The Game Changer

El3v3n

[waywardswordsman]

Series: One Piece

Paring: Zoro/Nami [ZoNa]

Rating: PG (future MA)

Word Count: 2,760


Nami was beside herself with glee as she and her accomplice stole into the night. Her beige eyes were aglow with reflections of gold and jewels, the amount of treasure they'd managed to abscond with was far greater than she could have hoped for. And the money-loving navigator just couldn't wait to return back to the ship and lovingly count every single beri.

With a triumphant grin she glanced toward the man jogging beside her. The Straw Hat's resident swordsman lugged the weighty bag of stolen goods over his shoulder like it was nothing.

Normally she might have had a hard time convincing the green-haired man to go looting with her. Loaning him a measly hundred thousand beris a few years ago at an incredible interest rate had been genius. But even calling on Zoro's debt wouldn't have been enough to sway him into bullying a band of scumbags out of their gold. Despite being a notorious pirate himself, Zoro operated with a code of honor that baffled her. Sure, she'd never intentionally hurt an innocent person but she hardly felt sympathy for a toothless bunch of cut throats.

It had been lucky then that while she was pestering the stubborn man to pick a fight, one of the proclaimed Pearl Pirates had yanked a rice ball out of a young girl's hand and cackled as he ate it in front of her. The moment she heard the familiar screech of metal followed by painful screams, Nami knew she was in business.

The red head's eyes twinkled when she spied a similar smile plastered across her companion's face. It was all in a day's work for Zoro but she knew he thrived off of the thrill of a fight, especially when it meant beating down punks who were more than asking for it.

"Well, you look like you're in a good mood." Nami taunted as she led them around a corner.

"Just doing my part pay down a debt," He answered with a wolfish grin, "I can already feel the weight being lifted off my shoulders."

"You better not have dropped any of that, moron!" She snapped, immediately worrying that he might be speaking literally. "And nice try, but even with all that treasure you're only scratching the surface of what you owe me." He growled a string of curses under his breath at that, but Nami could only focus on the foreign voice she heard behind them.

"I think I saw them run that way!"

"Crap!" Nami exclaimed and with wide eyes she laid her shoulder into Zoro and sent them both hurtling through the doorway of the nearest building. Fast on her feet, she quickly slammed the door that miraculously closed despite being barely held to the wall on its hinges. Leaning against the unsteady frame, she panted heavily.

"Woman," Zoro complained as he came to his feet. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Quiet!" She ordered him in a hissed whisper. "Franky isn't finished making repairs to the Sunny and we aren't done gathering supplies. If we want to stick around here we really can't afford to stir up any more trouble."

"Oh yeah?" The taller man countered, narrowing an eye on his greedy crewmate. "If you want them off our backs why not just give them back their gold, huh?"

"Yeah right…" she grumbled. Coming away from the door, she leaned over to inspect the contents of the bag and fought off the urge to drool as she ran her fingers through the cool gold coins.

"This is the perfect place to lay low for a while." She spoke as she passed her eyes over the room. The cozy villa was tidy and absent of any evidence of inhabitants. Likely a property rented out to patrons, she'd wager ten thousand beri that she'd find some goodies in the cupboards if she looked. Humming as she crossed the barrier of the kitchen, she smirked victoriously upon finding what she was looking for.

"Sorry honeymooners," Nami said to herself as she whisked the ribbon away from the two bottles and came to stand.

"What are you doing?" The swordsman asked her pointedly with heavy arms crossed against his chest.

"Just because we're stuck in here doesn't mean we can't enjoy ourselves." The buxom navigator announced as she placed both of the dark vessels on the dining table and took a seat. She rolled her eyes when Zoro maintained his glare. "Relax, I'll leave some gold behind. I'm not trying to steal from the people in this town, only pirates. And besides," twirling one of the bottles around to reveal the label, she winked cutely and showed him the tip of her tongue. "We both know you can hardly resist a bottle of sake."

Zoro was in a considerably better mood after a few swigs of his favorite beverage. Neither spoke much as they sat, with his being a strong silent type and Nami full flung in her fantasies of riches they were both content to simply enjoy the quiet. The sake wasn't the best quality but it was strong. Even with her extreme tolerance to alcohol Nami was feeling fanciful and warm as the liquid burned pleasantly down her throat.

What a day it had been. It was times like this that Nami remembered why it was great to be an adventurer exploring the seas. Tucked away from her pursuers, she had a drink in her hand and oodles of money awaiting her treasure chest. Taking another sip from the bottle she glanced bemusedly toward the man seated across from her.

She couldn't really complain about the company either.

Sure, Zoro got on her nerves sometimes, especially when he'd feed into Luffy's whims by running into a fight without a second thought. But he was straightforward and real. With the muscle-bound sword master, what you saw is what you got and in this otherwise crazy world that was just fine by her. A smile twitched on her pink lips as she absorbed his appearance.

It was an understatement to say that Zoro wasn't hard on the eyes. In fact, in some of the places they had visited she'd even sold dates with him to unsuspecting admirers who were too afraid to approach the ferocious warrior even after they had forked over the gold. Was it so terrible being friends with an intimidating, devastatingly attractive, riddled with muscles and scars, insanely strong man who would put his life on the line to protect you at all costs?

Surely there were girls in more unfortunate situations.

"And what are you smirking about?" Zoro, ever serious, interrupted her thoughts. Focusing on his languid features as he drank from his liquor, her harsh tongue returned from its rest.

"Eh," she spoke dismissively, "Just shut up and drink your sake."

"You know," he began, setting his drink on the table almost in an act of defiance. "You are really-" his speech was cut off by the sound of voices from outside.

"Check these buildings! They have to be hiding out around here somewhere!"

"Damn it," Nami grumbled. "Don't these guys ever give up?" She suddenly squeaked and jumped out of her seat when she spotted men entering a building across the street through the room's sole window.

"Alright, the jig is up," Zoro rumbled while standing loftily from his chair. Popping the handle of one of his famed swords, he bared a depraved grin toward the doorway as if he welcomed the pirates to come meet their doom.

"Oh no you don't," she spoke determinedly. There was no way she was putting her precious treasure at risk of being reclaimed. With adrenaline powered strength she gnarled her fingers around Zoro's sleeve and shoved both he and the burlap bag of riches into another room. Slamming the door behind them, she shrieked upon hearing the sound of coins spilling onto the floor.

"The treasure!" Her high-pitched voice broke. "This is all your fault, you war mongering buffoon!"

The room was completely dark. Without a window or candlelight neither of the pirates' vision had adjusted to the new space, but that didn't halt the forthcoming scuffle.

"Woman," Zoro addressed her with venom. Moving forward, he snarled when the busty girl thrust her palms against his torso.

"There's something seriously wrong with you, you know that?" The swordsman bellowed. "You're the one who knocked the bag over andyou're the one who pissed those guys off by stealing it! So just get out of the way so I can kick their asses and get back to drinkin'!"

"No! I already told you before-" she gave him a shove forward though her strength was pitiful compared to his. In the confusion of the darkness the back of his knees hit something solid and Nami's words tumbled in her lungs. She fell atop of him at the end of their fall and was sprawled out across his firm body. The surface below them was soft and gave into their weight, thankfully for the swordsman whose back had planted against the cushion.

"What are you doing?" Zoro demanded, squirming beneath the girl. His sight was completely useless in the pitch black room. He feared throwing her away from him as he was always conscious of Nami's safety despite his annoyance and rage with her. So he stretched out his arms to try and collect his surroundings. Gathering handfuls of fabric at every clench his gut churned upon contemplating their position.

Were they on some kind of bed?

"Get off of me!" He ordered her loudly as he plotted rolling her over and making a break for it.

"No! Be quiet or they're going to hear us!" She protested as she dug her fingers into the man's shoulders and pinned him down with all the might she didn't have.

In the throes of their arguing Nami felt something strange rushing round her veins. Maybe it was the alcohol rearing its ugly head and bringing a sense of woozy to her otherwise rational thoughts.

Zoro was being difficult. Ranting and raving he complained about everything from having had to abandon his sake to threatening to throw her across the room. Why couldn't he just cooperate for once? Was just sitting still quietly for a few minutes really that much to ask? Her hands were free to wail on him or even clamp over his mouth so that he might shut up in time for the scumbags to inspect the first room and then leave.

So what was it that possessed her to make a dive for his lips?

She inhaled deeply just before her mouth crashed into his. Being crewmates on a pirate ship meant sharing close quarters but she'd never been this up close and personal with the green-haired swordsman before. Even so, her mind-numbed reaction had achieved its purpose.

A deafening silence enveloped the room.

Nami felt dizzy as she held her kiss firmly. Zoro smelled fragrantly of timber and steel – an homage to a man who lived on a wooden vessel and spent too much of his time with a triplet of katana.

His built chest was full of breath as if he thought exhaling might result in something they'd both regret. With claws dug mercilessly into his shoulder, she felt the thick and ropey muscles beneath them freeze. The stunned pirate had stiffened all over with tension, his already solid body feeling like a rock beneath the soft contours of her own.

Nami's head was in a haze. Forgetting that she'd embarked on this venture in an attempt to hide, she pushed away from his lips with a gasp. Immediately running her tongue across her swollen pout, she blinked dreamily. The swordsman's foreign taste was…nice. It reminded her of how the air tasted after a storm if only the rain had been being chased with alcohol. But no sooner had she paused to enjoy the burn, did she go hurtling back to reality.

What did she just do?

The navigator's form became as stiff as a corpse when realization crashed down. She tried to speak but whatever the words were they escaped in a horrified whimper.

Get off of him! She screeched internally. Releasing her wobbly fingers from their death like grip on his shirt, her movement halted when it met resistance. A steely arm fell heavy around her waist, caging her body to the man below with a strength she hadn't a prayer of winning against. Zoro finally exhaled, agonizingly slow with a deep growl that rang savage in her ears.

Oh, he was really pissed.

She just knew it! Her eyes hadn't yet adjusted to the darkness so the vision of his anger she could only imagine. There was no talking herself out of this one, Zoro could give two shits if his opponent was female or not and it was probably taking every ounce of his willpower not to chuck her across the room. She had to apologize, but her tremoring body made even a simple task like speaking near impossible.

"Zoro," she managed breathily, "I-I-" but her words fell off sharply when the rest of her apology was consumed in a heated collision of lips.

Her tiny frame was suddenly swarmed with delirium. Lost in a sea of pinpricks and sparks, at the feeling of his fingers kneading desperately against her scalp she melted into his unspoken demands. Needy for something to grab, she fisted his mossy green locks and met his onslaught with equal intensity.

The current of passion undulating between them was a thrill like she'd never fathomed. It was spicier than a shot of sake and sweeter than a mandarin at the peak of ripeness. Infamous for her greed, Nami wasn't sure how she could further indulge in the feeling but she couldn't help it.

She wanted more.

Zoro growled when she grazed him with her little pearly whites, tugging at his bottom lip in a manner that suggested he do anything but stop. More than willing to oblige, he moved to greet her similarly when a disrupting noise triggered his ever-alert senses. Breaking the kiss, he rolled them over and lifted his head to focus on the room's closed entry. His vision was finally beginning to adjust to the darkness, but only in the dim allowance of light from torches peering in through cracks in the door.

Nami sighed in protest when she felt the sudden reposition and the loss of his touch.

Damn that man! Was this his clever mode of escape, toying with her so that he could slay their hunters as he wished?

What an unbelievable jerk! Nami screamed on the inside. Grabbing the slouched fabric of his yukata, she yanked on it and prepared to give him an earful like he'd never received when suddenly he advanced her lips again.

"Quiet," Came his muffled voice, nearly inaudible against her mouth. In her forced silence, the now captive girl could hear voices and movement rustling on the other side of the door.

Her chest rose and fell slowly. She wanted to breathe quietly but her lungs needed the oxygen to feed her racing heart. The sword master remained hovering on her mouth, barely touching the smooth petals of flesh he had silenced. She was certain now that a few of the Pearl Pirates' gang had entered their stronghold, but what she wasn't sure of is why the stubborn fighter hadn't taken this opportunity to attack them.

In all this time they had spent together as comrades, Zoro hadn't even paid an interested glance in the beautiful navigator's direction. No matter how skimpy her clothes or flirtatious her attitude, he remained immune to her charms. Most of their encounters were spent bickering with her chastising his laziness and he criticizing her greed.

Where most men had caved, the proud swordsman had prevailed which made the reality of their compromising position that much more confusing. It was almost as if something about their lips meeting had awakened a feeling that neither had realized. She never imagined she'd see the day where Zoro found something more appealing than the thrill of a fight and yet here he remained, wrapped up with her instead of drawing his blades.

It was incredible – maybe even amazing. With just one gesture, a simple touch, the gloves came off and the heat turned on. Whatever boundaries that existed between them before had been obliterated by just one drunken decision.

The moment her mouth had crashed into his, was the moment the game had changed.

tbc?


A.N: So yeah, I'll continue this, posted originally on my tumblr Zoro blog but on the ff so I can update it one of these days.

Love,

El3