The 4th Time
"Ewww, what happened to your face, Zoro? That ain't pretty! "
That was the first thing she said to him after the crew's 2-year-separation. Well, he couldn't complain too much, he guesses; after all he just saw her punch Luffy and Usopp in the face for being "inappropriately enthusiastic" about Franky's nipple lights.
"Hello to you too." He drawled lazily, raising a sarcastic eyebrow. After a perfectly innocent once-over towards her direction he added, "I see they stopped making blouses in wherever that Kuma guy sent you."
"How rude! I would have you know that this happens to be the latest fashion and I look good in it! "
He didn't know crap about fashion and he most definitely didn't care, but one thing he wouldn't deny— that little wrinkle above the bridge of her nose when she scrunched up her face like that, was kind of cute.
He shrugged, ready to leave the conversation, thus he wasn't prepared for the armful of Nami he got when she practically launched at him and held his face in her hands.
"Woah—what?" He must have been blindsided for a second there because of how out of normal her behavior was, so he'd let her.
Maybe some things did change after two years, like how he didn't really mind the closeness they shared at this very moment, or the warmth he felt when her palms cupped his cheeks in a soft but firm grip.
"Lemme see that." She ordered in a whisper.
He didn't protest. His good eye stared up at her, seeing the concern and other unreadables in her beautiful brown orbs. Both pirates were silent for a minute; then she let go of his face and let out a low grunt: " Urgh…Zoro you gotta stop doing this to yourself."
"Yeah right I did this to myself."
Ignoring his sarcasm she rambled on: "You cut your ankles in Little Garden; almost got toasted in Skypiea; passed out for 2 days after Thriller Bark…so forgive me for being a little paranoid but it seems to me that you pretty much ask for injuries! I mean, c'mon, what's with you and this sicko obsession of collecting scars? I'm not gonna lie to you, Zoro, I'm actually surprised that you made it back in one piece this time—"
"Yeah, yeah, I need to be more careful, I got it." He waved his hand impatiently. Nagging certainly wasn't one of her best qualities that he had missed during these past two years. "Geez, relax, mom."
The moment the word left his lips he regretted saying it. But what was said could not be unsaid. He watched in horror as her eyes lit up with anger, and flinched when she narrowed them at him.
"What did you just call me?" Her voice came in the form of a quiet, dangerous whisper.
Moments later he found himself lay sprawled across the lawn deck, gingerly nursing a fresh bump on his head.
"Now that I come to think of it, you actually beat me up more than all my enemies combined." He grumbled.
"What's that? " She requested folding her arms in front of her chest, an innocent look plastered on her face as she hovered over him in a triumphant stance. "Do I hear the sound of you asking for more injuries?"
"Alright, alright, you won, woman." He conceded and rose off the ground. "I'll try to be more careful in the future, I promise, okay? Now go bother someone else. Have you seen Ero-cook's eyebrow? It's hilarious, go, go make fun of him."
She considered it for a moment and pouted. "Fine~! Maybe Sanji kun would actually appreciate my accompany, unlike someone."
He watched her stomp away, mildly amused by the way her fists shook in rhythm with the feminine sway of her hips. He then came to notice how radiant she looked with her now long wavy hair grazing the elegant curve of her neck, the soft slope of her shoulders, and the creamy skin on her almost bare back…wait a minute, bare back?
"Ano, Nami." He called out.
When she turned around to look at him he could feel the heat rising in his cheeks. "Are you sure you wanna wear…that thing in front of that perverted co… I mean Sanji?"
She looked confused for a fraction of a second but instantly realized what he was referring to. Her eyes dropped down to her bikini clad chest. A mischievous grin appeared on her lips.
"Yes I'm sure, grandpa." With that she waltzed away.
Zoro couldn't help but want to roll his good eye at the smugness in her voice. He should have seen this coming.
The 5th Time
"We are still friends, "She said in a sheepish tone, her eyes trying to find his, "…right?"
"Mm-hmm." He agreed inadvertently, his good eye looking anywhere but her.
"It was just a mistake…and it was only one time…it doesn't have to affect our relationship—I mean friendship, right?" Suddenly she seemed unable to stop talking. "We are…we are cool, we are two consenting adults who are both mature enough to handle this kind of situation—"
"Whatever you say." He said cutting her off.
Her ears picked up the faint trace of anger in his tone. She frowned. "This is exactly what I'm trying to talk to you about, Zoro."
"I feel like…we don't talk anymore. Ever since … that happened you've been acting so distant and …and mean to me. When was the last time we had a decent conversation? Like, three islands ago? "She pursed her lips into a thin line, "Zoro, we are growing apart."
"We are pirates, Nami. I've got jobs to do and opponents to defeat." He huffed, still avoiding eye contact, "You can't expect me to braid your hair and bring hot chocolate to your bedside every night—"
"You know that's not what I meant!" She raised her voice out of desperation," I just want us to be …us again! Ya know, when you are done with your …pirating stuff at the end of the day, we can still hang out and enjoy each other's company—that's what friends do, right?"
"Well we can't." He said curtly.
"I can't! Alright?"
She looked down at her feet and bit the inside of her mouth. Now he wasn't avoiding eye contact anymore but she was. She had heard the subtext of his words loud and clear. She could feel him staring furiously at the top of her head, so she bit harder on her bottom lip, allowing the feelings of guilt to wash over her.
"Next time you wanna jump a guy and expect him to pretend nothing's changed—you ask first."
He left. She stood there feeling the sting of tears in her eyes and dolefully realized that she had lost a friend today.
That One Time
His shoulders tensed a little when he opened the door and saw her face.
It felt somewhat strange to see her like this again—as the radiant 20-year-old always clad in colorful bikini tops and tight blue jeans. He cleared his throat as his mind briefly replayed when he had to look down to see the top of her head, her orange twintails wiggling above her ears.
"Ano…" She sounded sheepish and hesitant. "I just came by to say thank you."
"For…?" He raised an eyebrow.
"They told me you defeated that girl with Modo Modo No Mi*. " She managed a smile, "I never thought I would say this but…it feels good to be old again."
A small smile curled up at the corner of his lips. "Tell that to Robin."
The lightness in his voice encouraged her. She took a tentative step towards him. "You know, I've been thinking…"
"…about how we've kinda been avoiding each other since, " her shoulders rose and then slumped, "—since, you know, that argument."
He listened, remaining his silence, awaiting her to lead to somewhere.
"The thing is, I was being selfish and insensitive, and I never meant for any of that to hurt your feelings." She recited, her eyes dropping down to stare at the roman sandals she was able to wear again—thanks to him. "Anyway, I thought I owe you an apology, and since you've saved my ass once again today, I figured this might be the time that I give you that overdue apology—"
"We are good, Nami." He cut her off.
Her head snapped up. "Huh?"
"I'm not mad at you." He shrugged, "Bygones."
"Yeah, about that…" She chewed on her bottom lip and went silent.
He looked at her. It had been a long time since he really looked at her, but he felt that this was the time.
"I don't want it to be bygone. " She said shakily, feeling that the courage she had conjured up was wearing thin by the second, "I know it's probably a little late, and I really am in no position to say this, but— can I unfriend you?"
He stared at her, bewildered, "I thought we…"
"I don't want to just be friends, Zoro."
For a minute or two he just stood there. The look on his face revealed no feelings.
She internally cursed herself for being so reckless. For making a complete fool of herself in front of the man she cared about deeply but had pushed away, just because she was too damn stupid to realize that she had always wanted and needed him in more ways than a friend did…
Just when she decided that her smiling façade was too thin to bear another second of the humiliation she was feeling inside, he took a step towards her.
And then another.
He closed the gap between them by taking yet another big step. His thumb brushed a tear off her cheek as he whispered into her ear: "You're a lousy friend anyway."
Then he kissed her full on the lips, making her wish that she would have unfriended him a long long time ago.
Modo Modo no Mi: The devil fruit ability introduced in One Piece Film Z. This fruit's main strength is that it allows the user to turn back the age of anything and anyone they touch, precisely twelve years. Nami, Robin, Chopper and Brook were all affected by this fruit ability if you haven't watched Film Z yet. *spoiler alert* Whoops too late LOL
So….this came out a little more dramatic than I had planned. Ya know, girls, feelings, dramas… bla bla. :D
Anyway I'm glad I finished this one! I've been suffering from a severe case of procrastination and there were several times that I thought I would never be able to finish any of my projects. But, here, this is a start.
Hope you enjoyed it. Leave a review if you did. Or yell at me for not updating any of my other fics. Tough love might work, who knows :P