Chapter 1: The first mate
Zoro was feeling a bit delirious when she first met the future pirate king. She had been stripped of her swords and tied up to a post in the middle of the marine compound, out in the baking sun. She had lost all feeling in her arms and sweat was constantly pouring down her face from the heat. She had a wild look about her already, her narrow eyes and rough appearance giving her the nickname “The Demon”.
She was going to endure this unrighteous punishment, see it out to the end. Not that she would ever tell anyone outright, but she had been captured while saving a young girl from one of the marines. They made a promise with her however, and she only had to endure one month tied to a post.
It was there, as her muscles were cramping from the strained pose, that she caught sight of a man watching her from atop the surrounding barricade. The man had a young face, perhaps he was an older teen like herself, and wore a straw hat on his head. He was talking to someone else on his side of the wall, but Zoro couldn’t quite catch the conversation. She had the feeling like she was being mocked, however.
As the man jumped the barricade and lazily made his way over, Zoro read his expression. There was a look in the man’s eyes, bright and expecting.
“I’m Luffy and I’m going to be the pirate king!” The man announced, sticking out his hand towards Zoro for a shake. Zoro just stared at the idiot.
“…little tied up here, Pirate King.” Zoro replied as she jerked her chin towards the ropes.
“Oh right! Huh, you must not be very strong if you’re all tied up like that.” Luffy mused, tilting his head to the side. Zoro twitched.
“I’m going to be the world’s strongest swordsman.” Zoro growled, gripping her hands into fists. The movement of her muscles made the ropes groan from strain. Luffy’s face brightened once more.
“Perfect. Welcome abroad, first mate!” Luffy congratulated, once again raising his hand. He caught on quicker this time though, and instead patted Zoro’s head. Zoro snapped her teeth, trying to bite Luffy’s hand off.
“What the hell are you going on about?! I didn’t agree to nothin’!” She snarled back at the man, who was cracking his knuckles and looking at the marine base beside them.
“I won’t settle for less than the best.” Luffy’s arm suddenly shot forward, stretching easily ten times longer than any arm or body part should. “Oh yeah, it’s a trap, they’re just going to kill you tomorrow.” He grabbed the top window with his stretched-out arm and shot forward, crashing into the building, as Zoro’s jaw dropped in shock.
“What the actual hell…” Zoro muttered, as she watched the building get tore from the inside out from random explosions here and there, as well as the occasionally flying marine. It was a trap? They weren’t going to keep their word? Weren’t they supposed to be the law? Zoro felt her anger slowly rise through her chest. She watched the chaos ensue, her anticipation building.
After some time, the human rubber band had returned with her swords in his hands.
“Catch!” Luffy called, tossing them towards the bound swordswoman. She tried her best, snapping her teeth, but was instead struck in the face with the scabbards of her swords. Luffy winced.
“Oops, sorry.. uh… I got this!” Luffy replied, picking up one of Zoro’s swords. Zoro strained her hand, pulling away from the rope as much as possible to give him a better angle to cut the rope. She waited. The cut didn’t come. She looked up horrified to see Luffy brandishing the sword towards the oncoming marines.
“Ah! No! Me! Cut me free!” Zoro yelled at the man, who was slashing madly in the air in the general direction of the marines.
“Oh right.” Luffy turned abruptly and swung at Zoro’s ropes. His cut went a bit further than he intended, slicing through part of Zoro’s shirt. Luffy’s eyes widened and he paused, the lightbulb going off in his head.
“You’re a g—” He started, pointing at her, but her dark glare cut him off.
“Not another word…” She warned, swiftly pulling her green haramaki over one shoulder, so it draped to cover the exposed skin. Luffy nodded and moved his hand across his mouth, mocking a zipper.
“Looks like I’ve won yet again.” Kuino leaned against his practice sword, looking down at the fallen young Zoro.
“It was just a lucky hit!” Zoro replied, pushing herself off the ground and rubbing her sore leg. Kuino laughed.
“Just give it up. It’s so pitiful to see you fail again and again. You’re a girl, you can’t compete against a men’s strength.” He told her, nudging at her with the tip of the practice sword. She slapped it away.
“Gender has nothing to do with it! I’ll show you! I’ll be the greatest swordsman ever!” She yelled, tears streaming down her face.
“Then why’s it called swords-MAN? Huh?” Kuino teased, prodding at her again.
Now free from her bindings, Zoro picked up her swords, placing the third one between her teeth, instantly stopping the oncoming swords of the marines. She spun on her heel, knocking them back with force as she finally stood up straight, looking down at the rubber man. Luffy whistled in appreciation as he took in the scared marines, scrambling to get to their feet.
“Pass!” Luffy shouted, waving his hands out.
“I didn’t ask for your opinion.” Zoro replied, turning her eyes to the remaining marines. “But I repay my debts, and it doesn’t look like I’m going to be on the right side of the law anymore. Whatever. Just don’t get in the way of my dream.” Zoro then dashed towards the marines, making quick work of them, while Luffy cheered her on. He stepped in when the big boss appeared, also defeating the man quite easily. Zoro crossed her arms, watching and clearly impressed by the man’s abilities.
As the boss dropped, unconscious, Luffy and Zoro turned to each other. Luffy’s goofy grin reappeared and he offered his hand once more.
“What do you say, eh, first mate?” He questioned, and Zoro found herself smirking as well.
“Sounds good, Captain.” Zoro replied, taking the man’s hand and giving it a sturdy shake, before collapsing to the ground. Luffy gasped and grabbed her shoulders, shaking her quickly.
“Did you already die!?” He asked, as her head hit the ground with every shake.
“Mmm.. hungry..” She muttered.
Chapter 2: Enter the Cook
AN: I don't plan to rewrite the entire series, so some parts will be summarized. The parts of the series that I do cover will be entirely rewritten in my own way. This may cause plot holes later on, but this story is written with the assumption that the reader is a one piece fan and has read/watched the series. You can also assume things that I skip have already occurred exactly how they occurred in the one piece universe.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Pretty nice ship, Captain." Zoro raised her hand, blocking out the sun as she gazed on the double decked ship in the bay. It was freshly waxed various crew members were bringing food up as stock.
Luffy glanced at the ship she was appreciating.
"I said left, didn't I?" Luffy asked, looking down at his hands to double check. "Yeah, left. This way." He grabbed her arm and pulled her over towards a tiny boat off to the side. It was so small that it barely reached the dock itself, and could seat two people, max. He gestured to the boat proudly. Zoro stared a moment, then started to turn on her heel but was still being gripped by the rubber man.
And thus, their adventures began. Despite their earlier confrontations, Zoro found it pretty easy to get along with Luffy. They both enjoyed food, had goals to become the best, and didn't really care what others thought of them. She also appreciated his strength, as odd of a type it was. He also never brought up what he had seen earlier. He treated her like a swordsman through and through.
Their adventures together landed them two more crewmates pretty quickly. It was obvious that they both lacked any sort of directional skills, so when a sassy girl appeared and called Luffy "boss", he immediately grew attached. She was also a girl with a goal, as well as incredibly smart. She was a bit money grubby, but Zoro could tell she had a kind heart. She made their boat rides very amusing at the least and brought the basic sea survival skills that the other two lacked.
The next addition to their crew was a bit unconventional to say the least. The proud liar, yet excellent marksman: Usopp. Immediately recognized as the son of an old friend, Luffy quickly claimed him as his own. He also was a great companion to Luffy, following along with his more childish ideas.
Zoro had been enjoying their life on the sea so far. They had gathered a unique, but impressive crew so far, and quite a beautiful ship as well. She enjoyed trying to out drink Nami on cool nights and watching Usopp tinker with little inventions as they sailed the sea. She spent most of her time napping, granted, but she felt at peace. With Luffy and his crew, they kept running into dangerous people, which thrilled Zoro. That meant opportunities to test her strength and get stronger.
The next task on their list was to find a cook. Though they were able to stock up pretty well on food, none of them really had a talent for making anything beyond a piece of meat between two pieces of bread. Luffy was happy to experiment though, but after Zoro got food poisoning from eating one of Luffy's "Clam and Jam Fun Hams", they realized their situation was quite dire. So, this brought them to the restaurant on the sea, the Baratie, which was a large ship shaped like a fish.
The crew all gripped the railing, staring at wonder as they approached the large ship. Zoro's stomach growled and Luffy was drooling. It seemed finding a cook was going to have to wait until they all had food in their stomachs.
Their anticipation changed to dread as their Captain managed to piss off the head cook fairly quickly. The restaurant drew many people across the seas, so civilians, marines and pirates alike, all came to this establishment. The cooks were pretty famous themselves, having been former pirates and tough as nails. So the crew of the Going Merry could only watch in exasperation as their Captain inadvertently lobbed a cannon ball at the restaurant and got himself roped into paying for the damages by working it off.
"It's been quite a while, you don't think he's gotta work it off for like a month, do you?" Zoro asked her crew mates as they lazed about on the deck, waiting for Luffy's return.
"Honestly, that's probably exactly what happened." Nami replied, frowning.
"Well, whether that's the case or not… why don't we grab some food?" Usopp suggested to the grins of the other two. They unanimously agreed and headed inside.
The restaurant was quite nice and seemed a bit upscale. Every table had a nice crisp tablecloth, and most of the patrons were wearing suits or fine dresses. This did not dissuade the straw-hat pirates and they sauntered in like they owned the place. A few customers grimaced at their appearance. Zoro's clothes still had dried blood on them and Usopp was scratching his armpit as they took a seat at one of the empty tables.
One of the waiters came over quickly and took their orders, glancing between them as if trying to see if they posed a threat or not. Nami was tilting her glass, inspecting it. Usopp had just realized his hands were smudged from working with oil earlier, and he wiped them on the tablecloth. Zoro was leaning her chair on its back legs and shoving one of the complementary pieces of bread into her mouth. They certainly didn't have manners, but he'd seen far worse. The waiter left to get their food.
"So, where's Luffy?" Zoro asked as she chewed the last of her bread, looking around the room.
"There!" Nami shouted excitedly and pointed at their captain, who was wearing a cute pink apron with ruffles. "Hey errand-boy!" Luffy jumped, startled, then rushed over to the group.
"You guys are eating while I'm working?! Selfish jerks!" He shouted, banging his hand down at the table as they all burst into laughter at his own expense.
"We weren't the ones who put a hole in the roof." Zoro pointed out as their food arrived and was placed in front of them.
"We're crew mates, so what's yours is mine and what's mine is yours!" Luffy declared, suddenly grabbing one of the drumsticks that was on Zoro's plate.
"That's mine asshole!" She shouted back, grabbing the end of the bone sticking out of Luffy's mouth and started pulling it back. She pulled too hard and Luffy ended up on the table itself. Luckily Nami and Usopp had the foresight to pick up the remaining food before it was ruined.
"Mmmph iph mores!" Luffy tried to retort with his mouth full of turkey leg.
"The hell it is!" Zoro replied, swinging the drumstick up and down, trying to get the captain to let go. Luffy finally released the bone and slumped to the floor. But alas, there was no more meat on the bone. Zoro was about to jump her captain when they were interrupted by a voice as smooth as honey.
"My my my… heaven is surely smiling down at me today! Why if my eyes don't deceive me, it seems an angel has just fallen down from her cloud and graced us with her presence today~" Said the voice. Its owner was a tall man in a sharp suit who had made his way over to Nami with a bright smile and a lovesick expression. Nami looked amused more than anything, especially since he was filling up her cup with some expensive looking wine.
"Hey, can I get some of that too?" Usopp asked, holding out his cup as well. The man's expression changed sharply as he glared at the long-nosed pirate.
"That'll be fifty thousand Beri." He replied coolly, holding out his hand for the money.
"Wait, you're not making her pay? That's gender discrimination!" Usopp growled at the man. The man pulled out the cigarette from between his lips and let out a stream of smoke into Usopp's face.
"You're talking to the sous chef of this restaurant, long-nose." The chef retorted, reaching down and picking up Usopp's plate. "And I see you haven't finished your mushrooms!" He shoved the rest of the mushroom down the poor pirate's throat.
"Oh now now, don't fight just because of me, boys~" Nami called out, batting her eyelashes and giving an over pronounced pout. The cook immediately turned face and skipped over to her, clasping her hands in his.
"Anything for you miss~" He replied in a sing-song voice. He stood to head back into the kitchen to get Nami some free dessert when he noticed Zoro. She had been watching the whole incident now that she was back in her seat and had finished what was left of her food quickly before Luffy could steal it. There was a smudge of mustard on her chin. The cook spun on his heel and walked over to her, swiping the condiment off her chin and bringing it to his own lips.
"It seems there were two angels…" The cook remarked, giving her a once over with his eyes. Zoro's face immediately turned red and she dropped the cup she was holding. Luffy, Usopp and Nami burst into uncontrollable laughter. Zoro looked absolutely mortified and instinctively drew her sword from its sheath to maim the chef before she felt Luffy's arms slip around her own from behind, holding her back.
"Easy, this is Sanji. He's going to be our cook." Luffy replied between laughs. Sanji was a little taken aback by the laughter of the crew. Sure, this swordswoman was a bit rough around the edges, but she was still quite beautiful. It seemed like there was something he wasn't getting. He felt a soft hand on his shoulder, and he looked over to see Nami's grinning face.
"That angel… might have a pretty face, but he's definitely a guy." She replied, removing her hand to try and stifle her laughter more.
AN: Thank you for taking the time to read. I appreciate all kind comments and constructive criticisms. Also, if you have any questions, please let me know. Thank you!
Chapter 3: Battle of Baratie
AN: Due to the flow of the story, I couldn't find a good break for the chapter at my usual page count. So instead, please enjoy this extra long chapter :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Easy, this is Sanji. He's going to be our cook." Luffy replied between laughs. Sanji was a little taken aback by the laughter of the crew. Sure, this swordswoman was a bit rough around the edges, but she was still quite beautiful. It seemed like there was something he wasn't getting. He felt a soft hand on his shoulder, and he looked over to see Nami's grinning face.
"That angel… might have a pretty face, but he's definitely a guy." She replied, removing her hand to try and stifle her laughter more.
The cigarette dropped from Sanji's mouth onto the floor. Zoro was a man? He squinted his eyes at Zoro's face. Sure, Zoro was wearing quite the glare and seemed to be snarling at him, but… Sanji's eyes wandered lower and he was rewarded with a kick in the face from the lady-pretending-to-be-a-man herself.
"What's that? You switching sides eh, eggplant?" Called a gruff voice from behind. The head chef, Zeff, was watching the incident with an amused look oh his face.
"Like hell I am! I was just… argh… look at him! He's too pretty!" Sanji argued, gesturing towards Zoro as he picked himself up off the ground, looking uncomfortable.
"You.. think Zoro is pretty..?" Usopp could barely manage to say, he was laughing so hard. Sanji's face turned red from embarrassment.
"Try living with him a bit and your opinion will quickly change when you see him pick at his toenails." Nami replied, rolling her eyes. Sanji grimaced at that and gave Zoro one last look. Zoro was glaring daggers at him and cracking her knuckles while Luffy kept his arms around hers just in case she tried to attack him again.
"Must've been a trick of the light..." Sanji muttered, running his hand through his hair and turning away from Zoro. As if to save his manhood, he quickly turned his attention to another lady customer and headed in her direction. He was cut off though when the head chef blocked his way.
"You should take the boy's offer. You're always causing a mess around here, flirting with all the customers and serving shit meals." Zeff told the cook.
"The hell you just say? You insulting my cooking old man?!" Sanji snarled back, grabbing the chef's collar. Zeff grabbed Sanji's arm and easily twisted it before kicking him halfway across the room, crashing into the Straw hat's table. Luffy let go of Zoro and held out his hand to help Sanji up. Sanji pushed himself up and brushed himself off, ignoring his boss. He looked at Luffy's hand and grabbed his arm, pulling him into the back of the restaurant.
The other straw-hat pirates exchanged glances.
"Well... that was delicious! Sanji got my bill, right? Great! Bye!" Nami quickly waved and dashed out of the room, leaving a stunned Zoro and Usopp. They moved to follow her, but a rather large cook stepped in front of them.
"Here's your bill, sirs." The cook said, handing over the paper. Zoro looked at Usopp. Usopp gulped.
Two days passed of Zoro, Usopp and Luffy all working off their various types of debts. Each one had been kicked out of the kitchen over the course of the past two days. Luffy was kicked out for breaking every dish and eating the food. Usopp was kicked out for not shutting his mouth and Zoro was kicked out for throwing knifes.
Sanji interacted with the straw hats on a regular basis. He talked to the others when needed, but surprisingly ended up spending most of his breaks talking with Luffy about the open sea. Though he was still vehemently against leaving the restaurant.
The early afternoon found them in the dining room of the restaurant completing their various tasks. Usopp was taking orders, Zoro was scrubbing the floors, and Luffy was not touching anything or speaking to anyone. This, surprisingly, was the hardest task, and Luffy was still being scolded regularly by the chefs.
Sanji did find himself staring a time or two at the swordsman. Now that he saw her in action, scrubbing the floors or sprawling out in random places to take naps, he didn't know what had made him think she was a girl before. She was crude, lazy and had a near permanent scowl on her face.
But… she enjoyed his food. Sanji relished whipping up unique things for the pirates to try at every meal. They were always grateful, and it was one of the rare times he was able to see Zoro grin broadly. Similar to Luffy, when food was on its way, there was a shiver of anticipation that went through her. He found himself putting in his best effort for those meals, even if it meant taking time out of his break.
Of course, as soon as the food was set down though, they all turned into savage monsters and Sanji had to pull his arms back quickly in fear of losing a limb.
"Oi, slow down. You're supposed to taste food, not inhale it." Sanji remarked as he sat at the table with Nami and the others.
"It's a lost cause, Sanji-kun. When food is in front of them, they can't concentrate on anything else." Nami replied, with Usopp nodding along with her. He had pulled his food close to his body, guarding it as he ate. Sanji sighed happily and flashed her a smile.
"Oh, lovely Nami-san~ You are a beauty among beasts. It tears at my heart to think that you must suffer being surrounded by these brutes…" He cooed, refilling her free drink. He then turned back towards the so-called brutes. He eyed Luffy for a moment, then pictured Luffy biting his hand off if he tried anything. His eyes then landed on a certain swordsman.
"Oi, moss head, didn't anyone teach you manners?" Sanji asked, reaching over and snatching the woman's plate and pulling it away. Zoro swallowed the food in her mouth and narrowed her eyes at the cook.
"I was eating that." She said, capturing the cook's gaze.
"No, you were shoveling it down your gullet." Sanji replied blandly.
"Why do you care how I eat food?" She asked, snatching at the plate. Sanji leaned his chair back, holding the plate out of her reach.
"Who made this food? Oh right, it was me! Show some respect! At least taste it first!"
"I did taste it, curly brow! It's delicious, there, happy? Geez why you trying to fish for compliments?" Zoro sneered back, reaching across him to snatch the plate.
Nami saw her chance. She lightly kicked the back legs of Sanji's chair. Still a bit stunned that Zoro admitted to the food being good, Sanji wasn't paying attention and fell back with Zoro falling forward from the momentum as well.
Zoro was an experienced fighter, however. Not to be tricked with a simple prank, she caught herself easily, rolling and landing in a crouch beside the cook. Sanji stared up at her, a bit dazed at what had just happened. He quickly realized that his head didn't hit the floor with an expected loud thunk, but instead hit something soft. Zoro sighed and removed her hand from the back of his head, shaking it out as she stood up.
"Heh, figured it would be heavier than that. Must not be anything inside." She smirked down at the cook. Did she just protect his head? No wait, she just insulted him. Sanji jumped to his feet and as quick as lightning, slammed his foot into the wall beside her.
"What's that meathead? Are you insulting my intelligence when you probably couldn't even distinguish between sea salt and table salt?" Sanji retorted, lighting a new cigarette and placing it in his mouth.
"Uhh.. I don't think anyone could normally do that…" Usopp added helpfully from his seat at the table. He was promptly ignored.
Zoro looked down at the smoking impression beside her that Sanji's foot had left and she raised an appraising eyebrow. It seemed this man wasn't exactly an ordinary cook.
"Remove your foot before I remove it for you, dartbrows." Zoro shot back, her hand now resting on the grip of one of her swords.
"Go ahead and try, pretty boy."
Zoro pulled his sword out of its sheath right as Sanji pulled his foot back to get some momentum. Immediately, both were punched in the head as Nami snuck up behind them.
"Cool it, morons."
It was at the moment that that the door slammed open with a loud crack. All attention went towards the door as a large man stumbled in, being held up by his subordinate. Gasps filled the room as everyone recognized the notorious pirate, Don Krieg.
His subordinate tried to hold him up, but the pirate collapsed, his body weak from lack of food.
"Please, we will pay you anything! We need food!"
Zoro's pirate hunting instincts kicked in and she had her sword out in a moment, taking a step forward towards the pirates. Sanji's hand shot out in front of her, blocking her path. The other cooks had taken notice though and were all brandishing their own weapons. Luffy crossed his arms, observing the situation.
"Nobody move." Sanji commanded. The other cooks scowled at him, holding their weapons steady. Zoro glanced at her captain for a moment then lowered her sword. Sanji looked behind the two starving pirates, out the door.
"Please, our crew is starving! Several have already died." The subordinate begged, prostrating himself before them.
"Enough for a hundred okay?" Sanji asked the starving duo as he started towards the kitchens. The cooks around him became startled and several moved their weapons to aim at the sous chef.
"What the hell Sanji?"
"He's Don Krieg!"
"They're weak, it's the best time to attack!"
"Always knew you were shit, but this takes the cake!"
"Guess you really are becoming a pirate, back stabber!"
Sanji paused as the insults were hurled at him from his co-workers. His hands were gripped into fists and he suddenly slammed his foot down onto the wooden floor and a loud crack rang out through the restaurant.
"It's the duty of a cook to feed those who are hungry. I don't give a shit whether they are a pirate or the freakin' king of Atlantis." Sanji announced. Zoro was watching the cook carefully now. His body was trembling, but just slightly. She wondered whether it was from anger or something else entirely. She looked back over at the famished pirates at the entrance. They had no strength left in them. She felt ashamed drawing her sword, and quickly sheathed it. There was no honor defeating a dying opponent.
The tense atmosphere was broke, however, as head chef Zeff stepped out of the kitchen with a large bag of food and dropped it in front of the pirates. His employees looked shocked and started questioning his judgement, but with more shock than anger.
"If any of you knew the pain of starvation like this kid does, you'd act the same." Zeff told them, watching as the pirates snatched the food and headed back to their ship quickly. Everyone's eyes moved towards Sanji. He looked away from them, ignoring their questioning stares. He found himself glancing in the straw-hat pirates' direction.
"Perfect, can't have a cook that would let any of us starve." Luffy said, walking over and patting Sanji's shoulder.
Then suddenly the outer wall exploded in a flurry of boards and splinters.
The starving pirates had eaten remarkably quickly and had returned with their crew, and swords. The cooks turned annoyed looks at the sous and head chef.
"Biting the hand that fed you eh?" Sanji asked, stalking towards the invading pirates. Zoro drew her sword once again and Luffy readied himself.
"Thanks for the food, we'll be taking your—" Don Krieg started, but was cut off by a kick to the face.
"So, you guys can fight right? Oi, sword freak, that swords not just for decoration is it?" The cook asked, looking over his shoulder at the others. Zoro scoffed and dashed forward, knocking two more pirates back into the sea.
"Usopp! Protect Nami and prepare the ship!" Luffy called to his friend who was currently hiding behind a table. Luffy then pounced on Don Krieg, pushing him out onto the deck.
"Yes sir!" Usopp saluted his captain and ran out of the building, dodging pirates here and there. The restaurant cooks joined in and the fight commenced.
Zoro found herself back to back with the sous chef as they fought. They found themselves quite in sync with one another as they guarded one another's backs. Their backs touched a couple times during the fight and Zoro was surprised as the assurance it gave her. She'd never really fought along side of anyone before.
She was getting lost in the fight when they suddenly heard screams coming from outside. They both turned to look at the other, their faces surprisingly close, before they both dashed out onto the deck.
Everyone had stopped fighting and was watching transfixed as Don Kreig's pirate ship was sinking down into the sea, having been cut right in half.
"What could've done that kind of damage…" Sanji muttered, shocked.
"Mihawk…." Zoro replied, her eyes wide. There, in a small boat next to the restaurant, was a man with a broad hat, hawk-like eyes, and a massive sword on his back.
"You know that guy?" Sanji asked, an unconscious shiver went down his spine.
"He's the strongest swordsman in the world." She replied, giving a grim smile. She jumped across the debris and landed in front of the famous swordsman, challenging him. She pulled out her third sword and placed it in her mouth before raising one sword and pointing it towards her opponent.
"I challenge you to a duel." She told the man, crouching down into a stance.
"You're not a very smart man, are you? This challenge will be your death." Mihawk replied, pulling out a small dagger to fight with. Insulted, Zoro dashed towards the swordsman, swiping her swords towards his chest and neck. She stumbled back though, as the man stopped her easily with his tiny blade.
"Hey, you should pay attention to your opponent." Don Krieg called from the restaurant deck, aiming a punch at Luffy's face. Luffy didn't even glance at the man as he grabbed his cheeks, squishing them and shushing him.
"Shhhh it's getting good.." Luffy said, watching the fight between swordsmen.
Zoro trembled as she couldn't move her swords even an inch. She had never been so incredibly over powered before. No, this can't be happening. What have I been training all this time before? How can he be so incredibly strong? I made a promise. I can't lose here.
Drawing all the strength she had, Zoro jerked her swords back and slashed once again at the man.
A flash of pain.
Warm blood slowly welled up around the small dagger that had been pushed into Zoro's chest, next to her heart.
Sanji's body was moving on its own and before he realized it, he had already crossed over towards the two swordsmen. His movements were halted however, as Zoro held up her hand, signaling him to stop. Sanji cursed under his breath but stayed back and hovered on the outskirts of the fight.
"Why aren't you stepping back?" Mihawk asked, eyeing the swordsman as her blood flowed over his fingertips.
"I… I feel like I will lose something important if I do…" She replied, "like I'd be admitting defeat... and I'd rather die."
"Such conviction… what's your name kid?" The swordsman asked, pulling the dagger out and replacing it in its sheath.
"Roronoa Zoro. The one who will be the world's greatest swordsman." She replied, lifting her swords once again. Mihawk nodded, drawing the large sword from his back.
It was over in less than a second. A large angry red wound was across Zoro's chest as she fell backwards onto the ship. He stepped over to her body on the ground. A smirk crossed his face.
"How interesting… " He knelt down next to her, lowering his voice. "I'll remember it, miss swordsman." Mihawk then stood and walked back towards his own boat.
"I'll be waiting for you." He continued as he unfurled his sails and started sailing away without even a glance back.
Sanji hurried over to Zoro who was barely conscious from the blood loss. She was pulling her haramaki over her wound with trembling hands.
"Oi moss- shit that's a lot of blood..." Sanji replied and looked around panicked.
"Mm'fine…" Zoro replied in a daze. She tried to push him away, succeeding in only leaving a red hand print on his suit. They were quickly joined by Luffy who hopped over, examining Zoro's form.
"You look terrible." Luffy replied with a frown, "Let's get you back to our ship." He looked around and suddenly realized it wasn't there anymore. Usopp was scrambling over towards them though.
"Captain! While we were fighting, Nami stole our ship!" He cried, gesturing to a dot off in the distance.
"Eh!?" Luffy's jaw dropped as he watched their newly acquired ship get further and further away.
"She double crossed us!" He exclaimed, pulling at his hair. Luffy grabbed Zoro under the arms and shoved her into Usopp's arms.
"Here, take Zoro and follow! I'll finish things here quickly and catch up." Luffy commanded. Usopp looked down at the passed-out swordsman in his arms.
"With Zoro? Shouldn't he get medical attention first? Also, we don't have a boat."
"It'll take more than that to get rid of Zoro. Nami's our navigator, we're going to get her back."
"You can... use one of our supply boats." Sanji added, not sure why he was helping them. "They should also have some basic first aid kits on board."
"Perfect!" Luffy then grabbed Usopp's shoulder. "I trust you."
Usopp's eyes started to water and he gave the captain a salute before slinging Zoro over his shoulder with a groan and heading for one of the supply boats. Luffy grinned over at the cook.
"You ready to finish this?" He inquired. Sanji was looking at the bloody hand print on his suit. He nodded.
"Let's kick some pirate ass."
After setting the course to follow the ship in front of them, Usopp found the first aid kit and sat down next to Zoro. He gulped and hesitantly reached out to touch the blood soaked haramaki. He let out a squeal when Zoro opened her eyes and grabbed his hand, stopping it.
"Z-zoro! You're awake! We need to clean and dress your wounds, so they don't get infected." Usopp explained, holding up some bandages and ointment.
"S'fine… I can do it." She replied, reaching over. The sniper shook his head.
"It's alright, I'll do it. You can barely move…" he tried to pull his hand away from Zoro's, but she gripped it tighter making Usopp yelp.
"I'll do it."
"Look, I know you're stupidly stubborn, but it will only take a second. And... if you want to cry its okay… this is a safe zone." Usopp cooed, misunderstanding the swordsman's expression. Zoro balked.
"I'm not going to cry! I just want to do it myself!" She exclaimed, letting go of his hand and trying to snatch the bandages.
"Tell me one good reason why!" Usopp responded, jumping back out of her reach. She stared at him, the wheels turning in her head.
"I… I'm shy…" She said dumbly.
"You're shy…" Usopp repeated, staring at her with a look of unbelief.
"Y-yes.. you see I uh… have… a third nipple…?" She replied. Usopp's jaw dropped.
"R-really!? Can I see it? Is it hairy? Where is it?" He scooted back over, intrigued.
"N-no! If anyone looks upon it, they will… turn to stone!" She said almost proudly.
Usopp accepted this without thought.
"Just when I thought you couldn't be stronger… Alright, let me know if you need any help. Maybe with my eyes closed…"
"It's fine! Really! Thanks!" Zoro replied quickly, pushing him away.
"Some people have all the luck…"
AN: Thank you for reading. As always, I appreciate any comments or criticisms. Thanks!
Chapter 4: There is a flying boat
Zoro honestly didn’t really know what was going on. After being abandoned by Usopp, she had been immediately captured when they arrived on the island that Nami had gone to. Nami was seemingly a traitor, but then she saved Zoro’s life and wandered off. Zoro defeated her kidnappers in less than five minutes, then got lost trying to find Usopp again.
Then she was hit by a boat crashing down out of the sky.
“Oh look, it’s Zoro!” Luffy called out as the boat skidded to a stop. He jumped out and grinned down at his first mate. “You’re looking better than before.”
“Why the hell did you come from the sky?!” Zoro asked as she wiped the blood away from her new head wound.
“Coming to bring back Nami. Wait, you haven’t done it yet?” The captain tsked, shaking his head.
“He only has meat in his head. I’ll persuade her, Captain.” Sanji replied, straightening his tie.
“I don’t know what’s going on! She is apparently part of the Arlong pirates, but then she saved my life.” Zoro explained.
“She’s obviously being blackmailed then. There’s no way someone that beautiful is a bad person.” Sanji replied, waving his hand.
“Yeah.” Luffy agreed, crossing his arms. “All her mail is black. From bad people.”
“…I see.” Zoro nodded.
“…How did you two survive before her?” Sanji sighed.
The group headed over to meet with the fishmen of the Arlong Pirate group. Luckily, they met up with Usopp along the way who filled them in with Nami’s backstory. Her loyalties settled, there was just one more thing to do. It was time to destroy the Arlong pirate group.
The group split to take out the enemies. Luffy aimed for the head pirate Arlong, while Zoro and Sanji found themselves back to back once again, facing off against two of the henchmen. Usopp was providing, kinda, ranged support.
“De ja vu, eh, idiot swordsman?” Sanji asked, grinning as he knocked his enemy back with a strong kick.
“Don’t distract me with your flapping mouth, dumbbrows.” Zoro shot back, her swords clanging against her enemy’s. She was panting as she forced him back.
“Tired already?” The cook asked, glancing over his shoulder at her. He wavered when he saw her shirt was newly soaked with blood and dripping to the ground in large quantities. Her wound from Mihawk had reopened and was taking its toll on her.
“Don’t lose focus!” She yelled back at him, twisting on her heel towards him and slicing at Sanji’s enemy who was trying to take advantage of his distracted state. The movement brought them face to face once again. Zoro’s eyes were half lidded and her forehead dropped to his shoulder. Sanji instinctively wrapped his arm around her to hold her up.
“Hold on moss brains, we’re almost finished.” Sanji murmured in her ear.
“I can’t… lose again…” Zoro breathed, struggling to stay conscious.
“You were half dead before the fight started and still managed to take out practically their entire group.” Sanji said flatly.
The squid enemy had paused his swords and exchanged glances with his friend. He coughed in his hand.
“Uh, are we interrupting something?” He enemy asked, watching the two in a semi-embrace. Zoro had passed out and Sanji was holding her up with both arms now. He flushed.
“S-shut up!” Sanji laid Zoro gently down on the ground and with a quick handstand was able to kick both enemies flying. Satisfied that they were out for the count, he kneeled next to Zoro as Usopp came running over from his hiding spot to help.
“His wound reopened and he’s losing a lot of blood.” Sanji told the long-nosed man and reached over to check the wound. Usopp grabbed his hand to stop him.
“No, wait. You’ll expose his third nipple.” Usopp replied with a very serious expression.
“I don’t ca-wait, WHAT?” Sanji cringed back.
Zoro was patched up by a local doctor after all the chaos had settled down. It wasn’t easy though, with people shouting warnings of turning into stone and secrets. Luffy managed to assure the others that Zoro would be okay alone with the doctor and they had an impromptu feast in celebration of the freeing of the town. Afterwards they took turns checking on the swordsman, but she merely slept the day away.
The next day saw the group finally boarding their ship all together with the addition of a few tangerine trees. Zoro was ordered to get as much rest as possible and not do any strenuous activity. So naturally, she was lifting weights the moment she was out of the doctor’s eyesight.
The newly formed crew was in high spirits, finally on their way to the grand line. Sanji had taken it upon himself to become the guard dog of Nami’s precious trees and kicked anyone who so as much stepped on their shadow.
Usopp was the first to discover this as he was sketching on the deck of the ship and his pencil rolled towards the trees. That same pencil was implanted into the deck dangerously close to Usopp’s hand a moment later.
Zoro was the second to discover this as she walked past them, brushing against their branches. Sanji’s knee implanted itself into her back and she stumbled forward from the contact.
“The hell!?” She turned on the cook, grabbing his collar.
“How dare you touch Miss Nami’s beautiful trees! They’re going to smell like your sweat now!” Sanji replied, grabbing her collar in return.
“You’re such a tool.” Zoro shoved him back.
“You’re just jealous Miss Nami won’t give you the time of day!”
“I don’t give a shit about that witch!”
“Oh please, she’s the most beautiful woman in the world!”
“Are looks the only thing you care about? It’s the inside that matters!”
“Well its too bad you’re lacking in both areas, eh moss head?” Sanji replied cruelly, tugging on her green hair. It was only for a split second, but Sanji swore he saw hurt flash across the swordsman’s face. Then everything went black as he received a punch to the face.
“Asshole.” Zoro spat at the cook before going back to her weightlifting to let out her anger.
Sanji was really starting to get on Zoro’s nerves. When they were fighting together, they seemed to get along quite well and were incredibly in sync. Sanji was very smart she realized, and even rivaled her in strength. However, outside of battle he was either drooling over Nami or picking a fight with her. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust him. In fact, she trusted enough to watch over the weaker crew members and have her back when needed. He just… made her feel uneasy.
It was because of this unease that she didn’t choose to spend time with the cook. It seemed the man always found ways to pick a fight with her though.
So, it was to her greatest annoyance that when they landed on the next island that Sanji draped an arm across her shoulders as they got off the boat and headed into Loguetown.
“Gonna look for some new swords?” The cook asked. She pushed his arm off and started walking faster.
“Don’t you need to go shopping for supplies?” Zoro asked, looking down at the map Nami had given her.
“Yeah, but I need your arms to carry it.” Sanji replied, peering over her shoulder at the map.
“Pfft, you just want to annoy me.” Zoro replied, turning right. Sanji’s hand grabbed the top of her head lightly and turned her the opposite direction. She swatted at his hand.
“Now why would you think that?” He asked, grinning as he started pushing her in the right direction. She elbowed him in the stomach.
“Quit it, I know where I’m going!”
“Mmhmm… “ He stopped her from walking into a wall. “Do you know how to read a map, Zoro?”
Zoro blushed and glared at him.
“I’m not an idiot! Look, we’re supposed to turn right here!” Zoro replied stubbornly, pointing at the wall before them. Sanji crossed his arms, looking amused.
“Of course, please go ahead, I would love to see you walk through this wall.” Sanji gestured towards the wall. Face burning, Zoro glanced at him then back at the wall. She drew her sword.
“Ah! No! You are NOT destroying this town!” Sanji yelled, grabbing her arm to stop her. As he turned her around, he caught her expression change to defensive as he heard heavy footsteps behind him. He looked over his shoulder to see two very large men walk up towards them. They had walked themselves into a secluded part of town, a dead end.
“Looks like we’ve got some lost tourists.” The tall man said while grinning at his companion who was very large as well, but more from side to side.
“You look like you’ve got some money on you, prissy boy.” The large man said as he grabbed Sanji by the front of his shirt and lifted him off the ground. Despite behind held up into the air, Sanji appeared quite calm. He reached into his pocked and pulled out a cigarette, lighting it.
“Giving up already? Smart man.” The man grinned, shaking Sanji slightly. The cook grinned back, blowing out a few smoke rings.
“Watch out.” Sanji simply said, confusing the two thieves. The man let go of Sanji suddenly as he caught a blow to the stomach with the back of a sword. The man flew backwards into the other thief as they crashed into the building behind them. Zoro put the sword back in its sheath and glared at Sanji.
“You could have handled that on your own.” She accused.
“That was more of a fair fight.” Sanji replied, chuckling. He waved his hand and started walking back down the alley.
“They were way too weak…” Zoro followed, finding herself pouting and then scowling.
“Here we are.” Sanji led them to the swordsmith shop. Zoro muttered a quick thanks before brushing past him into the shop. Sanji grinned in return and followed her inside.
Zoro found herself smiling as she ran her fingers over the hilts of the various swords in the store. Sanji leaned against the wall, giving her room. Zoro took her time, pulling a sword out of a barrel every now and then and testing it out in her hands.
“How do you choose?” Sanji asked after a while. Zoro looked over at him startled, having forgotten he was still there.
“Well…” Zoro hesitated a moment, then waved him over to see the sword in her hands. “There are quite a few factors when choosing a good sword. Balance, flexibility, and strength are some of the most important… but there’s also the feel.” She handed him the sword and gestured for him to try it out. Sanji was no stranger to blades, but he preferred cooking with them. He drew the sword from its scabbard and tested it out in his hands before bending his knees and his body moved automatically into a combat stance. Zoro’s eyes widened slightly. The stance was off a bit, and it was a common one, however she never pegged Sanji as a swordsman.
“Did you do learn the sword?” She asked, intrigued. Sanji straightened back up and handed her the sword.
“Hm… so what’s your verdict on this one?” He changed the subject. Zoro tilted her head, suddenly curious about the cook’s past. The way he automatically went into a sword stance upon instinct yet didn’t fight with a sword confused her. She also somewhat recalled something about knowing about starvation… Sanji snapped his fingers in front of her face, making her jump.
“Huh? Oh! Uh, no, not this one. It seems too fragile for the amount of use it will get on the grand line.” She replied, replacing it back in the barrel. After a few more minutes, she had successfully chosen two blades. The owner tried to dissuade her from buying them, as they were supposedly cursed, but he underestimated her stubbornness. After threatening him, the owner relented.
After collecting their swords and Zoro taking a nap while Sanji picked out their supplies for the ship, the two noticed a ruckus in the town square and headed over to check it out.
Both their jaws dropped when they saw Luffy atop the execution stand, locked into place. The sky had darkened, and lightening brewed in the distance. Nami and Usopp rushed over to them, carrying bags of clothing.
“Quick, get him down!” Nami yelled, grabbing Zoro’s arm and pointing.
“Quick Zoro, flash them!” Usopp commanded, grabbing at Zoro’s shirt.
“NO ONE WANTS TO SEE THAT!” Sanji yelled back, pulling Usopp off Zoro.
“ITS MY SECRET WEAPON!” Usopp yelled back.
“STOP FIGHTING AND GO SAVE LUFFY!” Nami punched them both.
Zoro eyed the stand. It was too far, they wouldn’t get there in time especially with all the civilians in the way. Zoro pulled out one of her new swords and held it above her shoulder. She took a running start and threw the sword at the execution stand, aiming for the pirate about to cut off Luffy’s head.
“AHH!” The blade instead stuck into the wood next to Luffy’s head. Zoro gawked at her terrible aim.
“Are you trying to kill him FASTER!?” Nami screamed, whacking Zoro this time.
They watched on in horror as the blade dropped.
Chapter 5: Put on a shirt, geez.
Zoro eyed the stand. It was too far, they wouldn't get there in time especially with all the civilians in the way. Zoro pulled out one of her new swords and held it above her shoulder. She took a running start and threw the sword at the execution stand, aiming for the pirate about to cut off Luffy's head.
"AHH!" The blade instead stuck into the wood next to Luffy's head. Zoro gawked at her terrible aim.
"Are you trying to kill him FASTER!?" Nami screamed, whacking Zoro this time.
They watched on in horror as the blade dropped.
There was a loud clang that ran through the square. Luffy had pulled Zoro's sword out of the wood and used it to block the pirate's blade. Everyone stared in stunned silence.
"Hiyah!" Luffy yelled from his bound position on the execution stand, waving the sword around, trying to hit the executioner. Said executioner simply stepped backwards out of his reach.
"We can still save him!" Nami cried out, gesturing to the execution stand. Zoro nodded and lifted her next sword, holding it above her head and taking aim.
"Like hell I'm letting you do that again! This time you'll hit him in the face!" Sanji growled, locking her arms from behind while she struggled against him.
They heard a loud thunk and saw the executioner fall off the stand. Usopp was standing proud of his accomplishment with his slingshot and rubbing his nose.
"Ha ha ha! Don't send a swordsman to do a snipers job." He proclaimed proudly.
"Ouch." Luffy had managed to cut himself while trying to cut himself out of the bindings.
"Oh great, he's going to kill himself instead." Nami sighed, "I'll unlock his cuffs. The weathers going to get bad soon, you guys take the supplies and start heading back to the ship." She started towards the stand.
"Nami-san is so smart~" Sanji gushed, still holding Zoro in an arm lock. She scowled and flipped him over her shoulder onto the ground. She grabbed the food supplies they had retrieved earlier and slung it over her shoulder, heading towards the ship. Well, heading towards somewhere. Sanji and Usopp quickly followed as it started to rain harder.
"This way~ Come come~" Sanji mocked when Zoro started walking in the wrong direction. He patted his knees as if calling a dog. Usopp snickered. Zoro took a threatening step towards Sanji, handing the large bag over to Usopp.
Nami and Luffy came running up behind them.
"You guys are still here? Get a move on!" She called through the rain, running towards the ship. Usopp, struggling with the supplies and bags, quickly followed.
"Let's go!" Luffy called happily, Zoro's sword in hand. Zoro quickly snatched it and put it away before he cut himself again. They headed towards the ship and as they got within seeing distance, Luffy suddenly shot his arms out to grab the mast of the ship. He then wrapped his legs around Sanji and Zoro and shot forward much to their despair. He slingshot themselves to the ship. He managed to land on his feet, but Zoro and Sanji weren't as fortunate. Zoro slammed into the tangerine trees, resulting in a lot of scratches and Nami shrieking at their Captain. Sanji was even less lucky, as he was slung head first into the mast and he landed in a crumpled daze.
"Great, you knocked out one of our crew members while we're riding a storm!" Nami scolded her Captain, meanwhile shouting orders. After storing the dazed Sanji into the men's cabin, the others ran back and forth in the rain trying to ride out the waves and escape the storm.
After some hours of boat wrangling, most of the crew piled into the kitchen to get some warm drinks while they dried off. Zoro headed for the men's cabin, deciding to take a nap instead.
She went to remove her wet clothes when she noticed a passed out Sanji on the couch. He had a lump on his head from his earlier adventure crashing into the mast. She waved a hand in front of his face. No reaction. She grabbed some fresh clothes and quickly changed in the corner. After changing, she grabbed a towel and walked back over to the cook while she dried her hair.
She sat down in the chair next to the couch and yawned, leaning back. Sanji was still wet. She frowned. He could get sick if he stayed like that all night. Well, she wasn't touching his clothes, that was for sure. His hair would be safe though, right? She leaned forward again. It was kind of amazing that no matter the weather or motion, Sanji's hair managed to cover half of his face. Before she realized it, she was reaching over to him with her towel to dry off his head.
Sanji's hand reached up and grabbed her wrist, stopping her. She jumped, startled.
"If you're going to smother me in my sleep, a pillow would work better." He told her, opening his eyes to stare at her.
"I know, I know." Sanji flashed her a quick smile before wincing and rubbing his head. "Stupid Captain… didn't you get hurt too?"
"A couple scratches." Zoro replied, shrugging.
"Damn tank." Sanji sat up, shivered and pulled off his tie, placing it on the drying rack.
"Uh... want me to get Nami? She could look at your head…"
"Women like battle wounds… and that wasn't a battle wound." Sanji shook his head and unbuttoned his shirt, hanging it up next to the tie. Zoro averted her eyes and leaned back.
"They do?" She asked curiously.
"You really know nothing about women, do you?" Sanji chuckled, grabbing her towel and drying his hair off. She couldn't resist and peeked over to try and sneak a glance at the other side of his face. He caught her looking.
"You won't find any scars here, I don't go around getting myself cut to pieces." He continued, gesturing to his exposed chest.
"I-I wasn't looking at that!" She replied, flustered.
"Now you on the other hand…" He stalked over toward her chair. Her eyes widened and she instinctively reached for her swords, but they were on the other side of the room. She froze. He leaned over her slightly and reached out, poking her collarbone. She looked down and saw him pointing at the end of the large scar that Mihawk gave her. The scar reached from her shoulder to her hip, but only the end could be seen above her shirt. She let out a sigh of relief. She wasn't sure why she was so tense. They were just chatting, after all.
"So, does that mean you think this is sexy?" She asked innocently. Sanji jerked back like he was burned, and his face turned as red as a tomato.
"Whaaaat? I didn't say that!" Sanji exclaimed. Zoro started laughing. Sanji grabbed his cigarettes and lit one, his face still a bit pink.
"Don't worry cook, I won't tell Nami." She teased, enjoying his reaction. Sanji threw a kick at her and she dodged it by rolling off the side of the chair and grabbing a sheathed sword. She swung it at him, and he dodged to the side. They circled each other, both smirking, looking for an opening.
"You sure are suddenly full of yourself, moss head." Sanji said as he aimed a kick to her face. Zoro ducked and slammed the sheath of her sword against his bare side. Sanji let out a string of curses, grabbing his side. Zoro then grabbed his arm, twisting it and shoving him down on the ground, sitting on his back to hold him down. Sanji tried escaping her grasp but she beat him in upper arm strength.
"Full of myself huh, shitty cook? It looks to me like I know myself quite well." She twisted his arm slightly, making Sanji slam his free hand on the ground in surrender. She laughed and tugged his ear playfully.
"I give, I give. Get off me you brute." Sanji twisted his neck and glared up at her.
"Not until I see what's under that hair of yours." She teased, reaching for his hair. Sanji immediately used all of his strength and twisted, throwing her off him to the side. She landed on the ground beside him, surprised.
"What are you guys doing?" Asked Usopp who had entered the room with Luffy and was looking at them strangely. Both were speechless.
"Oh! Wrestling!" Luffy exclaimed and without prompt jumped onto the two on the floor. Sanji glared and quickly shoved their captain off while Zoro laughed again. Sanji rolled his eyes and went to put on a shirt. Luffy followed, trying to pounce the cook again, stalking him like a cat.
"You're in a good mood." Usopp told Zoro, raising an eyebrow. The two usually were angry after a fight with one another. Zoro shrugged and stood.
"We've got a pretty good crew, eh?" She asked, punching Usopp lightly in the arm before going to take a nap in her hammock.
The Straw Hat Pirates continued their journey, making it up the mountainous entrance to the grand line. Along the way, they befriended a lost whale as well as a Princess from the kingdom of Alabaster. For the latter they had decided to help her journey, so she joined the crew. This thrilled Sanji and he soon had two pretty girls to fawn over.
Zoro didn't have anything against the princess, Vivi, but like Nami, she didn't feel any real need to socialize with her. They didn't have much in common and she was a bit too proper. She was quite nice to Zoro though, so they at least exchanged pleasantries when they were together. This caused Sanji to berate her often to not get a big head. She ignored him.
Zoro had been spending most of her time lifting weights and training on the deck. She was doing this one morning when she heard a commotion from the others. She set her weights down and walked over. It seemed that Nami had passed out with a fever. The crew started to panic and run around, the one person who would know what to do passed out before them.
"Okay, okay let's calm down." Vivi called as she saw Luffy calling for a doctor off the side of the ship, Sanji praying to God and Usopp running back and forth across the deck. Vivi sighed and looked at the only member who wasn't freaking out. Zoro looked back at her blankly.
"Can you take her to bed?" Vivi asked and Zoro nodded, picking up Nami and taking her back to her room. Nami was burning up and sweating profusely.
"She sick?" Zoro asked, placing her on the bed.
"Obviously… it seems she has a very high fever." Vivi replied, frowning and feeling Nami's forehead. She looked at Zoro. "I honestly am not sure what to do…" Zoro tilted her head.
"…We could bleed her." She replied, reaching for her sword. She was immediately smacked.
"What century are you from!?" Vivi asked, then sighed. The other crew members had calmed somewhat and entered the room, watching worriedly as Nami panted.
"Oh, my precious butterfly… who has done this to you?" Sanji sobbed, kneeling next to Nami's bed.
"Does anyone here have medical knowledge?" Vivi asked, looking at the others.
"Well I—" Zoro started.
"NOT YOU!" Vivi replied loudly and looked pleadingly at the others. Sanji, Luffy and Usopp tilted their heads, hands on their chins in sync as if thinking.
"If she's hot… can't we just dump her into the water?" Luffy suggested. Vivi shook her head.
"I'm pretty sure that would make it worse." She replied, putting a cloth on Nami's forehead.
"Then what can we do?" Sanji asked, pouting.
Zoro reached for her sword again but stopped with Vivi's harsh glare.
"It'll take too long to get to Alabaster… we should land at the closest island and try to find a doctor there." She admitted. The others agreed and the ship kept sail.
After about a day of sailing, land was seen in the distance. It was an island covered in snow. Though the locals were hostile at first, they were sympathetic once they found out the situation with Nami.
They were told that the island had one doctor, a witch, but she lived at the top of the snowy mountain. As they gathered in the warmth of one of the cabins, watching over Nami, they discussed who would go to find the witch. They would have to carry her to the top to get there in time.
"I'll go, I have to save my precious angel." Sanji said, to no one's surprise.
"Right me too." Luffy agreed.
"I'll watch the ship!" Usopp added eagerly.
"I'll stay with Usopp. As much as I am worried about her, I think I would only slow you guys down." Vivi responded, smiling at the others. Everyone then looked over at Zoro when there was an obvious hesitation on her part. She would have liked to stay behind and train. However… She looked over at Sanji and Luffy.
"…I'll go too." She replied.
"Are you Roronoa Zoro?"
"This letter came for you."
"That should do it." Vivi said as she finished tying Nami to Luffy's back. They had to get her to the doctor at the top of the mountain as quickly as possible.
"This isn't going to be easy. Keep your wits about you, moss head." Sanji told the swordsman.
"No problem." Zoro replied, checking her swords. After the group bundled up and made sure that Nami was secure, they headed out.
They trudged through the deep snow and fierce wind. It was hard to go very fast as their feet sank with each step.
"Damn it, how are you this stupid?" Sanji asked as Zoro veered off to the left. He grabbed the top of her head and turned it to look at the castle on top of the mountain.
"What's that?" Zoro asked.
"Our destination! You can see it the entire time! How are you still going the wrong way?" Sanji asked, whacking her on the head.
"Maybe there's a short cut." Zoro defended.
"Shorter than walking straight there?" Sanji grabbed her arm and started pulling her along.
"Let go." Zoro pulled at her arm. Sanji gave her a dark glare.
"I'm not trying to save two people today." He replied. Zoro scowled but allowed herself to be pulled.
After some time climbing, and after getting rid of some massive and violent snow rabbits, they came to the base of the mountain.
"OH WOW, LOOK!" Luffy shouted, pointing towards a large frozen waterfall at the base. His voice echoed against the mountain.
"Yeah, real pretty." Sanji acknowledged, pulling Zoro up towards the spot. Zoro tensed and glanced at the side of the mountain.
"Guys…" She warned. They all looked up to see a large shelf of snow sliding down towards them.
"Run!" Sanji yelled, and they all vigorously started running off to the side trying to escape the falling snow. Luffy shot one of his arms up, grabbing onto a tree higher up and glanced at the others.
"We'll catch up!" Sanji told their captain, who nodded before slinging Nami and himself up higher onto the mountain to escape the avalanche. The snow hit them like a ton of bricks and Zoro felt herself be torn away from the cook. She tumbled through the snow. Her head hit something, and she blacked out.
Zoro awoke, coughing. She sat up abruptly with someone's hand propping her up.
"Finally…Thank god… geez even getting lost when I practically dragged you up the mountain." Sanji complained, but there was relief in his voice.
Zoro looked around, squinting. Her head and chest were hurting, and she felt a bit dazed. It seemed like they had fallen back a bit down the mountain and were now under an outcropping of rocks. It wasn't great but it protected them from the wind somewhat. She noticed that Sanji's coat had been laid atop of her as well and the cook was shivering quite a bit.
"Thanks." She replied simply, handing the coat back. Sanji quickly put it back on and rubbed his arms.
"You okay?" She asked him. The cook nodded. Zoro hesitated a moment then scooted over next to Sanji and sat beside him. She then opened her arms. Sanji stared at her blankly.
"…What the hell are you doing?" Sanji asked.
"…My body is always warm for some reason." Zoro replied.
"…I'm not sharing my body heat with you."
"Aren't you cold?"
"Well yeah, but that's just not going to happen."
"I'm not snuggling up to another man."
"You'll choose pride over death?"
"In this case, yes." Sanji replied, crossing his arms stubbornly. Zoro dropped her arms.
Sanji's teeth chattered. Zoro rolled her eyes.
"Sanji." She said. Sanji raised his eyebrow at the actual use of his name.
"I'm cold." She told him unconvincingly. Her coat wasn't even buttoned.
"I am not." Zoro widened her eyes, trying to look as innocent as possible. Sanji sighed and gave in, scooting over so their sides were touching. He draped on arm around her shoulder.
"Fine, just for a moment. Then we got to get moving again. Luffy's probably near the top or there already. I think we were out for a while." Sanji told her. Zoro wrapped her arm around Sanji's waist in return, making the man tense up. They sat in silence for a while and Sanji's shivering gradually stopped. The swordsman was remarkably warm and Sanji was starting to get tired. He was about to suggest they start moving again when he looked over and Zoro was already fast asleep. Sanji watched her for a moment, debating whether to wake her up or not. His body chose for him as he also started to fall asleep.
Sanji awoke to something cool on his forehead and the sound of giggling nearby. He tried to rub the sleep out of his eyes but there was warm pressure on his arm. Zoro's head was on his shoulder and she was still fully asleep. He smiled slightly before the giggling intensified. That snapped him out of his sleepy daze, and he looked up noticing two things. First, there was a small reindeer with a blue nose in front of him, touching his forehead, and second, Luffy and Nami were a few feet away with large grins on their faces.
He shoved Zoro off quickly, the swordsman landing face first in the snow. The reindeer, startled by his movement, quickly hid next to the rock, most of his body still visible.
"Have a good sleep, eh Sanji-kun?" Nami teased, looking a hundred times better than she had before. Sanji jumped up and walked over to her, looking her up and down.
"Nami-san! Are you okay? I'm sorry we got stuck in the avalanche and this idiot blacked out. Should you be walking?" He asked worriedly, sending a glare at his captain. Nami waved her hand.
"I'm fine, really. Chopper saved me." She told him, then gestured to the reindeer. Chopper the deer had come out of his hiding and was now examining Zoro's sleeping form.
"Have we really been sleeping that long?" Sanji asked. They watched as Zoro wrapped her arms around Chopper in her sleep. The little reindeer looked panicked and struggled but the swordsman was quite strong.
Nami quickly recapped the days events for him. She explained how the little reindeer was a doctor and had helped nurse her back to health, as well as becoming the newest member of their group.
"This one has a concussion." Chopper said to the others. He was slapping Zoro's cheek to wake her up.
"What really?!" Sanji asked, surprised and kneeled beside the two.
"Will he be okay?" Nami asked, leaning over as well. Chopper looked between Sanji and Zoro.
"Y-yes. I'll watch over them both overnight just to make sure." Chopper responded, averting his eyes from all the sudden attention.
They found Luffy trying to hunt squirrels a little distance away and then put the dazed Zoro on his back and headed back to their ship. Sanji doted on Nami for a bit, but after her assurances that she was okay, he returned to Luffy's side and kept an eye on Zoro. Chopper was silent most of the way and a bit skittish. He was obviously not yet comfortable around humans, but at the same time, having a task to help someone seemed to help him.
That evening, after meeting up with Vivi and Usopp, they set sail once again. They had set up a makeshift medical bay in the storage room of the ship. It was night and Sanji had been kicked out due to incessive smoking. Chopper had declared that Zoro would be fine though, so the others headed to bed after a short welcoming party for the little doctor.
Zoro woke up to see the large eyes and blue nose looking over her intently. She sat up quickly, reaching for her swords. She immediately winced though and rubbed her head.
"Y-you have a concussion." The reindeer explained, backing up until he hit the far wall. Zoro looked over at the furry creature that was trying to hide by covering his face.
"You were the one who helped me?" Zoro asked.
"Thanks." Zoro gave a small smile to the deer. Chopper beamed and his bottom started swaying back and forth.
"Shut up bastard." The deer replied, though was obviously pleased. Zoro was surprised hearing that kind of language from the tiny deer and started laughing.
"Tough little guy, aren't you?" Zoro asked, grinning. Chopper grinned and blushed, wiggling more and cautiously getting closer.
"I don't need your compliments, freak." Chopper replied, beaming. Zoro grinned in returned, then looked towards the door.
"How are the others?" She asked.
"Nami is recovering well, and the others have no issues. I did a full physical on everyone to make sure!" Chopper said proudly, gesturing to his bag. Zoro paled and her hand instinctively raised to cover her chest.
"Everyone…?" She asked. Chopper grinned.
"Yes! Besides your head, everything else seems fine. That's a horrible nasty disgusting scar you have on your chest there~" Chopped admitted, though he was still smiling brightly. Zoro sighed and ran a hand through her hair.
"You know I'm a woman then…" She muttered, frowning.
"Um… yes?" Chopper looked confused.
"Wait... did you tell anyone?" She inquired, suddenly looking alarmed. Chopper tilted his head more.
"I don't usually tell others the results of physicals…"
"Ummm… Could you not, you know, tell anyone…? About me being a woman, that is." Zoro asked.
"…. They think you're a man?" Chopped looked shocked.
"Yeah, everyone except the captain. Though… he might've forgotten even." Zoro replied, rubbing her neck.
"B-but… why?" The reindeer inquired.
"I have my reasons." Zoro shrugged. Chopped nodded sympathetically.
"Okay! A doctor doesn't share patient information! Oh… wait! Does this mean… we…have a secret together?!" Chopper looked like he could barely contain himself.
"Yeah, friends keep secrets, right?" Zoro grinned at the little deer. Chopper's eyes practically had stars in them he was so happy.
"Who would want to be your friend you freak!" Chopper replied, beaming. Zoro laughed again and stuck out her hand to the little deer who eagerly took it.
As they headed towards their destination, Chopper quickly integrated into the crew. He got along with everyone well and having a doctor aboard was already paying off. The little reindeer also found himself quite attached to a certain swordsman. Apparently sharing a secret made them the best of friends in his eyes. Zoro didn't particularly mind, finding the deer quite cute. Chopper would even voluntarily count how many reps Zoro did while lifting weights or wake him up for meals. That of course didn't mean that Chopper was the best at keeping secrets. His heart was in the right place, but it took him some time to get the pronouns correct. When he slipped up he would just burst into nervous laughter.
It was getting to the point if Zoro wondered if she should just confess to everyone. She imagined that the others would be surprised, but they would accept it. They were good people after all, and she trusted them.
However… there was one thing that did scare her though. She didn't want to tell Sanji. Just the thought of him finding out turned her stomach sour. They had started off roughly but were quickly becoming good friends.
She was almost too knowledgeable about how Sanji acted around women. He was chivalrous to a fault and swooned over them constantly. He also had some weird notion that he would never fight a woman. These things bothered Zoro a lot. Their whole relationship would be turned on its head if he found out. Would he be able to talk to her without hearts in his eyes? Would he stop teasing her? Would he stop fighting her? Would he begin to try to defend her in battle? Would she become just one of the many, many girls he hit on constantly?
These questions started swirling around in her head, pestering her at any quiet moment. Though she normally napped during the day, those naps became her primary form of sleep. During the day, she fell asleep easily to the sounds of the crew around her chatting and doing their own work. At night, while everything was quiet, she was alone with her thoughts. She started volunteering for extra watches during the night.
"Tea?" Came a gruff noise behind her one of these nights, as she was practicing with her swords on the deck in the moonlight. She swung her sword instinctively towards the voice, stopping an inch away from Sanji's neck. He didn't flinch and held the cup towards her. She stared at him for a moment, as if wondering if the subject of her thoughts was her mere imagination playing tricks on her, but she put her sword away.
"Why are you up?" She asked, ignoring his offer.
"Couldn't sleep." Sanji replied, shrugging and shoving the cup into her hands forcefully. She took it reluctantly and smelled lavender.
"Believe what you want." Sanji replied, shrugging again. He pulled out a cigarette, lit it, and leaned against the railing of the ship as he stared out over the waters. Zoro watched him a moment before leaning beside him and taking a sip of the hot tea.
Now that they were together, her earlier thoughts were slipping away from her mind. Her mind was still full of Sanji, but of curiosities. There were so many things she wanted to know about the cook, but never had the chance to ask. They weren't exactly the type to have long conversations, and when they talked it was usually teasing one another.
She looked over at his profile, lit by the burn of his cigarette.
"If you've got something to say, just say it moss brains." Sanji told her.
"Have you ever trained to be a swordsman?" She asked suddenly, surprised at her own question. Ever since she had seen him handle the sword back at the shop, she couldn't get it out of her mind. Sanji took a deep drag and sighed. He turned towards her, resting his elbow on the railing.
"What's keeping you from sleeping?" He asked in return. Shields were up. She frowned. It seemed her question was a bit too personal.
"Well…" She hesitated, thinking. She stared at the man, watching his tense body language. She turned away from him, looking back out at the sea. She took a few minutes to think over her response. Sanji waited patiently, his cigarette burning down to its end.
"It's my head," She continued, "Uh, not the concussion thing. More… my thoughts."
"Your thoughts?" Sanji prompted.
"Yeah… There's something I can't stop thinking about. It's stressing me out. At night its so quiet that I just keep thinking about it." She admitted, peering at him from the corner of her eye.
"My father trained me to wield a sword." Sanji told her. Zoro gasped and turned towards him quickly with the start of a grin on her face. However, Sanji's expression was dark and her smile fell. There was clearly a much larger story behind that sentence. She waited a moment, but he didn't continue. That was fair, she decided, since she herself couldn't finish her own story. She offered him a small smile though. He returned it and reached over to ruffle her hair.
"Finish that." Sanji nodded towards the tea as his hand slid a bit too slowly out of her hair. She nodded, her heart suddenly beating a bit quicker than before as the cook turned and walked away.
AN: As always, thank you all very much for taking the time to read this story. I enjoy writing this story immensely and everyone's support really encourages me to keep going. I appreciate all reviews and constructive criticisms! I feel like we are finally getting into more of the 'meat' of the story. So please enjoy :)
Chapter 7: Get out of my pants
AN: Please enjoy :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After a few ocean mishaps, the crew finally found themselves arriving at the island of Alabasta. The plan was to stock up on supplies at one of the port cities before boarding their ship again and docking at a different location on the isle.
Eager for food, Luffy was the first off the ship and ran in search of a restaurant while the others got new clothes and supplies. So, it didn't surprise them in the least that the next time they saw Luffy was when he was being chased by marines.
The crew tensed and prepared themselves for a fight when they suddenly saw a huge column of smoke and flame rise above them. In the midst of the flame was a shadow of a body.
"I've got this. You guys go ahead, I'll catch up later." Said the shadow. The crew looked towards their captain who suddenly looked incredibly bright. Luffy grinned and nodded to his crewmates.
"Let's go!" He told the others, grabbing one of the bags and taking off towards the ship. The others didn't question their captain and grabbed their things and hurried after.
After they got aboard their ship and were far enough away from the shore, they gathered together on the deck to go over the situation.
"Did you know that guy?" Zoro asked her captain as she leaned against the mast.
"Oh yeah, that was my brother, Ace!" Luffy exclaimed, obviously very giddy from seeing the man.
"You have a brother?" Nami asked, looking surprised. Luffy nodded.
"Yeah, 3 years older. He left to become a pirate 3 years earlier than me, so it's been a while since I've seen him. He didn't have that kind of power back then though." Luffy replied, seeming very impressed and proud of his brother.
"He seems pretty strong, he was able to hold off all those marines at once." Sanji noted.
"Sure, but I could take him." Luffy bragged with a laugh. His moment didn't last long, however, as he was promptly knocked forward by a man jumping aboard the ship. The crew all jumped up, tensed.
"Yo." The man greeted, waving his hand to the others, "Talking behind my back, eh bro?" The man grabbed Luffy's vest and pulled the man back to his feet. Luffy just laughed and punched his arm.
"Ace! You came! Everyone, this is my brother, Ace." Luffy introduced, grinning. Ace bowed his head courteously to the others. He was taller than his younger brother, well built, and had a splash of freckles across his face.
"Nice to meet you guys. Thanks for looking after Luffy, he must've been a handful." Ace ruffled his brother's hair.
"That's saying it lightly." Nami replied, chuckling.
"Why don't you come in for some tea?" Sanji offered.
"Thanks, that would be great." Ace replied, and the crew all headed inside for drinks. The meeting room seemed much smaller will the amount of people currently inside of it. Zoro and Usopp had to grab some barrels for extra chairs around the table as Sanji got the drinks ready.
Zoro took the corner and found herself squished between Ace and Chopper. They went through introductions and Ace was quite impressed with the crew that Luffy had managed to form so far. The crew exchanged stories of their adventures well into the night.
Zoro somehow found herself caught in a drinking contest between herself and Ace. Not one to turn down a challenge, she started downing the drinks. They both seemed to be able to hold their liquor well, and as the night wore on, one by one, their other crewmates retired to their beds. It was past midnight and only Luffy, Sanji, Ace and Zoro remained. Sanji had cut them off and was now washing the dishes at the sink in the corner of the room. Luffy had fallen asleep in the middle of the room. Ace hiccuped and grinned at Zoro.
"Guess it's a tie?" He asked, leaning his head against his hand.
"I would've won if the cook hadn't stopped us." Zoro replied, shooting a glare at said cook. Sanji rolled his eyes.
"We just restocked our supplies and you guys are depleting them all in one day." Sanji replied.
"Lighten up, dartbrow." Zoro replied, and Ace suddenly snorted in laugher. He quickly covered his mouth and apologized but couldn't stop grinning.
"If you throw up, you're cleaning it up, shithead." Sanji retorted.
"Yeah yeah, I know how to hold my liquor." Zoro waved her hand at the cook and stood up from her seat. She tossed her empty glass towards Sanji, who caught it easily, then headed out onto the deck for some fresh air.
The cool air felt good on her slightly warm skin from the drinks. She started stretching. Exercise always helped her sober up after drinking a large amount. After a few minutes she heard the door open again and a familiar smell drifted her away. She finished her stretch and turned with a grin. Sanji was holding out a cup a tea.
"Why do you keep looking at that thing? Haven't you memorized it already mosshead?" Sanji accused, trying to snatch the letter out of Zoro's hands. She turned red and pushed him back, stuffing the letter she had received upon arriving into town into her haramaki.
"It's none of your business, shitty cook!" Zoro replied, sprinting ahead of the group to get away.
"Don't think I won't go in there!" Sanji warned, pouncing on the swordsman, the two tumbling in the sand.
"How do they have so much energy?" Nami asked, wiping sweat from her forehead. The group was trudging through the sand dunes of the Alabasta desert.
"What are they even fighting about anyway?" Vivi asked, squinting at the two wrestling in the sand in the distance. It looked like Sanji was trying to pull Zoro's haramaki off her person. She had bitten his hand in retaliation.
"Something stupid, I'm sure." Nami replied, rolling her eyes.
"It had Mihawk's signature…" Usopp said, looking worried. The crew looked at him in surprise.
"Do you think… he wants to join our crew?" Luffy asked, eyes wide.
"Yeah right," Usopp waved his hand, "More like trying to recruit Zoro from us or something."
"I-I don't want Zoro to go!" Chopper whined, looking worriedly at his friend in the distance. It seemed Sanji had successfully pinned Zoro to the ground, sitting on her waist while pinning her hands down with his knees. She was kicking wildly.
The group caught up to the two. Sanji had stolen the letter and was reading it. Zoro was red in the face and practically shrieking at him. In a manly way, of course. Sanji finished the letter and looked down at Zoro. She looked mortified and couldn't speak. Sanji smiled wickedly at her. She shook her head quickly.
"Is Mihawk really trying to recruit you, Zoro?" Luffy asked, frowning. Zoro glanced at her captain, then back at Sanji. Her eyes were begging him not to speak. Sanji leaned down and whispered in her ear. She shivered
"This isn't over…" He warned, with an edge to his voice before sitting back up and flashing a smile to the others.
"Of course not…." Sanji started ripping the letter to shreds, a bit aggressively. "Our idiot swordsman would never, ever, agree with anything on this letter, right?" He glowered down at her. Zoro paled slightly, surprised at his animosity.
"O-of course not… ahhaha…" She laughed nervously. The crew stared at the two. There was obviously something going on with that letter. It was also weird to see Zoro not fighting back against her opponent.
"Oh okay. Great!" Luffy replied with a grin and continued their trek. The others weren't as quickly convinced but continued after him. Chopper hovered behind, looking worriedly between the two. Sanji looked like he wanted to say more to Zoro but let go of her and got up and followed the others.
Zoro felt so…helpless. The water level was rising, and they were all sitting ducks. They had been locked inside of a seastone prison, effectively preventing them from escaping. She rammed her sword in frustration against the bars of the prison to no avail. Luffy also looked quite upset. This was literally his kryptonite. Just touching the bars made him feel very weak.
"Sanji…! Sanji can save us!" Usopp exclaimed, trying to cheer the group up. Hope started to spread through the group. Sanji and Chopper had been separated from the group and their current whereabouts were unknown. They could find the key and open the gate.
Zoro felt her stomach twist. For some reason she felt uneasy. It wasn't the water rising or the possible explosion. She felt weird about Sanji. She hadn't seen him since he ignored her after reading the letter. It was a strange letter, of course, but she herself didn't write it. It didn't make sense for her to be embarrassed by it. But, she was.
This made her feel weak. Emotions only got in the way of things, they clouded judgement. Sanji was her crewmate, and him coming to save them all was a good thing… even if he also saw her unable to break free of the prison on her own.
"Dammit Sanji…" She growled, frustrated with her own thoughts that made no sense to herself.
"That's twice that you've said my name, you must really be in deep shit, eh?" Sanji announced as he entered the room calmly, walking down the stairs at a leisurely pace.
"Sanji!" The crew cried out happily, gripping the bars of their prison. He gave a mock bow, looking them over.
"At your service~ Ah Nami-swan, you look beautiful even in distress! I'm sorry you are locked up with all those smelly men~" He cooed, walking over to the cage.
"Yeah yeah, can you get us out of here? One of the alligators ate the key! It's seastone and we can't break out!" She replied, gesturing over to one of the many large alligators that were thrashing about.
"Anything for you, Nami-swan~" He replied, winking. He turned to take care of the creature, but his eyes paused on Zoro. She was staring at him with an odd look on her face.
Is Sanji… wearing glasses? Why does he suddenly look so…? Her thoughts trailed off. She had completely forgotten everything she had been worried about before. He raised an eyebrow at her, and her face turned red. Not knowing how to react, she glared back.
"T-took you long enough damn cook!" She yelled.
Zoro awoke to see Usopp hovering over her bed. She sat up and stretched, feeling the pain of her wounds with each movement. They had defeated the evil head of Baroque Works, Crocodile, and saved the town. Zoro had made it out alive, though it had taken Chopper a long time to patch her up. Her friends kept hovering and Chopper ended up having to put up a privacy screen for the two while he worked.
"Hey, you're awake! Luffy just woke up too." Usopp gestured to the bed on the other side of the room. Luffy was currently eating everything in existence.
"The others?" She asked, her mind a bit cloudy on what happened after Luffy had defeated Crocodile.
"Fine! In fact, we were all about to go to the bathhouse together! I came to see if you were up!" Usopp said excitedly. Zoro nodded.
"Sounds good, where—" She started but cut off as Sanji walked over after hearing their voices.
"Oi mossbrains, took you long enough to recover." Sanji said as he gave her a onceover.
"I'm fine, cook. I was doing actual fighting, not slacking off." She returned. He kicked her bed, making her wince.
"Nah, I'm just better than you. Who was it that had to save your sorry ass? Oh right, it was me." He smirked down at her. She started to retort but remembered something.
"Oh wait, you were wearing glasses?" She asked curiously. He tilted his head put pulled them out of his pocket, putting them on.
"What, these?" He asked.
"Y-yeah… they uh… look very good on you." She replied.
Usopp and Sanji stared at her.
And stared some more.
"Chopper! I think Zoro has brain damage!" Usopp yelled, looking around for the little deer. Sanji wasn't sure how to react to the compliment, his cheeks tinted slightly. Zoro, as if suddenly realizing what she had said, turned red herself.
"I don't need a compliment from a man!" Sanji finally reacted, kicking her bed over. Zoro fell on the floor but quickly recovered as well.
"N-not like you'd ever get one from a woman!" She shouted in return, her face still burning.
"Nami-san compliments me all the time!" Sanji grabbed her by the front of her shirt.
"No, she compliments your cooking! That doesn't count!" Zoro grabbed his shirt in return.
"Of course it counts, I still did it, didn't I?"
"She's only using you for your cooking skills!"
"Oh, like Mihawk's using you for—" Sanji couldn't continue as he had just been kneed in the groin. He crumpled to the ground.
"Uhh…" Usopp winced and backed away, "So, bathhouse?"
AN: Thank you all for reading! As you can see, the next chapter has an interesting setting hahaha~ Please wait for it eagerly! :)
Chapter 8: Close your eyes, Zoro.
Enter the bathhouse.
AN: This was certainly... an interesting chapter to write! I hope you all enjoy it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Zoro was an idiot. Normally she would argue against being called such a thing, but in this one case, she agreed.
She was following Usopp to the bathhouse. The men's bathhouse. The place where men get naked together and bathe together.
Her mind was in overdrive, trying to think about how to fix this problem. They had almost arrived. She couldn't just enter. There was just no way to hide everything. Maybe she could just turn around and say she got lost or something? She glanced behind her and caught the eye of Sanji who was following. She quickly looked away. Her escape was blocked.
Though outwardly she looked fine, inwardly she was panicking. As they arrived at the entrance, she stopped cold in front of the door. Her brain shut down.
"What's wrong? Move it." Sanji said from behind, watching her back. She braced herself and stepped inside to the changing room.
There were naked men everywhere.
Her eyes found a spot on the far wall and she walked, almost robot like, towards it. She sat down and stared at the wall. Maybe they would just ignore her. Maybe this was all just a dream.
She felt something cold on her shoulder. She jumped.
"S-sorry! It's me!" Chopper whispered quickly, "I'm s-so sorry! I didn't realize!" he wriggled, looking around nervously. Thankfully it seemed the others were so excited for a hot bath that they immediately changed and went into the bathing room.
"No, it's fine. I'll just leave." Zoro replied, standing up.
"Oi, Zoro! Are you coming?" Called a voice from the bath. It was the king's voice. Zoro winced.
"I-I have an idea!" Chopper said excitedly and started digging through some of the baskets. "Here, just put on this big robe. There's a separate pool off to the side for hotter water. I'll say I'm making you a special herb bath for your sores! And I'll stand watch!" He giggled and wiggled again, obviously very proud of his plan and getting the chance to help her out again.
Honestly Zoro was doubtful, but she also found it very hard to say no to the cute deer. She hesitated, glanced around quickly to make sure they had all gone into the bathing room and changed into the large robe. Thankfully it kept everything covered and was large enough it was shapeless. Chopper grabbed his medical bag and led the way out into the bathing area. Zoro kept her eyes forward.
"What's taking you guys so long, come on, join us!" Usopp encouraged from his spot in the large pool.
"Yeah, lets play a game!" Luffy encouraged. Zoro cursed under her breath, of course her captain would forget everything.
"Z-zoro's still hurt pretty badly. So, I'm making him a special bath! Umm, it's made especially for him though, s-so stay over there!" Chopper warned. He was terrible at lying to his crewmates though and was obviously shaking. Zoro was deeply regretting this plan.
"Oh right, his third nipple!" Usopp said suddenly. Everyone looked at him. Loving the attention and the fact that he knew more than the others, he puffed out his chest and continued.
"You see, Zoro has a special condition. He was born with not one, not two, not four, but three nipples!" Usopp proclaimed to the others.
"R-really?!" Chopper asked, distracted from his task.
"Yes! But it's not just a normal third nipple, no! Why this particular third nipple also possesses an amazing power… a deadly power." Usopp posed tragically, his head bowed.
"W-what kind of power?" The king asked, intrigued. Zoro was mortified by this turn of events.
"If perhaps one of us were to look upon the third nipple of yore, why… we'd turn to stone!" Usopp proclaimed loudly. The boys gasped.
"Wow, that sounds pretty powerful… why you keeping something like that a secret Zoro?" Luffy asked.
"And also so pitiful… if you've got something like that, how do you get with the ladies?" The king asked, frowning and shaking his head. Zoro was looking for a hole to crawl in.
"Ha! That shitty swordsman couldn't get a chick if he were the last man on earth." Sanji mocked from his place off to the side. He had been silent through the whole debacle and wasn't falling for a story like that.
"Why would I want a woman anyway?!" Zoro looked up and shouted back. Sanji looked highly amused. He leaned his chin on his hand.
"Ahh, women not your style, eh cactus head? Well you have plenty of men to choose from here." Sanji gestured to the others, all currently without clothes. Zoro felt her whole body turn red with embarrassment.
The others were watching with interest.
"I never said t-that!" Zoro replied.
"Or perhaps… I'm more your style?" Sanji teased, leaning back in his seat so his toned chest was clearly visible.
"As if anyone would like a pervert like you!" She replied fiercely. Sanji faltered a moment but it quickly dissipated, and he laughed loudly. She looked around for something to throw at him.
"I see…" Usopp lowered himself back into the pool and saluted Zoro. "I apologize for the temptation!"
"Temptation?" Luffy asked, looking at his friend. Usopp nodded and put his hand on Luffy's shoulder, pushing him down into the water as well.
"Zoro doesn't like women, he likes men." Usopp whispered quite loudly, with Sanji's laughter the constant backdrop. Luffy nodded.
"Sorry Zoro, I won't tempt you anymore!" Luffy added, covering his own nipples with his hands. The king followed his example.
"Zoro, it's done!" Chopper broke the tension and gestured to the small pool. Its water was foamy and opaque. Chopper grinned at her. She groaned with her head in her hands. She just wanted to leave.
"Um, Chopper… " Zoro lowered her voice, "While I'm extremely grateful, they are all watching me…"
"Oh, right!" Chopper looked back at all the men.
"Is that Nami?!" Chopper suddenly exclaimed, pointing towards the wall. All heads swiveled in that direction immediately. Zoro took the cue, slipped off her robe as quick as lightning and slipped into the pool up to her neck. She let out a sigh. It did actually feel quite good.
The others weren't too enthused about Chopper's lie, however, and he soon found himself taken by the others and splashed and dunked into the water.
The attention was off her though, so Zoro felt she could finally relax. She leaned back fully in the water up to her chin and sighed contently. She listened to the other boys playing around in the water and chatting as she felt the soreness in her muscles melt away from the warm water.
Of course, that didn't last for long.
"So, this is some kind of magic water?" Luffy asked, walking over to her pool. He had a towel around his waist now and another one tied around his neck like a bib, so it draped over his nipples. Zoro's eyes flew open and she stared at him in shock. Usopp walked over covered as well, kneeling and testing the water with his hand.
"Oh, this feels really nice!" He exclaimed. Usopp slid into the water, sighing as he went in. Luffy grinned and jumped in as well, splashing the water. Zoro curled up into a ball protectively and glared at the two.
"This is mine. Get out." She warned. Usopp looked slightly alarmed, but Luffy just laughed.
"Aw, come on Zoro, let's share—" Luffy said, then was suddenly hit on the head with a bar of soap. He picked it up to throw it back but noticed something written into it. It was the character for woman. He stared at it for a moment, thinking, then suddenly remembered something from long ago. He looked over to see Chopper who was stuck talking to the king make curvy motions with his hand. Luffy looked at Zoro. "Oh yeah…"
Luffy wasn't able to react fully though as both him and Usopp were suddenly grabbed by their heads and unceremoniously thrown across the room. Zoro looked up at her savior, ready to graciously thank them, but she locked eyes with a certain curly browed man. Her jaw dropped.
Thankfully Sanji was the type to wear a towel around his waist, but it was still a shock to see the man so close and nearly naked in front of her. He also had ignored the towel bib look that Luffy and the others had adopted. Zoro lowered herself more in the water, so only her nose was above it. She locked her arms around her legs and her eyes darted around for her only accomplice.
Sanji sat on the edge of the pool, letting only his feet soak.
"What's got you so uptight?" He asked, raising an eyebrow at her. She raised her head slightly.
"N-nothing!" She replied, glancing him over once before averting her eyes again.
"You sure have been weird lately, weirder than usual… You were never this meek before. Sure you didn't damage your head?" Sanji questioned.
"I'm not meek!" She replied angrily. It wasn't her fault she was in this position. Well, okay, maybe it was partially, but still!
"Hmm… guess you getting locked up and all helpless earlier in that prison really humbled you down…" Sanji teased. Without thinking, Zoro grabbed one of Sanji's legs and pulled. Sanji found himself pitched forward toward the pool. Sanji quickly caught himself.
"Idiot! Do you want me to land on you?" Sanji questioned.
"I'm trying to drown you!" Zoro replied, pulling again. Sanji gripped the side of the tub tightly.
"O-oi! Read the situation you idiot!"
"Read? Read what?!" Zoro asked, finally pulling with all her might. Sanji fell into the pool, his towel flying off and hitting Zoro in the face. She reached up to remove it, but a trembling hooved hand stopped her.
"W-wait…" Chopper told her, having finally escaped from the king scrubbing his back.
"Sorry Zoro! I promise I won't forget again!" Luffy said as he reached into the pool, grabbing Sanji and dragging him away. A few minutes later Chopper dropped his hand and with tears in his eyes swayed mournfully.
"I'm so so so sorry Zoro! I couldn't get away from the king! Are you okay?" He asked, the large tears falling with little plops onto the group.
"Oh, I'm fine." She replied, sighing and patting his head, "Thank you for everything though! It was a really nice bath!" She forced a smile and glanced around to make sure the others were already gone, then put the robe back on.
They headed back to the main room and Chopper left first to let her get dressed.
Zoro was peering at her old bloody clothes, debating whether to just put them back on, when someone walked in.
"—don't worry, the boys already left! I'm just grabbing the soap!" Nami called out behind her to Vivi as she stepped into the boy's changing area. Zoro quickly turned around away from her and started pulling her dirty pants back on.
"Oh, sorry!" Nami called, without any shame as she spotted Zoro. She turned to look for the soap but stopped and looked back over at Zoro's back. Quick as a cat, she dashed over and grabbed Zoro's shoulder, turning her around.
"I am… such an idiot." Nami muttered, glancing Zoro over once then looking her in the eye. "Of course you're a girl." She sighed and shook her head. Zoro was frozen, not sure what to do. She settled for grabbing her shirt. She was stopped by Nami's hand though.
"You're not putting that filthy thing back on, ugh, and look at you. Did you even bath at all?"
"You're hopeless. Okay, you're going to actually bathe, and meanwhile you're going to tell us what's going on." Nami handed her back the robe then started pulling her over to the girl's side.
"I-I'm not going over there!" Zoro resisted, grabbing the door frame.
"You're going to come in or I'm going to march right out this door and tell everyone your little secret." Nami threatened, lowering her voice. Zoro gulped and followed.
As Zoro walked in the room in her robe, the other occupant, Vivi, gasped.
"Zoro! This is the girl's side!" She exclaimed. She was wearing a robe herself, but she pulled it closed tighter.
"It's alright Vivi. Zoro is right where she is supposed to be." Nami said. Vivi stared for a moment, trying to comprehend what she was being told. Zoro was scowling and looking at the floor.
"Wait… you don't mean… SHE?" Vivi gasped again, "What, really? I mean, you've always been a bit uh, softer looking than the others but... but we've been traveling together so long!"
"Yes, we'd like to hear everything." Nami said as she shoved Zoro down onto a stool. "While we teach you how to be a proper human being. Vivi, grab the shampoo will ya?"
Zoro didn't know what was more tortuous, their relentless questioning or the constant scrubbing and prodding of her body to get it clean. She didn't give up her personal reasons, but she relented and explained how she was able to keep hidden all this time. It hadn't been too hard for her, honestly. She wasn't exactly gifted in the chest area so keeping a chest guard of durable material on had prevented any mistakes, usually. For bathing, well she didn't bathe that often as was evident from all the grime coming off when being scrubbed.
"Does anyone else know?" Vivi asked curiously as she washed the shampoo out of Zoro's hair.
"Yeah.. besides you two, Luffy and Chopper. Oh, and Mihawk." Zoro replied, finally getting tired of their prodding and pushing them off. She reached for a towel to dry off.
"Not much of a secret anymore now, is it?" Nami chuckled, "That just leaves Usopp and Sanji right?" Zoro nodded glumly.
"Sanji…doesn't know?" Vivi asked, tapping her chin in thought, "That'll be a surprise for sure... wait... you said Mihawk right? Wasn't that the name on the letter you got? Who is that?"
"Isn't he… the one who gave you that scar?" Nami asked, gesturing to the scar that ran from Zoro's shoulder to her hip. She nodded.
"Yeah, the world's greatest swordsman."
"I'm guessing that's when he found out?" Nami asked. Zoro nodded.
"Seems like it. Are we done here?" Zoro asked, tired.
"Sanji was awfully weird about that letter… as were you… what did it say, exactly?" Nami had a gleam in her eye.
Zoro's face turned slightly red.
"We're finished." She said and put the robe back on, securing it tightly.
"Oh..my…" Vivi giggled slightly. Zoro went to leave and Nami stepped in front of her.
"Hold on. Look, I know things have been okay somehow, due to some miracle, but you can't handle this all on your own. The others will find out eventually." She said, leaning against the door.
"I've done just fine." Zoro glared back.
"Thirty minutes ago you were in the men's bath!" She exclaimed.
"I…I had it under control! Chopper was guarding me!"
"It doesn't sound like it was under control… and I even walked in on you. You were extremely lucky it wasn't one of the guys."
"What's your point?" Zoro growled, and Nami sighed and rubbed her head.
"I'm not really trying to blackmail you or anything, I swear. I'm trying to help you. Look, I don't know why you are doing this, but well, I just wanted to say that we've got your back." Nami explained, putting her hand on Zoro's arm. Zoro looked surprised.
"Yeah, we're crewmates, right?" Vivi chimed in, patting her back. "So, you can depend on us too."
Zoro looked uncomfortable but nodded.
"Yeah, thanks." She wasn't sure what to do so she patted Nami's shoulder in return. Nami grinned.
"Oh this adventure has suddenly become so much more fun… Say… you and Sanji sure spend a lot of time together…" Nami teased, but Zoro was already in mind overload. She pushed the navigator lightly aside and headed out.
AN: Thank you for your time! It seems like more and more people are finding out the secret~
Please leave a review letting me know what you think :)
She told her. That witch had told her.
"I'm going to kill you." Zoro threatened as she stalked towards Nami. They were back on their ship, the Going Merry, and out at sea heading towards their next destination.
"Oh, come on, Robin practically knew anyway." Nami replied, waving her hand, though she was also standing slightly behind the older woman. Nico Robin was the newest member of their crew, having joined after their success at Alabaster Island. She was a turncoat, having originally worked with their enemy, Crocodile. However, she had apparently saved their captain and had a turn of heart. Zoro still didn't trust her though. She was too suspicious.
"Only because you kept giving her hints!" Zoro replied furiously, trying to get around Robin. However, the older woman was using her devil fruit power – the ability to produce extra limbs – to block her way.
"Do not worry swordsman, I will not share your secret." Robin said with a small smile.
"I still don't trust you." Zoro replied, turning her glare towards Robin.
"And that is your choice." Robin smiled, patted Zoro's shoulder, then went to go back to their room. Her shield now gone, Nami's eyes widened and she backed up.
"Now, now, Zoro, isn't it easier with more people knowing?" Nami asked, smiling nervously.
"Easier for me to make this decision…" Zoro replied, gripping her sword as a threat. Her vision was blocked, however, by a certain cook.
"Fear not Nami-san, I will protect you from this fiend!" Sanji announced, looking down his nose at Zoro.
"Yeah, you do that." Nami replied and scampered off.
"Sticking your nose where it doesn't belong, question-brow?" Zoro side-stepped and Sanji mirrored her.
"It's my business to protect the lovely women of this world." Sanji replied.
"I really, really hate that side of you." Zoro jeered. Sanji narrowed his eyes.
"Well I'm sorry you were never taught any sort of curtesy or manners." Sanji shot back, starting to lift his foot.
"I GOT THIS SANJI!" Usopp cried, jumping in between the two, facing Zoro. "SUPER SECRET TECHNIQUE NUMBER TWO, SEXY MYSTIQUE!" He unlatched the top of his overalls and let it fall forward, showing his bare chest. He flexed his muscles. Zoro stared.
"Luffy, I think it needs a bit more power! Two nipples aren't enough!" Usopp called to his captain. Luffy swung over and swiftly climbed onto Usopp's shoulders, ripping open his own vest.
"SEXY MYSTIQUE PLUS ULTRA!" He roared, flexing with one arm extended. Zoro groaned and walked away, the fight forgotten.
"Quickly Sanji! We need more power!" Usopp called to their cook.
"Like hell I'm going to do something that stupid!" Sanji replied, kicking them apart.
The crew's next destination was an island called Jaya. Their mission was simple, find information about how to get to the Sky Island. Luffy and Zoro eagerly disembarked and Nami begrudgingly followed to make sure the two actually did what they were supposed to do while the remaining crew stayed with the ship.
It was clear the moment that they entered town, that things wouldn't go as easily as they had hoped. The town, called Mock Town, was full of pirates. It seemed there were brawls happening at every moment to the delight of Luffy and Zoro. Nami pulled the two aside and glared at them.
"Alright you two, promise me you will not fight here." She demanded. Zoro scowled and Luffy picked his nose.
"Why would we do that?" Zoro asked.
"Because we need information and if you two go beating everyone up, we will never get it." She replied, "Now promise!"
"Uh huh..." Zoro and Luffy replied halfheartedly.
Nami sighed and they headed into town. It was a rough town, but they were able to find a bar quickly and headed inside to get some information. The trio ordered drinks and sat at the bar. Nami started chatting up the bartender while the other two started downing their drinks.
"Hey, pretty lady." A large, scruffy and slightly smelly man came up from behind them. Nami batted her eyes.
"You want to buy me a drink?" She cooed. The smelly man put his arm down on the bar and leaned over towards Zoro, however, much to Nami's surprise.
"You new to these parts?" The smelly man asked the swordsman. Zoro slammed her beer down on the table and glared past the man towards Nami.
"You witch!" Zoro growled.
"Why are you mad at me?!" Nami asked.
"This sort of shit only started happening since you made me take a bath all the time!" Zoro yelled, still ignoring the smelly man.
"What?! You're mad because of that?! That's just what normal humans do!" She said incredulously.
"Umm... so I just thought you were kinda pretty…" The smelly man mumbled.
"Shut the hell up!" Both girls yelled at the man who slumped away terrified.
"Aren't we not supposed to fight?" Luffy asked, watching the two.
"Don't even get me started!" Nami yelled at their captain, "This is also your fault!"
The door of the bar suddenly opened harshly, slamming into the wall. The customers of the tavern all looked up towards the doorway.
A large muscled man with blonde hair and a scar over one of his right eye entered the room with a commanding presence.
"I heard there was a pipsqueak pirate with a straw hat here." The man said as he entered, looking over the group. Whispers erupted through the crowd. Apparently the man's name was Bellamy and he had a large bounty on him. Bellamy noticed Luffy at the bar, watching him back curiously. He walked over to the straw hat captain and took a seat next to him.
"You Luffy?" Bellamy asked. Luffy nodded and was immediately slammed into the bar counter by Bellamy.
"Nice to meet you." Bellamy grinned until he noticed a sword at his neck. He looked over at Zoro who had drawn just as quickly.
"Hey sweet cheeks." Bellamy leered.
"Dammit Nami!" Zoro glared over her shoulder at the navigator.
"Stop blaming me for making you clean!" Nami replied and grabbed her shoulder. "But hold on, we haven't gotten any information yet!"
Luffy stood up and Bellamy turned his attention back to the captain. Nami tried in vain to ask the bartender about their next destination, Sky Island, but was laughed at by not only the bartender himself but the entire tavern. While they were laughing, another punch hit Luffy's gut and he was knocked to the ground. Bellamy stood over him.
"Pathetic, and here I was thinking to possibly recruit you guys." He spat on the ground. Zoro drew her second sword but Luffy held up his hand.
"Don't fight Zoro." The captain commanded much to Nami's dismay.
"No Luffy! It's okay, you can kick these guys asses! They deserve it!" Nami replied.
"No." Luffy ordered, looking at Zoro who nodded.
The next fifteen minutes were some of the hardest for Nami to endure. Luffy and Zoro were punched, kicked, slammed and thrown around the room. The two didn't move a muscle even as they were spit on. Finally, unable to take any more, Nami grabbed the two in tears and started dragging them towards the exit with the tavern laughing at the trio.
"You idiots!" Nami yelled at them once they were outside, tears in her eyes. Luffy and Zoro stiffy stood, blood dripping from their various wounds and their faces starting to puff up from being bruised. Zoro winced as she leaned over and grabbed some mud from the ground and rubbed it on her face.
"…and what are you doing?" She asked Zoro as she tapped her foot.
"Becoming more manly." Zoro replied as Nami rolled her eyes and started back towards the ship. The two followed.
"What the hell is this?" Sanji asked, pointing at Zoro's face.
"Fight." She replied as they got back on the ship. Chopper immediately freaked out and went to grab his medicine.
"I mean this black crap all over your face." Sanji replied.
"Just some dirt." Zoro replied, shrugging. The cook sighed and went back to the kitchen and returned with a towel in his hand. Zoro narrowed her eyes.
"Come here." Sanji ordered. Zoro started backing up.
"What the hell are you doing..?" She asked cautiously.
"Wiping that shit off your face." Sanji replied, trying to corner the swordsman.
"I'm fine!" Zoro replied aggressively and was able to duck under Sanji's arm and dash towards the other side of the boat. However, she soon found herself unable to move. Several disconnected hands had appeared on the deck and grabbed hold of her, holding her in place. Robin was sitting on the railing off to the side and she smiled at Zoro innocently.
"Oh Robin-chan! Thank you so much~ You are always as helpful as you are beautiful!" Sanji called to her before turning a wicked grin towards Zoro and grabbing her face. "Just hold still." He took the towel and started wiping the dirt off her face, while avoiding her teeth.
"There, much better." Sanji finished his task and looked her over.
"Do you have a particular liking of dirt, swordsman?" Robin asked from her place on the railing. Nami walked over and sighed, her hand on her hip.
"Zoro thinks being dirty means being manly. He got hit on at the bar." She explained, rolling her eyes. Sanji raised his eyebrows.
"By a man?" He asked, tossing the soiled towel over his shoulder and reaching up, grabbing Zoro's face.
"Yeah… two technically." Nami replied, suddenly interested. She sat next to Robin and watched the two, smirking.
"Idiot. You can be clean and manly. Look at me." Sanji told Zoro, "Hmm… lately your hair has gotten longer." He moved his hands from her cheeks up into her hair, checking the length. Zoro started trying to resist as her cheeks tinted pink, but Robin continued to hold her in place.
"That's true cook-san. The longer hair gives a much more feminine look. Why don't you help our swordsman by cutting it?" Robin suggested with a smile. Nami turned to Robin with a look of admiration.
"Sure, can't have him getting distracted during a fight by the enemy making eyes at him." Sanji replied.
"You get distracted by girls all the time!" Zoro countered, but everyone ignored her.
"Robin-chan~! If you could be so kind as to put our idiot swordsman into a chair, I'll go get some scissors!" He asked kindly, and Robin smiled.
"Of course, Cook-san." She moved her arms and the numerous detached arms moved Zoro across the deck into one of their chairs despite her struggle.
"This is a win-win, Zoro." Nami grinned at the swordsman. "You'll get to look more manly, and… well, you know." She waved her hand vaguely in the direction Sanji had just went. Zoro practically hissed back.
A moment later Sanji returned with some scissors and had also put on his glasses. Zoro paused in her struggling to look at him a moment.
"Good, stay just like that. If you move around while I'm holding these scissors, I could poke out one of your eyes. Wouldn't that be embarrassing?" Sanji walked up towards her and again slipped his hands into her hair.
Despite Nami's protests, Robin convinced the girl to give the two some privacy and they headed inside the ship.
"I'm more worried about being burned." Zoro replied, noting the cigarette in Sanji's mouth. He grinned.
"You'll be fine." He leaned in a bit as he tried to figure out how much to cut off. Zoro looked down, unable to look into the cook's eyes. He measured out some hair with his fingers and started cutting. Zoro held her breath. He was so close to her that she could feel his breath. She shivered.
"You cold?" Sanji asked, trimming away. She almost shook her head but Sanji stopped her with his hand. He made his way around her head, trimming off all the ends of her hair, and blowing off the excess hair from her neck. Zoro was gripping the chair so tightly it was almost creaking. She stared down at her lap, willing herself not to move or breath or do anything really.
Sanji came back around to stand in front of her.
"Look up." He commanded, trying to see if everything was straight. She tilted her chin up but closed her eyes. She felt his large hands slide into her hair again on both sides. He tilted her head this way and that, checking.
"I think… we're done." Sanji told her, though he didn't let go of her just yet. At the long pause, she finally opened her eyes. Sanji was right in front of her, holding her, and looking not at her hair but into her eyes. She stopped breathing again. Sanji's cigarette dropped to the ground, abandoned.
"Hey Sanji!" Luffy called, running over. "I heard you're giving out haircuts! Can you cut mine too?" Usopp joined him.
"Yeah me too!" Usopp pulled at his own long hair. Sanji was staring at her. He finally looked away and turned towards the other two.
"Cut it yourself." He told them after clearing his throat. He tossed Luffy the scissors who caught them while also stabbing himself in the process. He reached down and picked up the abandoned cigarette, glancing at Zoro while doing so. She was blushing and holding her chest, with a bewildered look on her face. He left to go start dinner.
One of Robin's detached hands reached over and patted her back in a comforting way before they released her from her spot.
AN: Thank you so much for reading! Things are moving along it seems~ Now Robin also knows! Please review!