs and pushed his dripping form into the galley. You were sound asleep at the table, head resting on your arms as drool dribbled out the corner of your mouth. His new invention sitting in front of you, as if you had been studying it. It made tears of happiness spring to his eyes, warmth filling him even though he was soaked with cold sea water.

He saw it coming before you did, his knees locking up as you shifted. Stretching your arms wide with an adorable yawn, one of your limbs hitting the sharp metal edge of the invention. You hissed and jerked, causing it to crash onto the floor with a loud crunch.

Franky found the will to move when blood welled up on your skin. He rushed over when you slowly sat up straight, leaning to peer at the hunk of metal on the ground with a depressed expression. Franky had a lump in his throat as he extended his smaller hand from his palm to gently grab your arm, examining the scrape with concern. It was an angry red with bubbles of crimson seeping out.

"...sorry." Your voice was small, but Franky caught it.

"I know how hard you worked on that." You choked out, Franky used one of his massive red fingers to push the side of your face; tearing your eyes from the now-useless chunk of metal to Franky's calm expression. He cracked a smile of understanding, pleased with your concern for his silly tinkering habit.

Franky was quick to assure you that he could build another.

"Or when I spilled ink all over one of Nami's maps!"

Nami startled when you burst into the room, shutting the door behind you with a heart-fluttering giggle. You turned and your eyes went wide, nervously shifting your weight from foot to foot.

"Did you need something?" Nami asked, finding your skittish behavior enduring. Her gut abruptly churning when she recalled that you were only uneasy around her.

"I'm hiding." You replied quietly, hand on the doorknob just in case she started yelling and you needed a quick escape. Nami noticed the small detail with a nauseating flip of her stomach, pressing her lips together.

"They won't look for you here, feel free to stay." Nami offered softly, turning back to her map but watching you out of the corner of her eye. The tightness in her chest eased as curiosity won you over, your hand sliding off the knob so you could start poking around the room. She observed how you were careful not to touch anything, your eyes wide with wonder as you scanned over the maps that hung on the walls. Pride bubbled up when you spun in a circle , excitedly looking around at all Nami's hard work.

She saw it coming before you did, tensing as you took a step back. Your lower back bumping against the table behind you, an almost-finished map of the island the Strawhats just visited hours before drying upon it. The open bottle of ink on the desk wobbled before tipping over. Dark liquid spilling all over the map, you spun on your heel and gasped as the mess splashed onto your shirt and hands. Nami stood with the loud scrape of her chair, her eyes as wide as dinner plates. She knew it wasn't healthy to get ink on your skin; but she was more worried about it being on your hands, which you ate your food with.

"Oops." You chuckled uneasily as Nami stalked toward you, expression distressed. But instead of going to the ruined parchment, she knelt down in front of you.

" Let's go find Chopper and get this stuff off you." Nami didn't even spare her black-coated map a glance as she unexpectedly picked you up. Not caring in the least as her own clothes were smeared with the dark ink.

"You're not mad at me for damaging your project?" You mumbled and Nami paused, the hand that was reaching toward the doorknob stilled. The navigator remembering how she usually screamed when she was angry, realizing with dawning guilt that her yelling was the reason why you were so twitchy around her.

Nami was quick to assure you that your well-being was more important.

"Or when I broke one of Brooks violins!"

Brook was on deck, in the tangerine grove playing his violin. It was a soft and soothing melody that had you cutely nodding off. Brook would have smiled at the adorable sight, if he had lips to do so!

"Hey Brook-san?" You mumbled suddenly, groggily sitting up. Brook stopped playing to give you his full attention, the soft scent of tangerines surrounding the two of you.

"Yes, (Name)-kun?" Brook questioned, curious about what you would say. You happened to be a very insightful child; unusually intelligent too, especially for someone of your age.

"Can I take a look? At your violin I mean..." You crossed your legs, hands loosely resting on your knees as you adamantly leaned forward. Brook tilted his head, comtimplating. His empty sockets just staring in your general direction, you swayed and waited patiently.

"Yes." Brook jolted a bit when you scrambled to your feet, eyes sparkling with excitement. His non-existent heart shuttered at the pure joy on your face, you had really wanted to look at it. Usually kids weren't very curious about instruments, more focused on playing like Luffy. You were sincerely interested in something that Brook dedicated his life to. Sure, he'd seen you asking the others about their dreams and goals...he just didn't expect you to be so eager to learn more about his too.

He wanted to slap himself for thinking something so low of you, of course you wanted to learn about all your nakama! His mind stopped functioning as you gently took the offered violin.

"It's beautiful..." You breathed, as if enchanted. The pads of your fingers running over the polished wood, a small smile curling onto your lips as you flicked the taunt string with your thumb and giggled.

He saw it coming before you did, your thumb moved to strike the cord again and there was a harsh snap. You froze as the string broke, staring down at the violin blankly. There were no islands nearby and Brook didn't have the supplies to fix it at the moment. Brook leaned down to slowly take the instrument from your limp hands to look it over.

"Yohohoho! My goodness (Name)-kun! You have quite the strength-" His teeth snapped together with a click as droplets of salty tears splashed onto your hands. If he could frown, he would have done so. It wasn't his intention to upset you.

"I-I broke it..." You whispered, your hands starting to shake. Brook set the violin aside and gently grabbed your hands with his own, the white contrast of bone to you own skin tone jerking you from your thoughts. You peered up into his eyeless sockets, your lower lip quivering.

Brook was quick to assure you that his love for music didn't revolve around an instrument.

"Or when I caused one of Usopp's gadgets to blow up!"

Usopp jumped four feet into the air with a girly shriek when you suddenly yelled 'BOO' into his ear. Usopp cleared his throat and brushed himself off as you howled with laughter, a lie slipping from his lips out of the instinct to protect what little dignity he had left.

You just nodded to his tall tale before changing the subject by asking what he was up to, the unexpected question had him freezing. His mouth hanging open in surprise as you curiously peered over his shoulder to look at the new invention he was working on. Usopp's chest warmed as he proceeded to explain that it used electricity to power things, like a smaller and less-powerful engine.

"Oh! What if we called it...a battery!" You squealed, gaining Sanji's attention. The blond glared daggers at the sharpshooter, a clear warning to keep you happy or else. Usopp laughed nervously, nodding in agreement with your idea. He was fine with letting you name it anyways, it made his pride for you grow.

You were very creative, even though you couldn't build things. Even though you couldn't create dishes, or preform new sword techniques, or read ancient languages. You were always coming up with new recipes that Sanji would cook. You would suggest difficult moves to Zoro as he trained and he would preform them for your eyes only. When you went into town you would always keep a lookout for old books that Robin read to you during nap time. You would draw cool designs for new inventions to give to both him and Franky, all of them helpful for something on the ship.

Usopp saw it coming before you did, your hand reached out to click the button on the end. It started to vibrate, Usopp heart lurching into his throat as the hair on his body prickled. He stood, grabbing the unfinished invention to throw into the air. It expanded before exploding, sounding not unlike a cannon.

The girls were on the feet instantly as flaming metal shards came hailing down, Usopp paling as they came closer to the two of you. Your grip on his overalls tightened as your wide eyes stared skyward, he was quick to grab the back of your head and tuck your face into his stomach as Zoro shot out of nowhere. He made a whirlwind with his swords and the shrapnel flew overboard, safely landing in the sea.

"Sorry..." You muttered into the cloth, a shakiness to your voice. Usopp nodded to Zoro in thanks, the swordsman's eye flickered from Usopp to you before he turned to meander off. Probably to tell the others there was no attackers, Usopp pried you off of him and knelt so the two of you stood face to face.

"Hey, I'm not upset." Usopp whispered, his face scrunching up at the sight of tears in your eyes.

"I ruined your hark work! Even after you gave me the super honor of naming it!" You wailed and Usopp's eyes nervously glanced up at the galley door, it stayed firmly shut.

"It's okay, you can help me design another, that was just the prototype." Usopp smiled, rubbing the back of his finger under his nose in that arrogant way that you found humorous. It made a giggle bubble up from your mouth, your tears drying up as a smile twitched onto your lips.

"Okay!" You nodded, lunging up to wrap your arms around his neck in a hug.

Usopp was quick to assure you that he could repair anything you broke.

"Or when I shattered one of Chopper's important medicine vials!"

Chopper was busy working on a new formula, a cure for a dangerous snake poison. The tiny doctor perked up when he heard two soft knocks at the infirmary door before it opened to reveal (Name) with a tray of sweets. Chopper eagerly hopped off his chair to rush to your side, the tray was tilting dangerously and your face was all red from the strain of the weight. He'd really have to have a talk with Sanji if he kept giving you too much to carry, and you were stubborn enough to decline help...even from Zoro.

A lump lodged itself into his throat when he pictured you getting injured from hauling around more than you could take, he quickly shifted into heavy-point and took the platter from you. He lifted it easily with one hand and received a blinding smile for his strength, he blushed from the silent praise. Chopper placed it aside, not being very mindful of where he put it. His whole body zeroed in on the panting child in front of him, obviously just now catching your breath. His attention completely captivated by you as you curiously looked around.

"Doesn't seem like a mad science lab now that I look..." You mumbled and Chopper snickered in amusement.

"I'm a doctor, not a scientist." Chopper smiled at the bright flush that heated your face.

"I know that!" You grumbled, moving past his massive furry form to climb onto the chair to reach the treats.

Chopper saw it coming before you did, your elbow knocked into the beaker with the clear liquid. It slid a few inches, tipping right off the table to break upon impact with the floor. Glass and antidote spilling everywhere; but Chopper's first thought was about how relieved he was that you were still seated on the chair, safely off the ground. Your comically wide eyes peered down at the mess as Chopper shrunk back into brain-point to have an easier time cleaning the glass shards up.

"That wasn't important...was it?" You asked, looking worried.

"It was an antidote for a specific type of fatal poison." The little doctor shrugged his furry shoulders, pleased that his medical journal wasn't damaged. The formula was neatly scribbled inside, so he could always try again. Maybe even make some helpful adjustments-

"I didn't mean to." The apology had Chopper's thoughts coming to a shrieking halt, wide brown eyes snapping up from the notebook to where you silently sat.

"I know. It was my fault, I carelessly put the tray there." Chopper carefully put the journal on a nearby counter, moving to get a dust pan.

"But that antidote could've saved a life..." You muttered, staring at your hands with a hollow expression. There were small scars littering them, the mis-colored and deformed skin traveling all the way up to your elbows. You tended to be a self-destructive klutz, always getting yourself into dangerous situations. Chopper's breath left him when he realized your thoughts were spiraling into darker territory, so he quickly abandoned the mess to cup your face with his small hooves.

Chopper was quick to assure you that he could replace it.

"Or when Sanji hurt his hand when I stole a Fire Star from Usopp!"

You giggled mischievously as you tossed the strange ball up and down, walking through the tangerine grove to avoid being spotted. You could still pick up the multiple conversations on deck though.

"What are you up to, (Name)-kun?" Sanji asked curiously, picking fresh tangerines to make some treats for you and the ladies. His brow raising when you quickly hid whatever you had in your hands behind your back. He left it alone for now, opting to skillfully peel a ripe tangerine to hand to you. You watched his fingers work in fascination, eyes sparkling childishly.

"Ooh, amazing Sanji-kun! You're so talented!" You praised, making Sanji's ears flush a light pink. His heart skipping a beat as you gratefully took the peeled fruit to munch on, you never asked for anything. You only took what you were given, not even a picky eater like some of the other crew members. He wondered what your life was like before Luffy had found you in that shipwreck. Sanji's stomach twisted at the dark possibilities, he had seen the scars on your body. The whip marks on your back, the burn wounds on your collar, the slashes on your legs.

He remembered how it took Nami and Zoro the longest to befriend you. The blond was extremely surprised to see the Marimo putting in effort to have you comfortable around him, even going as far as seeking you out and sharing stories about his own scars. Sanji was even more pissed-off to hear that you had shared some of the origins to your wounds to the idiot swordsman.

"Hey (Name)-" He stopped when he noticed the grin on your lips, your eyes watching Usopp, Chopper, and Luffy. He could tell you were fiddling with something behind your back, the other holding the tangerine as you focused back on eating it. Sanji went back to picking, subtly using his haki to listen the the three idiots.

"...I made a new weapon! It's like a fire star but it has a timed explosion, I call it a fire grenade! Oh...wait. Where did it go..." Sanji's eyes widened with absolute terror, praying to whatever god was out there that you didn't have what he thought you did.

Sanji saw it coming before you did, he heard the click of a button before your body stiffened. The basket on his hip dropped to the ground as he sprinted forward, harshly grabbing your arm. He used the other to pry the small metal ball out of your grip, the clicking grew faster as he prepared to chuck it into the ocean. The noise stopped as it moved out of his hand, just inches away before it went off. Fire consumed his upper torso and he faintly registered your cry of pain.

He hadn't let go of you, he hadn't let you move away to a safe distance. His entire arm flared with agony as the fire dispersed, cursing himself for holding you hostage like that. Your left side was bleeding, crimson oozing down your forehead from where the fire melted your skin. You were unresponsive as he crumpled to the ground, cradling you with his free arm. The other hung in a bloody mess at his side, he lightly shook you and got no response.

"CHOPPER!" He screamed, trembling when your eyes refused to open. He deserved the worst punishment possible, putting you through pain like that. Chopper clawed onto the tangerine grove, getting a boost from Robin. The tiny reindeer paling at all the blood he found, both yours and Sanji's.

"(N-Name) won't wake up..." Sanji choked out, letting Nami pull him away. She was mindful of his mangled arm, Sanji's heart squeezing when Chopper placed his head to your chest. Chopper's expression was unreadable as the crew awaited news and direction.

"Zoro, take Sanji to the infirmary. I can't move (Name), I don't know what the damage is." Chopper's eyes were filling with unshed tears as Zoro clamped a hand onto Sanji's good shoulder, the cook violently shrugged it off with a pointed glare. Everyone froze when you shifted, a groan leaving your lips. Your eyelids fluttered and Sanji was there, dropping down to brush your hair out of your face.

"Sanji?" You croaked and the blond gasped, a hysterical bubble of laughter bursting from his chest. Relief and guilt flooding through him as Chopper helped you slowly sit up. Your face drained of all color when you saw his arm, his precious hand.

"Oh my god...I'm so-" Sanji used his uninjured arm to curl behind your shoulders, crushing you into a tight hug. He nuzzled his nose into your locks and inhaled deeply, stomach flipping when he realized this could've been the last time he smelt your fruity sweet scent, heard your soft voice, looked at your smiling face. It made his eyes burn and his breath come short.

Sanji was quick to assure you that his wounds would heal.

"Or when-" A choked noise ripped from your throat, eyes welling with anguished tears, "...when a bandit ripped a hole into Luffy's treasure because of me." Your lower lip wobbled, sniffling as you recalled the horrible memory.

The Strawhats had just landed on a spring island, there wasn't a Marine base stationed on this particular island either, so there were more pirates, bandits, and thugs than normal. You weren't worried though, your nakama had decided to go shopping as a group. It was safer that way, especially when Franky volunteered to stay on the Sunny to make sure no one messed with their beloved ship.

On the bright side, the Strawhats were going to eat first because Luffy wouldn't stop whining. You silently thanked your captain, sticking close to the middle of the group as they all walked to the nearest restaurant. Nami slowed down so she was next to you, a playful smile on her lips.

"We need to stay together and Luffy won't slow down, do you mind holding hands with him (Name)-kun?" You scrunched your brows, eyeing an excited Luffy warily. You've seen first-hand how he behaved with the others when in a rush, but you really couldn't recall when he had ever done that sling-shot thing to you. You nodded hesitantly and Nami clasped her hands together happily, patting your head with a warm smile.

"You're a life-saver (Name)-kun, you get two desserts today." Nami rewarded and your mouth watered, you wasted no time to scamper to the front of the group. Your nakama giving you questioning looks as you hurried by, Luffy looked about ready to bolt as you reached out.

Most of the crew members paled as you laced your finger's with Luffy's, he immediately paused and looked down at you with a questioning tilt of his head. You racked your brain for an excuse, an idea hitting you when you caught a pirate staring.

"I'm scared, they keep watching me." You nodded in the direction of the blatantly staring pirate crew that was huddled around a shop. Luffy's gaze hardened, his protective nature sparking to life. His hand tightened around yours, his pace slowing to make sure you were walking at your own pace.

Nami noticed Luffy's hard gaze and her own eyes narrowed, they were obviously watching you; ugly smiles on their ugly faces. She gently nudged Robin and the elder woman nodded, she had already noticed. Sanji and Zoro had even stopped their bickering to level the suspicious men with furious glares, daring them to try anything. Chopper shifted into his deer form, letting your other hand absentmindedly pet his fur.

The Strawhats closed ranks around you, Luffy in the lead. The Strawhat's eyes swept over the crowd around them, everyone who even glanced at you was logged down as a potential threat.

Luffy saw it coming before you did, He side-stepped in front of you when some bandits got in their way. The tension in the air suddenly suffocating as the lead guy stepped forward, an arrogant grin curling onto his lips.

"How much for the brat?" He sneered and the Strawhats shifted, their eyes flaring with irritation at the asshole's bold question. Your eyes had glazed over, your grip going lax; as if you'd heard the words before, spoken by a different mouth...

"(Name) is NOT for sale." Luffy grit out, hat shading his eyes. The aura around him spiking, haki boiling just underneath the surface as the bandit moved toward them another step.

"Oh, come on. We probably have more uses for her than you pirates do..." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively and you sucked in a harsh breath, backing away to bump into Brook's legs. Your eyes were wide, frightened at the implications. The musician had a gut feeling that you had already been subjected to sexual advances, even though you were merely seven years of age. The rest of the Strawhats seemed to come to this conclusion too, their expressions darkening.

"Use?" The simple word sent shivers down your spine, you caught a glimpse of his eyes and paled at the white-hot fury you found brewing there. The bandit took yet another step and Luffy yanked you forward, placing you in front of him. His hands were clamped onto your shoulders, you gulped but sucked in a calming breath. You trusted your captain.

"Go ahead." Luffy's voice was even, and you repressed a shudder as the bandit blinked in shock.

"Oh, well thanks. I'm sure you're happy to be rid of such a useless child-" He reached out a hand, you didn't dare close your eyes as his fingers moved closer. The pads of his fingers brushing against the front of your shirt.

All-at-once, a green blur was behind the bandit, sharp sword resting on the bandits shoulder as the other katana was aimed at the group of the bandit's followers. Nami was on Luffy's right, staff out and harshly pushed against the bandits chest. Sanji was next to Zoro, cigarette butt crushed between his gritted teeth. Robin was to Luffy's left, her arms positioned and ready to start dropping people. Brook had his own sword drawn, the tip slightly digging into the bandit's side. Usopp on the other side of the bandit with his slingshot drawn back, loaded with a deadly fire star and aimed at his head. Chopper had grown into his heavy-point, resembling a towering beast as he stood tall beside you.

All their eyes projecting a warning that said if the bandit attempted to so much as breathe at you, blood and bodies would fly.

"What the fuck? Over one stupid bitch-" Luffy tilted his head to the side, livid eyes fixing themselves onto the frozen bandit. The bandit gulped, Luffy was by far the most terrifying of them all. The first time you had seen that expression was when a Marine had shoved you over just because you had bumped into them, you had even apologized to the Marine. Luffy had told Usopp to take you back to the Sunny, the sharpshooter plucking you up to do as ordered. That evening, you had watched the entire Marine base burn to the ground from the Sunny's grassy deck.

"Go ahead." He said again, a deadly threat in his cold voice. The bandit was shaking, his hand shifted. You had seen this trick before, the bandit had a weapon hidden up his sleeve. You saw the crazed look in the bandits eyes and quickly spun on your heel to shove Luffy back, his hat tipping off of his head as a gunshot went off.

The bullet tore through the straw as Luffy flopped back onto his ass, the hat floating down to rest on his lap. That bullet would have buried itself between Luffy's eyes if you hadn't pushed him out of the way, the bandit screamed as Zoro swiftly severed the hand holding the gun right off. Luffy's hands shaking as he peered at the hole, you pushed yourself up off his chest and your jaw dropped.

"Y-You're hat..." You stuttered, but Luffy said nothing, only plopping it onto your head before curling his arms underneath you to lift you up as he stood. He handed you off to Chopper, who took you as you clutched onto the brim of the precious treasure.

Luffy stomped toward the downed bandit, an insidious look in his eyes. Luffy was past the point of rage, a new level of emotion raging in his dark eyes. Cold enough to freeze lava, but hotter than hellfire itself with its intensity. He paused, turning his head to lock gazes with Chopper, who had taken a few steps back.

"Take (Name) to the Sunny and look after them." Chopper nodded at the order, Luffy turning back to the pitifully whimpering bandit laying before him.

When Chopper turned away to bring you back to the docks, Luffy was quick to assure you that they would be back by dinner.

"I may not have hurt my nakama physically...but I still managed to hurt you." You mumbled, hunching in on yourself, fingers hovering over the bandages on your arm.

"It will heal. I still trust them with my life and I don't blame them." Luffy peered down at you for a long time, a large smile pulling his lips up.

"I hear you." He snickered, pulling his hat off his head to plop it on top of your (h/c) locks. You grinned, anger fizzing out now that Luffy was back to his old self. You ran up to Zoro and Sanji, the two looking really awkward. You grabbed their hands and squeezed them in a reassuring way. Sanji immediately swooned, dropping down on one knee to blurt an ongoing stream of apologies and compliments. Zoro looking more or less content as he subtly stared down at the small hand, his own completely engulfing it.

You were even more important than their dreams.

 

***

The next few days were calm, your nakama keeping a close eye on you ever since your outburst. Sanji and Zoro's hovering was, by far, the worst out of all of them. They dotted on you constantly and rarely fought verbally in your presence...let alone physically.

You weren't stupid, you could tell tensions were high between the two. It made you upset when they ignored one another in fear of starting a brawl, they were nakama...they should be doing what they always did. They should be working together and interacting the way they knew how, it didn't matter if that meant non-stop fighting.

You actually missed the near-constant insults that were once hurled between the two strongest Strawhats. The ship void of any ass-kicking threats, no vulgar words exchanged in an almost-screaming voice.

You stirred your fruity drink half-heartedly, sighing when the wind weaved through the tangerine grove. The heathly green leaves rustling softly as if the universe itself was trying to soothe you. You abandoned your barely slurped drink to stare up at the crow's nest with depressed eyes. If you listened closely, you could actually hear the clanking of Zoro's heavy weights as he lifted them.

You smelt Sanji before you actually saw him, his smoking habit had become worse as of late. It seemed that he always had a cigarette in his mouth, the ashy scent sticking to him. It masked his natural smell of spices with only a hint of cigarette smoke. Your frown deepened even more as he came to a stop by your side, blinking down at the still-full glass of juice in suprise. The refill he had made for you in his hand, his worried blue eyes flickered up to stare at the side of your face.

"Was it...not to your liking?" Sanji asked hesitantly, taking notice of your sour mood.

"It was fine. Its just not what I want." You blinked up at the clouds with a dismissive shrug, hoping the chef could read in-between the lines.

"I see. I could try a different recipe, one that you recommended to me?" You sighed, pushing to your feet tiredly.

"No, I'm fine." You mumbled, brushing past him to head down to the deck to fetch Chopper for a nap. Sanji watched you leave in concern, this was about to be the third nap you have had today.

It was only four in the afternoon.

Chopper was easy enough to find, he was playing tag with Usopp and Luffy. You shuffled forward into the captain's path and Luffy came to a sudden halt in front of you. He tilted his head at you, something was off.

"Can I borrow Chopper?" You asked quietly, looking absolutely exhausted. There was something wrong with the feel of your aura, it was dim and almost...lifeless. Luffy's face twisted into confusion as Chopper toddled up to you, his doctor face on.

"Another nap? This isn't healthy (Name)." He squeaked, face falling at your lack of emotional response.

"I'm just tired." You sloutched, looking haggard.

"Uh-huh? What else do you feel?" Chopper was steadily growing more worried, Usopp and Luffy shooting his questioning looks.

"Nothing else." Chopper frowned, racking his memory for any diseases with no other symptoms other than sleepiness.

"That strange that you would feel only fatigue-"

"No Chopper, I mean that I feel nothing." You corrected, watching how the doctors face crumpled.

"Oh...oh no. Uh...Usopp, take a nap with her. I need to talk to Luffy and the others." Chopper fired off, dragging babbling Luffy along behind him to go find the rest of the crew. Usopp raised an eyebrow when he looked down at you.

"Do you know what that was all about?" He pressed, wondering what you'd say. Figuring you would probably laugh it off or something-

"No." The answer was clipped and hollow, filling the sharpshooter with dread. He really hoped Chopper could help make you better, no matter the disease you had.

***

"So why'd you call a meeting Chopper?" Nami asked, eye twitching in irritation. She had been in the middle of drawing a new map when the tiny reindeer barged in, demanding she hurry to the galley.

"This is serious." Chopper growled, eyes stern as he scanned the faces if his crew. Usopp had snuck away from you as you snoozed to join the meeting last minute.

"I think (Name) is depressed." Chopper blurted and everything froze, Sanji even paused his cooking to pay closer attention to the conversation.

"What makes you say that Doctor-san?" Robin inquired, brows furrowing with worry.

"She told me she feels tired and empty...nothing. She lacks healthly emotional responses and she wants of sleep constantly. Those are all very bad red flags that point toward a depressive state." Chopper fidgeted with his hooves, he strongly felt that this was what was affecting you.

"But you can fix it, right?" Luffy pressed, voicing the question they were all thinking.

"I...don't know. It's a mental disorder and something is causing it. (Name) is depressed because of something about their situation. What changed recently?" Chopper peeked up at his nakama, urging them to think back the last few days.

"Ya know, now that you mention it...(Name) had stated acting strange two days after Zoro and Sanji stopped talking to each other." Usopp informed and realization dawned on all of them. That was a big enough change in your environment to cause such dark emotion. Everyone turned their attention to the two shocked men in question.

"Has (Name) dropped any hints about how they were upset with your lack of communication?" Chopper was eager to clarify, his head already whipping up ideas on how to help you.

"(Name) tried to convince me to talk to the Marimo...I turned her down though. Gently of course!" Sanji confessed, looking very distressed. The two of them might've caused this entire thing.

"(Name) also came up to me and tried to get me to talk about the whole mess, I was...less patient with her pushing." Zoro muttered, eye flashing with guilt. He had blown up at you at least twice because you just kept bringing it up, reminding him of the wound he gave you-

"Well then we know what steps to take to fix this, yes?" Chopper leaned forward, a dertermand glint in his eyes that Sanji and Zoro didn't particularly like.

"Yosh! Let's do it! What do we do first!?" Luffy pumped a fist as he stood, the rest of the crew ready to do what it took to get you back to 100%.

***

You woke up to someone gently shaking you, your heavy eyelids peeling open to look at the brown blob above you.

"Chopper? What time is it?" You grumbled, fighting the urge to roll over and go back to sleep. You didn't want Chopper to worry, you were just...you didn't know actually.

"It's dinner time (Name)." You yawned and sat up, vision clearing as Chopper helped you to your sluggish feet.

"Oh. I'm not very hungry." You explained weakly, slumber pulling at your consciousness. You missed the frantic look the tiny reindeer flashed at you when you yawned widely, jaw creaking. Chopper nodded in understanding with a small squeak, leading you up the the galley.

Oddly enough, Chopper actually knocked on the door before entering. Everyone was already around the table, eating away. Chopper guided you to the seat that was between Zoro and Sanji's, it confused you even more that the chef was actually sitting at the table.

"Hello (Name)-kun! How was your nap?" Sanji gushed, peering at you more intently than usual. Or was that just your imagination?

"I wish I didn't have to wake up." You yawned, turning to your plate of food as Sanji's face paled. His panicked blue eyes seeking Chopper's, the tiny doctor had a pinched expression as he watched you interact. It was definitely worse than he had first thought.

"That's a pity, we're glad you did get up though." Robin piped up when she noticed the blond had nothing more to say, smiling at you warmly.

"I don't want to miss meals with you guys." You picked up your fork to poke at the southern rice dish. It was served with pinto beans, cheese, salsa, and some cornbread. It had mostly carbs, but made your mouth water and your stomach silently beg for food anyway. Chopper relaxed some from the serenity in your statement, scarfing down the meal offered as he kept close tabs on you.

"Play with me after dinner (Name)! We'll wrestle!" Luffy proclaimed around a mouthful of food, your eyes flickered up to his smiling face and you felt a tug at your chest.

"I...don't really feel up to it. Sorry." You shifted in your seat as Luffy paused his chewing, eyes fixed on your submissive posture.

"That's okay!" The rubber teen cheerfully assured, going back to quickly shoveling down plate after plate.

"Hey Zoro..." You placed your silverware down and turned to him, he looked surprised at the lack of nickname for a second before he schooled his features into his usual unapprochable scowl.

Nami's eye twitched at the sudden change of facial expression, nailing her foot against Zoro shin. He jumped and his glare moved to the soulless ginger. He managed to relax his face and grunted in acknowledgement.

"Can I stay with you when you train today?" There was a spark of hope in your eyes, making a lump form in Zoro's throat. He could only manage a nod, masking a strangled sound with a cough when you cracked a smile.

"Thanks." You breathed, finally popping a forkful of rice into your mouth. The Strawhats sharing a collective sigh of relief.

***

Zoro kept glancing at you out of the corner of his eye as he lifted his ridiculously heavy weights. You were belly down on the floor, humming a tune you had picked up from Brook as you colored. Nami had eagerly gifted you some extra paper while Franky made you some super crayons. Zoro wasn't sure what you were drawing, but you looked content while doing it; so Zoro kept his mouth firmly shut and just focused on working his bulging muscles to the max.

"(Name)-kun~" Sanji's voice crooned, muffled by the wooden hatch of the crow's nest. Zoro frowned when he noticed you had barely twitched, your mouth curling down as if the blonde's presence upset you.

The hatch door opened, diverting Zoro's attention to the beaming curly brow as he clawed his way in. One of his hands gracefully balancing a tray with your favorite snack stacked upon it, Zoro's brows pulled into a scowl as Sanji proceeded to swoon over you.

"What is my beautiful princess working on!?" Sanji placed the tray beside you and squatted down to peer at the drawing. It was better than what could be expected of a child at the young age of six, Sanji took notice of how you favored the blue crayon to draw with. He guessed it had something to do with all the blueprints Franky shows off to you. Sadly, you didn't have any blue paper or a white marker. But you made due with what you had, like a true pirate.

"It's called a bath bomb. I overheard Nami talking about how she wants a scented bath without the bubbles sometimes. They're going to be packed with different herbs and salts that disintigrate into the warm water. Giving it scent, among other things, without bubbles." You shrugged, scribbling some more as Sanji's jaw went slack. Zoro had even stopped lifting to blink one wide eye at you, completly floored by your unfailing ability to suprise the Strawhats.

"You're a genius my dear! Such creativity! I'd be honored to help create such a wonderful treat for Nami-swan!" Sanji gushed, turning into a wriggling noodle. Zoro rolled his eye, continuing his reps.

"I'm sure (Name) would rather have Usopp and Franky help curly-cue." Zoro muttered, stating a fact more than trying to pick a fight. Sanji rounded on the Marimo, eyes furious as he swiftly lifted a leg. Pausing in confusion when Zoro didn't move to grab his katana or defend himself. Sanji's eyes grew wide as he snapped his head around to look at your curious face, he sighed and let his foot lower back to rest on the wooden floor. His face was scrunched with frustration, body trembling from repressed anger. There was absolutely no way that Zoro was ever going to draw his katana with you in such close proximity, and there was no way Sanji was going to attack Zoro with the chance that you might be caught in the middle.

"Fuck off shitty Marimo. If (Name) weren't here I'd-" You drew in a sharp breath, scrambling to your feet to hurl the blue crayon in your grip at the chef. It harmlessly bounced off his arm to clatter onto the ground, fixing your furious gaze on the frozen blond.

"So now we're using me as an excuse huh!?" You sneered, eye twitching uncontroably. Your gut twisted, you expected better from him. Didn't he know how frustrated their stunted dynamic made you feel!? It felt as if you were holding them back, that you were in their way of growth and development!

Sanji's eyes flickered away, guilt shining clearly in his gaze. He knew what he said was petty and low, it only served to piss you off more. So you did what any, batshit crazy child pirate would do, you started yelling.

"Well don't let me impose! Feel free to kill each other! Cause I'm leaving!" Your voice rose in pitch as your eyes watered, but you refused to cry in front of them. So you swirled on your heel and ripped open the hatch, leaving your drawing supplies behind as you retreated to the library.

***

Sanji didn't get a chance to apologize before dinner since they were ambushed by Marines.

It was nothing short of a bloodbath.

Hordes of Marine soldiers spilled onto the ship like a cockroach infestation, Luffy easily picking out the Captian of the enemy vessel. Nami had put Brook in charge of watching you, the musician had to figure out how to get you safely to the enforced 'play room' Franky had built you after a lengthy discussion. There had been an incident a month or so ago where a Marine had tried to take you hostage while the Strawhats were busy fighting.

Your eyes scanned the battlefield, hand clenched around Brook's with your heart pounding in your ears. There was so much going on, everyone was cornered by mobs of seemingly never ending Marines. Familiar yelling caught your ear and you whipped your head around to find the source.

There, by the mast, Sanji and Zoro stood back-to-back. It was clear that they were struggling, their usually effortless teamwork strained and sloppy. They were lacking their usual chemistry, making more mistakes then they would ever admit to. There were too many times where one almost hit the other with an attack, it had already happened three times as you were guided around the deck by a watchful Brook.

"Oi! Watch where you're slashing, shitty moss!" Sanji screeched, a flaming foot kicking a Marine clean off the Sunny. You grit your teeth as Zoro growled back some sort of half-assed insult that sent you over the edge. You tore your hand away from Brook's and turned to sprint back toward the stairs leading to the upper deck. The skeleton skid to a stop, frantically looking around for your retreating form.

"Wait! (Name)! It isn't safe-" He was cut off as Marines swarmed around him, blocking his sight of your back. He was forced to fight, praying that you'd be safe.

You ducked and dodged through the battlefield, keeping under the Marine's radar as you ran. You needed to get to higher ground, you needed to get their attention before someone died. You grunted when you ran into a Marines leg, they looked down and the two of you made eye contact. It was clear by the way his eyes widened that he didn't realize there was a child onboard. He abandoned his group, who were attacking Nami, to chase after you.

You didn't give him time to catch up, pushing forward to scramble up the stairs. You scrambled around the galley and to the built-in ladder leading to the tangerine grove. Pulling yourself up with sweaty hands, nervous about the stunt you were about to pull. You briefly wondered how upset your nakama were bound to be as the bushes whipped by you.

You burst out the other side and jerked to a hard stop, chest heaving as you finally were given a clear view of the entire grassy deck. Your gaze immediately zeroing in on Zoro and Sanji, both of which were sporting minor wounds they could've avoided. Your pent up, seething frustration at the both of them boiled over and your eye seized up as you cracked.

"You...IDIOTS!" You screamed, the eruption echoing across the ship as everything stilled for a moment. Now you had both the Strawhats and the Marines attention...great. An ugly emotion that you recognized as fear made you stomach a churning mess, you were afraid. You were terrified that one of them would make a fatal mistake, that one of them might die because of a wound that they accidentally inflicted.

"(Name)!? Why are you up there!? Where's Brook!?" Concern and fright were blatant in Nami's tone, her grip on her weapon tightening. You clenched your fists and ignored her, not moving your eyes away from a gawking Sanji and Zoro.

"What are you doing!? Trying to kill yourselves!? Get your ass in gear! You have goals to reach, dreams to accomplish!" You flailed your arms dramatically, hearing the crunch of boots behind you before your injured arm was grabbed. Burning pain racing down to your fingertips as you were pulled away from the edge, you yelped in pain and immediately pulled against the tight grip.

"Hey! Leave (Name) alone!" Luffy yelled, getting a hard hit to the face when he was distracted. The captain of the attacking Marines grinning wide and malicious.

"Oh? So you care about that child? You there!" The soldier holding you still stood at attention. "Get rid of the brat." Instant yells of protest erupted from your nakama. The Marine looked down at you, clearly torn between following orders or leaving you unharmed.

You didn't let him decide, you jerked your knee up and nailed him right in the crotch. He made a choked noise and slumped forward, his grip on you loosening. You tugged free but his hip hit your head and sent you tumbling off the grove with him. He hit the ground in front of the galley door with a hallow thud, you landing on top of him with a squeak.

"(Name)!? (Name) are you okay!?" Sanji yelled, eyes pleading as you pushed yourself up. The Marine under you unconscious from the pain, you hopped to your feet as more Marines clambered up the stairs.

"(Name), I need you to jump!" Sanji's order had your eyes drawn back to him. He and Zoro were much closer to your position, the swordsman keeping the Marines at bay as Sanji extended his arms up toward you. The chef didn't even spare the Marines rushing at you a glance, as if they weren't even there.

There was nothing but worry for your well being in his ocean blue gaze, desperation making him naw on his lower lip. The sight sent warmth through you, your eyes brightening as a shy smile curled your lips up. Sanji's eyes widened in suprise at the joyful expression, he swiftly braced himself as you moved forward. You didn't hesitate to grab the rail and throw your body over it, a Marine snapping his hand out to try and snag the back of your shirt.

He missed.

You dropped down toward the blond, a sparkle in your beautiful eyes as he wrapped his arms around your waist. Spinning to smash his heel into a Marines face the second he had a good grip on you, the bastard had been trying to sneak up on him.

"You hurt?" Zoro grit out, Wado clasped securely between his teeth. His head turning slightly to glance back at you as Sanji placed you onto the grass. Now you were directly between them, both men having something to fight for. Someone to protect. Sanji lit up another cigarette with a fire raging in his gaze, pissed that a lowly Marine had wanted to take your life.

"Alright Marimo. Five minutes." His voice was calm, his stance casual...but his eyes told another story.

"Right." Zoro nodded sharply, deadly aura flaring back to life as the two compromised to work together.

A Marine lunged toward you and their reaction was flawless, Zoro moved to quickly slash the soldier's gut as Sanji nestled his shoe into their face. Sending the lifeless body halfway across the deck. Your emotions swirled like a hurricane as they moved together, a effortless dance between the two that never failed to take your breath away.

A choked laugh left you as tears dripped off your chin, you were feeling so much all at once. It was all so overwhelming, just watching them bicker and argue while delivering killing blows made you so, unbelievably, relieved. Like a weight had just been lifted off your shoulders, feeling better than you had in days as you sniffled. The seemingly permanent smile on your face making your cheeks ache, but you couldn't look away.

Luffy gained headway, using his fury from the Marine threatening his nakama as fuel to keep fighting. Soon enough, all the Marines were either unconscious or killed. Their ship was sunk, and the bodies were thrown overboard for the sea kings. Luffy ordered Chopper to look you over first, you only had a busted stitch from the Marines harsh grip. The tiny doctor was quick to patch you up, your nakama crowding around you in an instant.

"What the hell were you thinking! Doing something dangerous like that!" Nami shrieked, stern glare making you fidget. She noticed you unease and took a deep breath.

"You had me worried. Don't do that ever again." She muttered, but her hand gently brushed your hair back. Your gaze moved to Sanji and Zoro as they bickered over who had killed more, you brushed Chopper's hooves away and stood.

"You trying to piss me off!?" Sanji sneered, stomping his foot like a fussy toddler.

"You're just mad cause you lost, dartboard." Zoro snorted, moving his swords to block the shoe that tried to connect with his face. The two began to brawl, making a heart-melting smile brighten your face.

And if they happened to carefully keep track of where you were as they fought, you didn't mind.

It was a step forward.

And that was enough.